India Uncut

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Google at the border

Nikhil Pahwa points me to the story of an Iranian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, whose name was Googled by officials at the American border, and who was denied entry after the officials read his blog. Hmmm.

I've just skimmed through Derakhshan's blog, and I can't imagine what they objected to in terms of content. He refers to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president hated by the US government, as a "fundamentalist moron," and repeatedly expresses his support for the reform movement in Iran. Just the kind of blogger I would imagine the US should embrace, even if he is against some of their policies. Pity.

Update: Thalassa Mikra writes in:
I just checked the post on your blog regarding Hossein
Derakhshan being denied entry into the US after
officers read his blog. Actually Derakhshan was not
denied entry on the basis of the content of his blog,
and the issue seems to be a bit more complicated.

From what I gather, he's a Canadian citizen since
March 2005. However, he entered the US in Nov. 2004
using his then Iranian passport with a single-entry
visa that is issued to Iranian citizens. Which means
that you get a new visa every time you leave the
country and try to re-enter. However, when Derakhshan
tries to re-enter, he uses his Canadian passport and
tries to get visa-on-arrival. Confusing, right? Also,
he did not surrender his I-94 and declare his visa
status when crossing into Canada (Americans don't need
a visa to enter Canada, so checks are highly

The only information in his blog that got him in
trouble was his assertion that he was a New York
resident, whereas his Canadian passport presumably
showed Toronto. Obviously his political views were not
the bone of contention here.
The posts she got this information from: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I took the opportunity to ask her why she calls herself "Thalassa Mikra," which has a rather sonorous feel to it. Apparently, it's a Greek term. What does it mean? Well, let me give you a crypticky clue: "Stuart precedes Banville's latest." Go figure. (Or go Google!)
amit varma, 11:56 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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