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US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the this-one-time-at-customs-camp dept.

United States 894

McGruber writes "Flute virtuoso Boujemaa Razgui performed on a variety of flutes, each made by himself over years for specific types of ancient and modern performance. Razgui has performed with many U.S. ensembles and is a regular guest with the diverse and enterprising Boston Camerata. Last week, Razgui flew from Morocco to Boston, with stops in Madrid and New York. In New York, he says, a US Customs official opened his luggage and found the 13 flutelike instruments — 11 nays and two kawalas. Razgui says he had made all of the instruments using hard-to-find reeds. 'They said this is an agriculture item,' said Razgui, who was not present when his bag was opened. 'I fly with them in and out all the time and this is the first time there has been a problem. This is my life.' When his baggage arrived in Boston, the instruments were gone. He was instead given a number to call. 'They told me they were destroyed,' he says. 'Nobody talked to me. They said I have to write a letter to the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. This is horrible. I don't know what to do. I've never written letters to people.'"

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All the news that matters (-1, Offtopic)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year ago | (#45841109)

and some that doesn't.

Re:All the news that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841141)

Why are you afraid of Hubbard?

Re:All the news that matters (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#45841213)

and some that doesn't

You mean the sheer stupidity of the civil servants doesn't matter ??

Re:All the news that matters (2)

I. P. Freely (2969967) | about a year ago | (#45841247)

You mean the sheer stupidity of the United States Federal Government.

Re:All the news that matters (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45841301)

US no longer stands for "Uncle Sam." Now it's "Uncle Stupid." Leather luggage comes from cowhide, isn't that an agricultural item? Fucking morons in charge.

Re:All the news that matters (4, Insightful)

Patent Lover (779809) | about a year ago | (#45841415)

Wooden pencils as well. As a side note I was once sent to Ag inspection for mentioning I had some sea salt. Customs people aren't the brightest bulbs on the tree.

Re:All the news that matters (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45841625)

US no longer stands for "Uncle Sam." Now it's "Uncle Stupid." Leather luggage comes from cowhide, isn't that an agricultural item? Fucking morons in charge.

I guess soo it will be the UF... Who knew that Tarrence and Phillip would be so prescient?

Re: All the news that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841303)

Oh wow! That is breaking news right there. Why have you not submitted that article about how customs is the whole government now?

It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841331)

I don't dispute that this incident sounds quite serious and involves some very questionable actions. I don't dispute that it should be publicized.

I do, however, dispute its relevance here at Slashdot. It's one thing when a highly-politicized article involves computers, technology, science or software in some way. This submission is not like that at all.

This story is suitable for traditional media. This story is suitable for more general sites like Digg or reddit. I don't think it has any relevance here, however. We come here to Slashdot to read tech- or science-specific articles, and then discuss them.

We don't come here with the expectation of reading irrelevant material, such as this, regardless of how much the Slashdot editors have apparently been trying to change that lately.

If somebody with any say at Slashdot is reading this, please do the right thing and get the focus back to where it used to be, on science and technology. There are many, many other places we can go to read and bitch about the day-in, day-out shenanigans of American politics. Slashdot shouldn't be one of them.

Re:It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (1, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#45841347)

You're hissy fits are getting annoying.

Re: It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841413)

Well then, explain how this article relates to science and technology. What's that? It doesn't?
Shut up then.

Re: It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841537)

Slashdot isn't just for science and technology stories. If your little girl panties get in such a bunch over it, go somewhere else.

Re: It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841663)

You're wrong. Slashdot is just for science and technology stories. The "somewhere else" you refer to is the place for irrelevant submissions like this one. So get your ass back to reddit, nancy.

Re: It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45841653)

Well then, explain how this article relates to science and technology. What's that? It doesn't? Shut up then.

If you go through US customs, the tools you use to do your job may not make it with you. Like your phone, laptop, textbooks, thumb drives, or hand made wooden flutes.

Re:It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841437)

You're hissy fits are getting annoying.

And your misuse of the apostrophe is even more annoying.

If you are going to complain, you'd better make sure your own
house is in order first, sonny boy.

Re:It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841509)

You're hissy fits

No, I'm rubber. And you're glue!

Re:It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841539)

How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

Re:It's not a relevant topic for Slashdot. (3, Insightful)

Progman3K (515744) | about a year ago | (#45841407)

If somebody with any say at Slashdot is reading this, please do the right thing and get the focus back to where it used to be, on science and technology. There are many, many other places we can go to read and bitch about the day-in, day-out shenanigans of American politics. Slashdot shouldn't be one of them.

