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#52600 - 29 May 07 14:56 Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists
Capt. Mainwaring Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 16 Aug 06
Posts: 3225
Loc: here

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 27, 2007; Page D01


Private businesses such as rental and mortgage companies and car dealers are checking the names of customers against a list of suspected terrorists and drug traffickers made publicly available by the Treasury Department, sometimes denying services to ordinary people whose names are similar to those on the list.

The Office of Foreign Asset Control's list of "specially designated nationals" has long been used by banks and other financial institutions to block financial transactions of drug dealers and other criminals. But an executive order issued by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has expanded the list and its consequences in unforeseen ways. Businesses have used it to screen applicants for home and car loans, apartments and even exercise equipment, according to interviews and a report by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area to be issued today.



"The way in which the list is being used goes far beyond contexts in which it has a link to national security," said Shirin Sinnar, the report's author. "The government is effectively conscripting private businesses into the war on terrorism but doing so without making sure that businesses don't trample on individual rights."

The lawyers' committee has documented at least a dozen cases in which U.S. customers have had transactions denied or delayed because their names were a partial match with a name on the list, which runs more than 250 pages and includes 3,300 groups and individuals. No more than a handful of people on the list, available online, are U.S. citizens.

Yet anyone who does business with a person or group on the list risks penalties of up to $10 million and 10 to 30 years in prison, a powerful incentive for businesses to comply. The law's scope is so broad and guidance so limited that some businesses would rather deny a transaction than risk criminal penalties, the report finds.

"The law is ridiculous," said Tom Hudson, a lawyer in Hanover, Md., who advises car dealers to use the list to avoid penalties. "It prohibits anyone from doing business with anyone who's on the list. It does not have a minimum dollar amount. . . . The local deli, if it sells a sandwich to someone whose name appears on the list, has violated the law."

Molly Millerwise, a Treasury Department spokeswomen, acknowledged that there are "challenges" in complying with the rules but said that the department has extensive guidance on compliance, both on the OFAC Web site and in workshops with industry representatives. She also said most businesses can root out "false positives" on their own. If not, OFAC suggests contacting the firm that provided the screening software or calling an OFAC hotline.

"So the company is not only sure that they are complying with the law," she said, "but they're also being good corporate citizens to make sure they're doing their part to protect the U.S. financial system from abuse by terrorists or [weapons] proliferators or drug traffickers."

Tom Kubbany is neither a terrorist nor a drug trafficker, has average credit and has owned homes in the past, so the Northern California mental-health worker was baffled when his mortgage broker said lenders were not interested in him. Reviewing his loan file, he discovered something shocking. At the top of his credit report was an OFAC alert provided by credit bureau TransUnion that showed that his middle name, Hassan, is an alias for Ali Saddam Hussein, purportedly a "son of Saddam Hussein."

The record is not clear on whether Ali Saddam Hussein was a Hussein offspring, but the OFAC list stated he was born in 1980 or 1983. Kubbany was born in Detroit in 1949.

Under OFAC guidance, the date discrepancy signals a false match. Still, Kubbany said, the broker decided not to proceed. "She just talked with a bunch of lenders over the phone and they said, 'No,' " he said. "So we said, 'The heck with it. We'll just go somewhere else.' "

Kubbany and his wife are applying for another loan, though he worries that the stigma lingers. "There's a dark cloud over us," he said. "We will never know if we had qualified for the mortgage last summer, then we might have been in a house now."

_________________________
I also made a vegetarian version,with tempe and tofu chunks for myself and others.Get over it.
Kosong.Wolo.Setunggal.Setunggal.Setunggal.Kosong.Pitu.Setunggal.Kosong.Wolo=Tempik

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#52601 - 29 May 07 15:09 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: Capt. Mainwaring]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
A similar story last week, this time an australian refused a visa because her name was on an FBI watch list.

From ABC http://www.abc.net.au/sydney/stories/s1930075.htm

Will the real Elizabeth be issued a visa?

