The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terrorist watch list continues to cause some lucky travelers unnecessary travel delays due to having similar names as suspected terrorists, or in some cases, simply because their last name is Muslim, and as you’ll see a little further below, because of information found on google that may pertain to you.
Shahid Malik, MP (Member of Parliament) for Dewsbury, West Yorks, the British international development minister was reportedly stopped, searched and had his baggage checked for explosives at Washington DC’s Dulles airport when returning to London after meeting with DHS officials.
That was the second time he had been pulled aside while flying back to London. Last November, after being invited as a keynote speaker at an event organized by the DHS, the FBI and Muslim organizations to talk about tackling extremism and defeating terrorism, he went through the same thing at JFK airport in New York.
Mr. Malik said he had received numerous apologies and assurances from U.S. authorities after that incident, but was again searched and detained by DHS officials. Mr. Malik said two other Muslims were also pulled aside and detained. “I am deeply disappointed,” he said.
A centralized ‘no-fly’ terrorist watch list that scrutinizes Americans the most has continued to grow at an astonishing rate and currently contains 860,000 names of people suspected of having terrorist ties. Questions pertaining to the size and effectiveness of the list reportedly continue to cause concerns.
A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows the terrorist watch list resulted in nearly 20,000 positive ‘matches’ of persons suspected of having terrorist ties in 2006. Because the list is used almost routinely during police stops and domestic air travel, Americans comprise the bulk of the list.
The GAO’s report was presented at a hearing of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee causing Senators to express concern about the size and effectiveness of the list.
The GAO report (PDF, html summary) includes a few new details about the size and operation of the list. More details about the terrorist watch list can be found in the ‘We’re All Terrorists! Watch List Makes 20,000 ‘Matches’ in ’06’ article from Wired.com.
Recently the TSA has been under fire after it was reported that 3 very busy international airports were still struggling on detecting simulated explosives and bomb parts hidden in various items and places. Information on the latest misadventures of the TSA and the Illegal Wiretapping saga as well as a few other tidbits can be found below.
A classified report obtained by USA Today reveals that two of this countries busiest airports failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers…in one case 60 percent of the time, and in the worst case, 75 percent of the time.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners at Los Angeles International Airport reportedly missed about 75 percent of simulated explosives and bomb parts hidden in their clothes or carry-on bags at check points by TSA testers.
TSA screeners at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport missed about 60 percent of hidden bomb materials packed in carry-ons, toiletry kits, briefcases and CD players. Private airport screeners at San Francisco International Airport missed about 20 percent of the bombs.
Now we know why the Bush Administration is again using fear and strong-arm tactics to coerce Congress into passing a new FISA law containing retroactive immunity for himself, Telecoms and all those who aided and abetted ALL of his illegal maneuvers. New details are emerging suggesting that the illegal wiretapping started in February 2001 before the attacks of 9/11 (don’t be surprised if it went further back than that).
The Washington Post has reported that a former Qwest Communications International executive, while appealing a conviction for inside trading, is alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts that were worth hundreds of millions of dollars…after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency (NSA) program thought by Qwest to be illegal. More information is also available from the original article from Wired.com.
Court documents recently unsealed in Denver reveal that Joseph P. Nacchio, former chief executive of Qwest Communications International, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Although details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the recently unsealed documents, Nacchio’s lawyer said the NSA had approached the company regarding participation in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about phone records belonging to Americans.
In the past I’ve briefly touched base on the propaganda and slander used by the Bush Administration to further their political agenda. Below is the latest example of White House approval and encouragement of doing and saying anything to avoid taking responsibility for their greedy, illegal and incompetent actions, including slandering innocent children (first a 12-year-old and now a 2-year-old).
Paul Krugman of The New York Times wrote an article titled ‘Sliming Graeme Frost’ detailing what he described as a teaching moment regarding the Bush Administration’s response to a radio address held by Democrats that was delivered by 12-year-old Graeme Frost after the president vetoed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill — a bipartisan bill that would have expanded the program that covers millions of children who would otherwise be uninsured. Congress is supposed to vote on a veto override this week.
12-year-old Graeme Frost is 12-year-old beneficiary of SCHIP. Graeme and his sister received severe brain injuries in a 2004 car crash and continues to need physical therapy. SCHIP was intended to help working Americans who can’t afford private health insurance.
The Frost family is the exact type of family SCHIP is defined for: the parents (and their four children) have a combined income of about $45,000 and don’t receive health insurance from employers. Before the accident in 2004, buying medical insurance would have cost them about $1,200 a month — virtually impossible on their combined income. After the accident when the kids needed expensive medical care, they couldn’t get insurance at any price.
What appears to be a case of selective justice in Alabama once again brings more bad news involving the usual mixture of apparent greed, corruption and dirty politics involving the Bush Administration ‘Justice’ system and shows the perfect example of why politics and justice don’t mix well.
