Thursday, June 26, 2014

Government rebuffed again on no-fly list

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When I first reflected on Jeffrey Kahn's Mrs. Shipley's Ghost, a history of the U.S. government's restrictions on our right to travel, I was skeptical about whether contemporary courts might ever join past ones in deciding that, mostly, our urge to move about was none of the authorities' business. One historical set of onerous passport restrictions eroded during the Cold War anxiety-beset 1950s -- might we ever revert to something like the degree of ease about travel we enjoyed before the national freak-out after 9/11?

Just maybe, we might be getting back on track. Federal Judge Anna Brown recognized in a decision issued Tuesday that
placement on the no-fly list turns routine travel into an “odyssey,” and some of those on the list have been subjected to detention and interrogation by foreign authorities.

... The process “does not provide a meaningful mechanism for travelers who have been denied boarding to correct erroneous information in the government’s terrorism databases,” Brown ruled.
The ACLU which brought the case on behalf of 13 plaintiffs whose travel had been impeded, including four military veterans, explained further.
According to media reports, there are more than 20,000 people on the No Fly List. Their only recourse is to file a request with the Department of Homeland Security's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP), after which DHS responds with a letter that does not explain why they were denied boarding. The letter does not confirm or deny whether their names remain on the list, and does not indicate whether they can fly.

The ruling from the U.S. District Court in Oregon found, “[W]ithout proper notice and an opportunity to be heard, an individual could be doomed to indefinite placement on the No-Fly List. … [T]he absence of any meaningful procedures to afford Plaintiffs the opportunity to contest their placement on the No-Fly List violates Plaintiffs’ rights to procedural due process.”
Not for the first time, I am grateful to the ACLU for diligently fighting their way through the thicket of unproven and over-expansive "security" measures that successive administrations have implemented since a few theatrically-minded terrorists scored a horrible success and gave our rulers an excuse to keep us permanently fearful.
Think I'm taking the "security" threat too lightly? Read this from experienced policy journalist William R. Polk:

We don't want to live in fear, and we believe that the danger is foreign. The irony, as one of the authors of our Constitution already put it over 200 years ago, is that our principal danger is ourselves. Of course, he could not have guessed the extent: we murdered almost 200,000 of our fellow citizens in the first decade of this century. (That was with guns and knives; we killed about twice that many in the same period with our most dangerous weapon, the automobile.) The number of Americans killed by foreign terrorists in America was less than 3,000. The odds of an American being killed by a terrorist were said to be about 1:20,000,000. ...

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

They keep us distracted on trivia while that and articles like this show us what is going on. This with a Democratic President and Senate. Who can we elect to change it? Certainly not the 'never seen a war they didn't love' Republicans. homeland security's standing army. After I posted a link to it in Facebook, one of my readers there said they'd seen Humvees in Sacramento with Homeland Security police on the side. Who authorized all of this?

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