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You and I were/weren't meant to fly....
October 12, 2007 11:48 AM   Subscribe

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is proposing new rules regarding passenger pre-screening both domestically and internationally. Interestingly, this includes flights that overfly the continental US without ever touching the ground.

Overflying the Continental United States. This proposed rule
defines ``overflying the continental United States' as departing from
an airport or location outside the United States, and transiting the
airspace of the continental United States en route to another airport
or location outside the United States...In this proposed rule, flights ``overflying the continental United
States' are a category of ``covered flights' for which TSA would
conduct passenger watch list matching in order to protect the airspace
over the continental United States and prevent individuals on a watch
list from taking control of an aircraft...
From the proposed rule.

The rule does not cover flights that originate in one country, overfly the US, and land again in the originating country. For example, a flight between Toronto and Vancouver would be exempt.

Since Transport Canada has already implemented a no-fly list, ATAC is questioning the purpose of this. Others wonder about different effects on the travel habits of Canadians and Americans.
posted by never used baby shoes (40 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
How can they possibly claim jurisdiction over flights that originate and terminate in countries that are not the US? Are they seriously suggesting that the US gets to station troops plant DHS employees in every airport in the world?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:56 AM on October 12, 2007


So, if your name is "Frank Smith" and you're flying from Canada to, say, Mexico, and there's a Frank Smith on the US no fly list then the US is going to ground your plane? Shoot it down? Have agents in all Canadian airports to prevent you from boarding? (The Harper government would be all for the latter, I'm sure.)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:58 AM on October 12, 2007


So this is only continental US? Flights from Asia to Canada that skirt by Alaska don't count, right?
posted by reformedjerk at 11:59 AM on October 12, 2007


Six years later and we're still defending against the last attack.
posted by Nelson at 12:02 PM on October 12, 2007 [12 favorites]


I was reading about this a few days back in the Globe. I really don't see how this is going to work.

Actually, it's way too easy to mock America, so i'll stop here.
posted by chunking express at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2007


I can only imagine that the reason for this is to prevent terrorists on flights not originating or terminating in the US from seizing control of the plane and doing a 9/11 on some US target. But in that case why exempt a flight from Toronto to Montreal from the rule? New York City would easily be within flight range. For that matter you could easily hijack a flight in Central America and divert it to a target in the US. Or a flight from Europe, for that matter.

It would not be practical to have US agents in every foreign airport in the world. Therefore, America should just declare foreign air travel a threat to their nation's security and bomb the fuck out of any country that refuses to comply.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2007


This was all over last night's news in Canada. It's seriously fucked up. Plus it is a violation of Canadian Privacy Laws.

But yeah, they basically want to ground a flight from Canada to Mexico if there's someone they don't like on the list.

Plus as the CBC news guy commented rather dryly, the US is letting people submit comments on their proposal for... the... next... eleven... days.

That was exactly how he said it. Pretty snippy for a reporter.
posted by GuyZero at 12:05 PM on October 12, 2007


This is to stop Americans from travelling to Cuba via Canada.
posted by rocket88 at 12:06 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


But in that case why exempt a flight from Toronto to Montreal from the rule?

Because we're not going to give up every vestige of national sovereignty.
posted by GuyZero at 12:06 PM on October 12, 2007


A more common name than Frank Smith sprung to my mind, Turtles. This is total bunk, and I'll be sending my MP a strongly-worded e-mail about it, AND I probably won't end it with my customary, "Have a great day! - Alvy Ampersand" either.

Four more days 'til we see if the Opposition has any guts.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:07 PM on October 12, 2007


Technically, Alaska is a continental state, although common usage could be argued. To exclude Alaska, you would refer to the 48 "contiguous" United States, not including the District of Columbia.
posted by phaedon at 12:08 PM on October 12, 2007


The War on Aviation marches along! Thankfully visitors arriving from Mexico can make full use of our nation's excellent roadway system.

