As documented by the Associated Press and other journalists, the NYPD has built a program dedicated to the total surveillance of Muslims in the greater New York City era.
Officers have routinely monitored restaurants, bookstores and mosques and created detailed records of innocent conversations they’ve both had with individuals and eavesdropped on.
The NYPD has also sent paid infiltrators into mosques, student associations and beyond to take photos, write down license plate numbers and keep notes on people for no reason other than because they are Muslim.
Partnering civil rights attorneys filed papers in federal court seeking to stop the NYPD from creating dossiers on innocent Muslim New Yorkers and end the Police Department’s ability to initiate investigations into Muslim New Yorkers when there is no belief that they have engaged or are about to engage in unlawful activity or an act of terrorism.
The filing is part of the Handschu v. Special Services Division proceeding, a decades-old federal case that has produced a series of court orders regulating NYPD surveillance of political and religious activity.
- New York Muslims protest police surveillance (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Finally, some sanity, and from a somewhat unexpected source. The ACLU is concerned about the civil liberties implications of the new Harry Reid Senate bill to establish so-called “universal background checks” for firearms purchases. The organization has tended toward silence on gun rights, but at least now it recognizes aspects of the problem with this terrible proposal.
Ever since Sandy Hook, the Obama administration and its progressive choir have demanded a new Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). Now it looks like that plan is toast. California Senator Dianne Feinstein blames gun owners and the NRA, and in a sense we should have expected all along that this proposal would get nowhere. Such a ban would mostly target “semi-automatic” rifles—which, despite all the hysterics, simply refers to any standard rifle that fires one round each time the trigger is pulled—that happen to have esthetic elements like the pistol grip that do not in fact add to the weapons’ lethality. This is the nonsensical standard used to ban some classes of weapons instrumentally identical to the ones banned in 1994.
The first AWB devastated the Democrats politically, and probably contributed as much as anything to the Republicans’ crushing victory in the 1994 congressional elections after forty years in the legislative minority. It also hurt Al Gore in his run against George W. Bush in 2000. The ban generally prohibited ordinary but scary looking rifles, which are used in about two percent of violent crimes committed with firearms. The law did not apply to, say, most of the weapons used at the Columbine school massacre in 1999. But it did interfere with Americans’ basic right to own what we can fairly call the modern version of the musket. Millions of Americans own such weapons like the AR-15, the most popular rifle and one targeted by the Democrats’ proposal for a new, robust AWB. These weapons are used for hunting, sport, and self-defense. They are not, despite all the misinformation to the contrary, repeating, military-style rifles.
In any event, the unpopularity of an AWB always doomed this proposal, especially under a Democratic president as distrusted on the right as Obama. The Republicans have the House and too many Democrats in the Senate are loyal to their gun-owning constituents.
So this whole time, the real threat to our firearms freedom has been these less debated, peripheral proposals—proposals that strip people the state deems “mentally ill” of the right to bear arms, proposals that violate the civil rights of released convicts, proposals to increase penalties for violations of current law, and, as disturbing as anything, proposals to institute “universal background checks.”
The gun restrictionists have pointed to polls showing more than 90% approval of such background checks, including among a vast majority of conservatives, Republicans, and gunowners. Liberty is always attacked on the margins, and most Americans don’t go to gun shows and so don’t see the big deal. Surely the state should know who is armed. Surely we don’t want people buying and selling guns freely.
But, in fact, universal background checks are arguably even more tyrannical than banning whole classes of weapons. Why should the government know who is armed? Why shouldn’t people be allowed to freely buy and sell private property without government permission? Half of Americans see background checks as the first step toward full registration then confiscation. Many fear that the new law would create records of these deals that would not immediately be destroyed, which could form databases or enable government in further nefarious purposes. The progressives have tended to regard any of these worries as paranoia, but it looks like the ACLU is now among the paranoid.
There is no need to discuss pure hypotheticals. There have been gun confiscations in the United States. After the Civil War, officials conducted confiscations to disarm American Indians and blacks became the target in the Jim Crow South. Confiscations followed Hurricane Katrina, along with the rest of the government’s martial law response. Since many gun controllers openly say they want a total ban of certain kinds of firearms, or all firearms, why wouldn’t gun owners fear that registration will lead to confiscation? The U.S. president promised that he would not take away Americans’ rifles, then went ahead and proceeded to propose to do just that. Add all of this to the database growth, the warrantless wiretapping, the domestic surveillance drones, the frightening executive power grabs concerning detention, interrogation, and executions, and the overall militarization of policing that has unfolded thanks to the wars on drugs and terror, and it seems fairly appropriate that in the age of Bush and Obama, civil libertarians of all stripes would resist the drive toward universal background checks or anything with such an Orwellian name as that.
This whole matter should also remind us of the interlocking nature of personal liberties. Abolishing the Second Amendment necessarily means abolishing the Fourth as well. Just ask the millions of black and Hispanic young men stopped and frisked in New York City in the name of gun control and with the purpose, as the police commissioner reportedly put it, to “instill fear” of police in these demographic groups. It is the violations of privacy that concern the ACLU, but anyone jealous of her security in her papers, persons, and effects should recoil at the thought of the state collecting these records.
