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Subject: Atrocities in American Airports


Posted by Reader
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 04:08:29

Message:
Atrocities in American Airports
By Ricardo Abude

If you, or someone from your family, have any plan to visit the US in a near future, I strongly suggest you to continue reading this text, where I describe the experiences I had in LA International Airport, late Feb 24, 2002.
My name is Ricardo Abude E. Da Silva, I'm an Electronic Engineer graduated in 1982 and today am managing our familys businesses in the farming sector. My email is ricabude@cpunet.com.br .
Throughout my 42 years of age I've travelled several times to the US, both on business and tourism. Late Feb 23 I embarked in Rio heading to LA, in possession of my third Visa to the US, issued in November 1999, and valid until November 2009.
I was aware of the increased airport security for US trips, due to Sep 11 attacks, and in Rio International Airport one can already notice the routine change, but I could have never imagined what would happen next.
From now on I describe, step by step, the horrendous and unimaginable nightmare that I went through :
Saturday Feb 23 21:50 hrs I depart from Rio with Varig flight RG 8836, going to LA.
Sunday Feb 24 07:00 hrs I arrive in LA and proceed towards passport control. The officer looks at my Passport for about five minutes, and asks me to proceed towards an INS office known as Secondary One. It is the first time something like that happens to me, but I imagine Im going to be interviewed for additional information concerning my stay. Extra safety measures.... I thought.
Sunday Feb 24 07:30 hrs A Second officer asks me to collect all my luggage and accompany him inside Secondary One. ...the interview is going to be in there... I thought again. All of a sudden, I am brutally pushed inside a 2x2 yd cell, all my luggage, money, documents and personnal belongings are confiscated, and they take away my belt and shoe strings.
As I protest against the unexpected treatment, the two officers respond with loud screams and threats of beating me and keeping me confined. I am violently pushed against the wall, they frisk me from head to toe, and all my personnal belongings are searched.
Again I'm pushed against the wall, my picture is taken, I'm fingerprinted and am finally thrown into a filthy, stinky, unventilated hall, already crowded with people. I notice, by their looks, that they've gone through the same ritual, and even though I am still stunned by the long flight, the jet lag, and mainly by the violent, outraging disrespect of civil and human rights, I face the crude fact of life ...there's no such thing as interviews. I'm a prisoner.
Sunday Feb 24 09:00 hrs - The scene resembles a Greek tragedy, a 4x4 yd room, filthy chairs, a stinking black carpet, no ventilation, huge 50 TV turned on all the time volume blasting. Tired, hungry people, sick people, people throwing up....worried about a friend, who was waiting for me outside the airport I ask for a phone call.
- Shut up! No phone calls. - They answered.
Sunday Feb 24 10:00 hrs - Arrested, hungry, thirsty, no communication, and without the slightest ideia of what was going to happen next, I noticed the continuos flow of tourists coming to our cell and I face the degrading scandal the very same treatment is given to women, teenagers, children even elderly people - a truly barbarian act!
Revolted, I witness two INS officers disputing the priviledge of frisking the prettiest ladies, without any concern of hiding their sickening lust from their respective fathers, husbands or brothers, doing their commentaries, invitations, and obscene declarations right on their faces.
- I've just frisked a disgusting latino....now it's my turn to frisk this Italian fox! - stated an Officer to his coleague, refering to the wife of an Italian tourist. The blunt disrespect made my stomach churn in revolt....
Kicking, pushing, screaming, threathening, heavily armed bullies displayed their brutallity, prejudice, and arrogance upon the constant flow of tourists coming into our cell, getting more and more crowded by the minute, holding an unbearable stench....
Sunday Feb 24 14:00 hrs - After seven hours of ordeal, I'm finally taken to an almost surrealistic interview with Officer Sanchez, and Officer Lee, both subordinate to Officer Green, from INS. He explains to me that since all my papers and my Visa were in perfect order, he would kindly give me two options:
- The first was to sign a document in which I requested the withdrawal of my Visa, returning to Brazil in the first available flight.
- If I refused to sign the hoax I'd be arrested for an undetermined period and he'd start a compulsory deportation process, sending me back to my Country thus.
A important detail on the deal - while I refused to sign the document I'd not receive any food, or water. What would you choose? Oh well, me too.
Sunday Feb 24 16:00 hrs - I am taken, with another five prisoners, to a different cell. We are all handcuffed, and escorted by armed officers, we are made to stroll through the airport lounge. The terrified tourists make way, frightened by the grotesc scene. They take us all to a Van, parked outside the terminal, and transfer us to the other cell. The humiliation is suffocating ....
- Sunday Feb 24 17:00 hrs - Apparently, they have forgotten to make me sign a few forms at the Secondary One, so I'm taken again for a couple of strolls ( going there and coming back ) in the Airport Lounge. Those strolls remember? With cuffs and escorts?
Sunday Feb 24 18:00 hrs - Due to my unceasing protests, they finally allow me to make a phone call. I contact a Lawyer in LA, in the hope he'd get me out of that hell, but the information I get from him is even more surprising, and disheartening:
