• Third Circuit to the city of New York: Being Muslim is not reasonable suspicion for surveillance

    Blogs October 15, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: EFF. Being Muslim can’t be the basis for law enforcement surveillance. That was the message from the Third Circuit on Tuesday when it told the plaintiffs in Hassan v. The City of New York that their lawsuit could go forward. The plaintiffs are suing over the New York Police Department’s suspicionless mass surveillance operation revealed by the Associated Press in 2011. The NYPD targeted the plaintiffs, who include student groups, imams, business owners, and individuals, based solely on religion. The court’s decision affirms what should be an obvious principle: being Muslim (or from a country with a lot of Muslims) is not reasonable suspicion. But it did more than that. It gave the City a history lesson that bears repeating . . . The Third Circuit has placed the NYPD’s surveillance in its proper place, in the context of our history. For us not to fall into tyranny, we must never forget that history.

  • How no-fly lists are used to punish political protesters

    Blogs September 20, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Alternet. It was August 2002. My partner Jan Adams and I were just beginning our annual pilgrimage to Massachusetts to visit my father and stepmother. At the check-in line at San Francisco International Airport, we handed over our driver’s licenses and waited for the airline ticket agent to find our flight and reservation. Suddenly, she got a funny look on her face. “There’s something wrong with the computer,” she said. “I need to talk to my supervisor.” So began a day of confusion and fear, followed by several years of indignation, frustration, and litigation, as we struggled to find out why — as the agent’s supervisor soon informed us with a similarly strange look on her face — we’d both “turned up on the FBI’s no-fly list.” Her eyes grew wide as she looked us over. “I don’t understand it,” she said. “You don’t fit the profile.”

  • 14 years after 9/11, the war on terror is accomplishing everything bin Laden hoped it would

    Blogs September 8, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Nation. Fourteen years later and do you even believe it? Fourteen years of wars, interventions, assassinations, torture, kidnappings, black sites, the growth of the American national security state to monumental proportions, and the spread of Islamic extremism across much of the Greater Middle East and Africa.Fourteen years of the burial of American democracy (or rather its recreation as a billionaire’s playground and a source of spectacle and entertainment but not governance). Fourteen years of the spread of secrecy, the classification of every document in sight, the fierce prosecution of whistleblowers, and a faith-based urge to keep Americans “secure” by leaving them in the dark about what their government is doing.

  • US military now has authority to “capture and punish” journalists who they deem “belligerent”

    Blogs August 28, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Free Thought Project. Newly adopted Department of Defense guidelines will allow military commanders to “punish journalists” and treat them as “unprivileged belligerents.”The DoD’s 1,180 page Law of War Manual outlines provisions for military commanders to violate the rights of journalists who they disagree with in vaguely written legal speak. Adding in this vaguely written language that specifically mentions ‘journalists’ can only be interpreted as a means to silence dissent.

  • The real Muslim American threat? It’s against us

    Blogs August 27, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Daily Beast. There’s a growing threat in America involving Muslims. The FBI has even recently issued a warning to alert local law enforcement about it. But our politicians and media continue to ignore it. The threat I’m speaking of is not “radical Islam,” as the right loves to call it. Rather I’m talking the threat of “radical Americans” who are plotting to kill Muslim Americans and to stoke the flames of hate versus Muslims in hopes that others will be inspired to do just that. In fact, the threat against Muslim Americans by radical Americans has escalated to the point that the FBI recently issued an alert titled “Militia Extremists Expand Target Sets To Include Muslims.” This FBI warning notes that based on the evidence collected, it has “high confidence” that “domestic extremists” are planning violence against Muslim Americans.

  • Islam’s lunatic fringe and Islamophobes have a lot in common

    Blogs August 6, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source:The Huffington Post. Islam’s lunatic fringe insists that Muslims must convert or kill non-Muslims — incredibly frustrating to Muslims world over. Likewise, Islamophobes want non-Muslims to believe that Islam is genocidal and a threat to Western civilization, even if Muslims built much of that civilization and continue to refresh it. . . . Both cohorts repeatedly focus on select sentences in the Qur’an to defend their hatred of the other. . . . let’s understand what they have to ignore… 1) More than six thousand sentences in the Qur’an and instead exclusively focus on about a dozen prima facie troublesome sentences. In other words, they have to ignore 99.81 per cent of the Qur’an.

  • People who should be released from jail are dying there instead

    Blogs July 29, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Fusion. Jails, unlike prisons, are mostly for people who have not had a trial yet. “About six out of every ten inmates in this country is unconvicted,” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director at the Pretrial Justice Institute, a national advocacy group. “Most of them are for misdemeanors, and most of them are low-level charges. If they had their risks assessed, they would be identified as low-risk, and they should never be booked or held in the first place.” In 2012, the latest year for which federal data is available, 73.2% of inmates who died in jail for any reason had not been convicted of a crime. That’s 698 people. About 90 percent of incarcerated pre-trial defendants are in jail only because they don’t have the money to post bond. Overall, minorities are bearing a disproportionate burden of an unjust jail system.

  • Irfan Khan – 319 days in solitary confinement, then released due to lack of evidence

    Blogs July 11, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: MLFA. Irfan Khan immigrated to the U.S. to pursue a life of freedom and prosperity — the American Dream. He worked hard as a taxi driver, service technician and limousine company manager and eventually became a proud naturalized American citizen. In may of 2011, Irfan was charged with providing material support for terrorism. Irfan spent the next 319 days in solitary confinement before prosecutors and a federal judge dropped all charges against him. It turns out, the FBI had no evidence to support their claims. The only reason for his detention was that Irfan was a Muslim from Pakistan. Muslim Legal Fund of America is funding Irfan Khan’s lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and Department of Bureau of Prison for false arrest, imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

  • Got to be thwarting something: FBI claims it stopped unspecified mayhem, possibly on July 4

    Blogs July 9, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: FAIR. Last week, in the wake of another vague terror warning issued by the government, FAIR reported how FBI terror warnings have a long history of always being wrong. So it was curious, to say the least, when on Thursday the FBI asserted to CNN’s Jim Sciutto that “a number” of “ISIS-inspired” terror plots had been “thwarted” from “coast to coast” over the Fourth of July weekend. So the arrests were of people without “elaborate plans” who are “unreliable in terms of when they’re going to act.” It’s not even clear that they were intending to act, since it’s “hard to figure out when they’re trying to kill somebody.” But not hard to get the media to report as fact that these plan-less, unreliably scheduled suspects who may or may not have been trying to kill anybody had “ISIS terrorist plots linked to the Fourth of July holiday.”

  • On flags, fireworks, hot dogs, and torture

    Blogs July 7, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Vice. Last week, as millions of Americans prepared to celebrate freedom, independence, and other lofty values on July 4, two men were quietly released from a prison in Afghanistan after spending more than a decade without charge or due process in US custody. Oh, and they were brutally tortured. For those men and their loved ones, it is an injustice that ended only recently with their release. And contrary to popular perception and political rhetoric, what happened to those men can happen again to others. Indeed, with the authority that has been so carefully carved out for the CIA and other components of the national security state, it could already be happening in the shadows.