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Why an already difficult journey to the USA has been made a lot worse

By Dark Politricks

As a Brit it is a common to have a love hate relationship with all things American and this complex relationship goes both ways. I have been to America twice before, both times to Boston and I found lots of things to like as well as some not so good however the same would be said for any country visited by anyone.

When I last travelled to the USA I had to fill out a little card on the plane that asked a number of questions such as:

  • Have you ever done drugs
  • Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense
  • Have you ever taken anti depressents
  • Are you mental

And so on an so on (I am obviously paraphrasing, and doing so badly. My memory is not what it is due to being a drug abusing criminal mentalist…)

Obviously being someone who has not spent a minute of my life under any kind of shelter I obviously had to lie to the numerous questions I would have answered yes to under most other circumstances.

My trip was being paid for by my work and it wouldn’t have looked good if they had forked out the few grand they had done on business class travel and 5 star hotels for me to be turned away by the first TSA brownshirt who came across my cross covered card. In no manner whatsoever am I danger to society but like most young men who had to fight their way through the UK’s state comprehensive school system I have a few blemishes on my record.

So lie I did and I got into the country and had a very nice time in my hotel room which was actually bigger than the flat I was living in at the time.

In fact the bed was so big I could have slept like a log whilst an orgy involving dozens of giant Amazonian women went on all around me and would have never noticed. My room / suite had more kitchen appliances than most UK homes and the three piece leather suite was never used because I had a wide screen TV in my bedroom that meant I never needed to get out of bed.

Yes you Americans know how to spunk money on hotel rooms, it’s just a shame that you ruin all your TV shows  by showing adverts every 5 minutes. Really when I watch the Daily Show online it’s barely 15 minutes of content which means the other 15 minutes is taken up by advertisments. And what, pray tell, is the point of having an ad break just to come back to the show so the host can say “that’s all folks” and let the credits roll?

My point is not that I managed to enjoy the amenities on offer but more that if I ever wanted to come back to the states I wouldn’t get as far as Heathrow airport.

The current VISA waiver system which the UK enjoys with the US has a number of get out of my country clauses which many people would fail meaning that if they wanted to travel to the United States they would first have to apply for a VISA from the US embassy and in many cases be denied entry.

From the website:

Travelers with arrests/conviction(s)

Under United States visa law people who have been arrested at anytime are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program(VWP); they are required to apply for visas before traveling. If the arrest resulted in a conviction, the individual may require a special restricted visa in order to travel. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to United States visa law. Therefore, even travelers with a spent conviction are not eligible to travel visa free; they must apply for B-1 or B-2 visas.  If they attempt to travel under the VWP, they may be refused entry into the United States.

Traffic offenses

Travelers with minor traffic offenses which did not result in an arrest and/or conviction for the offense may travel visa free, provided they are otherwise qualified. If you are not sure whether or not you are eligible to travel visa free, the only way to resolve this question is to apply for a visa.

Travelers who have been afflicted with a disease of public health significance, a mental disorder or drug addicts / abusers

Travelers to the United States who have been afflicted with a disease of public health significance, a mental disorder which is associated with a display of harmful behavior, or are a drug abuser or addict, are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. They are required to apply for B-1 or B-2 visas.

Note:Travelers with mental illnesses can travel visa free under the VWP provided that their condition does not render them a danger to themselves or others. They may wish to carry letter from their doctor to that effect to facilitate their entry into the United States.

Now I reckon that those conditions would rule out most people I know and probably a large percentage of my fellow country men. I don’t know whether you would label yourself a mentalist, a drug addict or a criminal but if any of the following applies to you then it’s very likely you won’t ever get into the USA:

If you have been arrested for anything even if you are then de-arrested because the police made a cock up.

Unfortunately this applies to me as the first time I was ever arrested at the age of 14 it was because some copper thought that “I looked suspicious” and someone had been riding around our estate on a stolen moped.

After being threatened with a kicking in the woods from 3 middle aged cops a call came over the radio to say they had caught the moped rider so I was let go without even an apology. That event on its own is enough to prevent me from just hopping on a plane to the states without pre-approval.

Ever been nicked for smoking a spliff? Half the people I know have. Even though weed is being given to people all over the states on prescription being ticked off, cautioned or convicted for getting stoned over here is enough to prevent you getting into the USA.

Traffic offenses, don’t even get me started on those. I don’t know if points on a license are considered “convictions” under the US guidelines but being banned for whatever reason definitely is whether it was for exceeding the 12 point allowance, drink or drug driving or any other bullshit our government likes to use an excuse to fill their empty coffers by milking motorists.

As for being mental well that is always going to be a subjective decision made by someone who probably knows fuck all apart from the fact that you have been prescribed some kind of drug that a percentage of users have had issues with.

