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printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

from the airports-are-now-a-no-speech-zone dept.

by bushwhacked Monday, Nov. 05, 2001 at 5:52 PM
http://www.mccullagh.org/

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.....

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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