Just how easy is it to be marked as a domestic extremist, terrorist or enemy of the state?
A report out of the UK highlights how easy it really is to become a target of tyranny:
An immigration officer tried to rid himself of his wife by adding her name to a list of terrorist suspects.
He used his access to security databases to include his wife on a watch list of people banned from boarding flights into Britain because their presence in the country is ‘not conducive to the public good’.
As a result the woman was unable for three years to return from Pakistan after travelingÂ to the country to visit family.
He is understood to have applied for a promotion that would have meant a higher level of security clearance.
During the vetting process the name of his wife was discovered on the suspect list, to the surprise of security staff.
When questioned, the officer confessed to his alteration of the lists and was sacked.
The UK and US share lists across agencies, and given that the United States is spearheading the war on terror, in all likelihood the many watch lists that exist within our own security infrastructure are frighteningly susceptible to corruption and illegal tampering. There are probably thousands of individuals with the security clearance to modify these databases. Those unlucky enough to be added to the lists are never told, thus they are guilty until proven innocent, often learning of their guilt only after arriving at the airport.
In a previous post we facetiously mused that the Terrorist Watch List May Exceed the US Population by 2019. Our view is based on the rate at which citizens of the US and other nations were being added to the variety of terror watch lists, no-fly lists and other secret databases maintained by global intelligence agencies. According to our report, the lists saw an increase of 1000% between 2006 and 2010, topping some one million people deemed to be domestic extremists or possible terrorist threats.
At first glance, the public would dismiss the possibility that hundreds of millions will eventually end up on the lists as pure conjecture. Why would the government, randomly and without cause, add innocent people to a list that could not only prevent their ability to travel, but to acquire employment as well? The general consensus among the populace is that if they are not engaged in extremist or terrorist behaviors and actions, they have nothing to worry about.
The problem with blind compliance and acceptance is that according to security entities within our government the definition for what constitutes extremist behavior is quite broad, as evidenced by the 2010 leakedÂ MIAC report, which advised law enforcement to be on the lookout for, among other things, bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties. That report, coupled with a recent policy change within DHS that says security services have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip, as long as it is deemed credible, can lead to a name being placed on the watch list, suggests that anyone, for any reason, could potentially be branded an enemy of the state.
And, once you’re added to a list it is nearly impossible to be removed as we have seen in the case of the women added to the watch list by her husband in the UK and the story of 7 year old John Anderson, whose parents discovered he was a threat to the flying public in 2004 and was reportedly still on the list in 2008.