Naomi Wolf: No-Fly List as a Weapon Against Dissent
Journalist and political analyst Naomi Wolf, a trenchant critic of the bush Administration’s attack on civil liberties, has shown up with four Ss on her airplane boarding passes since 2002. Which means delays, searches, and a whole lot of annoyance, just to go about her speaking in support of her books.
She is eventually allowed to fly, since she’s actually on the “watch” rather than the actual “no-fly” list. But needless to say, she finds this frustrating.
And she looks further–to the way the Bush Administration uses this list as an instrument of social policy–to harass its obviously harmless critics such as herself. A chilling step toward totalitarianism, she believes–and I tend to agree.
So far, luckily, I haven’t gotten the dreaded four Ss. But I have noticed, as everyone has, how humiliating and unnecessarily inconvenient flying has become, and I, for one, don’t feel safer because “terrorists” can’t bring a water bottle on board. I was even prevented early one morning from bringing my lunch on a plane–leftover rice noodles and broccoli–because I’d made the mistake of putting it in a cottage cheese container! Yeah, my noodles were such a security risk that I had to choke down a few forkfulls at 5 a.m. and throw the rest away, so I was pretty hungry when I arrived.
Travel writer Christopher Eliott has suggested replacing this inane policy with making passengers prove the safety of their foods and drinks by eating or drinking some. That, apparently, is too much common sense.
My local paper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Massachusetts, ran Wolf’s full op-ed under the title “Kafka Revisited. This link is subscription-only, but you can see the article at Alternet.