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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
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