US refuses to let jet into its airspace because it is carrying a journalist who criticizes US foreign policy

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53 Responses to “US refuses to let jet into its airspace because it is carrying a journalist who criticizes US foreign policy”

  1. tizroc says:

    This makes me sick! One dissenting voice in a cigar tube flying about 200 miles outside the U.S. land is a threat to national security.

    If he breaths inside U.S. airspace then it might pollute and infect the minds and hearts of ‘We the people’.

    Why didn’t all this ‘change’ with our vote for ‘change’?

  2. vert says:

    Something smells fishy.

    Not because I don’t think our government wouldn’t do anything so stupid (they do worse all the freakin’ time), but because this just seems kind of odd. And it’s not that I don’t think the incident didn’t happen at all, it just smells strongly of exaggeration (intentional or not).

    One blog post from Gadling which doesn’t cite *any* sources, originally; but then links to the story by Ospina when a visitor leaves the link in the comments? Wha?

    Also…

    What airline pilot in his or her right mind would come on the radio and say “we’re diverting our course… because the Americans say we have a suspicious passenger.” Yeah. Nothing like causing a little panic in coach.

    I’d actually like to read something from AirFrance about the incident.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Nothing like causing a little panic in coach.

      I was on a flight to Cairo once where we stopped in Frankfurt so that Interpol could arrest the entire cabin crew for drug smuggling. The new crew gave everybody extra liquor and showed Moonstruck. Good times.

  3. dainel says:

    #29, Moriarty, apply Occam’s razor.

  4. Nixar says:

    @Vert: I applaud you for you scepticism, we certainly need more of that. However before posting you could have speent a couple minutes on the google before wasting everyone’s bandwidth.

    Here’s a link to a major newspaper covering the story (French).

  5. noen says:

    @ 46 re: Airplane circles around Manhattan

    That was a photo-op. Or maybe that’s all part of the conspiracy too.

  6. Mac says:

    What the headline said:

    “US refuses to let jet into its airspace because it is carrying a journalist who criticizes US foreign policy”

    What the story said:

    US refuses to let jet into its airspace because it is carrying someone on the terrorist watch list, and “the exact reason for him being on the terrorist watch list is unknown”.

    The story and the headline are two very different things.

    Mac

  7. Cory Doctorow says:

    You’re right — a totally opaque process by which people are arbitrarily categorized as security risks according to secret criteria that are never disclosed to the public (or the supposed “risk”) makes it hard to be certain of the reason for which someone has been branded as a terrorist.

    If I had an infinite amount of headline space, I could have written, “US refuses to let jet into its airspace because it is carrying a journalist who has been classed as a terrorist for unknown reasons, however, the only ‘objectionable’ thing about him that anyone can think of is that he criticizes US foreign policy — perhaps it is this, and perhaps it is something else, but due to the corrupt nature of the terrorist watchlist process, it is impossible to say definitively.”

    I think you’ll agree that this lacks something as a headline.

  8. adamnvillani says:

    #13 makes a good point. I mean, there are journalists all over this country that criticize it. The take-home lesson from this should not be “the U.S. will not let journalists critical of its policies into its airspace,” because it does that all the time. The lesson might be “people get put on the no-fly terror list for stupid reasons.” Or maybe it’s really that “the no-fly list is arbitrary and should have some sort of way for people to find out why they’re on it and a way to contest it.”

  9. Nasty says:

    Thank Jeebus they didn’t take control of the plane and crash it into Obama’s transparency promises.

  10. RevEng says:

    @#29: The reason is because of limited resources. while DHS would love to scour the internet, finding every dissenter and preventing them from flying, they don’t have the resources. Instead, they only pick out the noticable people, like those who speak out loudly and publicly.

    Another reason likely lies in their “is a terrorist” algorithms. Perhaps merely speaking out isn’t enough, but being from Colombia adds a few more demerit points. Add one or two more points for being a journalist (and therefore somewhat influential). With their secret process, it’s impossible to say what causes a person to be designated unable to fly.

    Which really is the problem in this story. It’s impossible to argue whether or not it’s fair to keep a Colombian journalist dissenter from flying into (or over) the USA, because we don’t even know why people end up on no-fly lists, and that’s the real problem. We have to argue the secrecy of the process before we can argue the process itself.

  11. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    “Criticism? In my airspace?”
    LOL

  12. Ugly Canuck says:

    This guy’s stuff is probably worth reading: thanx to DHS for pointing it out!

  13. Ugly Canuck says:

    What’s this : addictive drugs (alcohol) and US Latin American policy?

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=N3JZGAKe5soC&dq=Bacardi+The+Hidden+War&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=qI_1SfGpMYK8M6_K2MUP&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4

    Ancient US policy in Panama?

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/475.html

    But this is the one that probably hits home for the CIA: seeing as they are the foreign backers of whatever anti-Cuba “revolutionary” movement may presently exist.
    Backing and (arming?) people bent on the overthrow of a populist neighboring government? Who are the real terrorists, here?

    http://openlibrary.org/b/OL22235269M/Cuban-exile-movement

  14. johnofjack says:

    “Hernando Calvo Ospina has written articles about the United States involvement in Latin America, and is currently writing a book about he CIA.”

