War on Terror

You Can Go Home, But You Pretty Much Have to Stay Here

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Yahya Wehelie, born and raised in the Virginia suburbs, is having a hard time coming home to America, reports the New York Times, and he's not alone:

As a 26-year-old Muslim American man who spent 18 months in Yemen before heading home to Virginia in early May, Yahya Wehelie caught the attention of the F.B.I. Agents stopped him while he was changing planes in Cairo, told him he was on the no-fly list and questioned him about his contacts with another American in Yemen, one accused of joining Al Qaeda and fatally shooting a hospital guard.

For six weeks, Mr. Wehelie has been in limbo in the Egyptian capital. He and his parents say he has no radical views, despises Al Qaeda and merely wants to get home to complete his education and get a job.

But after many hours of questioning by F.B.I. agents, he remains on the no-fly list. When he offered to fly home handcuffed and flanked by air marshals, Mr. Wehelie said, F.B.I. agents turned him down…..

The American authorities in Cairo canceled his passport and issued a new one Sunday with the notation, "valid only for return to the United States before Sept. 12, 2010," Mr. Wehelie said. That is his goal, he said, but he has no idea how to get home.

He's not the only one:

At least three Americans have been detained in recent weeks by the Yemeni authorities on suspicion of terrorist connections, and civil liberties advocates have identified a half-dozen Americans or legal United States residents on the no-fly list who are stranded abroad, most of them after visiting Yemen.

Kevin Drum is hoppin' mad over at Mother Jones:

This is an abomination, pure and simple. There's not the slightest question that it would be possible to allow Wehelie to fly home safely even if he were Osama bin Laden's minister of defense. The government of the United States should be allowed to search him and his luggage with abandon if they have reason to suspect him of illegal activity, and they have every right to question him for the same reason. But the right to keep him from flying home? No. That doesn't just skirt the line of what the American government should be allowed to do, it blows right by it and makes a mockery of the constitution and every smarmy bureaucrat who pretends to support it while snickering behind their hands about "carefully protecting the civil rights and privacy concerns of all Americans." How on earth can Barack Obama stand by and continue to allow stuff like this to happen?

Because Obama could not care less, and see this blog post for links to plenty of Reason and Reason associates on that point.

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  1. How on earth can Barack Obama stand by and continue to allow stuff like this to happen?

    Those liberals are so cute when they’re angry/hopeful.

    1. Because they’re the good guys. They were never misuse their authority.

      It’s the same argument conservatives had when they defended Bush.

      1. There were plenty of conservatives who simply thought Bush was doing the right thing and was not misusing his authority at all.

        1. Exactly.

  2. That is his goal, he said, but he has no idea how to get home.

    Fly to Siberia. Charter a boat.

    1. Feasible, but very expensive.

      1. Actually, not feasible. His passport is “valid only for return to the United States before Sept. 12, 2010”. The Russians probably wouldn’t let him in.

        1. It makes you wonder why they did that. Seems like with his old passport he could have flown to a Mexican border town and just walked in…but now he really does have to fly or book on a freighter (that will take him).

      2. Then just take a regular boat. Freighter or cruise ship. Why does every terrorist think they are guaranteed air travel?

        Time to make a new bet with John. Next one is from Buffalo instead of VA, Detroit or NM.

        1. Maybe because nothing in the constitution gives the federal government the right to do this, and I can think of 3 or 4 amendments that would protect you against it, if it weren’t for our quisling courts.

          1. Anyone know if he can file suit at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, or if anyone can file suit on his behalf? The passport limitation arbitrarily imposed by the F.B.I. is by no means reasonable.

            1. The American authorities in Cairo canceled his passport and issued a new one Sunday with the notation,….

              I assume this was the State Dept via the local embassy and not the FBI.

              1. Oh, probably right.

                I didn’t know the F.B.I. had jurisdiction at foreign airports, because that is who questioned him, according to the article.

        2. Are you sure he’s not also on a no-float list?

  3. Obama now effectively has authority to exile American citizens.

    So what? He already has authority to murder them.

  4. How on earth can Barack Obama stand by and continue to allow stuff like this to happen?

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    Hey Kevin, I’ve got more bad news for you. There is no Santa Clause. Now I’d like to introduce you to my friend Mr. Pete Townsand…

    1. Now I’d like to introduce you to my friend Mr. Pete Towns[e]nd

      You could at least provide a link.

