Skip to comments.The No-Fly List Takes a Hit
Posted on 01/30/2014 2:47:51 PM PST by Kaslin
Americans have always treasured the freedom to pick up and go anywhere they please. Our forebears had to travel to get here, often had to travel more after they arrived and sometimes moved on to uncharted territories out West only to return East. No one stopped them, whatever direction they were going.
They had the good fortune to live and migrate before the creation of the all-encompassing national security state. After the 9/11 attacks, Americans woke up to find that their freedom to travel was not a fundamental right but a vaporous privilege, bestowed by the government and revocable at its whim.
Or rather some Americans came to that realization: people who tried to board commercial airliners only to be turned away without an explanation or much recourse. They had entered the murky labyrinth of the federal no-fly list.
One victim was Gulet Mohamed, who came to this country as a boy from Somalia with his immigrant parents and became a citizen. In 2011, he took a break from college to see a little of the world and improve his Arabic, spending time in Yemen, Somalia and Kuwait.
The latter country is where things went wrong. Upon trying to renew his visa, he was seized, beaten and tortured under interrogation. When his family bought him a plane ticket home, the Kuwaitis took him to the airport -- where he was barred from boarding. Not until several days later, after a lawyer challenged his exclusion, was he allowed to fly back to the United States.
Once here, he went to court, arguing that he had been placed on the no-fly list, for reasons unknown to him, in violation of his constitutional right to travel, which has been repeatedly recognized by the Supreme Court. The government refused even to say whether Mohamed was on the no-fly list but insisted that even if he was, his right to travel was not abridged.
In the incomparable logic offered by the Justice Department, he was perfectly free to enter the United States -- even if he was not allowed to get on the plane that would bring him here. If he could have found some other way to get back, the government claimed, he would have been greeted with open arms.
Secrecy is the standard mode of the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, which compiles the list. Not only does it refuse to notify people of their inclusion, but it refuses to say how many names the list contains. As of 2012, though, the number reportedly amounted to 21,000.
As a rule, these are people who have not been arrested or convicted of breaking any law. They may venture into subways, elementary schools, shopping malls, government buildings, movie theaters and other sites where innocents could be slaughtered. Those on the list are treated as a mortal threat only aboard a commercial aircraft.
It's a strange policy with dire and often unjust results. Last week, though, its future was put in doubt. A U.S. district court in Virginia ruled that Mohamed had a right to challenge his apparent inclusion on the no-fly list because of its "profound" impact on his life.
Judge Anthony Trenga wrote that "a No Fly List designation transforms a person into a second-class citizen, or worse." It hinders him from visiting family and friends, making religious pilgrimages and taking vacations, and it could wreck his career.
"It is difficult to think of many job categories of any substance where an inability to fly would not affect the prospects for employment or advancement," he noted. Oh, and imagine the professional and personal rewards of being labeled a potential terrorist by your government.
All this happens with little protection against groundless suspicions. If Mohamed went through the usual procedure to challenge his inclusion, noted Trenga, he would not be told why he was included, he would not be able to see or dispute the government's evidence, and, when the government had completed its review, he would not even be told whether he was on the list or off.
This is not the first court to rule against the policy, and it's not likely to be the last. For more than a decade, the federal government assumed it could consign thousands of Americans to travel purgatory without justifying itself to anyone. But the no-fly list as currently administered may be headed for its final approach.
How stupid. A person can be on the no fly list, but still get into any large building or gathering unmolested.
Security chosen over freedom still means you get neither. All the NSA didn’t stop the Sarnaevs.
There should be a no-fly list. But there should be appeal procedures. Government should have to make a case against the individual.
There should also be a watch-fly list. Allowed to fly but treated with higher scrutiny.
The name alone is reason enough.
The latter country is where things went wrong. Upon trying to renew his visa, he was seized, beaten and tortured under interrogation.
It doesn’t say who beat him—Kuwaitis or Americans.
The no fly list is clear violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment -if- the person has not been tried and convicted.
How about a "no-gun list"?
What about that "cruel or unusual" clause?
What punishments are unacceptable if a person has been convicted?
The 14th amendment bases its protections on "citizenship". Stripping people of citizenship and all that it entails is a bad idea and belongs in the "slippery slope" category of allowing too much creativity to the government.
We have people who pled "no contest" years ago to domestic violence misdemeanors who are now barred for life from having a gun. This is very bad direction for us to go.
I wouldn’t care if my name was on the no-fly list since I have no intention of ever subjecting myself to the insults of a body search by TSA goons. I’ve seen all of the world I care to see and am quite content to visit the interesting sights of the USA. Screw ‘em.
Is it that big of a step from "no-fly" to "no-drive"? No trains, no busses, no cabs,...?
In many jurisdictions law-abiding citizens cannot have guns within 1000 feet of a school. This is nonsense of the highest degree.
The counter argument being the person who is convicted of treason, hijacking, murder, terrorism or explosives violations. I could see that such an individual be on a no fly list for the duration of their full sentence regardless of their parole. Once the time for their sentence has run, they can be removed from the list.
Why complicate life? If you can't trust a person to fly, then don't parole. Why does this seem so simple to me?
I don't think I'm even in favor of parole. If you can trust a person to be on parole, then you should be able to trust that they will stay out of trouble.
Now we can eliminate the entire parole apparatus. We can either commute the sentence to time served, or the person continues to do time.
No, I fully expect the TSA to get involved in checking out the peasantry in their automobiles one day. At that point I stop driving. At that point, I can just be at home and do my thing until spirited away from this place, which likely won’t be long given my family’s short longevity history. I am, after all, an OldPossum.
The ones I feel sorry for are the young and middle-aged people. They’ll have to grow up in this once-great country and be subjected to this crap for a long, long time.
There is one....convicted felons.
But when it comes to a no-fly list, I would expect that foreigners and non-citizen residents would far outnumber citizens. And again, there should be an appeal procedure which means judicial oversight.
Parole is a means by which the State can reduce the cost of incaceration by returning a person who has show a “corrected” behaviour during their sentance. Parole allows the convict to return to society under some state supervision. This allows the state to see how that individual will be able to cope with their return to society. If they can’t handle it, and violate their parole conditions, they are returned to finish their sentance.
I understand the concept. I just don't agree that this justifies creating second class citizens and creating things like the FFL system for gun purchases which inconveniences everybody with no provable value.
If a felon on parole doesn't commit a serious crime, then there is no justification for the parole status. If a felon does commit a serious crime, then there is no justification for the parole. If you can't tell the difference, then don't parole.
If an American citizen in to be on the no-fly list, it should only be from being convicted after a trial of charges warranting such restrictions on his liberty. A nasty little thing called due process.