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Transportation Government United States

One Person Successfully Removed From US No-Fly List 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-down,-countless-thousands-to-go dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In February, Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of Rahinah Ibrahim, who sued the U.S. government in 2006 after she was mistakenly added to the no-fly list and subsequently denied entry to the country. Now, the Department of Justice has finally decided it won't appeal the ruling, making Ibrahim the first person to challenge the list at trial and get herself removed. 'But Ibrahim's case, as just one of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been placed on such lists, shows the system's opacity. First, the only surefire way to even determine if one is on such a list in the U.S. is to attempt to board a flight and be denied. Even after that happens, when a denied person inquires about his or her status, the likely response will be that the government "can neither confirm nor deny" the placement on such lists. The government's surrender in Ibrahim comes on the heels of a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union that shows just how insanely difficult it is to contest one's status on the government blacklists (PDF).'"
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One Person Successfully Removed From US No-Fly List

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  • Fun fact (Score:5, Informative)

    by pegr (46683) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:26AM (#46603713) Homepage Journal

    Judge William Alsup also ruled on the Oracle/Google case. The more you know! ;)

    • Re:Fun fact (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:37AM (#46603857)

      The guy is the patron saint of common sense. One would think that common sense would not need a patron saint, being, you know, common...

      • Re:Fun fact (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kylemonger (686302) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:47AM (#46603981)
        Too bad getting to common sense took eight years.
      • It's certainly sense, but even more certainly *not* common, unfortunately.
      • He should have further ruled to make this list public and let DoJ fight it out in the courts.
      • by geekmux (1040042)

        The guy is the patron saint of common sense. One would think that common sense would not need a patron saint, being, you know, common...

        Uh, in case you hadn't noticed, we should look to change the name, because common sense...isn't so common anymore.

        In fact, it's become an absolute bitch to find.

        Apparently the only mentality that is common anymore is a corrupt one.

        • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

          Speaking of name changing, what if you're on the no-fly list and then you go change your name? Does the no-fly list get updated with your new name? I can't imagine so.

          • Speaking of name changing, what if you're on the no-fly list and then you go change your name? Does the no-fly list get updated with your new name? I can't imagine so.

            Change your name with whom? If you change your name with a government that has your name on a no-fly list, then I would think they would keep it up-to-date.

            • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

              you're assuming a lot of competence on the part of the govt.. but what if you got married in another country, and took on a different last name?

  • by romanval (556418) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:34AM (#46603817)

    I'm not too sure how a no-fly list works since many people can have the same name.
    If that's the case, what's stopping someone from legally changing their name to something more american/western-european and re-issuing their passport?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:38AM (#46603867)

      No-fly lists simply shouldn't exist, regardless of whether or not they can work. The idea that you can be considered too dangerous (Without a trial!) to fly and yet not dangerous enough to arrest is absurd. As others have said, this is just used for oppression.

      • It's so much worse than that. It means that you are required by law to notify the government at least three days in advance before you plan to travel (by air) from state to state.
        • by spire3661 (1038968) on Friday March 28, 2014 @12:20PM (#46604363) Journal
          "No papers? State to state?"

          "No papers."

          "Then i will live in Montana...."
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @12:18PM (#46604335)

        No fly lists where you can not get off but only can add names is even worse. At some point the list just gets long and worthless. If everybody is on the list then no terrorist can do harm with a airplane...

        By the way: I have a friend who's son is on the no-fly list since he's 3 years old! He's twin brother is not. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. No way to get him off. There is just nobody responsible you could apply to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by gnasher719 (869701)

        No-fly lists simply shouldn't exist, regardless of whether or not they can work. The idea that you can be considered too dangerous (Without a trial!) to fly and yet not dangerous enough to arrest is absurd. As others have said, this is just used for oppression.

        Now what you say doesn't make sense. You can't get arrested for being dangerous. You can only get arrested for committing or possibly planning to commit a crime (and "planning" means actively doing things to help committing the crime, not "intending". )

        That's of course independent of the fact that it is ridiculous to say there's a million people too dangerous to fly; and even if it was true there would be no excuse for making it hard for people not belonging on that list to come off it.

