Tue
Apr 27 2010 4:46pm

Sometimes, we win.

This is a love story.

It might sound strange to read the assault on and subsequent arrest, trial, and felony conviction of Peter Watts described as such. As I wrote in my letter to the governor:

On March 19, 2010, a jury of Port Huron residents convicted Canadian marine biologist and writer Peter Watts, Ph. D. for felony non-compliance when dealing with border guards at the Port Huron crossing. While leaving the United States on December 8, 2009, he was subject to an exit search. As a Canadian, he was unfamiliar with this process, and exited his vehicle to inquire about it. When he failed to re-enter the vehicle quickly enough, he was beaten, maced and arrested. But despite all that, despite the bruises (his face was purple) and the new roughness of his voice (the mace went down his nasal passages, scoring them like fresh meat) and the long wait for the jury to deliberate (“We’re running out of clean underwear,” Peter and Caitlin told me), the words “I love you,” have persisted on our lips and in our emails for the past five months. They were the only words that could possibly make the situation feel right.

You can get the facts of yesterday’s sentencing from David Nickle, who showed up at my apartment yesterday to drive us from Toronto to Port Huron. He came armed with a Supernatural-themed mix CD: CCR, Jefferson Airplane, Zeppelin, and yes, REO Speedwagon. We spent the three-hour drive whistling past the graveyard, singing off-key and trying not to take the raptors circling over the roadkill as omens. As Dave later explained, the music of Supernatural is the flashlight shone in the dark, the talisman clutched in moments of fear and doubt. I agree with his interpretation; I’m just not sure he was speaking solely about the Winchesters.

As an immigrant, I’m already a little phobic about border crossings. Knowing that we would be crossing the very spot where our friend was beaten to the ground only unsettled me further. In fact, when I told my mother that I would be making this trip, she gasped and begged me to be calm, be nice, keep my mouth shut. “Don’t give them any more information than you have to,” my husband told me. His mother grew up in Sarnia, the Canadian town across the river from Port Huron. His grandfather helped paint the Blue Water Bridge, the one we would be crossing. He’s made the crossing any number of times. Crossing the border is a lot like crossing the street: people do it every day, and most of the time it’s perfectly safe. But sometimes, someone gets hurt. This time, though, we were safe. The guard asked us where we were going and how we knew each other, and how I came to live in Canada. American border guards always ask me this. They seem so surprised that anyone would ever leave. They want to know the whole story. So I told it, and she waved us through.

Port Huron is a lot like a town in Supernatural. It’s very small, very quaint, with cute shopfronts and blossoming trees and a cutting wind coming up off the river. At night the trolls come out, and they comment on Peter’s blog, and they tell him they hope he gets raped. We phoned Peter and Caitlin, and they met us at the courthouse. I took the above photograph just before Caitlin’s parents, who made the crossing each time with them for Peter’s court dates, joined us. We were met at court by more of Peter’s friends, including one juror from the trial who had written a letter to the judge telling him she believed that he had been through enough, and that he did not deserve jail time for his failure to comply. There were about a dozen of us in all. We sat at the back. We held hands. We listened to the other sentencing hearings on the docket before Peter’s name was called, because the circuit court was a little bit behind.

It’s a little ironic that my first real experience of the American justice system came after I had already moved to another country. I thought so, at least, as I watched a troupe of men in their late teens to early thirties, some of them fathers or about to become fathers, talk to the judge about their attempts to regain control over their lives. A lot of them were on drugs. A lot of them needed public defenders. Many of those public defenders droned on and on and punctuated every sentence with Uh and Um. Between the time spent out of work and the fees they’ll pay to the court, most of these men will still be in poverty when they leave prison. It’s one thing to achieve an academic understanding of systemic poverty and its role in keeping the jails full, but it’s another thing to see men shuffling forward to face the court in baggy orange jumpsuits because they couldn’t make bail and no one they knew could scrape it up for them. These guys didn’t have a crowd of supporters waiting for them in the back. They didn’t have university or even high school educations. They had learning disabilities, we were told. The ones that Judge Adair granted lighter sentences to were the ones who had jobs.

