What The Gun-Grabbing Media Isn’t Telling You About Terror Watch Lists

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What The Gun-Grabbing Media Isn't Telling You About ‘Terror Watch Lists’

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A group of politicians wants to turn terror watch lists into a tool that can be used to strip any citizen of his or her Second Amendment rights, but there’s a lot they’re not telling us about how those lists work.

“After Sept. 11, common sense dictates that the federal government stop gun sales to suspects on the Terrorist Watch list,” US Representative Peter King (R-New York) said.

King and US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) co-sponsored a bill that would prevent people on the list from buying guns and also would give the US attorney general the power to place names on the list.

But the list often includes names of innocent people who don’t deserve to be on the list and who would have their constitutional rights infringed, say both the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

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The Senate rejected a similar bill this month.

The ACLU said it does not oppose all gun regulations but believes the watch list is “error-prone and unreliable because it uses vague and overbroad criteria and secret evidence to place individuals on blacklists without a meaningful process to correct government error and clear their names.”

“Regulation of firearms and individual gun ownership or use must be consistent with civil liberties principles, such as due process, equal protection, freedom from unlawful searches, and privacy,” the ACLU said.

More Than 1 Million Names on List

The government keeps different lists, but one such list includes about 1.5 million names, of which about 15,000 are US citizens or residents, according to FactCheck.org. A different list, the no-fly list, has more than 80,000 names, and 1,000 are citizens or residents.

For years, civil rights lawyers have alleged that the lists are full of names of innocent people.

“It is beyond easy for a government official to ‘nominate’ someone for listing, yet exceedingly difficult to be removed,” Ramzi Kassem, a professor of law at the City University of New York, wrote in The Washington Post.

What The Gun-Grabbing Media Isn't Telling You About ‘Terror Watch Lists’

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Kassem heads the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility project (CLEAR), which has sued the government over the lists.

“Because the lists are shrouded in official secrecy, the public knows very little about them,” Kassem wrote.

According to the government’s own guidelines, “concrete facts” are not required to get included on the list. All it takes is “reasonable suspicion.”

“In fact, the guidance carves out a number of loopholes that dispense with reasonable suspicion altogether,” Kassem wrote. “Immediate family members of a suspected terrorist can be listed, as can other associates not themselves known or suspected to be involved in anything — and, finally, individuals with only ‘a possible nexus’ to terrorism. It is unclear what ‘a possible nexus’ actually means, and whether it is any different from a mere hunch.”

The only way Kassem was able to get four innocent men off the watch list was to sue the federal government.

“One of them was unable to visit his wife and three daughters in Yemen for years as a result. Another did not see his wife and family in Afghanistan. Yet another could not care for his ailing grandmother in Pakistan. And the fourth lost his job, as it required air travel,” Kassem wrote. “Only days before the first major court appearance in the case — presumably to minimize embarrassment in a public hearing — government attorneys informed us that all four of our clients had been removed from the list and should no longer face trouble traveling.”

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Incredibly, there is no official process for citizens to find out if they are on the watch list — or to get their names taken off it if they are.

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“In fact, the government most often will not even tell our clients they are on a watch list, stating in its letters that it ‘can neither confirm nor deny any information … which may be within federal watch lists,’” Kassem wrote.

Names on the no-fly list included a 4-year-old boy who had been on the list since he was seven-months old, Off The Grid News previously reported.

The late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, in 2004, famously learned his name was on the list when agents tried to block him – on five separate occasions – from getting on a plane.

President Obama, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump all have said persons on the no-fly list or watch list should be barred from having guns.

“The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period,” the NRA said in a June 15 statement. “Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.  … At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watch list to be removed.”

Which side are you on? Share your views in the section below:

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Chief Justice Tom Bathurst warns of threat to basic legal rights. Australia.

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Chief Justice Tom Bathurst warns of threat to basic legal rights.

This is how it is with legal gun owners. Any suspicion on the part of the Police is automatically transferred to guilt on the part of the law abiding citizen, & it is the legal gun owner who has to prove his innocence. 

Wrongly In Prison For 18 Years, They Had To Promise NOT To Sue To Get Out

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Wrongly In Prison For 18 Years, They Had To Promise NOT To Sue To Get Out

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The price of freedom can be very steep in Alaska. Four innocent men, locked away for nearly two decades, had to sign away their rights to sue prosecutors who had wrongly charged them, in order to get out of prison.

The four were accused of beating 15-year-old John Hartman to death in Fairbanks in 1997, and the case generated much controversy in Alaska because all of them are Native-American.

They remained in prison even though the case against them fell apart in 2014, when a key government witness signed an affidavit saying that police coerced him into blaming the four and that he had made up the story. Two years earlier, a convicted killer had said he had seen someone else – and not the four men – commit the crime.

That was probably enough for a judge to exonerate the “Fairbanks Four,” but both sides knew that it could take more than six months for the legal process to run its course and the men to be freed.

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After the case collapsed, prosecutors who had been fighting to keep the men in prison made a deal, Newsweek reported. They would let them walk free instantly if they signed away the right to sue the state for prosecutorial misconduct. One of them was already on parole, meaning he had to sign the deal, too, if his friends were to be released. He did sign it, as did the other three. They were freed in December. Their convictions were vacated.

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“They’d been wrongfully convicted of a crime and had served 18 years, and they just wanted to be out with their families,” Victor Joseph, the president of the Tanana Chiefs Conference – a Native American government — said of the Fairbanks Four. “The state knew that and took advantage of them.”

Legal experts aren’t surprised the men signed the deal.

“If you were in these defendants’ shoes, the pull of getting out of prison is just so strong that you’d be willing to sign just about anything,” Northwestern University Law Professor Steven Drizin told Newsweek.

Said Joseph, “All the cards were in the state’s hands.”

Such deals are rare, Drizin noted.

Some legal experts have called the deal unethical and reprehensible — but it is apparently legal.

The deal for the men got worse when the Alaska Department of Law released a statement saying, “This is not an exoneration. In this settlement, the four defendants agreed they were properly and validly investigated, prosecuted, and convicted.”

One of the men, Marvin Roberts, told Newsweek he tries to look forward, not backwards, in order to avoid growing angry.

“I know what I’ve lost,” Roberts said.

What is your reaction to the deal? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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