Monday, November 06, 2006

Truly Appalling

Every time I think those people in Washington can't top themselves, they pull it off. (I seem to be saying that a lot lately.) But this is truly shocking. From Edward Hasbrouck's travel blog The Practical Nomad:
The USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed that airlines, cruise lines, and operators of all other ships and planes -- including charter flights, air taxis, fishing vessels, etc. -- be required to get individual permission ("”clearance"”) from the DHS for each passenger on all flights or ocean voyages to, from, or via the USA. Unless the answer is "Yes"” -- if the answer is "no"” or "“maybe"”, or if the DHS doesn'’t answer at all -- the airline wouldn'’t be allowed to give you a boarding pass, or let you or your luggage on the plane.

In other words, prior restraint on foreign travel imposed on all free US citizens, whether or not they hold a passport. It's true this isn't likely to survive legal challenge, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held the right to travel to be a fundamental personal right. But that they should even want to do this is horrifying.

The most famous modern examples of such travel restrictions imposed on citizens were those of Nazi Germany and of the Soviet Union and its satellites. Indeed, those restrictions were the very symbol of the evil of those regimes, and everyone understood why. For what sane person who once got out would ever want to go back?

And Homeland Security wants to imitate those people?

Update: It gets worse. Google "Halliburton" and "detention" and you will find that Cheney's old company has been awarded an immediate contract to build "temporary detention centers" to be used in case of an "immigration emergency." Immigration emergency?? What the fuck is that??? Anything Bush declares it to be? Since he already has little problem with illegals wanting to get in -- as in a 700 mile fence to defend a 2000 mile border -- could it be he's worried about people wanting to get out??

This isn't just an Internet rumor. Halliburton has announced it on its website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just the language used shows how wrong it is.

"Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract"

I would never enter a contract so named. That's one huge blank check.

"We look forward to continuing the good work we have been doing to support our customer whenever and wherever we are needed."

That lack of an 's' on 'customer' is chilling.

On the other hand, though it's easy (and fun) to get paranoid, the need for "facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants" makes perfect sense. Do you not think that a nuclear war in southern Asia or the Mideast is likely enough we should prepare to render humanitarian assistance and relocation? I should think the lessons of Katrina would give the nod towards such a proposal.