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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
A True Story

Have Box Cutter, Will Travel

by PATRICK BARR

There’s one reason, and one reason only, why I am writiing from Lima, Perú today and not from Guantanamo or some hell-hole jail in Brooklyn, being stripped and tortured.

Airport security in both Newark and Lima failed to spot a box cutter in one of the sections of my Macintosh computer bag. You heard me right: a f***ing box cutter.

Now, you here’s a guy who people in more than one country have pointed to, in laughter, and called Osama. I’ll never forget that bus from Athens to Delphi, when those guys in the back had a good laugh at my expense. I was into the joke as well, I must admit.

I last remember using the box cutter in New Jersey early last week. I had bought a couple of items from Apple Computer and, like so many plastic containers, was never intended to be opened. Or opened at very great risk to life and limb.

I could never have explained to my torturers, half-naked females trying to embarrass me on religious grounds, before they discovered that I am an Atheist of the highest order, or those guy torturers pushing hot wires into my body and electrical cables clipped to my private parts, how that box cutter had gotten from that room in New Jersey into the carrying case of my computer, which was hand-held all the way from Newark Airport to Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.

I discovered it this morning when I was emptying out the case to take my computer to the internet cabina, where I had network configured so that I could go online.

That is some scary s***! When you realize how easy it is to pick up people off the street in George Bush’s America and many are never heard from again.

It would probably have taken two years, at least, to be able to talk with a lawyer and, another five years, to be able to get a lie detector test.

During which time the Constitution would have been amended, Schwarzenegger would have become President, and little, or nothing, would have changed for the better.

Patrick B. Barr, formerly with The Daily Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica. He can be reached at barrybar@gmail.com