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Sci-fi author and Crysis 2 writer Peter Watts beaten, arrested at US border

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posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 09:19 PM
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Sci-fi author and Crysis 2 writer Peter Watts beaten, arrested at US border

I typically limit Hellforge’s coverage to video games and tangentially related subjects, so this article might be slightly different from our usual coverage. I feel the need to cover this issue because it involves Peter Watts, a science fiction author and video game writer for whom I hold much admiration and respect. Peter Watts, a Canadian citizen, was subject to a beating and arrest by U.S. border guards on Tuesday when he was detained by the aforementioned authorities at the U.S.-Canada border.

On top of the beating and pepper spraying that he received, he was additionally charged with “assaulting a federal officer”, a felony rap that carries a mandatory 2 year sentence in a federal prison, if convicted. Defending against this charge will cost him more money than he can afford, and losing it may cost him his entire life.

That this circumstance is ****** up would be putting it lightly. Peter Watts, who has previously worked on Homeworld 2, is currently serving as a writer and art consultant on Crysis 2 and is the author of the Hugo-award-nominated science fiction novel, Blindsight.

Hugo-award-nominated science fiction author Dr. Peter Watts is in serious legal trouble after he was beaten, pepper-sprayed and imprisoned by American border guards at a Canada U.S. border crossing December 8. This is a call to friends, fans and colleagues to help. Peter, a Canadian citizen, was on his way back to Canada after helping a friend move house to Nebraska over the weekend. He was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle.

When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening).

He's home safe. For now. But he has to go back to Michigan to face the charge brought against him. The charge is spurious. But it's also very serious. It could mean two years in prison in the United States, and a ban on travel in that country for the rest of Peter's life. Peter is mounting a vigorous defense, but it's going to be expensive - he's effectively going up against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he needs the best legal help that he can get.


This line here is what really got me steamed:



On top of the beating and pepper spraying that he received, he was additionally charged with “assaulting a federal officer”, a felony rap that carries a mandatory 2 year sentence in a federal prison, if convicted. Defending against this charge will cost him more money than he can afford, and losing it may cost him his entire life.


He was the one that was assaulted! And HE is the one being charged with assaulting an officer! The Department of Homeland Security needs to put a leash on some of these over-zealous border guards. This is nuts.

My father told me a story about being interrogated by some of the Border agents at the US/Canadian border.

He was going across the border into the U.S. WITH A WORK PERMIT as he works for an American consulting firm that is based in Canada, US and the UK. He travels (used to) to the states a lot on business so this should have been just a routine pass through the border. But, some Border Agent decided to pull him from his car, search it (rental) and interrogated him for almost 8 hours!!! Luckily he wasn't beaten like this poor fellow. The border guards were accusing him of coming over to America to steal American jobs and some other total non-sense and utter BS.

He said later that it was like being interrogated by the Gestapo! He has never gone back to the US after that experience, and probably never will.

I can understand why if this is how they treat their guests.



source



[edit on 11-12-2009 by kommunist]




posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 10:03 PM
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I wish that our Border Agents were that tough on our Mexican border. Down South, the USBP Agents are themselves locked up for doing nothing more than shooting at Smugglers and actual Criminals.

IF this case is so clear-cut as it happens to be presented here, then I indeed feel bad for the individual. I would like to see the testimony though, and the videos of the incident, before I cast judgement.

[edit on 12-11-2009 by TheAgentNineteen]



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 10:14 PM
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This is possible. On the border and at check points you can not be too careful about what say to a border agent. If any good comes of this the miserable thugs who did this will feel less comfortable ruffing an innocent person up.



posted on Dec, 12 2009 @ 08:07 AM
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Every border crossing station does have video cameras so hopefully the tapes will help exonerate Peter. I'm sure these border guards were the ones at fault as is the case 90% of the time.



posted on Dec, 13 2009 @ 06:21 AM
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Not the Best of Possible Worlds

I'm puzzled. Have I missed a bunch of stories about U.S. border guards assaulting and abusing Canadian citizens? Aside from the anecdote in the OP, is this something that happens routinely?

If so, why isn't there more of an outcry from Canadians? The U.S.-Canada trade relationship is the largest in the world. For all the talk in the news about China, the U.S. does about 25% more business with Canada than China, so if there are problems at the border, it would behoove both nations to resolve them as quickly as possible.

If not, then what took place to make this incident so dramatically different from over 270 thousand other U.S.-Canada border crossings that occur, on average, every day?

What happened?

So far, we mainly have accounts from the perspective of Dr. Watts, including this blog entry, but little else to go on other than the Times-Herald article in the OP.

Since I don't know much about him, I have taken the liberty of looking at other articles on his blog, whose name and some of its content aren't compatible with our profanity policy. While I can't say it would necessarily have bearing on this particular situation, I do think his blog entries offer some insights with respect to how he deals with people in general.

Considering the potentially high profile of this case, hopefully more facts will emerge to paint a clearer picture of what happened, so that whoever is guilty of wrongdoing will be dealt with appropriately.

And if there is a larger problem with U.S.-Canada border relations, hopefully this incident will help to bring that to light and compel improvement.




[edit on 12/13/2009 by Majic]



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