U.S. Customs Won't Apologize for Destroying Musician's Rare Flutes (Foreign Policy)
Friday January 3rd, 2014
U.S. customs officials last week destroyed 11 rare flutes by a respected Canadian musician who was returning home via New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. But the agency isn't apologizing for the incident -- it says the flutes were an ecological threat.
Officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection identified the instruments owned by flute virtuoso Boujemaa Razgui as agricultural products that risked introducing "exotic plant pathogens" in to the United States, a customs official tells Foreign Policy. As a result, officials destroyed every single flute without contacting Razgui in an incident that makes your holiday airport delays trivial by comparison.
..."CBP is responsible for detecting and preventing the entry into the country of plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm America's agricultural resources," said an official, after being asked if the agency would issue an apology. "The fresh bamboo canes were seized and destroyed in accordance with established protocols to prevent the introduction of plant pathogens into the United States."
...The CBP official said Razgui's luggage was unclaimed and added that "fresh bamboo is prohibited from entering the United States to prevent the introduction of exotic plant pathogens."