Aug 25, 2007

Terror suspect database catches few terrorists but does capture anti-war activists

Almost 20,000 people ended up, for whatever reason, in the govt's terrorist database. a lot of people wouldn't you say?

Get this...the govt wants to 'open up' the list to private entities. You know, we contract so fucking much of our needs out these days, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the fuckwits wish to make all sorts of lists, like the airline passenger list, available to people outside the govt. From the WaPo article:

A range of state, local and federal agencies as well as U.S. embassies overseas rely on the database to pinpoint terrorism suspects, who can be identified at borders or even during routine traffic stops. The database consolidates a dozen government watch lists, as well as a growing amount of information from various sources, including airline passenger data. The government said it was planning to expand the data-sharing to private-sector groups with a "substantial bearing on homeland security," though officials would not be more specific.

Of course they wouldn't be specific..please..its all a big freaking secret don't you know? Over half of the folks 'detained' were collared by the folks at Customs and Border Patrol. Another snippet of the WaPo article here:

Slightly more than half of the 20,000 encounters last year were logged by Customs and Border Protection officers, who turned back or handed over to authorities 550 people, most of them foreigners, Customs officials said. FBI and other officials said that they could not provide data on the number of people arrested or denied entry for the other half of the database hits. FBI officials indicated that the number of arrests was small.

So, if the number of arrests are small..why keep all this information on everyone? It's a valid question. It makes one wonder what qualifies someone to be included on this damn list. It makes on wonder who's civil rights are being violated and what is the determining factor for all this bullshit.

David Sobel, senior counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy organization, said the numbers "suggest a staggeringly high rate of false positives with respect to the identification of supposed terrorists." He added that "this really confirms the long-standing fear that this list is inaccurate and ultimately ineffective as an anti-terrorism tool."

False-positives..gee, that makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy don't it? Nothing this dimwits do makes me feel warm and fuzzy with regard to protecting Americans by violating their civil rights. We do not know what they did to get on the list, we have no idea what the govt does with the information once its deemed the individual isn't a threat to America. But we do know this..THEY KEEP THE INFO FOR 99 YEARS. Let me type that again..they keep it for 99 freaking years.

Its all bullshit in a barrel folks.

If you think for one minute YOUR not on this list..think again. Being an anti-war activist could damn well land your happy ass on this 'database'. Let's take an example from the WaPo writeup, Francisco "Kiko" Martinez, a Colorado lawyer and civil-rights activist:

"A driver's license check revealed [Martinez] as a possible individual having ties with terrorism," a state trooper wrote after a 2004 stop near Chicago, according to one report.

Last year, Martinez sued the federal government, claiming that he was unlawfully detained and that he was included on a watch list as a result of his political activities.

Last month, he won a $106,500 settlement from federal, state and tribal authorities. Though the settlement did not address any of the underlying constitutional claims, Martinez asserted that it "shows that I shouldn't have been on this terrorism watch list in the first place" and that "the government is misusing this so-called war against terrorism to target its domestic political opponents."

Like I said..bullshit in a barrel.

Crossposted at Bring it On! and Sirens Chronicles

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