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Archive for the ‘no-fly list’ Category

The Terror Watch List Is Worse Than Worthless

Posted by MEC on July 14, 2008

Every time Jim Robinson travels by air, he has to convince the TSA that he’s not a terrorist, just because the name “Jim Robinson” is on the ever-growing “watch list” that the government insists will keep us safe from terrorist attacks.

What makes Mr. Robinson’s ordeal particularly absurd — and appalling — is that he has a top-secret security clearance. He was Assistant Attorney General in the Clinton Administration.

It’s possible that someone who passed the vetting process for such an important position is now a terrorist. But it’s even less probable than my becoming Ralph Nader’s running mate.

For every high-profile individual who is inconvenienced because of the watch list, there are thousands of people who are abused because of it. For example:

Chicago-area computer consultant Akif Rahman, who was born in Springfield, Ill., said he has been detained at least seven times after traveling abroad. During one such incident in May, he said, he was held for five hours, shackled to a chair and kicked by a Customs Service agent after being stopped at a U.S. checkpoint on the Canadian border.

The watch list doesn’t make us safer: it makes us afraid. It’s not about national security, it’s about the Bush government’s nearly unchecked ability to abuse its power to keep us afraid and docile.

It’s a distraction from real efforts to prevent terrorist acts, and it’s a threat to our democracy. Getting rid of it needs to be high on the agenda of the next president and Congress.

Posted in abuse of power, no-fly list, TSA, wrong way to go about it | 7 Comments »

Something Interesting About the ‘No Fly’ List

Posted by MEC on June 21, 2007

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You know that No Fly List that’s supposed to keep us all safer by making sure terrorists don’t board airplanes in the U.S.?

It excludes the names of “the most dangerous” terrorists…

…because the intelligence agencies that supply the names don’t want them circulated to airport employees in foreign countries for fear that they could end up in the hands of the terrorists.

Cathy Berrick, the Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues for the General Accounting Office told Kroft that the lists that the airlines get have been sanitized of the most sensitive information.

“They’re not given all of the names for security reasons because the government doesn’t want to have that information outside of the government,” Berrick says.

But if your name is Robert Johnson, you’re better off driving or just staying home.

Do you also suspect that the purpose of the No Fly List is not to help catch terrorists or at least prevent them for hijacking flights? So far all it’s done is disrupt the lives of a lot of law-abiding people, not just the Robert Johnsons of the world but, by mere coincidence, peace activists, environmentalists, people who criticize George W. Bush, and liberal politicians.

Considering what Bush’s appointees have been caught doing in every government agency, how can we not assume the list’s purpose is to promote Bush’s political agenda, not to promote security? It’s time to ditch the list and insist on putting the effort into real security measures.

Posted in abuse of power, BushCo malfeasance, no-fly list, terrorism, wrong way to go about it | 4 Comments »

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