Prodos for Capitalism Magazine: America, the Land of the Free, is currently trying to expel a man who defends its highest principles. Why? Because he defends its highest principles! Reason, individual rights, capitalism, and the pursuit of happiness, are not welcome in today’s universities and schools.
If you stand up for these ideas and are vocal and seek to teach these ideas in today’s academia you will be shunned. You’ll be asked to leave your teaching post. You may even become unemployable.
This has been the fate of Emmanuel Foroglou – an ardent advocate of the philosophy of Ayn Rand – history’s most consistent defender of American and Western values.
For over two weeks now Emmanuel has been getting free food and lodging at Cumberland County Jail in the USA, while he waits to be thrown out of the US and flown back to his home land of Greece – where he will be required to play the role of servant of the State.
To be conscripted into the Greek Army. To be treated not as a free man who owns his own life but as another expendable victim of the State.
Today we talk with the kind of man America should be trying to attract to their shores. A man who holds and advocates the kinds of beliefs that build great nations of freedom and prosperity. From his comfortable, friendly accommodation at Cumberland County Jail, we welcome Emmanuel Foroglu and his attorney, from the firm – Moon, Moss and McGill – Jonathan Shapiro.
Capitalism Magazine: First of all Emmanuel how are you? How are you feeling?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well . . . not well at all, spending two and a half weeks in jail will make you miserable, no matter what.
Capitalism Magazine: OK, so are you coping all right?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well, my health has deteriorated – unfortunately.
Capitalism Magazine: Whilst you have been in jail.
Emmanuel Foroglou: Yes, exactly.
Capitalism Magazine: Is that through worries?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Because of the stress and the pressure. My blood pressure was sky high when I first came here. The nurse that checked me out was concerned that I might have a stroke.
Capitalism Magazine: Jonathan Shapiro why is Emmanuel in jail?
Jonathan Shapiro: Emmanuel is in jail right now, because after the U.S. Federal Court here in Portland issued a ruling denying a petition , which we had filed on his behalf, asking the court to prevent the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from deporting him to Greece, the INS arrested him at his home – literally moments after the order came down from the court. There were Border Patrol Officers at his home in Houlton Maine which is far north from here and took him into custody and they have refused to release him ever since. They say that there is a final deportation order on Mr. Foroglou and they intend to carry out that order – as they say – ‘forthwith’ – which means immediately. And he has been in custody for two and a half weeks and we have been fighting to have him released so that we can pursue his appeal of the Federal Court decision.
Capitalism Magazine: Well then can I ask, why has he not been deported yet, if that’s the case?
Jonathan Shapiro: They made every effort — he was in Kennedy Airport — and he can tell you how close he was to being deported — I understand that he was within an hour or so of being deported, and we got an order from the First Circuit Court of Appeals — which is the Court of Appeals that covers the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, the Virgin Islands — and the Judge there said deportation is (stayed) until further notice. They understood the emergent nature and they stopped the deportation.
Capitalism Magazine: That was on December 10th, 1999 I believe.
Jonathan Shapiro: That’s correct.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel what happened on December 10th?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well, as Jonathan said, I was driven from here, Portland, to Boston and then flown into New York and there was already a ticket ready for me to fly back to Greece. But as soon as the plane landed at Kennedy Airport, the immigration official had a chat with his office, and he was notified of the stay of deportation. And then I knew that I would not be going to Greece after all.
Capitalism Magazine: Were you surprised, was it unexpected when the officials arrived to arrest you?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Oh yes, although it was not entirely so, knowing full well the arbitrary abuse of power that happen so frequently today, but yes I was certainly surprised – I did not expect it.
Capitalism Magazine: You didn’t expect it? They didn’t warn you?
Emmanuel Foroglou: No, not at all. And the only reason why I have got to expect this was my other lawyer in Washington DC had sent me an email message the previous evening that the Judge was going to deny my petition. That’s the only reason why I had any kind of a warning, otherwise it would have been a complete shock out of the blue.
