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German NSA Critic Denied Entry To the US 352

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the skynet-doesn't-like-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Major newspapers in Germany (FAZ, Die Welt, SZ, ...) and the Huffington Post report that the author Ilja Trojanow has been prevented from boarding a plane from Salvador da Bahia to the U.S. where he was invited to attend a conference. He had ESTA documents showing that his visit was approved as part of the Visa Waiver Program and was last year given a visa to teach at the university of Saint Louis. Trojanow was one of the initiators of an open letter (Google translation to English) urging Chancellor Merkel to take actions against NSA surveillance in Germany."
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German NSA Critic Denied Entry To the US

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  • Arm Bands (Score:3, Interesting)

    by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:17AM (#45013589) Homepage Journal

    Since we are going full-on Totalitarian Police State, can we get cool Hugo Boss suits with colorful arm bands?
    Time for DHS/FEMA to start filling up those Concentration Camps they've been building.

    • Re:Arm Bands (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lennier1 (264730) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:23AM (#45013657)

      The ones left over from when they imprisoned Americans of Japanese ancestry?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Since we are going full-on Totalitarian Police State, can we get cool Hugo Boss suits with colorful arm bands?
      Time for DHS/FEMA to start filling up those Concentration Camps they've been building.

      This is nothing new. I know a few people who were denied entry into the USA, none of them could think of a reason why and the embassy never gives a reason. All of these people are University graduates, all have clean criminal records, none of them was planning to the US on a tourist visa and stay illegally nor does any of them have ties to Al Qaeda... they aren't even moslems. The closest I have found to a reason is an engineer buddy of mine who was invited to an all expenses paid technical conference by a

  • Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:18AM (#45013597)
    This pretty much blows away the "trust the government - it would never abuse its power" argument the apologists like to trot out so readily.
    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

      by usuallylost (2468686) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:25AM (#45013693)

      Nothing you can do will bring about a faster or harsher reaction from Government than challenging their power. This is true of any Government. Though the US seems to be getting harsher and harsher about it.

      • by SirGarlon (845873)

        Though the US seems to be getting harsher and harsher about it.

        My diagnosis is that these are the desperate throes of a doomed regime.

      • Though the US seems to be getting harsher and harsher about it.

        It's a declining empire, it's going to do more and more ridiculous things to maintain it's position at the top of the heap.

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:46AM (#45013943) Journal

      Wrong on both counts there. For one, that's not an argument trotted out by anyone. It's a blatant strawman. I know of the argument you're referring to, and it's more complicated than that.

      For two, even if it were an argument, this doesn't even refute it. You've had a suspicious event and a possible explanation that fits your worldview handed to you. The entire "refutation" comes from confirmation bias.

      Not that I should have to say this, but please note I'm not saying the government is trustworthy. Power in the hands of humanity is inherently untrustworthy, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find people who disagree there. I'm also not saying that the government isn't doing something shady here, or the explanation you've leapt to is wrong. But, for the sake human rationality, please think before leaping to conclusions.

      • by Kohath (38547)

        Power in the hands of humanity is inherently untrustworthy.

        Can we stop concentrating power then? How about if we keep more power with individuals? Since the government has a military and a police force and uses violence and threats against people who oppose them, they should be the last "inherently untrustworthy" humans who should ever be allowed more power.

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by smash (1351) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:57AM (#45014105) Homepage Journal

      I know it must be hard for some of you guys who have lived there all your life being brainwashed from birth all through school, etc - but your constitution and the right to bear arms was written specifically because the founding fathers wanted to ensure that you guys had an option if you didn't trust your government.

      You've kept the right to bear arms bit so far, but it's about time you got around to that holding your government accountable to the people bit.

      • You know that the U.S. Constitution really hasn't mattered ever since Lincoln wiped his ass with it and went to war with half the nation, right? The people who took up the option you allude to lost and this nation has been federalist in name only since the end of the Civil War. The government has just used more perverse interpretations of the Constitution since that time. For example, look at like 99% of the federal laws that rely on the Commerce Clause as their justification for existence.

        At some point a n

        • by smash (1351)

          And this is my point. The founding fathers clearly could foresee this sort of thing happening and wrote into the constitution provisions for the people to oust a hostile government. For all the harping on a lot of people do about your rights over there, there's been a distinct lack of action with regards to keeping your government in check.

          You can't have it both ways. If you want those rights, you need to ensure those in charge uphold them. And if they don't take action.

          The fact that you guys have

        • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Lithdren (605362) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @11:48AM (#45014777)

          Ahh yes, exactly what we need. A dead document on delivery that lays out whats allowed and what's not, whatever happends next be damned.

          The constitution was written the way it was for some very good reasons. What do you suppose is going to exist, say 100 years from now? Do you think 100 years ago anyone forsaw 3d printing? The Internet? Cell Phones? Nuclear weapons? Jet Fighters that can exceed the speed of sound?

