Civil Freedoms Under Threat

  • Judge rejects Hawaii bid to exempt grandparents from Trump’s travel ban

    Source: The Washington Post (7/6): Judge rejects Hawaii bid to exempt grandparents from Trump’s travel ban
    U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson wrote that he would not “usurp the prerogative of the Supreme Court,” and if those suing over the ban wanted relief, they should take their claims there. That means the government, at least for now, can use the travel ban to block citizens of the affected countries if they are the grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law of people in the United States. Officials can also block refugees with a formal assurance from a resettlement agency.

  • Flimsy evidence and fringe sources land people on secretive banking watchlist

    Source: The Intercept. A corporate database used by banks and other institutions to screen clients for crimes such as money laundering and terror financing has labeled dozens of U.S. citizens as connected to terrorism on the basis of outdated or unsubstantiated allegations. An analysis of a 2014 copy of the database, which is known as World-Check, also indicates that many thousands of people, including children, were listed on the basis of tenuous links to crime or to politically prominent persons. The database relied on allegations stemming from right-wing Islamophobic websites to categorize under “terrorism” people and groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, several mosques, and national and regional Islamic organizations.

  • An indigenous woman is facing federal charges for protesting the Dakota access pipeline

    Source: Alternet. In an escalation of the criminalization of protesters, an indigenous woman is facing several federal charges for her involvement in the Standing Rock protests last fall. Red Fawn Fallis, 38, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, has been indicted on three federal charges, including federal civil disorder—a charge that is rarely pursued. “Nobody I’ve worked with previously has ever seen that charge,” Attorney Sandra Freeman said. “It comes from a law that is usually only invoked with the federal government decides to prosecute people involved in resistance.”

  • Yates: No advance notice travel ban would be enacted

    Source: The Hill. Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates says she wasn’t given advance notice that President Trump’s first travel ban would be enacted. Justice Department and Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who examined the order were told not to discuss it with Yates. Trump fired Yates after she refused to enforce his first travel ban, which was ultimately halted by a federal court and replaced with a revised order.

  • Ikraan Abdurahman, speaking in Rochester, MN

    Ikraan Abdurahman, speaking in Rochester, MN [Video: 18 min. 53 sec.]

    Ikraan Abdurahman, speaking about her brother Zacharia Abdurahman who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a what could bes be called a “thought crime”. The event, “Islamophobia and the War on Terror”, was held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester, MN on May 5, 2017. The event was co-sponsored by NCPCF.

  • Jailed for a Facebook post: how US police target critics with arrest and prosecution

    Source: The Guardian. Robert Peralta’s life was derailed by a single Facebook comment. When the San Franciscan saw a well-known local activist had posted about being “choked” and “slammed” by a sheriff’s deputy at city hall, Peralta fired off a short response: “Wow, brother they wanna hit our general. It’s time to strike back. Peralta, a 35-year-old activist and musician, didn’t think twice about the 23 January Facebook thread until two months later, when he learned that police had issued a warrant for his arrest – accusing him of threatening to kill law enforcement.

  • Trump’s proposing a back door Muslim ban—Here’s how you can help stop it

    Source: Human Rights Campaign. The State Department, which overseas applicants for U.S. visas, has proposed new procedures and guidance aimed at certain applicants it considers a “threat to national security.” While it does not explicitly mention Muslims or specific countries, it is not hard to imagine who President Trump would label a “threat to national security.” You can show your support for Muslims and people from predominantly Muslim countries by submitting a public comment directly to the Office of Management and Budget.

  • Mariam Abu Ali – Islam and Preemptive Incarceration

    Mariam Abu Ali – Islam and Preemptive Incarceration [Video: 22 min. 39 sec]   Mariam Abu Ali, NCPCF Program Director, speaking at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, May 3, 2017. Mariam is sister to Ahmed Abu Ali, unjustly sentenced to life in prison. The event “Islam & Preemptive Incarceration” was co-sponsored […]

  • Oklahoma Governor signs anti-protest law imposing huge fines on “conspirator” organizations

    Source: The Intercept. A statute aimed at suppressing protests against oil and gas pipelines has been signed into law in Oklahoma, as a related bill advances through the state legislature. The two bills are part of a nationwide trend in anti-protest laws meant to significantly increase legal penalties for civil disobedience. The Oklahoma law signed this week is unique, however, in its broad targeting of groups “conspiring” with protesters accused of trespassing. Under the newly signed trespassing law individuals will face a felony and a minimum $10,000 fine if a court determines they entered property intending to damage, vandalize, deface, “impede or inhibit operations of the facility.” Should the trespasser actually succeed in “tampering” with the infrastructure, they face a $100,000 fine or 10 years of imprisonment. Significantly, the statute also implicates any organization “found to be a conspirator” with the trespasser, threatening collaborator groups with a fine “ten times” that imposed on the intruder — as much as $1 million in cases involving damage.

  • Civil rights groups vow to battle Trump’s ‘religious liberty’ order in court

    Source: NBC News. After President Donald Trump signed the Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty executive order on Thursday, civil rights groups announced plans to fight the order in court. The order is intended to cripple the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt religious organizations from political activities, speech, and fundraising. It also gives “regulatory relief” to companies that object to covering contraception for employees. For civil rights advocates, the most ominous aspect of the executive order is a section that directs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to issue sweeping — but so far undefined — guidance to federal agencies “interpreting religious liberty protections in federal law.”