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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 click2005 (921437) * on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:40PM (#41797531)

    "our dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people, and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband,"

    Nice sound byte accusing him of being a terrorist without actually saying it.

    Every time I see this kind of thing it just confirms that the biggest threat to peace and the ones creating racial intolerance and hatred are the US Government.

    • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:24PM (#41797943) Homepage

      Every time I see this kind of thing it just confirms that the biggest threat to peace and the ones creating racial intolerance and hatred are the US Government.

      How exactly is that flamebait? Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, that's what a lot of people outside the U.S. think.

      When Customs starts interrogating foreign lawmakers over their political positions, it's only going to make that perception worse.

      • It's not cricket! (Score:5, Informative)

        by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @06:31PM (#41799579) Journal
        Yes, it will make the US look bad because this wouldn't have happened to Imran in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand. The guy is a legendary cricket player, there are few people in these nations who have not heard of him, most of us already know about his charitable work and his peaceful political ambitions. He wants his people to stop dying, shooting a young girl in the face because here farther advocates education for girls, or bombing her from above because her father wants to shoot school girls, sure the motives are different but it's the same outcome from where he stands.

        For our US friends, the term "it's not cricket" means it's unfair.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:43PM (#41798095) Journal

      "our dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people, and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband,"

      Nice sound byte accusing him of being a terrorist without actually saying it.

      Every time I see this kind of thing it just confirms that the biggest threat to peace and the ones creating racial intolerance and hatred are the US Government.

      Unfortunately, it also seems like a strikingly incompetent thing to do, even if you adopt the 'the US can do whatever it feels like' school of international relations... The guy is a fairly high profile politician, if ICE wants to know what his views are, all they have to do is crack a newspaper, ask the state department, or both. Not Hard. If there is some suspicion that there is more there than meets the eye, a couple of hours in some dingy airport getting harassed by customs goons certainly isn't going to find it, and is certainly far less subtle and more offensive than more effective ways of gathering intelligence.

      So, provoke an incident with Pakistan, a country with which we can barely pretend to be even frenemies with these days, in exchange for absolutely no gain? Um, good work there, guys...

    • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:53PM (#41798165)

      EDITORS WILL YOU PLEASE FIX THE STORY TITLE. This should be:Imran Khan detained by US customs over opposition to drone strikes as in the original submission, or if you prefer Pakistani politician..., but not Pakastani...

  • 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?

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:45PM (#41797577) Homepage

    I can't find it on the map. So embarassed. I hope we're not at war with it; I'd hate to be that stereotypical American.

  • Thugs. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:46PM (#41797583)

    Translation: "You have freedom of speech but we don't like your opinion, so we'll make you miss your plane and then let you go. Like that, we can claim to the world that you have the freedom to express your opinions, when in reality what we're pulling off is wrongful arrest."

    FYI I'm not flying to the U.S. anytime soon even if they paid me to.

    • by gagol (583737)

      FYI I'm not flying to the U.S. anytime soon even if they paid me to.

      This is my policy since PATRIOT act. Even more so since NDAA... Land of the free (to do what we tell you), home of the (not) brave (enough to kick the rich out of power).

      • Re:Thugs. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by boorack (1345877) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:11PM (#41797835)
        This is also my policy since 9/11. From european POV post-9/11 United States seems to be half-way between civilzed country and banana-republic-style police state. This also applies to freedom of speech and amount of bullshit propaganda - compare Fox News with any mainstream european media and you'll see huge difference. Do something with this folks ! You're losing your freedoms and your country way faster than you think !
    • You might not be given the choice if you're suddenly on a list somewhere....

    • 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 oobayly (1056050) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:47PM (#41797605)

    Seriuosly , how much lower can the US go, now questioning politicians from allied countries over their views.

    • Allied? LOL. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HornWumpus (783565) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:59PM (#41797699)

      Pakistan says it's our ally because otherwise we would take/destroy their nukes.

      We're going to take them anyhow, just not today. We already 'helped' them secure the warheads.