- Ricardo, the INS grounds at the Airport are not legally considered American soil, so I cannot invoke any civil right to take you out of there.... he tells me. How about that ???
In other words: I realize I'm in a no-man's land, a lawless place, arrested by arbitrary Nazis in the guise of INS Officers, that, due to this legal technicality, have the power to do whatever they please with you - and what is worse - with your family. I start to dream of the moment of catching a plane back home to Brazil.....however, before that, I'd still go through the worst night of my life.....
Night of Sunday to Monday Feb 25 I start to dread the moment in which tiredness is going to win the battle and make me lie down on those filthy chairs. Its very cold, but even so, the prospect of using the slimy blankets is not at all attractive.
Five officers are in the night shift, and feeling bored, they pass time kicking disgusting Chinese's , cursing stupid niggers, threatening filthy latinos. Our uneducated officers are unable to articulate three consecutive words without using the F.. word, and we spend the night immersed in this sea of racial prejudice, brutallity, violence, arrogance and cowardice.
A curious note: our cell had two immense posters hanging on the walls. Look at that - one was a huge map of Brazil, and the other was a picture of Ouro Preto - a historical city in Central Brazil. Both seemed to convey a silent, but eloquent invitation .....
Monday Feb 25 13:00 hrs - After the worse 30 hours of my life, two armed officers escort me to my plane ( Varig flight RG 8837 ) and deliver my passport to the stewardess. They set guard by the plane door until take off. Just a last minute humiliation I guess....
Tuesday Feb 26 07:30 hrs - I arrive tired, but immensely happy in Cumbica International Airport, in SP. I call my girlfriend Sarah in Belo Horizonte. After her recovery from the initial shock and the necessary explanations I invite her to celebrate our unexpected meeting with a trip - to Ouro Preto - of course!
I relate this unfortunate episode hoping to bring these facts to light, to a wider number of people. Maybe those who, like me, were planning an innocent trip to this country might think twice before permitting their wifes, parents and children to be subjected to this infamous tribe of uncivilized barbarians.
Daily, in every American Airport, hundreds of people from the four corners of the world are falling into the claws of these arrogant, racist, brutes, barbarian Nazis, and I think every single citizen of the globe shall contribute in whichever way they can to end this grotesc stain from the face of the free world.
The terrorists put down WTC's twin towers, but they will achieve a far greater victory if they succeed in bending down the spirit, the values and ideals that guided America since it's very birth as an independent Nation.
Having visited the US so many times, and knowing with reasonable depth the history of this Country, I must say that the attitudes and methods of the INS Officers do not reflect the way of being and thinking of the majority of the American People, and surely do not reflect the values and ideals I referred to above.
However, the overwhelming majority of the thousands of tourists that are going daily through this sad experience in American Airports do not have this perspective, and they are going back to their countries carrying in their hearts the seeds of hatred, violence and intolerance that end up germinating in tragedies such as Sep 11.
To Mr G. Bush one suggestion: in the attempt to erradicate the World of terrorism and it's Evil Axis, start at home - in the American Immigration and Naturalization Service - INS.
A very important note: this narrative would not be complete without doing justice to Victor - one of the INS officers. He came into our cell Monday morning. Right when I lay my eyes on him I noticed a different glow, quickly explained by his attitudes: he'd take care of one of us, feed and give water to another, he was always ready to help, at least send a smile, say a friendly word....
He moved like a star, shedding light into the darkness. I had the priviledge to talk with him for a few minutes, when I had the chance to convey my admiration, respect and gratitude for what he was doing for all those people, brutally subjected to such a painful experience.
Son of Mexican Immigrants, educated in India, and possessing a spirituality impossible to hide behind such shinning eyes, this man, who represents so well the best of the East and the West told me simply .. Ricardo, I don't do much, all I can do is try to transmit to these people a little compassion, a little love....
May God always guard you and bless you Victor, as you guard and bless so many.... A last suggestion to the US President consider promoting Victor to the post of Foreign Relations Minister, what he deserves more than anyone. I'm certain that, in a very short time, he'd reverse the already beaten up image of the US with the rest of the world.
His attitude reflect perfectly the spirit and the values that have created America, and proves that one cannot possilbly combat terrorism by becoming himself a terrorist one should employ that ancient technique - turning the other cheek.
Finally, I want to say that I have already done the following :
1. Filed a formal complain at the American Embassy in Brasilia.
2. Filed a formal complain at the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry
3. Send a copy of this text in Portuguese and in English to the Internet, newspapers, magazines, websites, and Human Rights International Institutions.
I hereby authorize any individual or corporation to divulge or reproduce this text partially or in its entirety, making it a public domain, as I believe this case is.
May God bless us all.
Ricardo Abude E. da Silva

