posted on Feb, 25 2008 @ 02:18 PM
Last week I made my first visit to the US for several years, and must admit received something of a shock. I would be interested to read the
thoughts/experiences of other ATS members who might have had similar experiences.
My flight from LHR arrived at Philly International, and the dialog at Immigration went something like this:
'Sir, you have a AAAH-RAYN visa in yow passport. Whaa d'yow go to AAAH-RAYN last year sir?' (not a Pennsylvania accent - somewhere south of
Virginia I would think)
A reasoned and truthful reply was given - I visit the Middle East often, do a lot of business there.
'Whaa d'yow go to CHAAANA, sir?'
and so on through a list of places I had visited evidenced by visa stamps.
'Follow the officer, sir!'
The immigration card is marked with a big red scrawl, and then with luggage, I am led off into a private room.
Now I don't want to appear paranoid, but in 20 years of traveling to over 60 countries I never, ever experienced anything like what followed.
Every single item of luggage was searched: tooth-paste tubes opened, every document scrutinized. Notebook booted up and my files surfed for FIFTEEN
MINUTES. Continuous interrogation about why I was visiting the US, my political and religious views (I am not kidding - I was even asked 'Are you a
Nothing incriminating discovered. My questions about why I was selected to undergo this grilling went unanswered.
I have recently visited Iran, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brazil and numerous other destinations. Nowhere else in the
world have I encountered anything like this unnerving and actually terrifying kind of interrogation.
I have a UK passport and look like an ordinary European business traveler. I have no criminal record and have visited the US many times before. I was
bewildered by all this.
Eventually I was allowed into the USA. Pity the poor bastards who have to undergo this kind of thing all the time. What are they looking for?
Wouldn't tell me.
Is my experience unusual? If so, would anyone have an idea why I was put through this? If not, is this normal procedure now when entering the USA?
Incidentally I had dinner on Sunday night with Richard & Karyn Dolan, and they were not in the least surprised. According to Richard, fascism is
insidious when it takes over, and manifests slowly in stages. And they are genuine American patriots, but seem resigned to what is happening as do
many others I met on the trip.
Whaddya think? Is this the future for the law-abiding would-be visitor to the USA?
It's enough to turn someone into a conspiracy-theorist.