Of course, it should go without saying that when it comes to criminal enterprise, universal background checks are unenforceable. In a country with as many guns as there are people, criminals and the state will always get the weapons they want. Firearms are easier to manufacture than many illegal drugs, and we see how well the state has stamped those out. The rapid developments in 3-D printing makes it even crazier that we’d still be talking about gun control as anything but a threat to the liberty of the law abiding.
The AWB looks defeated for now, but perhaps that was always known to be inevitable by our cynical civilian disarmament fetishists in Washington, DC. Perhaps the real goal was to get what could be gotten now—the beginnings of a national database of every lawful gun owner. The so-called gun show loophole—the freedom of owners to sell firearms to one another with few encumbrances—is a pocket of liberty. Closing this loophole would be a tragedy. We can only hope that civil libertarians across the spectrum ban together to challenge this march to erode these core freedoms.
- Gun poll: Most say background checks may bring confiscation (thehill.com)
- 4 More Ways Obama’s Gun Control Speech Sows Mistrust (reason.com)
Following a leaked recording seeming to prove the existence of an NYPD arrest quota system, a second police officer has come forward to explain to a federal judge why he decided to record his superiors as they directed him to increase “stop-and-frisks.”
Officer Pedro Serrano, an 8-year veteran of the New York Police Department, held back tears as he explained to the judge why he came forward: “It’s very simple. I have children. I try to be a decent person.”
Serrano joins another whistleblower from the Bronx, Officer Adhyl Polanco, who testified earlier this week regarding his own recordings as part of a federal class action suit against the City of New York seeking to address racial disparities in the department’s street stops.
Meanwhile, a 2003 settlement from a similar lawsuit set in place a requirement for the NYPD to track the stops. The resulting records showed that some 87 per cent of the 5 million individuals detained by police were black or Latino.
Officer Serrano presented a recording from June 2010 in which a female lieutenant told officers she was “looking for five” – that is, requesting a specific quota for criminal summonses from officers in the precinct. Serrano recorded another instance only a month later, in which another lieutenant made a similar reference to a “five-five-five,” indicating a quota in place for arrests, patrols and summonses at public housing projects.
Serrano testified that his performance evaluation subsequently dropped in every category, evidently for failing to meet the quotas. During a meeting with his supervisor, Serrano was told that his performance score was based more on his “numbers” and his “low activity.” At the time, his precinct’s captain is said to have informed him that the NYPD’s Operations Order No. 52 allowed her to implement “performance goals,” likely a veiled reference to quotas.
Much of Serrano’s testimony supports accusations that officers who refused or failed to meet quotas were subjected to discriminatory treatment. Serrano points to the fact that he was transferred to an undesirable post, denied a day off following a car accident near his home, and the vandalization of his personal locker – which included the placement of “rat stickers.”
In its denial of the quota system and a racial profiling policy, the NYPD claims that the appearances of both stem from departmental reliance on the CompStat program, that being the heavy policing of high-crime neighborhoods – which are often predominantly minority communities.
Still, Serrano’s testimony did reveal direct evidence of racial targeting at least in his precinct. In one specific recording, a lieutenant urged officers to concentrate on a region in the south Bronx: “St. Mary’s Park: go crazy in there. Go crazy in there. I don’t care if everybody writes everything in there. That’s not a problem.”
Officer Serrano also provided recordings of an appeals meeting with Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormick, regarding his low numbers for writeups – which he was told would only have been “appropriate for Central Park.”
The same meeting became heated after McCormick indicated Serrano’s numbers demonstrated a lack of initiative, an issue he demanded be rectified by detaining “the right people at the right time.” “And who are the right people?” asks Serrano, to which McCormick replies “I don’t have any trouble telling you this: male blacks 14 to 20, 21.”
Serrano’s testimony was presented as part of Floyd v. City of New York, in which four plaintiffs claim they were racially profiled by the NYPD. Four police officers presented evidence for the prosecution.
A new report by a coalition of Muslims has shed further light on the NYPD’s controversial surveillance program of the Muslim community, which they say generates widespread fear and has a “chilling effect” on their lives.
The New York Police Department has been found to spy on Muslims in mosques, restaurants, halal shops, cafes, hookah bars and other public places and has long outraged potential victims of the surveillance. Whether praying, conversing with friends, or walking down the street, the NYPD deploys cops that are always watching.
The surveillance “has stifled speech, communal life and religious practice and criminalized a broad segment of American Muslims,” Nermeen Arastu, fund attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, told the Wall Street Journal.
The new report, compiled by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition and its partners, specifically outlines the effect of the NYPD’s intimidation on New York City Muslims. As a result of sending spies throughout the city, some Muslims have stopped trusting anyone, fearful that something they say or do could land them in prison.
“Undercover Pakistani officers were sent into Pakistani communities and Arab-speaking officers were dispatched into the Egyptian community to ‘listen to neighborhood gossip’, and get an overall ‘feel for the community,’ ” the report says “They were instructed to visit schools and interact with business owners and patrons to ‘gauge sentiment.’”
By participating in school field trips and local cricket matches, undercover cops have crept into the personal lives of American Muslims, searching for any sign of illegal or terrorist intentions. The report, titled “Mapping Muslims”, claims that the far-reaching extent of the surveillance program has taken a toll on the Muslim community.