      1. Townshend

    2. “There is no Santa Clause”

      Bullshit, I clearly remember seeing that POS in the theater.

  5. Unfortunately, the whole premise of limiting gubermint, like “innocent until proven guilty” or “limited government” or “a nation of laws not men” is just like BP’s environmental concern commercials – only a marker that signifies the orator will do just the opposite.

  6. Obama could not care less

    Why should he? It’s George Bush’s fault.

  7. This sounds like a real-life Hotel California…he can check out any time he likes, but he can never leave.

    1. Except that this has been going on for six weeks. “Hotel California” is much longer than that.

  8. The no fly list is absolutely idiotic security theater. If we think a person is dangerous, arrest them or kill them. If we don’t know that they are dangerous leave them alone.

    1. I would think the “kill them” option would require more than a suspicion that they are dangerous, but otherwise I agree.

  9. I would have expected the Tom Wolfe quote

    Like, “You REALLY can’t ever go home again”

  10. How exactly is this legal?

    He is an American citizen. Where is the legal authority to bar an American citizen, with a valid passport, who has not been charged or convicted of any crime, from entry into the United States?

    1. That’s sovereignty, straight up.

    2. The young man is free to enter the US, he just can’t get on an aircraft that flies to the US. So I suppose he should buy a dingy and start rowing.

      1. Why doesn’t he just walk?

        1. His passport won’t get him into any other country, so the youngster needs to depart Egypt by water and never enter a foreign port before reaching the US. So swimming is another option.

        2. I need to stop production on “The Ocean Walker.”

    3. How exactly is this legal?

      You are asking this of a regime that just shook down BP for $20B?

      1. Oh come on. It was a voluntary donation! Didn’t you see the happy faces at the Rose Garden Execution?

        1. Interestingly, Rep. Joe Barton mentioned the “shakedown” at today’s show trial, to which Rep. Markey replied, “Blah blah The Children blah blah The Pelicans blah blah Our Precious Wetlands.”

      2. While at the same time prosecuting blago for negotiating on the appointment of BO’s senate seat.

    4. Maybe Tony Hayward could earn a few brownie points by dispatching his private jet to Cairo to pick up the young lad.

      1. If the guy is on the ‘no fly’ list, I don’t think they’d allow the jet into US airspace.

        1. “No Fly” covers commercial carriers. It does not apply to private jets.

          1. You underestimate the power of this President. He has the authority to make “No Fly” cover whatever he wants.

            1. “No Fly” is intended to protect aircraft from people that want to destroy or hijack the vessel.

              Immigration has responsibility to prevent unwanted people from entering the US.

              So you can by-pass the No Fly list by chartering a private jet to get you into the country, but that won’t get you past immigration when you arrive. If immigration doesn’t let you in, you get to turn around and depart the country.

              1. That was only true though last May. Apparently now the No-Fly list applies to private aircraft as well for overseas flights.

    5. American citizenship either means something or it doesn’t. The whole point of having citizenship is the special treatment.

      For instance, under the Roman Empire, Roman citizen Paul of Tarsus got a nice, easy beheading. Non-citizen Peter got tortured and crucified.

      1. Peter had it coming for back-talking a Roman street cop like that.

        1. You’re not Roman citizen, you’re little people.

          1. That’s exactly what we’re saying. And it’s high time we did something about it. I propose a meeting.

            1. “Seize this honkus!”

        2. Well, you’d think the Roman street cop could have just made him write “Romani ite domum” on the wall 100 times and be done with it.

        3. That’s nothing. You should have seen what they did to Peter’s dog!

  11. Kevin Drum is hoppin’ mad

    at the exposure of his id.

    Obama is a massive Freudian slip that reveals all of TEAM BLUE!’s repressed desires. One of them is for shit like this. They asked for it.

    No one didn’t know. No one.

  12. “How on earth can Barack Obama stand by and continue to allow stuff like this to happen”

    No Kevin. He is not “allowing stuff like this to happen”. He is making stuff like this happen. There is a difference.

