All hail U.S. ‘Homeland Security’!


by Sunny
20th August, 2007 at 4:38 pm    

“For seven-year-old Javaid Iqbal, the holiday to Florida was a dream trip to reward him for doing well at school. But he was left in tears after he was stopped repeatedly at airports on suspicion of being a terrorist.” – From the Daily Mail today.
And think it’s just a one-off?


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Civil liberties






30 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs


  1. Sofia — on 20th August, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

    Yeh cuz of course they’re recruiting young now aren’t they?? Since when do they hire immigration officials for lateral thinking

  2. Leon — on 20th August, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    Jesus…

  3. A councillor writes — on 20th August, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    Damn it, Sunny, you made me look at the Daily Hate Mail…

    Ah, the no fly list strikes again. Essentially the Department of Homeland Security had one of their bright ideas to dump all terrorists names in their database and if you match, then you get “special” treatment by the idiots running US security. It’s even caused US senators to be stopped http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17073-2004Aug19.html

    There are a number of reasons why I’ve stopped going to the USA despite having family there, this is just one of them.

  4. Sid — on 20th August, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    Homelands Security are right: All Muslims are terrorists including their sprogs. They’re all identifiable because they all travel on their real passports and sport big hairy beards and have funny sounding names like Mohammed.

    After all, how many terrorists are called Peter?

  5. Rumbold — on 20th August, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

    Common sense anyone? If the name and information is flagged up fine, you have to temporarily stop the person to check, but once you see that they are not the same the innocent should be allowed to go on his way. I see why more and more people are not visiting America- they (the US) are shooting themselves in the foot.

  6. Sunny — on 20th August, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

    Damn it, Sunny, you made me look at the Daily Hate Mail…

    Sorry Councillor, I couldn’t do much about that this time…

  7. Rumbold — on 20th August, 2007 at 6:08 pm  
  8. A councillor writes — on 20th August, 2007 at 6:28 pm  

    I think the fingerprinting is what made my mind up to not cross the hallowed portals of US immigration again, although it could have been the shoe carnivals, the War against Evian, the “Federal Air Marshals” or the whole Cartmanesque “respect mah authoriteh” attitude of many employees of the Department of Fatherland Security. I think they got their security consultants from the former and unlamented GDR.

    I just thank Providence that Richard Read was the “shoe bomber” not the underpant bomber, otherwise air travel would be even more unpleasant than it is now.

  9. Rohin — on 20th August, 2007 at 6:33 pm  

    Rumbold, I just posted a comment elsewhere that instead of the family saying they might change their son’s name, perhaps the better solution is not to go to the States. I know plenty of people who are trying not to go.

    However saying they are shooting themselves in the foot isn’t really true. They won’t feel the repercussions of this, far too many people will keep bringing money into the country. Some need to go, others don’t care about things like this. I don’t want to sound too preachey cos I went there last year. But that’s only the second time in my life :)

    And even if LOADS of people stopped going to the States, they wouldn’t even put two and two together to realise why it’s happened.

  10. Rohin — on 20th August, 2007 at 6:34 pm  

    “I think the fingerprinting is what made my mind up to not cross the hallowed portals of US immigration again”

    Precisely. I had to go last year – and I’m sickened that they have my fingerprints, it’s such a f*cking violation.

  11. Adnan Y. — on 20th August, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    Jeez, poor kid. Safe to say he’s not going to look too fondly towards the US any time soon.

    I’m waiting for the day when a visibly pregnant woman with a “Moslem sounding name” is detained because she could be harbouring a future terrorist. Dumb, I know, but these days I wouldn’t be surprised…

    After all, how many terrorists are called Peter?

    Or Tim.

    I just thank Providence that Richard Read was the “shoe bomber” not the underpant bomber, otherwise air travel would be even more unpleasant than it is now.

    You’d see a rise in expenditure on waxing and toning exercises I’d imagine…

  12. Rumbold — on 20th August, 2007 at 7:49 pm  

    Rohin:

    I think that a lot of people will still visit the US, but not as many as before. Student numbers will start to drop off as well, especially with the rise of the Indian Institutes in the subcontinent- really bright South Asians will go to these rather than risk the hassle of applying for US visas. For Indians who want to study humanities, they can go to somewhere like Cambridge, which is just as good as Harvard or Yale and cheaper, or go to another top non-US university.

