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Canada Boy at centre of fight against 'no-fly list' including innocent people flagged again

04:51  15 december  2019
04:51  15 december  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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The No Fly List is a list created and maintained by the United States federal government's Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) of people who are prohibited from boarding commercial aircraft for travel

All persons are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The TSA is an independent, non-government organization and is in no way affiliated with any branch of any government, corporation, individual or other entity, whether real or imaginary.

a little girl standing in front of a building: Adam Ahmed, pictured here in 2016, has been at the forefront of a fight to solve the problem of innocent Canadians appearing on the country's so-called no-fly list for four years. On Saturday, he was once again red-flagged at an airport.© Provided by cbc.ca Adam Ahmed, pictured here in 2016, has been at the forefront of a fight to solve the problem of innocent Canadians appearing on the country's so-called no-fly list for four years. On Saturday, he was once again red-flagged at an airport. A 10-year-old boy at the forefront of a fight to solve the problem of innocent Canadians appearing on the country's so-called no-fly list has once again found himself red-flagged, amid promises from the federal government that a fix is on the way.

Adam Ahmed was just six years old when he was stopped at Toronto's Pearson International Airport while travelling with his father to a hockey game to see his beloved Montreal Canadiens — and flagged as a possible security threat.

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As Obama calls for a ban on gun purchases by those on the terrorist watch list , even staunch gun-control advocates raise concerns about a document that has mistakenly included leading politicians, military veterans and babies.

It’s the federal no - fly list , a collection of names of people who are not allowed to board commercial flights into or out of the United States. A number of high-profile lawsuits have claimed the government unjustly added people to the list and blocked their efforts to have their names removed.

Nearly four years later, it's happened again — again on the way to see the Habs — with the government now saying a system isn't expected to be operational until late 2020.

That's news to Ahmed's mother, Khadija Cajee, who said the government had previously told her family a redress system would be in place in June of next year.

"It's definitely not what to hear, but as they know by now, we're not going anywhere," Cajee said. "We just try to deal with it as best we can and keep it pressure up."

'This doesn't inspire confidence'

Since Ahmed's story first made headlines in 2016, he and his parents — along with dozens of other families — have been actively pushing for a redress system for those falsely flagged on the controversial list, which is built on names rather than on unique identifiers such as dates of birth or passport numbers.

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The federal public safety minister has promised to review the case of a six-year-old Markham, Ont., boy whose parents say has been flagged as a travel risk since he was a toddler. "We try to keep him protected from all this stuff, because we don't want him to feel singled out and stigmatized.

As these lists grow, so do the number of innocent people flagged as suspected terrorists. The Office of Foreign Assets Control maintains a specific list of "specially designated nationals," including suspected terrorists, with whom US firms are prohibited from doing business.

That fight even included an eight-year-old Adam, dressed in his best suit and sneakers, attending a closed-door meeting on Parliament Hill two years ago to push for the system to become a reality.

Canada's so-called no-fly list — officially called the Specified Persons List under the Secure Air Travel Act (SATA) — dates back to 2007. The government has not confirmed how many people are on it, but it's estimated to contain as many as 2,000 names of people considered a threat.

When Adam's name came up on the list again Saturday, his father took to Twitter in frustration.

Our 10 year old was flagged.

Again.

We hope @NoFlyListKids silliness ends soon @BillBlair.

It’s been 4 years since going public about thousands of kids on ???????? DHP No Fly List. We look forward to meeting Minister but this doesn’t inspire confidence. :)https://t.co/2AdbX2pDyZpic.twitter.com/KOudUCwbQC@sulemaan

The federal government's new public safety minister Bill Blair tweeted in response: "Sorry to hear of the recent difficulties experienced by you and your son. My office has been in touch and I look forward to talking with you about the work to prevent this for you and other families."

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Along with Conservative and NDP support, No Fly List Kids, a new organization made up of hundreds of Canadians whose children and grandchildren are on the list , has also obtained the written support of over 77 Liberal caucus members, with many others also committed to write the Ministry of Public

No - Fly - List America. Post-Constitutional America, Where Innocence is a Poor Defense. Ibrahim was no threat to anyone, innocent of everything, and ended up on that list only due to a government mistake. A ticket agent saw her name flagged in the database and called the police.

Many of those families, banding together through the group No Fly List Kids, had hoped a solution would be coming sooner than later.

The path for a redress system seemed to have cleared after Bill C-59, the Liberal government's massive national security bill, passed in June.

"With the passage of Bill C-59, we can now proceed with the regulatory process to make the necessary changes to the Secure Air Travel Regulations," a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said at the time. The spokesperson added that a system would be operational in 2020, though an exact timing wasn't given.

Redress system now expected late 2020

A statement from Blair's office Saturday said he appreciates "the frustration of law-abiding travelers who can be stigmatized and delayed as a result of false positives," and that he looks forward to meeting with Ahmed and other affected families.

The government said it has invested $81.4 million over five years and $14 million annually in subsequent years to build a centralized screening system, which will include a redress system. With the passage of Bill C-59, the government was able to "take control of the list from airlines" to create a system that would allow travellers to distinguish themselves from people actually flagged on the list.

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The no - fly list has always been shaped by politics. Now, a bipartisan group of senators wants to use it for gun control. A government graphic illustrating how the terrorist screening database is used for several different watch lists , including the no - fly list .

What happens on the no - fly list does not stay on the no - fly list . A federal judge, writing in June, noted that the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center shares Similarly, in Oregon, a man named Yonas Fikre is suing the government for allegedly attempting to parlay his no - fly list placement into getting him to

"The Government of Canada is working with its partners to implement an enhanced program as quickly as possible, which requires the development of IT systems and its adoption by air carriers.  It is expected to begin operating in late 2020. We are grateful for the patience and understanding of those affected in the meantime," the statement said.

It's just absolutely ridiculous that you know children continue to be flagged in this way. - Khadija Cajee

Adam's mother says she's looking forward to working with the new minister, but that change can't come soon enough.

"It's just absolutely ridiculous that you know children continue to be flagged in this way," she said.

"It's been four years that we've been advocating on it, but it's been 10 years since my son has been on this list and 12 years since it was implemented. So I think that's long enough," said Cajee.

Besides, with Adam getting older now, she worries about him feeling criminalized.

"He already feels that he already feels singled out a little bit... He knows three other people with the name Adam Ahmed so he knows it's a name-match situation, but it's no less stigmatizing," she said.

He's also come to learn of other boys facing increased security checks as they get older because of the families he's met through his ordeal.

"Some of them now, even though they're adults are afraid of traveling by themselves. So I know these things are in the back of his mind sometimes."

Thank you for the quick reply Minister Blair. The @NoFlyListKids families look forward to meeting you & getting this done. (Now it’s time for me to focus on the game with my little one.) ???? #GoHabsGohttps://t.co/9Ptkk5txGwpic.twitter.com/pkJ5Swz7K5@sulemaan

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