    1. Obama is a victim.

      1. Of his own stupidity. And we will suffer for it.

        1. No, no. He’s a victim and a mere witness. He knows NOTHING!

          1. Wayne Jarvis: “He knows less than anyone we’ve ever questioned.”

            1. I was led to believe there would be grilled cheese sandwiches here…

      2. True dat! …in the sense that the suicide blonde dyed[sic] by her own hands.

    2. Exactly. I agree with Lil’ Kev’s indignation, but it’s hilarious when liberals act like this, or the raids on medical marijuana, is somehow happening outside Obama’s jurisdiction.

    3. Kevin is making an assumption that Obama is a good czar and that if he only knew what his bad ministers were doing he would save his peasants.

      John is making an assumption that Obama is a bad czar and that he knows what his bad ministers are doing because he told them to do it and approves of them oppressing his peasants.

      I assume that if the dynasty of czar was different, Kevin and John’s arguments would be reversed.

      1. Your assumption would be wrong. I have never argued that George Bush is somehow not responsible for no fly lists, although this is the first time I have seen it applied to a citizen. They were a dumb idea under Bush. And are just as dumb now.

        1. Wait, this is the first time you’ve seen it applied to a citizen? Have you not been paying attention?

          1. Yes I have. And show me links to any cases where a US citizen could not get home because of inclusion on this list. I can’t find any.

            1. There are lots of stories about citizens on the no-fly list getting hassled domestically, though.

              1. But all of those stories are where they get on the list by mistake. They put Fluffy J. Berstein, the notorious radical on the list, and it winds up keeping Fluffy J. Berstein the dentist from boarding. That happens all the time. The problem is that is no standardized English spelling for Arabic or Pakistani names. So, they put in four or five different spellings and catch all kinds of innocent people by mistake.

                1. “”But all of those stories are where they get on the list by mistake.””

                  Mistake, that’s funny. Failure to use secondary id info such as birthday was not a mistake, nor is stopping eneryone with a matching name. The list works as stupid as it was created to work.

                2. As well as all the people with the very Arabic sounding last names ‘Kennedy’, ‘Johnson’ and ‘Robinson’.

                  1. Ahmed Robinson, Kalim Il’Johnson, and Farouk Kennedy. Toss in Johnny Hopkins and Sloan Ketteridge and you’ve got a real party.

          2. Other than this one.

    4. The reality is that the executive branch of the federal government is such a gigantic and complex orgaism that no one person, even the president, can be said to be making happen everything that it does. The wheels of bureaucracy at the low levels keep turning without regard to who the guy on top happens to be this year, and most of it goes on without even the knowledge of the president.

      However, I’m certain he could intervene and remedy injustices such as this once he heard about it. So Kevin’s question is actually the one that should be asked (even if the answer is obvious to those of us not high on the Koolaid).

      1. I see your point but consider this. The No Fly list is a big deal. Not every decision of who goes on it goes to the President. That is true. But the existence of such a list is the direct result of the President deciding to keep it. Further, the ability to put a US citizen on it is also the direct result of decisions made at the Presidential level. The bureaucrats are certainly the ones making this decision. But they are making that decision based on guidance that has come straight from Obama and his people. He is not “allowing this to happen”. His policies decisions are directly causing this to happen.

  13. Gee, so power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?

    What a surprise!

    If only the Founding Fathers knew this when they wrote the Constitution…..

    😉

  14. How to get home:
    Step 1) Fly to Canada or Mexico.
    Step 2) Take Bus home.
    I’m guessing that would work.

    1. Fly to Canada or Mexico.

      If by Mexico, just don’t cross the border through Arizona.

    2. The US cancelled his passport and gave him one that only allows him to enter the US. He cannot use it to travel to any other country. He can’t go to Canada or to Mexico.

      1. Can he pass GO?

        1. He is allowed to pass water.

  15. Serves him right for being brown.

      1. And chewing khat in Yemen.

    1. Those uppity brown people and their “international travel.” My buddy just got back from visiting family in Abu Dhabi and brought some tasty candy… that bastard.

      1. Which part of that is the euphemism? Or is it all euphemism?

        1. All euphemism; it has “taint” written all over it.

      2. Fuckers like that are ruining this country.

      3. Abu Dhabi

        Now you’re just making places up.