Last Update: Tuesday, May 22, 2007. 4:14pm AEST

Elizabeth Smith was accepted to be a ropes course instructor in at Camp America in Philadelphia. She has paid her fees and her airfare out of hard earned savings, but a final hitch by the FBI has brought her dreams to a halt.

An FBI security check has shown that Elizabeth shares the first name and surname with someone who is already on an FBI watch list, and due to the coincidence, the US Embassy has failed to issue the teenager a visa.

And it's a popular name too. Elizabeth and her mother Barbara told 702 Drive's Richard Glover that another Elizabeth Smith from Queensland has also been denied a visa for the same reasons, and that after two and a half months of trying, still no visa was forthcoming.

it makes it so much harder to understand when this happens and you've done nothing wrong

"I am supposed to fly out on June 9, but time is running out, and now we know the other Australian Elizabeth Smith has been waiting this time, it doesn't look good."

Barbara Smith says the US authorities have even finger printed her daughter, and that she even has a different middle name to that of the watch list Elizabeth Smith.

"We're not sure of the details of the watch list Elizabeth, but what it means is that the airfare is non-refundable, nor are the $1500 in fees paid to Camp America. If it was something of your own doing, you might understand it, but it makes it so much harder to understand when this happens and you've done nothing wrong"

The US authorities have said it may take two months to investigate her application further, while Camp America says its never happened before.

The Smiths have had little outcome from their approaches to local member Bronwyn Bishop, the Australian Federal Police or the Department of Foreign Affairs.

As a consequence of the delay, a friend who's application was approved and was due to undertake the Camp America adventure with Elizabeth is now unsure about travelling alone, as are the friend's parents.

Despite the disappointment and the tears, Elizabeth has retained a sense of humour.

"I've asked Mum why she couldn't call me some weird name like Cinnamon or something. Anything but Elizabeth!"

Consular View

Kent May is the Deputy Chief of the Consular Section, US Consulate in Sydney. He says most of the time the system works and this visa application refusal is not permanent and requires some further name check processing. It can take an average of 20 days to issue a US visa. He says they are currently waiting on authorisation from Washington, and there is still hope that the visa could be issued to Elizabeth.

When asked why cross-references such as date of birth are not used, he says there are 22 million records in name check data base and it requrires a sophisticated process, but student applications are given special consideration, and he promised to take a close look at the application to see what can be achieved.

Lawyer view

Steve Williams is an American lawyer in Sydney specialising in visa applications. He says it's a problem easily solved and maybe the consular officers are being a tad too cautious.

Mr Williams suggests submitting a National Criminal History Records check from the NSW Police Service as a big help in initial visa applications.

"That would go a long way to show she's not a bearded terrorist. There is still hope, but it is hard to say what will happen. In my view, it's something that deserves a little extra effort. Once you get to talk to the person in authority, it's going to be pretty easy to decide she's simply a post high school student."
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KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#52602 - 29 May 07 15:26 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: KuKuKaChu]
chewwyUK Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 14 Sep 06
Posts: 2392
Loc: Jakarta
it is frighting what is being done these days in "the fight against terrorism"

when i was recently in Australia i was talking to somebody who said that John Howard had used the events of 9/11 to bring in more "security" laws that any other country.

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Edited by Piss Salon
Edit Reason: taste

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#52603 - 29 May 07 15:34 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: chewwyUK]
Capt. Mainwaring Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 16 Aug 06
Posts: 3225
Loc: here
But is it a war against terrorism , or just a damned good excuse to obtain a Big Brother society ?
John "couldn't catch cold" Reid decides action must be taken


Thankfully the guys who escape weren't the most dangerous sort of terrorist - they were described as being " pretty dangerous , but probably won't explode in the next couple of weeks"
_________________________
I also made a vegetarian version,with tempe and tofu chunks for myself and others.Get over it.
Kosong.Wolo.Setunggal.Setunggal.Setunggal.Kosong.Pitu.Setunggal.Kosong.Wolo=Tempik