Plus it is a violation of Canadian Privacy Laws

And not just a Canadian problem. Future generations wont know an existence without pervasive police presence or ubiquitous surveillance.

As long as "Cavemen" is still on the airwaves we should be OK.
posted by Curry at 12:18 PM on October 12, 2007


Ooh look! The actors have gathered on the stage and the lights have dimmed. It must be time for another edition of Security Theater!

Let's watch as everyone rushes about and nothing changes for the better.
posted by quin at 12:18 PM on October 12, 2007 [7 favorites]


This is to stop Americans from travelling to Cuba via Canada.

From my understanding, there is already some requirement of providing names and citizenships of passengers flying over US airspace*. Odds are, if you fly to Cuba via Canada, the US will know as they'll see your name and American citizenship status.

Hence why it's best to travel via the Bahamas or even better, Mexico.

*Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong
posted by champthom at 12:19 PM on October 12, 2007


Well, all I can say is they're going to be sorry now. I have emailed Hedy Fry and now there's no telling who this fine and brave parliamentarian is going to go off on. Watch your evening news and see.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:23 PM on October 12, 2007


I’m in such a Madison mood.

"Since the general civilization of mankind,
I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." -James Madison

And...

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” - Madison
posted by Smedleyman at 12:27 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


probably just another move to limit Canada's sovereignty while maximize the US's
posted by edgeways at 12:31 PM on October 12, 2007


Weak. DHS is out of control and no one cares to stop it. Hell Joe Lieberman runs the fucking oversight comity.
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on October 12, 2007


This is typical "We are The Mighty US! All countries bow to us as our requirements and paranoia trump any feelings/issues/rights that you have! You must do as WE say!" bullshit.

Such utter crap. Why, if their reasoning is true for being justified in asking this, are they not demanding the same information from any country or airline that operates within theoretical range of US soil - ie with flight time fuel windows that would allow a plane to reach the US?

Why? Because they want to rule the world for their own convenience, and are starting on Canada as a soft touch. The more soft touch countries they get to agree to this (using the 'what have you got to hide?" bullying stick), the more the precedent is set, and then momentum will allow them to take further and further liberties with other countries liberties because "Well, THEY did, what's your problem? Do you love Terrorists?".
posted by Brockles at 12:34 PM on October 12, 2007


er, committee even
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on October 12, 2007


Thanks, Smedley. I wish James Madison would post more often. :p
posted by zennie at 12:34 PM on October 12, 2007


I'm sure if you pay enough Ameros you can get out of this.
posted by briank at 12:43 PM on October 12, 2007


How can they possibly claim jurisdiction over flights that originate and terminate in countries that are not the US?

airspace.
posted by probablysteve at 1:02 PM on October 12, 2007


This is nothing. Just wait until one of these jack bauer bureacrats has a perfectly good airplane full of people shot down. It's bound to happen.
posted by three blind mice at 1:14 PM on October 12, 2007


Remember when we all laughed at Harper for making Canadian sovereignty the main thrust of his election campaign?

Yeah. Fuck.
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:17 PM on October 12, 2007


Remember when we all laughed at Harper for making Canadian sovereignty the main thrust of his election campaign?

One would think that if two people share the same belief, it would make them friends.

Except when the belief is "You should all be my bitch", at which point Harper and Bush dicover they do have a point of contention.
posted by GuyZero at 1:18 PM on October 12, 2007


Like Iraq, Canada is a sovereign nation, so this means they must bow to the power of the USA warmongering military.
posted by CameraObscura at 1:23 PM on October 12, 2007


We're flying over America now, everyone, close your windows, and no pictures please.

Though I don't think this guy had to..
posted by blacklite at 1:51 PM on October 12, 2007


“This is typical "We are The Mighty US! All countries bow to us...”