        • by suutar (1860506)

          You can't get arrested for being dangerous.

          but apparently you can be punished for it, without charges or trial.

        • by jythie (914043)
          Well, the hurdle for 'planning' can be pretty low depending on the potential crime.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @12:20PM (#46604371)

        It is interesting to look at this in the perspective. The one that shows the reasons and arguments used by founding fathers of the republic to make something different than opaque, corrupt and inefficient regimes of old continent to create something different: where transparency, the rule of the law etc are basic principles. Now look at what happened: this funny secrete courts of which decisions you may not talk, the no-fly lists which you cannot question because you will never know you are on one. Add to this: enhanced interrogation techniques, extrajudicial killings, the whole nonsense of war on drugs, the violence and inefficiency of US judicial and penal systems as well as lies used to send troops all over the planet (Collin Power etc). I wonder if that was unavoidable (I think it was). Every being and republic too gets old and starts seeing ghosts generated by the old brain, accumulated fat causes the body to stop functioning properly, Just wondering. Right now even Germany is more transparent and has more efficient state than US does. I guess the only branches of US gov. that still work kind of well are military and 'security' industry. I wonder how does that feel to become what one tried to escape from?

      • The idea that you can be considered too dangerous (Without a trial!) to fly and yet not dangerous enough to arrest is absurd.

        I generally agree, but it's relatively trivial to imagine cases where they can't arrest someone, despite having every intention of doing so should the opportunity present itself. If local authorities are uncooperative, should the American government allow a criminal who they believe may be a danger to the flight board the plane and hope that the person just sits there nicely until they can be arrested when they land?

        I don't have an easy answer for that, and I don't know whether that sort of a situation woul

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I generally agree, but it's relatively trivial to imagine cases where they can't arrest someone, despite having every intention of doing so should the opportunity present itself.

          Then too bad. If they don't have enough evidence to arrest someone for committing crimes, they don't get to punish someone without trial. Freedom has risks, and ones I'm more than willing to take.

          • by suutar (1860506)
            yes, but you believe in accepting risk. Many unfortunately believe that the duty of government is to eliminate risk (to them and theirs, at least).
        • by jythie (914043)
          That would require an arrest warrant of some type at least, which even before the no-fly list could prevent you from traveling.
      • by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Friday March 28, 2014 @02:08PM (#46605331)

        No-fly lists simply shouldn't exist, regardless of whether or not they can work. The idea that you can be considered too dangerous (Without a trial!) to fly and yet not dangerous enough to arrest is absurd. As others have said, this is just used for oppression.

        There was one case of the no-fly list being used against US Sen Edward Kennedy [washingtonpost.com], proof that it is a tool that can be exploited for political retaliation and oppression.

      • by cyn1c77 (928549)

        No-fly lists simply shouldn't exist, regardless of whether or not they can work. The idea that you can be considered too dangerous (Without a trial!) to fly and yet not dangerous enough to arrest is absurd. As others have said, this is just used for oppression.

        Don't worry!

        The government is likely working to remove that pesky probable cause standard required to arrest someone.

        Their operating standards will soon all be consistent!

    • If there's any hope for the human race, this "list" is a bit more extensive than just a name
    • /nick David Smith

      /nick Bill Gates

      /nick Elon Musk

      You can legally change your name to the name of someone who not only flies a lot, but will be pissed off a lot if they can't fly.

    • I'd use the name "Stan Smith" instead.

    • At one point there were 18 David Nelsons in Oregon alone who got hassled at PDX due to the no fly list.

    • by bware (148533)

      Since 2003, it is not so easy to change your name anymore. While in the US, for the most part, you can simply use any name you want, if you want a new passport, you'll have to go before a judge and it's going to cost you about a grand.

      Having dealt with various TLAs, it's not difficult for me to believe that they don't have any monitoring system in place for this - incompetence, ignorance, and stupidity abound. On other hand, if I had evil intent in mind and didn't want to get caught, I don't think I'd wan

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Since 2003, it is not so easy to change your name anymore. While in the US, for the most part, you can simply use any name you want, if you want a new passport, you'll have to go before a judge and it's going to cost you about a grand.

