86 Responses

  1. Once, when crossing back into San Diego from Tijuana after a few hours partying there, when the guard realised I was Irish, I was asked if I was catholic or protestant, I asked did it matter and he told me to answer the question or I wouldn’t get back in, I told him catholic and he said I was causing all the trouble and let me in, very intimidating….

  2. That poor bloke and every policeman in that clip is a complete wanker.

    • “That poor bloke” was hostile from the get-go. I can imagine how he deals with, for instance, restaurant workers when he feels the level of service isn’t up to snuff. Asking visitors detailed questions about what they are planning in the country, then judging from their responses whether they should be searched or turned away seems rather sane when compared to say, pulling them out of line because of their name or complexion, or on a list of people disliked by the government.

      The guy crossing into the US was simply being a dick, and this may be the only time in my lifetime of living near an international border, having crossed said border on numerous occasions, and having heard story after story of abusive, obnoxious border security, where I actually side with the security….

      • Don’t be a dick head! If this is real, and I wouldn’t put it past them, the border control guys are obviously flexing their authority and going way over the top. America, land of the so called free. What bullshit. The states bullies citizens and even other countries and all under the ‘we’re protecting our way of life’ pretense. That was not reasonable, and why is it assault to pull away from somone trying to detain you because you don’t know what shop you’re going to. Is that really how a terrorist would act. Drawing all that attention to himself. They just didn’t like his tone and thought, we’ll teach this guy a lesson. That’s abuse of authority. He should’ve smacked the arrogant prick then it’s worth being chucked in the slammer for. Wankers!

        • I’m sorry, but questioning people from other countries when they cross your border is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. The “how dare you ask me where I’m going response” to a border guard, as you are entering his country, is top-notch dickery.

  3. . This is such a regular episode at border crossings into the US that I have no idea why this would be surprising at all. The claim of unlimited authority and the figures of obstructing justice, resisting arrest, disrorderly conduct and reasonable acts by the security force are the four most dangerous statutes that the law has. If you add to this the fact that, as the brute in the recording points out, border positions are no-man-lands, this means that at these stages and passage points you are at the complete mercy of these brutes. The culprit? The state which in its dereliction of supervisory duties has let these beasts cross the Rubicon.

  4. Unbelievable. Sue them. This is what happens when you let arseholes work in positions of security in a land where the cop is king.

  5. Makes one want to move to Canada. On the other hand, I’ve crossed the border many times but never recorded it. Was there another agenda here?

  6. Is that recording genuine? What happened next? Why didn’t they just say they’d changed their minds and go home before it got out of hand? What sort of shopping can there be to make it worth treatment like that?

    • Just saying I want to go home won’t help. You’re being detained and interrogated. You can’t just ‘leave’.

  7. This is apparently from April 2010 and took place at the Lewiston crossing. However I can’t find any followup on what happened.

    Were the couple actually arrested and/or charged with a crime? Convicted? Were the border guards disciplined? It seems to me the guards were on a power trip and they’re wasting time exercising their authority and not spending time sussing out problems.

  8. I’m no fan of unnecessary authority – but that second cop is nothing but courteous while the Canadian guy acts like a complete asshat from the outset. Even the first cop was being pretty reasonable.

    I’m guessing he went out to record a confrontation?

  9. just goes to show how stupid the americans are i hate you all hearing them talk insults my ears

  10. As an undergrad at Michigan I used to go to Canada, one of my buddies was from Toronto. The US Border Patrol is laughable. We would always get detained and searched for drugs and fake ideas. They’d yell at us, scream in our face “WHERE ARE THE DRUGS?!” Funny thing is after all of this, the USBP didn’t realize, one time, that my friends US Passport was 6 months expired…amazing.

  11. I live outside the damned “national security state,” and I don’t ever want to live in it again, because I’m quite certain that this situation is going to get worse and worse.

  12. These so called officers are BULLIES. I cannot believe some of the stupid questions that have been asked, and how unreasonable they are. They must be really stupid, with no common sense whatsoever. I would be ashamed if I were American, the way they treated this man and his wife.

    • I can see how you could come away with that impression, but the selection of questions makes a lot more sense if you know something about the guards’ purpose and tactics. The “stupid” questions, like “which stores?” are not being asked because the police are interested in that information, but because they want to see if the subject is lying – if he contradicts his story when he’s asked the same question a second time, or if he can’t come up with an answer to an obvious question, or if he reacts in a suspicious way.