“[The NYPD] has repeatedly said that as long as you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” Diala Shamas, co-author of the report, told the Huffington Post. Instead, she said the study “shows that there are many disturbing impacts and consequences of the irresponsible, costly, harmful, completely ineffective surveillance program.”
Muslim college groups now forbid any discussion of politics, practicing Muslims have avoided mosques, and others have simply avoided making any sort of jokes that could be misinterpreted.
“People tell me ‘I’ll make mysalaah [prayer] at home.’ They mention the NYPD camera right outside the mosque as the reason,” Imam Mustapha, a Brooklyn-based religious leader, told authors of the report.
At some mosques, Muslims no longer trust religious leaders, fearing that they could be reporting to the NYPD.
“The relationship of trust and confidentiality between an imam and his congregation is no less sacred than that of pastors, rabbis and others, and those of whom they serve,” said Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, Maklis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York. “The actions of the NYPD have compromised this sacred relationship… It not only weakens the capacity of some Muslim religious leaders to serve as advisors in sensitive matters, but it also compromises their effectiveness as partners in the struggle against extremism.”
New York City Muslims are afraid of growing beards, wearing traditional attire, participating in extracurricular activities, or talking to strangers.
The authors conclude the report with a plea to stop the pervasive program, claiming that the policing encourages deep-seated mistrust and distrust within the Muslim community.
“There’s a lot of collateral damage,” Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander told the Huffington Post.
The NYPD has so far spent more than $1 billion on the Intelligence Division, which conducts the surveillance program. But throughout six years of surveillance, the NYPD has never generated a lead, according to Assistant Chief Thomas Galati.
“I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from a Demographics report, and I’m here since 2006,” Galati said in a deposition last June. “I don’t recall other ones prior to my arrival.”
- Debunked NYPD Radicalization Report Just Won’t Die (alethonews.wordpress.com)
An Occupy Wall Street activist was acquitted of assaulting a police officer and other charges on Thursday after jurors were presented with video evidence that directly contradicted the NYPD’s story.
Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges this week in regards to a case that stems from a December 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Lower Manhattan. For over a year, prosecutors working on behalf of the New York Police Department have insisted that Premo, a known artist and activist, tackled an NYPD officer during a protest and in doing so inflicted enough damage to break a bone.
During court proceedings this week, Premo’s attorney presented a video that showed officers charging into the defendant unprovoked. The Village Voice reports that jurors deliberated for several hours on Thursday and then elected to find Premo not guilty on all counts, which included a felony charge of assaulting an officer of the law.
Since his arrest, supporters of Premo have insisted on his innocence. “They’re trying to make something out of nothing and they’re trying to charge him with something that didn’t actually occur,” colleague Rachel Falcone told Free Speech Radio News this week.
After being arrested, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office presented Premo with a deal that would have let him off the hook by pleading guilty to lesser charges. Maintaining his innocence, however, he was determined to fight the case in court.
Premo was “facing serious charges and potential substantial jail sentence, even though he never should have been arrested at all,” his supporters claimed in a post published on The Laundromat Project website.
Nick Pinto of the Village Voice says he was nearby during the December 2011 rally and recalls watching Premo’s arrest from a distance. In his report from court this week, Pinto explains how the details provided by the NYPD in this trial have been fabricated to such a degree that the allegations presented by the cops turned out to be literally the opposite of what occurred.
“Premo charged the police like a linebacker, taking out a lieutenant and resisting arrest so forcefully that he fractured an officer’s bone. That’s the story prosecutors told in Premo’s trial, and it’s the general story his arresting officer testified to under oath as well,” Pinto writes. He adds that attorneys for the defendant underwent a lengthy search to try and find video that verified their own account yjpihj, and found one in the hands of Democracy Now. “Far from showing Premo tackling a police officer,” writes Pinto, that video “shows cops tackling him as he attempted to get back on his feet.”
The footage obtained from Democracy Now also showed that an NYPD officer was filming the arrest as well, but prosecutors told Premo’s attorney that no such footage existed.
“There is no justice in the American justice system, but you can sometimes find it in a jury,” Premo tweeted after he was acquitted this week.
In an interview given to NBC in 2012, Premo identified himself as a spokesperson for the Occupy Wall Street movement. He has also led an initiative in the New York area that has provided relief to those that endured last year’s Superstorm Sandy and has also advocated for fair housing.
“The biggest thing for me coming out of this,” he told the Voice, “is not being discouraged by the attempts of New York City to quell dissent and prevent us from expressing our constitutional rights.”
Fifty-four countries were said to have co-operated with the United States in the the illegal kidnapping, detention, torture, and abuse of “suspected terrorists” after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
A 213-page report titled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition” was published in February by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organization.
After 2001, the United States had authorized the establishment of “black sites” outside of their territories, where “enhanced interrogation techniques” were used, under the “secret detention program.”
The CIA also began engaging in the transfer of foreign government detainees, without legal process, for detention and interrogation. This is known as “extraordinary rendition.”
Torture and abuse were signature characteristics of both the detention program and of the extraordinary rendition program.
Methods included “insult slaps,” confining the individual to a box, sleep deprivation, dousing the prisoner in water, and forced nudity while their arms were held extended and chained above their heads.
