Thursday, May 24, 2007

electronic footprint

I can't find a place to link to this bloomin' article without having to register or pay for it. So- here it is in all its wretchedness.

The Nation’s Borders, Now Guarded by the Net
By ADAM LIPTAK Published: May 14, 2007

Andrew Feldmar, a Vancouver psychotherapist, was on his way to pick up a friend at the Seattle airport last summer when he ran into a little trouble at the border.

A guard typed Mr. Feldmar’s name into an Internet search engine, which revealed that he had written about using LSD in the 1960s in an interdisciplinary journal. Mr. Feldmar was turned back and is no longer welcome in the United States, where he has been active professionally and where both of his children live.

Mr. Feldmar, 66, has a distinguished résumé, no criminal record and a candid manner. Though he has not used illegal drugs since 1974, he says he has no regrets.

“It was an absolutely fascinating and life-altering experience for me,” he said last week of his experimentation with LSD and other psychedelic drugs. “The insights it provided have lasted for a lifetime. It allowed me to feel what it would be like to live without habits.”

Mr. Feldmar said he had been in the United States more than 100 times and always without incident since he last took an illegal drug. But that changed in August, thanks to the happenstance of an Internet search, conducted for unexplained reasons, at the Peace Arch border station in Blaine, Wash.

The search turned up an article in a 2001 issue of the journal Janus Head devoted to the legacy of R. D. Laing, with whom Mr. Feldmar had studied in London about 30 years before.

“I traveled to many regions many times with the help of many different substances,” Mr. Feldmar wrote of his experiences with Dr. Laing and other psychiatrists and therapists. “I took peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, cannabis” and other drugs, he added, “but I kept coming back to LSD.”

He was asked by a border guard whether he was the author of the article and whether it was true. Yes, he replied. And yes.

Mr. Feldmar was held for four hours, fingerprinted and, after signing a statement conceding the long-ago drug use, sent home.

Mike Milne, a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection agency in Seattle, said he could not discuss individual cases for reasons of privacy. But the law is clear, Mr. Milne said. People who have used drugs are not welcome here.

“If you are or have been a drug user,” he said, “that’s one of the many things that can make you inadmissible to the United States.”

He added that the government was constantly on the hunt for new sources of information. “Any new technology that we have available to us, we use to do searches on,” Mr. Milne said.

Mr. Feldmar has been told by the American consul general in Vancouver that he may now enter the United States only if he obtains a formal waiver.

“Both our countries have very similar regulations regarding issuance of visas for citizens who have violated the law,” the consul, Lewis A. Lukens, wrote to Mr. Feldmar in September. “The issue here is not the writing of an article, but the taking of controlled substances. I hear from American citizens all the time with decades-old D.U.I. convictions who are barred from entry into Canada and who must apply for waivers. Same thing here.”

The waiver process would require a lawyer, several thousand dollars and dishonesty, Mr. Feldmar said. He would have to say he has been rehabilitated.

“Rehabilitated from what?” Mr. Feldmar asked. “It’s degrading, literally degrading.”

Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which works to ease drug penalties, said Mr. Feldmar’s case proves how arbitrary American drug policy can be.

“Roughly a majority of the population of the United States between the ages of 18 and 58 has violated a drug law at least once,” Mr. Nadelmann said, and there is no reason to think that Canadians and other foreigners of a certain age have experimented much less.

It has been a long, strange trip from the Summer of Love to the Age of Terror, from excluding people based on actual criminal convictions to turning them away based on a border guard’s Internet search. The first approach is rooted in due process and enhances the nation’s security. The second is profoundly arbitrary and effectively punishes not past drug use but honest discourse about it.

“I should warn people that the electronic footprint you leave on the Net will be used against you,” Mr. Feldmar said. “It cannot be erased.”

This poor bastard was not only never convicted of anything, he was never even charged!!!!! One more thing for me to get my panties in a twist about. If they were that worried about him, why didn't they give him a breathalizer?

Because it's not about protection. It's about control.

"If I bow low and bang my forehead against the stone cobbles will you pretty please let me into your country?"


janice said...

How insane!
We won't let this poor sap in but let all the arabs (or at least the 22% that believe it's OK to murder folks via a suicide belt) you want. That would be profiling, and that's wrong, yez!

Sean the Blogonaut said...

Land of the Free

Fiery Ewok said...

I thought the whole incident was absolutely ludicrous and I couldn't believe that it was Americans barring the gate. Land of the Free my ass!

The loss of freedom we have sustained since 9/11 is staggering. Americans have handed them over for the sake of "a sense of security".

