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why is the U.S. denying this journalist's visa?

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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 02:00 PM
Original message
why is the U.S. denying this journalist's visa?
other than the fact that he is criticizing our good friend Colombia?


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/...

BOGOT, Colombia The U.S. government has denied a visa to a prominent Colombian journalist who specializes in conflict and human rights reporting to attend a prestigious fellowship at Harvard University.

Hollman Morris, who produces an independent TV news program called Contravia, has been critical of ties between illegal far-right militias and allies of outgoing President lvaro Uribe, Washington's closest ally in Latin America.

The curator of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, which has offered the fellowships since 1938, said Thursday that a consular official at the U.S. Embassy in Bogot told him Morris was ruled permanently ineligible for a visa under the "terrorist activities" section of the USA Patriot Act.

U.S. Embassy and State Department officials refused to confirm the visa denial, citing privacy laws.

"We were very surprised. This has never happened before," said Bob Giles, the Nieman curator. "And Hollman has traveled previously in the United States to give speeches and receive awards."

He said he had written the State Department to ask it to reconsider the decision.

"We're frankly shocked. We feel it's outrageous," said Joel Simon, executive director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

He said the committee had discussed its concerns with State Department officials but was not provided with an explanation.

more...
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. He Might criticize Hillary Clinton's right wing
Friends
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Exilednight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 02:14 PM
Response to Original message
2. Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened this year ...........
I am not sure what is happening over at the State Department, but someone needs to get a hold on the reigns quickly.

http://www.ethiopianreporter.com/english/index.php?opti...

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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. i wonder who un-recced this
could Alvaro Uribe be a DUer? :wow:
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vaberella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. This is not a conspiracy.
It's very normal for the US to deny visas at any given whim. This is similar for asylum seekers-----they may have valid reasons for seeking asylum but it is the discretion of the host country and US being one of them is notorious for this and mainly because they have rigid guidelines as to why. It's something to be noted, but nothing surprising.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 02:10 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. So is it "whim" or "rigid guidelines"?
You cite both, yet they are mutually exclusive.
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vaberella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 05:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Let me be clear.
More so guidelines that can be enforced to it's maximum rigidity or relaxed depending on the reviewer. This is in most places. They have these guidelines and for some people if 2 out 3 is met they will be more lenient, while some people will be like we want you to follow the rules by the book.
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Mimosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. Strange. n/t
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davidpdx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
5. There isn't much information on him, but it's within the right of any sovereign country to deny visa...
Edited on Mon Jul-12-10 01:15 AM by davidpdx
for either visiting or working. Why he was denied the visa is a curious thing since he did visit the US before. I live in South Korea and will tell you both Korea and the US routinely deny visas. On any given day there is a line around the block at the Seoul Embassy of people wanting to get into the US for different reasons. Even a spouse of a US citizen has to sometimes get a visa depending on what country they are from(though Korea just qualified for the waiver program when my wife got hers). My understanding is since 2001 they have been extremely strict on visas. There is no guarantee you will get one.
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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. and the question remains
why was this particular journalist denied entry? For me, it's a rhetorical question, I know the answer is that it's being done as a favor to the Colombian government.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
10. Here is the most information to be gotten so far:
The exact reason for Morris's denial is unclear. But on June 16, at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Morris was given a "refusal worksheet" detailing how he could be denied for engaging in terrorist acts or representing terrorist organizations.

An embassy spokeswoman, Ana Duque, said that privacy rules prevented U.S. officials from elaborating. "It's all between the applicant and the consular section," Duque said.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
11. He's asking for a student visa, and he has apparent ties to FARC.
Look, I'm not saying it's right, but NO low-level consular offical is going to give him a student visa when there are allegations that he's close to FARC.

They just won't take that chance. And they don't really have the power or authority to investigate the validity of allegations.

He can appeal to a judge. And he might win, if he can demonstrate that there was no reasonable basis for denying him the visa.



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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. what are his apparent ties to FARC?
especially human rights activists. I don't believe this is as routine as you are making it seem. There are plenty of people in these stories saying this is an unusual case, and I find them credible.

By the way, what makes you think Morris has ties to FARC? Our government has not accused him of this. Is it just because Uribe has made this accusation? Is that enough for you say that Morris has "apparent ties to FARC"?
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. 1) Emails and communications with FARC detailed in the Washington Post
Edited on Tue Jul-13-10 11:19 AM by msanthrope
"Morris, 41, who has done documentaries for the History Channel and European television, said he has frequently met with the FARC as part of his work reporting on the conflict. A series of e-mail conversations he held with top commanders in 2004 -- and that were made public by Cambio magazine last year -- indicate that Morris tried to sweet-talk them in order to get an interview with a famous hostage the group was then holding, Ingrid Betancourt.

Those e-mails seem to show a high level of confidence between Morris and the hermetic FARC. But later emails show FARC commanders turning on Morris, calling him a "coward" and "an opportunist.""


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

More importantly,

2) the February 2009 forced interviews with FARC hostages (4 security guards who were forced by FARC to give interviews with Morris). I don't find Morris' account of just happening to be there, and just happening to conduct interviews credible.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR23/007/2009...
(I did not include Spanish links to the incident. If you read Spanish, it is worth reading up on how Morris 'just happened' to be there.)

I think those interviews were poor judgment. Certainly the hostages themselves and the Columbian government indicated that the interviews with Morris were made under duress.

Those two things, plus Uribe's public statements, are enough cause for an embassy employee to deny a visa. The American embassy in Columbia has to take the President of Columbia seriously, at least publicly, even if they think he's wrong, privately.

I simply would not expect an embassy employee to have the burden of investigating this---that's why Hollman has the right to judicial review of this denial, where he could win.


But I seriously doubt that Hollman Morris is going to appeal this--because then he would be obliged to turn over information about the February 2009 interviews. And his explanation as to how he just happened to be there simply does not ring true....

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, few Hollman Morris defenders have addressed the question of complying with FARC and conducting forced interviews of FARC hostages. I suspect that unresolved issue is what got him the Patriot Act bang.



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