Op-Eds

  • The reduction of Muslim Americans

    Opinions September 14, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Other Words. Both Democrats and Republicans are spreading the same Islamophobic message: you’re either with us, or you’re against us. At the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, I witnessed our leading politicians broadcast the kind of Islamophobic messages that can motivate the murder of innocent Muslims. Millions of Americans who followed the DNC heard former President Bill Clinton speak these words about American Muslims: “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win.” As a Muslim-American myself, I’m appalled by the suggestion that unless I prove I love freedom and hate terror, I may not be afforded the right to “stay.” I don’t see any other groups faced with this prerequisite.

     
  • Dear Americans: This law makes it possible to arrest and jail you indefinitely anytime

    Opinions September 2, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Steve Mariotti in The Huffington Post. In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with relatively little attention from the media―despite the freedoms it obliterated. The NDAA was enacted to empower the U.S. military to fight the war on terror. But buried in this law are two provisions (Sections 1021 and 1022) that authorize the indefinite military detention, without charge or trial, of any person labeled a “belligerent”―including an American citizen. These NDAA provisions (which have been re-approved by Congress and signed by President Obama every year since 2012) override habeas corpus―the essence of our justice system. Habeas corpus is the vital legal procedure that prevents the government from detaining you indefinitely without showing just cause. When will this bill expire?When the war on terror ends, that’s when these extraordinary military powers will end. And in all probability, the answer is never.

     
  • The FBI’s secret war

    Opinions August 31, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Jacobin. To get a sense of how little has changed, consider the FBI today. The Bureau now spends an inordinate amount of time and resources paying or otherwise bribing criminals into becoming paid informers, and using them to goad and entrap young, poor, and sometimes mentally handicapped Muslim men into carrying out terrorist attacks they would neither have the wherewithal nor intention of otherwise committing. Since 2014, at least eighty-eight people have been arrested on charges of supporting ISIS, many of which had little or no connection to the terrorist group. That doesn’t even count those arrested on more generic terrorism charges, typically in plots the FBI themselves have created. This is a continuation of methods the FBI pioneered during the COINTELPRO years, when the Bureau regularly paid provocateurs to infiltrate student protesters and urge violence.

     
  • Jonathan P. Baird: The dark night of Mohamedou Ould Slahi

    Opinions August 25, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Concord Monitor. In a little noticed story on July 14, the Periodic Review Board of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp approved the release of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen and author. What is unique about Slahi is that he is a best-selling author. In his book, Guantanamo Diary, he described his ordeal. Slahi spent nearly 14 years at Guantanamo. He was never charged with any crime. Author John le Carre described Slahi’s book as “a vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka.” Slahi’s story shows the danger in normalizing torture. Innocent people can be swept up in dragnets and get subjected to the sickest abuse. Guantanamo has done enormous damage to the moral authority of the United States. Torture leaves an indelible stain. We must never forget that torture remains a crime.

     
  • New book alleges CIA manipulates Hollywood to promote war on terror

    Opinions July 21, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Hollywood Reporter. You won’t actually see the words, “made with the cooperation of the CIA” in the credits of Zero Dark Thirty or Argo, but these films carry the Agency’s seal of approval, which is less about authenticity and more about myth-making. That’s what journalist Nicholas Schou calls it in his new book Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood. Zero Dark Thirty enjoyed abundant access to CIA headquarters, including people whose role in the mission was still classified, as well as a private dinner with some of those involved in the bin Laden takedown.

     
  • The dangers of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs

    Opinions July 19, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Psychology Today. Currently, the FBI, in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and other government agencies, is again launching programs that are at best doomed–and at worst designed—to disrupt the Muslim communities in cities where they are launched. Under the umbrella term Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) the programs include attempts, with no basis in evidence, to predict who might some day become violent due to a passionate investment in a cause. In the absence of evidence, the agencies are now asking people close to young Muslims to report to law enforcement, including local and federal enforcement agencies, on kids who they just think (note, without any knowledge of what the actual signs are) might be on a path towards extremism. We will not be participating in any CVE programs, and we strongly encourage other mental health professionals to also refuse.

     
  • Like a plague of locusts, FBI agents are poised to spread across the country

    Blogs July 1, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Dissent NewsWire. Last week, activists in Cleveland got visits from some unwelcome guests: FBI agents inquiring about their plans for protest at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Like a plague of prying locusts, visits by FBI agents are spreading: yesterday, they landed in Minneapolis – St. Paul. Eight years ago, St. Paul was the site of the Republican Convention. It was also the site of a massive police crackdown on protesters that included the massive presence of police in riot gear with helicopters circling overhead, unnecessary use of excessive force, arrests of journalists, spying, infiltration, informants, pre-emptive arrests and raids on activist offices and homes.

     
  • #RamadanBehindBars

    Blogs June 30, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Daily Outrage. Since the onset of the War on Terror, Muslims have been targeted by counter-terrorism policies that presume that they are innocent until proven Muslim. Ranging from indefinite detention to torture and murder, the Muslim body has become callously disregarded by the U.S. , , , While Muslims are mistreated and criminalized by the policies of the War on Terror, they still turn to God every year and practice the holy month of Ramadan. For Muslims, Ramadan offers the community a time a time of spiritual reflection, closeness to God, and food with family and friends. . . . Though Ramadan is a time of remembrance, many of the Muslim prisoners are forgotten to anyone other than their families. Treated only as numbered casualties of the War on Terror, few organizations attempt to even contact these prisoners. . . .In order to address the many forgotten prisoners post 9/11, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) emerged out of the need to support prisoners, and the families of prisoners, held because of the War on Terror. Dr. Maha Hilal, Executive Director, NCPCF

     
  • I help innocent people get off terrorism watch lists. As a gun control tool, they’re useless.

    Opinions June 28, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Washington Post. The notorious No Fly List, which contained only 16 names on Sept. 11, 2001, has now grown to 81,000. People are supposedly put on the list based on a “reasonable suspicion” that they are known or suspected of somehow being connected to terrorism. In America, “reasonable suspicion” is the low standard by which your rights are trampled if you have the misfortune of not being white or privileged. It is based on reasonable suspicion, for example, that poor black and Latino youths in New York City are stopped and frisked by police in their own neighborhoods. And it is based on reasonable suspicion that Muslims get thrown on terrorist watch lists. The watch lists operate like a ratchet: It is beyond easy for a government official to “nominate” someone for listing, yet exceedingly difficult to be removed. And the consequences of such highly arbitrary and potentially abusive government action can be devastating. Real gun control can take many forms. But claiming that terror watch lists are the solution defies logic. That sort of proposal offers only the illusion of progress on gun control, while marking a setback for both equality among Americans and safety from gun violence.

     
  • FBI guidelines weaken separation of community outreach and intelligence gathering efforts

    Opinions June 8, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Just Security. Community outreach programs are a staple of modern law enforcement, designed to build trust, address local concerns, and communicate effectively with the public — at least in theory. But in recent years, some outreach programs have revealed an ulterior motive at work: intelligence gathering. Revised FBI guidelines obtained by the Brennan Center show that these programs — which claim to be aimed at building public trust — appear indifferent to the toll on community relationships caused by treating potential partners as intelligence subjects. Based on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, we found that FBI field offices in Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Seattle, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Denver were designated for “specialized outreach” programs, intended to support FBI Field Intelligence Groups and other “operational programs throughout the Bureau.”