Yesterday I mentioned to a British friend my concern (in the light of Trump’s edict banning arrivals from certain countries), that all our political views are frankly on record on social media outlets.
I said ‘It only takes a few minutes to judge a person’s political stance by checking their Facebook or Twitter accounts.’ He thought I was absurd to be concerned. He hasn’t lived in the States or used Facebook so perhaps is not aware of the extent to which people express their views, or that Big Brother is likely reading their mail.
This morning I read in British Telegraph.co.uk news on line that many passengers were delayed at American airports emanating from seven named countries and some were not allowed to board planes in the first place. (This list did not include Saudi Arabia from whence came the 9/11 terrorists.) Even Muslim Green Card holders were scrutinized, who have already gone through extensive checks to achieve their status. While their greeters waited several hours for them to be vetted (one 70 year old widow visiting her son was held for twelve hours), demonstrators against the anti-Muslim ban gathered to protest and support the travelers and greeters.
Delays and protests were described in Boston, New York, Washington and San Francisco. A BBC World Service journalist, Ali Hamedani, British citizen born in Iran, was questioned and delayed at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport after a flight from London’s Heathrow for two hours while they searched his belongings, took his phone and insisted on his password so they could check his Twitter account.
The British Foreign Office has since been told by the US that extra checks would be performed on UK citizens only if they were dual nationals traveling from one of seven countries which are predominantly Muslim. Trump’s Muslim ban makes literally no sense: it bans people from countries whose citizens have never attacked the United States.
Ali Hamedani said ‘It wasn’t pleasant at all. To be honest with you, I was arrested back in Iran in 2009 because I was working for the BBC and felt the same this time.’
Mr Hamedani said he was met by protesters after making it through security. ‘The very touching moment was when I came out into the arrival hall. I have met more than 50 people, most of them Americans, and they hugged me and they welcomed me and they were trying to say “This is not the real America, we are the real American people.”’