The use of “watch lists” to harass dissidents and journalists—as well as Muslims—appears to be growing, together the writer discovered once he freshly got recorded in the net.
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A TSA agent help passengers through protection at Newark Liberty worldwide Airport top top Monday, January 7, 2019. (AP picture / Seth Wenig)
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My wife, Joyce, and I recently traveled to Vienna because that a week, whereby she had been invite to perform on Austrian state radio. Passing with Heathrow ~ above our way home, we were be separated by an automated protection gate. The gate, which forced you come scan your boarding pass, permitted Joyce through, yet when ns ran my pass, it flashed “Invalid.”
A security attendant pointed me come a transit desk where I could get a new boarding pass printed. One agent over there ran a new card and then pressed a rubber stamp on it before handing it to me. Spotting, in new red ink, the words “ICE Security,” i asked, “Why’s a stamp from the us Immigration and also Customs service being put on mine boarding pass here in the UK? I’m no an immigrant.”The ticketing certified dealer replied, “That’s being done at the inquiry of your Homeland security Department, sir. You are on your list.”
Interesting, i thought, provided that ns was born in Washington, DC, to 2 native-born united state citizens. I walked back to the defense checkpoint, placed my brand-new boarding pass on the scanner, and the door opened. Ns rejoined mine wife and we ongoing on to the main lobby that Terminal 2, where we notified lunch. Suddenly, ns heard my surname on the terminal’s main PA system: “Mr. Lindorff, report immediately to your door for a special protection check!”Arriving at the gate, i announced myself, and also the gate attendant automatically said right into his walkie-talkie, “The Lindorffs space here.” the told me come go previous him and also down a flight of stairs because that my intensified security check. “Can ns go through him?” my mam asked, not wanting me to it is in hauled turn off somewhere without she knowledge.“Certainly, ma’am,” the said. “You deserve to go v your husband.” So we went down the stairway to discover two stole tables v security policemans standing behind them. A dark-skinned man passed us going increase the stairs.
“Please location your open luggage and also briefcase ~ above the table together with your computer and also cell phone,” claimed a protection officer. Current Issue
He behavior to operation an electronic machine over my computer and also cell phone, and another smaller one over my hands, explaining that this to be to detect any trace the explosives. The rifled perfunctorily through my dirty laundry and then stated we were complimentary to board.My mam cheekily request why she carry-on luggage and computer bag—both identical to mine—had no been checked for explosives, and also the inspector said, “The department of homeland Security just asked united state to find your husband and his luggage, no yours.”“In other words, you don’t yes, really think we’re terrorists,” ns said, adding, “I to be a us journalist through no criminal record. Why am i being treated like a suspected terrorist?”“We nothing think you are a terrorist,” that replied. “It’s her Department that Homeland security that’s telling us do this.”
I said, “I obtain it. I’m a journalist and also my federal government doesn’t like journalists.”“We understand you have actually a many of troubles right currently in the US,” that said, as we headed upstairs to plank our plane.