Judge James Adair, who presided over the case and who would be granting the sentence, is sort of like your favourite teacher. He hated school, fell in love with the girl across the street, tried to be a prosecutor but didn’t much care for it, and now drives a little red Corvette around his tiny town, dodging questions at lunch counters from the very people whose lives he holds in his hands. He told us these things before he pronounced sentence, claiming that he couldn’t do his job without looking Peter in the eye one more time. He spoke very frankly, saying that he found Peter “puzzling,” and that he constantly had to ask himself, “Who is Peter Watts?”

At this point, I had to stifle a very Hermione Granger-ish urge to raise my hand and say, “I know! I know! Pick me! I know who Peter Watts is!” As I wrote at my own blog, Peter is “the person who dropped everything when I fainted at a blood donation clinic. The person who rescues cats. The person who fixed the strap of my dress with a safety pin and his teeth. The person who stands up for me in critiques even when he thinks I’ve fucked up the ending (because I always do), who talked me through the ideas of my novel. The person who gives the best hugs.”

I suspect Judge Adair would have told me that was very nice, thank you, and would I please have a seat?

It’s a good thing I didn’t pipe up. Sitting across the aisle from us was Andrew Beaudry, the American border security guard who left his post and ran thirty yards, baton in hand, when he saw his fellow employees surrounding Peter’s rental vehicle for an exit search. He was the one who testified that Peter had choked him, who tore Peter’s shirt and said the words “I'm going to pepper spray you, now,” before unloading all over Peter’s face. The morning of the sentencing, Beaudry was walking along the columns of cars making their way to American soil. He was there when Peter and Caitlin and Caitlin’s parents were pulled aside for a secondary search. He asked them how they were doing. Noting Peter’s brief absence during the search, he asked, “So, are you guys here alone?” This is the same man who, before the trial started, was overheard telling his friends: “He’ll get two years. Piece of cake.” He sat only a few steps away from me. I knew him from his nametag. He was a lot shorter than I had expected. I felt his eyes on us when Peter’s attorney, Doug Mullkoff, gestured to “Mr. Watts’ supporters in the courtroom” and all of us, as one, stood up.

Beaudry declined to make a victim impact statement. This was after Mr. Mullkoff protested the accuracy of the sentence recommendation report. The report called for Peter to serve six months in jail. It also listed him as an American citizen, over-stated his annual income, and elided his 92-year-old father (the one in the assisted living complex) from the record. Things like this are taken into account when someone faces time behind bars. In Peter’s case, Judge Adair was also asked to remember the fact that due to immigration laws, Peter’s felony conviction ensured he would never again enter the United States. He can’t attend conventions. He can’t visit his brother who lives there. He can’t even use the US as a connecting hub when flying overseas. Mr. Mullkoff asked that rather than follow the sentence recommendation, Judge Adair give Peter a fine instead with no jail time.

After Beaudry declined to comment, Judge Adair launched into a description of how he came to the sentence he was about to grant. He stressed the fact that our ladies and gentlemen in blue are under severe stress every single day. They have no idea whether they will be coming home each night. They’re understandably on edge. He also told a story about his own brother being picked up by police when both brothers were young. Their father instructed them to do as a police officer says, no matter what he says, and to do it fast. He then praised the jury’s ability to follow instructions properly, and lauded their decision to convict. “This is it,” Caitlin whispered. “He’s going to jail.”

Then Judge Adair remarked that of all the cases he’d heard in his twenty years as a judge, he had never been asked so many questions by so many people about his opinion. He said that he had strived to avoid going to outside sources of information about the case, and keep his judgment to what he knew from the court proceedings themselves. He also said that he did not have a sentence in mind when he came to court that morning. He wanted to make up his own mind. He wanted to see Peter face to face. He wanted to pick his brain.

“He’s going to let him go.” Dave said. “Watch.”

The thing about Dave is, he can really read people.

