Pledge Allegiance

Ilija Trojanov was at the airport in Brazil’s Salvador da Bahia, on September 30, checking in for his flight to the United States, when the person behind the American Airlines counter told him that the computer had issued a “Border Security Crossing” alert – and that it was necessary to contact the American authorities before he could be issued a boarding pass. As the time for his flight approached he was told the airline was forced to refuse him entry to the flight – and that he must return to Germany.

Trojanov is an acclaimed author of 20 books, including Along the GangesCollector of Worlds, and Mumbai to Mecca. He is the co-author of Angriff auf die Freiheit (Attack on Freedom), with Juli Zeh, a 2009 jeremiad against State surveillance. Trojanov was on his way to the Denver conference of the German Studies Association, and had been issued an invitation to appear at the Goethe-Institut’s “New Literature From Europe” Festival in November.

He had earlier been denied a visa to enter the United States, but with the help of an American university he was finally granted his travel papers: thus the “security alert” came as a surprise.

So why all the trouble over traveling to the US?

In response to media queries, the US embassy in Berlin had “no comment” to make. That’s because no comment was necessary: Trojanov was among the prominent signers of an open letter addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel protesting NSA surveillance on German soil as an “historic attack on our democratic, constitutional state.” That is clearly the reason for this Soviet-style harassment by the Obama administration.

This latest outrage is part of a disturbing pattern of repression that all points to one ineluctable conclusion: the United States is the Soviet Union of the new millennium – an ideological state with global ambitions that holds itself up as the epitome of “freedom” and yet is the single most powerful enemy of liberty worldwide.

Trojanov’s history makes this Soviet-style persecution all the more ironic: he and his family fled Bulgaria when he was very young, seeking refuge in the former Yugoslavia and finally

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