Capitalism Magazine: Yes. And here you are now in Cumberland County Jail. What’s it like there? What’s it like in there? What’s the food like . . .?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Horrible.
Capitalism Magazine: Horrible food! (laughs). Are you dressed in a uniform manner?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Yes. Yes, certainly.
Capitalism Magazine: And do you need to abide by strict regimes?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well the standard of regulations that apply to all prison inmates.
Capitalism Magazine: And how are the other inmates? Are you getting along with them alright?
Emmanuel Foroglou: I have not any serious problems with them.
Capitalism Magazine: Yes, what other kind of people are in there?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well as a matter of fact I have found an awful lot of people like myself who do not belong in jail. Victimless crimes or just complaints that they told me were totally false and they believed that was the case, I would say at least half of the people that I have met here, I’ve not met that many, but at least half of them, would not belong in jail in a proper society where the government is limited to the role of protecting individual rights and does not initiate force against peaceful individuals.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel, what is a victimless crime?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well it is the kind of actions that the law criminalizes but where nobody’s rights are violated. Obviously these include anti-trust, laws banning the sale of illicit drugs, prostitution, pornography and so on or the sale of alcohol during the prohibition.
Capitalism Magazine: Right.
Emmanuel Foroglou: And any other acts which may be or a doctors and women having abortions, at least in the past and to some extent now, as well. The people who engage in actions that may or may or may not be ethical but the point is, they do not initiate force and thus do not violate anybody’s rights.
Capitalism Magazine: Sounds like a lot of laws cover victimless crimes then?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Absolutely. As I said this was one observation that stands out from my experience here, that an awful lot of the people have not committed any genuine crimes, That is they have not initiated force or fraud and thus not violated anybody’s rights.
Capitalism Magazine: Jonathan, do you have any other clients in Cumberland County Jail.
Jonathan Shapiro: I do not actually. I do not do criminal defense work. We are assisting Mr. Foroglou because this is an immigration matter and obviously with immigration matter the goal is for the client NOT to end up in jail.
Capitalism Magazine: This is unusual then is it?
Jonathan Shapiro: It is unusual in the sense that most immigration matters do not get to this point.
Capitalism Magazine: So why did this one get to this point then Jonathan? It seems strange then?
Jonathan Shapiro: Well, it has been tending for quite some time before I got involved. The case had been pending for years, the attorney’s in DC have tended the case through the board of immigration appeals, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. And they denied the appeal requesting that he been granted political asylum here. What is now pending before the court is Mr. Foroglou’s claim under the Torture Convention. That he would be tortured if he was returned to Greece and refused to serve in the mandatory military service.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel Foroglou it was in your homeland, Greece, where the ideas that lead to the creation of America and Western values were first formulated 2,500 years ago. But today it is in the last place on earth you want to be. Why?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Absolutely, well Greece has never had a Renaissance and an Enlightenment. As we know during the Dark and Middle Ages all classical civilization collapsed and it was during the Renaissance when the ideas of the Greeks were brought back to the forefront from the pages of modern civilization which culminated with the founding of America. Greece has never had a Renaissance and an Enlightenment and since getting its independence from the Otterman Empire in the 19th Century it has reverted to its Medieval past and there is rampant mysticism, altruism, and collectivism there and one manifestation among thousands or millions of them is the military conscription which has been implemented throughout Greek history in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Capitalism Magazine: You are seeking political asylum and that you fear torture if you return to Greece. Is that correct?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Yes, certainly. Amnesty International reported instances of other Total Objectors like myself – A Total Objector is somebody who refuses to perform any kind of slave labor, mandated by the government – be it military or civilian – and the instances particularly of Nikos Masioti and Pavlos Nathaniel – two total objectors who were imprisoned and tortured earlier this decade. So there are certainly grounds to believe that I will be face torture (in Greece) during my imprisonment for refusing to be drafted in Greece.
Capitalism Magazine: Right. And Jonathan, do you take the risk of torture seriously?