“I’m going with Mr. Mullkoff’s suggestion,” Judge Adair said, as two rows of people let their breath out. It’s hard to explain what those words meant to us, in that moment. The cold, cruel spectre of Peter’s time away from us, of the indignities and pain he would suffer, had vanished. The shadow that had stretched over us from that late December night when Caitlin told me that Peter needed our help, to this sunny April afternoon when she looked at me and said “He’s coming home...” could finally lift. The two of them would no longer have to wonder if each moment spent together would be their last. Caitlin’s daughters would not have to tell Peter their stories in letters. He would be home for the epic Canada Day barbecue at Dave’s house. I wouldn’t have to burst into tears, anymore, when I allowed myself to think about his future. My birthday was this previous Saturday, and I had gotten my wish: my brother, in spirit if not flesh, was free.

Peter stumbled down the aisle toward us, blinking. “He did say no jail time, right?”

We all said it at once: “Yes.”

This is a love story. This is the story of one man who had no idea how many people were in his corner. Not just the people standing up for him in court, or the ones who wrote letters to his judge or to the governor of Michigan, but the people all over the globe who donated to his legal fund, who bought his books, who talked about the case with their friends and neighbours, who blogged it and tweeted it and kept the conversation alive. This is your story, and it’s about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, about what we can do together when the situation is dire and a line has been crossed. What happened to Peter Watts could happen to any of us. I think that this realization galvanized the number of people that it did. If you were among them, this is your victory, too. The power of love is not a magical force that alters the laws of physics or even the laws of our nations. It is simply the power that brings empathy to our decisions and to our words, the things that make us who we are.

“That’s what lucky people like us have,” Dave told me, as I pushed home against the last of the winter wind. “But some people just don’t, and it makes them do terrible things.”

I leave you with one of Peter’s fellow writers and cat lovers, Ernest Hemingway: “If we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.”


Madeline Ashby is a member of Peter Watts and David Nickle’s workshop, the Cecil Street Irregulars. She came to Canada four years ago and has not looked back since.

52 comments
Soon Lee
1. SoonLee
I'm glad that Peter Watts did not get jailtime. It's the one positive from this whole screwed up case.
Marcus W
2. toryx
I'm really glad they didn't give him any jail time but the financial costs are still pretty ridiculous.

Back when I used to cross into Windsor from Michigan I often thought it was strange that, as an American, I always had an easier time passing into Canada than I did coming back into the U.S. The border guards were always colder, even threatening, and gave me the impression that one wrong word could come back to haunt me. I've never had that experience speaking with Canadian Border officials, before or after 911.

Come to think of it, traveling overseas is the same. There's just something about American customs officials that can make the hair on one's hackles rise.

I sure wish I could move to Canada.
dmg
3. dmg
The person who stands up for me in critiques even when he thinks I’ve fucked up the ending (because I always do)

Well, this ending is perfect, Madeline, and of the best type: a happy ending.

Thank you.
dmg
4. Teka Lynn
Thank you.
Ada Kerman
5. momerath
I thought I read on Locus that he did in fact get a felony conviction?
Ken Walton
6. carandol
Well, huzzah! A good end to a bad tale.
Madeline Ashby
7. MadelineAshby
@momerath: Yes, he was convicted. That is why he is no longer allowed to enter the United States. He just doesn't have to serve time there. The felony remains on his record, though, and he still has to provide things like a DNA sample, etc.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, everyone. I'll get back to the "Cowboy Bebop" re-watches soon, I promise.
dmg
8. Kristan Hoffman
Geez. I hate to say that I've heard nothing of this case before now, but I am so very glad it had a happy ending, and you wrote this wonderfully. I'm in tears, in fact. Thank you, and congrats.
dmg
9. proudinjun
Just wanted to drop a line and let you know... it was an honor to meet you. Peter is a very lucky man to have friends such as yourself. I know I was part of the legal "machine" that led to yesterday, but I had to do what I had to do. In that respect, everything I did after that verdict was reached I did because I HAD TO. I felt a moral obligation. You were very gracious in the way you treated me, and I appreciate and respect you for that. Thank you.
dmg
10. Fred X. Quimby
Frankly, Michigan is rife with xenophobia.
dmg
11. André Elias
I'm glad he didn't go to jail. :-) I hope you guys have some calm days for a change.
Boyd Waters
12. watersb
Thanks very much for letting us know the story. We cannot undo what was done. But I have hope that the right story can make it hurt a bit less. My words are stupid and can't encompass what I'm trying to express. I kicked in some lunch money for the legal defense. I'm glad the setencing worked out as well as it did.
Joris Meijer
13. jtmeijer
Thanks for this beautiful piece. At last some good news in this horrible situation.
dmg
14. Vellum
I'm thrilled at the outcome -- the best of the possible ones, at least. I'm sorry he won't be able to visit the US anymore though: any hope of a pardon?
dmg
15. SteveSauder
What a relief! I'm so happy that the judge saw the light of reason and didn't put Peter & Caitlin through anything more than what's already happened to them. It's a sad and somewhat terrifying story, but the ending this time, is a good one, thank God!
Samantha Brandt
16. Talia
Beautiful post, thank you.