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#52604 - 29 May 07 15:39 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: Capt. Mainwaring]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Quoting: Capt. Mainwaring
Thankfully the guys who escape weren't the most dangerous sort of terrorist - they were described as being " pretty dangerous , but probably won't explode in the next couple of weeks"

well, that's a relief.
_________________________
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

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#52605 - 29 May 07 15:42 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: KuKuKaChu]
Capt. Mainwaring Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 16 Aug 06
Posts: 3225
Loc: here
The police have stated that even though they were arrested after drinking battery acid , they can't charge them , and because of the explosives they ate , they are considering letting them off later .
_________________________
I also made a vegetarian version,with tempe and tofu chunks for myself and others.Get over it.
Kosong.Wolo.Setunggal.Setunggal.Setunggal.Kosong.Pitu.Setunggal.Kosong.Wolo=Tempik

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#52610 - 29 May 07 17:54 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: Capt. Mainwaring]
Piss Salon Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 27 Jun 06
Posts: 4039
Loc: Jakpus
Less Than 0.01% Of Homeland Security Cases Are Terrorism Related
So why does the government say terrorism is DHS primary focus?

Steve Watson
Infowars.net
Monday, May 28, 2007


Records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act show that only 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were terrorism related, despite the fact that the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that it is the primary focus of the DHS.

A report issued Sunday by independent research group The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that in the last three years there have only been 12 charges of terrorism out of 814,073 cases.

This once again highlights that the terrorist threat to America is vastly over hyped and is being used by a criminally controlled government as an excuse to police the world and foment a domestic police state
_________________________
place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes

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#52611 - 29 May 07 17:56 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: Piss Salon]
Piss Salon Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 27 Jun 06
Posts: 4039
Loc: Jakpus
And in Blighty:

The Home Secretary has threatened to opt out of human rights laws and introduce stronger anti-terrorism legislation after three terror suspects absconded from control orders.

John Reid today blamed limits on police powers placed by the Human Rights Act, Parliament and the courts for the latest blow to hit the controversial control orders. “Sometimes it feels as though we are having to fight with one hand tied behind our back,” he said.

Two brothers of Anthony Garcia, who was jailed for life last month for the fertiliser bomb plot, absconded from a control order imposed on them under terrorism laws. Lamine Adam, 26, and Ibrahim Adam, 20, and a third man, Cerie Bullivant, 24, went missing this week.

But there was confusion today over the threat posed by the three men on the run. The UK’s most senior policeman Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said: “Nobody can be perfectly satisfied that they are not a risk to the public here, but the intelligence is pointing in another direction.”

....

The three men who absconded were not deemed to be in the most dangerous category of terrorism suspects and the terms of their control orders were lenient. Under current law they could have been placed under far more rigorous restrictions.

The Home Secretary threatened to derogate from European human rights laws if law lords would not allow him to strengthen police powers, within the existing legislation.

Tony Blair joined Mr Reid in calling for stronger detention laws: “Unfortunately, we were unable to maintain the legislation which we wanted to do which would give us the power to detain people. Under our existing law, control orders are as far as we can go.”
_________________________
place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes

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#52618 - 29 May 07 20:24 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: Piss Salon]
Capt. Mainwaring Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 16 Aug 06
Posts: 3225
Loc: here
I just said that ....
_________________________
I also made a vegetarian version,with tempe and tofu chunks for myself and others.Get over it.
Kosong.Wolo.Setunggal.Setunggal.Setunggal.Kosong.Pitu.Setunggal.Kosong.Wolo=Tempik

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#52621 - 29 May 07 20:30 Re: Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists [Re: Capt. Mainwaring]
Piss Salon Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 27 Jun 06
Posts: 4039
Loc: Jakpus
Right you are ....


And this is just the stuff we know about.
_________________________
place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes

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