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Another Anti-Terror List Impacting Businesses, Customers

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the how-dare-you-be-named-that dept.

United States 237

HangingChad writes "MSNBC is running a story about yet another government database designed to thwart terrorists and drug dealers that is having impact on people with similar names. Like a no-fly list for businesses, the Office of Foreign Asset Control's list of 'specially designated nationals' has been used in the past by banks and other financial institutions to block financial transactions of drug dealers and other criminals. Use of the list was expanded after 9-11 and now includes almost any financial transaction. Moreover, there is no minimum amount of money attached to penalties for selling to someone on the list: selling a sandwich to a 'specially designated national' can have a fine for up to '$10 million and 10 to 30 years in prison.' The article goes on: 'Businesses have used it to screen applicants for home and car loans, apartments and even exercise equipment, according to interviews and a report by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay area to be issued today.'"

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237 comments

Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#18500409)

I hear Pablo Escobar of Flushing, NY hasn't been able to get a car loan since 9-11.

But seriously, what really sucks about this list is that it has never been widely publicized. A would venture to guess that the VAST majority of businesses in the U.S. have never even heard of it, yet could find themselves doing business with someone on it, even in a minor capacity (and facing jail time as a result).

At the other, equally disturbing, end of the spectrum, we have even tiny businesses facing the possibility of just having to completely block out anyone on it (since they don't have the time or resources to verify if this is *THE* Hassad Al-Gurandi), locking many innocent people out of even the most basic business transaction. The law puts the burden of verification almost completely on businesses themselves, leaving them little alternative. The Treasury Department, when asked about this, ducks out of it with a lame "Hey, call the guys who made the screening software, not us."

The Treasury Dept. needs to either own up to this or abolish it. If they're going to have this, they need to provide an easy, quick way to both verify someone on it and and equally easy way to get off it, if you are wrongly included.

Right now it sounds like yet another law the government can threaten businesses with, even if they've never even heard of it. Ignorance of the law may be no excuse. But when the government is knowingly hiding the laws, it should be.

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (2, Informative)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#18500471)

Even an English surname won't save you. There are lots of names on the list, including Congresspeople. The odd thing is that, apparently, a spending bill was passed to clear up the list [govexec.com] , wonder if that'll help at all.

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (5, Funny)

mpe (36238) | about 7 years ago | (#18500561)

Even an English surname won't save you. There are lots of names on the list, including Congresspeople.

Those might be legitimatly on there though :)

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (4, Interesting)

mikael (484) | about 7 years ago | (#18501021)

Britain had a similar privately maintained list for companies and people - it was the just about the only database that was stored on paper (a legal loophole allowed databases stored on paper to be exempt from data protection laws). The only problem was that Conservative company directors kept putting their business rivals on the list. One tabloid newspaper highlighted this by attending an annual conference and giving business owners their database details for ten pounds (then watching the resulting chain-reaction).

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#18500565)

I wonder how many Ramirez Rodriguez's alone there are out there. Must be thousands of them. Hell, I went to college with one.

-Eric

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (2, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | about 7 years ago | (#18500759)

I wonder how many Ramirez Rodriguez's alone there are out there.....Hell, I went to college with one.

Expect an interview shortly.

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#18500935)

Most, if not all of the names on the list [treas.gov] are non-English surnames. And I couldn't find a single U.S. Congresscritter on the list, though there were plenty of Congress/MPs/Presidents/Dictators/etc. from other countries, most of them in Bush's 'Axis of Evil'.

Antidiscrimination laws (4, Funny)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 7 years ago | (#18500607)

What will be interesting is when this list comes into contact with established anti-discrimination laws. Looking at the list [treas.gov] , they're all rather "foreign sounding". I'm guessing some folks think to themselves "Abdul? Well, there's another Abdul on the list, so I better not loan money to this guy."

On a brighter note, it looks like Slobodan Milosevic won't be getting a car loan here in the states any time soon:

MILOSEVIC, Slobodan; DOB 20 Aug 1941; POB Pozarevac, Serbia and Montenegro; ex-FRY President; ICTY indictee in custody (individual) [BALKANS]

Re:Antidiscrimination laws (1)

ray-auch (454705) | about 7 years ago | (#18501009)

On a brighter note, it looks like Slobodan Milosevic won't be getting a car loan here in the states any time soon:

Since he's _dead_, getting a loan in his name would come under another entirely different statue (ie. fraud).