Note from the editor: Ricardo is the brother of a friend of mine, a Rotarian from the same club as I, so I'm publishing his story without any doubt that it is completely true. My Rotary Club, in the brazilian district 4550, will send a letter to Rotary International's president suggesting he visits the US President to formely protest against this kind of behavior.

http://www.london-daily.co.uk/art/abude.htm
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by BigMike
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 10:41:07

Message:
Yeah, Portland International Airport had this same kind of problem, only with Japanese Business people not having their papers EXACTLY in the order the INS wanted which lead to similar incidents. Because of that, all airlines discontinued their flights between Portland and Japan and all the businesses started sending people to Seattle and had them take the train to Portland. That didn't help our local economy any.

As far as the INS, keep in mind that this is the same department that sent visas to 2 of the 9/11 terrorists on the 6 MONTH ANNIVERSERY OF THE ATTACKS. Our government is getting rid of the INS and replacing it with 2 different agencies. But I don't think this is in EVERY U.S. airport. If it was, then there would have been a giant outcry from everyone out here.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by brazzaboy
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 13:03:08

Message:
Welcome to the world of Nazi Dictator Bush. And people wonder why I so long to move to beautiful Brasil, even with all its problems.

GOD BLESS BRASIL.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by brazzaboy
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 13:03:16

Message:
Welcome to the world of Nazi Dictator Bush. And people wonder why I so long to move to beautiful Brasil, even with all its problems.

GOD BLESS BRASIL.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 14:30:38

Message:
Ricardo,

I am sending this on to my senators, congressman, my contacts at Amnesty International and some media contacts I have. I hope it does some good and I'll keep you posted.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Jo
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 16:26:07

Message:
Sorry, I really can't believe that whole story.

I believe some injustices and inconveniences occur, of course, but that really seemed ridiculous. And undoubtedly racial/ethnic profiling does happen these days thanks to the catastrophic crimes of September 11th, but this story just doesn't ring true to me....especially the INS agents' comments about frisking people.

If it is true and the Rotary Club gets involved, some heads should roll. I hope it's not.