      Don't pretend for a second that anybody believes the fiction. The Saudis, Pakis, Egyptians etc are not our allies. We're just keeping them 'closer then our friends'.

    • by thePig (964303) <rajmohan_h@yMOSCOWahoo.com minus city> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:09PM (#41797805) Journal

      Another factor here is that Imran Khan is one of the few politicians who stands up against extremism. He was previously the captain of their cricket team (and a very capable player and leader - I must say), and was even then known for his secular, non-conformist views and opinions. Of all the people from Pakistan to detain, he should be the last.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Nonsense. Imran Khan has taken many extreme positions.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/14/imran-khan-taliban-afghanistan-islam [guardian.co.uk]

        • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @03:44PM (#41798519)

          I think his words were twisted there - he said - "It is very clear that whoever is fighting for their freedom is fighting a jihad ". That does not mean he endorses the Taliban's world view, far from it, just that he understands the motivation for fighting a foreign invader, and is playing to a complex home crowd. In fact he's been threatened with assassination by the Taliban in the past, has been strongly critical of them and went to visit the girl recently shot by them (he wouldn't go near that if he wanted to support them, they explicitly told him he was not welcome, but he went anyway). Just because he's not willing to condemn everyone fighting the Americans in Afghanistan does not make him a war monger. Here is the full quote, minus the editorialising from the guardian (who want page views after all):

          “In the guise of the Taliban, there are several criminal gangs who didn’t even spare PTI workers by demanding extortion money.” The PTI chief said that “drone attacks are carried out with the consent of the government, and in reaction, Taliban attack civilians.” Citing an ex-employee of the US Central Intelligence Agency, he said that unless the Pakistani government withdraws its support as a coalition partner on the ‘war on terror’ it will be unable to overcome the insurgency in the country. “A military operation can be a small part of a larger solution but a conflict cannot be resolved through military operations alone,”.

          If you discredit the moderate voices like Khan's you're left with the extremists like the Taliban, or Musharraf - really the west should be trying to work with moderates like him, not intimidate him into silence or funding dictators like Musharraf and the ISI who have channelled funds to these terrorists everyone is so keen to profess hatred for. It's no coincidence that Bin Laden was hiding in plain site in Pakistan, and more terrorism targeting US troops will be funded by Pakistan (and thus indirectly the US) until the US look for a political solution rather than performing drone assassinations, indiscriminately showering the Pakistani military and security services with money and hoping it will all just go away.

  • Customs abuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:49PM (#41797613) Homepage

    The US seems to have a nasty habit of using customs officials to put pressure on people it doesn't like. Customs is unique because you pretty much have to cooperate or you won't get into the country, and it is difficult to arrange to get a lawyer.

    • One can only conclude that the US government sees Freedom of Speech as a uniquely American right. Which is just plain wrong.
      • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:42PM (#41798079) Journal
        From past stories it seems that US customs have no qualms about harassing "unpatriotic" US citizens either. But it's true: customs (and not just the US one) have the power to harass and detain, and you pretty much have zero legal recourse if for example you miss your flight. Even regular police are more accountable for their actions (as they should be).
  • Beyond pale (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aepervius (535155) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:53PM (#41797649)
    "USA , freedom of speech as long as you agree with us" if it happened as reported then it should be the new motto of the USA.
  • 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 pete6677 (681676)

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

      Then he would still be over there. Pakistan has a far far worse human rights record than the US, despite UN assertions to the contrary

  • Dishonest (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @01:57PM (#41797679)

    If Americans really don't want to let this guy in there are diplomatic ways to do so. They should've declared him a persona non grata before the incident. That would've been an honest way of dealing with the situation, most people would've understood that they don't want an Al-Qaeda supporter in their country, and the guy wouldn't have got free popularity back at home out of it.

    • Re:Dishonest (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbone (558574) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:30PM (#41797985)

      If Americans really don't want to let this guy in there are diplomatic ways to do so. They should've declared him a persona non grata before the incident. That would've been an honest way of dealing with the situation, most people would've understood that they don't want an Al-Qaeda supporter in their country, and the guy wouldn't have got free popularity back at home out of it.

