Since September 11th, the United States has maintained a "no-fly" list of people forbidden to board an aircraft because they are judged (with no trial) to be terrorists. So far, this list has simply been suspicious, with a disturbing number of Greens and Democrats (as well as the odd US Senator) forbidden to fly for no apparant reason. But now its moved from the suspicious to the ridiculous. The new terrorist threat? Babies. A nine-month-old baby boy was forbidden from boarding a flight to Italy after their name appeared on the list. What did they expect him to do? Crawl down the aisle screaming at the top of its lungs before attempting to hijack the aircraft with a stinky nappy?
Silliness aside, the real problem here is that once someone is on the no-fly list, there is effectively no way off. If someone with a name similar to yours is suspected (on secret evidence) of being a threat, you are grounded for life, with no real right of appeal. And there's no way of finding out if your name is on the list until you are stopped at the airport. This runs deeply counter to the values of a free society - and its just another way in which the US has sold the very values it is supposed to be protecting in the name of the "war on terror".