Peter Watts attacked by US border guards

Signal boost.

While returning from a trip to the US (in other words, going to Canada) on December 8th, Canadian SF author Peter Watts was attacked, beaten, pepper-sprayed, and imprisoned without access to legal counsel by the US Border Patrol.

See also his post on the subject.

The government's case has obviously not yet been presented. However, given the past behavior of the US Department of Homeland Security, I find Watts's description of the event entirely credible.

This is an outrage. This is the kind of thing that happens in third-world dictatorships.

See also Making Light and Boing Boing.

John Scalzi's post has information on how to donate money to Watts to get through this legal fight. I will be giving him money. I also plan on calling my US Representative and Senators when I'm no longer at work, as this sort of treatment of a Canadian citizen warrants a Congressional investigation and heads rolling, not only at the agent level but at the Homeland Security management level.

Even apart from basic questions of human rights, Homeland Security is going to systematically destroy the tourist industry in the United States if this sort of behavior is not stomped on immediately and severely. There are border patrol guards who are probably still on duty today who are common criminals and belong in prison for assault.

ETA: The government's side of the story (now a dead link). This is pretty much what I expected, and with the data available so far, I feel confirmed in my initial reaction. This level of force is completely disproportional and flatly unacceptable short of Watts pulling a weapon on the agents, which they are not claiming that he did and which therefore he clearly didn't do.

I'm highly skeptical of this supposed "choking" of a police officer after they pepper-sprayed him. This reads like the standard cover-your-ass charges filed by the police after they beat someone up. Once they've provoked the struggle by grabbing you and have done something as painful and disorienting as pepper-spraying you, chances are you're going to physically react in ways that they can conveniently misinterpret and use as the basis for charges.

People elsewhere have pointed out that contacting Congressional representatives is probably better done Monday morning since nothing will happen during the weekend.

Posted: 2009-12-11 13:41 — Why no comments?

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04