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Thread: Irish Oscar winning film's star tells of US airport detention

  1. #1
    Partridge Guest

    Irish Oscar winning film's star tells of US airport detention

    Irish Oscar winning film's star tells of airport detention
    Irish Examiner

    The star of Ireland’s newest Oscar winning film today told about the heavy handed tactics of US immigration officials who refused him entry to America to attend the awards.

    Ruaidhri Conroy, who starred in action short Six Shooter, said he was barred from entering the States because he overstayed a visa by two days in 1998.

    During his day-long detention in Los Angeles airport, the award winning actor was offered only crisps, crackers and processed noodles to eat.

    Conroy claimed he had never been made to feel so unwelcome.

    “I was escorted onto the plane by four officers and they said if you behave we won’t handcuff. They were very heavy,” he said.

    Directed by renowned playwright Martin McDonagh, dark comedy Six Shooter picked up the gong for Best Live Action Short Film.

    Conroy, who had a seat reserved at the 78th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood for the ceremony, revealed how he spent 22 hours in custody at Los Angeles’ LAX airport before being sent home.

    “I came up with my passport and my little immigration form and they just said they wanted to talk to me about my stay there in 1998 – I was over in New York doing a play written by Martin as well actually,” he told RTE Radio.

    “They said I had overstayed on a visa, and I didn’t think very much of it.”

    US immigration officials questioned Conroy about his visits to America, his parents, and warned him he might not make it into the country.

    “They asked what age I was, all sorts of ridiculous questions,” he said. “And then took me into a cell, a bare cell, and put me up against the wall and searched me, went through my bag, took an inventory of all my valuables and took all my fingerprints again.”

    Conroy told the officers he had travelled to the States to attend the Oscars.

    “I said that from the beginning, but I don’t think that impressed them very much to be honest. I think that egged them on more to keep me out of the country rather than keep me in,” he said.

    “They weren’t very nice people to be honest, they weren’t very welcoming.”

    He went on: “I don’t think I’ve felt so unwelcome anywhere in my life and I think they just thought that I am a young man saying I am going to the Oscars that they may have got a certain satisfaction from preventing that happening.

    “You were treated like a criminal basically.”

    Conroy was best known for his role as Tito in Into the West. His latest film, Six Shooter, which also stars Brendan Gleeson, has already been shown twice on RTE television and is due to be aired on Channel 4 on Wednesday.

  2. #2
    Partridge Guest
    Morrissey: I was quizzed by the FBI
    Manchester Evening News

    Ex-Smiths frontman Morrissey says he was quizzed by the FBI and Special Branch over his outspoken criticism of the US and British governments.

    The singer, who has previously branded American President George Bush a terrorist and denounced the war in Iraq, said the experience showed neither country was a democratic society.

    He told the NME: "The FBI and the Special Branch have investigated me and I've been interviewed and taped and so forth."

    The singer, who lives in Los Angeles, added: "They were trying to determine if I was a threat to the government, and similarly in England.

    "But it didn't take them very long to realise that I'm not.


    "I don't belong to any political groups, I don't really say anything unless I'm asked directly and I don't even demonstrate in public."

    Explaining what he thought had prompted the move, the 46-year-old said: "My view is that neither England or America are democratic societies. You can't really speak your mind and if you do you're investigated even though it's just a basic process that must be done."

    In 2004 Morrissey urged American voters to get rid of President Bush, saying he had turned the US into the most "neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet".

    He sparked controversy earlier that year when he reportedly told a concert in Dublin he wished the current president had died instead of Ronald Reagan.

    Probably what got him in troube: 'Bush should have died, not Reagan': Morrissey

  3. #3
    Partridge Guest
    Or maybe it was the lyrics to this song off his last (superb) album?

    America Is Not the World

    America your head's too big,
    Because America,
    Your belly's too big
    And I love you,
    I just wish you'd stay where you is

    In America,
    The land of the free, they said,
    And of opportunity,
    In a just and a truthful way
    But where the president,
    Is never black, female or gay,
    And until that day
    You've got nothing to say to me,
    To help me believe

    In America,
    It brought you the hamburger,
    Well America you know where,
    You can shove your hamburger
    And don't you wonder,
    Why in Estonia they say,
    Hey you, big fat pig
    You fat pig, you fat pig

    Steely Blue eyes with no love in them,
    Scan the world,
    And a humourless smile,
    With no warmth within,
    Greets the world
    And I, I have got nothing,
    To offer you
    Just this heart deep and true,
    Which you say you don't need

    See with your eyes,
    Touch with your hands, please,
    Hear through your ears,
    Know in your soul, please
    For haven't you me with you now?
    And I love you, I love you, I love you,
    And I love you, I love you, I love you

  4. #4
    Partridge Guest
    From the Archives:

    Christy Moore 'frightened' by detention at Holyhead
    Irish Independent

    Folk singer-songwriter Christy Moore spoke yesterday of his "threatening" and "frightening" experience at the hands of British port authorities who detained both him and his driver at Holyhead under anti-terrorism laws.

    Moore was stopped and interviewed for two hours under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 en route to playing four concerts in London and the English midlands.