  13. If this guy travels to the US all the time he should know better. Immigration officials the world over have totally lost their sense of humour, and questions, no matter how bizarre, should be met with a straight answer. Canada’s arent much better, the UK’s almost worse, and as for Iceland. Sheeeeeeeet. Deal with it.

    • He did answer the question, though. That’s the whole thing — he answered the fucking question. He was incredulous but he answered it just fine. You reflexive pro-authority guys never even seem to actually listen to the damn tapes and watch the damn videos.

  14. Customs officers are neither happy nor friendly people.

    To be fair, it’s not much better crossing into Canada these days.

    • Yes, you are correct. — I was crossing at Buffalo into Ontario a couple of years ago and the questions were as follows: 1) do you have any guns in the car, answer: no. 2) Do you have any guns at home? !! — answer: none of your business. So, the Canadians can be just as bad, the questions just as stupid, and the agents just as arrogant. The prerequisite job qualifications (either side of the border) must be: must be an a$$hole.

  15. Funny how the guy thinks it’s wrong for the officer to tell him to sit down without giving a reason and then he himself thinks it’s ok to tell his wife to sit down without a reason. They’re all maintaining idiotic power structures, just different ones.

  16. this is incredible

    last time I went through the airport and had to go through the full body scan, I said to someone else in line that this exercise was to get the US ready for a police state

    to see and hear about the destruction of the rule of law, check out the college tour on civil liberties. It is supposed to be simulcast in real time. Watch out for the time zones. Glenn Greenwald, and it sounds to me that the conservative on the panel Bruce Fein gives an even more powerful statement.

    link to fff.org

  17. Years ago I witnessed about four LA police beat the tar out of someone in a holding cell for not sitting up immediately when they told him to do it. I learned then that the police can do whatever they want to whoever they want any time they want and there’s nothing you can do about it.

  18. Wow outrageous facist behaviour, love where he says we have it on audio how you threatened… and you did threaten… I don’t recall hearing any threats only a question: “what you gonna do… shoot me?” most likely a response to the threatening behaviour of the policemen involved. Power mad petty police… is ever the case eh?

    • I’m trying to imagine any situation with any armed agent of any government where saying “what you gonna do…shoot me?” is a good idea. If you feel threatened, it’s even more of an epic fail.

  19. Dmitri Orlov has a nice perspective of US that we do not have a culture, only a society, and if the money (oil) runs out we would sink lower and faster than the USSR.

    Can you imagine a possible use for all the homeland Security apparatus?

  20. I don’t think anyone comes away looking very good in this situation. When you cross borders (not just US) you will run across officers who are being jerks and the ONLY way to deal with it is to calmly answer their stupid questions until they send you on your way. The Canadian guy was a complete idiot to behave the way he did. That doesn’t mean we’re not becoming a police state — it’s just that acting like a smartass to an agent of a police state is never going to end well.

  21. Wow. No words can describe my shock. It’s worse than being stopped/questioned/searched at the Syrian/Jordanian border at a time when everything in that region was FINE.

    • Wow! I used to cross that border (Dera’a) most weekends the years I lived in Jordan and never had any problems with the guards on either side. That was in the late 70s and early 80s and for a year or so their relations were very dodgy but I never had any trouble.

  22. You’re rather brave to have stood up to them for as long as you did, however the hassle caused there for you and your wife was self inflicted. If the first interviewer was rotten, the rest were going to be too. To expect a rational debate and for people drunk on power to back down at a customs office is absurd. However, kudos to you for recording it and probably getting a twat fired :).

    • Probably nothing will happen to the Border guys but the Canadian guy and his wife will get the same treatment or worse every single time they cross ANY national border for the rest of their lives.

  23. My husband and I have noticed the increasing fascist nature of the US border security personnel over the years. It’s quite creepy. Try crossing in a bus; it’s even worse.

    • That’s interesting because I used to live in Texas and went several times to Mexico. I had no trouble at all except with a stinking Mexican official who kept asking the OWNERS of cars to line up in front of him and kept shoving me out of the line and shrieking even louder, “The OWNER of the car!” I finally shouted back, “I AM the owner of the sodding car!” He assumed that women didn’t drive or own cars and that my male companion and co-driver had to be the owner.