Re:Antidiscrimination laws (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 7 years ago | (#18501175)

On a brighter note, it looks like Slobodan Milosevic won't be getting a car loan here in the states any time soon

yeah, but he did get a heck of a deal on his car insurance...

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (2, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 7 years ago | (#18500807)

And if he pays cash for a car and someone hits him he won't be able to collect from either insurance company. According to my insurance excec girlfriend they have to scan the list (or some similar list) for their payee's name before sending out checks.

If we save just one life... (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 7 years ago | (#18501427)

...by preventing a terrorist from getting any money to repair his car, then of course I'm all for it.

What if we let him fix his car and then he drives it into a skyscraper?

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (2, Funny)

LilGuy (150110) | about 7 years ago | (#18501529)

Yeah like I'm going to believe that post you troll.

Girlfriend? Please. Woman insurance exec? Tell me another one.

I'm going to talk with my supermodel slashdot employee girlfriend about getting you chained underneath that bridge. :P

Re:Once again, I'm glad to have an English surname (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500859)

Is there any doubt left that America is no longer close to anything the founding fathers had envisioned and the constitution spells out?

*If* I were an American, I would feel very strongly that the Federal Government should no longer be recognized. Really, what does it do for the average person? What services does it provide? Protect them from terrorists? Nothing expect for dealing in secrets that are too important for the average American to know, even if they could understand.

I've come to the conclusion that most governments are designed simply to sustain themselves through the opression of their own people.

Impacting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501265)

Another Anti-Terror List Impacting Businesses, Customers


Wow. if that list is heavy enough, such an impact could could serious injury. Who's throwing it around in such a careless manner anyway? I guess their mother never told them its not nice to throw things at people.

I wonder if this list has had an effect on average law-abiding citizens? Probably not if it is only impacting on businesses, it will just hit the glass or brick and fall harmlessly to the ground.

online services (5, Interesting)

aalu.paneer (872021) | about 7 years ago | (#18500417)

Does this mean that {free} online services based out of US, like gmail.com, youtube.com, slashdot.org too have to screen users requesting an account soon?

Re:online services (2, Insightful)

FesterDaFelcher (651853) | about 7 years ago | (#18501515)

If you can explain how those companies are selling them a product, then yeah. Since they are not, I don't see why this is modded Score: 5, Interesting.

Re:online services (1)

CmdrPinkTaco (63423) | about 7 years ago | (#18501533)

I would assume that unless there is a financial transaction involved, it isn't likely. This list only involves enteties who have trade restrictions against them.

First against the wall (3, Insightful)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | about 7 years ago | (#18500439)

Businesses have used it to screen applicants for home and car loans, apartments and even exercise equipment, according to interviews and a report by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay area to be issued today.
A spokesperson for the organisation later added "er, please don't put us on it".

The list (4, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | about 7 years ago | (#18500447)

The list is so flawed it's funny (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500801)

Well, not funny to the people who are caught by it.

The "current" list has a modification date of "3/7/2007", but it still has Saddam Hussein on the list. Yes, that Saddam Hussein. The one who was hung last year. He is listed as being president of Iraq since 1979.

So, if Saddam Hussein comes out of the grave as an undead zombie and visits the United States he will need to use a new alias if he wants to get a mortgage.

That makes me feel much safer.

Re:The list is so flawed it's funny (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 7 years ago | (#18501573)

The "current" list has a modification date of "3/7/2007", but it still has Saddam Hussein on the list. Yes, that Saddam Hussein.
And the ultimate irony here is that Saddam Hussein never had any connection to terrorism.

Re:The list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501511)

[Mr. Burns voice]Excelleennntt...[/Mr. Burns voice]

A premade mailing list for my new revolutionary militia! Thanks, US treasury! Can I get that in mailmerge format for printing address labels?

Seriously though, there are some serious privacy issues with this list, publishing the names and addresses of individuals like this is a very dangerous thing to do. It is pretty much guaranteed this will bite them in the ass, stupid, stupid, stupid.

The List (1, Redundant)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 7 years ago | (#18500455)

Hackers (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#18500817)

How long till that list gets hacked and the whole House of Representatives gets added to it? ;)

Re:Hackers (0, Flamebait)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18500891)

How long before "hackers" (the type who break into other peoples' computers without permission) are recognised for the terrorists they are, and end up with their friends in Guantanamo Bay?