    Well if he’s not in favor of torture, rendition, drug trafficking, assassination, destabilization of select democratic governments, and various and sundry human rights violations then obviously he’s a terrorist.

  15. Ugly Canuck says:

    Certainly a terrorist:

    http://mondediplo.com/2006/08/11cuba

    And what do ya know an “intellectual property” angle too:

    http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-754539/CUBA-U-S-PATENT-OFFICE.html

    I think I’ll drink Cuban rum today in the sun, and smoke some Cuban stogies, too…

  16. Enochrewt says:

    Whoever #48 quoted is spot on. That’s the real issue.

    I don’t care if they didn’t let fly through. That’s fine, as long as they have a publicly explained good reason for it. Maybe even if they came out and said “He’s a douche.” I might be fine with it.

    It’s like if my neighbor cuts through my back yard to get to his house without permission. If we get along well, it’s not going to bother me. If he’s an antagonizing jackass and even possibly right, I’m going to put a good fence to keep him out and try and make him a good neighbor.

  17. Ugly Canuck says:

    Hey from that Diplomonde article which I just linked to I learned something that I did not know before – it costs $300,000.00 to learn how to be a MD in the USA.
    No wonder poor people in the USA get no medical care! Even if the doctors aren’t personally greedy, their lenders would insist on their taking paying customers.
    Even in ancient Byzantium, physicians’ salaries were paid by the State, as an obvious and self-evident public good, one of the more socially useful things to be paid for by the state’s general tax revenues.

  18. GuidoDavid says:

    This sucks.
    Cuba apologists suck too.

  19. Anonymous says:

    It would appear that the world is in for a very very rude awakening….. What kind of world are our children going to live in? Hell on earth literally.
    A place where you will be afraid to speak your mind against atrocities because it will mean you will be beaten or disappear. A place where your child can accidentally be labeled a terrorist because of the strong belief system you tried to instill in him.
    A place where nothing is private, not a personal conversation between lovers on the phone nor even in your own home.
    A place where everything you have ever done will be collected, analyzed and then judged.
    A place where increasing crime is used to decrease your freedom to even protect yourself against the crime.
    A place where I wouldnt want to live! but it appears I do and apparently I cant help fix. Luckily im getting older and my time is nearly up, also I made a choice to not have children although I always wanted at least two. I simply could not imagine leaving a child to fend for himself in today world or tomorrows.
    It saddens me to no end to think what has become of our great America at the hands of a few greedy ruthless men who wanted to wring all the life out of it. Any one of the founding fathers would disband from such an America as we all live in today. Im sick of the government lies, the media control, the disgusting acts of violence committed in the name of freedom? The shameless raping of our economy, I mean honestly what the hell do any of us have to hold our heads up high about now? In what country are there people who still respect Americans? If only there was something that I could do to help but it appears the powers that be have grown so large and powerful that there really isnt anything to be done.

    Ive said enough but let me leave you with these few pearls of wisdom.
    Patriot Act=Very unpatriotic.
    Transparency=Non existent.
    Privacy=Never again
    Right to justice=not guaranteed anymore
    Right to undue prosecution and detaining=GONE
    Right to speak freely=Fading away
    Police state/Marshall Law=I assure you its coming, they are already preparing and training.

    Freedom isnt free, people in my family DIED to help keep us FREE! If you take our rights and freedoms then please tell me what they died for? To further someones agenda, or to let freedom ring?

  20. Moriarty says:

    Antinous, I’m saying you should talk about problems realistically instead of screaming “fascist” all the time. Because most people can plainly see that it’s not the Third Reich, so they’ll just write you off as a tinfoil hat nutjob even when you’re talking about real problems. But thank you for demonstrating my point by essentially calling me a Nazi sympathizer.

  21. nosehat says:

    Heh, the main effect of this for me is to make me interested in reading Hernando Calvo Ospina’s work. He must have really ruffled some feathers to warrant this kind of treatment. Now I’m curious!

    Thanks Ugly Canuk for the links!

  22. Navec says:

    There is something wrong with this story…

    Air traffic controllers do not have any passenger information of flights. Flights are frequently redirected and refused entry into airspaces to reduce congestion over high traffic areas.

    Sorry to interrupt the Amerikkka bashing echo chamber.

  23. Takuan says:

    The standing officer posed the more “remarkable” questions.

    “Are you a Catholic?” he asked. I answered no, but I am not a Muslim either, knowing how “dangerous” this religious belief has become to certain policemen.

    “Do you know how to handle firearms?” I told him that the only time I held one I was very young; it was a shotgun and I was knocked down by the recoil. I never even went through military service, I said. In fact, I added, “my only weapon is my writing, especially to denounce the American government, whom I consider terrorist.”

    They looked at each other, and the seated man said something I already knew: “That weapon sometimes is worse than rifles and bombs.”

  24. Anonymous says:

    Anyone else think it’s slightly incongruous that a 747 (actually, not just any 747 – it was the presidents “backup” plane) was allowed to circle around Manhattan buildings at a low altitude without notice this morning?

