Op-Eds

  • Trump loves saying “radical Islamic terrorism.” He has a tough time with “white supremacy.”

    Opinions August 14, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Vox. Trump’s insistence on using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was always seen by terrorism experts as a mistake, as the phrase inaccurately implies that groups like ISIS speak for the entirety of the Muslim religion. They argued that using the phrase alienates Muslim allies in the fight against extremism. By contrast, Trump’s unwillingness to label white supremacists as such encourages those groups and their followers. They see President Trump as a tacit ally; alt-right leader Richard Spencer once said the president has a “psychic connection” with his movement.

     
  • The Reichstag Fire next time

    Opinions August 3, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Harper’s Magazine. That we seem so certain of the outlines of the Reichstag fire to come reveals the fact that it has already occurred. Among the victims of the sixteen-year-old state of exception are hundreds of individuals identified, prosecuted, and sentenced under emergency rules. Since the war on terror began, the United States has prosecuted an average of forty terrorism cases per year, about half of them on the basis of informant operations. Convictions that result from such cases—and convictions result almost without fail, usually as the result of a plea bargain—fetch higher sentences because of something known as the terrorism adjustment in federal sentencing guidelines. The adjustment went into effect following the World Trade Center bombing of 1993 but was used most widely after 9/11.

     
  • This piece of pro-Israel legislation is a serious threat to free speech

    Opinions July 24, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Washington Post. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and in the House by Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), would make it a crime to support or even furnish information about a boycott directed at Israel or its businesses called by the United Nations, the European Union or any other “international governmental organization.” Violations would be punishable by civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The American Civil Liberties Union, where we both work, takes no position for or against campaigns to boycott Israel or any other foreign country. But since our organization’s founding in 1920, the ACLU has defended the right to collective action. This bill threatens that right.

     
  • Amnesty slams latest Supreme Court ruling on ‘cruel and discriminatory’ Muslim ban

    Opinions July 19, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Common Dreams. The decision from the Supreme Court, said Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, “jeopardizes the safety of thousands of people across the world including vulnerable families fleeing war and violence.” “On top of that,” she continued, “this prolonged legal battle is creating further distress and confusion for ordinary people who need to visit the U.S. to get medical attention, reunite with family, or get an education. No part of this cruel and discriminatory ban is reasonable. Congress must intervene and end the ban once and for all.”

     
  • The Trump administration provides one more reason to discontinue CVE

    Opinions July 12, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Just Security. CVE has three principal weaknesses, all of which have become pretty much impossible to ignore in the Trump administration. First, CVE programs often use a disproven approach of trying to identify individuals vulnerable to “radicalization” in order to divert them to more productive paths than terrorism. A related problem with CVE is its almost exclusive focus on Muslim communities. Finally, Muslim communities – which have been the target of extensive surveillance by law enforcement since the 9/11 attacks, including under the guise of community outreach programs – were understandably concerned that CVE was just another intelligence-gathering exercise.

     
  • What the senate should ask FBI nominee Christopher Wray

    Editorials July 12, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: The Nation. “In the same testimony, Wray cited as an example of the Patriot Act’s success the indictment of Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian’s initial indictment under the Patriot Act led to protracted legal wrangling that continued well into the Obama era and was little more than a political persecution meant to punish an outspoken member of the Muslim community. In spite of an attempted rehabilitation of Bush, in order to portray Trump’s own Islamophobia and authoritarianism as sui generis, Bush’s war on terror included a domestic assault on Muslim civil society. A number of people within Trump’s orbit support such a policy, meaning that properly vetting the next director of the FBI must include getting him on the record about how he feels about using the FBI as a vehicle to destroy Muslim civil society.”

     
  • Politico’s poll on Trump’s travel ban is fake news

    Opinions July 5, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Think Progress. This morning, Politico published a story with a provocative headline: “Poll: Majority of voters back Trump travel ban.” There is only one problem with this story: it isn’t true. Politico did not even ask a polling question ab0ut the latest version of Trump’s travel ban, which is expressed in a March 7 executive order. Rather, the poll asked about “new guidelines which say visa applicants from six predominately Muslim countries must prove a close family relationship with a U.S. resident in order to enter the country.” These guidelines are not Trump’s policy, but a requirement imposed through a per curium order of the Supreme Court.

     
  • Why am I facing 75 years in prison?

    Editorials July 3, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: AlJazeera. The prosecutor would like to depoliticise the charges we are facing, but the reality is that this case is not about so-called “criminal behaviour”: This case is about turning protesters into felons, and the criminalisation of resistance. The state is perfectly willing to permit thousands of people to wear safety pins and pussyhats, march along well-policed parade routes, and powerlessly petition their authorities for change – so long as they do not shatter the illusion of everyday politics or disrupt the constant flow of capital. But what Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter have taught us all is that if a community’s resistance is perceived as effective then the full measure of state violence will be used to neutralise it.

     
  • Think the Supreme Court isn’t inching us toward Trump’s Muslim ban? Think again

    Opinions June 27, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Daily Beast. The U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday reinstating a portion of President Trump’s Muslim ban is an alarming step to legitimizing anti-Muslim bigotry and possibly even one day legalizing discrimination against American Muslims. If you have any doubt, just check out Twitter, as self-professed Trump supporters cheered what they saw as being a first step on the way to Trump’s declared goal of a “total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States.” But why wouldn’t they rejoice, considering 65 percent of GOP primary voters support Trump’s call for a total Muslim ban? Yet we are told time and time again that Trump voters were motivated by “economic anxiety” not bigotry. It’s hard to even write that line without laughing.

     
  • What’s hidden behind the walls of US prisons

    Opinions June 14, 2017 at 0 comments

    Source: Truthout (6/14): What’s Hidden Behind the Walls of US Prisons
    Prisons are built to be out of sight and are, thus, out of mind. Somehow, even though these institutions contain human beings, including children, and even though we are the ones who cough up the billion of dollars that it costs to run them, we are expected simply to trust that they are operated humanely and that they in fact make our society safer. Throughout American history unspeakable abuse of men and women has been allowed to happen behind prison walls because the public had no access.