Re:Hackers (1)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#18500903)

Well...
They already have half of Macedonia on it. There is an individual named Milan Ivanovic. That is almost like adding John Doe or John Smith to it.

Good (4, Funny)

solevita (967690) | about 7 years ago | (#18500459)

Businesses have used it to screen applicants for home and car loans, apartments and even exercise equipment
Thank the lord. This should keep the bodies of criminal masterminds weak and undeveloped; the last thing we need is some super-villain of unimaginable upper body strength. Well done law makers, keep up the good work.

Re:Good (0, Troll)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18500971)

That is exactly what the counter-terrorism is about (except on a larger scale): keeping terrorists weak and not allowing them to become strong.

There is absolutely nothing funny about any of this. Wake the hell up guys - this isn't a game.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

solevita (967690) | about 7 years ago | (#18501145)

There is absolutely nothing funny about any of this. Wake the hell up guys - this isn't a game.
This statement is, by the very definition of terrorism, incorrect.

The aim of terrorism is to instil terror into the population at large. If you become terrified, then the terrorists have beaten you.

World governments and their agencies can fight terrorism with (supposedly) practical measures, whilst the rest of us can fight terrorism by not being terrified. By mocking terrorists we're showing that they're really not achieving their goals. Go outside and declare that you're not afraid; keep flying in planes, keep going on underground trains, keep buying exercise equipment. Keep living your life, not some shadow of previous freedom you once enjoyed. The chances of being involved in a motor accident are much higher than the chances of being the victim of terrorism; don't tell me that you've stopped driving as well.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501225)

It IS a game. Bush, bLIAR and the other neocons are playing a very dangerous game with the lives of everyone on this planet.
If you really believe this is about terrorism you are naive or stupid (or perhaps both).

Which countries will be on the list? (1, Insightful)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18500467)

This will be the difference between ill-advised economic protectionism that may adversely affect the computing/IT sector, and making a significant impact on countries that indirectly support terrorism. If we're serious about combating terrorism, only Muslim countries with sectarian influence at government level should be on the list. And since the Wahabi ideology behind terrorism come from Saudi Arabia, that would mean the oil Arabs should go on the list too.

So now, it is terrorism AND drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500479)

I love the possible penalties for a $10. It is akin to sending Padillia (an American) to gitmo. America really is out of control. It is time to take back our liberties and rights. Hopefully, the ballot box works in 2008, because I think that we have already lost the jury box, and that will leave only 1 more option.

Re:So now, it is terrorism AND drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500513)

I think that we have already lost the jury box, and that will leave only 1 more option.

A dick in a box?

Yankee doodle dandy (-1, Flamebait)

Moggyboy (949119) | about 7 years ago | (#18500501)

Yep, you Americans live in the "land of the free" alright. Remind me to take anything sounding vaguely non-Anglo-Saxon out of my name if I ever visit.

Re:Yankee doodle dandy (1)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18500531)

So if you haven't got an English-sounding name, you must have one of the Muslim names on this list? Don't think so.

Re:Yankee doodle dandy (2, Interesting)

Moggyboy (949119) | about 7 years ago | (#18500649)

That's exactly the sort of response I would expect. Although there's no mention of the list being of exclusively Arabic-sounding names, YOUR immediate assumption is that that's what it is. Or insert-whatever-the-TV-says-the-current-world-evil -is sounding names.

Re:Yankee doodle dandy (0, Flamebait)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18500767)

By far the list comprises mostly the names of Muslims. I don't even have a TV. Do YOU have any idea how bad groups like Jamaah Islamiya are? Their supporters deserve to be shot on sight, not sold a sandwich by people who think the terrorist threat is just some kind of mass entertainment. It is bloody hard to combat this sort of enemy - they don't wear uniforms or seem out of the ordinary in any way. And yes, there are millions called "Khan", but out of them, a few are EXTREMELY dangerous. They have a history of this and so let's not grow any more of them. Yeah I know I'll get stick for this but I'm gonna stand up for the guys who do the utterly thankless job of fighting the war on terror.

Re:Yankee doodle dandy (0, Flamebait)

Moggyboy (949119) | about 7 years ago | (#18500965)

Read this [blogspot.com] before getting all self-righteous about your so-called "war on terror". There's only one organization terrorizing and killing thousands of people at the moment: the Coalition of the Willing.

