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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/11/13

US Air Force Veteran, Finally Allowed To Fly Into US, Is Now Banned From Flying Back Home

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Cross-posted from The Guardian

Secret, unaccountable no-fly lists are one of many weapons the US government uses to extra-judicially punish American Muslims


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US Muslim Air Force veteran Saadiq Long is greeted at the Oklahoma City airport in November 2012 after finally being allowed to fly home to visit his ailing mother. Photograph: screegrab NewsOK

In early November, I wrote about the infuriating story of Saadiq Long, the 43-year-old African-American Muslim who - despite having never been charged with any crime -- was secretly placed on a no-fly list and thus barred from flying to the US to visit his seriously ill mother. When I met with Long in early November in Doha, Qatar, where he has lived for several years with his wife and her two children while teaching English, he was in the middle of his futile months-long battle just to find out why he was placed on this list, let alone how he could be removed.

Two weeks after that article was published, Long -- without explanation -- was finally removed from the no-fly list and he flew from Doha to Oklahoma City to visit his mother and other family members. He took several flights to make the 20-hour journey, all without incident. He has remained in Oklahoma for the last 10 weeks, visiting his family in the US for the first time in over a decade.

But now Long -- unbeknownst to him -- has once again apparently been secretly placed by some unknown National Security State bureaucrat on the no-fly list. On Wednesday night, as Associated Press first reported, he went to the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City to fly back home to Qatar. In order to ensure there were no problems, his lawyer sent the FBI a letter ahead of time notifying them that Long would be flying home on that date (see the embedded letter below).

But without explanation, Long was denied a boarding pass at the airport by a Delta Airlines agent. Three local police officers then arrived on the scene, followed by a US Transportation Security Administration agent who "told Long he couldn't board a plane but did not give him a specific reason."

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