Tho its still ludicrous he's now forever exiled from the U.S.
James Goetsch
17. Jedikalos
I am so glad. Thank you for letting us know about it in such a personal way. I am really , really, so glad.
dmg
18. Alexander von Thorn
I'm glad you and the others were there with and for Peter.

Speaking as a fellow immigrant from the same backward corner of the world, if you worry about crossing the border, get a Nexus card. I never worry now; in fact I crossed the border on Saturday just to go for dinner and then come back to Eeriecon. Plus there is the whole using the special lane when there's a traffic backlog at the bridge, or even the special Whirlpool Bridge, which is awesome in its own right.

Vampires at the Merril on Thursday. Maybe I'll meet you there.
Chris Meadows
19. Robotech_Master
Can't he appeal his conviction?

It's ridiculous he should be forever barred from returning to the USA due to his failure to understand what was going on when he was stopped at the border. If the jury had known about the doctrine of jury nullification, I can't believe he would ever have been convicted.
dmg
20. Gavino
Caitlin and Peter, I couldn't be happier for you both...I'm Caitlin's friend and I know how worried she has been throughout this whole process...Happy Birthday Caitlin!!!!
dmg
21. Foxessa
It's a crying shame that any of this happened.

It's rotten that he has to pay costs and fines and that disgusting assessment of 'victim's costs,' when the only victim here was Peter Watts.

And that he's now not allowed into the U.S. just stinks to high heaven.

I am so glad though that the judge didn't give him jail time and suspended everything he could suspend within the guidelines of the law.

But still, this is so rotten in Denmark.
Madeline Ashby
22. MadelineAshby
Wow, everyone! Thanks for your kind remarks and support. Thanks especially to ProudInjun: without her, you would probably be reading a very different post.

I know that a lot of people are curious about a possible pardon, but I'm not sure how those work. I think that's something that Peter and Doug will have to work out on their own. (Doug is a very smart guy, so I have every confidence that if it's possible, he can do it.) In the meantime, stay tuned to Peter's blog for news.

One thing I didn't say in this post was that for far too many people, this is everyday reality. There are a lot of families with their lives on hold, waiting for verdicts and sentences and hearings. A lot of them aren't as lucky to have the kind of support that Peter did in finding a great attorney like Doug, and they're stuck in limbo. I know, because I saw them. The kind of agony we experienced is also experienced by millions of people across America. During this chapter of our lives, I tried to remind myself of that fact. It was cold comfort, but that didn't make it any less true.

On a happier note, if anybody knows somebody on the Supernatural crew, send this their way. They're indirectly responsible for a lot of bad singing and a lot of good vibes that helped keep our spirits up. And now that this is over, I can finally re-watch the end of Season 3.
dmg
23. bec-87rb
Even if you'd never heard of these people and their woes, that's a wonderful photograph.
dmg
24. Leona L
I think this facet of the entire story is just as important as 'the main thread', so to speak. And I'm glad he had great people around him like you (and other selfless heroes like proudinjun above) and his loved ones and family physically there in person.
Joshua Starr
25. JStarr
@23: I agree.