Waterboarding is a technique that was authorized by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) where the individual was made to feel like he/she was drowning. In this “enhanced interrogation technique,” water is poured over an immobilized individual’s face, blocking breathing passages.
Egypt was said to be “the country to which the greatest numbers of rendered suspects have been sent [by the U.S.],” according to OSJI.
Egyptians detained, interrogated, tortured, and abused several people and assisted in transferring individuals under the program, allowing the CIA to use their airspace and airports.
Jordan was involved in a similar manner.
Saudi Arabia detained individuals prior to and after they were subjected to extraordinary rendition or to the secret CIA detention. Further investigation has not been possible.
The Iranian government was said to have transferred fifteen individuals to the government of Afghanistan, ten of which were then transferred to the United States.
“Today, more than a decade after September 11, there is no doubt that highranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorizing human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition,” according to OSJI.
Responsibility does not end there however, the report said, as more than a quarter of the world’s nations offered covert support, thus facilitating such human rights abuses.
OSJI insisted that the Obama administration did not end extraordinary rendition, but instead chose to rely on “anti-torture diplomatic assurances from recipient countries and post-transfer monitoring of detainee treatment.”
Several outed incidents have shown that these measures were not effective.
The report lists the 54 countries involved in the programs by torturing, detaining, interrogating, and abusing individuals; hosting “black sites” on their territories; permitting the secret flights transporting captives to use their airspace and airports; providing information that lead to the extraordinary rendition or secret detention of individuals; and by interrogating individuals secretly held captive by other other governments.
Countries in the Middle East and North African region that were involved with the CIA in their post-9/11 activities include: Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The other countries listed include: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Austria,Morocco, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe.
“Torture is not only illegal and immoral, but also ineffective for producing reliable intelligence,” the report said.
“Indeed, numerous professional U.S. interrogators have confirmed that torture does not produce reliable intelligence, and that rapport-building techniques are far more effective at eliciting such intelligence,” said OSJI.
Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition
Open Society Justice Initiative, Feb 2013
Download the 216-page report (1.08 MB pdf)
Five dollars is apparently all it takes to land a 7-year-old in handcuffs in a New York City public school these days.
Parents across New York City awoke Wednesday morning to the news that Bronx third-grader Wilson Reyes was pulled out of class, handcuffed and interrogated over the course of 10 hours at his elementary school, and later, at a local precinct. Reyes was charged with robbery after someone said he grabbed $5 that a classmate had dropped on the floor, causing a scuffle among several boys.
Playground disputes that once amounted to a trip to the principal’s office have long since come under police jurisdiction in New York City, where over 5,000 agents assigned to the School Safety Division roam public school campuses under the auspices of the NYPD.
When Reyes’ mom was finally allowed to see her son, the New York Post reports, she found him handcuffed to a wall at the NYPD’s 44th Precinct, where she says he’d been interrogated and verbally abused for six hours. The shocking photo she took of her son in cuffs made front-page news on Wednesday.
Another student eventually admitted to taking the money, but it was well after Reyes had spent 10 hours handcuffed, interrogated and humiliated by the police. A police source told the NY Post that officers were responding to “a 9-1-1 call of a robbery and assault.”
Though shocking, Reyes’ story is far from unique. When police officers are involved in disciplining minors, a classroom disruption involving an “unruly” student can quickly escalate into a call for police back-up.
Nearly 900 arrests were made at New York City public schools during the 2011-2012 school year, and 90 percent involved black or Latino students, according to an analysis of NYPD data released last year. Another 1,666 summonses were issued for illegal conduct.
New York’s public school students are dragged out of classrooms and cafeterias by police officers for shouting in the hallways or scribbling on desks. Court summonses and assault charges are levied for playground fistfights, and students are carted from schools to precincts for the fear-inducing offense of carrying a cell phone on school grounds. In a number of cases, officers have also used excessive force to arrest children for violating school rules, at times leaving injuries requiring hospitalization.
That’s why the ACLU – along with the New York Civil Liberties Union, and law firm Dorsey & Whitney – is suing the City of New York on behalf of the city’s public middle and high school students, accusing the NYPD’s School Safety Division of violating students’ constitutional rights.
Yet the over-policing of our schools is not an issue unique to New York City.
The deployment of cops to public schools across the country epitomizes the national trend known as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” in which children of color are funneled from our public school classrooms into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
There’s Kaleb Winston, the Salt Lake City 14-year-old who was interrogated by gang police at his school because of the design of his backpack and the sketches he made for art class. Or the Kansas sophomore whose arm was broken as a cop pulled a Taser gun to help arrest him for wearing saggy pants. One Wisconsin teen was arrested and fingerprinted for allegedly stealing a chicken nugget meal in the school cafeteria, while a Texas honor student was jailed for missing class. And then there’s the Georgia kindergartener who was handcuffed last year when she refused to calm down.
The stories are countless, and every one of them heartbreaking. In too many school districts across the country we are witnessing the increased criminalization of our youngest and most vulnerable students. Parents, teachers, principals, and mental health experts know children best. We should let them decide what’s best for their wellbeing. Putting cops in classrooms is not the answer to ensuring our children’s safety.
In a hate crime against Hindus and Muslims, a New York City woman pushed an Indian man in front of an oncoming subway train, causing him to be crushed to death in the second such murder to occur this month.
