Don't Exclude Ideas at the Border

In 2006, before M.I.A. was rocking the Grammys nine months pregnant, the U.S. government actually denied her a visa to enter this country to work on an album. The reason she was kept out? The lyrics to some of her songs were considered sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers and Palestinian Liberation Organization.

M.I.A. is one of many luminaries in the fields of art, music, literature and academia who have been kept out of this country on ideological grounds. This practice is called "ideological exclusion," a Red Scare-era policy that former President Bush revived in the wake of 9/11. You can learn more about the other prominent people who have been kept out of the U.S. on ideological grounds by checking out our Flash feature, found at www.aclu.org/passportflash.

Yesterday, the ACLU was before a federal court in Boston arguing against the exclusion of Adam Habib, a prominent South African scholar who was denied a visa and is barred from attending speaking engagements in the U.S. Currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Advancement at the University of Johannesburg, Professor Habib is a world-renowned researcher, political commentator, and an expert on issues of democracy, governance, race, and South African politics, public policy, and social movements. Professor Habib has also been a vocal critic of various aspects of U.S. foreign policy, including the war in Iraq.

Although he was a frequent traveler to the U.S. and earned his PhD. from an American university, Professor Habib’s visa was revoked without explanation when he arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in October 2006. As a result, Professor Habib was unable to attend scheduled meetings with U.S.-based scholars and representatives from U.S. and international agencies, universities, and foundations. In October 2007, the State Department denied Professor Habib's application for a new visa. The State Department claimed that Habib is barred because he has "engaged in terrorist activities," but refused to explain the basis for this accusation or provide any evidence to support it.

We believe they denied Professor Adam Habib a visa not because of his actions, but because of his vocal criticism of U.S. foreign policy. His exclusion violates the First Amendment rights of organizations such as the American Sociological Association and the American Association of University Professors that have invited him to speak at conferences in the United States. Last December, Judge George A. O'Toole, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled that the court had the power to review Professor Habib's exclusion and that the government must justify its exclusion of Professor Habib. Thus far, the government has refused to do so.

The court issued two rulings yesterday. First, it rejected the government's argument that the plaintiffs were not injured by Professor Habib’s inability to attend their conferences and events and ruled that the plaintiffs had a right to come to court to complain about the government’s exclusion of Professor Habib. Second, rather than decide the merits of the case immediately - as the ACLU had urged - it will allow a period of factual discovery, in which each side discloses facts to the other. We welcome the opportunity to probe even deeper into the government's shameful practice of ideological exclusion.

In March, the ACLU and a coalition of free speech organizations sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder calling on them to end the practice of ideological exclusion. Join us, won't you? Send a letter to Clinton and Holder and tell them to stop excluding ideas at the border.

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Vic Livingston

'IDEOLOGICAL EXCLUSION' APPARENTLY IS NOT JUST A FOREIGN AFFAIR...

...AND IT APPEARS THAT DHS-RUN FUSION CENTERS MALICIOUSLY TAMPER WITH THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS OF UNJUSTLY 'TARGETED INDIVIDUALS' ON POLITICAL GROUNDS.

• Is Team Obama naive, unaware, or too timid to stop these infringements on constitutionally-protected rights?

I've written in this space about how my computers and telecommunications have been subject to almost constant malicious inference, sabotage, hacking, denial of service to certain web sites, especially when I attempt to post political commentary.

I believe this malicious interference emanates from the government-administered "fusion center" in my area (that would be in Newtown, PA). No private entity would possess both the technical expertise and have the motive to neutralize my journalism and ruin my life.

(I am a long-time journalist who apparently has been "unjustly targeted" for the past five years by what I consider a rogue "extrajudicial targeting and punishment network" spawned or expanded under Bush-Cheney -- and now enabled by the apparent naivete or benign neglect of the Obama Administration.)

Here is the political commentary that I believe has triggered the latest wave of malicious interference with my telecommunications. (My computer suddenly has slowed to a crawl. I do not think it is a coincidence:)

THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY IS WELL AWARE OF THE EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK SPAWNED OR EXPANDED UNDER BUSH-CHENEY..

...A POLICE STATE APPARATUS THAT CONTINUES UNDER OBAMA.

