Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Problem with Government Terror Lists

UPDATE: The ACLU has forced Maryland State Police to allow the people whose names were illegally entered into the Department of Homeland Security database to have a lawyer present when they view their records. They can also have a copy of their records to keep as a souvenir. How nice of the police to allow someone falsely accused of being a terrorist to have legal representation present during a police visit. Article


Maryland's police superintendent, Terrence B. Sheridan, recently told attendees at a legislative hearing that recent surveillance of protesters resulted in those people being blacklisted for life. Now the superintendent did not choose those exact words. He simply said that the protesters names were entered into Department of Homeland Security databases. He even offered to allow those individuals to look at the database. His suggestion that names once entered into government databases can ever be completely purged is total hogwash.

People who maintain these databases also make backup copies. They also share these lists with other public and private firms tasked with finding the next Osama bin Ladin. Once your name goes on any such "terror list" it will remain on at least some, if not all, of those lists for the rest of your life. In the case of these people they can forget about ever qualifying for any type of government job, bank position, or work with firms that do many types of work for the government. They have been blacklisted for life.

Anti-War Protester 70530

In these United States we have a Constitution which guarantees our rights to peaceably assemble. In fact early leaders, i.e. the framers of the US Constitution, thought this right was so important they included it in the First Amendment.

Here is the basic text:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion" or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, laws that infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Perhaps ironically, the people added to the Maryland Homeland Security and therefore the U.S. Department of Homeland Security databases were protesting the death penalty and the Iraq war.

This act of the Maryland State Police reeks of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's attempted purge of suspected Communist spies in the 1950s. Senator McCarthy, along with the FBI, printed a book called Red Channels. This author owns an original copy of that list of famous people, writers, reporters, and Hollywood actors. Which all goes to prove that once your name is on these government lists it can never be completely purged off the lists.

Let me repeat, once a person's name is entered into these government databases it can never be completely purged. These lists are shared with many other government agencies and even non-government agencies that work under contract to DHS, FBI, and others. They all find it in their interest to keep every copy of every list, "just in case." The people on these lists are essentially blacklisted for life from a huge number of possible careers, public and private. The results of detailed background checks have no doubt been entered into business intelligence records and a host of other corporate databases. Those supposed "credit record keepers" also never purge any data completely. Data, especially dirt, is money to these firms.

Therefore the Maryland State Police have permanently violated the Constitutional Rights of the people they wrongly placed on these lists. The US Constitution also provides for legal action against those who violated a person's Constitutional Rights.

U.S. Supreme Court 9899


Washington Post Article

No comments: