Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Once again, thank God for the ACLU

with 16 comments

And again I shake my head that the GOP doesn’t support the ACLU and its mission—until I recall that the GOP hates the "other": any marginalized (or marginizable) group other than white males and those, being most powerless, are most often victimized, and so represent a good proportion of ACLU clientele. At any rate, Peter Finn in the Washington Post:

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to sue the U.S. government Wednesday on behalf of 10 citizens or legal permanent residents who have been placed on a no-fly list and, in some cases, stranded abroad.

The suit, in which the ACLU accuses the government of violating the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, is the group’s first legal challenge of the no-fly list.

The number of names placed on the list has increased significantly since the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound aircraft on Christmas Day, U.S. officials said. Some Americans have been barred from flying home from overseas because their names were listed.

The ACLU says Americans are being deprived of their rights as citizens and of due process.

"It really is abominable that they would treat U.S. citizens this way," said Ben Wizner, a staff lawyer at the ACLU’s National Security Project. "There is simply no legal basis for placing a U.S. citizen into involuntary exile. And to use a secret government list without any process to accomplish that goal is so un-American and so unconstitutional."

The suit, a draft copy of which was provided to The Washington Post, names as defendants Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and Timothy J. Healy, the director of the Terrorist Screening Center. In it, the ACLU argues that there is little that people can do if they think their names were erroneously added to the no-fly list. They can appeal to the Department of Homeland Security, but the government will not confirm who is on the list or that any names have been removed from or kept on it.

"The government does not provide the individual with any opportunity to confront, or to rebut, the grounds for his possible inclusion on the watch list," according to the suit, which will be filed in Oregon. "Thus, the only ‘process’ available to individuals is to submit their names and other identifying information to the Department of Homeland Security and hope that an unknown government agency corrects an error or changes its mind."

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the suit, noting that the agency had not seen it. He referred to a previous statement on the no-fly list that said that the "FBI is always careful to protect the civil rights and privacy concerns of all Americans."

Before December, the number of people whose names on the no-fly list — and who are thus barred from boarding a U.S. carrier, a U.S.-bound flight or entering U.S. airspace — was approximately 4,000, U.S. officials said. It is unclear how many U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are on the list now.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 June 2010 at 5:55 pm

16 Responses

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  1. As I mentioned previously, these people have every right of getting out the sun tan lotion and a new bathing suit and either getting on a US bound cargo ship or a cruise ship, drive, walk or swim (Niagara falls river, about 40 yards) into the USA and take up their cases in the USA.

    As Possession is often 9/10ths of the law then similarly so would the place your actually located. In my view walking into a US federal district court with lawyer in tow, would be much more of an efficient tactic then standing outside a US consulate or Embassy begging to see the FBI Agent or Consular official on duty. All they are going to get there is a big ZERO.

    But of course, MOST of the people on the No Fly List more than likely deserve to be on it and really have no interest of returning to the USA or are more than likely worried about being thrown in Jail for pending charges, if they do decide to return.

    Regardless, if they really did want to come back to the USA but do not, solely based on the fact they are on the No Fly List and they have not been able to deduce that the word: FLY is on that ban, then they in my book do not deserve reentry anyway.

    The last thing we need is more complete idiots in the USA as that we have in great abundance !

    nick

    29 June 2010 at 6:30 pm

  2. We have different levels of empathy, and I would say that you’re about a quart low.

    LeisureGuy

    29 June 2010 at 7:53 pm

  3. In addition, of course, the constitutional point about due process and the rights of citizens went totally over your head?

    LeisureGuy

    29 June 2010 at 7:55 pm

  4. I think you meant ” As usual”

    Look LG, I am just a realist. In this modern day and under the apathetic circumstances we actually live in, in the USA, it’s sort of a shoot first and ask questions later sort of attitude that many of our govt. officials are taking in many aspects of our society. Have you not noticed ? Like you are Guilty until you prove yourself innocent ? The Patriot Act and all that ?

    We are, I suggest, at the precipice of political disintegration. Constitutional laws are being rampantly violated by our very own Lawmakers faster than our own check and balance system can mend the errors that take place throughout the land.

    I certainly commend and admire you for the “all for one and one for all” (musketeers) approach but no one seems to be at the constitutional doors taking heed. The wheels of bureaucracy are in need of desperate overhaul and I am only offering practical advise to the parties being denied entry.

    These citizens must have their representatives in the House and Senate that would be able to help them like in the past but now days that tradition has unfortunately been sidelined as they the congressional leader have taken a disinterest to the injustices that have taken place in national security issues.

    Yet the very ‘national security’ cloak that they use, is a very pressing Internal national Security issue in itself.

    Perhaps i was being a little cynical in my first post but hey, you can’t fault me for going with the flow can you ?

    nick

    29 June 2010 at 8:36 pm

  5. BTW, regarding my certain lack of empathy, well yes i guess I could empathize with the the government officials that go through thousand of Fly lists everyday and occasionally get a name wrong, As happened to a very well know Bollywood actor (e.khan) a few months ago when he was stopped at JFK and interrogated for a few hours.

