Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

It's not Kafka...it's the United States of America!

The U.S. government "no fly" list grows increasingly Kafkaesque

It's not Kafka...it's the United States of America!

If only Franz Kafka were alive to write the sequel. A good title would be "The List." Mother Jones has a remarkable story about an American citizen of Pakistano descent who left the United States in perfectly good standing, but on the way home found himself apparently on the "no fly" list:

The basic outrage here is obvious: in a liberal democracy, no citizen should be subjected to this kind of treatment without due process. And the no-fly list not only doesn't incorporate due process, it goes out of its way to be the most Orwellian possible denial of due process imaginable. You are on a list. Maybe. But we won't tell you. How can I get off the list? Well, who says you're on a list in the first place? But I can't fly. Sorry, we can't comment on that. Rinse and repeat.

And here's what I don't get: If authorities wanted to question Motiwala, they obviously knew where he was. All they had to do was wait for him to disembark at LAX and take him into custody. So what's the point? I guess the LAX option doesn't give them the leverage of throwing him into a rat-infested hellhole if he doesn't cooperate. Welcome to America.

Indeed, while it's in the interest of everyone to keep actual or strongly suspected terror suspects from entering the U.S., we've seen again and again that the "no fly" list is a pretty inept way to do that, all questions about its constitutionality aside. But do people even care until it happens to them?

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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