WHAT GOOD IS AN ENLIGHTENED SCOTUS NOMINEE IF A PARALLEL SYSTEM OF VIGILANTE INJUSTICE IS COVERTLY PROMOTED AND FUNDED BY FEDERAL SECURITY/MILITARY/INTEL AGENCIES...

...WHO HAVE CO-OPTED LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT NATIONWIDE TO CREATE A COVERT AMERICAN GESTAPO...

...THAT IMPLANTS GPS TRACKING DEVICES ON THE VEHICLES OF INNOCENT BUT "TARGETED" U.S. CITIZENS AND THEIR FAMILIES... AND USES MICROWAVE RADIATION "DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS" TO DEGRADE THEIR MINDS AND BODIES.

While the media is distracted by the "stories of the day," democracy is being stolen at the grassroots -- and the domestic TORTURE and gradual financial expropriation of the "unjustly targeted" continues unabated under an apparently "unaware" Team Obama.

Please read this:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-ter...

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

***

The apparent government "fusion center" surveillance censors are like schoolyard bullies. They try to get away with as much as they can. When they're caught and get their wrists slapped, they may back off, but they seem to know their supervisors aren't really serious about constitutional rights -- so they try it again whenever the opportunity arises, knowing (apparently) that the system is designed for them to get away with wholesale violations of constitutional rights (not to mention color of law violations).

This is not a case of "a few bad apples." The barrel itself is rotten and needs replacing.

Why aren't the rogues running these rogue programs weeded out instead of being rewarded for their lead-footed authoritarianism?

There is a need for a serious house-cleaning, starting with the security and intel agencies closest to the executive branch. And it's about time the new chief executive and his well-meaning team of apparently naive liberals wakes up and smells the hot coffee before it scalds them to the bone.

I believe that many "good people on the inside" are as disgusted as I am by this neo-fascism conducted under the guise of "keeping America safe."

But apparently, too many of them lack the good old-fashioned American courage to stand up and say, "This is wrong, and I will no longer allow American values to be compromised by fascism cloaked in the flag of patriotism."

And when will the ACLU take up the case of the unjustly targeted, stalked and tortured -- right here in the USA? Covert GPS tracking is unconstitutional and should be the target of an ACLU lawsuit against the federal and local authorities who enable it.

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

Note to ACLU moderators:

My post, supra, was not formatted in all italics when it was submitted by me. Only the subhead was marked for italics.

I do note that my first attempt to post was unsuccessful, resulting in a message reading "wrong spam word," although I am certain the correct anti-spam number was entered into the page form.

Could this be more evidence that politically-oriented posts are subject to malicious tampering in near- real-time? I believe that very well may be the case.

And it has happened many times before.

Anon

It's a free country.. well, not really.

Diana

Yes, STOP THEM AT THE BORDER. We have enough anti-american sentiment from the ACLU. If they are not citizens then they HAVE NO RIGHTS !!!! You cannot give rights to non-citizens. I also think the abortion doctor has reaped what he sowed and I think the "muslim coward of a SOLDIER KILLER" needs to save the tax payers money and go see ALLAH by his own hand.

roald

Diana - why do you hate so much? Based on your comments, I will guess that you feel you are a good Christian. Is this what Jesus would have preached?

edward taylor

What is wrong with us Americans? Don’t we have enough insight left?
We/You kept giving and getting credit for everything under the sun, housing, automobiles, hard goods, and all the rest, at the same time shipping our manufacturing base to low-cost labor countries!
What is wrong with our industrial and financial geniuses and the omnipresent politicans? We were offered a carrot at one end of the stick and hit on the head with a baseball bat at the other, and on top of it we let our country be invaded by the lowest-of-the-lowest of cheap and unskilled labor, while reducing our manufacturing to dangerously low levels. Where has our brainpower gone?...apparently evaporated! (and overseas, with all the transfers of technology).

Let's come to our senses before it’s too late for our (once) great country and take things back to where they were before this insane globalization process. Let's make all we can in our own country and import what we need or want, but with a customs duty that protects our own…Those who can afford to pay for imported goods should be able to, but not at our expense and security.
Wake up Americans and let's start a grounds-level organization throughout the country, to go back to the ways before “globalization”, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
Blaming our own leaders, (whether left or right) will not save us from total economic and social collapse.
Let's come to our senses!

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