    In a statement, Moore said he was questioned about his song lyrics, asked personal questions about his family and friends and given no explanation as to why he was being held. The Foreign Affairs Department confirmed last night it had contacted British authorities about the incident on Monday, but declined to comment further.

    Moore was carrying no photographic identification at the time, and said neither the van in which he was travelling, nor instrument cases or equipment, were checked by the authorities.

    "I found the whole experience threatening," he said last night. "At no time was I given any explanation as to why I was being held and interrogated in this manner. "I found the whole affair quite frightening. But the feeling I am left with a few days later is one of sadness as I thought this kind of behaviour towards Irish people travelling to the UK was a thing of the past."

    John Swift, secretary of the Musicians Union of Ireland, said he was shocked and outraged by Moore's detention.

  5. #5
    Partridge Guest
    Another from the archives:

    Is that a gun on your T-shirt, or are you just alarming us?

    Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones has spoken of his confusion after being stopped from boarding a flight at Heathrow Airport - because the gun print on his T-shirt sparked a security alert.

    The Cwmaman-born singer was celebrating yesterday after the band won 10th best album of all time for Performance & Cocktails in a UK-wide poll.

    But it also emerged Jones was taken aside by over-vigilant officials after his clothes set off a metal detector.

    "It was a strange one. I walked through the metal detectors and took off my belt and phone, but my boots were left beeping," he said.

    And Jones was left amazed when told his T-shirt, which showed a pistol, was unsuitable for flying in.

    "My T-shirt distracted the guy and he told me that I wasn't supposed to wear it. It had a painting of a gun on it and he started claiming that if the T-shirt was embossed it could be used as something.

    "But surely it was more of a concern that my boots were beeping and he hadn't even asked me to take my shoes off!"

    Jones said that despite several world tours to promote the band's five albums, he had never come across such a bizarre situation.

    "I travel all the time and I've never seen a notice that says you can't wear something on your T-shirt," he added.

    But it wasn't the first time, as band-mate Richard Jones has spoken about his friend's tendency to get stopped by security on several occasions.

    "Something always happens," said the bassist. "When we arrived in New Zealand a year and a half ago we got stopped and Kelly got strip-searched. We have to keep our eye on him so he doesn't get into trouble."

    Other Spinal Tap moments that the band have experienced include leaving one of their roadies in the middle of the desert.

    "We went out to Mount Rushmore in the middle of a US tour and stopped to look at the presidents' heads carved out of the rocks," said the singer. "We had a cup of coffee, got back on the bus, drove four hours through the desert and realised we'd left our bass technician there."

    Jones told this week's edition of Zoo magazine that he cared deeply about Wales winning the Grand Slam this year.

    "It was the same weekend that our album went in at number one, so it was a good, drunken weekend."

    He also offered an insight into the new band dynamics since original drummer Stuart Cable was ousted. Argentine replacement Javier Weyler started touring with the group full-time earlier this year.

    "It's like changing girlfriends or something, or having a second wife," said Jones. "Changing any member of a band creates a different dynamic. And not just musical, it's personality and attitude.

    "Javier is a very positive, happy-go-lucky kind of guy, and the way he plays is pretty magnificent too, so it's all good at the moment."

  6. #6
    Partridge Guest
    Yet another from the archives:

    Guantanamo actors held at airport

    The actors who star in movie The Road to Guantanamo were questioned by police at Luton airport under anti-terrorism legislation, it has emerged. The men, who play British inmates at the detention camp, were returning from the Berlin Film Festival where the movie won a Silver Bear award.

    One of the actors, Rizwan Ahmed, said a police officer asked him if he intended to make any more "political" films.

    The men were released quickly and not arrested, said Bedfordshire police.


    "Six people were stopped under the Terrorism Act. This is something that happens all the time and obviously at airports and train stations," said a spokeswoman.

    "There is a heightened state of security since the London bombings. Public safety is paramount."

    Actor Farhad Harun was also questioned, along with Shafiq Rusul and Rhuhel Ahmed, the men whose detention in Guantanamo is chronicled in the film.

    Mr Ahmed also alleges that he was verbally abused by a police officer and had his mobile phone taken from him for a short period.

    The actor also claims that he was told by police that he could be held for up to 48 hours without access to a lawyer.

    He says he was initially questioned at the airport's baggage pick-up area and taken to a separate room when he demanded to know why.

    Human rights organisation Reprieve, who Mr Ahmed has asked to speak on his behalf, called Thursday's incident an "ugly farce".


    They have called for an urgent inquiry into what happened while one of the film's producers, Melissa Parmenter, said the detention was outrageous.

    Bedfordshire police have said they will issue another statement specifically concerning the allegations made by Mr Ahmed and Reprieve.

    The Road to Guantanamo, directed by British film-maker Michael Winterbottom, tells the story of the Tipton Three.

    The men from the West Midlands went to Pakistan to arrange a wedding and eventually found themselves at the US camp.

    They were picked up in Afghanistan and believed to be terrorist suspects and were eventually released from Guantanamo Bay in 2004 without charge.

    The film, shot in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, was made at a cost of £1.5m.

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