I saw a diary over at Dkos that highlights the ordeals of Nalini Ghuman, a Welsh musician and musicologist whose nigthmare experience with the Department of Homeland Security has been detailed in the New York Times this morning in this article
Ms. Ghuman, a Welsh citizen, had done her PhD studies at UC Berkely and was working at Mills College in the Bay on a visa, but was detained last August at the airport in San Francisco upon returning from a brief visit from Britain. I’ll provide some snips below.
This story reeks of fascism and we cannot allow this shit to stand. We must fight the government and the DHS for this behavior.
Ms. Ghuman said that officers tore up her H-1B visa, which was valid through May 2008, defaced her British passport, and seemed suspicious of everything from her music cassettes to the fact that she had listed Welsh as a language she speaks. A redacted government report about the episode obtained by her lawyer under the Freedom of Information Act erroneously described her as ‘Hispanic.’
Held incommunicado in a room in the airport, she was groped during a body search, she said, and was warned that if she moved, she would be considered to be attacking her armed female searcher. After questioning her for hours, the officers told her that she had been ruled inadmissible, she said, and threatened to transfer her to a detention center in Santa Clara, Calif., unless she left on a flight to London that night.
She was not allowed to contact the British Consulate. She was not given any reason for her detention.
‘They told me I was nobody, I was nowhere and I had no rights,’ she said. ‘For the first time, I understood what the deprivation of liberty means.’
As Ms. Ghuman tells it, the officers said they did not know why she was being excluded. They suggested that perhaps a jilted lover or envious colleague might have written a poison pen letter about her to immigration authorities, she said, or that Mills College might have terminated her employment without telling her. The notions are unfounded, she said.
One officer eventually told her that her exclusion was probably a mistake, and advised her to reapply for a visa in London after a 10-day wait. But it took more than eight weeks for her file to be transferred to the United States Embassy in London, in part because of routine anthrax screening at the State Department.
Now, over a year later, the ‘mistake’ has still not been resolved. There is more information about Ms. Ghuman’s case at the website of the American Musicology Society. There are guidelines there for writing letters of support if interested.
The jackboots, y’all… the jackboots.
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.