The No-Fly List Has Grown Tenfold Since Obama Took Office


From National Journal:

President Obama has presided over a massive increase in the size and scope of the country’s “no-fly” list, which bars individuals suspected of having terrorist ties from flying on airlines.

Forty-seven thousand people were on the no-fly list in 2013, marking an all-time high that dwarfs the amount ever included during George W. Bush’s presidency, according to an analysis of newly released classified documents published Tuesday by The Intercept. In addition, a “selectee list” used to pull out travelers for heightened scrutiny at airports and border crossings has grown larger than 16,000 people, including 1,200 Americans.

The classified documents also show that 680,000 people are listed in a much larger Terrorist Screening Database that federal authorities share with local law enforcement, private contractors, and foreign governments. Though designed as a watch list for “known or suspected terrorists,” 40 percent of the database contains individuals who are described as possessing “no recognized terrorist affiliation,” and 5,000 are listed as American.


How’s that Hope and Change stuff working out for you?

Seriously, I expressed a lot of concerns about these kind of measures being put in place during the Bush Administration.

Never in my worst nightmare…


It seems that Obama has picked up every ball that W. Bush threw on to the court and run with it. Only exception would be torture, which he has put a crackdown on. I’ll give him credit for that at least.


What makes anyone think Obama has cracked down on torture, or that torture was even going on under Bush?


You didn’t hear about the senate report? Evidence doesn’t get more ironclad than that, especially since there isn’t even a political agenda at work against a sitting President.



The Atlantic: A Technicality Won’t Excuse the Obama Administration for Torture

PBS: Six Reasons the “Dark Side” Still Exists Under Obama

The Hill: President Obama’s record on torture

The New Yorker: Torture and Obama’s Drone Program

(I could give you more links if you’d like)

Having said that, I don’t personally consider waterboarding to be torture, but I understand that a whole lot of you do. There are a lot of things that were called “torture” between 2001 - 2009. Most of those things are still going on.

Don’t fool yourself.



See post #5.


Wait, those links verify the existence of torture programs, don’t they? That’s exactly what those senate reports are about, so I’m not sure what you’re going on about.

Obama may very well be a hypocrite on the matter, but I thought your argument was that this government does not torture. It has and it does. Democrats may be continuing it, but Republicans got it all started. They’re both complicit.

So, waterboarding is OK in your opinion. When Obama oversees the waterboarding, does it become wrong? Or is still OK?


I don’t particularly see anything wrong with the technique when used for interrogation.


I’m glad to know that we agree that Obama’s involvement doesn’t change the nature of the act one way or another. This forum has a crazy way of making me feel like an Obama defender. Yuck.

But hey, John Adams represented those British soldiers after the Boston Massacre, so…


Why do you not see anything wrong with it? It is clearly torture. They simulate drowning so that the person will confess to things. That is wrong and it is clearly torture.


A former CIA agent who participated in interrogations of terror suspects said Tuesday that the controversial interrogation technique of “waterboarding” has saved lives, but he considers the method torture and now opposes its use.

Former CIA operative John Kiriakou also told CNN’s “American Morning” that he disagrees with a decision to destroy videotapes of certain interrogations, namely of al Qaeda’s Abu Zubayda. Kiriakou made the remarks as two congressional committees prepared to grill CIA Director Michael Hayden on the destruction of the tapes and on “alternative” means of interrogation.

It’s done in controlled circumstances and it has saved lives. They aren’t pulling people’s fingernails out or burning them with cigarettes.

It’s a tough call.


Holly, I am not going to convince anybody of my particular point of view on the subject, so I won’t bother arguing about it. Likewise, unless you (or somebody else here) was an actual interrogator, I highly doubt that you will convince me on the subject.

My perspective simply is that, if done properly, it doesn’t “rise to the level” while if it is done improperly, it clearly can “rise to the level.”

By “properly”, I mean that the subject is secured to the board with his head lower than his legs. Water is poured over the subject’s mouth and nose. The subject, within seconds, has a visceral reaction. The interrogator stops and allows the subject to catch his breath. This is repeated several times. Then the subject is placed back in his cell. This process is repeated after a break of several hours or days (the wait is, to a degree, random).

