Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

NSA Critics Not Welcome: Anti-Surveillance Activist Barred Entry from US

'People who stand up for civil rights are being treated as enemies of the state.'

Sarah Lazare

For German-Bulgarian writer and professor Ilija Trojanow, simply speaking out against NSA spying appears to be enough to get him barred from entering the United States.

The European Graduate School professor and co-author of the book Attack on Freedom: Security Paranoia, the Surveillance State and the Dismantling of Civil Rights was refused entry to the United States on Monday as he attempted to travel from Brazil to attend a German language conference in Denver.

At Salvador da Bahia airport in Brazil, Trojanow was informed that he would not be allowed to enter the United States. No explanation for the refusal was given.

"The woman told me curtly and without emotion that entry to the United States was being denied to me - without giving any reason," Trojanow told the German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

In lieu of a formal explanation, Trojanow suspects he was denied because of his public opposition to NSA spying. "It is more than ironic if an author who raises his voice against the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within a state for years, will be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free,'” he wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, following the incident.

Trojanow played a key role in organizing a mass petition in opposition to NSA spying and Geman collaboration, following Edward Snowden's revelations. The letter was signed by 70,000 people and handed to Chancellor Angela Merkel before the country's general elections.

German writer Juli Zeh, who co-organized the petition and co-authored the book Attack on Freedom, took to Facebook to write a searing critique of the incident:

To look at it in a positive way - everything we are doing is having an effect; It is being brought to public attention. To look at it negatively, it is a farce, pure paranoia [on the part of the U.S.]. People who stand up for civil rights are being treated as enemies of the state.

It may only be an individual case, but it illustrates the consequences of a disastrous development and exposes the naïve attitude of many citizens who reassure themselves with the mantra that this does not affect them.

_____________________


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Enough is Enough': Hundreds of Thousands March Across the UK

'As wages fall while profits soar, our message is clear... We are here to win.'

Common Dreams staff ·


California Gov. Newsom Proposes Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil

Calls for windfall profits taxes have increased globally in recent weeks

Common Dreams staff ·


'Incredible': Omar and Khanna Staffers Join Levin's Office in Unionizing

"It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "I am proud of all the people on my team who have played a leading role in the staff unionization effort. Solidarity forever."

Jessica Corbett ·


Destructive Hurricanes Fuel Calls for Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

"Mother Nature is not waiting for the president or Congress to declare a climate emergency. She's showing us in real-time here in the United States—with wildfires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, and drought."

Jessica Corbett ·


Spain Approves 'Solidarity' Tax to Make Nation's Top 0.1% Pay a Fairer Share

The country's finance minister said that looming changes are bound to make the tax code "more progressive, efficient, fair, and also enough to guarantee social justice and economic efficiency."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo