Canadian Author/Marine Biologist Peter Watts Guilty of “Obstructing” Border Guard

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Canadian science fiction writer and marine biologist Peter Watts

Peter Watts’s “crime” is detailed in a post by Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing:

Canadian sf writer Peter Watts was convicted of obstruction for getting out of his car at a US Border crossing and asking what was going on, then not complying fast enough when he was told to get back in the car. He faces up to two years in jail.

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That’s apparently the statute: if you don’t comply fast enough with a customs officer, he can beat you, gas you, jail you and then imprison you for two years. This isn’t about safety, it isn’t about security, it isn’t about the rule of law.

It’s about obedience.

Authoritarianism is a disease of the mind. It criminalizes the act of asking “why?” It is the obedience-sickness that turns good people into perpetrators and victims of atrocities great and small.

I will link to mainstream media outlets when they get the story right!  They have not so far.  They are reporting that Watts was convicted of assualt.  He was not, according to a juror quoted at length in the Boing Boing post.  (Once again, the new media represented by the blogosphere surpasses the old media in getting both the story and its implications right.)

There are serious allegations that Watts was assaulted by border guards and talk of the possibility of civil action against them.  In the meantime, Watts faces two years in prison.

Watts’s version of events here.

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