Erika Menendez, 31, is now being charged for the death of Sunando Sen, 46, who was killed by a 7 train in Queens last Thursday. The woman told police she shoved the man onto the tracks because she believed he was a Muslim or a Hindu. She then fled from the scene.
“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers. I’ve been beating them up,” Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, quoted the woman as saying.
In an interview with the New York Times, Brown said the victim was “allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself.” Sen, who was born in India and was raised a Hindu, never saw the face of his attacker. According to the district attorney’s office, Menendez and Sen had never met, and it was unclear to tell what the victim’s religious background was.
“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s nightmare: Being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Brown said.
Menendez fled from the scene on Thursday, but was arrested after a witness tipped off the authorities on Saturday. The passerby recognized her from the sketch and surveillance tape released by police after the incident.
“It will be up to the court to determine if she is fit to stand trial,” he added. If convicted, Menendez faces 25 years to life in prison. Menendez also has a history of violence and multiple arrests. The 31-year-old was arrested once for cocaine possession and twice for attacking two other strangers. Over the past 12 years, she has had 14 encounters with police. Five of those times, her mother called the police, while two other incidents resulted in assault charges, the Wall Street Journal reported. In 2003, she attacked a retired firefighter as he took out his garbage in Queens.
“I was covered in blood,” Daniel Conlisk, 65, recalled to the Times. “She was screaming the whole time.”
Two months prior, Menendez was accused of hitting and scratching a man in Queens. The woman has repeatedly been institutionalized for mental health problems and was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center earlier this year. The woman was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and never received any jail time.
“People get well and then they get sick again,” said Ana Marengo, a spokeswoman for New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corportation.
“No one monitors if they are taking their medication or follows up to see if they are in danger to themselves or others,” said D. J. Jaffee, executive director of the Mental Health Policy Organization. Relatives of Menendez claim the defendant frequently failed to take her prescribed medication.
The judge in the case of Sen’s death ordered that Menendez be held without bail and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Conlisk believes that if Menendez had a weapon when she attacked him, he would have been killed. The most recent subway murder brings further attention to the mental health system of the United States, which has already been scrutinized this month after 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 26 people in an Elementary School earlier this month.
The death of Sen also marks the second time that a man was pushed to his death from a subway platform this month. On December 3rd, a homeless man pushed a man into the tracks at the Times Square subway station. The New York Post published a photo of the man, clinging to the edge of the platform before being crushed to death by the oncoming train, sparking an uproar about the photographer’s decision to flash the camera rather than help the man back onto the platform.
In a speech on Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg discussed historic lows in the city’s yearly homicide and shooting totals, but also encouraged residents not to forget Sen’s death.
“It’s a very tragic case, but what we want to focus on today is the overall safety in New York,” he told reporters.
The incident also sheds further light on lingering racism faced by Hindus and Muslims in the US. According to Sen’s roommates, the victim was kind and respectful of other people’s religions. He opposed war and violence, especially those prompted by religious intolerance.
“He was so gentle,” one of Sen’s roommates told the Times. “He said in this world a lot of people are dying, killing over religious things.”
On September 25, The Passionate Attachment broke the story of the Israel lobbyist who suggested that a Pearl Harbor-type attack might be necessary to get a recalcitrant Obama Administration to go to war with Iran. As Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, brazenly put it during question time at the pro-Israel think tank’s policy forum luncheon on “How to Build U.S.-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout”:
So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war.
In light of Clawson’s thinly-veiled call for a false flag attack to trigger another Middle East war for Israel, a story in yesterday’s New York Post entitled “NYPD on alert for Iran terror” should be of major concern to those charged with protecting U.S. national security. Reported Jessica Simeone:
A terror attack sponsored by Iran is an ongoing concern for the NYPD, Commissioner Ray Kelly revealed yesterday.
“We’ve been concerned about Iran for a while, and I think the history of those events throughout the world since January give us cause for concern,” Kelly said during an anti-terror conference called NYPD SHIELD.
Kelly also said that a possible conflict between Iran and Israel is a particular area of concern, given New York City’s large Jewish population.
One issue is the potential for a retaliation attack on New York City by Iran and Hezbollah, said NYPD Lt. Kevin Yorke of the Intelligence Division.
“Within the last year, we’ve seen a worldwide increase in incidents involving the stockpiling of explosives, the surveillance of targets, and a number of very significant plots and attacks,” Yorke said.
That increase in activity is in direct relation to Iran’s nuclear-weapons program and the tension surrounding it, Yorke said.
“Obviously if there’s any action involving Israel and Iran we have to be very cognizant of the potential of retaliation here in New York City,” Kelly said.
Considering the intimate ties between the “rogue” NYPD Intelligence Division & Counter-Terrorism Bureau and the “criminal state” of Israel — with its sordid history of false flag attacks and other crimes against the United States as well as its ongoing dubious propaganda campaign of allegations against its Islamic enemies — this public statement of “concern” about an Iranian-sponsored terror attack in New York should put those genuinely concerned about U.S. national security on high alert.