Re:Yankee doodle dandy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501035)

Well then, there are sure a lot of individuals in Iraq blowing up themselves with their neighbors and setting off charges in Mosques, and kniving or shooting people who are unarmed among the population. Who is doing the kidnapping then, if they are not organized? So the artillery shells slamming into neighborhoods are not organized terror threat at all either? You are so wrong.

Re:Yankee doodle dandy (1)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18501115)

That is a blog using emotive tactics in a dangerous situation, which posits its premises as fact but without a shred of evidence or counter-testimony from the other side relating to the specific incidents it makes allegations about. That is a blog encouraging terrorism no more no less.

Now OK, you say there's an organization killing and terrorizing thousands of people, but if I disagree with you about this where do we stand? Are you going to use your beliefs (from that blog or elsewhere) to hack my computer? Threaten me personally? Do you see what I mean about this? That blog just supports what I've been saying all along. Blogging in this situation is a strategy, and you're either on one side or the other.

To thwart terrorists, if it was within my power I would shut down the blog and have the blogger arrested and interrogated. Then I would undoubtedly find (after some tough interrogation) that he has connections to people in Europe and USA supporting him with his use of technology and the media to support his cause. Taking them out and off the streets would make the world a safer place in which there would be no nasty incidents.

Re:Yankee doodle dandy (1)

Moggyboy (949119) | about 7 years ago | (#18501269)

Yes and we should all be fitted with hormone/adrenaline inhibitors and have our interactions recorded 24/7 too. Would that also make you happy? You purport to be about democracy and freedom of speech, and look what it comes down to.

"using emotive tactics in a dangerous situation, which posits its premises as fact but without a shred of evidence or counter-testimony"?

Sounds like the reasons the U.S. invaded in the first place.

Don't give up your SSN! (4, Interesting)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | about 7 years ago | (#18500529)

I bought a car about 6 months ago, and I ran into this. Even though I was paying straight cash, they demanded my SSN so they could run a credit report. They said that they needed to run a credit report to see if I was on this list. I argued with them that I was paying cash, they didn't needed my SSN, etc., but it was late and I eventually relented just to keep the process moving. I had never heard of the list before, so I wasn't very prepared to put up a good argument. Later when I got home I found that the list was online. That made me even more angry, both at the dealership and at myself for not knowing better.

Don't give up your SSN to people who don't need it!

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (3, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | about 7 years ago | (#18500675)

Your experience points up the reason for the list in the first place: to block transactions that might be used by drug dealers, et. al. A cash transaction is exactly the kind of thing that could be labeled as suspicious, since drug dealers and their ilk often use legitimate purchases as a method of laundering money. And they don't do it in large amounts; a few thousand here and there is often good enough. So even though you were paying cash, that could still be construed as suspicious.

Mind you, I'm not defending the practice. I frankly think no drug dealer or terrorist in their right mind would use their name or the name of any of their known associates to move money around. far easier to get faceless minions to do it, whom they can disavow easily. It only seems to be a trap for law-abiding citizens who have the unfortunate problem of having a name similar to their local drug kingpin or international terrorist.

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#18500829)

Funny thing is that no known terrorists who comes to America uses their real name. They use a different one. Without a pix, this lists has only 1 use; the ability to harass and jail others. And even then, the pix can be easily fooled (add or lose weight; fake implants in the cheek; die hair; grow or lose a mustache; cosmetic surgery; etc).

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#18500863)

Wouldn't a REAL terrorist or criminal just use a fake ID?

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (1)

IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) | about 7 years ago | (#18500911)

My guess is that the feds would argue that this is a plus, because then they could go after them for having & using a fake ID. It's kind of like how they ended up going after Capone for tax evasion. But that's just a hunch. That and $1 will get you a Coke.

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (1)

solevita (967690) | about 7 years ago | (#18500947)

The 911 hijackers used their real names and valid ID. Sure, most ended up invalidating their visas, but only because of factors such as letting it expire or not enrolling for college despite having a student visa. That's not the point however, the point is that a lot of bad things can be done without fake ID. The same thing applied in the recent London bombings as well.

Believe it or not, but name checks and ID aren't the way to counter terrorism.

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501001)

They did use their names, but that was then and this is now. You KNOW that that practice stopped on 9/12. But I agree with you. This is not the way to counter it. In fact, long term, we can not take on terrorism when we keep fueling their fires over in Iraq or Afghanistan. The thing about terrorism is that they will always be able to change their MO each and every single time. So far, the only advantage that we have is that they have more integrity than W.

