The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site on the killing of Rigoberto Alpizar by US air marshals in Miami, Florida.
Thanks for the well-written coverage of this troubling “development” in the “war on terror.” I’d seen, in the middle-brow bourgeoisie press, a headline that air marshals had shot a passenger who they believed was going to blow up the plane. I immediately thought that was suspect since this in theory is not a “guilty until proven innocent” country, and I was right. What a troubling direction the world is taking at present.
I was reminded of a recent trip out of the US and my return, where me, being an ethnic man with what are assuredly documented leftist-leanings, I was “detained,” i.e., pulled over to the side at the airport, my belongings rummaged through, and my person violated. To think, if I would have let my anger over this get the better of me and had ran off, that I could/would have been shot. My God! And to think the press would hardly bat an eye over it. It’s chilling!
All of this bodes ill, of course, for the world community. It’s hard to be optimistic in these times, but it’s made easier by knowing that some people out there (and those writing for this web site) are keeping tabs on all of these atrocities. Keep up the good work!
12 December 2005* * *
If the Soviet Union was still around and the KGB had committed these crimes, the mass media would have had headlines for weeks. More importantly, the KGB stood for “Committee for State Security.” Sound familiar? The Gestapo’s role was to investigate and combat “all tendencies dangerous to the state” including the imprisonment of people without judicial proceedings. Well, being dead is a good example of not getting your judicial proceedings, and the security acts passed in the US, Britain and Canada as laws have a very suspicious ring of “Gestapo” to them. The rest, they say, is history.
British Columbia, Canada
12 December 2005
So, if homeland security is Bush’s number-one priority, how is it even possible this bipolar and ill man could be even thought to have smuggled a bomb past Bush’s security airport system? Is US airport security still so lax and unpredictable and incompetent that it was even a consideration that this man could actually have a bomb with him?
10 December 2005* * *
This man would be alive today if he had not been Hispanic or dark complexioned. The coverage in this country is appalling. No one heard him say he had a bomb. His wife was the only one saying anything; and I think she is lucky to be alive. I’m surprised that the air police didn’t shoot her as a matter of course. If this is supposed to make us feel safe when we fly, think again. Anyone who has some problem, some sudden exception to the rules could be executed—Anyone.
10 December 2005* * *
Two minor side notes to your fine story on the air marshals gunning down a distraught passenger at the Miami airport. Throughout three-plus hours of coverage Fox gave the incident, newsreaders and reporters spent the time exonerating federal officials of any wrongdoing well in advance of any hard facts coming out to suggest that to be so: “All by the book,” “understandable in the situation,” etc., etc. No one wondered, “Who ever heard of a terrorist trying to sneak a bomb off a plane?”
But for me, the most interesting of all was the chubby public information officer parading around for the cameras at the air marshals’ press conference, with his coat jacket off to show off his Dirty Harry .44-magnum handgun. Even a Fox narrator was mildly surprised at this questionable display of wannabe machismo. “The .44-magnum isn’t even standard issue” (or words to that effect), the narrator commented.
This gives us a brief, but sharp insight into the kinds of people new laws such as the Patriot Act are attracting to cop agencies.
10 December 2005
This event should also be viewed in the context of the “Miami Shield” show of force program announced at the end of November. While there are federal air marshals, rather than Miami police, involved in this specific case, it is ultimately the same illusion. The crafted “Terror in Miami” message is coming across loud and clear.
9 December 2005