We have recently reported that Nobel Price Laureate Nelson Mandela has just – after years of diplomatic quarreling – been removed from the infamous US List of terrorist suspects.
Now this week ACLU is reporting another record related to this “list” – the list has just hit the size of one million records. Put this in relation to numbers reported on various other crimes from burglary to official war crime numbers together with the complete swipe of human / civil rights linked to that list and even a blind man should be able to see that there is something wrong here.
From the GAO report (see below for link):
“…Since the events of September 11, 2001, agencies within the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State, as well as state and local law enforcement organizations and the intelligence community, have implemented enhanced procedures to collect and share information about known or suspected terrorists who pose a threat to homeland security and to track their movements. One important tool used by these agencies is the terrorist watch list…”
“…The ACLU’s focus on the number clouds the success of the program, he added. Screening and law enforcement agencies encountered the actual people on the watch list (not false matches) more than 53,000 times from December 2003 to May 2007, according to a Government Accountability Office report last fall…”
With that amount of false positives it will be a tough job for those in charge to make this list useful besides the most prominent cases of (suspected) terrorist. To make things even worse those “terrorist groups” who are “working together” with certain “parts / agencies” of the current administration e.g. in typical terrorist activities like destabilising foreign countries are not even included. It’s often only a very thin line that those groups turn against their “former masters” and their countries – may that be for not being paid or for being put into an ambush to be “terminated” or whatever other reason (sorry for this word in that context). A now prominently known Saudi name comes to mind with such groups.
As the situation looks for now the list seem to be mostly used as a Kafkaesque vehicle / Catch-22 to excuse even the most extreme activities by some government agencies that otherwise would be massively illegal within any democracy.
ACLU press release
ACLU on the topic
GAO report on Terrorist Watch List Screening
Note: We are not aware if the Millionth record entry was welcomed with a bunch of flowers, gift voucher (free body examinations at a public building / airport of choice) or a box of chocolate.
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