Sixteen year after the was produced in the article 9-11 hysteria the the Patriot Act, the Homeland protection Terrorist Watch list is alive and, apparently, going off the rails, with increasing numbers being retained from boarding, while rather are simply harassed, seemingly for political activism of one type or another.As ns reported earlier in 2003 in ~ Salon, there are actually at the very least two clock lists: a “No Fly” list of doubt terrorists, numerous of whom the righteousness Department no have sufficient evidence to arrest yet who are nevertheless barred native boarding a plane, and a 2nd list of world who “don’t qualify” for the list due to the fact that they have never shown any type of terrorist proclivities, however who room “selected” to it is in harassed and also searched in ~ the gate before flying, often—as ns discovered and reported 16 years ago—for plainly political, no security, reasons.In 2014, in ~ a hearing of the residence Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on transportation Security, the FBI disclosed that it to be “managing” numerous watch lists, including the “No Fly” perform of part 64,000 names, and also a so-called “Selectee” perform of 24,000 names. Approximately that time, The Intercept acquired a classified interior “guidance” record from the national Counterterrorism Center, which identified an eligible human being for the Selectee list negatively together someone “who walk not meet the criteria because that inclusion ~ above the No fly list and who “is a member the a international or domestic terrorist organization…and is associated with terror activity…unless details exists the demonstrates the the applications of second screening to together a human is not necessary, in which case such persons may be excluded native the Selectee list.”According to Ramzi Kassem, a professor in ~ CUNY school of Law and founding manager of CLEAR, a legitimate clinic that assists those recorded up in the government’s terrorist Watch list net, “The number of people on the No Fly and also Selectee lists regulated to a huge degree by the FBI shows up to have grown significantly due to the fact that 2014
Again unable to obtain my boarding pass online, i asked a ticketing certified dealer at Heathrow to print it for me. Noticing a bolder SSSS printed on both components of the pass, ns asked because that an explanation. “You room on a department of Homeland defense list sir. It way you will need to go v a special protection search in ~ the gate,” ns was told.This time i was instructed to go v an there was no sign door in the wall surface behind the door counter. As the other passengers looked top top curiously or suspiciously, i was led—along v my son, who had actually been instructed through his mommy to stick v me if ns were bring away anywhere—into a room again containing 2 steel tables with security officers behind them. Us were both instructed to put our opened up suitcases and computer bags on the tables.“Wait a minute,” i objected. “I have a four-SSSS rubber stamp on my boarding pass, but my son has no such code on his, for this reason he does not have to be checked.”“Okay, her son have the right to wait over there,” the security man replied, gesturing to several chairs follow me a wall. Jed take it a seat to clock his father acquire searched.The officer wiped my computer and also my cabinet phone, and all the zippers on mine bags, and also my hands, with a cloth designed to collect any type of explosive traces. Finding none, he said we could go.Feeling much more annoyed 보다 the critical time, ns said, “OK, so you understand I don’t have actually a bomb top top me, however you haven’t checked my boy bag, i beg your pardon is similar to mine. How do you know my bomb isn’t in that suitcase?”The officer laughed and said, “We recognize you’re not a terrorist. We space conducting this search at the request of your Homeland security Department, and they just told us to examine you and also your carry-on things, not your son. Go and also board your plane.”Arriving home, i contacted Brian McNeal at the general public affairs office the the DHS. I asked that why ns was being subjected to bomb searches when I flew, and also he told me, “It looks like you’re on a watch list. However it’s no our list. The FBI manages multiple clock lists. You have to talk to them.”I tried. Reporters have the right to no much longer just call up the FBI push Office and talk come a press officer. Questions now have to be submitted by e-mail, v a promise of a an answer often honored in the breach. In this instance what I got was a created anonymous reference that i visit the FBI’s internet page explaining the terror Watch List. Once I composed back, i was sent the complying with anonymous e-mail:Nominating a subject to the terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) cannot be based upon race, ethnicity, or spiritual affiliation; nor on ideas and activities protected by the first Amendment, such as freedoms of speech, the press, or relaxed assembly. To include a subject to a subset perform that stays clear of an individual from flying or requires an additional screening, a nomination have to be obtained from a U.S. Federal government law enforcement or intelligence company to fulfill the reasonable uncertainty standard. Only guesses or hunches, or the reporting of suspicious activity alone space not sufficient.In other words, while the Bureau will not confirm or deny that I’m on a list, there is an alleged to it is in a “reasonable suspicion”—supposedly having nothing to execute with mine journalism—for my being hauled turn off for special protection checks on worldwide flights. As has actually so much happened to me twice in the past few months.And this, ns am assured, is not a violation the my very first Amendment freedoms.Welcome come the brand-new normal.Note: If you discover yourself top top a Terrorist clock list, go to CUNY clean or call them in ~ 718-340-4558.
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Dave LindorffNation contributor Dave Lindorff additionally writes because that Salon, London review of Books, and also Counterpunch. The is founder that ThisCantBeHappening.net. Writer of 4 books, he was a 1990s Hong Kong/China correspondent for Business Week. That is the winner that a 2019 Izzy award for exceptional Independent Journalism.
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