20 April 2006

Stupid reason for visa rejection and Vikram Buddhi (u)

Studpidest reason for rejection of a tourist visa to the United States - New York is too far from Denver to visit if your base is in Denver. Apparently the consulate officer who came up with that gem is unaware that the united states has roads, automobiles and aeroplanes. He or she has missed out on the last 150 or so years.

In an unrelated story, an Indian maths student from Purdue has been arrested for telling other people to threaten the lives of the US president and veep and family and assorted "anglo-saxons" and their institutions. Apparently he did this way back in November on a site about xm satellite radio (?), got a talking to by the secret service who told him to cease and desist, which he did. They also asked him if he was insane and he said no. Then they left him alone to continue his studies and teaching. However that was not enough and now he's in jail until he gets charges brought against him next week as he's a flight risk. I think he needs a psychiatrist, not a judge. Anyway, the guy's name is Vikram Buddhi ... Buddhi means intelligence... in this case he might be forever known on campus as Vikram Buddhu ... Buddhu... which means idiot.

I didn't know that the US could arrest people for saying things online. I better watch it around here, free speech has basically gone to hell... what next, somebody gets arrested for suggesting that the Prez should step down at the end of his term? Already happens in several banana republics.

Update 30 April - Vikram's being held in some undisclosed prison in Indiana, he pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held without access to bail. Seriously, this guy is no threat to the U.S. otherwise the secret service wouldn't have waited for a few months before arresting him. Well at least the law will take its course and hopefully he'll get the psychiatric help that he needs.

Update 29 June 2007 - Buddhi's been found guilty of 11 counts. Sentencing later this year. His lawyer tried to use the defense that other people on the internet have said similar things as well as Ann Coulter the other day. Didn't work. I thought he could legitimately use an insanity plea but maybe he was in his senses at the time.


Rajesh Warrier said...

Was the Officer for real ??

Mosilager said...

yup it just happened to a friend of mine... her in-laws

Supremus said...

I read abt this somewhere, and sure as hell thought - wow whatever happened to freedom of speech in the country that boasts to be the mama of all of it hehe!

Thanks for stopping by my blog - u have an interesting blog here.


Mosilager said...

Yeah the freedom of speech thingie is limited around here. It's weird, in India people get awards for complaining about the government and leadership, here, they get sued and thrown into jail. Not that I'm complaining, the US has given me a good education and hasn't arrested me yet, so I'm ahead so far :)

Anonymous said...

Threatening somebody with killing and raping has nothing to do with free speech. This guy has a screw loose. Kick him out of the country.

Anonymous said...

No no, his name should be Viparit Buddhi!

Mosilager said...

Anonymous - good one, I didn't think of that! Hope he comes out of it OK.

Anonymous said...

What is the lastest news on him

Mosilager said...

anon - no news at all... they are probably preparing for the trial. I don't know when that will be.

Rambo said...

We have another viparit buddhi nowadays - Rahul Mahajan!

Bushwick Bill said...

"I didn't know that the US could arrest people for saying things online. I better watch it around here, free speech has basically gone to hell... what next, somebody gets arrested for suggesting that the Prez should step down at the end of his term? Already happens in several banana republics."

You should know that while we do have free speech in America, it's illegal to threaten violence against anyone--not just the President. The president happens to have a little outfit called the Secret Service charged with his protection, and they take all threatening remarks quite seriously.

Seriously, this piece of shit was given an opportunity by me and my fellow Americans to come here and study. He abused his privilege and American hospitality by threatening our president.

I hope he gets 10 - 15 years in federal PMITA prison and then immediately deported.

The word needs to get out to you foreign students that while we Americans welcome you, we won't tolerate your abuse of our hospitality.

Mosilager said...

Bushwick - Thanks for your candour. I have seen many signs outside people's fences saying "Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again." According to you this could be interpreted as threatening someone. Could one sue the responsible person for putting up such a sign?

The US justice system is also based on the adage that the punishment should fit the crime. Now if Buddhi seriously intended to cause harm to the President or anybody else, he should be locked up. I think he did not have the ability to carry out any such attack. Reading reports of his threats, he sounds mentally disturbed to me and should be treated as such. Also, if the secret service had taken him seriously, they would have arrested him as soon as they found his identity, rather than letting him run around for a few more months. So I don't think that they considered this guy a serious threat. Of course, maybe in those months something turned up that made them think that he was serious about carrying out his threats. Either way, I'm happy that he is in the hands of the justice system, they will find out the truth.

You do make an interesting point. Anyone who goes into another country is bound by that country's rules. Now if the rules are not intuitive (nobody in the US claims that free speech has any qualifiers), then they definitely need to be clarified. Perhaps international student organisations should clarify what is acceptable in this country to each student, because it is currently not being done.

The quote that you highlighted was written when it seemed that President Bush was trying to concentrate all power into his hands by stomping down on any opposition - I have seen the results of such actions in 2 other countries - and they are not pretty. I'm glad that americans went to the polls and decided that the republican party had too much power for the good of the nation and hopefully the new policies with both parties sharing power will represent what most Americans want, rather than just half of the population.

Bushwick Bill said...

As to your points: the sign above ("Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.") is NOT a threat. It's dark humor. Maybe it's not funny to you, but it's at least mildly amusing to many Americans.

