Saturday, June 18, 2005

An Imminent Threat Based Upon No Evidence

Back on May 1, I linked to a story about two 16-year-old girls from New York City who were arrested and imprisoned for seven weeks by Homeland Security in a maximum-security juvenile detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, the Times had a long front-page story about one of the girls, Tashnuba Hayder.

This is an amazing paragraph:
According to a government document provided to The Times by a federal official, the F.B.I. asserted that the girls presented "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based upon evidence that they plan to be suicide bombers." The document cited no evidence. And in background interviews, federal officials were quick to play down the case as soon as reporters called ...
Arrested as an imminent threat to the security of the United States and jailed for seven weeks based upon no evidence.

Hayder discusses her ordeal at length, saying that
the government treated her like a criminal simply for exercising the freedoms of speech and religion that America had taught her.

As she tells it, F.B.I. agents tried to twist mundane details of her life to fit the profile of a terrorist recruit, and when they could not make a case, covered their tracks by getting her out of the country.
As for the other side of the story, well, who the hell knows:
Federal officials will not discuss the matter. ... It is not known what prompted the authorities to investigate Tashnuba ... a court has sealed the case record at the F.B.I.'s request and barred participants from disclosing government information. The government has declined repeated requests to present its side.
Hayder was released in May on the condition that she leave the US immediately. She is now in Bangladesh and says the experience has taught her a valuable lesson about the United States.

"I see now you have no privacy, no liberty."

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