        ...and you can bet they have to notify the people who maintain the no-fly list.

        • by bware (148533)

          you can bet they have to notify the people who maintain the no-fly list.

          I would not bet that - the FBI couldn't find me once when it was a simple matter of looking up my name in a phonebook, back when those were still a thing. As I said, incompetence and stupidity abound, as they do in any bureacratic organization.

          I wouldn't be surprised to find out that legal name changes are (or are not) monitored by TLAs - either way. But I wouldn't bet the success of my plan to take over the world on the lack of it.

  • Now even foreigners may have the law supporting them. The American Dream has definitively gone to the dogs.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:41AM (#46603907)

      Tell that to the poor sods in Gitmo still awaiting trial - or charges, for that matter.

      Didn't our current Glorious Leader promise to close down that shame of a concentration camp years ago, incidentally?

      • by Holi (250190) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:50AM (#46604013)

        He did, and he tried, but some ass hats in Congress made it impossible. Please if you gon to cast blame, cast it in the right direction.

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        well, I'm not a fan of him but in this case he at least makes "pushes" to close it. most recent here:

        http://www.politico.com/story/... [politico.com]

        we can talk about dozen other campaign lies, but not this issue

      • Didn't our current Glorious Leader promise to close down that shame of a concentration camp years ago, incidentally?

        The main problem with "Gitmo" is there isn't anywhere to send many of the prisoners. You put them on a plane and send them to Yemen and Yemen says "They're not citizens. I refuse them admission. Take them back where they came from." Unless you just drop them off in the Afghan desert, what do you do with them?

        • 40 acres and a mule?

        • Not to mention some of them actually are terrorists
        • by currently_awake (1248758) on Friday March 28, 2014 @01:19PM (#46604961)
          put them on trial. If you have proof of criminal activity then that should be easy. If you don't have proof then send them home. Better a hundred criminals go free than a single innocent man languish in jail.
          • If you don't have proof then send them home.

            This is the problem Obama has had with Gitmo - most, if not all, of them are not wanted at home. If we ship them to Afghanistan, the Afghan government will either say "not just no, but fuck no!", or kill them out of hand.

            Since we can't ship them off to someplace where they'd be killed out of hand (the ACLU, among others, wouldn't like it), we have to keep them, till we find someone who will accept them, and promise not to kill them.

            So far, no takers....

  • 2006-2014 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:37AM (#46603853)

    So, 8 years for one person to be taken off the no-fly list. At this rate, ,by around 1,000,000 AD give or take, all innocent citizens denied their basic constitutional right to travel freely without trial will finally be allowed to board an airplane. Good news!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:37AM (#46603859)

    Can someone explain how the government can impose penalties on a person without providing the evidence against them? Is the entire premise that you can't show standing because you can't know you're on the list? It seems we have a shitload of that going on right now, whereas we shouldn't have any.

    • by pegr (46683) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:55AM (#46604091) Homepage Journal

      Can someone explain how the government can impose penalties on a person without providing the evidence against them?

      No.

    • I believe their argument is that flying is a privilege, much like driving a car or getting a visa.
      Don't expect me to defend that argument.
      • I believe their argument is that flying is a privilege, much like driving a car or getting a visa.

        It's not even arguable:

        U.S. Code S. 40103 - Sovereignty and use of airspace
        (a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.
        (2) A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/usc... [cornell.edu]

        Driving is not a privilege either - it's essential to the right of Free Assembly (as is air travel in 2014, incidentally). Don't believe the claptrap in the driver's

    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      I do not condone these types of lists

      That being said, the US government can deny anyone entry for whatever reason they want. No foreigner has a right to enter the US.
      • A US Citizens gets put on this list. The US Citizen cannot fly from Denver to Chicago, Nothing to do with a foreigner.

        Travel within and between the states is not a privilege it is a right. Not all rights are explicitly spelled out in the constitution. Look at the ninth and tenth amendments.