    Perhaps a drop in tourism will only affect the US so much, but I suspect that they will see a brain drain which will affect them a lot more, especially when it comes to competing with other countries in high-tech industries and the like:

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2005/12/i_hear_you_knoc.html

    “American campuses … have been steadily losing market share for years, especially to Canada, Australia and Europe. Now the European Union is considering offering citizenship to foreign students who complete their doctorates at European universities. That’s a powerful incentive.”

  13. Rumbold — on 20th August, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

    After all, how many terrorists are called Peter?

    Or Jacques, or Jean-Paul, or Georges, or Maximilien:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reign_of_Terror

    (The term terrorist emerged during the French Revolution to describe a state official who was carrying out the Revolutionary Government’s official policy of Terror- massacres and suchlike).

  14. Rohin — on 20th August, 2007 at 8:03 pm  

    Student numbers will start to drop off as well, especially with the rise of the Indian Institutes in the subcontinent- really bright South Asians will go to these rather than risk the hassle of applying for US visas.

    I disagree. On the ground in India, amongst the middle class masses, America remains the dream and it will do for some time. You underestimate the Indian appetite to put up with demeaning shit in order to get where they want.

    That sounds like an admirable trait from the way I’ve written it. I don’t think it is.

  15. Rumbold — on 20th August, 2007 at 10:44 pm  

    “I disagree.”

    Finally.

    “You underestimate the Indian appetite to put up with demeaning shit in order to get where they want.”

    You are probably right. It can be a useful skill to have, especially for immigrants, but, like you say, it is not altogether admirable.

  16. sid — on 20th August, 2007 at 11:05 pm  

    Rumbold is certainly correct in the case of Muslim students from South and South East Asia, who no longer flock to US universities like they did in the past, thanks to “demeaning shit” targetted specifically at Muslims in particular, especially at the hands of immigration officials. Most are now coming to the UK and Canada, which is a good thing.

  17. Ravi Naik — on 20th August, 2007 at 11:18 pm  

    I went to Costa Rica in the beginning of this month, and had to go through the US. Unlike the UK, you have to go into the US and then out even if you are just on transit. So my wife and I had to go through all the security malarkey. I never had any problems, but in Costa Rica, we met two spaniard families who lost their connecting flight because US immigration was rough on them, having spent more than one hour sorting them out.

    Anyway, I try to avoid flying to the US… these guys scare the hell out of me.

  18. jamal — on 21st August, 2007 at 4:50 am  

    It bad it happened, but his parents were wrong to put him on the news and have his name printed everywhere.

    His parents could have reported on this while keeping their child anonymous.

    Kids (particularly minorities) have enough problems growing up without added infamy of being a suspected terrorist at aged 7.

    I mentioned what happened on my blog but left out his name for this reason.

  19. Sofia — on 21st August, 2007 at 10:41 am  

    i don’t think anyone would take treat the boy differently or suspect him as a terrorist, it just highlights how stupid the situation is…
    I’ve not ever been to the states but my husband has and has been stopped by their security because he has dual British and Pakistani nationality…now that’s a real security concern isn’t it..lol

  20. Rumbold — on 21st August, 2007 at 1:42 pm  

    An admirable stance Jamal- good point.

  21. Soso — on 21st August, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

    I find this story dumb and senseless.

    The anti-American reaction on the part of so many readers is to be expected.

    What’s telling is the fact the everyone sets about ridiculing the immigration authorities, and no one ( or almost) has a word of sympathy for the kid. Everyone talks about “the shit” they have to put up with at the hands of Americans.

    What does that reveal?

    That your sympathies are with the child?

    Or that invective against America is what counts the most?

    Here’s Sophia: “Since when do they hire immigration officials for lateral thinking”…… Tee-Hee!

    When overworked, unperpaid immigration authorities are obliged to process 100s of 1000s of arrivals every day, do you honestly think they’ve time for lateral thinking?

    Do you think really think that ANY immigration clerk is hired for their talents as *lateral thinkers*, or something?

    They process incomming bodies, incomming meat, Sophia

    A lot of this incomming meat can be quite rude and impolite and display arrogant, chauvinistic attitudes.

    Perhaps THOSE attitudes were on display here and had a role to play in this story….

    Sometimes you put up with shit to the extent you display shit.

  22. Katherine — on 21st August, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

    “Anti-Americaan reaction”? Oh please, that is such a weak arse “argument” it’s not even worthy of the name. Fact is it is increasingly inconvenient to go in and out of the US. Far more than any other country. Fact is that a 7 year old boy was stopped under spurious circumstances because of his name. Fact is that the shit people have to put up with at the hands of American immigration officials is still shit – the fact that they are overworked and underpaid is hardly the fault of the “meat” being processed is it?