According to a report by TIME, On May 8, 2002, Clayton Lamar (Lanny) Young Jr. sat in the downtown offices of the U.S. Attorney in Montgomery, Alabama and told a group of seasoned prosecutors and investigators that he had paid tens of thousands of dollars in apparently illegal campaign contributions to some of the biggest names in Alabama Republican politics.
Young told the the prosecutors and investigators that among the recipients of his contributions were Jeff Sessions, (then the state’s former attorney general, now a U.S. Senator) and William Pryor Jr., (then Sessions’ successor as attorney general, now a federal judge). Documents obtained by TIME describe Young’s detailed statements.
Young became a key witness in a major case in Alabama that brought down a high-profile politician, landing him in federal prision to serve an 88-month sentence. That official happened to be the top Democrat named by Young in a series of interviews. Conveniently enough, none of the Republicans named by Young were investigated, let alone prosecuted.
A look at a few of the reasons Congress and our other elected officials continue to waste our tax dollars, ignore public opinion and keep allowing these blatant travesties of justice performed by the Secretive Presidential Administration in charge of this ‘Democracy’ to continue.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush reportedly issued an order (PDF) allegedly aimed at ‘protecting military secrets’ and ‘sensitive law enforcement’ to the CIA, the DoD, the FBI, the State Department, and his cabinet members severly curtailing intelligence oversight by restricting classified information to only eight members of Congress.
“The only Members of Congress whom you or your expressly designated officers may brief regarding classified or sensitive law enforcement information are the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate” he wrote.
Instead of ‘protecting the United States,’ this order became a tool used by the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts (R-KS) ensuring there would be no serious investigation into how the Bush Administration fixed the ‘intelligence’ in efforts to invade Iraq, or the fabricated documents used to do so.
More American troops are reportedly returning home alive from the Middle East thanks in part to advances in military medicine. Unfortunately, many return home troubled by physical and mental injuries, needing treatment, recovery and retraining that can’t be received in a timely manner or cheaply, quickly becoming economic casualties of the mismanaged war on terror.
Gamal Awad is one of those more than 185,000 soldiers. He was a marine who pulled burned bodies from the ruins of the Pentagon after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He survived the horrors he saw in Kuwait and Iraq, but every morning he needs to think of a reason not to kill himself.
Awad is one of a growing number of veterans and their families who no longer trust the government to take care of them the way they should be taken care of. Instead of being treated like a hero, veterans are being caught up in an endless loop of red tape and inefficient funds set aside to treat the wounded.
Awad can’t look at the photograph showing him receiving a Marine heroism medal for his recovery work at the Pentagon. It might bring back memories of a burned woman whose skin peeled off in his hands when he tried to comfort her. He can still hear the rockets shrieking in Iraq, still smell the burning fuel, and still relives the blast that blew him right out of bed.
No matter what he does, the memories keep coming back. “Nothing can turn off those things,” he says, voice choked and eyes glistening.
Jack L. Goldsmith, now a Harvard Law Professor, once led the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that questioned the legality of the Bush Administrations domestic eavesdropping plan, reportedly told a Senate Committee that the situation became a “legal mess” because the White House didn’t believe that the Courts or Congress had any role to play — senior White House officials were adverse to ANY restraint on presidential power and were devoted to extreme secrecy.
“It was the biggest legal mess I had ever encountered” said Professor Goldsmith in his testimony. He went on to describe how David Addington, Vice President Cheney’s counsel, told him that his position of the program being illegal might mean failure to halt a new terrorist attack that would leave him with the blood of thousands on his hands.
In his testimony, Professor Goldsmith took pains to dispute the notion that the Bush Administration was indifferent to legal constraints in fighting terrorism. “In my experience, the opposite is true. The administration has paid scrupulous attention to law” he said.
Contrary to his testimony however, Professor Goldsmith wrote in his book “The Terror Presidency” that he found many of the legal opinions undergirding the Bush Administration’s antiterrorism policies “sloppily reasoned, overbroad and incautious in asserting extraordinary constitutional authorities on behalf of the president.”
In yet another twist in the ongoing saga of the current Bush Administration and Gonzo-gate, the Justice Department has once again been caught with their pants down as more lies and deceipt surface…the New York Times has reported that the U.S. secretly endorsed severe interrogations, after publicly declaring torture as ‘abhorrent’ in a legal opinion from December 2004.
Once president Bush’s buddy Alberto Gonzales became the U.S. Attorney General, the Justice Department issued a secret expansive memo endorsing the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) that provided ‘explicit authorization’ to barrage terror suspects with painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.
Gonzales approved the legal memo on ‘combined effects’ despite the objections of James B. Comey, deputy attorney general who resigned after disagreeing with other illicit policies of the White House. Mr. Comey told his colleagues at the department they would be ashamed when the world eventually found out about it.
Most lawmakers weren’t aware of the secret memo and Congress was moving toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment current and former officials have said. While Congress was doing that, the Justice Department issued another secret memo declaring that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard. So, if most lawmakers weren’t aware of the secret memo, which lawmakers were aware of it?