US citizen stuck in Bahrain because he is on the no fly list.

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http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NO_FLY_US_CITIZEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-07-03-18-25-06

We have all heard the stories of the problems of the no fly list. Children and babies not allowed on planes, millions of people not allowed onto a plane because they share a name with somebody who might be a terrorist, the fact it can be foiled by somebody just legally changing their name. However, this case has to take the cake.

Ali Ahmed, an American citizen was barred from entering Kenya, and sent to the tiny island nation of Bahrain (never heard of it? Here it is: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xmS35N7LyxA/TV14Za24AGI/AAAAAAAAET8/QdEsY4p8rTs/s1600/Bahrain+map.jpg ). When he tried to fly back to America, he was not allowed on the plane because he suddenly was on the no fly list. For two weeks now he has been stuck, trying to find some legal recourse so he can get home, which his lawyers have found any yet. He never was charged with a crime, never given a trial, never convicted, yet he basically has been deported to a tiny Middle Eastern nation.

What do you think of this situation?

The No-Fly-List was and remains a fucking terrible idea. Just sayin'.

Poor guy, that shit isn't right at all

Dang, like in that movie The Terminal, hope the airport he's stuck in is as awesome T_T

The Nofly list doesnt include other countries does it? If so couldnt he take a plane to Canada or Mexico and do ground-transportation to whereever he lives in the US. It would take money, but at least he'd be able to sue the crap out of the people who denied him transport home while he is actually home, instead of a hotel in a far-away-land ^^.

BlazeRaider:
Dang, like in that movie The Terminal, hope the airport he's stuck in is as awesome T_T

Interestingly, that actually was based on a real story, based on the life of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, caught in a French airport when his country disappeared, not an American one (his wikipedia page is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehran_Karimi_Nasseri ).

Ali can move around freely, he isn't stuck in the terminal. Of course he is running out of money and this is a very small and poor Middle Eastern nation we are talking about here.

So, Bahrain are ok with taking him in? Or are they going to try deporting him?

So what? They guy has an Arabic name. He totally should have seen this coming and prepared for it by changing his name.

/sarcasm

Not G. Ivingname:

BlazeRaider:
Dang, like in that movie The Terminal, hope the airport he's stuck in is as awesome T_T

Interestingly, that actually was based on a real story, based on the life of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, caught in a French airport when his country disappeared, not an American one (his wikipedia page is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehran_Karimi_Nasseri ).

Ali can move around freely, he isn't stuck in the terminal. Of course he is running out of money and this is a very small and poor Middle Eastern nation we are talking about here.

Bahrain isn't poor. O.o

It's unequal, yes, but not poor.

Ali Ahmed... is that like Arabic for John Smith?

On the bright side, it did prevent an arranged marriage. Every disadvantage has its advantage.

If he needs to resolve it while low on money he could try to book transportation on a cargo ship going to the US. Those ussually have one or two cabins free, and sailing with them is dirt cheap (it also takes weeks if not months to get somewhere, but hey, it's cheap).

If he's on the No Fly list, chances are there is a reason for it. Whether that reason is right, wrong, true, false or fair is irrelevant. He should seek to address the cause of issue that got him on the list and lawyers and the US Embassy should be his port of call. It's not Bahrain's fault he's stuck there.

I'm half-Bahraini and it is a lovely country, except for the bulls**t shia uprisings. It's not a poor country, though there is a well defined poverty line and a very small middle-class.

KingsGambit:
If he's on the No Fly list, chances are there is a reason for it. Whether that reason is right, wrong, true, false or fair is irrelevant. He should seek to address the cause of issue that got him on the list and lawyers and the US Embassy should be his port of call. It's not Bahrain's fault he's stuck there.

I'm half-Bahraini and it is a lovely country, except for the bulls**t shia uprisings. It's not a poor country, though there is a well defined poverty line and a very small middle-class.

How many Ali Ahmeds are there, do you think? The no-fly lists still just go by name as far as I know.