Jonathan Shapiro: We do, and there is a law in the United States – the Torture Convention – that prohibits the United States from deporting an individual to a country where there is a reasonable expectation that he will be subjected to torture – physical, mental or otherwise.
Capitalism Magazine: And how do you prove that to the authorities?
Jonathan Shapiro: Well we prove that with reports from Amnesty International which Mr. Foroglou has just referred to, from affidavits from other victims, and from Mr. Foroglou himself, from his own experiences from people he has contacted and knows about in an affidavit. All we are seeking right now is a chance to present that claim under the Torture Convention before the Immigration Courts and administrative agencies. It will be up to them to decide whether the claim has any merit but what we are trying to avoid right now is deportation before Mr. Foroglou has a chance to have his case heard. If they deport him before his case is heard, the case is rendered mute. You can’t undo a deportation.
Capitalism Magazine: So, what’s the best outcome in this situation in your opinion Jonathan?
Jonathan Shapiro: The best that can come in the short term is that the INS releases Mr. Foroglou pending his appeal before the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Boston. And I am hopeful that I am going to be able to arrange for his release in the coming days. That it is actually a new piece of news that Mr. Foroglou has not heard yet. But I am hopeful that we’re going to be able to arrange his release and that we will then proceed to brief his case before the First Circuit Court of appeal and that they will agree.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel do you hear that? There may be hope that you will be out of jail at least in the short term.
Emmanuel Foroglou: Oh yes! As a matter of fact the first time I am hearing this news, so I am very grateful for that.
Jonathan Shapiro: And I think we will know more later on and obviously I need to speak to Emmanuel – this is the first that he is hearing of this. This is a very recent development, which only occurred in the last hour and a half or so.
Emmanuel Foroglou: That’s wonderful! I was planning to speak to my other attorney in Washington DC later this afternoon but this is . . .
Capitalism Magazine: Jeez! How many attorney’s do you have mate?
Emmanuel Foroglou: That’s it, we’ve covered them all. That’s another side effect of all those non-objective laws – the attorneys you have to hire and the legal fees we have to incur . . . This has been a financially draining issue over the last 6 years or so, I’ve had to spend several tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Capitalism Magazine: Jonathan Shapiro, you specialize in immigration issues?
Jonathan Shapiro: One of my associates does. I became interested in Mr. Foroglou’s case when Mr. Foroglou had an emergency situation with the INS and his lawyers in DC asked me to step in.
Capitalism Magazine: So you only came in recently did you?
Jonathan Shapiro: I only came in recently. In October we got involved and we were supposed to be involved in a very minor part of this case, but the INS has taken a very aggressive stance, and for that reason Mr. Foroglou needed to have an attorney in Maine to represent his interests and get on with the INS. I think it has been beneficial actually for him to have someone local who is within a 10 minute drive from the INS officers who are making the decisions on his future right now.
Capitalism Magazine: Well you seem very dedicated to his case.
Jonathan Shapiro: I am. And I’m hopeful that the article that we had last week on Christmas Eve – we had an article that appeared in a local newspaper that was seen statewide, and obviously it was seen elsewhere.
Capitalism Magazine: Yes the article by Peter Fochner from the Portland Press Herald.
Jonathan Shapiro: That’s correct.
Capitalism Magazine: I believe that the INS the Immigration and Naturalization Service, is holding some of Emmanuel’s possessions.
Jonathan Shapiro: They are holding his possessions: some cash, some clothing and nothing more extraordinary than that.
Emmanuel Foroglou: By the way I just sign a release to the INS officers for those items to be delivered into Mr. Shapiro’s care.
Capitalism Magazine: So Jonathan what laws has actually been broken here? I don’t quite understand.
Jonathan Shapiro: This traces back years and years. Mr. Foroglou was in the United States on a student visa. And the student visa he then got – an H1B visa which is a professional working visa – and it’s tied to a specific employer. So when he was teaching his sponsor was the university. As soon as his employment ended with the university, he was in violation of his visa because he was no longer working for the sponsor who had gotten him the visa in the United States. And therefore once he was no longer employed he was no longer eligible for a H1 visa and his status became precarious at that point. And that is when the INS – actually it was several years after that, Emmanuel can speak better to that as obviously I was not involved at that point, but it was after that period of time when the INS became involved. So it’s a very simple matter – it is the lapse of this student visa, and his work visa after that fact that led to the problems.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel, you came to America in order to study. Is this correct?
