Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Rise of Large Private Armies - Part 2

I intended to post more optimistic views, but I received some comments on my previous post on the rise of large private armies and first wanted to follow up on that. We should all be aware that the legal rules have been set in place to establish marshal law when then next major terrorist attack or natural disaster occurs (are you living in denial about this?). If you want to know what marshal law would be like, just consider the situation where our normal civil liberties already don't apply and security is considered paramount. I'm talking about customs at large airports. A growing number of reports have documented almost unbelievably harsh treatment from the security personal hired to do this work. For example, consider the case of some big-name Finnish musicians traveling to Minnesota for a music tour. One is allegedly the "Bruce Springsteen" of Finland. They've done nothing wrong. But this is what they get at the airport according to a report posted by Andrew Sullivan:
Immigration agents at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport subjected them to more than two hours of interrogation that the musicians considered so harsh and demeaning that they filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki.

"It was almost three hours of screaming, door-slamming and accusations, according to the report I received," said Marianne Wargelin, honorary Finnish consul for the Dakotas and most of Minnesota, which has the second largest Finnish-American population in the nation...

"They threatened us with severe punishments if we talk to each other," according to the complaint signed by musicians Ninni Poijärvi and Mika Kuokkanen, "Through the walls, I can hear officers yelling, screaming. They ask about the purpose of our trip -- except we are only allowed to give yes-or-no answers. I try to talk about our plans to meet with Finnish-American folk musicians. Nobody listens. They interrupt me constantly and they yell, 'You are a liar!"'

It's no wonder that American has earned the reputation of one of the most unfriendly places to visit by foreign travelers. Tourist and business travel are down sharply, as Fareed Zakaria discussed in a recent Newsweek article. This should be very disturbing and somewhat scary. This is not the America I grew up in! But Americans have a long history for not putting up with this type of outrageous behavior for long. I thank both Andrew Sullivan and Fareed Zakaria for publicising this matter while it's still easy to do something about it before it spreads during moments of fear.

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