  24. This is a preposterous example of a stereotype of law enforcement officers who are not fit for their job. The Canadian citizen’s question that triggered this whole fiasco was “Does it matter?” in response to the absurd question of what specific shops he was going to in a shopping mall. The cops reaction to “Does it matter?” was to respond like a child — in this case a child imprudently authorized to harass people by virtue of his job — and that’s what this insecure little worm of a cop did…harass people who had the unspeakable gall to ask why the answer to a genuinely stupid question mattered. The later assertion that simply pulling away from a cop’s grasp constitutes an assault is baloney as a matter of law. Period. This is a perfect example of why many people disrespect all law enforcement people as pigs….because these cops behaved like pigs….overempowered goons not protecting America….but rather requiring that law abiding people kiss their butt as the price of exercising everyday liberties. For the record, I think the cop who claimed to catch three terrorists a day, every day, is a liar.

  25. I made the mistake of watching the clip before my morning coffee and now feel nauseated and despondent. Thank you Juan for sharing. Now, back to packing my bags.

  26. Typical dumb@$$ jerks arrogant Americans.

    Americans are winning Canadian contracts. One contract was, the tear down of the old smelter in Kitimat Port. They brought their own workers with them. The few Canadians that did get jobs, were treated like dirt by the Americans. They weren’t even given safety gear. They had to breathe in Aluminum dust. They were not given respirators, as the American workers were. They are also building the new smelter. The citizens in that tow, will be more than happy for them to get out and leave. There is booze permitted in their camp, totally against Canadian laws.

    What stores am I shopping in to-day? I have no idea, perhaps one store will catch my eye. Perhaps it won’t.

    We even have the gaddamned American police intruding, operating and living in our country.

    We had Front Porch Strategies, two Americans Wenzel and Parker participated directly in 14 Conservative campaigns. Robo-calls came out of the U.S. too.

    Like it’s our fault the terrorists hate the Americans? Very few country’s like the Americans. We were always told to wear, a Canadian maple leaf pin. So country’s wouldn’t think we were Americans.

  27. It is an international border. The border officials are being high and mighty, but entry into a foreign country is not a right. Getting persnickety about questions at a border crossing is a stupid idea. And it’s a really stupid idea to try to push the buttons of border officials.

  28. Two Canadian friends of mine were stopped and interrogated at the Port Huron border crossing about 3 years ago. They kept insisting that the two a man and a woman in their 70’s who were travelling to their home in Texas for the winter had a firearm. They proceeded to go through the car and all their luggage including quite a few jewellry cases belonging to the woman. They asked her why she had so much jewellry. The woman in this case was a jeweller and wears a lot of jewellry, so of course was taking it with her to her winter residence. They were so intimidating that they cause the woman to break down totally. This is total harassment and power tripping on the part of Department of Home Land Security officers and is totally reprehensible considering that a large number of Canadians spend the winters in the U.S. and contribute quite a bit of money to the U.S. economy by doing so. It is also causing extremely bad relations between the U.S. and Canada. The Americans are correct when they say that there are quite a few terrorists crossing the border, but they are not going shopping at the mall or 70 somethings going to their winter home in Texas. I wrote a letter to the Director of Homeland Security requesting an apology to the two persons for the extremely poor manner in which they were treated at the border.

  29. Same thing happened to me trying to come back in from a day trip over the Maine border. I’m a US citizen, veteran, and they grilled me and made me sit in an empty waiting room for two hours. Luckily I wasn’t in a hurry or had a plane to catch, because I would have missed it. They even tried to call my Mother, wanted to know where I’d lived for the last 30 years, who my employer was. They went through everything I had (just a backpack with stuff for my day trip), looked at all the pictures on my camera, and were extremely rude. They even tried to trick me into offering them a bribe. Not kidding! I didn’t fall for it.

  30. This is actually kind of an old tape. I heard it at least a year ago.

    As much as I dislike the border patrol, and as much as any citizen can be justifiably afraid of them, this Canadian guy is acting like a total asshole. He’s antagonizing people who have complete and utter power over him and his wife — and he’s getting her into trouble, too. If I were her, I’d be pissed as sh*t at him. She probably got strip-searched in addition to him.