Seanchaidh:
How many Ali Ahmeds are there, do you think? The no-fly lists still just go by name as far as I know.

That is a pretty unfortunate turn of events, it has to be said. But the US Embassy exists specifically to help american citizens abroad. It is unfair but in spite of that, I would still suggest the no-fly list is likely a necessary evil. Further, I doubt it could be made to go away. Any nation has the right to decide which non-nationals are allowed entry.

KingsGambit:
If he's on the No Fly list, chances are there is a reason for it. Whether that reason is right, wrong, true, false or fair is irrelevant. He should seek to address the cause of issue that got him on the list and lawyers and the US Embassy should be his port of call. It's not Bahrain's fault he's stuck there.

Whatever happened to innocent untill proven guilty? The reason for being on the no fly list are not disclosed to him, so he can't even try to further refute the baseless accusations against him.

KingsGambit:
I'm half-Bahraini and it is a lovely country, except for the bulls**t shia uprisings. It's not a poor country, though there is a well defined poverty line and a very small middle-class.

You mean outside of the barbaric sharia law system with horrible conditions and atrocities being committed such as floggings and other forms of senseless violence, legal de facto slavery of asian and african immigrants, hardcore oppression of women.

Lovely country? More like, bunch of desert barbarians from the Stone Age who got propelled into the 20th century prematurely by oil money. I wouldn't even want to be found dead there.

KingsGambit:

Seanchaidh:
How many Ali Ahmeds are there, do you think? The no-fly lists still just go by name as far as I know.

That is a pretty unfortunate turn of events, it has to be said. But the US Embassy exists specifically to help american citizens abroad. It is unfair but in spite of that, I would still suggest the no-fly list is likely a necessary evil. Further, I doubt it could be made to go away. Any nation has the right to decide which non-nationals are allowed entry.

Do you know of any cases which the no-fly list was directly responsible for the arrest of a terrorist, or the prevention of an attack? I'm not trying to ask a loaded question, I am legitimately curious as to exactly how effective it is.

KingsGambit:
If he's on the No Fly list, chances are there is a reason for it. Whether that reason is right, wrong, true, false or fair is irrelevant. He should seek to address the cause of issue that got him on the list and lawyers and the US Embassy should be his port of call. It's not Bahrain's fault he's stuck there.

I'm half-Bahraini and it is a lovely country, except for the bulls**t shia uprisings. It's not a poor country, though there is a well defined poverty line and a very small middle-class.

i was on the no fly list because of my insanely common last name, which some drug lords happen to have, since its the Mexican equivalent of the name smith. the no fly list is a joke.

Lilani:
Do you know of any cases which the no-fly list was directly responsible for the arrest of a terrorist, or the prevention of an attack? I'm not trying to ask a loaded question, I am legitimately curious as to exactly how effective it is.

keiskay:
i was on the no fly list because of my insanely common last name, which some drug lords happen to have, since its the Mexican equivalent of the name smith. the no fly list is a joke.

Clearly the current system has issues and fallibilities as this story and Keiskay's prove. I don't know enough about the system beyond that it exists and it's intended purpose so couldn't comment on specifics but I would say two things that I believe to be true:

- The no-fly list is a necessary evil. Further it is not possible to deny a nation the right to permit or deny foreigners entry howsoever they choose.
- Considering the mistakes such as this one, the system as it is is not very good or fair and should be reworked such that it gets few (if any) false positives while still meeting its intended purpose.

Blablahb:
You mean outside of the barbaric sharia law system with horrible conditions and atrocities being committed such as floggings and other forms of senseless violence, legal de facto slavery of asian and african immigrants, hardcore oppression of women.

Lovely country? More like, bunch of desert barbarians from the Stone Age who got propelled into the 20th century prematurely by oil money. I wouldn't even want to be found dead there.

I will grant sharia and human rights violations. While women may not have full equality, they aren't oppressed and are in fact elected government officials, public servants and so on. There is no slavery there. A poor migrant workforce yes, but that is no different from the UK really.

It is a lovely country and one of the only Muslim nations to treat Jews well and respectfully. The King is a very good leader and it's a very nice place to visit. If you haven't been there you're probably not in the best position to comment on it.

KingsGambit:
Clearly the current system has issues and fallibilities as this story and Keiskay's prove. I don't know enough about the system beyond that it exists and it's intended purpose so couldn't comment on specifics but I would say two things that I believe to be true:

- The no-fly list is a necessary evil. Further it is not possible to deny a nation the right to permit or deny foreigners entry howsoever they choose.
- Considering the mistakes such as this one, the system as it is is not very good or fair and should be reworked such that it gets few (if any) false positives while still meeting its intended purpose.

You never answered my question. If you say it is a necessary evil, surely it has done some good that you can cite as evidence of that?

Lilani:

KingsGambit:
Clearly the current system has issues and fallibilities as this story and Keiskay's prove. I don't know enough about the system beyond that it exists and it's intended purpose so couldn't comment on specifics but I would say two things that I believe to be true:

- The no-fly list is a necessary evil. Further it is not possible to deny a nation the right to permit or deny foreigners entry howsoever they choose.
- Considering the mistakes such as this one, the system as it is is not very good or fair and should be reworked such that it gets few (if any) false positives while still meeting its intended purpose.

You never answered my question. If you say it is a necessary evil, surely it has done some good that you can cite as evidence of that?

Sure, it prevented me from possibly dealing drugs i may or may not have had even though i bring everything carry-on and it would have been xrayed. it also prevented me from going to another state, preventing several people from having to deal with me.

KingsGambit:
Any nation has the right to decide which non-nationals are allowed entry.

Except this guy isn't Joe Foreigner

Not G. Ivingname:

Ali Ahmed, an American citizen was barred from entering Kenya, and sent to the tiny island nation of Bahrain

Sure a nation has the right to make sure a foreigner trying to get into the country is not some kind of criminal but this guy has a US passport, that should be enough to prove that he's not the guy who got put on the list.

Airport security in general is a joke. Perfect example of what happens when society gets scared and a bunch of politicians try to make it look like they're doing something useful about the thing scaring society.

The no-fly list is a load of crap and an instrument of a totalitarian state. It is clear that names are put on there very arbitrarily, secretively, and without thought or accountability. There have been so many recent cases in which innocent people have been banned from flying for no reason at all.

Screw your no-fly list, it's only fit to wipe one's arse with.

*gets put on no-fly list if he isn't already*

Seanchaidh:
Ali Ahmed... is that like Arabic for John Smith?

Yes, pretty much. That's why the US list sucks. It doesn't include enough detail to correctly identify anyone. It's silly beyond belief.

Ahmed said he was told by the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain that he has been cleared to go home, but when he went to the airport Monday, he was blocked from boarding again.

It would appear that someone knows he should be allowed to fly but there is so much red tape they aren't managing to do their jobs and clear the red tape properly. This is probably because of the really dumb way the list is assembled. A whole bunch of people have lists, anything on any of them is automatically moved to the big list. No thinking involved. Even if they struck it from the big list, if they didn't strike it from the small list it would come back. And of course there really might be a bad guy with that name, so what they are supposed to do is make an exception, except there is no actually process for that so... yeah, incompetence at its worst.

Karma168:
Sure a nation has the right to make sure a foreigner trying to get into the country is not some kind of criminal but this guy has a US passport, that should be enough to prove that he's not the guy who got put on the list.

Lots of US citizens are actually deliberately on the no fly list. Seriously. They can't legally fly around in their own country.

KingsGambit:
- Considering the mistakes such as this one, the system as it is is not very good or fair and should be reworked such that it gets few (if any) false positives while still meeting its intended purpose.

That's pretty much impossible given the small percentage of people who actually are terrorists/drug lords.

Lets do a simple thought experiment. We're trying to catch a terrorist in a U.S. airport that sees 150,000 faces a day. We'll say that 1 in 500,000 people are terrorists/drug lords.
Lets take facial recognition as an example: the system has an 90% match rate and a 0.01% false match rate, which I think is beyond real world (uneven lighting and such) capabilities of current facial recognition.

109 terrorists/drug lords will go through the airport, and 98 of them will be caught.
54 million people will go through the airport, and over half a million will come up as false matches of terrorists/drug lords. Now, most wanted terrorists/drug lords are male (darn glass ceiling), so we'll say that only the men are really going to be running into the false positive matches. That's still over 200,000 people who get false matched and the ratio of innocents harassed to bad guys caught is over 2,500:1.

Nikolaz72:
The Nofly list doesnt include other countries does it? If so couldnt he take a plane to Canada or Mexico and do ground-transportation to whereever he lives in the US. It would take money, but at least he'd be able to sue the crap out of the people who denied him transport home while he is actually home, instead of a hotel in a far-away-land ^^.

Dunno about Mexico, but Canada has its own no-fly list, which pretty much includes all the people on the american and other nations' ones.

KingsGambit:

Seanchaidh:
How many Ali Ahmeds are there, do you think? The no-fly lists still just go by name as far as I know.

That is a pretty unfortunate turn of events, it has to be said. But the US Embassy exists specifically to help american citizens abroad. It is unfair but in spite of that, I would still suggest the no-fly list is likely a necessary evil. Further, I doubt it could be made to go away. Any nation has the right to decide which non-nationals are allowed entry.

But he is a CITIZEN of that nation (yes, he is a US citizen), with a right, as given by the constitution of that nation, for a trial decided by his peers before he can be punished for a crime. Innocent before being proven guilty. Blocking every single person in the world with that name from flying on an US airline just because one of them might be a terrorist on a list that the public can see and you can't know your on until your at the airport, is a "necessary evil?"

Not G. Ivingname:
But he is a CITIZEN of that nation (yes, he is a US citizen), with a right, as given by the constitution of that nation, for a trial decided by his peers before he can be punished for a crime. Innocent before being proven guilty. Blocking every single person in the world with that name from flying on an US airline just because one of them might be a terrorist on a list that the public can see and you can't know your on until your at the airport, is a "necessary evil?"

Actually I think it may be easier to do such things to US citizens as they are subject to US laws, while other citizens may have an embassy and country that will actually make a fuss.

That doesn't mean all of it can just happen though. Actually I'd be very interesting to see some of the homeland security bullshit get challenged in court and see if it's ruled unconstitutional.

But for the moment at least, completely arbitrarily refusing US citizens acces to their own country without any accusations being made against them seems to be legal.

Not G. Ivingname:
What do you think of this situation?

Actually the article gives a clue as to what may have happened. Persons who are considered "terrorists" by other countries are put on the US no-fly list even if they are not considered "terrorists" by the US. This came up a few years ago when some people from a country that had fought against that country's government, at the behest of the US, were placed on a no-fly list an not allowed to come to this country because their country of origin considers them "terrorists" for working with US against them. Unfortunately I do not remember the country and I am having difficulty looking it up at the moment.

At any rate the article states that Ali and his family left his country of origin, Kenya, during a civil war. Ali was first denied entry into Kenya and routed elsewhere which makes it appear as though he is on their no-fly/entry list for some reason or other which one might guess at considering the circumstances of his departure from that country. He was then found to be on the US no-fly list. It would seem logical that since he apparently flew out of the US with no problems and then suddenly found problems after being denied entry to Kenya that Kenya are the one's who may have gotten him on that no-fly list. If the no-fly status comes from Kenya he may well actually be the individual that they think he is (whether he is actually guilty of anything or not) or at least fit multiple criteria (ie, last being in the country during the civil war ect) to be recognized as such an individual.

I'm not saying that this is cool, or should have happened, or any such thing but often these things actually make more sense (not to say good sense) than they seem to at first glance. A friend of mine works for TSA and he tells me that a lot of incidents that the media makes a big deal over are actually much more sensible if you know more facts about what happened. Apparently though the TSA has a policy of not publicly discussing these individual incidents so we rarely if ever hear any better detail than the ravings of a pissed off customer.

Not G. Ivingname:
But he is a CITIZEN of that nation (yes, he is a US citizen), with a right, as given by the constitution of that nation, for a trial decided by his peers before he can be punished for a crime.

He's not being punished or tried for a crime. He's also not in the US. The only relevance his nationality has is which embassy he should seek out for help. On an unrelated note to expand on your point however, if he were accused of a crime abroad he would be subject to the laws of that nation, not the US. The Embassy can intervene and a nation can extradite/deport a person but it's the nation's choice. All his US passport guarantees him is the absolute right of entry into the US at a US border, that's all.

Karma168:
Sure a nation has the right to make sure a foreigner trying to get into the country is not some kind of criminal but this guy has a US passport, that should be enough to prove that he's not the guy who got put on the list.

Is that because Americans simply can't be criminals?

Dags90:
snip

Taking your point, regardless of numbers true or otherwise, there will be false positives yes. However that is a sad consequence of the system. The few spoil it for the many. Because morons tried taking liquid plastique onto a flight, now none of us can carry liquids. Because of xyz, we have to take off our shoes in USA airports.

Because of 9/11, the TSA gave themselves the right to open any luggage, search any orifice they wish. The no-fly list exists to stop people we don't want on our flights from getting on. It will either catch the innocent too, or it will let the guilty through. It's not perfect, it is unlikely it can ever be, but what is the alternative? Describe if you can, a system that will keep flights safe from "undesirables" whilst being foolproof against catching innocents?

I have repeated above that the system is clearly not perfect how it is and needs changing/updating but it can never be perfect. No system involving people ever can be. This particular guy is unlucky enough it seems to share a name with someone who did earn their place on the list. It's bad luck, wrong-place/time, whatever you want to call it. But better this mistaken identity than the real guy gets on.

There's such a thing as an 'imperfect' system, and a 'broken' system. An imperfect system acknowledges and attempts to correct and compensate for imperfections.

This is a BROKEN system. Your name can end up on the no-fly list without you even knowing about it, let alone why. There is no defined recourse currently in place (so far as I'm aware) to alert you or to have yourself removed once your name on it. And that's the thing: it's just a NAME.

TODDLERS have been prevented from getting on planes because they have the same NAME as someone on the list. Can you imagine the police arresting a toddler on suspicion of murder because he happened to share the same name as the perpetrator or (more to the point of this story) a teenager being denied his privilege of receiving a driver's license he's perfectly qualified for because some OTHER schmuck who happens to share the same name can't drive without a half-pint of whiskey in his system?

We would dismiss such a thing as parody, and the comfort of knowing 'at least the OTHER John Whiskeydick won't be getting behind a wheel' would be the argument of fools.

senordesol:
There's such a thing as an 'imperfect' system, and a 'broken' system. An imperfect system acknowledges and attempts to correct and compensate for imperfections.

This is a BROKEN system. Your name can end up on the no-fly list without you even knowing about it, let alone why. There is no defined recourse currently in place (so far as I'm aware) to alert you or to have yourself removed once your name on it. And that's the thing: it's just a NAME.

TODDLERS have been prevented from getting on planes because they have the same NAME as someone on the list. Can you imagine the police arresting a toddler on suspicion of murder because he happened to share the same name as the perpetrator or (more to the point of this story) a teenager being denied his privilege of receiving a driver's license he's perfectly qualified for because some OTHER schmuck who happens to share the same name can't drive without a half-pint of whiskey in his system?

We would dismiss such a thing as parody, and the comfort of knowing 'at least the OTHER John Whiskeydick won't be getting behind a wheel' would be the argument of fools.