I am so glad this ended up without jail time, and that by all accounts, even if it was misreported in much of the media, the people in the courtroom seemed reasonable.

I also want to thank proudinjun for having the courage and persistence to follow up and speak for Peter, from your position as juror, in such visible, important ways.
dmg
27. Renegade54
Darn shame what happened to Peter. These things should not happen to anyone but they do. I know and have worked with a lot of police officers and such and most are decent sorts. But I have run into a few bad ones. Since security has been heightened there seem to be more of them. Bottom of the barrel?

I have crossed many borders and even dealt with the notorious Guardia Civilia(?), who were very professional and courteous. The only time I ever had a problem was going into Canada. Later I heard several other people had the same problem. The cause was that our vehicles were all registered in Virginia.

Coming back we showed our passports to US customs. Told them we had been on a fishing trip. He asked if we had any luck and told us he going in a couple of weeks.
dmg
28. constantnormal
re: Peter's no longer being able to attend conventions in the US due to his felony conviction for being maced and otherwise abused by our over-zealous border police.

I guess this means that there should be no more conventions within the Bananamerican police state. Americans would be happy to attend them in Canada (or other nations) and spend their money there.
dmg
29. widdershins
As someone who has experienced and has friends who have experienced the extreme behaviour of the US border guards (car crossings) I can honestly say two things:
1 - I'm glad I'm a Canadian, and ...
2 - unless it's a matter or life or death (or close to it)I'm not going to the US by car ever again.

Those guards have too much power and not enough oversight. It's a sad indictment of the state of things when someone who's in a snit can change your life forever.

It seems that 'Fortress America' is still alive and well and oblivious to the fact that the walls are crumbling to dust around it.

Glad to hear that this story had a happy-ish ending.
dmg
30. TroyJGrice
As an American, I am embarrassed and I apologize for my countries' brutally fascist treatment of Mr. Watts. My country has lost its' collective marbles in the wake of 9-11 and 'foreverwar'.

The apparatchiks of the State are getting increasingly forceful, invasive, and brutal and both of our so-called "parties" are responsible for encouraging it.

It is terrifying for me to contemplate where my country is headed.

http://goldsteinrepublic.com
dmg
32. M. Bishop
A quasi-happy ending to a horendous nightmare, when we all know who should have gotten the jail time that Peter only narrowly escaped.
dmg
33. mistah charley, ph.d.
About the possibility of a pardon - there are two obstacles. One is, of course, the fact that the Governor may see the case the way the prosecution saw it (she is part of the same apparatus, after all.) The other, and even bigger obstacle, in my opinion, is that if she ever runs for office again, OR is nominated for a position that requires legislative consent, this case would be dragged out as an example of how she coddles criminals. It would be remarkable indeed if a pardon was granted under the circumstances.
dmg
34. Richard M Stallman
I am glad Watts won't immediately go to prison. (I am not sure how long the judge can maintain the threat to send him to prison later.) But this is not justice. Justice would be to put the border guards on trial, apologize to Watts, and change the law. Until this is achieved, we should keep the pressure on -- for instance, more signs like "Unprovoked Beatings Ahead".

The basic question here is whether the US should be a country of servile people, who jump to obey the orders of authorities, or the land of the free. The law under which Watts was convicted calls for the former. If Americans do not want to be servile, they should refuse, when on juries, to convict anyone of a crime for not hurrying to obey.
Ian Gazzotti
35. Atrus
I'm glad this story didn't end with jail time for Peter. At the same time, there is no way I can see this as a happy ending or a victory: it's yet another story of authorities abusing their power and then covering up their mistakes, and the victim paying the price. This scares me, even more because it comes from a country that declares itself the paradigm of freedom for the whole world.
dmg
36. Robert Adams
I'm an American citizen, and this story disturbs me. I think that someone should forward all of the facts to President Obama, and ask for a pardon.

I also have dealt with US border agents, and have found them to be unprofessional and arrogant. I am ashamed to know that they wear a uniform as representatives of our country.
dmg
37. Neuromancer
It's a shame that Watts might not have learned the lesson of humility from this experience. He is surrounded by justifying and enabling people who excuse his behavior, as indicated by this blog post and the comments.