You... I like you

Re:All the news that matters (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about a year ago | (#45841471)

It's not clear that these obviously looked like musical instruments to a person who isn't accustomed to seeing various kinds of flutes. Bundle of reeds with notches in them. Customs probably thought they were bongs.

Re:All the news that matters (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45841525)

No. I sounds like one exceptional moron decided to go on a power trip. This is like that bitch at the American Airlines counter that can decide that you aren't flying today.

Re:All the news that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841641)

These are the fucking morons who will be making your healthcare decisions.

Re:All the news that matters (0)

taxman_10m (41083) | about a year ago | (#45841355)

I also don't see why this is on Slashdot. Customs official opens a bag and doesn't notice that these reed looking things are flutes, promptly destroys the reeds. Guy should have kept these with him if he valued them so much. Shit happens. Not sure why this particular shit happening made it on Slashdot.

And great quotes... (0, Troll)

fred911 (83970) | about a year ago | (#45841145)

" I've never written letters to people"

The unexpected hazard... (5, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45841159)

I never thought of flutes as an "invasive species."

Re:The unexpected hazard... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841255)

I never thought of flutes as an "invasive species."

From this post I can tell two things.
1. Your not a women
2. You've never been to a gay bar...

Re:The unexpected hazard... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841439)

Or band camp

Re: The unexpected hazard... (5, Funny)

ruggerboy (553525) | about a year ago | (#45841555)

Clearly you haven't seen the infestation of pan flautists across malls and tourist attractions. The music is just too damn soothing to resist!

Re:The unexpected hazard... (5, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45841657)

I never thought of flutes as an "invasive species."

You never saw the swarming of the Zanfir commercials... I still get shivers to this day.

Saw this earlier (1, Insightful)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year ago | (#45841161)

Not sure why this is on ./

The dude does have a very legitimate beef though, considering he's taken these around to probably dozens of countries and crossed several hundred borders with them. He apparently had some "raw" material with him to make new flutes, but that wood typically needs to be completely dry and aged. Either way the carved flutes were likely sealed and shouldn't have been destroyed without a very, very good reason, which I doubt the CBP had.

Re:Saw this earlier (5, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#45841281)

Not sure why this is on ./

The dude does have a very legitimate beef though, considering he's taken these around to probably dozens of countries and crossed several hundred borders with them. He apparently had some "raw" material with him to make new flutes, but that wood typically needs to be completely dry and aged. Either way the carved flutes were likely sealed and shouldn't have been destroyed without a very, very good reason, which I doubt the CBP had.

It think because it's about out of control security apparatus, so it's kind of topical?

I guess they will start siezing wood furniture from Ikea now, since,, you know, wood is an agricultural product.

Re:Saw this earlier (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#45841631)

It think because it's about out of control security apparatus, so it's kind of topical?

Yeah, I think an editor went a little knee-jerk. It's customs, not security. Customs has been pissing people off since the Union was founded.

Re:Saw this earlier (1, Funny)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#45841305)

Not sure why this is on ./

Were you trying to say you weren't sure why this is on /. ?

Re:Saw this earlier (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#45841469)

We were all about to respond "aren't you supposed to be on DotSlash?"

Re:Saw this earlier (0, Flamebait)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#45841447)

I really don't believe this story.

I've never heard before of goods being destroyed without the owner knowing about it.

It is destruction of evidence: these flutes were allegedly imported illegally (agricultural products, according to customs), which is an offense, maybe a crime. In such a case the illegal goods are normally confiscated and stored in secure customs warehouse for further investigations, but not destroyed. Based on the results of the investigation they may be returned (not illegal after all, or owner can provide the required paperwork and import license for a restricted item), or they're confirmed illegal imports and the owner is prosecuted.

Re:Saw this earlier (5, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#45841511)

This is not even the first time this has happened. There have been a small but published number of other instances of musical instruments being destroyed without appeal. It is a flaw in the TSA`s procedures and a problem with how its authority is structured. If they were law enforcement they could not simply destroy things, but they are not.

Re:Saw this earlier (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year ago | (#45841527)

Certain types of agricultural products are to be destroyed instead of stored as evidence. Invasive species and some other stuff are on that menu. In this case, they probably didn't see any criminal intent and/or it "had" to be destroyed, not kept.

Surely not (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841179)

Another whistle blower!

Serves him right! (3, Funny)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year ago | (#45841185)

He's obviously a denialist and he got off easy.

