Monday, February 09, 2004

I hope you've read about the federal judge who's ordered Drake University to turn over information about meetings of antiwar protesters; if not, the story's here.

I'm amused that this story broke exactly one day after Jeffrey Rosen of The New Republic wagged his finger on the op-ed page of The New York Times and told liberals opposed to Ashcroftism to mind their manners and be reasonable. Rosen said that reason and compromise could remove all the nasty excesses from the Patriot Act -- after all, he said, it had removed them from our system of scrutinizing airline passengers, hadn't it? Well, according to this story, it hasn't:

The airport counter: This is as far as Rebecca Gordon and Janet Adams say they are allowed to go at San Francisco International Airport. The last time they checked in for a flight to Boston to visit Gordon's 80-year-old father, an airline employee called the police.

"She came back and said you turned up on the FBI no-fly list. We have called the San Francisco police. We were shocked, really shocked,” recalled Adams.

"We were detained. We were definitely detained. I couldn't even get a drink of water," Gordon remembered.

So why would two women in their 50's, U.S. citizens, San Francisco homeowners and long-time peace activists with no criminal records be on a federal watch list with suspected terrorists? ...

The list is now alleged to include not only suspected terrorists and those believed to be a threat to aviation security but civil rights activists say it also targets people based on their political views. A list that is thought to include members of the Green Party, a Jesuit priest who is a peace activist and two civil rights attorneys.

In Gordon and Adams’ case, the ACLU believes the couple may have been targeted for their work on War Times, a free bilingual newspaper that has been critical of the war and the Bush administration's policies on terrorism.

It’s very scary that two people who pose no danger, who are publishing something, which last time I looked we were allowed to do, are being detained at the airport and having the police called and they won't tell us why," Adams said.

And as of today, Gordon and Adams still don't have any answers from the government but have a court hearing set for April 9th. This controversy isn't likely to go away anytime soon, since the government is planning on implementing a color code system this summer to track passengers and that list too is expected to be secret.

(Frist link courtesy of BuzzFlash; last link courtesy of INTL News.)

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