Friday, January 17, 2014

A little bit of vindication for victim of no fly list

TechDirt has the story.

We've written a few times about the troubling case of Rahinah Ibrahim, a PhD. student at Stanford who was wrongfully placed on the "no fly" list because (it appears) some clueless law enforcement officials mixed up the names of a networking group of professional Muslims in Malaysia who had returned from work or study in the US and Europe (which she was a part of) and a very, very different terrorist organization.

While she had received something of an apology for initially not being allowed to fly to Malaysia (and then allowed to fly), it appeared that her name was then placed on the no fly list, preventing her from ever returning. She was later blocked from even flying back to the US for her lawsuit against the government.

The ruling issued [Tuesday], and we'd love to tell you what's in it... except for the fact that it's sealed. Judge William Alsup has stated that he believes that the entire order should be made public, but that the US government is fighting that. So, for now, the order is under seal until April 15, while Homeland Security is supposed to agree to what it will allow to be released in a redacted version.

However, in the meantime, Judge Alsup has released a "public notice and summary" of the findings of fact -- basically revealing what he can of the order. Many of the important details are still missing, but it certainly sounds like Ibrahim has mostly succeeded in the case. Alsup notes that "some but not all of the relief" sought by Ibrahim has been granted. And this includes having her name scrubbed from the no fly list. ...

... All in all, it appears that Ibrahim has mostly prevailed here, but the details could be rather important. And, it also appears that even with all of this, the court may be quite limited in how much it can force the government to take someone who has been falsely placed on the no fly list, off of it. Hopefully, the full decision will provide greater clarity.

I assume the government will appeal. And I doubt they'll ever let Ibrahim into the country. It seems to be more important to our spooks to keep us guessing about how they operate than it is to ensure that we've still got a country worth securing.

Meanwhile a Malaysian newspaper reports Dr. Ibrahim's pride in the ruling:

"It's been too long. I don't want innocent people to undergo what I had gone through," the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) don told The Star Online of the nine-year legal battle.

... Asked if she was satisfied with the ruling, the 48-year-old Prof Rahinah replied in the affirmative, and hoped it could assist other innocent persons facing similar challenges.

"I pray that it can help them prevail," she added.

For more from this blog about the no fly list (61 posts so far), click here.


Hattie said...

Do not assume that the spooks even know what they are doing! They are not necessarily all that bright. I hope this mess can be straightened out for the sake of this woman and others like her.

Rain Trueax said...

What bothers me about all of this is wondering who runs it. The President has now said he's going to limit the NSA but will that happen or will it be back to business as usual as soon as people turn around? They do so much just out of wanting us to think they watch over us while their other hand is doing something very different. I think it's a shame that Americans have reached a strong no trust level no matter which party is in power :(

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