Then you say: "Now if the rules are not intuitive (nobody in the US claims that free speech has any qualifiers), then they definitely need to be clarified."

Well, um, except we do admit to qualifiers. Most of us (Americans) learn in high school civics class the famous opinion (see Schenk vs. United States) of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that the First Amendment does NOT protect a person "falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic."

It is not the responsibility of Americans or the American government to familiarize visitors with our laws. It is YOUR responsibility as a visitor to familiarize yourself with our laws.

"The US justice system is also based on the adage that the punishment should fit the crime."

I don't know all of the facts of the case, but I assume either that the investigating agent's initial opinion was challenged by one of his superiors, and/or additional information about Mr. Buddhi came to light some time after the initial interview. I don't know the facts. That will be all sorted out by a judge and/or a jury. If the judge or jury find that Mr. Buddhi committed a crime, they'll determine, according to our laws, the severity of the crime and an appropriate punishment.

Now having said all that: Don't get me wrong. I loathe Bush. As an American, I hate GW Bush more than anyone. (Admittedly, I hate the SOB for different reasons than most Leftists and non-Americans.)

Nonetheless, I'm extremely offended by people who come to my country and abuse the rights my ancestors fought to defend. Mr. Buddhi didn’t just commit a crime by threatening the life of the president (assuming Mr. Buddhi’s of sound mind, and assuming he did make the threat). Forget about that for the moment. He abused the hospitality of the American people by coming to our country, studying at a public university, and hurling threats at our constitutionally elected president.

That alone merits his deportation. And good riddance.

Mosilager said...

Thanks for clearing that up about the sign - I thought it was at least semi-serious.

The normal impression that people get of the US from outside is what they see in films and maybe on CNN. None of these outlets have ever declared the US to be anything other than a land of freedom and being able to say what people thought. So perhaps going to a US school vs. learning about US rules from TV provides a different experience. So I would suggest that during International student orientation new students get told about qualifiers to free speech and so on, which is currently not done.

In an ideal world everyone should read and memorise the laws of whichever country they go to. Then everyone would drive at the speed limit, people would use things the way they were meant to, and there would be no Darwin awards. In the real world, nobody does that. Now that's not a legal defense, because entering any country means that you agree to abide by all their laws. I'm just saying it's a tragedy if someone does not know the laws and breaks them and this situation should be avoided if possible.

I agree about Buddhi - the law should take its course.

It's sad when somebody does not appreciate the hospitality of the hosts... but it's hard to screen for such people... we get lots of Iranian students in India and a few of them cause trouble... we get lots of Pakistani and Bangladeshi visitors overstaying their visa... can never tell who will be law-abiding and who will not, unfortunately. It always feels bad so I understand what you mean.

It would be interesting to know why you hate President Bush... as you mentioned that it was not the usual reasons. I don't hate him, because I think that at least some of his decisions have been based on what he thinks is best for the USA.

Anonymous said...

this is very unfortunate for the buddhi family..remember the indian naval officer charged with treason who was proven not guilty < B.K Subba Rao is Vikram's father...

Mosilager said...

anon yes I knew about that, I heard that he started behaving very strangely towards his friends and roommates after his father's arrest, it can't have been an easy time.

lova said...

Damn, my comment got lost.
I just read the exchange there with the Bushwick fellow. I am a bit familiar with the "vdare" crew. One of them started a heated exchange with Gladwell on the definition of a racist slur.
They also advocate the use of the infamous "IQ of the nations" (remember that crap ?) study to justify the restricition of immigration from countries deemed inferior.
Needless to say, I would take whatever these people say with a major grain of salt :)

Mosilager said...

I don't think he said anything unreasonable here, but it's good that they are talking about their views openly, and we can debate about it. They may not change their views, but maybe other people who chance on the discussion might.

He was just objecting that I said that free speech is being restricted in the USA. He said that most Americans are aware of the caveats to that. I was trying to tell him that most foreigners are not aware, because of the US media and Hollywood portrayals, and legally they can be punished for that, but morally it's wrong to punish someone for not being aware of the rules.

Anonymous said...

Bushwick Bill ....Nobody comes here hating america, we are here because we like being here. Except for one incident, America really never experienced terrorism or any threat from immigrants, infact they have only served this nation better. Probably he was humanist (my observation many university guys become or are leftists and cynics) who hated killing of hundreds of thousands (500000) of Iraqis (in comparison US lost about 5000 soldiers) which was totally unnecesary. He must have typed lines in rage and you probably know they are harmless...inspite of that you want this guy in prison for 15 years.

Vikram was probably angry that while US has no business in Iraq (Ron Paul says so too)- its killing so many people unnecessarily. And you want to put this guy in prison for scribling something in rage on an internet board is excessive.

Vikram only mentioned Iraq and not afghanisthan. He has nothing to do with both the countries, he is from India and follows Hindu religion. Govt can just deport this guy rather than putting him in prison.

As a citizen, whats your feeling about invading or meddling other countries internal affairs...is that not creating sufficent hatred and heat in enviroment

Anonymous said...

Is this guy a US citizen or an Indian citizen? It seems that he is/was in US since 1996. I wonder if he would have taken US citizenship by 2006.

Either way, he did write something against our president, so let law take it course. At least he will get far better treatment than he would have gotten in India.

Anonymous said...