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Pakastani Politician Detained By US Customs Over Opposition To Drone Strikes 560

Posted by samzenpus
from the think-differently dept.
First time accepted submitter Serious Callers Only writes "According to reports, Imran Khan was detained yesterday by US officials for questioning on his views on United States drone strikes in Pakistan. Glenn Greenwald writing for the guardian: 'On Saturday, Khan boarded a flight from Canada to New York in order to appear at a fundraising lunch and other events. But before the flight could take off, U.S. immigration officials removed him from the plane and detained him for two hours, causing him to miss the flight. On Twitter, Khan reported that he was "interrogated on [his] views on drones" and then added: "My stance is known. Drone attacks must stop." He then defiantly noted: "Missed flight and sad to miss the Fundraising lunch in NY but nothing will change my stance."'"
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Pakastani Politician Detained By US Customs Over Opposition To Drone Strikes

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  • by DogKia (2761911) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:40PM (#41797535)

    On Saturday, Khan boarded a flight from Canada to New York
    before the flight could take off, US immigration officials removed him from the plane and detained him for two hours, causing him to miss the flight.

    What the hell were US immigration officials doing in Canada, if I may ask?

  • Diplomatic Issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone (558574) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:56PM (#41797671)

    I suspect that the DHS has no idea how this will play in Pakistan. It would not surprise me much if people from the State Department are going to have a little talk with the DHS about this early next week (assuming Sandy doesn't get in the way).

    For an analogy, imagine Ron Paul was detained a few hours in Lahore over his views on cutting Defense spending...

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:57PM (#41797681)

    Highways, with the exception of the interstates is mostly up to the individual states and drinking water is mostly local government. As for air travel, well it's pretty screwed since 9/11 but at least the hijackings have stopped although I think that is maybe as much due to lack of passenger tolerance of it as anything else. The military, blowing people and things up, is what the Feds are actually very good at.

  • Re:Beyond pale (Score:2, Interesting)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:10PM (#41797821)

    I'd say he's free to speak but not necessarily free to come to the US to do it. People disagree with the government here all the time but generally they are citizens with at least that much standing. I see people all the time that harangue against the US government and it's policies with no repercussions. I think if many people who sneer at the free speech of the US were to travel to Iran and start talking about how Mohammed liked to butt fuck little boys they'd find out just what intolerance is. Try to keep a little perspective.

  • Recording? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:33PM (#41798019) Journal
    I hope that this was recorded. If this is true, then things really need to change in INS.
  • Re:Thugs. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn AT earthlink DOT net> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @03:08PM (#41798267)

    What do you suggest be done about it? I haven't thought of anything effective that wouldn't make things worse.

  • Re:Beyond pale (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hey! (33014) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @03:21PM (#41798365) Homepage Journal

    I think "freedom of speech" is misnamed. Freedom of speech is meaningless unless it is accompanied by a corresponding "freedom to hear". Both freedom to speak and freedom to hear unpopular speech are necessary for a citizenry to be well-informed and to engage in intelligent debate on maters of public policy.

    The government deprives US citizens of the right to hear independent viewpoints when it harasses foreign visitors for disagreeing with US policies.

  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @04:31PM (#41798847)

    Not attempting to twist things, but I felt that particular article was somewhat sensationalist and simplistic. I don't agree with everything he says, and feel he should be stronger in condemning the Taliban, but do agree with his opposition to drone strikes, and his insistence that a *military* solution is simply not going to work, and is in fact counterproductive. His hesitancy in condemning the Taliban outright is explained by him saying that it would be somewhat cowardly for him to do this (though profitable politically), and then leave the badlands for Islamabad and let his agency workers be killed by the Taliban for his words. That doesn't convince me personally, but it is not supportive of the Taliban in the Swat area, it's hinting that they're murderous thugs.

    I suspect personally that the Taliban timed the hit on Malala (a cruel attack on an admirable girl, which khan condemned) in order to try to undermine moderates like him and polarise the debate - the Taliban (if we can talk about them as one group) would much rather deal with a military which is funded by the Americans and condones drone strikes (which work for them when they kill civilians) than deal with civilian politicians who attempt to negotiate with tribal leaders, end violence, and ultimately isolate the remaining Taliban as a criminal element (which is what his proposals seem to amount to). His position on it is quite nuanced and he is no radical Taliban supporter:

    http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/eye-for-an-eye-will-not-solve-anything-1.1094629 [gulfnews.com]

    Here is an example:

    Unless we address these very different groups [of terrorists] and understand their motivation, senseless military operations will push all of them together, create yet more collateral damage and increase terrorism in Pakistan. We will be looking at a never-ending war. So what is the solution?