I mildly disagree with you. And really the only reason my dissonance is even that harsh is because I can’t think of a term that says “you’re right, but not perfectly.”
I don’t think it’s the Danish form of dominance (e.g. in history, ships having to strike their colors, people bow deeper, all that, google it) and national arrogance.
That is, I wouldn’t say it’s a flaw in our character - yet. Admittedly, reading the Carter thread on torture gives me pause in my defense.
But I concede that if the trend continues, it may well become such. That scares me (in part ‘cos I don’t have enough ammunition) because it’s a dehumanizing effect.
I’m thinking sort of Winston Smith here. He quite simply doesn’t know how to think apolitically. It doesn’t occur to him that (as with the torture thread) throwing acid into a child’s face is fundimentally wrong because it is politically right to oppose big brother at all costs - even at the cost of becoming him, and he is the sort of monster that would throw acid into a child’s face.
(The tautology is obvious there, opposition is not a mere power struggle. And indeed, you defeat a stronger opponent by changing the terms of the engagement (and bringing more pain to more people and more people with power), not by commiting more egregious harm)

The problem with the U.S. doing this to other countries is precisely the same as what is going on within the U.S. They are unopposed because no one chooses to oppose them. Certainly not on principle.

I think it’s fairly obvious this is geared to put tighter controls on travel (as well as the security theater and lazy assing investigative work). So, change the terms - f’rinstance get corporations involved, show them how it will cost them more in time and doing business. (I’d say, if it doesn’t, make it so, but these things tend to take care of themselves)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:02 PM on October 12, 2007


(I should say including more people in your pain, the more you spread it the better conditions are for change, not writing well today, skipping big swaths and making assumptions, sorry - goes without saying the 1984 dynamic is worse & scarier than the Danish Royal treatment)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:06 PM on October 12, 2007


I wouldn't be worried about the rule changes they are telling us about, worry about the ones you don't (and won't ever) know about.
posted by Big_B at 3:04 PM on October 12, 2007


Pope Guilty: A country has sovereignty over its airspace. The United States can make permission to use U.S. airspace conditional on having met certain security requirements. I suppose any other country could do the same, though I guess we would not worry much about the little ones.
posted by Slap Factory at 3:19 PM on October 12, 2007


I sure wish our next federal election were happening now. Dion needs to really step up and nail Harper to the wall.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:43 PM on October 12, 2007


What a shame. I love flying, but shit like this makes me think it's not worth the hassle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:24 PM on October 12, 2007


And the world grows yet more tired of the USA.

For your own sakes, people, please do a better job voting this next time. You need to get someone into power who isn't part of the endlessly corrupt machine.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:15 PM on October 12, 2007


I highly doubt people here are the people who voted for Bush... at least it never seems that way.
posted by olya at 8:16 PM on October 12, 2007


Well, yes, I have to concede that. I need to remember that our US American MeFi users aren't necessarily representative of the general population.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 PM on October 12, 2007


Well, I think the security measures they're taking are stupid and ultimately ineffective; the "no fly list" is a joke, and the rest of their precautions are purely reactive rather than proactive, and worse than useless as a result.

However, with that said, I think it makes sense to extend the same rules to all flights in U.S. airspace, regardless of whether they originate or terminate in the U.S.

The risk (at least part of it, anyway) is the planes themselves, right? So setting aside the security measures themselves, it would make sense to apply them -- whatever they are -- across the board to all flights that enter U.S. airspace.

Maybe when they try to do that, (and when other countries respond by creating equally asinine rules for U.S. flights going through their airspace) they'll be forced to look at the senselessness of some of their policies.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:26 PM on October 12, 2007


You need to get someone into power who isn't part of the endlessly corrupt machine.

Have you looked at the list of candidates lately?

(Here's some advice, don't do it on a full stomach.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:28 PM on October 12, 2007


For your own sakes, people, please do a better job voting this next time.

Even though I'm not one of those people who almost seem to wish Harper and The Cons were as bad as Dead-Eyed Dick and Howdya Dubya - victim envy, I call it - we're not exactly in a position to lecture folks on that topic at the moment, fff.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 PM on October 12, 2007


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