    You have no rights at the border. None. No matter what citizen you are of what country. That’s true in Canada as well as the U.S. This guy needlessly antagonized them. And for what? What was the point?

    • I have lived and traveled on 4 continents and I can tell you I NEVER came across anything but politeness and respect. And that included crossing the US Mexican border in the mid-70s: in that case one Mexican guy dealing with cars was a bit stroppy (and sexist) but the US guys were great. I guess things have changed in this country; they’re all Rambo now.

      • “Sexist” Oh wow, you mean he didn’t conform to your ideal of the standard emasculated male that pretends that there is no difference between men and women.
        You poor thing. The horror!

    • You are entirely correct. The Can. guy was acting like a smartass & I think he was wanting a reaction or why else would he be recording the whole episode.

  31. Sadly, I will tell you that this “respect mah authoritay” attitude is far too prevalent amongst certain members of the Border Patrol/ICE workforce. I can verify this as I once worked for the old INS; we used to call these guys “cowboys. Not professional and definitely not warranted, but what the heck; we can afford to insult our neighbors, can’t we?

  32. The last time I crossed the border (admittedly this was several years ago), the Canadian border patrol was notably ruder (or at least more no-nonsense) than the American one. I wonder if perhaps one’s relative citizenship also plays a role. Regardless, I’d say world security in general is getting increasingly stressful and unpleasant. [insert standard quote about liberty vs. security here.]

  33. Reading these comments I really wonder how much experience people have crossing borders. Border agents acting difficult is not a US-only thing and is not a post-9/11 invention. Someone behaving the way the Canadian guy does is going to run into trouble in LOTS of places, not just at the US-Canada border.

    • Well, it’s going to happen in LOTS of places which are police states. But not in civil democracies. And this is said with a lifetime of experience crossing borders, including a period when I crossed the U.S./Canada border six times every week.

  34. OMG, I can’t believe anyone would be taken in by this Canadian guy. Only Alec Baldwin would be stupid enough to argue like this with border guards – who, incidentally, kept giving him a chance to shut up. Believe me, if our Canadian border-crosser was black, driving a beat up car or looked ‘foreign’, he wouldn’t be quite so cavalier. He sounds like an entitled rich kid playing at exposing ‘police abuse’ secure in thinking – no matter how much he provokes – Daddy’s lawyers will get him out of jail. People in real police states or who have been picked up and taken to local police stations for questioning, don’t have such luxury and self-satisfied arrogance.

  35. Some people don’t seem to understand how to deal with the police or other figures of authority. You are not allowed to ask them or question them about anything. They should teach a course about this in school: how to deal with a police officers and other authority figures.

    Some officers might tolerate it, but others will arrest you and the law gives them more then enough latitude to do that. They might then also try to accuse you of crimes.

    Did he threaten the officer? Well he seemed to have said, “I can shake my head at you too, what are you going to do, shoot me?” So what was the threat, to shake your head at someone and ask them if they are going to shoot you over it? And then accusing his wife of assault because she resisted arrest. More psychological trauma because someone is acting like an ass hole and not capitulating.

    So is it a police state, yes, as soon as you put these authority figures and told them to interrogate everyone as if they had done something wrong — because that’s when the police is to be called, when you have done something wrong — it became a police state. For it to no longer be a police state, their orders have to change and the person who has to change them is running for election right now.

    Seeing as he thinks that we live in the brave new police world and security is very important, I don’t see that happening. So accept this as a way of life, and don’t come South if you’re not okay with putting up with authority and arbitrary questions and accusations being thrown at you because you decided to visit a shopping mall.

    I have to say, now you know how black people feel. They have been subjected to this sort of treatment where they feel they have done nothing wrong and have a bit of an ego and think they live in a free country only to discover that no, in this situation you live in a police state and you do as they tell you to do without attitude or question or you, sir, are a criminal.

    So in total he does not respond well to authority and he’s been made into a criminal over it and a number of charges are baselessness pinned on him and his wife, and his wife is tormented because they wanted to go visit a shopping mall.

    So ask yourself, do you live in a police state? If you have to routinely cross between the US and Canada, yes you live in a police state. If you have to routinely go through the airport you live in a police state. If you live near the Mexican border you live in a police state. If your opinions are significantly off the mainstream views, then yes you probably live in a police state.