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | about 7 years ago | (#18500845)

I'm glad that as yet, I can buy goods in my country without having any special number.

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | about 7 years ago | (#18500937)

Perhaps, but more likely they wanted to pull your credit score so they could push financing, which typically is more profitable for dealers.

Ron

Re:Don't give up your SSN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501211)

If by cash, you meant anything other than "a big pile of green bills" they were setting up an automatic loan in your name in case the method of payment didn't go through.

Obligatory Quote (4, Insightful)

C3ntaur (642283) | about 7 years ago | (#18500553)

"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with." ('Atlas Shrugged' 1957)

Re:Obligatory Quote (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | about 7 years ago | (#18500985)

This quote might be relevant. But the rest of her shitty books and philosophy are not.

It is not even a particularly original observation. The fascists and Nazis knew this, Orwell warned against it etc.

Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500573)

Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
So one is denied a livelhood by being placed on a list without a trial and without an open forum to defend against such accusations.

I love USSR, ummm, USA, USA, USA!

bill of attainder (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | about 7 years ago | (#18501065)

You don't even have to look as far as the bill of rights on this one. It's in the Constitution. Look it up on wikipedia [wikipedia.org] or on the net [google.com] itself. Or check out the text [usconstitution.net] of the Constitution.

Hanging by a thread yet? Still?

Mark of The Beast (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501263)

It's just about here. You will not be able to buy or sell *anything* (legally) without being branded with "The Mark". If you refuse to take the mark, then you must be a terrorist and that will get you added to the list.

Perhaps the religious wackos aren't so wacko after all, because every fucking wacko thing they predicted is slowly but surely coming true.

Re:Mark of The Beast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501495)

The best part about it is that the religious wackos are the ones IMPLEMENTING all their end times signs and portents.

 

Any actual evidence? (1)

Weston O'Reilly (1008937) | about 7 years ago | (#18500593)

Is there any actual evidence that unwittingly selling a sandwich to someone on this list would actually put a deli owner in legal jeopardy?

Re:Any actual evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500909)

How about the fact that it's illegal? Doing illegal things often leads to legal problems.

You're right, this probably wouldn't happen. But still, why let the threat exist? This practice of creating extremely general laws and then only prosecuting a small set of offenders simply must stop. You can be certain that the next time there's a sandwich shop owner who has had certain figures visit his shop and the police are "sure" that he's involved, they will look for any and every method to put him away. Why allow that to happen?

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (1, Offtopic)

Mothra the III (631161) | about 7 years ago | (#18500603)

Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither

Just kidding, this quote shows up on every one of these discussions. Please mod insightful

Forgetting a fact (1, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#18500623)

These are all foreign nationals and do not have any inherent right to do business in the US.

If you apply for any sort of credit they'll ask for proof of citizenship/residency and bypass this list. If you can't provide either, sucks to be you. Apply for credit in Iran.

Also, nobody has ever been jailed for selling a fucking sandwich to the wrong guy. That's just FUD.

Re:Forgetting a fact (2, Informative)

Billosaur (927319) | about 7 years ago | (#18500727)

Also, nobody has ever been jailed for selling a fucking sandwich to the wrong guy. That's just FUD.

True, but people have been arrested for less [consumerist.com] .

I read your link (1)

dharbee (1076687) | about 7 years ago | (#18501221)

And something smells funny specifically this part

"Shinnick was finally released around 11:30 p.m., after his father paid $4,500 of $45,000 in bail. Within 24 hours, the district attorney's office dropped all charges against Shinnick.

In July, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that Shinnick was innocent by "findings of fact" -- a decision that essentially erases all record of the case.

But by this time, Shinnick said, he'd spent about $14,000 clearing his name. He wanted that money back and he felt BofA should pay it. "

The charges were dropped, but he went to court anyway? Huh? And the money he spent defending himself from what? Charges that were dropped already?

What's missing here? Something just doesn't add up.

Re:I read your link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501445)


What's missing here? Something just doesn't add up.


Lawyers don't work for free. Not even if the you are found innocent right away.[1] There is still a bill.

[1] "Right away" in legal terms means months. He was arrested in January and the case wasn't resolved until July.

Re:I read your link (1)

dharbee (1076687) | about 7 years ago | (#18501537)

Did you read this part?

"Within 24 hours, the district attorney's office dropped all charges against Shinnick."