  16. I’m sure this experience will only reinforce the love that he has for his country.

  17. What if the federal government started publishing a no-gun list?

    Basically just a list of names where people the feds didn’t want to own guns couldn’t buy them. Doesn’t matter if you’ve never been convicted of a crime; and there’s no way to appeal it. They put your name on the list and BOOM! it’s illegal for you to buy a gun.

    Something tells me that just about all the “We Gots to Fights Da War on Terrah” types would have really big problems with that.

    1. They basically already do that. It is called the Lautenberg Amendment. And in most states anyone under a “protective order” can’t own a gun. I bet this guy got more due process concerning his addition to the no fly list than most people get when being subjected to a restraining order.

      1. I’ll take that bet.

        1. And you would lose. You can get a restraining order without actually even being there. Judges grant them to virtually anyone that asks. Inclusion on the “no fly list”, is governed by a host of regulations and policies and goes through several layers of approval.

          In neither case do you get due process in the sense of an opportunity to be heard. But at least with the no fly list it takes more than the whim of a judge to put you on it.

          1. “” the “no fly list”, is governed by a host of regulations and policies and goes through several layers of approval.””

            So it goes through all that and they still can’t keep children off the list.

            I think you would lose, you’re making a case that the list gets some process and a name might, but not actual individuals that may get stopped because they have the same name as someone else that might or might not have gotten due process to be on the list.

          2. Wait, so as long as some bureaucrat follows a process to put a name on a list, you have been granted due process? Your definition of due process seems awfully flexible. By that logic, the restraining order requires more due process. It at least requires a hearing in open court and can be contested. The no-fly list simply requires a few bureaucrats to sign off on it, and there’s nothing you can do about it once you’re on it.

  18. So what happens to this guy when he is still in Cairo on September 13?

    I hope he’s working on Plan B. I’d be looking for political asylum somewhere if I was him.

    1. What country would be sympathetic to his plight RC?

      1. I dunno. The Euro-zone, maybe.

    2. Where’s the fucking media? How about you get some high-profile TV newsman to fly over there with a film crew and tape them trying to get this guy on a flight home?

      Being an American citizen means something. Fuck Obama. Fuck the government. Even if the guy is guilty of something, bring him hope and fuck him up the American way, with due process.

      1. Heh, heh, “bring him home.” Obamaian slip.

      2. But if they publicized this, it would make Obama look bad. And that would just empower racist tea bagging Republicans to kill kittens and ban abortions or something like that. Look at the big picture here. The cause is more important than one man.

        1. If that is true, the saying “He’s a good egg” should hereby be retired.

          1. Only Roberto Benigni will be allowed to utter it, and then only in Free Speech zones, or a Nawlin’s Jail.

    3. “”So what happens to this guy when he is still in Cairo on September 13?””

      They lock him up for being an illegal alien.

  19. Banning this guy from flying home is foolish. As a practical matter, I suggest he get on a boat headed here. Even swimming back would be faster than waiting for the government to clear up this mess.

    1. You may not have noticed, but there are damn few passenger ships that make regular transatlantic runs these days, although sometimes it is possible to get a room on a cargo ship. But he would have to find one that was going from Egypt to a US port without docking anywhere along the way.

  20. Whatever he does, he shouldn’t get on a boat carrying aid to Palestine…

  21. Whatever he does, he shouldn’t get on a boat carrying aid to Palestine…

    I dunno. If he got arrested by the Joos for helping the poor oppressed Gazitos, I bet the State Department would demand that he be returned to the US, chop chop.

    1. Another bet I’ll take.

      The WoT dead-enders on this thread are going to make me rich I tell ya.

      1. You already lost the one above on due process. So at beat you are going to break even.

        1. Interesting betting rules you have there. Generally the winning and losing of the bet are not determined by one of the bettors.

      2. Does this count?

        http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..aeli-navy/

        1. No, as Cynthia McKinney is not the State Dept, and the people she’s talking about are not on the no fly list. But it was close.

  22. This is just classic lazy ballless bureaucratic syndrome. The hard thing is to make a case against the guy and throw him in jail. The hard thing is to admit you can’t make a case and be willing to live with it if he does do something bad. The easy thing is to throw him on some list without any due process that totally fucks the guy over and allows you to say “we are doing something”.

    1. Wait, so does this guy get due process or not? Up above you’re arguing he does, because there’s rules, and here you say there’s not. Make up your mind.