        The SCOTUS needs to remember the existence of the ninth and tenth amendments sometimes. In my opinion they should be the most important amendments and I am not a states rights kind of guy.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          Travel within and between the states is not a privilege it is a right.

          If it is a right then how DARE those greedy airlines charge so much to do it that I cannot afford to do it. I think the government should step in and pay for airplane rides for poor people so they can enjoy their rights.

          Now, if only someone could invent some means of interstate travel that didn't use airplanes, so those people whose right to travel interstate wasn't being stripped from them by being on a no-fly list. I mean, we can fly people from New York to London in just a few hours, you'd think someon

    • Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and most anti-gun groups, want the no-fly list to be a basis for denying gun purchases. They see this as a big loophole, calling it the "Terror Gap."

      http://www.mayorsagainstillega... [mayorsagai...alguns.org]

      So flying isn't the only thing that this no-fly list can potentially cause trouble with if its use expands. Next thing you know, being on the list will give free reign for searches without a warrant.

  • Face Palm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Patent Lover (779809) on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:38AM (#46603863)
    The whole concept of a no-fly list so utterly asinine that it boggles the mind. Too dangerous to fly in a plane after going through security, not dangerous enough to arrest. Riiiiiiight.
    • Re:Face Palm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Friday March 28, 2014 @11:53AM (#46604057) Homepage
      It gets better. Would you believe that people who actually are suspected terrorists are kept off of the list to avoid tipping them off?
      • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday March 28, 2014 @12:16PM (#46604311) Homepage Journal

        My first thought was 'Given Fast&Furious*, yes'.

        *Operation Fast&Furious [wikipedia.org], where the ATF actually ordered a number of gun stores to sell to obvious Mexican cartel related straw purchasers in order to bust cartel leaders and such, then lost track of the guns.

        • It's not like the Mexicans wouldn't have gotten their hands on guns some other way.

          • by qbast (1265706)
            Great justification. You don't mind if I kill you, right? You are going to die sooner or later anyway.
            • So, the same people would have killed the same other people with guns. But because it's these guns that got here by this program, this program is responsible? No you're dumb.
          • by lgw (121541)

            Illegal arms brokers are quick with that line. It may even be true. But that doesn't make it any less immoral to be the one doing it. We should not be the ones doing it.

            • But it puts us in a better position to gain intelligence. Sometimes that doesn't pan out, but it provides an opportunity and doesn't make the situation worse. In this case, we've learned the limits of acquiring intelligence in this exact way; maybe this is a limitation of trying to track guns, or a limitation of the methods we used, but regardless we've still learned something.

              That information wasn't really obtained at any expense beyond the basic economic program expense, and it has some value. You j

              • by lgw (121541)

                That information wasn't really obtained at any expense beyond the basic economic program expense

                It's been demonstrated that federal agents were killed with these weapons. I call that fucking expensive.

                • People have been killed by bad drivers running red lights in Chevrolet cars. If Chevrolet didn't make cars then those people would not have been killed because said bad drivers would not have cars with which to run red lights.

                  • by lgw (121541)

                    Don't conflate accidents with predictable consequences. Drunk drivers is the better analogy. And driving drunk is, in fact, a serious crime. As is selling arms to the cartels.

                    Why are you even trying to defend actions like this? Are you so enamored of some political party that you'll bend over backwards to defend their most egregious actions? Don't be that guy - every political party will fuck you sideways for a laugh; none of them deserve any loyalty.

                    • Because you're conflating emotional judgment with rational judgment.

                      Why are you even trying to defend actions like this?

                      Well, your argument is this: Mexicans would be incapable of murdering as many people if we didn't give them guns.

                      Let's look at the facts. Illegal firearms trafficking is highly lucrative. There is a healthy economy for illegal firearms, and in fact firearms can be made at home with a hammer, an anvil, some fire, and metal. Blacksmithing guns is a common hobby. CNC machines and other manufacture capabilities are cheap and readily a

              • that information wasn't really obtained at any expense beyond the basic economic program expense

                Plus, you know, helping arm the Mexican cartels. Kinda the opposite of their stated goal.
                This is a "means" vs. "end" issue. Does beating up the lich justify slaughtering a bunch of orphans on the way there.

