Googled At The Border

Traveling to the U.S.? Better google your name first—border guards are, and they denied entry to Andrew Feldmar for an article he wrote about drugs he took over 30 years ago. EVERYONE needs to read this…

During the 1960s people were warned that using LSD even once could provoke an unexpected “flashback” many years later that would cause disorientation and panic, perhaps even a psychotic breakdown. As usual, the predicted consequences didn’t appear—so the U.S. government stepped into the void to make sure that people would nonetheless suffer.

The first victim of the new electronic flashback was Vancouver psychotherapist Andrew Feldmar, who was driving to Seattle to pick up a friend at the airport when a customs agent typed his name into an Internet search engine. It turned up an article that Feldmar had written in a scientific journal that discussed his own use of LSD decades earlier. The 2001 issue of the journal Janus Head had been devoted to the legacy of R. D. Laing, with whom Feldmar had once studied in London. “I traveled to many regions many times with the help of many different substances,’’ Feldmar wrote of his experiences with Dr. Laing and other researchers prior to 1974. ‘‘I took peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, cannabis’’ and other drugs, ‘‘but I kept coming back to LSD.’’ Subsequently, he kept coming back to the U.S. with more than 100 border crossings logged before the email search put the skids on his travels.

“If you are or have been a drug user,” said spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection agency in Seattle Mike Milne, “that’s one of many things that can make you inadmissible to the U.S.” Drug Policy Alliance, drugpolicy.org,  executive director Ethan Nadelmann said Feldmar’s case shows how arbitrary American drug policy is. “Roughly a majority of the population of the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 58 has violated a drug law at least once,” he noted. That means President Bush and even former President Clinton are technically disqualified from entering Canada without applying for a waiver. Feldmar found a different lesson: “The electronic footprint you leave on the Net will be used against you,’’ Mr. Feldmar warns everyone. “It cannot be erased.”

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