Yesterday the U.S. Federal government arrested a British Internet gambling executive as he changed planes in Texas on his way to Costa Rica. I don’t know how the Dallas airport is laid out, but he may not even have tried to clear customs.
I can’t help but wonder how the U.S. government even knew he’d be on the plane. Might it have something to do with the U.S.’s insistence that any plane landing in the U.S. provide complete details on all passengers to the U.S. government? We were told this was necessary to prevent terrorists from entering U.S. soil. Why am I not surprised to find it instead being used to prosecute victimless crimes and enforce the Bush administration’s questionable morals? Perhaps the EU shouldn’t have been so fast to cave in to U.S. demands that violated their own laws.
Meanwhile, in a practical sense, to all my friends outside the U.S., I have to warn you to stay away. In particular, do not change planes in the United States, even if your eventual destination is elsewhere. This is not an isolated incident. The U.S. government is routinely pulling international travelers off of planes that land here and maltreating them.