By Courtney Trenwith
Legal case launched claiming the FBI put them on a no-fly list in bid to force them to become informants
Four Muslim men have launched a legal case in the US to have their names taken off a no-fly list, which they say was used to force them to become FBI informants.
One of the men, Naveed Shinwari, claims he was banned from flying in the US after he returned from Afghanistan, where he got married, two years ago, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.
Shinwari, who is 30 and has lived in the US since he was 14, said on his way home he was twice detained and questioned by FBI agents about his knowledge of national security threats, and a third time once he got home, according to The Guardian.
On the fourth FBI visit agents allegedly wanted to know about the local Omaha community and whether he knew anyone who was a threat.
Shinwari told The Guardian when he asked the agents what he could do to clear his name, they replied: “You help us, we help you. We know you don’t have a job; we’ll give you money”.
A second plaintiff in the case, Jameel Algibhah, alleges the FBI explicitly asked him to infiltrate a mosque and pose as an extremist in online forums.
“We’re the only ones who can take you off the list,” he claims an unnamed FBI agent who wanted Albiggah to be an informant told him.
The men, who according to the court documents have not been accused of any wrongdoing, are seeking to have their names removed from the no-fly list, as well as a more robust legal mechanism established to allow people to contest their inclusion on the list.
Their case follows another that alleges the FBI attempted to leverage no-fly selectees into informants and also says the processes for appeal are insufficient, The Guardian reported.
Challenges as insufficient the process afforded to people seeking to remove themselves from the list.
Muslims have increasingly complained that US authorities are over-policing or surveilling them, while it was revealed the FBI used anti-Islamic material in its counter-terrorism training.
Last year, civil rights lawyers accused the New York Police Department of illegally surveilling Muslims because it was indiscriminately monitoring where Muslims eat, study and pray as part of its counterterrorism efforts without evidence to suggest terrorist activities may be going on.
The department has since been shut down.
There were about 16,000 people, including less than 500 Americans, on the no-fly list as of September 2011, according to the FBI.
There is no clear criteria for being put on the list, which also included Nelson Mandela until 2008.
Well at least they were bribing them, and not just straight out blackmailing them...
I do not see anything wrong with what the FBI has done. They offered them a job and money simply to let them know who in their opinion, is a potential threat to national security. Let's face it, the person that was added to the no-fly list appears to have the potential to be a terrorist. America has the right to protect itself from threats and that is what they have done. It is not easy, but good for them.
Yes, America has the right to protect itself from threats. But I would dispute the claim that these people have the potential to be terrorists. Because the no-fly list has no clear criteria for inclusion, it is impossible to say whether these people should be included on it. As Telcoguy says, anyone can be put on it arbitrarily.
Essentially what's happening is blackmail. The FBI has arbitrarily placed restrictions on a US citizen with no apparent due process and then has told them the only way they can clear their name is to work for them. That seems incompatible with the basic principles of the US Constitution.