Half the women over 50 in this country are on repeat prescriptions because they are now addicted to valium or other Benzos and our GP’s throw SSRI’s around like penny sweets.

Being on anti-depressants, anti-psychotics or even certain sleepers could be considered cause for alarm. I mean if you’re on Prozac the likelihood is that at some point during your depression you have thought about topping yourself or maybe taking out a few enemies as you go down. I know I did when my GP earnt his commission from Big Pharma by throwing pills at me during my teens.

Obviously I am taking the piss but it shows you the conditions America already imposes on travellers, business men and tourists and that is before we have even mentioned the dangerous and privacy invading porno scanners or junk groping that the TSA now inflicts on it’s victims.

As far as I am aware these invasive measures have stopped not one single terrorist or potential threat to the airways but what they have stopped is thousands of potential travellers visiting their country.

Being strip searched by the police is not a fun experience under any circumstance but at least you know that your being searched for a reason having been arrested for a crime which suggests that contraband maybe hidden on your person. Having a virtual strip search at an airport is really no different apart from the following facts:

  • You have not been arrested or even suspected of having committed any crime. There is no probable cause.
  • The act of being X-Rayed has been shown by a recent study to be potentially dangerous especially to the percentage of poeple who are more susceptible to problems caused by radiation, frequent fliers or those who have already suffered cancer.
  • The naked image of you, your wife or your child is going to be seen by some of the most socially inept, power crazy, perverted people on the planet. Just doing my job is no excuse for anything whether it be a policeman or TSA agent. People choose the jobs they do, no-one forces them to apply for positions that give them abusive powers over other human beings.
  • Whatever the powers that be say the images can be and are stored on computers and printed out for others to see. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole point of the scanners was to build up a huge worldwide database of every-one’s body, just like the finger print or DNA database. This could then be used with the new generation of CCTV camera’s and portable scanners being introduced everywhere to identify those the state considers undesirable or god forbid a terrorist.

I don’t know the figures but it would definitely be interesting to see the effect these new measures have had on tourism to the USA.

The recent outrage over the TSA and their groping has been a beautiful sight to behold and it’s one of the things that I admire about the USA in that when the public actually manage to get really worked up over something they can affect some change.

However the difference between the USA and the UK is that you have a written constitution to back you up when you demand that the government obey those God given rules that prohibit unreasonable search and seizure.

Whilst the constitution is based on our own common law we don’t have anything to fall back upon apart from the EU’s Human Rights Act.

Article 8 most definitely protects our right to privacy but then article 15 allows contracting states to derogate from certain rights guaranteed by the Convention in time of “war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation”. I am guessing that our government would use the never ending and totally phony and unwinnable war on terror as an excuse to override our rights to privacy.

Now I never thought I would ever say this but what we we really need is some American TV. Obviously without all the adverts and the right wing nutjobs who think that the government has every right to give potential tourists free prostate exams if it helps catch the dead Bin Laden. However here in the UK we don’t have the “opinion makers” and talk shows that fill the airwaves in the US.

The BBC news channel is nothing more than a government mouthpiece and the same can be said for Sky News which just delivers the news without much debate. There are no Glenn Becks, Jon Stewarts, Keith Olbermanns or Bill O’Reilly’s to deliver their slant on the news of the day and help motivate the masses (rightly or wrongly) behind a particular meme or topic du jour.

What we really need is our own Judge Napolitano to defend our basic freedoms and hold others to account when those freedoms are rough ridden over by the state.

I have to give him his dues, no matter what the topic, if it’s unconstitutional it’s wrong. We need our own TV champion of civil rights, privacy and the rule of common law and we need them to have a prime time TV show so that the uneducated can become informed about the shit we are force fed every single day in the name of “protecting our freedoms”.

Yes child, we must take away your freedoms so that they can be protected. This is how silly the governments logic has become.

What is the point of fighting a war on terror to protect our way of life that the terrorists supposedly despise if we are just going to throw away said freedoms at the drop of a pin.

So many rights and freedoms have been lost whilst we chase shadows from cave to cave that we have almost done the terrorists job for them. Bin Laden’s ghost must be chuckling himself to sleep every night as he watches western government after government turn more into the despotic authoritarian Islamic countries we are supposedly shit scared of.

For too long we as a people have bent over and let the government have it’s way with us. Until we manage to join together and say enough is enough they will continue to collectively sodomise us until we are all wearing man nappies. If that happens no-one is going to willingly choose to go through US customs.

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  1. Tweets that mention Why an already difficult journey to the USA has been made a lot worse | Dark Politricks -- linked to this post on November 21, 2010

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