How is it possible that a mature, well-travelled professional with a Ph.D. is unable to properly follow the protocol for a border crossing? Or is that story just a lie to cover up his anger management issues and dislike of authority? I think justice was served here. He was convicted and may never pass through the USA again, but was spared the severe punishment that was justified by the crime of assaulting a police officer, due to the mercy of a small town US judge. It's all good.
dmg
38. Expat
I'm glad he was let off with the sentence he got as it sounds like this whole deal was pretty sketchy, but I'm growing tired of the sweeping critisism of "all those terrible American border guards". As an American who's lived in Canada the last 12 years and has crossed the border many, many times both by car and airplane let me tell you that I've been harassed by Canadian border guards on so many different occasions that I've lost count. They've torn up my luggage, given me grief over crossing the border for a few hours just to buy food items I can't get in Canada, grilled me endlessly about why I'm using a rental car and not my own (I was on business trips, company paid for it) and all kinds of other ridiculous and apparently-routine tormenting. And the whole time this is going on what am I doing? Smiling, being as pleasant as possible, answering all questions put to me, never questioning the rationality of any of it and constantly saying "sir" and "ma'am" to try and speed the process along. What's are the two things I've never, ever done under any circumstances? Questioned their procedures or gotten out of the car. I hate to be "that guy", but I'm betting if he'd never gotten out of the car none of this would have ever happened other than some verbal harassment, that's what I always get and then I'm on my way.
dmg
39. Braddaatgeemail
I'm a U.S. citizen, and I'd like to apologize on behalf of our government.

There should have been no fine, and it really irks me that the frame of our expectations has been set so horribly wrong that there was relief felt at "just a fine" being levied.

Even more embarrassing and disappointing is that Andrew Beaudry seems to have actual supporters. I tell myself that they're just friends of his or "fellow boys in blue" who seem to think that anything is justified once you put on a uniform. I hope. I know however that there are plenty of our citizens that don't bother to actually read (or can't?) the accounts of what happened and just say "well if he had a uniform on then he was right".

I'm also embarrassed by the jurors, who don't seem to be familiar with the practice of jury nullification. Here's hoping next time this happens educated people are involved from our side of the border as well as yours.
dmg
40. Mat Bettinson
I was delighted to read this, delighted with the result, this has really made my weekend. Very pleased to see what great support he had with him from friends and family.

Obviously it's still utterly messed upwith a conviction and no possibility of travel into the US. However at least the jail time issue is gone and he can put it behind him.
dmg
41. Friar Tuck
This is why I and most of my friends here in Australia have no interest in visiting the USA.
dmg
42. bison34564
Well, technically, he can probably try to get a visa.

OTOH, the USA is clearly a police state, not a place one would want to visit voluntarily.

Guys, wake up, the US government is really not lawabiding itself. As Nixon is said to have said, if the President does it, it's legal.

In the US, everything (including the constitution) is officially subjugated to the "war on terrorism".

Last time I've looked it up, there seems to have been no country called "Terrorism", at least not under the letter T. Perhaps it was just misfiled.
dmg
43. m.b.
I see some 'patriotic and true' Americans regret that Peter Watts was not put in jail, beaten and maced again, and sent to Guantanamo concentration camp to disappear forever!
I worked as an academic teacher in 8 countries, including 10 years in USA, but nowhere I have had so many problems with crossing border as in USA. The USA border guards have too much power and not enough oversight, and they routinely substitute unprovoked violence, treats of violence, and crude abuse for law enforcement. Even the worst in Europe border guards from former East Germany of Soviet Union were highly professional and very polite compare to rude and violent USA border guards. Like with street tugs, it is hard to figure out what may provoke they violent outburst. For example, to humiliate me, on many occasions, knowing that I am an academic teacher, USA border guards requested from me to provide to them my lectures or slide show presentations. Later, for up to an hour of time they pretended to review and criticize my work, showing obvious ignorance and functional illiteracy.
It is sad that xenophobia and open hostility to everyone are routinely built in the USA border law enforcement system.
USA security and wellbeing will only benefit if USA see others as partners and not as substandard subhumans, who are practically defenseless against violence and abuse projected by USA border guards.
dmg
44. musicspirit
The judge did Watts a favor. Never allowing him to come to the police state country the USA has become is a Good Thing. If the rest of the world (and you know who you are) wouldn't make it so hard for US citizens to emigrate, I would leave the US. It is that bad and getting worse by the year. Kind of like Germany in the 1930's. Very, very sad. Liberty? What liberty? Freedom? What freedom? The freedom to be maced and beaten for what? Asking questions? God help you if you don't remove your shoes at the airport Gestapo security stations... And it continues to get worse. God bless America, whatever is left of its true spirit.
dmg
45. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
37, it seems pretty clear that you haven't followed this story. You have no idea of the facts.