It may also be of note to national security that a recent Israeli delegation to the city headed by Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuri Edelstein cited the 9/11 attacks as “an example of the destructive capability of terrorist groups governed, motivated and supported by the terrorist capital of the world — Iran.” Presumably, Minister Edelstein did not mention that his prime minister thought that those same attacks were “very good” for Israel.
- Why I Dislike Israel (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Eight American Muslims have filed a federal lawsuit to put an end to a post-9/11 surveillance program run by the New York Police Department. The lawsuit follows a New Jersey Attorney General probe saying the NYPD had done nothing wrong.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Newark Wednesday by Muslim Advocates, a group who has taken up the New Jersey Muslims’ cause. The suit claims that identifying as Muslim does not constitute “a legitimate criterion” for law-enforcement officials to target individuals for surveillance.
“This case is critical to protecting the civil rights of American Muslims and all Americans,” Muslim Advocates legal director Glen Katon said.
New Jersey Representative Rush Holt called the lawsuit “a thoughtful, sensible step toward bringing law enforcement practices back into line with constitutional protections and the standards of good policing.”
It is the first such legal action to directly challenge the NYPD for spying on Muslims following the attacks of September 11, 2001. An Associated Press investigation last year uncovered a systematic surveillance program that put entire Muslim neighborhoods under a watchful eye, recording the every move of their residents. Undercover police infiltrated dozens of mosques and student groups while investigating scores more in New York City and neighboring New Jersey.
Records showed that police paid special attention to grocery stores that carried halal or kosher food products, eavesdropped on Muslim-owned stores, cafes and hair salons, placed Mosques under surveillance during Friday prayers, and even went so far as to photograph an elementary school for Muslim girls.
While New Jersey lawmakers were up in arms upon learning of the intrusive spying program, after a three month review, the state’s attorney found there was no legal means to stop the NYPD from carrying out their practice of targeting mosques, business and student groups for surveillance.
Both NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg have supported the spying program, saying the information is obtained within departmental guidelines which are within constitutional bounds.
Kelly further stated that the 2001 attacks showed that the city could not rely solely on the federal government to provide for its security.
As it is, the program operates with limited oversight. The New York City Council claims it isn’t qualified to supervise intelligence operations, while Congress says the NYPD is out of its jurisdiction despite the billions in federal largesse the city receives each year.
Lawmakers and civil rights groups have urged the Justice Department to investigate the NYPD’s practices. A Justice Department spokeswoman said those requests were currently under review.
But Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, said state and federal stonewalling made the lawsuit inevitable.
“With New York officials refusing to look into the NYPD’s abuses, the New Jersey Attorney General saying his hands are tied, and the U.S. Department of Justice dragging its heels, this lawsuit is the victims’ last resort for justice to prevail.”
New York City appears to be going all out to win a world award for racism and bigotry. On February 24 the New York Post published a cartoon (1) depicting three men with long noses, long beards, turbans, and dishdashas assembling bombs in a locked upstairs tenement room. One of the men has a bomb strapped to his waist. He is looking out a window at a New York Police Department car in the street. The cartoon shows him speaking into the phone: “Hello, AP Press? . . . I’d like to register a complaint against the N.Y.P.D. for spying on us.”
This racist cartoon is an attempt at satire of an Associated Press story of February 20 exposing a blanket campaign of surveillance of Arabs and Muslims in New Jersey and upstate New York by the New York City Police Department. The surveillance was not only well outside New York City’s jurisdiction but also had no basis in any kind of criminal investigation. It was what the police would call an intelligence gathering operation, and what everyone else would call profiling and spying. It targeted Arabs and Muslims for being Arabs and Muslims, doing such things as attending mosques and meeting in campus student groups. The operation has been funded by the White House and advised by the CIA through both the Bush and Obama administrations. With this funding, the NYPD invented a new role for itself as a regional secret police force. Others have commented that had this cartoon depicted any other religious or ethnic group it would have been immediately condemned for its bigotry. Indeed, so would the entire NYPD spying program. But the “war on terror” has made it open season on Arabs and Muslims, so that instead of apologies from New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly and mayor Bloomberg, we got a back-in-your-face defense that the police are only trying to keep New York safe, and you’re lucky they are. The billionaire mayor used the mind-boggling reactionary argument that without the police doing what they do (destroying constitutional rights, among them freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly), we could not enjoy our freedoms and constitutional rights.
Not reported by any of the media so far was an outrageous attempt by an NYPD undercover agent to ensnare a young man as far away as Boston in a plot to undergird the war on terror by actually creating a “terrorist.” The young man was Tarek Mehanna, an Egyptian American and Muslim from Sudbury, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. Tarek wrote a statement (2) about this experience, which was read aloud to a rally on Boston Common on February 25. The statement says:
“In late 2005, I was approached by an individual whom I’d never met. Over the course of two years, he attempted to befriend me, and gradually began shifting otherwise mundane conversations to suggesting the need to “do something.” Eventually, this “something” that he was hounding me to “do” emerged as a plan of his to find American soldiers returning from Iraq (whose addresses he supposedly had) and kill them. He would show up at my house uninvited, and always try to steer the conversation in this directions, and I would steer it away and bury it, but he would never give up. Finally, I told this individual to never contact me again. “
Perhaps because of the fact that once the police have made someone a victim, they never let that person go, Tarek went on to being targeted by the FBI, who wanted him to become an informant at his mosque. When Tarek refused, the FBI simply made up stories about him, saying that he was planning to shoot up a shopping mall. This story was splashed all over the press, and Tarek then entered into a special hell prepared for him by the federal judicial system in the shape of the notorious Michael Sullivan, then US Attorney in Boston, and his corrupt prosecutor, Jeffrey Auerhahn, who brought him up on charges of terrorism (3).
