Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Those Fascinating American Tunnels....

An Israeli man was detained by Maryland State Police for more than four hours after he was seen photographing the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, a state police spokesman said.

The incident began around 6:30 p.m. Friday when authorities received a call from a motorist who reported seeing a man taking pictures as he drove through the tunnel which runs under Baltimore Harbor on Interstate 95.

The Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, which passes on information to local, state and federal public safety agencies, connected the caller to the Maryland State Police. Troopers were alerted to watch for a green 1998 Dodge Caravan with Connecticut license plates.

The motorist who made the initial call contacted authorities again as he headed south on Interstate 95 north of Washington, D.C. The driver reported seeing the same van heading north on Interstate 95.

Maryland State Police stopped the van near Laurel just before 7 p.m. Investigators said the driver did not immediately produce his international license. An explosives detection dog team called to the scene did not find any explosives, but a laptop computer and a digital camera were found in the vehicle.

The man was taken to the state police barracks in College Park for questioning. He told authorities that he was in the Baltimore-Washington area visiting friends for the Rosh Hashana holiday which began at sunset on Friday. He also showed them a valid passport indicating that he had been in the United States for about six weeks.

The man told troopers that he took pictures of the tunnel because there are no similar facilities in Israel.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


9/26/2006 5:40 AM  
Anonymous kilfarsnar said...

TCR seems to think this is suspicious. I'm not so sure. When I was in Japan I took pictures of tunnels, bridges, constructon equipment and random street intersections. They just look different than those in the US. By the same token, it is a cliche that Japanese tourists take pictures of seemingly mundane things. I'm reminded of Caddy Shack. Rodney Dangerfield: "Wang! It's a parking lot!" Without more information, being suspicious of this Israeli seems paranoid to me.

9/26/2006 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

Kilfarsnar, I think you have hit TCR's entire point: if this were a person of Arab or maybe even Indonesian Muslim descent, tens of millions of people in this country (tho not necessarily you) would be instantly convinced that he was a terrorist. But because this man is an Israeli, or at least seems to hold a valid Israeli passport, everyone assumes he is not a terrorist. If this man were an Arab tourist, he would probably have been locked up for weeks while the authorities sorted things out. When, as you say, he could simply be taking pictures of things that look very different from his homeland. If this hypothetical Arab tourist received such treatment, we could well have made a terrorist sympathizer out of a former American admirer. How many times has this happened already, to real people rather than hypothetical ones? We don't know. Which is why racial profiling is counterproductive.

9/26/2006 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...


Excellent point. Perhaps I misinterpreted TCR. Certainly, we must be vigilant. But jumping to conclusions about anybody is, as you say, counterproductive.

9/26/2006 1:51 PM  
Anonymous kilfarsnar said...

BTW, Anonymous, that is an interesting article you linked to. It's long and I have not finished it yet. But it further indicates that more went on on 9/11 than we know. See, I can be paranoid too! ;-)

9/26/2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Re the Israeli art students story - I did a little research into the purported DEA report abut them and post some of my findings at the TPM Cafe.

Here's an excerpt:

"A document purporting to be a DEA report on the Israeli art students has been widely disseminated on th internet in the last few years but I'm not sure how many people have actually read it.

A couple of years ago, I was curious enough to read some of it. I then tried to check out some of the names and I think I decoded one of them.

(If you are interested, the DEA report, the Fox transcripts and other articles can be found at Justin Raimondo's Antiwar.com website - see "The 'Israeli Art Student' Files".)

Paragraphs 96-99 refer to "Peer Segalowitz" who was picked up by the INS for questioning after Segalowitz visited the Orlando DEA office in May 2001.

Segalowitz's date of birth (3/16/74), his military serial number (593739088), and other information about him are in the report.

Paragraph 98 refers to Segalowitz's claim that he was selling art and worked for his brother, Dror Segalowitz at 8187 University Drive, #129 Tamarac [Broward County] FL.

I checked corporate registrations at sunbiz.org for variations of Segal and found "IDS Art Group Inc." originally registered in April 2001 (the registration papers are dated February 2001) to Dror Segalovich at 8187 University Drive, #129, Tamarac FL.

The phone number given was (954) 721-1117. In May 2002, the address and phone number was changed to 7955 Lagos De Campo Boulevard, Tamarac FL at (954) 394-9700.

The corporation was dissolved on 9/19/2003 according to sunbiz.org. I'm not sure when I first posted my findings on the internet about the IDS Art Group but it was around the same time.

I tried to find references to Dror Segalovich in Broward County records today without success. The Lagos de Campo Blvd. address may have been phony because, based on Broward County property records, the property was a vacant lot until 2004.

I visit Florida often and was tempted to go by the University Drive address and thought the better of it.

I don't know what the Israeli art student spy story is about but the Israeli military is involved in it and most of the activity appears to have occurred in 2001 before 9/11.

Somebody went to a lot of trouble to put a credible DEA report online. A "Dror Segalovich" really did register "IDS Art Group, Inc.". "

9/26/2006 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republican and religious right have determined that he's stolen the soul of the tunnel by photographing it.

9/27/2006 3:04 AM  
Blogger semper fubar said...

Don't kid yourselves, everyone. My son -- waspy, cleancut, 18 years old at the time -- was stopped in our little small town 2 years ago for taking photographs on the street. Apparently he unwittingly took a photo with his new camera of an "undercover agent" standing on a street corner.

The "agent" grabbed his camera and confiscated the memory chip (which we had just paid several hundred dollars for.)

They said they were going to charge him with some trumped up charge -- something related to the Patriot Act.

We got a lawyer (another $500) and got the charges dropped and the chip back from the local police station after a few days.

That was the beginning for me. A "minor incident" to be sure, and luckily resolved with a couple hundred bucks - but could this have happened 20 years ago? I don't think so. You can't take photographs on a street corner? And what if we were black , or middle eastern, or didn't have $500?

I'm just your run-of-the-mill white suburban housewife.

Think it can't happen to you?

Think again. It happened to me.

9/27/2006 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an aside, Semper Fubar, you wouldn't happen to be a leatherneck?

9/27/2006 8:20 PM  
Anonymous jay walker said...

semper fubar:

That's truly, well, FUBAR!

9/28/2006 11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wayne madsen's site and onlinejournal site both down possibly for latest hariri scoop...

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