Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bugaboo


Ramzi Hashisho photo

What to do if local students are acting out? Threaten to put them on the national terrorist watch list.

That's just what's happening in Oglethorpe County, Ohio. Students have been making phony bomb threats. After Virginia Tech, Colombine and the efforts of the National Rifle Association to ensure wide availability of lethal weapons, authorities have to do something.

So they held an assembly at a middle school to warn the kids:

"Even though you're a juvenile, your name goes on the terrorist list for the United States of America for the rest of your life," sheriff's Investigator Steve Jones told an assembly of middle school students on Wednesday. "That's how serious this is."

Eight students between 10 and 15 years old were charged with terroristic threats and acts for leaving threatening notes in school hallways.

Athens Banner-Herald
March 30, 2008

The FBI isn't sure it wants the work of tracking the pranksters.

"If someone gets nominated (for the list) and they see it's a 10-year-old kid, common sense would hopefully prevail," said Special Agent Richard Kolko, the FBI's chief spokesman in Washington.

But the ACLU isn't quite so confident about the government's good judgment.

But an ACLU representative said she wouldn't be surprised to see a 10-year-old branded a potential terrorist because criteria for getting on the terror watch list - which now includes nearly 1 million names - is so secretive.

"It is not exactly clear how an individual is placed on a watch list," said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigration Rights Project director for the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.

"Placement appears to be a highly subjective process subject to the discretion of invisible and unaccountable security officials," she said.

Big brother is watching you, kids.

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