    Of course one could empathize with the actual parties responsible for adding names to the No Fly lists as one mistake and they more than likely get fired or reassigned. Their work must be very stressful, since several dead people and most recently on the news, a Child (9 yr. old) have been found to be on the No Fly Lists.

    I have several contacts in the Shipping Lines industry and we (You and I) could probably Charter a cargo ship to go around picking up the affected parties on the No Fly List and wander around the Oceans bringing attention to their plight, like the Jews on the “Exodus” boat being turned away at every port. I am sure that Iran, Venezuela or Cuba would welcome a Boat load of dejected Americans helping to bring International attention to their cause.

    nick

    29 June 2010 at 9:15 pm

  6. I will not go with the flow when I see our government moving in the wrong direction. It’s easier, but I prefer to stick to my guns and fight the good fight.

    The issue for me is not the transportation problem on which you focus, it’s that dozens—hundreds? thousands? who knows?—of names are added to the secretive “no-fly” list by unknown persons with unknown motives, and there is no process of review and correction when a name is challenged. We know that Guantánamo (the “worst of the worst”) had many prisoners who were totally innocent of any wrong-doing and any association with terrorism. Why should the no-fly list be any different? I submit that it’s not, as evidenced by the fact that Senator Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list at one time.

    As you point out, the no-fly lists contain MANY errors, and the entire approach should be re-evaluated and a better approach be instituted.

    LeisureGuy

    30 June 2010 at 8:39 am

  7. Absolutely it should be re-evaluated but since we don’t even know how who, what, where, when and why they put the names on there it makes it rather difficult to go to the source as it were.

    The whole issue as I see it falls under the “need to know” basis or what the ‘great game’ cronies refer to as ‘compartmentalization’ This No Fly List program is a perfect example of that.

    Say a Senator on behalf of a constituent would like information regarding the Fly denial of a constituent and begins to inquire. I am sure as his/her office staff begin to prod they will be met with many responses by those in the know that the information is confidential/secret/national security etc. and there is no justification to disclose it to the Senator’s staff or the Senator for that matter.

    Your comments on an ‘oversight committee’ of sorts has a nice ring to it but I doubt they are going to get anywhere as the whole issue is very fluid at the moment.

    We just got through or are winding down one war (Iraq) and are now going to begin beefing up another war (Afghanistan) and no doubt will be involved in several clandestine incursions (Yemen, Iran, N.Korea etc.) and I don’t see any great will on the part of our representatives to modify a list that they look upon as “The hot Potato of the decade” much like Guantanamo where no one seems to want to touch it.

    nick

    30 June 2010 at 9:50 am

  8. Yep, and that’s why I condemn them and why I applaud the ACLU’s taking action.

    LeisureGuy

    30 June 2010 at 9:56 am

  9. They are the right one’s to pursue the issue but I think it’s ridiculous to have a privately funded organization go after what is clearly a government administrative responsibility. That’s why I mentioned the general decomposition of Check and Balance structure.

    I wonder when the ACLU will take up the fight of Sharia law and it’s incorporation in our society as we clearly have freedom of religion as one of the principles of our democratic society. The proposed banning of Burqa’s in Europe should make for very interesting constitutional challenges in the US once it get’s into the limelight in the USA.

    The proposed construction of a Mosque at ground Zero should be another interesting fight and wonder if the ACLU will defend that issue as well although these comments are not for this post and no doubt soon you will have a blog on that as well.

    nick

    30 June 2010 at 10:46 am

  10. The ACLU has already sided with some Muslim congregations in their efforts to build mosques in their local communities: the religious intolerance in this country is something to behold. I don’t see how Sharia law will become an issue, though: communities of people who wish to have decisions among themselves made according to Sharia law are perfectly within their rights—just as (for example) disagreements among observant Jews are sometimes settled by the parties appealing to a rabbi.

    I believe that there is a valid role for NGOs to play in checking government abuse. Indeed, that is one role our free press is supposed to fulfill, though most of modern mainstream journalists seem to focus primarily on not offending the people they cover.

    LeisureGuy

    30 June 2010 at 11:09 am

  11. I was talking about the banning of Burqa’s although the wearing of them falls into the Sharia law category, so your topic point is valid, i disagree with your comment regarding Sharia Law not becoming an issue is somewhat confusing.

    Honor Killings, Banning females from being seen in public without a male relative, whippings, Stoning, Public beheading etc. Although certain aspects like beheading are the result of laws in place they still come from the Imams as preferred methods of striking terror into the populace.

    One particular interesting point will be how they intend to incorporate Madrasa’s into the public school system or would these fall into the secular Laws on Public education funds being allocated to religious schools. I guess they would and private funding would have to be funneled into these educational institutions.

    nick

    30 June 2010 at 12:17 pm

  12. Aha. I was tripped up by my ignorance of Sharia law. Honor killings (homicide, probably first-degree), whippings (assault and battery), beheadings (first degree homicide), etc., obviously will not become part of American law, since some of the practices break well-established law.