The wood that he unscrupulously and capitalistically exploited for his burgeious profit contraption could have reduced ALGORE'S carbon footprint if he hadn't murdered it for his own selfish amusement. I'm just disturbed that this 1%er scum wasn't thrown into our enviromental reeducation camps for his crimes against science.

Re:Serves him right! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841521)

And this stupidity is what libertardians actually think.

Eventually people will look up... (5, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#45841189)

...and recognize this for what it is. Fascism.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (5, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#45841203)

Oddly I was going to say something similar. Right along with tossing in a Gestapo and STASI remark, since both of those governments organizations, did exactly this type of thing.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (5, Informative)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#45841235)

The Gestapo and STASI only wished they had the ability to do what the NSA does.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45841325)

Imagine the Gestapo with today's technology. It's coming.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#45841649)

"The Gestapo and STASI only wished they had the ability to do what the NSA does."

The NSA and other Alphabet Agencies only wish they had the authority to do what the Gestapo and Stasi did.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (5, Insightful)

thepainguy (1436453) | about a year ago | (#45841261)

Beware of people whose only marketable skills are their loyalty and their ability to follow rules to the letter.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841579)

Beware the people with the uncanny ability to seek out and use those types of people.
They're the dangerous ones.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (5, Insightful)

Almost-Retired (637760) | about a year ago | (#45841635)

Yup, and come the revolution they will be first in front of the wall.

What I don't get is the almost PETA rabidness of some who have posted above blaming this person. Do society a favor and see if you can win a Darwin Award with your inherent stupidity.

As an artist in my own right, I have no clue how long it took him to find all these reed's, dry, carve and seal them into musical instruments that could then be used to convey the proper sound for a piece of music composed in the time of Herod or before. What I do know is that they will not do that to me for free. There would be a payback that would make the front page.

This is the same stupidity that has been harassing the Gibson Guitar people for the last decade, but they did know about the import restrictions on Rosewood, and had the permits, but some ass hole didn't get the fucking memo. Repeatedly.

I face much the same thing when I have to fly because I am a television broadcast engineer, who often has to pack up his tools and go someplace to resuscitate a tv station or their transmitter. I can't take my tools, several thousand dollars worth, with me to the job via anyplace that takes me past a TSA checkpoint, so now the stations who need my talents have to send their corporate airplanes to come and get me and bring me home. Or I have to drive, which could be a 5 or 6 day each way trip to some of the places I have been since I retired 11 years ago. That is bull shit, the finest stuff, which if applied to an Iowa cornfield and matched by 30+ inches of rain, will grow 220 bushels to the acre.

So when do we take our country back folks? Seriously, I'd like to see it on my watch, but since I'm on my 80th circuit around this star, there might not be much time left for me to watch.

So sign me "Seething mad at the magnitude of the idiocy, Gene"

Re:Eventually people will look up... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841341)

I was going to say it wasn't Fascism. But It is. I was going to say it was just overly complicated rules in-forced by under trained, under paid people who can't understand them while having irreversible consequences. But I realized that pretty much sums up Fascism.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about a year ago | (#45841475)

I was going to say it wasn't Fascism. But It is. I was going to say it was just overly complicated rules in-forced by under trained, under paid people who can't understand them while having irreversible consequences. But I realized that pretty much sums up Fascism.

And it is somehow unique to fascism?

Re:Eventually people will look up... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841367)

Are you an idiot? No they wont! Think hard about this. You have Phil Robertson make some ludircous comments on gays, african americans, and Japanese. What happens? Americans phone in by the hundreds of thousands to complain how his freedom of expression is being infringed upon. You have a friggen news network espousing how this is some big left wing conspiracy.

Americans WILL NOT and I repeat WILL NOT recognize this as Fascisim. They will recognize this as an oops moment in the fight against [fill in the blank].

IMO the only solution is to leave the country because in my lifetime this is not going to get better. Do me a favor and watch Running Man with Arnie. While some things are over the top, many things are spot on.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45841571)

Were you trying to be ironic or was that an accident?

Liberty and equality aren't just for the people you like. Making exceptions for "bad people" or excuses for "corporations" ARE the kind of nonsense that lead to Fascism.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841633)

And there's also MSNBC's recent disgisting flows of raw sewage, yet you're oddly silent about them. Martin Bashir or Melissa Harris-Perry ring a bell?

Re:Eventually people will look up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841373)

...and recognize this for what it is. Fascism.

Hardly... It's called a customs inspection. Every country in the world has such restrictions. It's one of the basic tenants of national sovereignty.