I suggest that you educate yourself before putting your thoughts down on paper. You may, for example, not have noticed that the assault charge was thrown out.

Hoping that people who still go on accusing Dr. Watts of things he has been cleared of in a court of law might be slapped with a libel suit obviously makes me a bad person, but, well, I am a bad person then.
dmg
46. Engineer
In Australia, this 'Border Guard' would certainly have had his backside hauled before the CMC
http://www.cmc.qld.gov.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=10736

I take it the advanced USA has no such body?
dmg
47. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
Of course, this is not even a question that scares foreigners travelling through the USA any more. Any Arizonan who may not be carrying enough papers (a driving licence is not deemed sufficient) risks committing the crime of Not Being Subservient Enough now: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/richard-adams-blog/2010/apr/26/arizona-immigration-law-boycott
dmg
48. t-Asarlai
--- When you empower the Defenders of the People and make them the Defenders of the State, the people tend to become the Enemies of the State...
dmg
49. peter45
I have been fortunate to have only visited the Landofthefreeandbrave once.....and sincerely wished I had not bothered.

This was a simple refueling stop, and our punishment was standing in a queue to have our fingerprints and photos taken.
The first in the queue was a disabled woman and her helper. When the Immigration official opened his line with the friendly command "First" the Helper walked forward and presented both their documents. The official took one look at the documents and shouted (and I do mean shouted). "This is not you. The right person needs to get here right NOW" This was shouted as the woman in her wheelchair was struggling forwards. Just as she got there, the Official said "I'm not putting up with this shit. I'm off", got out of his chair and left.

We all stood there not being allowed forward or backwards.

1 hour later, the immigration official came back and opened up as if nothing had happened. 3 hours later, the last person in the queue was processed, and we dutyfully trooped back onto line to be processed back through immigration to get back onto the aircraft.

Based on the sample of 1 visit, USA immigration officials are the most rude self important uncaring a**holes of any country I have visited.

Lone guy suddenly deciding to kick-off in front off innocent Border Guards, or Impatient Border Guards full of their own self importance beat up a guy who did not show sufficient respect and then charged him with assault? I know which story my money is on.
dmg
50. Amyst
Well, i suspect, if the judge doesn't accept that the dear writer is at least partially guilty, will it also relate that the guards weren't right? which of course, seems to be the case, but to prevent from being lynched by his/her own countrymen.

In every silver lining, hides a cloud of grey.
dmg
52. Jesse Wendel
I'm glad that Peter is home free.

The guards at these stations... some are good, some are bad, and some are in-between. I regret Peter encountered the bad kind. *sighs*
dmg
53. Brian Bailey
I am still unsatisfied. After all, when does Beaudry get charged for his crimes?
dmg
54. Brian Bailey
The more I think about this the more outraged I become. There should be a US national inquiry into this travesty of justice. Innocent travellers to the US need to be protected from this BS from US border guards. Amnesty International? I'm thinking it's time to start an international campaign to end these abhorent practices on the part of US border officials. They need to stop abusing innocent travellers. Lawsuit anyone? This Beaudry has no excuse for his behaviour. He should be fired and charged with assault. Immediately.

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