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Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010

HAVE YOUR SAY

'Friendship festival' draws the line at the French: some responses

A selection of readers' views on "U.S. Navy 'Friendship Festival' draws line at the French" (Zeit Gist, Sept. 7) by Blair McBride:

Roma or terrorism concerns?

The rejection of French visitors at military "open houses" may be due to several things. It may be a low level way of placing diplomatic pressure on the French for the expulsion of the Romany (Gypsies). There may have been a military alert about false French passports being used by radicals or even terrorists.

In either case, public explanations would likely not be given, due to either keeping the Romany issue below the public radar so as to allow great diplomatic latitude, or, in a military security alert involving French passports, protecting informants from being identified inadvertently.

And there is the possibility that Mr. Eric Fior has been (rightly or wrongly) identified as being a radical of one sort or another and placed on a security list denying him access using his French background as an excuse.

Military bases are always high-security areas by nature and it should be unsurprising that they refuse entry to individuals or organizations that they find objectionable!

Brian Lane
Riverside County, Calif.

French tardy with paperwork

The entire point of this situation was missed by the author. Countries have to file paperwork to have citizens admitted to military bases. France did not bother to do this.

No one is discriminating here and no one from France had to be excluded, particularly because they are from France. Most people in America and our government as well are very positive about France and its people.

Nevertheless, France did not follow the rules and submit the required paperwork. Therefore their citizens were not allowed in. If you don't follow the rules, you can't complain about the consequences.

It is a common human failing to ignore your own failing and blame someone else. That is all that happened here.

Bruce Tingey
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Bases are not U.S. territory

In regard to the article about Eric Fior being barred from entry to the Negishi Housing Area, Fior appears to have a common misconception about American bases in Japan.

Negishi and other American military bases are not "American territory." The land that the bases sit on belongs to the Japanese government. The Americans are allowed to use that land according to the stipulations in the Status of Forces Agreement between the governments of the two nations.

I suspect the reason France is on the "no entry" list is because of its immigrant population from countries in Africa that are viewed as potential threats to the U.S., but I don't know for sure.

Charles Ainsworth
Sagamihara, Kanagawa Pref.

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