Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

US Anti-War Activists Hit By Secret Airport Ban
Independent (UK) ^ | 8-3-2003 | Andrew Gumbel

Posted on 08/02/2003 4:08:13 PM PDT by blam

US anti-war activists hit by secret airport ban

By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
03 August 2003

After more than a year of complaints by some US anti-war activists that they were being unfairly targeted by airport security, Washington has admitted the existence of a list, possibly hundreds or even thousands of names long, of people it deems worthy of special scrutiny at airports.

The list had been kept secret until its disclosure last week by the new US agency in charge of aviation safety, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). And it is entirely separate from the relatively well-publicised "no-fly" list, which covers about 1,000 people believed to have criminal or terrorist ties that could endanger the safety of their fellow passengers.

The strong suspicion of such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is suing the government to try to learn more, is that the second list has been used to target political activists who challenge the government in entirely legal ways. The TSA acknowledged the existence of the list in response to a Freedom of Information Act request concerning two anti-war activists from San Francisco who were stopped and briefly detained at the airport last autumn and told they were on an FBI no-fly list.

The activists, Rebecca Gordon and Jan Adams, work for a small pacifist magazine called War Times and say they have never been arrested, let alone have criminal records. Others who have filed complaints with the ACLU include a left-wing constitutional lawyer who has been strip-searched repeatedly when travelling through US airports, and a 71-year-old nun from Milwaukee who was prevented from flying to Washington to join an anti-government protest.

It is impossible to know for sure who might be on the list, or why. The ACLU says a list kept by security personnel at Oakland airport ran to 88 pages. More than 300 people have been subject to special questioning at San Francisco airport, and another 24 at Oakland, according to police records. In no case does it appear that a wanted criminal was apprehended.

The ACLU's senior lawyer on the case, Jayashri Srikantiah, said she is troubled by several answers that the TSA gave to her questions. The agency, she said, had no way of making sure that people did not end up on the list simply because of things they had said or organisations they belonged to. Once people were on the list, there was no procedure for trying to get off it. The TSA did not even think it was important to keep track of people singled out in error for a security grilling. According to documents the agency released, it saw "no pressing need to do so".

It is not just left-wingers who feel unfairly targeted. Right-wing civil libertarians have spoken out against the secret list, and at least one conservative organisation, the Eagle Forum, says its members have been interrogated by security staff.

The complaints by the ACLU form part of a pattern of protest since the 11 September attacks, with the Bush administration repeatedly under fire for detaining people on the flimsiest of grounds in the name of the "war on terror". Many Muslims have had a hard time, especially if they have a surname such as Hussein

TOPICS: News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: activists; airlinesecurity; airport; antiwar; ban; noflylist; secret; tsa; us

1 posted on 08/02/2003 4:08:13 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: blam
If this list is used not for airport security but because of the political protests of the people on it, the list is cut from the same cloth as Nixon's "enemies list".

[Bet Hillary is making a little list too,
starting with the 900 FBI files]
2 posted on 08/02/2003 4:13:08 PM PDT by John Beresford Tipton (sIMPL)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
Not especially surprising; once the courts have validated the procedure (by which time a new administration will likely be in place), it should be a useful way of keeping right-wing crazies from getting together to make trouble.
3 posted on 08/02/2003 4:16:51 PM PDT by Grut
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
All secret airports should be banned.
4 posted on 08/02/2003 4:18:03 PM PDT by mtbopfuyn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mtbopfuyn
Der Stasi cannot be far behind if this story has legs.
5 posted on 08/02/2003 4:41:24 PM PDT by meenie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: blam
I betcha that's why they also shook down Al Gore. As Ann predicted, someday when we are all safely dead, there will be an epic movie made of the abject humiliation that Al Gore and millions of other Americans endured at the hands of the neo-McCarthyite TSA goose-steppers in the dark era of early-21.

6 posted on 08/02/2003 4:59:26 PM PDT by kcar (T)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

I agree that this is creepy as Hell. I have no illusions that a system that can stop anti-war protestors cannot also stop NRA members, or people who write the wrong Letter to the Editor, or who send the wrong email to Her Heinous.

"When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am not a gypsy.
When they came for the Jews, I did not speak, because I wasn’t a Jew...

7 posted on 08/02/2003 5:08:18 PM PDT by Nick Danger (The views expressed may not actually be views)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
So why am I reading this story in The Independent instead of The Washington Post?
8 posted on 08/02/2003 5:13:18 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Zeroisanumber
Hard to maintain one's "National Correspondent" career if one is cavity searched or denied access to air trans every time at Reagan Intl. Airport.
9 posted on 08/02/2003 5:24:08 PM PDT by JerseyHighlander
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: blam
Some "secret." I'll wait until this is independently confirmed by a real media source.

10 posted on 08/02/2003 7:07:59 PM PDT by Jay D. Dyson (But I can't get nothin' that can be bought, so I'll just live with what I got... Lord, forgive me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kcar
I read on here earlier this week that HBO is already making a movie on this type of thing.
11 posted on 08/02/2003 7:16:39 PM PDT by PPHSFL (God Bless America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: blam
"The agency, she said, had no way of making sure that people did not end up on the list simply because of things they had said or organisations they belonged to."

Well that's sure compelling evidence. She asks obviously bureaucratic administrators to expound on the rules they're adminstering and then announces that they don't seem to know the whys or the hows of the whos. Since the bureaucrat doesn't know (surprise, surprise) the conjecture that this is all politically-motivated can't be disproved and is therefore deemed "truth" until further notice.

I thought the Brits had a proud empirical tradition: this is sadly-reasoned spin.
12 posted on 08/02/2003 8:00:07 PM PDT by kcar (T)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson