I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you.
Quincy Larson

Here’s an old story from Denmark for a bit of perspective. I know a few of these, actually. This is just the most high-profile one.

The US has an archive in Germany, in Nürnberg if I remember correctly. They have files on everyone who’s ever been considered suspect in any way. In the late 1960s a well-known and much respected Danish neurologist was refused entry to the US for a neurology conference based on those files. In the 1930s he had been a member of the Danish communist party. He let his membership lapse when WWII broke out, and never renewed it. But that was the reason he was refused entry 30 years later. In the intervening 30 years he had:

  • been a member of the resistance ‘shadow’ government of Denmark during WWII
  • had been captured, interrogated and held prisoner by the Gestapo (only got out because Gestapo HQ was bombed, and he could walk out from the wrecked building in the confusion; friends helped him to Sweden afterwards.)
  • had been a government minister in the coalition government after WWII ended
  • was Chancellor (head) of the University of Copenhagen during the turbulent years of the late sixties and managed the situation brilliantly
  • was an outstanding neurologist

he became a member of another left-wing party in the fifties, but one that was not on the US list of ‘suspect political organizations’. He also happened to be a very nice person, but that’s beside the point.

None of that was taken into consideration when he wanted to go to the States for a neurology conference, only his membership of the communist party 30 years earlier.

Government paranoia is nothing new. And the US is notorious for it. It used to be communism (remember senator McCarthy?), now it’s ???

Anyway, that is probably why there hasn’t been much of an outcry around the world. We sort of expect it, particularly from a narrow-minded bigot like the current president and those who share his view of the world.

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