    Regardless of what his opinions are on the military situation in Pakistan, I don't think it's appropriate for border guards to harass prominent foreign politicians at the US border, particularly not those who are relatively moderate, *even if they disagree with US foreign policy*.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @04:37PM (#41798875)
    "That's not completely true. If the citizen's views veer sharply in one direction or another, the parties will move to compensate."

    sometimes.

    " It's happened before; we used to have a Whig party, and it disappeared"
    a very long time ago, in the midst of the war of 1812, the more radical half called for cession from the union. the not so radical half denounced them.

    After the war ended, with more favorable terms for the US that anticipated, they were more or less discredited as a whole, with mass defections to the democratic-republicans who more or less accepted the defectors, mostly the moderates, while quietly blocking remaining whigs from all aspects of political life.

    The democratic republican party from that day foward dominated politics ever since. The party then split into the now familiar Democratic and Republican parties we see today over slavery.

    The socialists you mentioned were active more in the 1900s-1940s. Their end came not with the democratic party caving to socialist demands, but the persecution and de-legimization of socialists/communists as soviet spies.

    And yes, both parties maintain they are both private organizations and they both choose who they let run in the primaries in the first place. They both have "leadership comittees", and in the presidential races, they appoint the so called "super delegates", to skew the polls in favor of party leadership.

    Party leadership more or less sets the tone of what issues they want to bring up, and what canidates get to run.

    Your right on one thing. Most Americans don't care. They don't think their vote, or voice matters anyway, and they are under the impression if they speak up too loudly, in a way not politically convienant, bad things will happen to them. Most people will mutter this under their breath.

    A good example wouild be that Barrack Obama was able to get elected pressing foreign policy issues of ending the wars, GITMO, and the abuses he was able to squarely land on president Bush. he won on a landslide. The same people 4 years later, have all but given up and are trying to get out of the gang-warfare mentality of politics in 2012.
  • by flyingsquid (813711) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @04:50PM (#41798955)

    You should also understand that they represent a very very small minority of the people with Islamic beliefs.

    It is much, much higher than you think. An organization like Al Qaeda can't exist on its own. It needs support from a significant percentage of the population in order to provide them with new recruits, financial support, logistical support and so on. And bin Laden didn't manage to elude capture for a decade without support in Pakistan, including from high levels within the military or intelligence agencies. That doesn't mean that everybody or even a majority of the people have to approve of and support Al Qaeda and bin Laden, but if it was just a "very, very small minority" then they simply could not exist.

    So let's look at the numbers. I decided to Google this, and the results I came across were pretty shocking. According to a 2011 poll by Pew Research, a think tank that monitors this kind of thing, when asked about whether terror attacks on civilians were justified, 81% of Palestinian Muslims responded with "Often", "Sometimes," "Rarely," or "Don't know". Just 19% said that violence against civilians was never justified. 38% of Egyptians said terror attacks are never justified. The "never justified" number is 39% for Lebanese, 55% for Jordanians, 60% for Turks, 77% for Indonesians, and 85% for Pakistanis. And for U.S. muslims? 81%. 6% of U.S. Muslims said "don't know", 5% said "rarely", 7% said "sometimes", and 1% said "Often". So even in the U.S., we have a full 13% of the population that is OK with murdering civilians under certain circumstances. That's roughly one in every seven American Muslims. And another 6% who feel there is some moral ambiguity here.

    It's obviously not accurate, fair, or helpful to assume that all Muslims support violence. And since the countries with the most Muslims (Pakistan and Indonesia) are against violence by a wide margin, it's fair to say that supporting violence against civilians is a minority view in the Muslim world as a whole. But it's definitely not accurate to say that this is a small, fringe minority with little influence. In some countries a large majority of the population actually supports violence.

  • Re:Thugs. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRealGrogan (1660825) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @05:15PM (#41799119)

    Americans use the threat of bureaucratic red tape and obstruction all the time, just as much as the implied threat of violence if you don't do what they want.

    Add that to the list of reasons why they are disliked in the world.

    I mean, even dealing with American companies is like that. Don't ever produce parts for them, for example. They'll fuck up your whole assembly line at their whims if you so much as deviate from their specifications when you shrink wrap a pallet. We found that the only way to deal with them was to take risks, juggle numbers quite inappropriately to keep things off the books until the right time (so accountants at the head office don't have a shit fit), and stock pile thousands of manufactured parts knowing that they were going to be needing them eventually. Otherwise they'd have us doing die changes multiple times a day for short runs, then inventing reasons to reject shipments when they've decided they don't want any more of those parts right now, (but want THESE ones instead) as they've changed their mind on a production run and don't want them on their floor. When they really NEEDED those parts, there was no scrutiny or tomfoolery and they wanted them impossibly fast.

