No Fly Lists


You have heard about the Transportation Security Administration’s “no-fly” list? That is the black list of persons who are supposed threats to airline safety. If you name is like anyone the government has ever had on a terrorist-watch list, you are on the list. No, you cannot get your name off the list. Don’t even ask. In fact, it will neither be confirmed or denied that you name is even on the list. It will be obvious to you, because you will be turned away at the gate. But the government won’t say you are on the list.

Now, there is another list. Actually, I found out about it recently when talking to a friend who works for a contractor who works for TSA. I get searched every time I fly. Pulled out of the line and ordered to a chair on the sidelines or to a room, my bags are emptied. I am “wanded” over and over. My shoes are searched. I am sent on my way.

My friend said there was a code embedded in my boarding pass that alerted security to pull me out of line. She said, “It’s your writing. It’s got to be.”

Lo and behold, CounterPunch writer David Lindorff broke the story in an article for Salon on the TSA list for politically incorrect people, containing thousands of names.

Kept secret until its disclosure last week by the TSA after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by San Francisco anti-war activists, it is supposedly entirely separate from the relatively well-publicized “no-fly” list, which covers about 1,000 people believed to have criminal or terrorist ties that could endanger the safety of airline passengers.

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.

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 organization, the Eagle Forum, says its members have been interrogated by security staff.

There is something true conservatives and civil libertarians can agree on. The Fourth Amendment that is supposed to protect us against unreasonable searches and seizures has been abandoned for madness in the name of airline safety. The government is getting its revenge on citizens who criticize the Bush regime. It might get lucky and find a nail file or two that will allow them to arrest a “dissident” and charge them with a federal crime.

Though it is not yet a federal crime to criticize the government (unless you are an Arab or a Muslim), Bush plans to shut you up one way or the other. My libertarian friends have been telling me that I should rejoice when the government does “stupider and stupider” things. It means a “change is gonna come.” Americans won’t stand idly by for ever, they promise. Meantime, the ACLU is suing the government to try to learn more about the list that targets political activists who challenge the government in entirely legal ways.

As for the list, I hope it grows to hundreds of thousands of names. If you’re not on it, you ought to be.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

More articles by:

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek