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SALDEF Coalition Welcomes TSA Rescission of 14 Country Security Directive

Discussion in 'Sikh Organisations' started by spnadmin, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Coalition Welcomes TSA Rescission of 14 Country Security Directive

    Fully Expects Unlawful Targeting to Continue Nonetheless​

    (Washington, DC) April 2, 2010 - The Sikh Coalition welcomes the today's rescission of the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) fourteen (14) country screening policy. The policy --- enacted as a reaction to the thwarted Christmas Day 2009 airline attack --- automatically subjected all nationals of 14 countries to full-body pat downs.

    Because the policy focused solely on national origin and not individual behavior, it effectively made profiling the law of the United States. Its withdrawal is a step in the right direction towards ending federal government profiling.

    New Policy Does Not Mean the End of Extra Scrutiny for Minorities
    Despite public assurances that the TSA does not conduct ethnic or religious profiling, the Sikh experience continues to be the opposite. The Sikh Coalition's periodic "report cards" on the issue make clear that at some US airports, Sikhs experience a 100% rate of secondary screening.

    Thus, though official TSA policy prohibits profiling, Sikh air travelers experience a de facto policy of profiling at some U.S. airports. This is because the TSA grants airport screeners within and outside the United States broad discretion to individually choose which passengers to pull aside for extra screening.

    It is the Sikh Coalition's position that law enforcement, including aviation security, should be directed to specific threats in a neutral manner that focuses on actual criminal behavior. It should not be directed towards national origin, religion, or race. The Coalition calls upon the federal government to adopt safeguards to ensure that air travel policies which are neutral on their face and are also neutral in their application.

    It is the Coalition's intention to continue fighting to ensure Sikhs and other minorities are not the subject of unfair scrutiny by air travel security. If you believe you have been unfairly targeted at an airport, please report your experience here.

    The Sikh Coalition relies on your financial support to sustain its initiatives and broaden its services. In addition to supporting the Sikh Coalition directly, we encourage you to use matching donation programs offered by many employers. The Sikh Coalition is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. Thank you for your support.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Here is early US coverage in the New York times related to this story.

    Security Checks on Flights to U.S. to Be Revamped

    By JEFF ZELENY

    Published: April 1, 2010





    The new approach will replace a broader layer of extra scrutiny that had been imposed recently on all passengers from 14 countries, most of which are Muslim.

    The change, which will be announced Friday by the Department of Homeland Security, is the result of a review of security at international airports ordered by Mr. Obama after the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a jetliner bound for Detroit. The system, which will be put in place this month, applies only to travelers flying into the United States.

    “It’s much more tailored to what intelligence is telling us and what the threat is telling us, as opposed to stopping all individuals from a particular nationality or all individuals using a particular passport,” the administration official said Thursday, speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of the formal announcement.

    The intelligence-based security system is devised to raise flags about travelers whose names do not appear on no-fly watch lists, but whose travel patterns or personal traits create suspicions. The system is intended to pick up fragments of information — family name, nationality, age or even partial passport number — and match them against intelligence reports to sound alarm bells before a passenger boards a plane.

    The new security protocols will be built around present-day threat situations, officials said, where fragments of intelligence from various threat streams are considered. So, for example, if terrorist groups are recruiting college-age men who have spent time in Asia and have been to the Middle East, that type of travel pattern would raise a flag to officials at international airports.

    “It is much more surgically targeting those individuals we are concerned about and have intelligence for,” the administration official said, speaking to a small group of reporters at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon. The official added: “This is not a system that can be called profiling in the traditional sense. It is intelligence-based.”
    Officials said intelligence information from a variety of United States agencies would be made available to foreign airlines, whose employees and security officials would have wide latitude to stop passengers, or not.
    If this system had been in place on Dec. 25, when a 23-year-old Nigerian man wearing explosives-lined underwear boarded a Northwest plane, the administration official said, “we would have had one more chance to stop him.”
    The bombing attempt exposed significant flaws in how the administration collected and shared intelligence reports. The president said the government had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot to bring down the commercial jetliner, but had “failed to connect those dots.”

    The system to be announced Friday replaces the mandatory screening — including full-body pat downs — that was hastily set up in January. Citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria have also been subjected to extra checks of their carry-on baggage before boarding planes for the United States.

    While the United States has never formally confirmed the names of the 14 countries where passport holders face automatic additional scrutiny, they have been widely reported. Administration officials said terrorist organizations had turned their recruiting efforts elsewhere.

    For the last three months, thousands of people flying to the United States each day have faced additional security measures simply because they were from one of the 14 countries. But officials said they feared such broad measures did not provide an adequate filter to identify people suspected of being involved in potential terror plots.

    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who will announce the new system, has traveled to several countries in recent months to enlist the cooperation of foreign airlines and governments.

    She presented her findings to Mr. Obama this week, administration officials said, and he approved the new system.
     
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  4. PCJ

    PCJ
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    What is it that you are trying to achieve?

    Do you not want any screening for minorities or something?

    Why do say that there is more scrunity on minorities in the first place?
     
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    PCJ

    Welcome back after a long absence.

    In reply.

    This is a press release from Sikh Coalition A group of civil rights lawyers and advocates that has taken this as one of its targeted goals for advocacy. You need to ask them as their answer will be better than any I can give.