    Who doesn’t live in a police state? The bewildered masses that chant at political rallies about freedom while many people’s is routinely denied to them in the name of security and being tough on crime. Despite the fact their only crime may be questioning authority and not responding to their demands in a polite tone without question… no matter how ridiculous and unnecessary their questions may be. No matter how uncalled for their presence and assumption of crime at the venue where they have been allocated and the general good name of the people they are dealing with.

  36. When dealing with customs in any country, keep your hands visible, answer yes or no only unless called to respond in more detail. Do so with the minimum amount of words.

    Things get freaky on the edges. National borders are just another edge. Go thru customs often enough and you get used to it. They all do it.

  37. Let me start by saying “long time reader, first time commenting”….
    I live this on a daily basis. I live in Mexicali, Mexico and cross over to work everyday. Let me tell you one thing, once you’re at the mercy of customs and border protection you have no rights!! Not even an american citizen, which I am. They trample on your rights and your dignity. I’ve seen these animals, which is insulting to animals, treat old ladies like they were cartel members. I’ve seen all kinds of things that make me downright ashamed to call myself american. We’re no different from dictatorships around the world. Just because we get to vote doesn’t mean we’re a democracy. Guess what, Venezuela gets to vote too and you still have Chavez in power. What I’m trying to say is that it’s only going to get worst as the years go by. There’s nothing we can do. On a lighter note, it’s almost Christmas!!

  38. If I was a border agent supervisor listening to this recording I would be deeply disappointed at the way the agents let this guy pretty much manage them all the way into putting him in a holding cell. Instead of behaving professionally they responded each time with an increase in force until their only option was to arrest him. Incredibly unintelligent and embarrassing.

  39. I traveled through most of Europe and North America, and worst experience I ever had was returning to the U.S. from Canada.
    It’s much worse even though for people from the Middle East. Some of these were sent to Syria for further interrogation.

    link to independent.co.uk

  40. Reminds me of the grilling and dressing down the last time I went to Canada. Of course I worked with the Canadian Border officials and treated them with respect. The reason for the grilling and dressing down, I was traveling to a customer site to work on software provided by my company to them and the Canadian Government does not like that.

    It is not any one governments problem, it is a problem with people. Given them authority over another and they will abuse it, unless they feel constrained by a higher authority.

  41. Really, this is just an illustration of a problem with constitutional democracy; it may propose “natural’ rights, and partly guarantee them within its borders, but outside of the borders is another problem. This is difficult, because the U.S. Constitution is full of wonderful phrases about the rights of man – but the point is that those rights are not really applicable except within the state and that’s not where this took place.

    In that sense the idea that you have rights by birth – and not by virtue of submission to the State – is the mistake this Canadian made. The state seeks a monopoly on violence (one of the reasons that the second amendment is not a real right), and crossing a border and being treated in this way is a symbolic act of submission to the State’s monopoly. If you refuse to accept this reality, even just a little, it results in the kind of demonstration of the contingency of your rights seen here.

  42. I have travelled extensively, both abroad and within the States, and have never encountered an issue with Border personnel, but then again I’ve never acted like this idiot did either.

    First of all I would like to know why the guy was recording the conversation to begin with. For what purpose – I would suspect he was on some perverted mission to expose the “abuse of authority” exercised by the US Border Guards.

    When asked the usual questions that Border Guards ask, the guy started getting verbally abusive with the Guard. For example, when he was asked where he was going and he said the fashion outlet mall, the Guard then simply asked him what store (not an unusual question, in that they can determine if you’ve been to that place before and/or you have a definite destination based upon your answer) now this is where the gentlemen began to get abusive and not respond in a typical manner, drawing unnecessary attention to himself. Instead of responding with something like; “we don’t really have particular store in mind at this time…” in my opinion he baited the Border Guard, with his response by raising his voice and stating WE DON’T KNOW, WHY DOES IT MATTER or words to that effect. And he snowballed it from there by further raising asking, no demanding, answers to rather ridiculous questions given the environment he was in.

    So I have absolutely no sympathy for this loser he got exactly what he went looking for. Why else did he have the recorder rolling from the onset?

    Hopefully, he spent a night or two in cells and handed a hefty fine for being such an a$$hole.

  43. The Canadian was ordered from the car, following his laughing at the agent’s question regarding store destination. It’s sad that one of the guards advised not to ask questions and says alot about our own civic education.

