August 19, 2006

Follow Up

Last week I commented on the subtle distinction that separates insidious racial profiling from healthy pattern recognition. The FBI has dropped the terrorism charges against three Muslim men arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist acts in Michigan as apparently they (the FBI) were engaging in the former, rather than the latter.

From Boing-Boing:
Cellphone terror detainees: not guilty, just inconveniently brown
The FBI today said it has no reason to suspect terrorism ties for three Palestinian-American men arrested in Michigan and charged with "collecting or providing materials for terrorist acts and surveillance of a vulnerable target for terrorist purposes." The men were stopped by authorities after buying 80 pre-paid cellphones at a Wal-Mart. Their van contained nearly a thousand such phones, and the men said they planned to re-sell them at profit...
After a judge dismissed the terrorism charges, in an attempt to avoid the embarrassing consequences of the FBI's aggressive police work, the U.S. attorneys have instead charged the men with fraud.

Because, you know, they were probably guilty of something...

And there we have the essential difficulty of prosecuting a nebulous "war on terror." It's results-oriented, and so results we must have. I've no problem with the FBI being pro-actively aggressive in pursuing threats, but that must be coupled with humble responsibility and an unshakable commitment to the truth. A "guilty of something" criminal methodology should be below us; it's nothing but the tyranny of our government against its citizens.


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