Sunday, December 2, 2007

Probably More Effective Than Calling Him A Nincompoop

The Lazy Person's Path to Revenge: Call Your Enemy a "Terrorist"
Itching for revenge on your business competitor, raucous neighbors or mother-in-law? Just tell the FBI your nemesis is a terrorist. Then just sit back and savor the results.
That's exactly what happened to a man traveling from Sweden to the United States. The man's father-in-law was angry with him for divorcing his daughter. So to seek his revenge, the father sent an email to the FBI accusing his ex-son-in-law of having links to al-Qaeda - just when the man had to travel to the U.S. on business.
Upon his arrival in Florida, authorities arrested the son-in-law. Police handcuffed him, placed him in a detention cell, and interrogated him for 11 hours. Police finally convinced themselves the man wasn't a threat to U.S. national security. But even then, authorities refused to allow the man to enter the United States. He was unceremoniously expelled and placed on a flight back to Europe.
Confronted by Swedish authorities for sending a libelous email, the father-in-law admitted playing a dirty trick. He said he didn't think, "The authorities were so stupid that they would believe anything. But apparently they are."
If accusing your enemy of being a terrorist isn't enough, you need to think bigger. Think money laundering. Simply accuse your enemy of laundering money for terrorists.
That's what happened to Naresh Goyal, the founder and chairman of Jet Airways, India's biggest private airline. In 2005, Jet applied for a license to fly to the United States. After a series of delays, Mr. Goyal learned that authorities suspected he was laundering money for al-Qaeda. Later, he learned that local competitors were behind the claim.
After a two-year investigation, U.S. authorities approved Jet's application for U.S. landing rights. But Goyal holds no grudge against his accusers. "Indians are very creative," he says.
And that's the best way to get your revenge. Simply be creative. Yes, it's illegal to make false accusations against your enemy or competitor. And, yes, it might get you into trouble. But, that apparently hasn't stopped many people from making false accusations.
The bigger question, of course, is what happens after the FBI or other police agency completes its investigation. I suspect that the Swedish man interrogated and denied entry into the United States is now on the government's terrorist screening database. Mr. Goyal may be a proud member as well.
It's not easy getting off the watch list. Even dead people can't get off of it. Saddam Hussein, executed in 2006, apparently remains on the watch list. The watch list also reportedly contains the names of several of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers killed in the attacks of that day.
In other words, if you finger someone as a terrorist, the likely result is that wherever they travel, for years if not decades to come, they'll experience delays, detentions, and possible denial of entry rights. Sweet revenge indeed, for their false accusers.

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