Tarek’s statement goes on to say:
“Two years later, I found myself here in a Plymouth jail awaiting trial on terrorism charges. From day one, I related this to my lawyers, and that I was 100% sure this had been an attempt by the FBI to entrap me in one of their artificial “plots” so that they could have additional firepower in this case. But my lawyers explained that without some acknowledgement from the government, it would be impossible to prove. So we filed numerous motions over the course of the two years before trial requesting exculpatory evidence (i.e., evidence that would be in my favor) from the government regarding this, but they feigned ignorance, and said that they had nothing.”
From the time of his arrest by the FBI in October 2009 to the time of his trial in November 2011, the shopping mall shoot-up charge was forgotten and an equally bogus new charge of “material support for terrorism” was created. But a few months before that trial began Tarek’s lawyer got a call:
“Finally, in the early summer of 2011, my lawyer, Jay Carney, got a call from an Associated Press reporter who said that two sources within the NYPD had contacted her and confirmed to her that the NYPD had sent an undercover agent up to Boston to “befriend” me, and try to prod me into carrying out a “terrorist attack,” and that I had refused to go along (bingo!). Furthermore, these sources in the NYPD told this journalist that when the prosecutors in my case found out about this – the same prosecutors at my trial, Aloke Chakravarty and Jeffrey Auerhahn – they became frantic and called the NYPD to come up to Boston for a meeting, where they admonished them for “interfering” in my case. With this information, my lawyers filed an additional motion asking the judge to compel the government to disclose these details so that they could be mentioned at trial – the logic being that this is a “terrorism” trial, and here was an attempt by the government to actually push me to carry out an act of “terrorism,” and I had refused, and they were trying to cover this up. The motion was filed on July 15th, 2011.”
Now comes federal judge George O’Toole, an apparently affable man in black robes who appeared in court to have no prejudice one way or the other against the defendant, but who acted behind the scenes, in all rulings, from the beginning, to aid the prosecution and hobble the defense of now 29 year old Tarek Mehanna. At a hearing in August 2011, when the subject of airing NYPD’s role in court, before a jury, was brought up, Judge O’Toole made a cheating, underhanded agreement with the prosecutors behind closed doors. Tarek reports that his lawyer . . .
“ . . . mentioned to the judge that we were seeking exculpatory evidence from the government, as they had thus far given us none. And then he mentioned that from the items we sought were details of an attempt by the NYPD to prod me to engage in a domestic attack, which I refused, etc. This was apparently the first the prosecutors knew that we were privy to this, and the surprise was evident on their faces. The judge asked them if they knew anything about this, and Mr. Chakravarty’s response was an ambiguous “we have no information from our office on this, and it is the defendant who should know,” to which Jay stood up again, faced Mr. Chakravarty, and asked: “So you’re willing to say, on record, before the court, that no members of the NYPD came up to Boston at anytime to meet with you to discuss an attempt to prod Tarek Mehanna to engage in an act of terrorism that he refused to go along with?” The prosecutor’s response, verbatim, was: “Well, I didn’t say that either…”
O’Toole said he would wait to rule on the motion, and immediately, the prosecutors requested a private meeting with him in the judge’s chambers. He granted their request. My lawyers stood outside the judge’s door as the prosecutors walked in and protested: “Well, that’s not fair. How are you going to meet with the judge privately about this motion, and we have no idea what is being said?” But the judge met with them for almost 20 minutes. We will never know what was said in that meeting, but the next morning, O’Toole denied our motion, and that was the last anyone had ever heard of it: nothing about this topic was allowed to be mentioned to the jury at trial. Not a single word.”
This is just one story about one individual who was a part of NYPD’s attack on Arabs and Muslims. If the cartoon in the New York Post were accurate, it would show three white men in coats and ties, representing the CIA, the FBI, and New York City undercover police, bringing all the weight of the state against a young man (pictured on a torture rack) to present him to the public as someone about to commit a crime which they – the police – had not only thought up and provided the materials for, but miraculously “prevented.” The FBI agent would be calling the press to say, “Hey, we have another phony terrorism story for you – let’s keep the war going strong.” Outside the window would be an ignorant US public, eyes wide, ready to believe anything they were told.
The games of the police have consequences, as those in prison well know. Tarek Mehanna has now been in jail, in solitary confinement, for 866 days. He is real. His family is real. This racist scapegoating affects their lives. The NYPD, Mayor Bloomberg, and the Obama administration are not protecting anybody. They’re attacking innocent people in order to prop up a war that keeps them in power. This is the height of dishonesty and cowardice.
1 Cartoon republished at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/nypd-surveillance
2 See statement at Free Tarek website: http://www.freetarek.com/my-arrest-a-continued-explanation/
3 Richard Hugus, “FBI Repression in Boston”, February 2011, http://www.onepalestine.org/resources/articles/FBI_Repression_In_Boston.html
Jon Stewart, shame on you. You’re a propaganda spewing puppet and you’re no better than Glenn Beck.