The founding fathers used bales of hemp as MONEY. You now need a permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency to grow a NON- hallucinogeic plant. Guess how possible it is to get a permit? Guess how many palms must be greased?

Is it about protection?

Let's hear it everybody-
NO it's about CONTROL!!!!!

The shackles are starting to chaffe a bit, am I the only one that feels it?

King Aardvark said...

Let's just say there's a reason I blog anonymously.

And it's a bit different with the DUIs. DUI is pretty dangerous for others around you, plus these are convictions, not stories. That's pretty messed up. At least when I went over to the States recently all we got was a bored jerk-off of a border guard. We didn't get internet searched.

Fiery Ewok said...

DUI's are serious. Especially if you are a repeat offender.

How about if it was just once in college and never again? Do you deserve eternal condemnation then?

How did we get on the topic of DUI's?

My parents live close to the border, there's this real short guard up there on "our side" who acts like a Nazi who is personally keeping America safe by dotting every i twice and crossing every t twice with no thought for common sense. NONE. He doesn't care how many times in 1 day the same farmer has been hauling wheat over the border (some farmers actually have land on both sides) he stops and asks them the same 2000 inane questions every single &%$#@& time.

Tone said...

I like to blog using my name, but I am really starting to re-think that. Very sad...

Fiery Ewok said...

I think it is incredibly sad that we should ever have to feel bad about who we are or what we think about.

Why can't we all be like Sean and wear or godless shirts openly? Why can't we have our bumperstickers that say "God is a sadistic bastard"?

Well on the last 2 we probably could. If we didn't mind the repercussions.

While we are blogging do we try and anticipate whether or not the fundies will ever "get" america and search out all of the satan-worshiping child-raping atheists and use our blogs against us?

I sit here wracking my brain, trying to figure out if I've ever said anything that would cause the government to start a file about me. AND I'VE NEVER DONE ANYTHING EVEN REMOTELY INTERESTING!!!!!

Paranoia sucks!

Joe said...

No, you're not the only one. We all feel it if we're paying attention. My brother flew to Canada and was not allowed out of customes due to a 25 year old misdemeanor. Had to fly home while his friends went skiing. I blog with my own name, to me the Constitution is still the law of our land. Of course I may be a bit daft.
Oh, and FE, on your blogroll you have the same link for me as you do for Stardust. At least I think its me!

Joe said...

And one more thing, if Reed Braden can post with his real full name and put his phone number on his blog with an invite for people to call him, well, I can certainly not cower down either.

Fiery Ewok said...

Hey Joe- yes that Joe is you, I'm sorry I bobbled the link. Must have had you both open at the same time and copied/pasted the wrong one.

Fixed yours and checked everyone else's. Should be good now.

Fiery Ewok said...

Joe what happened to your brother is complete horseshit. A 25 year old misdemeanor????

I'll bet he had no idea that he was still wearing that red A.

2 thoughts on the real name.
1- I'm (shhhhhh) still in the closet. I really don't want to talk to my Mom or Dad about this.
2- Fiery Ewok is WAY cooler than my real name. Maybe I should change my real name to .....nah. That would defeat the purpose of it I suppose. Shucks!!!!


Sean the Blogonaut said...

I think I can only get away with the shirt's because Australians are so bloody apathetic when it comes to well... everything.

This can be a problem when our politicians get sneaky and try and pull the wool over our eyes.

Bronze Dog said...

I'm glad I came up with a good pseudonym. After all, it's hard enough being an atheist in the southern US without having some place where I'm openly so that's traceable back to me.

Thankfully, though, I haven't done much else of note, aside from being an atheist.

Fiery Ewok said...

Hello Bronze Dog!!!! Thanks for stopping by! It makes my whole day when I see a new face commenting. :-D

I wonder if there is any place in the US where it is easy to openly be an atheist?

I would love to have a cool bumper sticker that says "Enjoy the heat Falwell" or a t-shirt that I could go around wearing that says "God Bless America" with the B in Bless crossed out. I wonder what the fallout would be?

one of these days!

Ryan said...

I still use my name, but have removed my full name and address from my profile. Unfortunately there are 2 groups it it not only acceptable to discriminate but encouraged - atheists and gays. (I'm not gay though).

Fiery Ewok said...

Hello Ryan and welcome also to my blog! 2 new faces in one day.

(singing) *do a little dance*
*make a little love*

Hey- Ryan's a rockstar, least I can do is a happy dance w/a song. :-D

Enough already, getting silly, must get some sleep.