Canadian science fiction author, Dr Peter Watts, was arrested by US border guards last Tuesday. He was then beaten, pepper sprayed, held in jail over night, not allowed access to a lawyer then deposited in Canada during a cold snap without his jacket.
His computer, flashdrive and notepad were confiscated.
Looks like the illiterates they have manning the US/Canada border can't tell the difference between notes written by a science fiction author and plans for a nefarious terrorist plot. Watts writes far-future sci-fi, by the way, not near-future, semi-plausible thrillers about geopolitical conflict.
Maybe the guards thought the references to genetically modified fishmen, posthuman zombies and vampire starship captains were some sort of sophisticated code.
Watts is charged with assaulting a federal officer (as if) and will have to defend himself against the charge in a US court. Mounting a defence is expected to be very costly. Watts is a successful writer, but as a successful Canadian writer, this will likely bankrupt him. As such, a fund is being put together to help him out.
Read a full account of Watts' ordeal over at BoingBoing, another at the Toronto Star or this one direct from Peter Watts himself.
Find out how to contribute to Watts' defense here.
And while you're at it, you should read what Watt's has to say about the CRU email scandal. The guy likely has the best and truest take on the scandal so far.