A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ellis Island Mark 2

Once upon a time any immigrant wanting to enter the USA through the Port of New York would have to subject themselves to the ignomy of Ellis Island. Very degrading, I'm sure. Actually, it's only recently that the folks at immigration have learnt to smile. Some welcome we used to get!

Now, George W. Bush, wrapped up in his "War on Terror", is trying to get the European Union to snitch on visitors to the USA. He, or his government, wants to know more about us. Under a 2004 agreement between the EU and the US, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can access European airline reservation databases and pull out 34 pieces of information about each passenger. Such things as whether we paid for our ticket by cash (a suspicious thing) or by credit card (not so suspicious), and e-mail addresses, travel details, etc. The CBP system has been built in such a way that some "sensitive" information is filtered out. But they can still receive the sensitive stuff, including "personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and data concerning the health or sex life of the individual".

I'd say that the Americans are barking up the wrong tree here. It's good old detective work that catches criminals, not a blanket abuse of civil liberties. Finding out if somebody wants Halal meat doesn't imply wrongdoing. Heavens above, two Muslims got abused and kicked off a plane because they looked suspicious. Where will it all end?

President Bush obviously has his culinary preferences. His father can't stand broccoli! Should he be checked out if he asks for meals without broccoli? What does it tell us? Diddly squat, that's what!


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