                If you think it all boils down to money, then sure, it's just some "basic economic expense". But if you take that reasoning, the cost of all those dead vietnam war draftees was just "basic economic expense". Because at the end of the day, it's all comes down to money.

                but regardless we've still learned something.

                That given the opportunity, the people

                • I don't know about 'helping to arm the Mexican cartels'. I think the market for illegally obtained firearms is larger than the demand, so they'll apply the same resources with the same efficiency in any case.

                  It's like selling marijuana in Baltimore. Everyone has tons of marijuana. You can go outside and come back 5 minutes later with a bag full of marijuana even if you've never bought marijuana and have no idea how to go about getting any. Selling marijuana in Baltimore as an intelligence gathering i

          • Given the response your post created, I wish to point out that I didn't say that the Mexicans wouldn't have gotten the guns a different way, much less that the lives lost to those guns would have been saved.

            Note that I emphasized 'lost track of the guns'. If the program had produced results(arrests&convictions) I would be a lot happier with the program, even if a few guns were lost and a federal agent lost his life to one of them(bad stuff happens). What really pisses me off is that not only did the p

      • Re:Face Palm (Score:4, Interesting)

        by naasking (94116) <naasking@gmail. c o m> on Friday March 28, 2014 @12:18PM (#46604333) Homepage

        I was just thinking this. The no-fly-list is counterproductive to intelligence work in which an important tool is surreptitiously tracking a person's movements to build a map of their contact network. All the no-fly-list does would do is make it harder to track the movement of terrorists because they would be forced to use less visible means of communication and transport, which means real terrorists probably aren't on the list at all, which completely contradicts the stated purpose of this "security measure". It's asinine.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    aren't all travel restrictions inherently an interference with the right to peaceably assemble?

    of course since the new deal supreme court cases the constitution has been fundamentally meaningless so whatever carry on

  • by UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) on Friday March 28, 2014 @12:08PM (#46604227)

    Besides the possibility of a match to a similar name, even if only "official" copies of the the no-fly list are consulted, I would not be surprised if copies of her entry linger in the various copies of that list.

    (A friend of mine who has a name similar to someone on a sex offenders' list was mistakenly added as a variant spelling of the original listing. Even after getting a court order to remove his listing, it had propagated to other copies and was eventually merged back in to the original as updates were passed around the various government agencies. He then got an order to amend his listing to state it was invalid, but (A) that merely added a new entry, with no guarantee which entry would show first, and (B), most checkers don't look beyond seeing of there is a match.)

  • ...http://chersonandmolschky.com/2014/02/28/obamas-america-safe-haven-terrorists/

    Kinda makes the No Fly List pointless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @12:42PM (#46604627)

    Given that the Supreme Court has upheld freedom of travel is a right, and given that the no-fly list violates that right of anybody whose name is on it:

    Make the first step in the appeal process very confrontational:
    Either the government describes in open court, within a short time (say, 72 hours) of the person being denied travel, that they have better-than-probable cause to prevent this person from flying -- more than just a matching or similar name -- else the government representative in court (or the first-level manager at the airport who denied travel, if the gov't is a no-show) gets locked up for contempt until the person is removed off the list and all copies.

    In essence, the gov't has to submit prima facie evidence why they deny this person the right to travel; if they fail, they go to prison. And AFAIK there is no maximum limit on how long somebody can stay in prison for contempt of court.

    • by qbast (1265706)
      Does it include right to demand any particular mode of travel? You can always walk. See you in a month or three.
  • All I can think of is the old Star Wars/Cops spoof Troops:

    "Suspects are guilty, period. Otherwise they wouldn't be suspect, would they?"

  • As long as the list doesn't bother any lower class white male voters, then nothing will change. Face it, the majority of voters in this country, the unwashed masses, really do not care what happens to people of other ethnicities. As a matter of fact, it makes them feel superior to see others suffer.

    • Your sig is sad.

      The only thing worse than Democrats and Republicans is a voter that thinks there's a difference.

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