canadian psychotherapist permanently barred from the US

Under heightened security provisions for the “War on Terror”, Andrew Feldmar was stopped at the border as part of a random check. A Google search by the border guard turned up an article in which he admitted taking LSD decades ago and his musings on its applications to therapy.

Because of this he is now permanently barred from the USA.

The process to get a waiver would cost $3500 each year he would want to visit the USA, where his children live. The process to challenge the decision legally would bankrupt him.

When Feldmar looks back on what has happened, he concludes that he was operating out of a sense of safety that has become dated in the last six years, since 9-11. His real mistake was to write about his drug experiences and post this on the web, even in a respected journal like Janus Head. He acknowledges that he had not considered posting on the Internet the risk that it turned out to be. So many of his generation share his experience in experimenting with drugs, after all. He believed it was safe to communicate about the past from the depth of retrospection and that this would be a useful grain of personal wisdom to share with others. He now warns his friends to think twice before they post anything about their personal lives on the web.

“I didn’t heed the ancient Alchemists’ dictum, ‘Do, dare, and be silent,'” Feldmar says. “And yet, the experience of being treated as undesirable was shocking. The helplessness, the utter uselessness of trying to be seen as I know myself and as I am known generally by those I care about and who care about me, the reduction of me to an undesirable offender, was truly frightening. I became aware of the fragility of my identity, the brittleness of a way of life.

“Memories of having been the object of the objectifying gaze crowd into my mind. I have been seen and labeled as a Jew, as a Communist, as a D. P. (Displaced Person), as a student, as a patient, a man, a Hungarian, a refugee, an émigré, an immigrant…. Now I am being seen as one of those drug users, perhaps an addict, perhaps a dealer, one can’t be sure. In the matter of a second, I became powerless, whatever I said wasn’t going to be taken seriously. I was labeled, sorted and disposed of. Dismissed.”


(via american samizdat)

4 Responses to “canadian psychotherapist permanently barred from the US”

  1.   michael
    July 26th, 2007 | 1:38 pm

    That’s shit.

  2.   Scott A
    July 26th, 2007 | 1:52 pm

    It shouldn’t suprise me, but what really stuck me was that US Border Patrol officers wage the war on terror by using Google. What a surreal world we live in.

  3.   Scott A
    July 26th, 2007 | 1:52 pm

    Just did a vanity search for myself on Google. Nothing. I am safe. Excellent…heh heh heh…

  4.   Andrew
    July 26th, 2007 | 4:54 pm

    Thom Gunn (subject of thesis) was often asked why he took so long to come out of the closet: his answer was pretty simple: he wouldn’t have got into the States (he lived in SF with his American partner from 1956 to 2004).

    Interestingly, he came out in print about his LSD use at least five years before he did about his homosexuality (and in both cases he was quite clear that he was talking about present behaviour).