    However, as I myself belong to a group that is profiled the infringement of civil liberties is a personal concern too. Yes -- to target people simply because they are different is wrong. The US Constitution calls for compelling evidence that there is present and substantial threat to public safety before any law enforcement agency may impose restrictions on freedom of expression. That includes the wearing of religious garb.

    That is my answer.
     
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  6. PCJ

    PCJ
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    One thing is for sure that nobody is targetting minorities.

    I don't know why Sikh Coalition is the only one who thinks that minorities are being targetted.
     
  7. dalbirk

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    PCJ Ji ,
    Welcome to SPN , you must be feeling amazingly lucky to escape being banned despite so much Anti-Sikh , Anti-Gurus , Anti-SRM , Anti-SGGS venom which you have been spitting on other sites . Hope you do mend your ways sooner otherwise leave all of us on SPN in peace .
     
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  8. PCJ

    PCJ
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    My job is to state the truth exactly the way it is. If truth goes against Sikhi or Sikhs, gurus, The Granth and whatever SRM is, then it isn't my fault. Sure, you are free to ban me, but first prove that I am wrong....
     
  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I think you mean that your need is to state your opinion according to your reactions to events. Don't you think it is a stretch to say that your "job" is "to state the truth."
     
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  10. Sinister

    Sinister
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    im the most jumpy person ever when it comes to security checkpoints or dealing with custom officers (despite the fact im never doing anything wrong). Heck, even when I walk out of a shop I worry that those security things will start beeping. :eek:

    dealing with custom officers is the worst though cause it involves making awkwardly long periods of eye contact coupled with forced smiling and thinking of answers without hesitation so as to appear you are not lying even though you aren't.
     
  11. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    sinister ji

    My mother has the right attitude. She has attitude. She just walks right past them as if they don't exist. Traveling with her is nerve-wracking.

    However -- I have had my bags and person searched more than once-- and this happened when profiling started to be the rage, and before 9/11 and the Patriot Act. It is a very unsettling, frightening, experience because the feeling of being guilty just for being who you are creeps over one slowly. And the agents basically screw up their faces in dramatic rage and yell at you.

    I never did anything either. They just wanted to make sure I was not carrying anything ex.....ve, :cleverkudi:
     
  12. Sinister

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    i did that in delhi once...we landed and the customs officers were yelling at us to come over to the counter to declare our a video camera...but we just ignored them and acted oblivious to their calls...they were probably just after money.

    ive never had one of em yell at me though (except that time in delhi...but everyone seems to yell there)

    My cars have been checked by both canadian and american custom officers multiple times though...that's always a pain.
     
  13. PCJ

    PCJ
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    It's everybody's job to be honest or at least it should be everybody's goal to be honest....
     
  14. PCJ

    PCJ
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    What do you mean that your mom just goes past by them?

    You don't have to do anything to be searched. Everybody gets screened going through checkpoints.
     
  15. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    That makes sense. Thanks
     
  16. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    When you travel from one country to another, it is not uncommon to be stopped to answer questions. Also you can be stopped to have your carry-on searched. You may also be taken aside for a wand search. And you may also be taken to a room for more questions -- and it is not unheard of to be strip searched. That last has not happened to me.

    My mother -- who is too old to travel now -- would simply ignore the questioning check point and keep on moving. I would have to 1) answer her questions for her or 2) run after her to bring her back.
     
  17. Tejwant Singh

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    Narayanjot ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I do not know if you remember or not, one Caucasian mother was forced to drink her breast milk which she had pumped in a bottle for the trip.

    I know lots of Sikhs who were harrassed with questions and unnecessary searches because of the turbans. This was more common before the Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs and Saldef started giving training courses about Sikhi and its tenets to the TSA and other governmental departments.

    Some time fear of the unknown breeds ignorance. This is the reason that constant training of TSA is needed.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  18. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Thanks so much Tejwant ji

    It amazes me that the issue is still contentious. I can remember sitting in an airport not a year ago -- and not even traveling to a different country. An entire family of father, mother and 5 really young children had to sit for more than an hour until TSA "sorted" their baggage out. They were not members of any minority group that I could discern. Yes, the situation has improved. But only because of constant vigilance. Hurrah to these organizations that have been unflagging in their stewardship!
     
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  19. PCJ

    PCJ
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    This obviously shows that minorities are not being targetted. Then why is it that Sikh Coalition keeps insisting that minorities are being targetted?
     
  20. PCJ

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    I doubt anybody was made drink her own milk...

    But TSA's gotta do what they need to do to prevent another 9-11. But I notice that TSA is bending backwards to accomodate everybody while keeping doing their job...
     
  21. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Earlier I stated that to restrict the religious rights of anyone without a a compelling evidence of a clear and present danger is a violation of the constitution.

    Let me make it simple. You see a man in the security queue. He is wearing a turban. You decide on the basis of complete ignorance that he must be a muslim. Then you jump to the conclusion that he "might be" a terrorist and he might be hiding something in his turban. So you take action. You tell him to remove his turban. He won't. You have him detained. All of this is called prior restraint because there is no compelling evidence of a clear and present danger. Because a turban is at issue, the violation is "prior restraint." based solely on seeing a turban (religious expression). He is also a Sikh (minority group) and is required to wear a turban. Therefore his constitutional rights have been violated solely because he is a member of a minority religion. Not only has the 1rst Amendment to the US been violated but also the 14th Amendment.



    "But TSA's gotta do what they need to do to prevent another 9-11"

    How far are you willing to let them go before you personally start making noise. Maybe by then it will be too late because no freedoms will be left to protect.
     

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