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Maine National Guard bars Green Party leader from flying

   Military Bars Green Party Leader from Flying
   posted by declan on Saturday November 03, @12:36PM
   from the airports-are-now-a-no-speech-zone dept.

        As one of the U.S. Green Party's top officials, Nancy Oden is
   used to controversy. But Oden never expected to be hassled by National
   Guard troops at her hometown airport of Bangor, Maine on Thursday and
   barred from flying out of it. She thinks it's because of a Green Party
   statement she co-authored that ran in the local newspaper. The
   statement calls for universal health care, limitations on free trade,
   and a stop to "U.S. military incursions" including the bombing of
   Afghanistan. (The Green Party has labeled the U.S. military action an
   act of "state terrorism.") Oden's unsuccessful attempt to fly to
   Chicago for a Green Party national meeting follows a Philadelphia man's
   unpleasant experience after reading the wrong book at an airport, a
   California journalist's headaches for daring to take photos inside an
   airport, and the arrest of another man in Germany for bringing
   politically-unacceptable reading material to an airport. Also see
   Indymedia coverage of Oden's experience; the transcript of our
   interview with her from her home in Jonesboro, Maine is below.


   Interview of Nancy Oden by Declan McCullagh
   November 3, 2001
   (Ed. Note: Nancy Oden is a top U.S. Green Party official and a member
   of the party's coordinating committee. An organic farmer, peace
   activist, and all-around firebrand, she lives in Jonesboro, Maine.)
   "Just a few weeks ago I had a piece in the Bangor paper. It's on our
   website, greenparty.org... I submitted it under my name alone. It's a
   fairly radical piece; that's what I do. I'm a political and
   environmental activist.
   "I walked into the Bangor airport. What I saw was National Guard folks
   all over carrying machine guns... The atmosphere was very tense...
   This was Thursday... I went over to the American Airlines ticket
   counter way down at the end. Nobody else was there, except the clerk.
   I gave him my name. He didn't even ask for photo ID. It was almost
   like they were expecting me. He put it into the computer. He stayed on
   the computer a long time, like 10 minutes.
   "He put an S on the boarding pass, for search. He said, 'You've been
   picked for having your bag searched.' ... I said to him, 'This wasn't
   random, was it?' He said, 'No you were in there to be searched, no
   matter what.' I went over to baggage to put my bags through the X-ray
   and then went into the boarding area.
   "There was this National Guard guy there. He yells over at me, so
   everyone can hear, 'Bring your bags over here.' You know how they are
   when they're all puffed up with themselves. He said, 'Hurry up,' so I
   slowed down some more.
   "I put my bags on the table. The two women employees were standing
   there. [I tried to help them with a stuck zipper.] He grabbed my left
   arm, he started yelling in my face, 'Don't you know what happened?
   Sep. 11, don't you know thousands of people died?' I said, 'You can't
   do that.' He went to grab my arm, and I said, 'Don't touch me.' I saw
   an older airline guy shake his head, 'No,' and he backed off.
   "That insulted his little manhood. He could not force me to listen to
   his idiot ideas on Sep. 11, whatever it was he wanted to say. So he
   was angry. I hadn't done anything except pull away from him... I think
   he was trying to provoke me. They did the wand thing, they were done,
   and I heard him say real soft, 'Don't let her on the plane,' like he
   was talking to himself.
   "Then I go to get on the plane since we're all done and everything,
   and the American Airlines ticket guy says,' You can't get on the
   plane.' I say, 'Why not?' ... He says, 'Because this guy says you
   didn't cooperate with the search.' ... I said, 'Didn't you see him
   grab my arm?' He said, 'No, your back was to me.'
   "He said, 'Maybe we can get you on the 4:00 plane, it's the last one
   today.' I felt, okay, let's put up with this aggravation now and I'll
   go to Chicago and we'll see what we can do... Then this little guard
   guy, it wasn't enough to stop me, wasn't done with me. He said, 'Come
   with me.' I followed very slowly, I sat down for a while. I said I'm
   carrying these bags; I need a rest... It's called passive resistance.
   "He went and found the airport police to come and talk with me. He
   went and got six other National Guard guys and they all approached me.
   Here are these six untrained, ignorant,
   don't-know-how-to-deal-with-the-public, machine-gun-armed young guys
   in their camouflage suits with their military gear hanging off of it.
   "I looked up and started laughing, 'Is all this for me, guys? What is
   this about?' There was this big burly guy, he was in front. He said,
   'You didn't cooperate with the search.' ... I said what he did was
   grabbed my arm, and I backed away... He said he only hit your arm. I
   said even if that's all he did, he's not allowed to do that. He can't
   hit my arm and demand I listen to him.
   "They had the airport policeman tell me, 'You're not flying out of
   this airport today.' ... Of course I had cooperated; why do I care if
   they search my bags? ... What I didn't like was being singled out
   because of my political views. They couldn't arrest me because there
   was no reason for that. They had people who saw there was nothing to
   arrest me for. They wanted to get back at me somehow because I was not
   a subservient female, because I questioned their manhood.
   "I went to the American Airlines guy and said, 'Is this just today?'
   He said, 'I don't know.' One clerk said, 'You could drive to Boston
   [five hours away] and see if you can get out of there.'
   "I never made it out of Bangor. I had to turn around and drive 100
   miles back home... The fact that they gave the other airlines my
   name... They told me they did that... That's incredible."


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