ICE Redefines Detainment For Wikileaks Helper: You're Not Being Detained, You Just Can't Leave

from the our-government-at-work dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about computer security expert, Tor developer and Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum, who was regularly being detained and intimidated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials each time he (a US citizen) traveled into the country. If you follow Jacob's Twitter feed, you get detailed descriptions each time he flies back into the country of the hassles he has to go through. Every time he's detained and never once given an explanation for why or what is being searched for. He's often lied to and frequently told that it's a "random" search. He certainly knows enough that he wipes all of his electronic equipment before traveling across the border.

In the latest case, upon returning from a conference in Europe by flying into Houston, Appelbaum again asked his detainers why he was being detained, and was once again not given a straight answer. He knows that there's something on the screen that they pull up on their computers, but they refuse to provide him with any info. This time, they even went so far as to redefine detainment, telling him that he wasn't being detained, but that he just couldn't go until they were done with him. Perhaps he should send Homeland Security a copy of a dictionary with the definition of "detained" highlighted.

Of course, this is also the same Jacob Appelbaum whom the US government has been secretly requesting information on from various online service providers, as the US government seeks to make its case against Wikileaks. Is it really so difficult for the US government to be upfront with Appelbaum about why he's being detained? Is it really a matter of national security that they can't say "hey, look, the Justice Department is frantically trying to find something -- anything -- that can be used in a case against Wikileaks, and we're coming up blank, so we're going to search your computer equipment based on nothing, just in case you might have something in there that we can use to prosecute Julian Assange."

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2011 @ 9:50am

    Re: Papers, please.

    Honestly, this could not be farther from the truth. The more you learn about our dealings with the 3rd world, the nations we are at war with, the foreign slave labor done for our corporations, the domestic slave labor done in our private prisons (in which we cage more people, mostly nonviolent drug offenders, than any other nation), the crazy amount of religious indoctrination at every corner, the privacy violations of innocents, the human rights violations of prisoners, the amount of ignorant nationalism pushed through airwaves, speaking of which, the amount of propaganda pushed through by corporate media is nowhere close to that of state-owned/public channels elsewhere...

    What freedom does anyone speak of? Don't tell me I'm free to say what I've just said, I've met locals who've said far less than this and have gotten a hold of over-100 page fbi files detailing surveillance of their homes and guests. Big, Fascist, Corporatist, Militarist Brother is watching you.

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