      I do agree with you that the President and the Secretary of State should set diplomatic policy, not some agent at the counter. However, I don't think they would support this. This person should be our friend. This is not the way to go about achieving that.

      Imran Khan (an ex-professional cricket player) is no more Al Qaeda than is Ron Paul. (He is frequently described as Pakistan's Ron Paul.) He has a fairly classic liberal agenda. (Note that classic liberalism is the basis of our system of government.) He is explicitly against the Taliban.

      Yes, he is also against drone strikes. That is a widespread sentiment in Pakistan. Heck, I believe that some politicians (even, dare I say, Ron Paul) feel the same way here.

      Note also that Al Qaeda is against sports and the Taliban shut down all sports in the territory they controlled, at least up until recently. Knowing that, you might even think that they would threaten to kill a Paikistani politician who played sports and espoused liberal values. You would be correct [indianexpress.com].

      We should probably apologize to the guy, and should certainly welcome him into the country. One does not have to agree with everything a friend says to recognize them as a friend.

  • 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.
  • don't forget this (Score:4, Informative)

    by andy1307 (656570) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:45PM (#41798107)
    He's also justified the taliban's actions as jihad [guardian.co.uk].

    Afghan politicians have reacted with disbelief, with one parliamentarian suggesting Khan should be arrested. The Ulema Council, a grouping of senior clerics, declared his comments "unislamic". A Kabul foreign ministry spokesman said Khan was "either profoundly and dangerously ignorant about the reality in Afghanistan, or he has ill will against the Afghan people. "Our children are killed on daily basis, civilians killed and our schools, hospitals and infrastructure attacked on a daily basis. To call any of that jihad is profoundly wrong and misguided."

    So he's not on their radar just for his opposition to the drones...

    • Re:don't forget this (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbone (558574) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @03:14PM (#41798325)

      Maybe not, but it is a struggle against foreign occupation, which is what he said. Read the whole article.

      Also, his political party has a web site [insaf.pk], where you will find this [insaf.pk]

      Secondly, on the question of Taliban: again, a section of the media has distorted Imran Khan’s message. A letter does not provide the space to elaborate in totality his point of view but simply put, he does not subscribe to the militant ideology of any of the radical organisations. His point of view is that, instead of carrying out a virtual genocide in the tribal areas through a military campaign, a peace process be initiated in which the local tribes take the responsibility of maintaining peace and isolating those, who when isolated would be nothing more than criminals. Once they have been marginalised they can be dealt with.

      People like Mr Ijaz are a rare variety of liberals found only in Pakistan who actually want military operations, bombings, strafing and killings on a large-scale. Imran does not believe this solves anything. Indeed, he feels it adds to militancy because of the inevitable collateral damage. He is a national leader who believes in bringing all the people together, whatever their ethnicity or ideology. This is the core reason why people like the writer himself are so anguished by his rise.

      Look, I don't agree with everything I see there, or have heard about Mr. Khan, but he sure seems like someone we should be talking to, not shutting out.

    • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @03:58PM (#41798625)

      If foreigners invaded your country would you favor bowing down to them and allowing their conquest without a fight?

      When foreigners invade your country, you have every right to kill them. You have to be hopelessly propagandized to fail to recognize this.

  • USA... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @02:58PM (#41798201) Homepage

    USA; land of the [censored], home of the [redacted].

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @03:29PM (#41798411)

    http://www.economist.com/node/21564596 [economist.com]

    ON OCTOBER 9th Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, a grouping of Islamist militants also known as the Pakistani Taliban, shot a 14-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, in the head. Claiming responsibility for the attack, the Pakistani Taliban said that it had targeted her because she promoted a Westernised and secular vision.

    As it happened, the shooting came on the heels of a two-day “peace march” against American drone aircraft targeting suspected Islamist militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas close to the border with Afghanistan. At the head of a cavalcade that moved slowly from the capital, Islamabad, to the edge of the tribal areas was Imran Khan, star cricketer turned politician. Mr Khan demanded the end of missile strikes by American drones and an end to Pakistan’s own military operations against its home-grown Taliban. Instead, Mr Khan advocates unconditional peace talks with the militants.

