Let’s imagine a recent graduate of Nevada Union High School is on her way to Turkey via Germany to spend time with relatives meeting her there. And suppose a family friend here in Nevada County — let’s call him Mr. W — has received a phone call from a Turkish college professor he met several years ago.
What, then, if this professor has been associated with students leading demonstrations against the Turkish government? His telephone conversations with student leaders have been recorded and mark him as anti-government. This information is shared with the United States. The National Security Agency immediately flags calls to the U.S. from this professor’s telephone because the Turkish government has added his name to a potential terrorist list.
The professor’s call to Mr. W automatically raises a flag on all of Mr. W’s phone contacts, including the young lady’s family and her own number. This is a link to the dubious professor. The NSA traces her number and location, and the TSA issues an alert for “enhanced search and surveillance” on this young lady at all U.S. airports. The CIA alerts Germany and Turkey to do the same. This likely occurs almost simultaneously, since it is probable that the U.S. has shared surveillance technology with allied countries to make common cause in the “War on Terror.” Of course, our allies deny the existence of this super-secret arrangement.
What does this mean for the young lady and her travels? Imagine. Imagine the humiliation, strip searches, delays and special treatment of her luggage repeated and repeated.
Will “enhanced surveillance” follow her in Turkey? Will her relatives be flagged? All because of her roundabout connection with the anti-government professor? Will she be flagged in Germany and other participating countries? What if one of her distant cousins happens to be a supporter of the Kurdish Independence League, “a terrorist organization”? Will calls to the U.S. from family members raise flags on more Americans? Will the chain go on forever? The NSA technology makes it likely it will.
As several of our astute leaders have said, “If you ain’t doing nothing wrong, you got no cause to worry.”
But if you have ever been called by Mr. W or called him, expect delays at the airport wherever you fly.
And avoid Turkey if possible. But me? Me worry?
Lawrence Flood lives in Grass Valley.