Where's the Doctor?

May 15, 2008

Running between work, home, and the bed to sleep, mostly. It's been an unusually long week (and it's not even Friday yet), and rather than write incoherent posts in the evening I've decided to catch up on sleep where and when I can. Consequently, there hasn't been much to write about in the past few days, but I can authoritatively state that there are no pin-holes in my eyelids. Battling highway traffic in southern Virginia is tiring work, though ultimately rewarding.

I've just pre-registered for The Last HOPE conference in New York City later this year (18-20 July 2008, to be precise). I've been e-mailing back and forth with some friends who are also going, and I've arranged for crash space and sharing of supplies, so unless something horrible happens, I'll be hopping a train for NYC to attend what very well could be the final HOPE that 2600 Magazine ever has. If nothing else, Steven Levy, who wrote the book Hackers, will be the keynote speaker this year. I wish I knew whom I loaned my copy to because I'd really like to get it autographed. Maybe I'll bring one of my VMS manuals, too, on the off chance that Kevin Mitnick comes back.

The Supreme Court of the state of California has decided that the ban against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and has been stricken down. The court further decided that "the right to form a family relationship" applies to all citizens of California, regardless of their sexual orientation. The Court went over the head of Governor Schwarzenegger, who vetoed laws that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state twice (even though allowing it was one of his campaign points, I hasten to add).

It's about time, folks. Two states down, forty-eight to go. Eventually we'll get there.

However, at the other end of the spectrum of experience is something that I have absolutely no qualms about calling horror: While deporting people from the United States, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has started injecting people with large doses of psychotropic drugs, including the antipsychotic compound haloperidol to keep them quiet. Some of these people have every right to flip out, given that said people could be deported back to countries they fled out of fear of death.. but I digress. These people are shot up with strong tranquilizers (sometimes multiple times during the trip), restrained with handcuffs, and loaded on board planes for transport out of the country after their requests for asylum are refused. Since the year 2003, approximately 250 such cases have been uncovered, and there are probably others still buried under all of the paperwork. 250 cases of forced drugging in direct violation of US as well as international law. Interestingly, DIHS (Department of Immigration Health Services) has been trying to recruit new 'medical escorts' lately - people who are to accompany drugged deportees back to their countries of origin and keep them a) sedated, and b) alive.

Frankly, this scares the hell out of me. So much so, that I don't know what to say about it. I find the idea of drugging someone who isn't mentally ill or a danger to anyone (the medical justification for sedation in one instance was 'chronic nasal problems') abhorrant. It's unthinkable to me to knock someone flat with such powerful drugs just so you can get them out of the country; the only reason I can think of for that is to make them easier to get rid of, in the sense of trash. These are very similar to tactics used behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, I hasten to point out: Haloperidol was often used on political dissidents to keep them quiet in Soviet Russia.