    Mr Khan is firmly against violent extremism, and the attack on Malala sickened him as much as anyone. He called her “a courageous daughter of Pakistan”. But, asked on television to condemn the Pakistani Taliban, he answered: “Who will save my party workers if I sit here and give big statements against the Taliban?”

    Mr Khan’s position is that Taliban violence is a reaction to American drones and to the American presence in Afghanistan. That hardly explains why the Pakistani Taliban targeted a schoolgirl, and warned that they would go after her again if she survived. Nor does anything suggest that the Pakistani Taliban are interested in dialogue with Imran Khan or the current government. Indeed, their clearly stated agenda is to take over Pakistan and impose a medievalist Islam on the country, sharing an ideology with al-Qaeda that sees most fellow Muslims as apostates, justifying their killing.

    Mr Khan has made drones and peace talks a central plank of his politics. He insists that drones largely kill innocent civilians. Given that the drone strikes take place in tribal badlands that are a no-go area for outsiders, it is impossible to know the true level of civilian casualties. According to a tally by the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, based on press reports from Pakistan, the drones have killed nearly 3,200 people since 2004, with a non-militant casualty rate of some 15%. American military men claim the rate is much lower. Militants killed by drones include the former Pakistani Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, and the “butcher of Swat”, Ibn Amin. Nearly all of al-Qaeda’s top commanders have also been killed. By comparison with innocent casualties from drones, the Pakistani Taliban and their allies have killed 14,427 civilians and 4,670 soldiers and police in Pakistan since 2003, according to figures kept by the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

    Since late last year Mr Khan has enjoyed a surge in his popularity as a politician, propelling him to the lead position in a poll six months ago by the International Republican Institute, an American pollster. Mr Khan’s promise of change and of a new politics, much needed, that is free from corruption went down well. But now the same institute puts his party, Tehreek-e-Insaf, in second place, with 24% support, four points behind Mr Sharif’s outfit.

    This year the surge in support for Mr Khan led well-known politicians from mainstream parties to join him. Now people are starting to question whether change can come through these establishment recruits. With an election due at some point in the next few months, Mr Khan’s predictions of a landslide victory are starting to look less convincing.

  • by Revotron (1115029) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @03:46PM (#41798539)
    The plight of the drone community will not improve until we recognize their fundamental rights to organize and strike in the face of increasing adversity. We must come together and demand higher drone wages and safer working conditions!
  • Shameful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @04:03PM (#41798659)

    There are no words that condemn drone strikes strongly enough. It is ultimate evil, weak, and cowardly thing to do. The US kills non-combatants in drone strikes. It's justification is that any adult male is a combatant unless proven otherwise. Anyone who fails to oppose drone strikes is a terrorist.

    And it goes without saying, that America stands for nothing if they try to keep people out on the basis of their political speech.

  • Leave him alone. (Score:5, Informative)

    by oob (131174) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @04:40PM (#41798897)

    American insularity is an issue here.

    As some of the above posters have noted, Imran Khan was a cricketer. A very good one.

    Good enough to be a household name around the cricket-playing world. Australia, the U.K., South Africa, New Zealand, the West Indies, most of the sub-continent. Around two billion people I'd guess.

    While to the American public he's just another 'sand nigger' or 'towel head' or whatever other pejorative is in vogue, to much of the rest of the English-speaking world he is a well-known and widely-respected personality.

    We know this guy. He's more one of us than you lot are.

  • by awilden (110846) on Sunday October 28, 2012 @04:47PM (#41798947)
    Imran Khan is a superstar politician that has no cultural equivalent in the United States. He's also somebody who has strong ties to the West, including going to Oxford University, having married a Brit and having been Chancellor of a British university. So this is not a dodgy politician who is rising to power in the hopes of enforcing Sharia law on the world. This guy is exactly the kind of person who could be and should be a strong ally for the West in Pakistan. On the other hand, if you wanted to find a way to alienate Pakistani moderates and those with ties to the West, this would be somebody to try and humiliate.

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