Emmanuel Foroglou: This is correct. To go to graduate school at Brown University where I got a Ph.D. in Economics.
Capitalism Magazine: And what happened? How did you end up becoming ineligible for the visa?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well as Mr Shapiro just mentioned I got a teaching job at Udica College which unfortunately was terminated two years later because I would not conform to the curriculum requirements. I insisted on teaching Ayn Rand’s ideas and Capitalism which made me very unpopular amongst fellow faculty members. Since I was the only junior faculty member in Economics I had no leverage and that’s why as soon as my contract was ready for renewal during my second years, the university decided to terminate it.
Capitalism Magazine: So you are saying that the university terminated you because of your beliefs?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Which I taught in my classes, yes. Because I taught my ideas, instead of the material they demanded of me to teach.
Capitalism Magazine: What did they want you to teach Emmanuel – can you give us some examples?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well they wanted to teach mainstream things in Economics – namely that Capitalism does not work, and that’s why there supposedly is a need for the Government to intervene through fiscal monetary policy, regulation, and even the tyranny of anti-trust which has reminded me a lot of my case because they are both instances of non-objective law where there is no semblance of standards and the law can mean whatever any court may interpret it to be at the whim of whoever happens to be a Judge.
Capitalism Magazine: But can you validate further that in fact you got into trouble for not teaching the mainstream views of statism. Did anyone actually tell you that?
Emmanuel Foroglou: I was told that they were committed to teaching the kind of texts they gave me which is the Keynesian/statist line. And actually I challenged them to prove to me that those materials were right and what I was teaching them was wrong. But they did not even take it up. It was just a typical Argument From Intimidation, such what they expect you to teach and of course I treated this argument with the contempt it clearly deserved.
Capitalism Magazine: Jonathan, you have known Emmanuel as part of your work in defending him over the last few months – what’s your view of the man himself? What’s your impression of him?
Jonathan Shapiro: I think that he seems like a man who is very dedicated to his beliefs – clearly. He is making a valiant effort to stay in this country. Obviously I hope he succeeds in doing that. I think he would be a solid addition to the citizenry of the United States and I hope that the Immigration Service is not successful in deporting him. I think that our dealings have been very limited and have been limited to his legal problems. Obviously, getting the newspapers involved last week and getting some publicity for Mr. Foroglou’s plight is beyond the scope of most legal representations. But in this case I thought it was appropriate, because I do believe that… My strongest feelings were that Mr. Foroglou should not be deported until he had an opportunity to present his case through the court system.
Capitalism Magazine: Right, will you be there when he presents his case ultimately, hopefully.
Jonathan Shapiro: I believe we will. The appeal procedures require us to file briefs before the First Circuit Court of Appeals and then there will be an oral argument, typically there is an oral argument – but there doesn’t have to be. That’s really in the hands of the courts.
Capitalism Magazine: Could Emmanuel have done anything to not get into this mess, in your opinion Jonathan?
Jonathan Shapiro: I think this traces back to a bus ride and Emmanuel could speak to this. I believe that he first came on the ‘radar screens’ for the Immigration Service when he was moving up to Houlton, Maine – and the bus that he was traveling on was subject to a random stop and that’s how he came on to their ‘screens’. And that was the luck of the draw – had he not been on that bus he might not have appeared on the Immigration Service radar screens.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel, can you tell us a little more about that?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well philosophically speaking this was a typical instance of the Immigration Service acting without any probable cause. This bus was not going into Canada or anything, it was a bus traveling within the US and there was no reason whatsoever for immigration officials to conduct a random immigration test.
Capitalism Magazine: So why did they do it?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well, because that’s their standard practice. They’re doing it all along.