In fact, the episode had been on the South Park website for viewing at any time for the past few years (they just removed it)… and nothing happened.
For 4 seasons they had that image in their opening segment for every single show… and nothing happened.
So for years on end no Muslim group, “radical” or otherwise, has threatened Matt and Trey or Comedy Central about the image of Muhammad that has been available for all to see every single day.
All of a sudden last week a group called “Revolution Muslim” threatened violence against Comedy Central if they aired an image of Muhammad which forced Comedy Central to censor the show and now you have even liberals talking about those “radical Muslims” and their threats of violence. Karl Rove couldn’t have done it any better.
Problem is, Revolution Muslim was started and run by a “converted” Israeli settler who studied at an orthodox rabbinical school in Israel before becoming a settler in the occupied territories.
You don’t think a orthadox Israeli settler would have any desire to see progressive Americans start to hate “radical Muslims” do you? You think “Revolution Muslim” helps or hurts the Israeli PR campaign after Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone Report?
Here’s the research your team should have done before you went out and spun-up the neoconish ”radicalized Muslim” hype for your progressive audience…
“Revolution Muslim” is always there to say just the wrong thing to make Americans hate “Radical Muslims”. They praised the killing of Daniel Pearl with a childish puppet show. They sent “Get Well” wishes to the guy who shot those 13 people at Fort Hood.
Yousef al-Khattab, 41, a radical Muslim in the borough of Queens who runs RevolutionMuslim.com, claims on the site that the soldiers massacred at the Texas base deserved to be massacred, and he insists the victims are in “eternal hellfire.” As for the suspected gunman — Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan — Al-Khattab hails him as a hero. Fox News
You can count on “Revolution Muslim” to say the wrong thing at the right moment to get Americans to hate all those “radical” Muslims.
But the only thing is… “Revolution Muslim” (his creative fake “Scary American Terrorist” website) was started and run by a man named Yousef al-Khattab. Yousef al-Khattab was born Joseph Cohen, in Brooklyn, New York. He was jewish. But not just jewish, he was a settler who went to Palestine to live on the illegal Israeli settlements.
Joseph Cohen isn’t alone though. There is another “radical Muslim” convert from Judaism (the original fake “scary American Terrorist“) who makes sure that “radical” Muslims are hated in America, his name is Adam Pearlman and he went by the “radicalized” Muslim name “Adam Gadahn.” Adam Pearlman is actually the grandson of a (deceased) member of the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League.
Gadahn grew up on a goat farm in rural Riverside County and moved to Santa Ana to live with his grandparents, the late Dr. Carl Pearlman and his wife, Agnes, in the mid-1990s. It was here that he learned of Islam via the Internet and later fell in with a radical sect at the Islamic Society of Orange County OC Register
And the funny thing is, after all that hate speech and those calls to violence, Cohen never got arrested. Hell, even Fox News knew exactly where he was. Guns, death threats, and all the rest and amazingly Yousef al-Khattab (Joseph Cohen) was never arrested.
A New York City bicycle cabbie who mocked the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl and posted a prayer on the Web calling for the murder of Jews is now sending a ‘Get Well Soon’ message to the suspected Fort Hood gunman, the New York Post reported.
After growing up in a Jewish neighborhood in New York and attending a orthodox rabbinical school in Israel, Joseph Cohen went to live in a settlement in the West Bank to help steal Palestinian land from Palestinians.
His story is that he “converted” to Islam after meeting someone in a chat room. You know what “settlers” are like in the occupied territories don’t you Mr. Stewart? Ever see that video of them beating the old Palestinian woman with a baseball bat?
Al-Khattab has claimed that he has nothing to do with the site anymore but the person he founded it with left prior to all of this earlier this month. al-Khattab claims to have quit the site in late Dec. last year. His partner who started it with him also claims to have quit the site earlier this month. I guess no one wanted to go to jail for issuing death-threats over the internet. But someone did it.
I find it funny that after being born and raised as a jewish person, after attending orthodox rabbinical school in Israel, and after being radical enough to move to occupied territories in Palestine to live as a settler (the most hard-core of Israeli Zionists), ALL OF A SUDDEN Joseph Cohen dropped all of that teaching and suddenly became a “radical Muslim’ after a chat in a chat room. He became a “radical Muslim” then just HAPPENED to move back to the city he lived in before… Brooklyn, N.Y.
Anybody believe that crap? Jon Stewart does. So much so he mocks “radical Muslims” for threatening South Park.
Now, go here and watch Jon Stewart joke and make derogatory comments about the group that threatened the creators of South Park for showing the image of Muhammad on their recent show. Then he thanks all the “other” religions for not behaving like the “Radical Muslims” did when Stewart makes fun of their religion. He then shows clip after clip showing how they have made fun of Jewish people without anyone threatening violence.
Radical Muslim is a COINTELPRO site, run by a “converted” Jewish settler pretending to be a “radical Muslim”. He is the ONE Muslim that complained about the South Park episode… an ex-radical Israeli settler, Mr. Stewart… real Muslims haven’t threatened South Park once since 2001 when they FIRST ran an image of the prophet on their show.