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124084127590859371.html

  25. Cory Doctorow says:

    No, Navec, you’re wrong. The US has — and continues — to divert planes that overfly its territory if they have “no-fly” listers onboard. This is official US policy.

  26. Anonymous says:

    It’s just payback to france for their denial of airspace to operation Eldorado Canyon…

  27. jphilby says:

    Dear Land-of-the-Free, Home-of-the-Brave,

    (*mmpfh*)

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll be looking into this guy. I’ve been reading the history of United Fruit and Haiti and the like in the past year. Fascinating stuff, and I sorely needed a contemporary point of view.

    Ospina: bookmarked.

  28. Moriarty says:

    So what’s the story? “Criteria for no fly list are opaque and apparently arbitrary.” Or even “Passengers on France-Mexico flight unnecessarily inconvenienced by opaque, arbitary no fly list.” Alright. Merely bitterly criticizing U.S. policy doesn’t get you on the list, or else half the people here would be on it. Hence, the main implication of the headline is false.

  29. IamInnocent says:

    @navec


    Air traffic controllers do not have any passenger information of flights.

    They themselves don’t have to hold this information in their hands, just to be told to refused entry and the reason.

    Flights are frequently redirected and refused entry into airspaces to reduce congestion over high traffic areas.

    So, on that day, at that hour, the entirety of the American air space, around 10 000 000 km2, was filled with airplanes at 10 000 meters+…

    Sorry to interrupt the Amerikkka bashing echo chamber.

    Putting a sticker on a discussion doesn’t change its nature. I’ve always has a favorable prejudice for the US. If you so love the US won’t you stand for the liberties, freedom and common sense that are supposed to define it?

  30. Anonymous says:

    I’m in ur airspace, critizizing ur policies?

  31. Inkstain says:

    “Alright. Merely bitterly criticizing U.S. policy doesn’t get you on the list, or else half the people here would be on it. ”

    That only works if you assume the law is universally applied. Just because it doesn’t get me on the no-fly list, doesn’t mean it didn’t get him on it.

    And given my fear of flying and my wife’s insistence on going places far away, I kind of wish I was on the list… :)

  32. Moriarty says:

    Do you see the problem with that, though? We’re not talking about “not universally applied,” we’re talking about applied in maybe 1 per million instances, at most. At that point, I think it’s pretty safe to say something else is going on. What it is, I have no idea, which is exactly the problem: lack of transparency, and apparently a relatively large number of mix ups. But I don’t think implications of censorship are warranted. The flip side of slipperly slope and “and then there was no one left to speak up for me” type arguments is crying wolf. When you hyperbolize and Godwin even legitimate issues, nobody is going to take you seriously when the Nazis actually show up. But I guess that’s more of a broader issue I have with the politics around here in general.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      When you hyperbolize and Godwin even legitimate issues, nobody is going to take you seriously when the Nazis actually show up.

      Yup. That’s exactly how the holocaust happened. Everybody kept complaining about the Nazis and trying to do something about their rise to power.

      No, wait. That wasn’t it. What actually happened is that everybody pretended that Germany wasn’t sliding into totalitarianism. They don’t just show up one day in uniform. They’re already here, counting on people like you to ignore them while they build their infrastructure.

  33. Moriarty says:

    “Which really is the problem in this story. It’s impossible to argue whether or not it’s fair to keep a Colombian journalist dissenter from flying into (or over) the USA, because we don’t even know why people end up on no-fly lists, and that’s the real problem. We have to argue the secrecy of the process before we can argue the process itself.”

    I think that’s exactly right.

  34. edinblack says:

    Didn’t they put senator Ted Kennedy on the no-fly list for criticizing the administration a while back?

  35. spazzm says:

    Ahem. “Air Freedom”, if you please.

  36. Takuan says:

    just send the bill to Bush.

  37. Anonymous says:

    1: (entity) acts because of presence of (person)

    2: (person) can be accurately described as (having certain characteristics)

    3: (entity) acts because of presence of (person having certain characteristics)

    Implication happens in the brain of the reader, and is the responsibility of the reader not the author.

    I apologize for so many people’s failure at reading comprehension, Cory… perhaps this will help some of them.

  38. spazzm says:

    On the plus side, he didn’t get waterboarded.

  39. ruhigrom says:

    britain wouldnt let geert wilders in for his ideological views and we won’t even let critics fly over our country. cool

  40. PeaceNerd says:

    Brilliant move by the US. Raise your hand if you’ve never heard of Hernando Calvo Ospina until today.

    Now, if you’re like me, you’ve heard of him, read an article by him, and seen what he has on Amazon. Swift!

  41. ZippySpincycle says:

    God knows this makes me feel safer.

  42. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Michael Bay needs to get on this. Benicio Del Toro as the journo-terrorist. Morgan Freeman as the President. And Sandra Bullock as the perky but ultimately self-loathing air traffic controller.

  43. Chevan says:

    @#14 – There was always “US refuses to let jet into its airspace,” and left the question of the person and reasons for the article before the cut-off.

  44. nosehat says:

    Because, you know, only terrorists advocate a free press.

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