          If you write a document like that, ridged, unforgiving, you end up with something that works for about 10 years then needs to be rewritten. Abstract interpretation is very important. Its also clearly a huge problem when people take things like "secure in your papers in effects" to not cover things like Email and IM conversations, but thats more because we're a bunch of corrupt jerks than anything else.

          We're just experiencing the very thing they forsaw when they wrote this thing, eventually people will corrupt anything you give them. Eventually, you're left with little choice than to take over and redo large parts of the goverment. The nice part is we have legal, non-lethal means to do that, right now. The problem is they're not being used, yet. It remains to be seen if they ever will be.

    • This pretty much blows away the "trust the government - it would never abuse its power" argument the apologists like to trot out so readily.

      Who the hell are those people? The only people I've heard make that argument were congressmen and pundits who religiously support their party.

  • by skydyr (1404883) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:20AM (#45013621)

    You can thank the NSA for stopping this wanton criminal before he can enter the US.

  • Sigh ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by hweimer (709734) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:24AM (#45013683) Homepage

    ... the story only shows that German media outlets are not familiar with US entry regulations. He says that he was denied a visa last year [], which automatically disqualifies him from the visa waiver program. This is just a garden-variety ESTA issue, and most likely has nothing to do with his stance of the NSA surveillance.

    • Re:Sigh ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Immostlyharmless (1311531) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:34AM (#45013791)
      "Even last year was the American Consulate in Munich my application for a work visa for the purpose of visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis first negative opinion and only after protests by the university and a significant delay, which could pass a portion of the semester useless, the visa is issued."

      From googles translate, but it doesn't to me like he was denied as it was eventually issued?
    • by aepervius (535155) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:39AM (#45013845)
      "Schon vergangenes Jahr hatte das amerikanische Konsulat in München meinen Antrag auf ein Arbeitsvisum zum Zwecke einer Gastprofessur an der Washington University in St. Louis zuerst negativ beschieden und erst nach Protesten der UniversitÃt und einer erheblichen VerzÃgerung, die einen Teil des Semesters nutzlos vergehen lieÃY, das Visum erteilt"

      Already last year had firstly denied the american consulat in Munic the request for work visa as guest professor in university st louis, and only after protest of the university et delay , with which made a part of the semester useless , gave the visa.

      Therefore this is all US BS.
    • What are you talking about? The article you link to doesn't say anywhere that his visum was denied. It says he had a printed confirmation that his ESTA status said "authorization approved".

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      You mean secret police state like no fly list?

      Is that what you are calling garden variety, comrade?

    • Re:Sigh ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @11:06AM (#45014221) Journal

      No, being denied a visa does not make you ineligible for the visa waiver program. You are however cautioned that if the immigration officer determines you're coming on a visa waiver to do whatever it was you needed a visa for, you can be denied entry.

      I've been denied a visa in the past (and just like this German guy, my visa was ultimately issued after some extra paperwork round-trips) but I've never had any trouble entering the US under the visa waiver program.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:25AM (#45013689)

    Probably more due to the fact that there simply isn't anyone around to process his visa and let him into the country.

  • by o'reor (581921) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:47AM (#45013959) Journal
    A guy by the name of Ilja Trojanow (which could be translated as "Elijah Trojan") gets barred from entering the US by the NSA ? Really ?

    Sorry, but barring Trojans from entering your systems is just basic computer security.

    • by Arker (91948)
      Actually I think that translates to "Elijah Trojanson" but it's probably close enough for funny.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Yep, keeping those Trojans out is a vital security measure, as discovered the hard way by King Menelaus of Sparta.

  • Misleading article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravis777 (123605) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @11:16AM (#45014355)


    "The woman told me curtly and without emotion that entry to the United States was being denied to me - without giving any reason," Trojanow told the German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Tuesday.

    It then later says that his co-author CLAIMS he was denied entry for his views. At no point does the article state why he was denied entry. Tying it to the NSA is the European Media trying to make a story out of nothing. It is largely an opinion piece based on very little evidence.

    As for the Huffington Post article - well, it IS the Huffington Post. Whether you trust them or not is really more of where your personal views stand.

    There just really is not enough information given. He was denied entry. That is all we know. Everything else is circumstancial evidence.

  • Who is in it now?

  • by SirDrinksAlot (226001) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @11:30AM (#45014517) Journal

    “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” - John Basil Barnhill 1914
    In 1914 who could have predicted the NSA? Today it would write “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is the NSA. America is what you get when you have both"

  • Apologists, please extract your heads from your own asses before your fellow citizens are compelled to do it for you. The NSA and many, many other revelations have firmly ripped away the curtain you're trying so very very hard to clutch about your loins. If we ever had representative democracy in this country, it is now surely gone. All of us have to take the measure of our own hearts and decide how much we're willing to do to get it back. Me, I'll gladly give my life if it means my kids won't grow up s

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.