Capitalism Magazine: So, is that a standard thing in America?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Unfortunately nowadays whatever a bureaucrat wishes to do this is the standard – a process of non-objective law and I got first hand knowledge of the true meaning of Ayn Rand’s statement that a dictatorship has got to be capricious. Any kind of firm rules – no matter how severe would be evil but almost tolerable because people would know how to adapt to them. But as demonstrated by Dr Peikoff in The Ominous Parallels, the way dictatorships like Nazism in their most extreme manifestations – in the concentration camps – the way they destroy the human mind is by subjecting it to wanton arbitrary whim where there are no rules whatsoever. A Bureaucrat can do whatever he sees fit as I found out to a very large extent this is the case in the immigration practices followed by the INS today in the course of my case.
Capitalism Magazine: Jonathan, you obviously live and work in Portland, Maine, is that correct?
Jonathan Shapiro: Yes, that’s correct.
Capitalism Magazine: So you obviously have family there?
Jonathan Shapiro: That is correct.
Capitalism Magazine: If your family was being taught by a man like Emmanuel Foroglou would you have feared for their minds and their attitudes or would you think that he was doing a good job preaching these ideas?
Jonathan Shapiro: (laughs) I think that’s a very difficult question to ask of a . . .
Capitalism Magazine: (interrupting) I mean if one of your kids came home and said, “Daddy . . .”
Jonathan Shapiro: (interrupting) It depends on the level. If it’s at the university level and it’s a course such as for example in Economic Policy or Economic Theory, I think it might be very appropriate.
Capitalism Magazine: If your kids came home and said Daddy, we just learnt in fact the government intervening into people’s lives can be destructive and that everybody owns their own life and that we are individuals who should seek happiness . .
Jonathan Shapiro: I think the view that you have just expressed, there is nothing wrong with that teaching. I can’t comment on Mr Foroglou’s dispute with the college, I have represented Professors before . . .
Capitalism Magazine: I’m asking you as American citizen.
Jonathan Shapiro: I think the limited views you spoke about I think are appropriate for teaching. Again though I can’t comment on what happened with the college. I do know that there is the issue of academic freedom in the United States – most Universities and Colleges subscribe to that. Obviously as a non-tenured member of faculty it’s a very precarious position to be in and there are a lot of political issues that would cause you to lose your job.
Capitalism Magazine: But had they admired and agreed with his views they might have kept him on?
Jonathan Shapiro: Absolutely.
Emmanuel Foroglou: I realized that the people who clamor about academic freedom the most are those who believe in it the least when it comes to ideas they do not agree with. They would defend the ‘academic freedom’ of Communists or Multiculturalists, Environmentalists and so on. But somebody who defend the original American ideas – there is no room for them under the rubric of academic freedom.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel, do you have family in Greece?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Just my parents.
Capitalism Magazine: And do they know about all this?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well they know only some of it because one of the problems has been that I was detained in such a hurry I have not had the opportunity to even notify people I know what has been happening to me. And I’ve had to ask my lawyers to try and take care of that matter for me.
Capitalism Magazine: So your family has not really kept up with what’s going on here?
Emmanuel Foroglou: They finally found out some of those developments through my attorney but for quite a while they had no idea what was going on, that’s true.
Capitalism Magazine: Do they also hold your beliefs?
Emmanuel Foroglou: No, they do not as a matter of fact. This has lead to the development of considerable distance between us. We have very serious problems communicating and over the years we have been quite alienated.
Capitalism Magazine: Do you want to stay in the US, is that your goal?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Definitely.
Capitalism Magazine: You want to become a US citizen?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Certainly. As I have said I have been American all along by virtue of the ideas espoused so it is only proper that I eventually am naturalized as an American citizen the same just as Ayn Rand did.
Capitalism Magazine: Do you think that this episode has perhaps prejudiced your case?
Emmanuel Foroglou: I do not know really. Because I cannot read the minds of bureaucrats and judges. And as we said, in non-objective law everything is subject to any bureaucrat’s arbitrary whim.