Jo


RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 17:05:02

Message:
Jo,

I dealt with the INS on behalf of my wife (who thankfully, now has been naturalized and we won't have to deal with them except when reentering the country) and I have never seen such a group of employees so consistently rude, unprofessional and who go out of their way to be obnoxious. This doesn't surprise me at all.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 20:15:22

Message:
Amnesty International couldn't do anything about it. They're just some goofballs that yell a lot about things and very few people even listen to them. Cuba? China? Thank you, come again.

And for the guy that wants to move to Brazil to get away from the badness of G.W. Bush, have you taken a look at things going on in Brazil? They have a rougher history when it comes to human rights. the U.S. isn't perfect, but who is?
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 20:15:37

Message:
Amnesty International couldn't do anything about it. They're just some goofballs that yell a lot about things and very few people even listen to them. Cuba? China? Thank you, come again.

And for the guy that wants to move to Brazil to get away from the badness of G.W. Bush, have you taken a look at things going on in Brazil? They have a rougher history when it comes to human rights. the U.S. isn't perfect, but who is?
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by El Hombre
On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 23:14:57

Message:
>Sorry, I really can't believe that whole story.

I have to agree with Jo. It sounds VERY far-fetched. If THAT'S how the INS behaves, then America is already a tyranny!
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 06:24:42

Message:
Big Mike, you just don't know what you're talking about. Cuba and China regularly respond to Amnesty's reports and the fact that they pay attention to them shows that they have an impact.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 08:29:55

Message:
A few years ago, Amnesty International USA put out a publication titled AI in Quotes. It was a collection of responses from governments throughout the world regarding specific Amnesty International activities. If I can find my copy Ill be happy to supply you with some of the responses.

Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch exist solely on the basis of donations and grants. They receive no financial support from any government. For them to receive such donations they have to be credible. The fact that AI has existed for more than forty years and Human Rights Watch for more than twenty-five years rests solely on two causes: 1.) The fact that some governments continue to engage in human rights abuses and 2.) their credibility. If they had no credibility and no impact they would receive no support.

As far as mentioning China and Cuba, the US Congress, the UN, the OAS and several US Presidents have not been able to change the records of these intractable governments. The fact that AI and HRW have not been able to should come as no surprise. Indeed, I could give you several examples of nations where AI has had a positive impact on human rights: Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Chad, India, Israel, Morocco, Czechoslovakia, the USSR (yes I know these last two nations no longer exist), Iran, Haiti, Dominican Republic and East Timor. There are plenty of people who are grateful for the work of Amnesty International in these countries and would resoundingly reject your ad hominem attacks.

RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by isobel
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 09:34:41

Message:
Hi All!

I'm brazilian and it's not surprised me since that I know persons that have stayed in the same situation when travelled there. A friend of mine that is Brazilian but Chinese descendant went to China in january of this year only to visit the place where his family have lived but, the fly stopped in Los Angeles and his experience was so traumatic that made a lot of friends of us change their plans of vacation travel. It's only an example. On newspapers, some months ago, we were very shocked because they hurt a girl that went there to visit Disney, that was her dream of childhood.
Out of US, we know many things that happen there with foreigns that you won't see in your NEWS.

RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Patrick
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 09:41:17

Message:

I have a friend who works for the US Customs Service who told me that in any airport in the United States, until a traveller has concluded customs and immigration they are not legally in the United States. Furthermore, my friend told me, since they are not in the United States, they are not under the protection of the US Constitution. This applies to both US citizens and non-US citizens.

I suppose that legally the person is still in their country of origin (Brazil), but is subject to US laws without US civil rights.

Whether Mr. Abude's particular horror story is accurate or not is beside the point. Theoretically it could happen to anyone, apparently without any legal recourse. It seems that airports are a kind of no-man's land where anything goes.

If anyone out there knows more about this legal issue, if I've got this wrong, please enlighten me.