    Once I was with a group of friends in Amman, Jordan, a mix of Americans, Brits, and Germans, and we were stopped by a plain-clothed Jordanian policeman who stated he was a policeman. One of my friends requested to see his id, and another friend nervously countered we shouldn’t question the police. Interestingly, the policeman smiled wryly and said, no, one should always ask for id if stopped by police — it was a right and don’t take anything for granted.

    The attitudes are stark and ironic, because you would think an officer trained in the US, not a kingdom, would hold such views, and it was a civic lesson

  44. Does know one see that since the border crossing guards had brand new hammers, they needed a steady diet of nails to play with?

  45. the boarder guard said it pretty clearly; they were in an “international” facility. this allows governments to abdicate their “national” responsibility. guantanamo bay is a similar mechanism. “offshore” immigration processing facilities are the same. they introduce these laws using fear and say “it’ll only be used on illegal immigrants and terrorists”. then they slowly creep it into the mainstream (aka arizona).
    the price of freedom truly is vigilance.

  46. If you click through this video to the original YouTube link, you see that the guy who posted it promotes the John Birch Society. What’s up with that?

  47. I’m Canadian. That Canadian definetly exhibited attitude- more than just poor judgement . The second guard started out talking to him fairly reasonably IMO. The Cdn seemed to be out to prove something , taping the episode proves it to me. I’m wondering how he got to keep the recording device and the recording itself?
    Given that the whole 9-11 thing pretty much was blamed -least partially – on lax border inspections, is it any wonder it’s come to this?
    I think that guards–and other authority figures- being assholes is clearly part of the self preservation needed to do the job to the degree deemed necessary.

  48. I got to be honest, if I were a border agent, I would have locked them up as well. The guy _did_ become belligerent after being asked legitimate questions about his intentions which usually means he’s lying about where he and his “wife” were going. He and his wife could very well be drug mules for all anyone knows.

  49. I heard on the radio this morning that the centre of the contemporary art market is tending to move from New York to London because collectors going to sales are fed up with US border security (the long waits, no doubt).

    • What struck me wasn’t so much the civil liberties issue as much as the impact on the US economy of these belligerent border guards. Their attitude screams keep your maple leaf dollars at home, we don’t want them in this country. Canadian tourists provide much of Florida’s income- given this treatment they may decide to fly to Jamaica instead. Perhaps security theater has some downsides.

      Yes the guy was a jerk- but I’ve seen Boston police handle far more ornery fellows in a fashion that compelled obedience without ruffling feathers.

  50. “To be the victim of the unlimited power of offended mediocrity is an affront not to be borne by any man.”
    One of my favorite quotes ever, by A.R Crewe, a writer/academic.

    As someone who’s represented asylum seekers in the UK and has had numerous interactions with uniformed officialdom, I know that a) authority figures are all hard-wired in the same way, nationality is irrelevant and b) you just have to force yourself to stay calm, something that is much easier said than done. But there is no choice, challenging them can only ever end badly. Expecting them to communicate rationally and on a level playing field is simply never going to happen.

  51. Hi guys,

    To be honest, I don’t think this taping is authentic.

    It’s sound quality is far too good.

    Everyone seems to have quite a decently positioned microphone taping what they say- bar the wife.

    I’m not saying that these things do not happen. In fact, I am sure they do.

    However, it just seems a little staged to me.

    Also, his wife did not sound like any woman I’ve ever known. She sounded like Miss Piggy from the Muppets. It sounded like a group of guys getting together and recording this in their own time. And of course, a guy did the vocals of the ‘wife’/ Miss Piggy.

    Again, I’m sure things like this happen all the time and we should know about them and the officers involved should be apprehended. And it’s great to have people talking about it and expressing their own experiences.

    But I don’t think this taping is real and I also agree with Olaf. It was interesting to hear how the main guy did not like being told to sit without being given a reason and then ironically did the exact same thing to his wife.

    He obviously has more or less, the exact same belief system as the officers, but in HIS world, HE is the authority and his WIFE is the – or should be, to his mind – the submissive public.

    • Now that you mention it, how does a guy who gets arrested by border security and put in a cell not have the recording equipment taken away from him?

  52. Truly, the people who are defending the behaviour of these “security guards” are really creepy–fit to be denizens themselves of the “maximum security” police state.