At no time should the interrogator allow the subject to believe that the interrogator will actually drown him. The goal is not to inspire terror that he will, eventually, be drowned, but the dread that this very, very, very unpleasant process will continue if the subject does not cooperate.

By “improperly”, any number of the above conditions are violated. For example, if the interrogator is unprofessional and makes the subject believe that he will drown (outside of the visceral reaction). And, yes, if it is done improperly, it could be considered psychological torture.

I personally would consider extended isolation, alone or especially if it includes sensory deprivation, to come far closer to meeting the definition of psychological torture than properly done waterboarding. But that’s just me.

Again, I am not trying to convince you (I know I won’t). Nor am I asking for anybody to try to convince me otherwise. Just letting you know why I think what I think.


Thanks for replying Markomalley. I appreciate it.

I still must respectfully disagree with you though. I honestly believe that it is torture. I also believe that extended isolation and especially with sensory deprivation is torture.


It’s my understanding that waterboarding is even part of some military training exercises.

They could verify the existence of interrogation programs. I’m not really sure what would be actual torture and what wouldn’t.

But President Obama has hardly got soft. I heard the reason we got bin-laden was because these techniques were used outside the US under President Bush and then President Obama.


I guess it depends on your definition of torture. Would you consider solitary confinement in prison torture? Are how about prison in general?


Think about a US Supermax prison. Some extracts from an article regarding it:

The Psychological Effects of Supermax Prisons

…US supermax prions, like their Dutch counterparts, but perhaps more intensely so, operate under the same incapacitating conditions of security. They have little contact with staff, spend 23 hours a day confined to their cell, and have most materials, such as food trays, medical supplies, and library materials, delivered directly to their cell. Inmates are escorted shackled and cuffed, accompanied by 4-man escorts. The Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay Prison in California, for instance, denies its inmates access to psychiatric and specialized medical care, confines inmates to cells for 22-23 hours per day, and withholds all opportunities for congregate dining and congregate exercising periods. The SHU also denies inmates access to rehabilitative and vocational programs, and religious services. There are also reports from researchers that prisoners housed in SHU’s such as those in Pelican Bay are intermittently tortured, using methods such as forced-cell-extraction, fire-hosing, hog-tying, beating under restraints, threats against family, sensory deprivation, and staged fighting for officers’ entertainment (Prison Activist Resource Center, 1998). On a regular basis, diabetics will go without medication, cells will remain unheated in the winter months, mail will be illegally censored, and broken toilets will be left unfixed.


A study by Craig Haney (2003), who researched conditions at Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), evinced that the psychological effects of supermax confinement can induce appetite and sleep disturbances, panic attacks, anxiety, uncontrollable rage, hallucinations, and self-mutilations, some of which occur from the extreme sensory deprivation of such conditions. (It has been speculated that one of the factors behind the Kingston Penitentiary riot in 1971 was that prisoners were restricted from “personalizing” their cell-space, or decorating their living environments, creating an environment akin to sensory deprivation or loss of control.) In addition to Haney’s medical symptoms there are subtler cognitive, attitudinal, or homeostatic alterations incurred. Below is a comprehensive inventory of the documented effects from psychiatric reports and research into supermax confinement:

*]negative attitudes
*]social withdrawal
*]ruminations (compulsive preoccupations, duress, or strain produced by indecision)
*]a sense of impending doom
*]suicidal ideation and suicide attempts
The kind of inmates staff may begin to encounter in supermax prisons include those suffering from suicidal behaviour, acute or chronic psychosis, or those externalizing their pent-up aggression by destroying property (such as toilets), and attacking, stabbing, or masturbating on staff. Haney also draws striking parallels between supermax inmates and torture victims, especially those displaying Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and those unfortunate to be subjected to so-called ‘deprivation and constraint’ torture techniques" (132).

Also, see this article from the American Journal of Public Health (reprinted at the National Institutes of Health): Pathological Effects of the Supermaximum Prison

Yet, these prisons are there for a reason: the State perceives that there is no other way to prevent these prisoners from being a clear and present danger to the safety of other prisoners or to staff.

But if we classify even properly and professionally done “waterboarding” (as described above) as unacceptable torture, surely, using the same criteria, we would have to classify Supermax prisons, like Pelican Bay, California, as being far worse torture.

Is national media attention being applied to developing some viable alternative to Supermax? Or does nobody care…


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