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Federal judge rules that TSA, FBI can detain and arrest you for carrying Arabic flashcards


hipsterlibertarian:

Back in 2009, a college kid named Nicholas George was arrested by the TSA in Philly as he attempted to board his plane. Their excuse? He was learning Arabic in school, and had brought along flashcards to study on the trip. 

His interested in Arabic stemmed from a desired career in — you guessed it — counter-terrorism. So needless to say, the cards included “phrases like ‘bomb,’ ‘terrorist,’ ‘explosion,’ and ‘to target.’” Seeing right through this transparent terrorist plot, the TSA pounced!

Here’s an actual conversation that occurred in the process of his arrest:

TSA AGENT: Do you know who did 9/11?

GEORGE: Osama bin Laden.

TSA AGENT: Do you know what language he spoke?

GEORGE: Arabic.

TSA AGENT: Do you see why these cards are suspicious?

The lesson, of course, is that we should never speak or study the language of anyone who ever did or planned terrible things. German students, be silent! From now on, I know I’ll be ommunicating-cay exclusively-ay in-ay ig-Pay atin-Lay, e-thay ue-tray anguage-lay of-ay innocence-ay.

But seriously, this is an appalling example of the TSA’s true function: security theater. The agents certainly may have meant well, but their entire operation has been shown time and again to be simply incapable of doing anything but violating our rights.  Indeed, “Airports are effectively rights-free zones”:

Security officers have enormous power over you as a passenger. You have limited rights to refuse a search. Your possessions can be confiscated. You cannot make jokes, or wear clothing, that airport security does not approve of. You cannot travel anonymously. (Remember when we would mock Soviet-style “show me your papers” societies? That we’ve become inured to the very practice is a harm.) 

Unfortunately, when George attempted to sue the agents responsible for his arrest, the story becomes more appalling still: The judge “ruled that ‘George’s factual allegations do not establish that [the TSA and FBI agents] violated a Fourth Amendment right.’”

The problem, of course, is what an incredibly vague standard such a ruling creates. If studying a language used by terrorists (and also, you know, some 420 million other people) is enough to warrant questioning and arrest, what could reading a book about Islam justify? It’s not just the Fourth Amendment which is in danger here; it’s also the First.

Federal judge rules that TSA, FBI can detain and arrest you for carrying Arabic flashcards

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Author:

Political party-Me-Thank you for allowing me to tell you who I am. My story starts out a little unusual. I have perfect recall. Which is kinda like the perfect pitch is in music. I remember everything. Allowing me to never have to remember anything as it happens. Here goes You are the first to hear my story. I was born 8/1/53 @ 7:26 AM. My mother was a 19-year-old named Mary. I was her 7Th child. She turned 20 the next day. I am an Identical twin. 3 minutes after My brother Who disappeared be for I was born 3 minutes later. I was very healthy; he was a very sick baby (TTTS) needing a blood transfusion and incubator for 3 months. So we meet down the road a piece. What happened to me was also bad. I was circumcised against my knowing approval. Fast forward By the time I would finish 8th grade at 15 years old-10 years of schooling/2nd grade done 2 times, I would go to 21-grade schools some more than once. Live in the guardians' home 5 /6 times; adding up to over 2 years. I would live in over 100 houses. Meeting 10,000 other kids. My friend I am not a republican. But an Ex-Democrat. One that is for the most in number. I believe our rights start at birth -completely. That government is a privilege and not a right. We are the citizenry, and permanent. The government is temporary. Not our right of citizenship and our greater right as a human. Can you help us all?