If Mr. Abude's story is correct, I wish him luck in seeking restitution, but it's probably futile.

RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 10:23:55

Message:
As far as AI, I know how they're funded and I've read a bunch of their reports. They're funded by a bunch of people that want to think they're doing something for the world, but don't want to ACTUALLY do anything. They don't really even have pull in the U.S. whose government and public opinion is the most dominated by people being loud to get their way.

As far as Cuba, they don't let AI in the country anymore.

As far as the U.S. trying to change China or Cuba, that's not our job.

As far as the INS, it's being abolished and replaced with two other government agencies so there are more checks and balances. Like I said before, this story very well could have happened since it was happening in Portland to Japanese business travelers for about a year. The only thing that would lead me to believe it wasn't a true story is how it's from a UK site.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 10:24:05

Message:
As far as AI, I know how they're funded and I've read a bunch of their reports. They're funded by a bunch of people that want to think they're doing something for the world, but don't want to ACTUALLY do anything. They don't really even have pull in the U.S. whose government and public opinion is the most dominated by people being loud to get their way.

As far as Cuba, they don't let AI in the country anymore.

As far as the U.S. trying to change China or Cuba, that's not our job.

As far as the INS, it's being abolished and replaced with two other government agencies so there are more checks and balances. Like I said before, this story very well could have happened since it was happening in Portland to Japanese business travelers for about a year. The only thing that would lead me to believe it wasn't a true story is how it's from a UK site.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 10:59:33

Message:
Your comments are just glittering generalities, Mike.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 12:38:40

Message:
As far as the US trying to change China and Cuba and make them more democratic, with the alternative being people stowing away on board ships that run aground off the coast of New York City or rafting the straits of Florida, risking their lives and putting a drain on our economic resources, it is most assuredly in our interests to encourage democracy and freedom in those countries to make staying there a better alternative than risking their lives and draining our resources in the US.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 13:45:41

Message:
With a country like Cuba or China, the only way to change them is by force and having less stowaways is not worth the cost.

And when's the last time you heard in the news "After being under pressure from AI, the government of (insert country here) did (anything)..."?
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 14:04:11

Message:
I often hear about AI reports having an impact. If you choose to do nothing but curse the darkness rather than light a candle, that's you prerogative.

Force is not the only way to change things in these countries.

As far as Cuba goes, my sister is a schoolteacher in Miami. She hasn't received a raise in years, in large part because of the drain on resources that the Cuban Adjustment Act causes in South Florida.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 16:25:39

Message:
"If you choose to do nothing but curse the darkness rather than light a candle, that's you prerogative."

That's an ironic statement considering AI is all about "cursing the darkness". All they do is talk about how horrible every country is. All the reports I've read pretty much say "this government is bad because they do this and this. Don't do this and this anymore or we'll write another bad report next year."

Calling them won't fix U.S. Airports and the INS. It'll just get another paragraph in next year's report and some mean looks.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Thursday, May 16, 2002 at 11:08:03

Message:
Wrong again. It's all about shining a light into the crevices of human rights abuses, getting information out and motivating people to act on it.

Like water dripping on a stone, slowly and steadily making progress.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Thursday, May 16, 2002 at 18:51:27

Message:
...or annoying the stone.

"Your government is unjust and cruel so do something about it or we'll right more mean stuff next year" isn't motivation of action.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Thursday, May 16, 2002 at 18:51:32

Message:
...or annoying the stone.

"Your government is unjust and cruel so do something about it or we'll right more mean stuff next year" isn't motivation of action.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by liberdade
On Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 11:25:51

Message:
Reading the original post, I can only conclude, "What a load of horse shit."

I wouldn't deny that a few isolated cases of mistreatment have occurred. But there is nothing happening on the scale that our virulently anti-American poster claims.


RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Randy Paul
On Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 14:20:23

Message:
Just don't know what you're talking about, BM.
RE: Atrocities in American Airports
Posted by Big Mike
On Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 21:56:38

Message:
Yeah, me and Cuba.

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