June 09, 2004

Today's Lesson In Democracy...

I, Visa - Why is U.S. immigration terrorizing British reporters? By Dahlia Lithwick

If you can change the rules any time you like them, you've got all the power you want.

Case in point:

Last week a British reporter was detained by immigration officials ... she didn't know that a decades-old unenforced rule was suddenly being enforced ... There has been a rule on the books since 1952 requiring foreign journalists to obtain special "I visas," but foreign journalists say it was invariably ignored by [INS] officials who required only that citizens of friendly countries apply for a visa waiver...

What's wrong with requiring foreign journalists to have a special press visa, you ask? Why shouldn't they have to show that they are here for good and benign reasons? Well, for one thing, we don't require most tourists from these friendly nations to obtain visas.

OK, now let's examine this really, really carefully. First, if I'm trying to stop bad people from entering the country, and I stop only journalists, the bad people are going to..? That's right, not call themselves journalists. So then the bad guys call themselves tourists, and get in for free, while real journalists get harrassed.

So what's the point of this? Only one thing: to harrass real journalists. And that, my dear friends, is how to control a population: make sure that no one knows the rules, and no one knows what's happening.

Posted by Ted Stevko at June 9, 2004 05:16 AM | TrackBack