    I don’t want ANY taxpayer money going to religious schools—Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, or whatever. We provide a secular education open all, and if they want to go private, that’s their choice and their funds, not taxpayer funds.

    LeisureGuy

    30 June 2010 at 1:14 pm

  13. Honor Killings (heat of passion and emotion etc.) in many Latin Countries are regarded as manslaughter considering that the USA’s second largest ethnic group is Latin I wonder if the tendency or flow or degree of penance might regress or progress (depends which side of the fence your on)

    Beheading in several Arab countries are the penalty for transgressions all the way from Murder to simple Adultery in a number of cases. Repeating violations of Thievery are routinely dealt with by chopping off a hand.

    Considering the issues of education you might not want that and their might be laws in place at the moment preventing public funding of religious institutions but that all depends on who is in powder does it not ? Laws are fluid in the USA, they can be changed and amendments to the constitution are certainly possible.

    The ethnic tendency changes in Europe (largely from Judea-Christian to Muslim) over the last 3 decades has certainly changed the way certain civil and criminal Laws are now written.

    The beatings of a daughter or sister in a family that practiced Sharia laws in the USA would certainly not end up in the courts especially family honor would prevent the victim from denouncing the family member anyway.

    These issues as you rightly mentioned would go to the local Imam for tribulation and therefore would begin circumventing the civil law procedure, requiring less police officers and therefore less prosecutors and Judges for that matter.

    The relevancy of what I mention can plainly be observed in the Indian reservations in the USA or in Canada where they have their own local tribal customs of dealing with minor transgressions.

    Certainly the Mormon fringe groups in Utah and Nevada understand that they are essentially left to their own standards as all you need is to have the majority of a community elect the city council members that enact by-laws (no unaccompanied women wandering about) that also elect a Mayor that elects a police chief and so on.

    nick

    30 June 2010 at 2:01 pm

  14. The beatings of children can be reported by professionals and investigation and prosecution does not necessarily require the participation of the victim, I believe. Laws were written with the understanding that the victim might well be silent due to threats.

    The Mormon groups are highly visible, since they are now repeatedly being busted by state police.

    Regarding the honor/passion killings—e.g., a husband killing an adulterous wife or a non-virgin daughter: I think that in the US there will be changes seen. Don’t forget that the light punishments granted for such homicides occur within (and, to some degree, as an expression of) a particular cultural milieu, one in which public honor is rated highly, and women are still second-class citizens in a hierarchical patriarchal society imbued with a religion that tends to view women as Virgins or Whores.

    Though women in the US have scarcely caught up with men, the trend is toward increasing egalitarianism between the sexes, and already the views of the average person (male or female) in the US are, I suspect, strongly against the honor/passion killings being a lesser offense than a similar homicide—it just makes the motive clear and the solution easier. And women are likely to serve on the jury, and a woman may be prosecuting the case, and the judge may be a woman.

    Things are different in the US, and I think that women who grow up here will embrace the possibilities of freedom—and I think the guys will realize, as men already have on the whole in the country at large, that uppity women are much more interesting and intriguing than docile and subservient women. It will take a generation, but as the old men die off, the old views will, too, and younger men will be shaped by the new culture just as the young women are: a very few at first, then more, then so many that the others are those “not with the program,” the uncool.

    LeisureGuy

    30 June 2010 at 6:19 pm

  15. Family Violence within the American Muslim home is rampant and it is the Imam that continues to misinterpret the Quran, here’s an excerpt from the Holy Quran:

    “….Concerning women whose rebellious (nushooz) you fear, admonish them, then refuse to share their beds, then hit them; but if they become obedient, no not seem means of annoyance against them. For Allah is Most High, Great.” (ayah 34 of Surah four)

    Ok, that’s nice, if they don’t do as I say let’s just beat them into submission, sanctioned by the Holy Book and that should really please the ACLU women advocates, or perhaps they missed that verse.

    Here is a very interesting and insightful report on violence in the Muslim family in North America: http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/dv-ending.htm It’s a very good read.

    I found this wonderful quote by a prominent Pakistani Muslim and it is to bad that it’s not shared by more Muslims. Of course it’s not realistic but here we go:

    “…This essential negritude of Muslims, and Islam, requires that Muslims re-construct Islam to accept the moral superiority of the white race, or they accept exile, or death.”
    The writer has served as chief economist of Pakistan, (arshad.zaman@tribune.com.pk) Published in the Express Tribune, June 17th, 2010.

    I strongly recommend you going to this link:http://tribune.com.pk/story/21730/islam-muslims-and-the-us/ where I found the above comment. The comments section following the article offers real insight by educated Muslim Pakistani’s. references to the US as a Melting pot as you inferred is a very interesting read as well.

    nick

    30 June 2010 at 8:05 pm

  16. There are many homes in the US with domestic violence problems, and many Christian sects that teach that the husband and father plays the role of God in the family. Obviously, the US has laws regarding violent situations and it is my expressed hope and belief that those laws will be, on the whole, enforced.

    LeisureGuy

    1 July 2010 at 6:41 am


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