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Bikes in defense of the homeland!  Jeff Thorne
 Oct 22, 2003 10:40 PDT 

Cyclists are suspicious types, natch!
http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0343/mondo3.php
The police are your friends.

Mondo Washington
by James Ridgeway
The Tip-Off: Bikes!
Homeland Security Follies
October 22 - 28, 2003

"The lives and liberties of Americans are protected by the Patriot Act,"
Attorney General John Ashcroft said recently. He added, "We are using proven
crime-fighting tools to win the war against terrorism, while protecting our
constitutional rights. We are preserving lives and liberty."

That's exactly what the alert cops standing in the Arlington, Texas, police
parking lot thought they were doing when on a recent Saturday they spotted two
young men on bikes approaching. And when the two claimed to be students from
the University of Texas who had lost their way trying to find a climbing gym,
the cops knew something was wrong, got on the radio, and sounded the alert. "I
heard the male officer say into his radio that we are Pakistanis," Pavel
Lachko told the Dallas Observer. "We said, 'No, no, no. We are not Pakistanis.
We're Russians.' " And, indeed, Pavel Lachko and his friend Boris Avdeev
claimed to be Russian students studying at the University of Texas.

Understandably, the police officers thought the men were trying to pull a fast
one, and they weren't going to fall for it. They slapped the cuffs on the
would-be terrorists, charging them with criminal trespass. Then they called in
agents of the Department of Homeland Security for a proper interrogation. When
the department agents determined the two actually were graduate students here
on legal visas, they were released on bail. The charges are still pending and
the cops think they were in the right. "We take building security extremely
seriously in the wake of 9-11," Sergeant Will Johnson, an Arlington police
spokesman, explained. "We follow the directions and information provided by
federal authorities. One of the precautions taken is to ensure that the
security of the police department is maintained."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Additional reporting: Ashley Glacel
	
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