Re:I read your link (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 7 years ago | (#18501519)

The charges were dropped, but he went to court anyway? Huh? And the money he spent defending himself from what? Charges that were dropped already?

The charges may have been dropped, however the arrest record would remain without suing the government to have the record purged. Not only that, but he probably had a lawyer by the time bail was set, and that lawyer would need to be paid.

Re:Forgetting a fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500929)

The list is about the foreign nationals, but it is a restriction on the businesses of US citizens.

Re:Forgetting a fact (1)

Weston O'Reilly (1008937) | about 7 years ago | (#18501373)

In theory, sure. That's the problem with all of these breathless pronouncements of the post 9/11 police state - a few hastily written laws creates a lot of potential abuses, in theory. There are very few totally clean (i.e., not tainted by some relationship to real terrorists) examples of these abuses. How many times have we heard that Bush critics can be thrown in Gitmo as enemy combatants? Could it technically happen? I guess, if you go by the letter of the law. Has it ever happened? No chance.

Your best example you folks trot out is Jose Padilla, a terrorist who had his civil rights abused. Hardly a clean example.

Re:Forgetting a fact (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 years ago | (#18501177)

Also, nobody has ever been jailed for selling a fucking sandwich to the wrong guy. That's just FUD.

Yeah. Cause these post-911 laws/regs/orders would never be abused by the authorities or used in a way that exceeded the original intent.

Re:Forgetting a fact (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#18501201)

Most of the shit on the list is cuban corps and websites.

The list is 50+ years old, and has nothing to do with 9-11.

Re:Forgetting a fact (1)

misanthrope101 (253915) | about 7 years ago | (#18501563)

These are all foreign nationals and do not have any inherent right to do business in the US.
Neither do you. If we're going by a legalistic, "let's see if we can find this written in the Constitution" sense of freedom, then you have precious few of them, and even those have been interpreted out of existence--"free speech zones" and so on.

The Constitution grants the government not plenary, but enumerated powers. Even if we quibble over the fine points of what powers it should have, the foundational logic is that you have to present a case to justify the government abridging freedom, as opposed to having to present a case to justify that freedom.

The government making a list and checking it twice doesn't make you naughty, and it sure doesn't give them a broad authority to threaten all and sundry with jail and fines for something as nebulous as "all financial transactions." Something this vague is bound to be abused, so much so that it must have been designed that way. Will an ex-Haliburton CEO be charged with trading with Iran? No, but if something this nebulous is allowed to pass then they can pop up and arrest anyone they want without having to justify it. If you make enough bad law, everyone is a criminal, and whoever holds the reins of the Justice Department can politicize enforcement to keep one party in power forever. Alternatively, they can just use it as a club against anyone and everyone they don't like--Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, etc.

We have to be vigilant almost to the point of parania in protecting our freedom. Freedom isn't free, and the cost is a suspicion of our own government. Trusting the government with fair and non-politicized enforcement of vague law is a cancer to freedom.

Balanced Journalism (4, Insightful)

YouTalkinToMe (559217) | about 7 years ago | (#18500625)

What I love about articles like this is the attempt at "balance". Notice that there are three or four examples of people who are wrongly denied services (of the how many thousand cases that have transpired?). And to "balance" this, they give what was probably the only case in history where such a check might have been relevant (at the end of the article). And even in that case, denying him a car wouldn't have changed anything. It isn't as if he couldn't take the bus to the airport.

Although this article isn't as bad as some (for example, most articles on global warming or evolution), it is a typical example of how trying to provide "balance" gives people the wrong impression of how likely different events are (i.e., in the article 4 false positives to one real hit, in reality probably many thousands of false positives to one real hit).

Lemme get this straight... (2, Insightful)

blakmac (987934) | about 7 years ago | (#18500639)

"Molly Millerwise, a Treasury Department spokeswomen, acknowledged that there are "challenges" in complying with the rules but said that the department has extensive guidance on compliance, both on the OFAC Web site and in workshops with industry representatives. She also said most businesses can root out "false positives" on their own. If not, OFAC suggests contacting the firm that provided the screening software or calling an OFAC hotline."


That's great, unless you live in a place like I do in Southeast Texas (or probably most of the small towns in the south). People here are always making comments like "you never know, they could be a terrorist" or using what they call 'racial profiling' as an excuse to promote their prejudiced ways. Note: They call it racial profiling, (not political groups, but the rednecks I hear this from) so as not to sound racist. I call that a failure and a coverup. Their actions and statements reinforce their true beliefs. "Most businesses" around here are either not intellegent enough or biased against people to begin with, giving them a list (read: excuse) won't help matters any.