    Look, as an international school teacher living in Asia, I cross borders all the time, and go constantly through immigration checks, and I have NEVER been dealt with like this any time–not in Europe, not in Asia, not in North America. And nor would I ALLOW myself to be hassled in this way. Would I allow myself to be arrested by this kind of goon, in order to make the point to my consulate authorities that they ought to put out “warnings” to fellow citizens of my country that they ought to have second thoughts about going to such places? You betcha’ I would! My answer to the thug who claimed I had “assaulted” an officer when I had merely cringed, when he asked me if it were worthwhile to get arrested over it would have been, “To make the point that you are a fascist, it most certainly is: I count upon my consular services to represent me, against you.”

    Once, in Sri Lanka, in the middle of the LTTE Tamil-Sinhala civil war, I was taking a group of friends who were unfamiliar with that country to a place fairly well in the north of the country, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which was almost in the war zone. We were stopped at a checkpoint by an officer of the Sri Lankan Army. He made extremely amicable chit-chat with us, asking us about how we found his country, the convenience of our travel arrangements, the suitability to our palates of the Lankan diet, etc.–all in the most courteous, even warm-spirited fashion. As we were driving away, I asked my guests if they realized that they had just been thoroughly interrogated, and they responded that they hadn’t had a clue! That was in the middle of a war-zone, in a war-torn country, and we had obviously been detained by an extremely intelligent representative of his country’s government, who honestly cared about the reputation of his country with foreign visitors.

    I’d like to assure you Americans that this Canadian visitor to your country has now joined the ranks of MILLION of the world’s citizens who profess open hostility to the United States and to the behaviour of arrogant Americans everywhere in the world–not just at immigration check-points. Unlike twelve years ago, when I first began my period of almost-permanent expatriation, scores of my students profess to have no desire ever to venture into the United States, for any purpose–educational or otherwise; to them, it’s not worth the hassle of being demeaned or “racially-profiled” or being treated like a prospective “terrorist.”

    • So you don’t find someone willing to go through the hassle of a border crossing just to wander around a mall in a noncommittal fashion somewhat suspicious?

  53. I find it ironic that the victim of the piece is a Canadian. The most trouble I have ever had crossing into a country, including one whose government is hostile to the USA, was crossing into Canada, I have been insulted, delayed, lied to, by these petty little pigs, more times than I care to count. I could tell stories, all of which are headed, “One American Is Once Again Reminded that Canada is a Police State.” It is not surprising since the docile sheep who populate that country seem to love being herded around.

  54. I am utterly astonished at how many posters here, Americans I assume, buy into the Fascist notion that if someone wearing a badge orders you to do something you must spring to attention, do it, and do it fawningly. If I weren’t too old I’d move back to Europe where you don’t get that attitude among citizens. Land of the free, my behind! You’ve all enslaved yourselves.

  55. If an American citizen had been treated like this any where in the world, there would be an outcry for military intervention – Send out the Marines and make a car park of the fr**king third world country (even if it is in Europe).

    I could be like this when passing the former West/East German border back in the time of the cold war.

    I have been travelling a lot around the globe and has, I am sad to say, found US immigration officers to be among the most impolite anywhere in the world.
    Also, I find US travellers being subjected to inquiry or search during travel being easily offended – like one boarding a plane from Seoul, South Korea, to New York.
    The last thing that happened before boarding was a random check of carry-on luggage.
    Mine was searched (for the third time, including check in), but only the Americans complained “I am an American citizen, you can’t treat mike like this when I am going back home…..it is outrageous!”,
    Face it – we do all get checked in the post 9/11 society – but it can be done without humiliating people – but it will probably still be some time before the Americans learn to behave civilized while performing there security checks at the borders.

  56. All this back and forth is great, but why aren’t there this many comments when the blog is about the middle east? The life-or-death seriousness of what’s going on in Syria or Palestine or Iran or Egypt really needs our attention more than a couple Canadian tourists having a bad day.

  57. There is a huge difference between how border guards are supposed to treat people, and how the police are supposed to treat people in the country.

    If these were police on the beat treating random people walking down the street this way, that would be a police state. Then again, if we were required to have an up-to-date passport ready for inspection when we walked down the street, that would be a police state, too, yet I doubt anyone thinks that checking passports at the border is indicative of a police state.

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