A quick look only shows one incident where a child was allegedly on a no fly list. According to the TSA that child was reported by an airline and cleared by the TSA which means that she was never actually on a no fly list.
Do you have any sources regarding this assertion that the no fly list is simply a list of names and no more?

TheStatutoryApe:

senordesol:
There's such a thing as an 'imperfect' system, and a 'broken' system. An imperfect system acknowledges and attempts to correct and compensate for imperfections.

This is a BROKEN system. Your name can end up on the no-fly list without you even knowing about it, let alone why. There is no defined recourse currently in place (so far as I'm aware) to alert you or to have yourself removed once your name on it. And that's the thing: it's just a NAME.

TODDLERS have been prevented from getting on planes because they have the same NAME as someone on the list. Can you imagine the police arresting a toddler on suspicion of murder because he happened to share the same name as the perpetrator or (more to the point of this story) a teenager being denied his privilege of receiving a driver's license he's perfectly qualified for because some OTHER schmuck who happens to share the same name can't drive without a half-pint of whiskey in his system?

We would dismiss such a thing as parody, and the comfort of knowing 'at least the OTHER John Whiskeydick won't be getting behind a wheel' would be the argument of fools.

A quick look only shows one incident where a child was allegedly on a no fly list. According to the TSA that child was reported by an airline and cleared by the TSA which means that she was never actually on a no fly list.
Do you have any sources regarding this assertion that the no fly list is simply a list of names and no more?

There have been multiple incidents (first three I found):
http://articles.boston.com/2005-08-16/news/29216258_1_lists-passport-ozzie-and-harriet
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/business/30road.html?_r=2&oref=slogin
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9259324/Airline-pulls-18-month-old-girl-off-plane-in-no-fly-alert.html

Do I have any sources that it is a list of names and no more? No. But unless the no-fly list suggests that toddlers and babies are potential terrorists, it would appear that is all that need be considered to keep you off a plane.

senordesol:
There have been multiple incidents (first three I found):
http://articles.boston.com/2005-08-16/news/29216258_1_lists-passport-ozzie-and-harriet
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/business/30road.html?_r=2&oref=slogin
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9259324/Airline-pulls-18-month-old-girl-off-plane-in-no-fly-alert.html

Do I have any sources that it is a list of names and no more? No. But unless the no-fly list suggests that toddlers and babies are potential terrorists, it would appear that is all that need be considered to keep you off a plane.

In all these incidents it appears to be issues with airline employees. In your second linked article it says that TSA was apparently planning on instituting fines or some sort of punishment for airlines who erroneously informed persons they were on no fly lists. It would appear that it is airlines who are failing to properly implement these procedures.

TheStatutoryApe:

senordesol:
There have been multiple incidents (first three I found):
http://articles.boston.com/2005-08-16/news/29216258_1_lists-passport-ozzie-and-harriet
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/business/30road.html?_r=2&oref=slogin
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9259324/Airline-pulls-18-month-old-girl-off-plane-in-no-fly-alert.html

Do I have any sources that it is a list of names and no more? No. But unless the no-fly list suggests that toddlers and babies are potential terrorists, it would appear that is all that need be considered to keep you off a plane.

In all these incidents it appears to be issues with airline employees. In your second linked article it says that TSA was apparently planning on instituting fines or some sort of punishment for airlines who erroneously informed persons they were on no fly lists. It would appear that it is airlines who are failing to properly implement these procedures.

Maybe. Someday. Some point in the future.

If I had a nickel for every time the government said that...

But that's only part of the problem. The rest is that there's thousands of people on the list who have been stripped of their privilege to fly and, potentially, weren't even told. It'd be like being pulled over for a suspended license even though you had no tickets, subpenas, or any documentation or indication in general to that effect.

Now I do realize that flying is a privilege, not a right, but even then it stands to reason that there needs to be a...well reason for a citizen in otherwise good standing to be stripped of that privilege.

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