US State Department seizes Scott Ritter’s passport at JFK en route to Russia

5 Jun

Yesterday evening I wrote an eleventh hour footnote to the post, The military genius of The Economist, I’d written that morning:

On the inevitability of Ukraine’s defeat, notwithstanding [The Economist’s] courageous call for Russia to be fought to the last Ukrainian, a soberly magisterial overview of the war – from initial SMO of February 2022 to current offensive north of Kharkov – has appeared today, June 4, on the Information Clearing House site. It’s written by former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, whose principled refusal to endorse Anglo-American lies on Iraq having WMDs made him a household name in the countdown to that empire bloodbath. I stress the “soberly magisterial” because, while I hold Scott’s highly informed output in high regard, I’ve in the past faulted him for a needlessly gung-ho tone. I’ve detected none of that in his recent podcasts on Gaza and Ukraine. Nor in this invaluable piece.

I like to think of myself as well informed, so was caught off-guard this morning by an alert from Jan Oberg’s TFF site that, some 24 hours before I penned those words, Scott had been stopped at New York’s JFK Airport, seconds before boarding a flight to St Petersburg, by three uniformed and armed men from Tony Blinken’s State Department. 1 They demanded his passport, had his baggage removed from the plane, escorted him from the airport and told him he was free to go home.

There are bigger issues here than my feeling behind the curve. The USA is not at (declared) war with Russia. On the face of it, therefore, the officials’ behaviour flouts citizen rights enshrined in Amendments to a Constitution I don’t pretend to understand. Says WSWS just three hours ago at time of writing:

The decision by the State Department to confiscate Ritter’s passport is a flagrant violation of American law. US citizens possess a constitutional right to travel outside the country regardless of their political beliefs, pursuant to a 1964 decision Aptheker v. Secretary of State.

Here in dialogue with Judge Napolitano is the man himself. After giving his account of what happened, the two men consider the ramifications.

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  1. Correction. The men who took Scott’s passport, on the face of it quite unlawfully, were not State Department but Customs & Borders agents claiming to be carrying out State Department orders.

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