    That’s not “anti-Americanism”, whatever the hell that means any more, that’s a perfectly rational response to annoying circumstances that happen to occur in the US – circumstances that have just been shown up to be more than a little silly, as well as annoying.

  23. Sofia — on 21st August, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    Spell the name right for a start, it’s SOFIA..as for they…i meant that generically…not just Americans..and as for attitudes, what? the 7 year old..omg please don’t make me laugh..what do you mean by attitude anyway??? so this woman travelling with her SEVEN year old child gets stopped by immigration and gets told that her SEVEN YEAR OLD CHILD is on some list. Seriously, it doesn’t take a demented idiot to figure out that a child is not really a security threat, unless you believe “they” meaning al-qaida or whatever is recruiting young…so please don’t babble on about anti american shit because that is not what I was referring to…and if i wanted to turn this into anti american diatribe this would be the last on my list of gripes!!!

  24. Don — on 21st August, 2007 at 5:38 pm  

    Incoming meat? Yeah, incoming paying meat.

    I seldom fly, but every couple of years we like to have a family break in NY. Love the city, the people, the music and the clubs. Getting through the airport is now a serious consideration, basic courtesy and common sense are not high order skills. They should come as standard.

  25. Soso — on 21st August, 2007 at 6:09 pm  

    When a Muslima is asked questions by kuffur immigration authorities, SOFIA, and her attitude is such that she feels kuffurs have no right to do so, and when that Kufur in question is an huge BLACK AFRICAN-AMERICAN female WITH ATTITUDE, you’d be best to stand up straight, display humility and answer obediently.

    Otherwise you get pulled aside, and the black girl just screams “neeeext”!

    Tons of meat to process!

    This story reminds me of the cockamamie one about piglet being banned for fear of insulting Muslim sensibilites.

    It was only half true.

  26. Don — on 21st August, 2007 at 7:13 pm  

    ‘…you’d be best to stand up straight, display humility and answer obediently.’

    WTF? ‘display humility’? Three words. Paying. Bloody. Customer.

    Oh, and I think the word you are searching for may be ‘uppity’.

  27. Ravi Naik — on 21st August, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

    “Everyone talks about “the shit” they have to put up with at the hands of Americans.”

    It is called empathy, soso.

    “When overworked, unperpaid immigration authorities are obliged to process 100s of 1000s of arrivals every day, do you honestly think they’ve time for lateral thinking?”

    You missed the whole point. If you want to protect your country against terrorists, shouldn’t you have at least have a pint of common sense? Because as you admit, they don’t have enough resources, shouldn’t they use it in cases other than kids who share the same name as terrorists? The stupidity of these officers is as striking as the arguments used to defend them.

  28. Jai — on 22nd August, 2007 at 1:34 pm  

    A lot of this incomming meat can be quite rude and impolite and display arrogant, chauvinistic attitudes.

    None of which bears any relevance to this 7-year-old kid. And there’s no evidence to indicate his mother was behaving in this way either — unless you would regard the fact that, being a doctor, she is likely to have a certain level of intelligence, self-confidence and self-respect to be regarded as “uppity” by people who feel threatened by such individuals (and she is consequently likely to become even more irate at being treated this way than the average person). “Uppity” from the perspective of someone with a problem towards brown people in general or Muslims specifically, of course; do you fall into either of those categories, Soso ?

    When a Muslima is asked questions by kuffur immigration authorities, SOFIA, and her attitude is such that she feels kuffurs have no right to do so, and when that Kufur in question

    My God, that’s some major paranoia and stereotyping there. What the hell makes you think the kid’s mother even remotely reacted along those lines ? Or if any religious factors had anything whatsoever to do it (or indeed that she has that kind of religious viewpoint) ? Or that the ethnicity of the “black African-American female” was a factor ?

    The anti-American reaction on the part of so many readers is to be expected.

    Please. Pickled Politics is hardly a hotbed of anti-American vitriol and prejudice, particularly on the part of the Asian commenters here. People are just asking for a modicum of common sense and objectivity to be applied in these situations.

  29. DR1001 — on 23rd August, 2007 at 7:21 pm  

    Hey even the US citizens complain about travelling within the states due to the crazy lines and security checks.

    I have been to that ‘back room’ when i was awaiting my green card and it is full of all sorts of people, all colours not just Asains/Arabs.

  30. j0nz — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:28 pm  

    Yup plenty of people get hassled repeatedly at US airports. I was just talking to a friend about some 75 year old white brit who was repetedly searched and treated like a possible terrorist. So it pisses everyone off.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.