      1. No. You are just not listening. There are rules for who gets put on this list. But those rules still make it a hell of a lot easier to put someone on the list than it is to actually convict them of anything or take away their LPR status.

        1. No. You’ve said here he doesn’t get due process and up above you said he did. We both know that just because there are rules doesn’t automatically mean those rules rise to the level of due process. Either the rules are sufficient to qualify as due process or they aren’t. You can’t have it both ways, John.

        2. “””The easy thing is to throw him on some list without any due process that totally fucks the guy over and allows you to say “we are doing something”.”””

          “””I bet this guy got more due process concerning his addition to the no fly list than most people get when being subjected to a restraining order.”””

          Due process or not?

        3. But we don’t know the rules for going on the list. It’s secret. You’re not even allowed to know if you’re on the list or not. That’s secret too.

          To say that there’s any measure of due process applied to being put on the list is an absolute joke. If you’re there, you’re there. If you’re there by mistake,you send a “redress request”. That means that you spend about 4 months waiting, without any input from your side, before you get a letter saying “We’re not going to tell you if you were on the list or what we’re doing, but here’s a number you can apply to your future bookings. You’ll probably still be harassed.”

          That’s due process?

  23. Because Obama could not care less

    Duh. Progressives, most of them, don’t really give a fuck about the War or Terror, civil liberties, and the security state. They just instrumentalize those issues to win elections, so they can enact their socialist economic policies.

    It’s all about economics. Even their opposition to US foreign policy is based on their belief that America is “forcing global capitalism down everyone’s throat”.

    Their major arguments basely even reference a principled pacifism or non-interventionism. They are almost entirely about oil, economic hegemony, exploitation of developing countries and so on. It’s almost entirely based on an anti-capitalist, pro-socialist perspective.

    So, once they are in power, once America is no longer forcing global capitalism down everyone’s throat, but enacting socialist policies itself, they DON”T GIVE A FUCK about Iraq, Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, or anything else. Because those issues cease to be about evil capitalism.

    1. America is “forcing global capitalism down everyone’s throat”.

      It makes for some damn fine foie gras though.

  24. How on earth can Barack Obama stand by and continue to allow stuff like this to happen?

    Why hast Thou forsaken us, O Lord?

  25. So it appears that even here, where people have lots of different ideas about what should be done in the WoT, everyone is pretty much united in thinking that this is really skeevy behavior by the Obama State Department?

    I’m just trying to see if I’m missing any pro-exile-without-trial posters here.

    1. No one is pro exiling American citizens, at least not on this thread. There is no defending this.

      1. But what’s worse, exile or assassination?

        1. This is worse because it is much more likely to happen to you.

          1. I’d rather be alive in Egypt than dead from a Predator strike. I might be able to recover from the first.

          2. The odds of being exiled make it worse than death? Come on.

      2. Where are Tony and Chad?

        1. Exiled to Egypt?

          *fingers crossed*

  26. I wonder if the “Sept 12th” date was chosen as a deliberate cheap shot.

    I hope this guy sues the State Department, Homeland Security and the TSA for few zillion dollars once he gets home.

  27. I hope this guy sues the State Department, Homeland Security and the TSA for few zillion dollars once he gets home.

    If Maher Arar got stiffed, I wouldn’t hold out much hope for this kid.

    1. But Arar was just a stupid frostback.

      Mr. Wehelie was born and raised in the USA, which makes him pure and free of original sin. Or something like that.

  28. sometimes it is possible to get a room on a cargo ship. But he would have to find one that was going from Egypt to a US port without docking anywhere along the way.

    Serious question.

    If I’m on a cargo ship and don’t have a visa for the port where we are docked, does it matter as long as I don’t get off the ship?

    1. I saw crew from Soviet merchant ships onshore in Vancouver before the fall of the Soviet Union. I don’t know if they had to get visas or not.

    2. You can’t get off the ship. People who come here on planes and don’t have Visas are put back on a plane to where they come from. But someone without a VISA on a ship, just stays on the ship until it departs the port.

      1. Unless you’re bringing illegal Chinese immigrants to NYC, just hope the boat doesn’t run aground.

  29. He could always become a diplomat.

  30. He could always become a diplomat.

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