Capitalism Magazine: I suppose you’re aware that earlier this year there was a street protest led by the Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism defending Bill Gates against the Justice Department.
Emmanuel Foroglou: Certainly.
Capitalism Magazine: And so there we have Objectivists on the street I suppose fighting against the current law. And in a sense I see a parallel here with your situation Emmanuel, where your beliefs, your predicament has come up against the prevailing laws – the status quo. Do you find a connection there ?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Oh yes certainly! That’s absolutely right. I just wish Bill Gates were aware of the philosophical basis of his rights, which he would stand up and defend them instead of appeasing his attackers. This is one thing I would never, ever do no matter what. I know I am in the right and as Ayn Rand said she was not brave enough to be a coward. So I will never compromise my ideas since in any compromise between food and poison. It is only death that can win.
Capitalism Magazine: Do you know what it takes to become an American citizen?
Emmanuel Foroglou: In my case, I am first trying to be a legal American resident by getting asylum, well it would help tremendously if I could get a job with an employer who would be willing to offer me Labor Certification and this has been the main problem, why things have deteriorated that way over the last several years. I have not been able to find such an employer.
Capitalism Magazine: In your field do you mean, in the field of Economics?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Exactly. But not necessarily. It just needs to be an employer who can petition the government that he needs me to work for him and in this way can get me a permanent visa and then the next step after that would be after some years – 5 years or so I believe – would apply for citizenship. My immediate concern would be to be a legal, permanent resident of the United States.
Capitalism Magazine: Well one of my listeners has actually sent a message, he wants to remain anonymous, but he may have some work for at least 4 to 6 months in the field of Economics for you.
Emmanuel Foroglou: I’m definitely interested! Is there anyway I could contact him?
Capitalism Magazine: Oh yes. I’ll be in touch! Emmanuel, are you aware that there are people around the world who are taking a great interest in your case?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Yes I became aware of it first last week when the article was written and it was a very pleasant surprise last Friday to receive the message from you. I didn’t think you’d be able to get word of my case so fast. As a matter of fact it boosted my spirits immediately. I’m depressed here all the time. But that gave me such a big jolt when I heard that a fellow Objectivist and one I respect and admire as much as I admire you got word of it and contacted me here. And when today I got word of this interview that really made my day. I haven’t been in such good spirits for the last two and a half weeks for obvious reasons.
Capitalism Magazine: Well I have to give credit to Betsy Speicher who first sent a note out on the CyberNet – which is the leading internet news service for everything to do with Ayn Rand – she mentioned your case on the CyberNet and that’s when I first heard about it and proceeded to get things cracking! But in fact I’ve also had messages from India, from Sweden, from around America – all people interested in what’s happening with Emmanuel Foroglou.
Emmanuel Foroglou: Yes, if I am indeed released within a day as Mr. Shapiro said, I will contact you and ask you about all this information within the next day or two as soon as I’m home – but please give Betsy my most sincere gratitude and heartfelt thanks. I know she is a magnificent Objectivist and a great lady and I am so grateful that she took an interest in my case.
(Emmanuel is being signaled by the Prison staff to finish with the phone)
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel, one final question, and that is how can listeners help you? What would you like – I mean put aside any embarrassment, any hesitation – how can listeners help your case? What can we do?
Emmanuel Foroglou: Well certainly write articles, letters to the editor, letters to US Government officials for example the INS or the senators and congressmen from Maine. And if any listeners can identify any employment opportunities that would help me get Labor Certification that would be a big help. So I would say intellectual activism, publicizing my case in the press and the electronic media and writing to Government officials, and also if you can find employment opportunities that would enable me to get labor certification.
Capitalism Magazine: Emmanuel Foroglou at Cumberland County Jail – an honorable man, given the short end of the stick – we there – to support you. Thank you for your time.
Emmanuel Foroglou: Thank you very much Prodos. Thank you so much and I am so grateful and please give my best to Betsy Speicher. I hope to be contacting you as a free man very soon.
Capitalism Magazine: It will be a pleasure.