SDN isn't new. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500683)

The use of this list in war ("War on Terror") isn't new. Regardless of the merits of this war, the gem below is from http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/faq/ answer.shtml [treas.gov] .

How long has OFAC been around?

The Treasury Department has a long history of dealing with sanctions. Dating back prior to the War of 1812, Secretary of the Treasury Gallatin administered sanctions imposed against Great Britain for the harassment of American sailors. During the Civil War, Congress approved a law which prohibited transactions with the Confederacy, called for the forfeiture of goods involved in such transactions, and provided a licensing regime under rules and regulations administered by Treasury.

OFAC is the successor to the Office of Foreign Funds Control (the ``FFC''), which was established at the advent of World War II following the German invasion of Norway in 1940. The FFC program was administered by the Secretary of the Treasury throughout the war. The FFC's initial purpose was to prevent Nazi use of the occupied countries' holdings of foreign exchange and securities and to prevent forced repatriation of funds belonging to nationals of those countries. These controls were later extended to protect assets of other invaded countries. After the United States formally entered World War II, the FFC played a leading role in economic warfare against the Axis powers by blocking enemy assets and prohibiting foreign trade and financial transactions.

OFAC itself was formally created in December 1950, following the entry of China into the Korean War, when President Truman declared a national emergency and blocked all Chinese and North Korean assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction. [05-02-06]


Full disclosure: I make money by providing software to automatically manage the SDN list for companies that do international trade. You'd be surprised how many people qualify for "hits" against this list and how much manual work needs to be done to clear them.

Useless (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 7 years ago | (#18500781)

All you need to circumvent these lists is a fake ID.

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18500913)

No problem! All we gotta do is put a mark on the right hand or forehead of everyone who is allowed to buy or sell.

Oh, wait... [wikipedia.org]

Whoops cat got my tongue (1)

sveard (1076275) | about 7 years ago | (#18500833)

If I were a terrorist I'd have this list sync'ed on my PDA to remind me to use a fake ID which is NOT on the list

That way I could buy some exercise equipment without exposing myself

Re:Whoops cat got my tongue (1)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18500851)

I'm sure the computer systems have much more information on them than just these names which have been released to the public.

What's next? Sentenced to invisibility? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 7 years ago | (#18500869)

"It's a world much like our own, yet much unlike it. A twisted mirror of reality, in which a man can find himself cast out, made invisible by public acclamation, belonging no longer to society, but only to the gray reaches... of the Twilight Zone."

The Twilight Zone (1985): "To See the Invisible Man" [tv.com]

reading my bills... (4, Insightful)

eosp (885380) | about 7 years ago | (#18500873)

This note is legal tender for ALL debts, public and private. (emphasis mine) -- US $1 Bill

I'd like to understand (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 7 years ago | (#18500919)

If someone receive a NSL, he needs to shut up because of the security risk if the investigated person knows (I can undersqtand to a certain extend), but a federal agency is publically giving away a plaintext list of a lot of people they are monitoring. Am I the only one who finds that weird?

Back of bus (2, Insightful)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 7 years ago | (#18500927)

One day the 'specially designated nationals' will have to sit in the back of the bus.

My apologies to the people who I may offend now, but these measures are getting more and more ridiculous by the day (just like it was rediculious that people based on skin color had to sit in the back of the bus), and nobody is doing anything about it (yet).

Re:Back of bus (1)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | about 7 years ago | (#18501193)

Well look if I knew one of those guys was on the bus I would get off the bus pretty fast. In the Netherlands you've had politicians shot dead by these types of people. How could you tolerate them on your bus?

Re:Back of bus (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 7 years ago | (#18501477)

AFAIK it was only one politician and believe me: the friends of the one who shot that politician even didn't expect him to do such a thing.
So: how vague do the criteria have to be to get persons like him on a list and how many people would be on such a list as a result of that vague criteria.

You could be on that list for being a vegetarian. Or foreigner. Or Arabic, jew or black or whatever (gristian, white, poor)........

Since I'm a law-abiding citizen... (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | about 7 years ago | (#18501045)

There's the old line:
Since I'm a law-abiding citizen, I see no problem with government surveillance, wiretaps-without-warrants, etc. They NEED these things to fight TERRORISM!!!