Re:Eventually people will look up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841667)

Oh please. This is just the stupidity of one customs employee. And is hardly unique to america. Every country has some sort of customs inspections on stuff coming into it. If news from.. I don't know France... was as popular as US news I'm sure we'd hear stories of their employees screwing up as well.

When a custom employee destroys flutes of some musician about to give a concert because that concert is critical of the government then you have fascism. Till then this story matters only to one person; the poor guy who had his flutes destroyed.

P.S. Next time you have something important stick it in your carry on for god's sake. I trust the bag handlers even less than I would trust customs.

Same as lost luggage... (3, Insightful)

moosehooey (953907) | about a year ago | (#45841197)

He shouldn't have had them in his checked baggage, since it's well known that checked bags often get lost. If something's that important, it should be in your carry-on.

Re:Same as lost luggage... (-1, Flamebait)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | about a year ago | (#45841357)

Agreed. Anything valuable goes as a carry on. The guy is an idiot.

Re:Same as lost luggage... (2)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year ago | (#45841389)

And how is this relevent to the discussion? So instead of having a pretty note in the suitcase he gets to battle the border in person? And that is an improvement how?

Re:Same as lost luggage... (2, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year ago | (#45841581)

At least if he is battling at the border to keep them and they really are critical to his life/career he can decide to not enter the country and keep them rather than have something so precious destroyed by forest gump with a badge.

Re:Same as lost luggage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841491)

Even better, he should have declared them to be "guns", and carry them on in a locked case.

Just one more way... (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#45841205)

...that going through US customs could ruin your life. DON'T DO IT.

Inexcusable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841211)

When are people going to finally get fed up with these TSA assholes and DEMAND that Congress do something about them, like removing their Federal protection from being sued for their abuses.

Re:Inexcusable (1)

oscrivellodds (1124383) | about a year ago | (#45841529)

Um, I think this was Customs, not the TSA...

Re:Inexcusable (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#45841531)

Enough of the population is still scared enough of terrorists or secure enough in their "stuff like this doesn:t happen to middle class WASPs" bubble that the TSA does not worry them.

Re:Inexcusable (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#45841645)

This wasn't the TSA - it was US Customs.

Visitors not welcome (5, Insightful)

OFnow (1098151) | about a year ago | (#45841243)

Many musical instruments are made of wood. So I guess they are all at risk if the owners come to the US.

Re:Visitors not welcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841383)

Moral of the story, do not take viagra just before coming to the US.

Re:Visitors not welcome (3, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#45841643)

Many musical instruments are made of wood. So I guess they are all at risk if the owners come to the US.

Not to mention silk, cotton, and wool. Everybody get naked! All of a sudden I feel like going to the airport could be fun again. :)

If I ever come to the USA ... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45841271)

... I will make sure to come naked.
I assume, however, this will be the worst thing you can do ...

Re:If I ever come to the USA ... (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about a year ago | (#45841613)

Well, don't fly because the airlines treat you like cattle and you don't want to be mistaken for an agricultural item yourself.

So glad I'm not there (4, Insightful)

flightmaker (1844046) | about a year ago | (#45841279)

Each and every day that I read /. I become even more relieved than the day before that fate smiled on me by not making me a citizen of the USA, and not giving me any compelling reason to visit.

Re:So glad I'm not there (2, Insightful)

pauldl63 (636292) | about a year ago | (#45841499)

Each and every day that I read /. I become even more relieved than the day before that fate smiled on me by not making me a citizen of the USA, and not giving me any compelling reason to visit.

My sentiments exactly.

Re:So glad I'm not there (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841541)

We're glad you decided not to come. We have enough layabout whiners as it is.

- USA resident.

Re:So glad I'm not there (3, Insightful)

flightmaker (1844046) | about a year ago | (#45841601)

Are you a typical USA resident? It would explain a lot.

You can keep your flute (1)

approachingZero (1365381) | about a year ago | (#45841289)

If you like your flute.

Wood (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841293)

Once I walked through an airport terminal with wood. I was on my way to Bangkok.

Re:Wood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841313)

Well, one night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.

Re: Wood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841561)

you can find a god in every golden oyster--

and if you're lucky, then the god's a SHE.

Haven't been to the states since before sept 11th (5, Insightful)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | about a year ago | (#45841309)

and I never once have regretted that decision. Wouldn't go to dubai either for similar reasons. Toxic culture. I do feel sorry to anyone living there and do hope you are armed.

Re:Haven't been to the states since before sept 11 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841589)

Just another delusional gun nut that thinks violence is the only way to solve problems.

