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Ashcroft's Visa Carrot Trick
November 29, 2001 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Ashcroft's Visa Carrot Trick Ok, considering the PATRIOT Act -empowered changes in our government's pursuit of terrorists, and the DOJ's current "throw every non-American you can find behind bars indefinitely and secretly" anti-freedom spree -- then are there any non-U.S. citizens out there dumb [or desparate] enough to fall for John Ashcroft's visa-carrot-for-terror-info trick?
posted by blackholebrain (21 comments total)

 
Unfortunately the sad fact is that people will sell their grandmothers to gain entry to the US. So I wouldn't be surprised to hear that many people entered the country via this scheme.
posted by riffola at 9:39 PM on November 29, 2001


I hocked two aunts and my little sister for a green card but all that secret tribunal talk makes me a wee bit queasy. Better shave.
posted by muckster at 9:58 PM on November 29, 2001


i think things are different now; unless somehow the rest of the world sees our holding 600+detainees for *questioning* as not out of the ordinary [which might be true for many countries].

my thinking is that the prospect of immigrating to a country where you may be immediately and secretly be thrown in jail for an unknown length of time [treatment which, up until recently, used to be associtated with places like -uh- afghanistan] just doesn't have the same shine that "coming to America" used to have for foreigners.

of course, if they can get a visa to come here --promising to tell our government terrorist information-- the al-qaeda themselves might see this as a new way of getting their suicide terrorists thru the u.s. door now.
posted by blackholebrain at 10:15 PM on November 29, 2001


I find the assumptions in Ashcroft's approach interesting. Only non-citizens have information on terrorists, and in order to get them to speak, one need but offer them vague rewards, without the guarantee of any kind of amnesty (the offer is filled with caveats: if the information is reliable and useful you could be provided with a visa). Citizens, on the other hand, don't know anything, or else are willing to give up any information they might have for free, so no incentives needed.

Couldn't possibly be any Americans involved in this, right? Think the foreigners know anything about envelopes full of anthrax?
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:43 PM on November 29, 2001


Sounds to me like the 600 dudes in prison aren't talking, or if they are the Gov't isn't believing it, or just isn't sure if they really don't know anything. These are the reservists.
posted by chaz at 10:56 PM on November 29, 2001


of course, if they can get a visa to come here --promising to tell our government terrorist information-- the al-qaeda themselves might see this as a new way of getting their suicide terrorists thru the u.s. door now.

That's exactly what I thought. So people who associate with terrorists might be allowed into the country if they betray their... friends? They don't really sound like people a country should accept with open arms.

I'm pretty sure it's not that simplistic, but that was my first reaction. It doesn't seem like a smart move.
posted by jetgrrl at 12:41 AM on November 30, 2001


The scariest thing about this is the name. They're calling it the "Responsible Cooperators Programme". Very Stasi.
posted by dlewis at 1:54 AM on November 30, 2001


I'm not sure I understand your objections -- I mean, anyone who helps Americans is a friend of Americans, no? Why not reward that friendship with an open welcome to our country?
posted by ph00dz at 5:30 AM on November 30, 2001


ph00dz - need i remind you that the taleban were friends of america when the us government thought they were needed. maybe they should be rewarded?
being a friend of america seems to have more to do with who you denounce than what values you support, judging by ashcoft's approach.
posted by asok at 6:13 AM on November 30, 2001


I know several resident aliens who aren't behind bars, so I disbelieve blackholebrain's characterization that the DOJ is engaged in a "throw every non-American you can find behind bars indefinitely and secretly" anti-freedom spree. Indeed, I would wager that the vast majority of foreigners who are in this country are not in jail.
posted by Holden at 6:19 AM on November 30, 2001


holden: that is true... but those that are being offered the visa-carrot have a lot in common with those sitting behind bars, which is the trick.

as far as my characterization of the doj's actions as an "anti-freedom spree," it may not be whole truth now, but it very well could be --- and that is a problem, imho.

of course, it'd be nice to ask those being held for *questioning* what they think about all this... but oh yeah, we can't.
posted by blackholebrain at 6:54 AM on November 30, 2001


I didn't realize that some people read Orwell as an instruction manual.
posted by yesster at 7:24 AM on November 30, 2001


Thanks for clarifying, blackholebrain. I respect your watchdogging. Considering how this bunch got into the White House, they deserve even more scrutiny and skepticism than the usual administration. One way to make sure that your voice of sanity is heard is to not overstate things.
posted by Holden at 7:25 AM on November 30, 2001


This is not a new policy--it has been in place for several years, begun in the Clinton era. Ashcroft was merely reminding DOJ officials and law enforcement about another tool to get some cooperation. Stop with the paranoia already.
posted by mooncrow at 7:50 AM on November 30, 2001


holden: "One way to make sure that your voice of sanity is heard is to not overstate things." thx... i needed that.

yesster & mooncrow: wake up and smell big brother's armpit in your face.

the orwellian odor in the air was not put there by me. i guess you missed the mefi and slashdot discussions (just this week) of a wired article about the nyc surveillance camera project and 'routes of least surveillance'?

add to this the doj monitoring of cable internet traffic now, alongside the fbi's magic lantern, and the inevitable national i.d. card crap, you get the picture of big brother having his foot in your door -- under the guise of trying to sell us terrorist protection.

orwellian? pessimistic? cynical? paranoid? whatever... you guys are in the majority on this, if polls like this mean anythingl but tell me this: where should the doj draw the line in it's pursuit of terrorists? or should it?

imnsho, i believe they've already got a few toes sticking over that line now.


posted by blackholebrain at 9:04 AM on November 30, 2001


What I find strange about this idea is that it seems to reward and welcome people who have connections to terrorists. Granted, not everyone who knows something necessarily is mixed up with it, but I hope that those who pitch up names for visas are also investigated for how they acquired their information.
posted by holycola at 9:10 AM on November 30, 2001


they ARE going to be investigated... that's the whole idea, imo.
posted by blackholebrain at 9:34 AM on November 30, 2001


As NPR reported yesterday, the S Visa has been around for a while. aka the "Snitch Visa" it was enacted to assist in previous terrorism investigations such as the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1998 US Embassy bombings.

Oh, interesting: an immigration newsblog tracking developments since 9/11.
posted by dhartung at 9:43 AM on November 30, 2001


dhartung --- thx for the links! (esp murthy.com)

as you and mooncrow both stated --and i had forgotten-- it's an old law being revived to hopefully inject new information into current terrorism investigations. but still, the "s visa" didn't have the shadow of a secret military tribunal hanging over it.

and it's completely different because of that.
posted by blackholebrain at 9:57 AM on November 30, 2001


blackholebrain - I am very concerned about the illegal actions by the administration and AG, and quite pissed that these folks will most likely never have to answer for their treasonous activity (violating the constitution in a time of war amounts to treason). I am quietly and cautiously very scared for the future.

The worst part is not being able to talk about it with anyone except online. Nobody is talking about this, and it feels like I'm the only one who's worried.
posted by yesster at 10:12 AM on November 30, 2001


my thinking is that the prospect of immigrating to a country where you may be immediately and secretly be thrown in jail for an unknown length of time [treatment which, up until recently, used to be associtated with places like -uh- afghanistan
Or just like many Western Europeam Counties, like the UK.
posted by Bag Man at 11:12 PM on November 30, 2001


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