    Not only won't I fly there, I will never set foot on their side of the border again. (I live in the country above them and they think they can even dictate our laws with their veiled threats of trade obstruction and ultimatums). I would just never subject myself to their out of control authority. Even petty officials (e.g. a fucking toll booth operator) have authority complexes there, never mind border officials and escalating levels of various police agencies that will be brought to bear on you if you so much as refuse to comply with a restaurant employee's orders.

  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @09:35PM (#41800567)

    So, this is the poll you're referring to: http://www.people-press.org/2011/08/30/muslim-americans-no-signs-of-growth-in-alienation-or-support-for-extremism/ [people-press.org]

    The actual wording in the poll is (in English, who knows what the poll said in Arabic, etc): "Suicide bombing/other violence against civilians is justified to defend Islam from its enemies..." (and then select one of Often, Sometimes, Rarely, Never, Don't know)

    It's fairly bizarre to conflate suicide bombing specifically with an abstract range of things, violence against civilians. Violence against civilians could mean all kinds of things to different people, it's quite vague. The wording implies that only suicide attacks against civilians are relevant, not (military) suicide attacks against non-civilian targets, another thing to misunderstand.

    Civilians itself is the key word, I guess, our assumption would be that violence against civilians is not permitted almost per definition, civilians being exactly those people who are not to be targeted. But clearly, Western armed forces have had a pretty tough time figuring out who is a civilian and who isn't in recent conflicts -- usually erring on the side of calling somebody an armed insurgent. We just define our problem away.

    Next, the question whether an attack is justified. Under Protocol I of the Geneva Convention (caveat IANAL!), killing civilians can be legal in certain circumstances, you just have to try to avoid it, or not know about it (despite due diligence), etc etc. Calling that a justification of an attack on civilians is a bit twisted, but it's a legal framework. And of course it happens all the time, legally, and without any serious repercussions. The US hasn't ratified Protocol I, BTW. To be fair, the wording of "against" civilians sort of implies an attack where the civilian casualties are the objective, and not just involved. But that's a fairly fine point to make, people are being asked to answer a poll, not write a paper.

    Defend is another fun word to toss in there, as I assume many subjects wouldn't consider your average terror attack an example of "defense". Or maybe they do, whatever, we don't know, it's pointless to argue about it.

    Defending Islam strikes us as odd, because that ain't a country, but first of all the question/sentence was written by Pew, subjects were not given a choice of slightly rephrasing it (I guess their best option to deal with a false premise is DK or possibly no answer); second of all defending Islam isn't any stranger than defending freedom or the free trade and if anything it's less strange than fighting a war on terror or on drugs.

    The final "its enemies" ties the whole thing up neatly, going back both to the point about who's a civilian and who's not and to the point about defense.

    There'd be more to say, but I am all out of words.

  • Re:Leave him alone. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oob (131174) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @11:33PM (#41801105)

    Thank you for expressing your 'doubt,' demonstrating exactly the point I wished to make, concerning insularity. You really do have no idea.

    Pakistan is a Commonwealth country. It enjoys significant historical, social, political, economic, cultural, academic and sporting ties with other Commonwealth countries. Further, there are numerous expat Pakistani communities throughout the Commonwealth. As such, there is a great deal of familiarity with Pakistan in our societies.

    Because they're people we know, not just "A-rabs that should be 'nuked into a great big Middle East glass parking lot." And, more to the point, Khan is not just some random Muslim that your society is quite happy to intern in a concentration camp in occupied Cuba, to us.

    Here's an example: I've never met Imran, but a member of my immediate family has. I've never met Pervez Musharraf either but we did exchange a "hello" to one another when our gazes happened to meet in an Auckland hotel lobby. He was there to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. I was heading to the bar, wearing a tshirt, shorts and jandals.

    You might like to put this to the test. Here's how: find the nearest Japie/Convict/Kiwi/Pom in your vicinty and say this:

    "Imran ..?"
    "Waqar ..?"
    "Wasim ..?"
    "Benazir ..?"

    You'll get back "Khan, Younis, Akram, Bhuto." Betcha.

    Now try that on one of your compatriots. You're likely to get a visit from Fatherland Security.

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