Obamaism IS Horrible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841311)

Serves Obama right to be made into a psychotic disease that infects bureaucratic people of the U.S.A. Federal Junta under Obama.

 

Re:Obamaism IS Horrible (1)

Killian35 (1321571) | about a year ago | (#45841351)

wat?

First the NSA. Now this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841333)

Coming 3.. 2.. 1..

Kinda sucks. (1)

oscrivellodds (1124383) | about a year ago | (#45841361)

But what can you do? I know it's bad for the guy who plays the things, but I wouldn't want to shut down customs over it.

United States Destroys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841363)

Nothing more needs to be said.

agriculture item???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841369)

Will they start destroying cotton based clothing? Leather soled shoes?

Frog in boiling water is where we are at.

The TSA are just so comically stupid and useless.

If your worthless and you know it, join the TSA.

Has he checked Ebay? (3, Informative)

ebonum (830686) | about a year ago | (#45841411)

TSA agents have been know to do unscrupulous things.

Re:Has he checked Ebay? (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#45841547)

That is actually a rather disturbing but realistic possibility. It does not help that the TSA has "cover your ass" at its core, so even if the people responding were not involved in theft, they are still likely to play along with the "destroyed" story.

Very weird story (4, Insightful)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | about a year ago | (#45841435)

He should definitely be compensated.

Re:Very weird story (3, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#45841671)

Razgui says he had made all of the instruments using hard-to-find reeds.

How does one compensate for a dozen of instruments that were hand-made by the player from rare materials? You can't go to the nearest store and rebuy the lost instruments. How long will it even take to make them again? Can the player even do it?

Worse still, will the Customs destroy a Stradivari violin just because old Antonio neglected to attach a US-approved sticker that lists all used woods and where they were finished?

Tip: Do not use foreign sounding names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841459)

Always fly with a normal sounding name or face the consequences. Morroco? Never fly Out of Afrika. Never fly into Amerika. Problem averted.

The way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841479)

I reed the story he should have flute to a different city.
New York has all kinds of problems.

Something is missing from the story... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841481)

"who was not present when his bag was opened"

This is not how US Customs works - each passenger needs to take their own bag through customs, and if there are problems then the owner of the item is there to discuss it with the customs officer.

There are situations where this doesn't happen (eg, a delayed/lost bag), but the article doesn't mention that.

I'm not saying that this didn't happen, but there's clearly more to the story than the article states!!

Destroyed... (2)

Kardos (1348077) | about a year ago | (#45841487)

... or stolen?

Fast food workers with police powers (4, Interesting)

hessian (467078) | about a year ago | (#45841535)

That's what happens when you hire fast food workers into bureaucratic roles and give them absolute power over other people.

Problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841553)

... government has absolute power, but the people who work there tend to be power mad crazies like Eric Holder, morons like the drones in US customs or low life fucktards like the NSA.

Why I Stay Away (5, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | about a year ago | (#45841559)

I lived and worked in the US for a few years prior to 9/11, and travelled to many parts of the country. I still have a lot of good friends down there, and surely there are a lot of places that I'd love to visit again.

The problem is that since I moved back to Canada there have been a seemingly endless series of stories like this. Whether it's Mahar Arar being grabbed and shipped to Syria for torture and imprisonment; Jacob Appelbaum being detailed by US customs with no reason and no explanation; innocent people who are having their laptops and phones seized and copied with no warrant or explanation, or who are quite simply harassed at the border on the whim of any customs agent. - it just seems to be happening more and more each year.

Being innocent (whatever that means to Homeland Security) is no protection. All it takes is one renta-cop with a bad attitude.

To my American friends: I am honestly terrified by the thought of crossing your border, and I am not alone.

Tragic, but almost understandable ... (5, Interesting)

MacTO (1161105) | about a year ago | (#45841577)

An important sentence was left out of the summary, which explained that customs mistook the instruments for pieces of bamboo. Judging from the photo accompanying the article, the confusion is almost understandable. It looks like a home made instrument that may or may not have been prepared properly given restrictions on agricultural products. (Example: they may not have been concerned about the bamboo per se, but rather invasive insects that may be in it since the reeds may not have been treated.)

The moral of the story is to verify that the stuff that you're taking across the border is actually legal for import or export. After all, it could have been much worse for this man. I would imagine that charges could have been pressed if they so desired.

Cotton and wool are agricultural items (3, Insightful)

khym (117618) | about a year ago | (#45841593)

Do they strip naked anyone who's wearing natural fiber?

America is falling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841661)

A failing elitist society is going to make quite a noise on the way down.

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