Are you SURE you're a law-abiding citizen? Do you know about this "Anti-Terror List?" How about the other Anti-Terror List, and that other one, over there? Do you KNOW for sure that everyone you've ever done any sort of business with is not on one of these lists, especially the secret ones that you're not allowed to see?

Then maybe you're not really a law-abiding citizen, you just don't and can't know it, at least not until WE want to tell you.

By the way, have you ever had sex using any technique other than missionary position? If so, depending on which state you live in, you may have committed a crime!

Re:Since I'm a law-abiding citizen... (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 7 years ago | (#18501411)

You seem to have an issue with ridiculous laws, as opposed to laws themselves, which is sensible :) Clearly the old addage of law-abiding citizens not having anything to worry about is bullshit, as laws ARE needed to protect people. It's when laws are made that don't protect folks that there's a problem. Clearly we need to outlaw murder and rape, as those things are not nice for anyone involved. Straight-up deep-ballin' shouldn't be illegal, no matter how insanely pornorific one's moves are.

Terror vsTerrorism (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | about 7 years ago | (#18501095)

Terror is synonym for fear.

"anti-terror list" makes no sense unless you are distinguishing fearful people.

Likewise, a "war on terror" would end if less people were afraid.

Is there a name submission form? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501257)

Funny how the name "Ted Kennedy" keeps showing up on these lists...

Walgreens = terrorists????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501341)

MSNBC is running a story about yet another government database designed to thwart terrorists and drug dealers

Drug dealers? So if I buy a Walgreens or a CVS or other drug store my name gets on this list?

</snarky>

OK, now that I've had my little laugh, a legitimate question: Why are (illegal) drug dealers equated with terrorists? Why just drug dealers, why not pimps and gambling establishments?

In other words, why is a victimless crime equated with bloody mayhem that is designed to cause political change? Every time another story like this comes out I'm more inclined to join the tinfoil hat brigade that thinks our (our? ha! The corporations') own government was behind 9-11.

Simple Solution (0, Redundant)

sam_handelman (519767) | about 7 years ago | (#18501421)

Instead of going opt-out, we go opt-in.

  Anyone who isn't a terrorist receives some kind of permanent identification - say, on the forehead or on the hand - which would enable you to engage in these transactions without concern that the person you're dealing with is a terrorist, drug dealer, etc.

Having (almost) done business with someone... (2, Interesting)

GiMP (10923) | about 7 years ago | (#18501451)

My business was contacted over a year ago by an organization on this list, looking to purchase web hosting. They had provided a credit card and it was automatically authorized. (but funds were not captured) I recognized the website as being that of a rebellion army listed by the USA and the EU as being a terrorist organization. They were at the time being hosted with another US-based company.

I had thought that providing services to them would be a double-edged sword. I did not have any particular interest in hosting a terrorist site, but I do not believe in censorship. Additionally, I suspected that such sites would be a good source of information for their enemies. (such as the US) On the other hand, there could be a legal danger of providing such services. Having myself worked for another hosting company that had itself hosted Al Qaeda's website during 9/11, I knew that this was no laughing matter.

Concerned, I contacted Homeland Security and the Department of Defence, which referred me to the FBI. The FBI expressed interest in this enough to have me speak with an agent via telephone. They requested to meet me in person, but due to string of bank robberies, they didn't have the time to follow through, and finally told me (by phone) that they had no problem with my company accepting money from this organization and providing services to them.

In the end, I thought it was too risky, only having a verbal confirmation of such, and decided to reject this customer. It was a few months afterwards, that I discovered this list, which was never mentioned to me by any of the discussed government agencies. At that time, I was happy to have rejected the business, but was angry that I was mislead into believing that I could safely conduct business with that organization.

In this case, I had gone through all the official channels I thought were neccessary and wise, and yet, if I had followed their advice, I would have been breaking the law! Heck, just by corresponding with these people, I likely broke some law or another. I'm quite certain at this point, that by running a small-business, esspecially online, you're just asking for reasons to be put into Guantanamo. Not that they need reasons, anymore.

At no time was I told that I shouldn't discuss this matter, so I assume that I'm free to do so, although I probably shouldn't make such assumptions.

RENT-A-CAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18501481)

RENT-A-CAR, S.A., Panama [CUBA] - all the cars are from the 50's!
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