NCPCF News Digest – Issue No. 79 –  May 22, 2012

‘Civil Freedoms for All’

“It is my conviction that if we are neutral in situations of injustice, we have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  Archbishop Desmond Tutu

In this issue

Sign Ziyad Yaghi Petition: Investigate the case of Ziyad Yaghi who is wrongfully imprisoned

Indefinite Detention Without Charge Knocked Down by Court to Be Revived by Congress

NATO Summit Protesters Faced Police Raid and Arrests in Chicago On Wednesday

Fight for your Right to Dissent: A Town Hall on Civil Liberties

Terror Suspects Claim ‘Entrapment To The Highest Degree’ By Undercover Cops

NYPD training changes in stop-and-frisk policy amid allegations of racial profiling


Latest Organization to join NCPCF

United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) 

For list of NCPCF member organizations: Click Here

Upcoming Events

A. MCLU Event: June 2, 2012 – Houston, TX – 2:00-4:00 PM

Solidarity with those in Solitary Confinement

B. NCPCF Event: June 2, 2012 – Minneapolis, MN – 3:00-6:00 PM
Co-Sponsored by: Committee to stop FBI Repression
Fight for your Right to Dissent: A Town Hall on Civil Liberties 

C. NCPCF Event: June 5, 2012 – Decorah, IA – 7:00-9:00 PM

Are Your Civil Liberties in Danger?

D. Two NCPCF Event: June 8-9, 2012 – Dearborn, MI – 5:30-7:30 PM

When will there be justice for Muslim Americans?

Action Items

Sign Ziyad Yaghi Petition: Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois: Investigate the case of Ziyad Yaghi who is wrongfully imprisoned

Poll of the Week 

In light of the recent ruling by a federal judge invalidating some parts of the NDAA, do you believe the judiciary branch can stop the excesses of the administration and congress in national security overreach?

Website of the Week  

United National Antiwar Coalition

Portraits of Injustice/Voices of Victims of Repression

Ehsanul Sadequee- May 6, 2012 ”In solitary and transferred because of his faith.”

Mohammad Shnewer  – May 17, 2012 “Denied basic religious rights and punished for demanding his rights.” 

NATO Summit Protests Reports

(5/14): People’s Summit opens a week of protest against NATO in Chicago

(5/15): A summit to represent us

News Digest

Pre-Crime Reports/Pre-emptive Prosecutions/Thought Crimes/Entrapment/Material Support

A. Chicago Tribune (5/19): Cops: Protesters threatened that ‘city will never be the same’

The men’s attorney, Michael Deutsch, accused authorities of entrapment and suggested police targeted the men because of their anti-establishment views. The trio also was in a car that was stopped by police a week ago, leading to a YouTube video of the stop that has prompted protesters to complain Chicago police were harassing the car’s occupants. “What we believe is that this is a way to stir up prejudice against people exercising their First Amendment rights,” Deutsch told a throng of reporters after the hearing.

B. Chicago Tribune (5/20): 2 accused in bomb-making schemes tied to NATO summit

Molly Armour, a National Lawyers Guild attorney representing Senakiewicz, who works as a mechanic, called the accusations “extremely sensationalized charges.” “He’s a political man being targeted because of his beliefs,” Armour said…. Neiweem’s attorney, Steven Saltzman, said his client had been in custody for at least 66 hours before he was charged, well beyond the 48-hour legal limit.

C. Chicagoist (5/21): Terror Suspects Claim ‘Entrapment To The Highest Degree’ By Undercover Cops

In a piece titled “Whose Firebombs?” Newstips writes: Chicago police have a long history of infiltrating peaceful protest groups and fomenting violence – it’s one reason the Red Squad was banned by a federal court order (later lifted at the request of Mayor Daley) – and infiltration of protest groups seems to be standard operating procedure for “national security events.” And nationally since 9/11, an embarrassing proportion of “anti-terrorism” cases have involved plots proposed, planned, and enabled by police agents.

Featured Stories

Schenectady Daily Gazette (5/20): Imprisoned Aref says his heart is ‘full of peace’

Six years into prison term, imam still fighting for release.


(5/17): NYPD announces training changes in stop-and-frisk policy amid allegations of racial profiling

Last year, more than 630,000 people were stopped, mostly black and Hispanic men. About half are frisked, and only about 10 percent are arrested…. [Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly] created a new training course detailing how to conduct a lawful stop, following a review of the stop, question and frisk encounters. More than 1,500 officers who work in the highest-crime areas are receiving the training, and more will follow, Kelly said.

Islamophobia and Civil Rights (5/18): Distrust lingers over NYPD surveillance for some North Jersey Muslims

A Paterson mosque backs out of a meeting with an FBI official, saying the timing is “too sensitive.” A community leader who worships in Teaneck says he rarely calls his law enforcement sources anymore. College students in Piscataway are advised what to do if they are questioned by federal agents. A sense of anxiety and unease continues to grip some members of the Muslim community in the fallout from the New York Police Department’s surveillance controversy — and that distrust has undermined cooperation with law enforcement agencies that rely on Arab- and Muslim-Americans as partners in the fight against homegrown terrorism, some local leaders say.

Civil Freedoms Under Threat (5/18): NATO Summit Protesters Faced Police Raid and Arrests in Chicago On Wednesday

“I’d like to stress that we have done nothing wrong,” Zoe Sigman, an Occupy Chicago activist told Kunichoff, whose home was raided. “We have been planning to protest NATO and there is nothing illegal about expressing our feelings about a war machine. Now we’re being treated as mere criminals. As if we’re part of an organized crime that they’re trying to take down. Who knows what they’re going to pin on us. We’re terrified.” Occupy Chicago, in a press release, says that the CPD’s behavior is the hallmark of a “militarized police state…. The takeaway, as is obvious: the tools of imperial repression have made their way home for those protesting the U.S. Empire in Chicago this weekend at the NATO Summit.

Government Policy Under Scrutiny

A. (5/17): Racial Profiling Bill And Secure Communities Intersect

[I]n Connecticut racial profiling is still a prominent issue in part because of the East Haven police scandal and a Hartford Courant analysis of traffic stop data that found Black and Hispanic drivers were more likely to come away with a ticket or citation. “The perception that this is happening for no apparent reason other than racial profiling is very real,” Lawlor said Thursday. “I think our ability to provide some empirical evidence and a case-by-case explanation of why decisions were made will really help inform the whole discussion.” The new legislation has added significance due to its potential to keep tabs on the impact of the Secure Communities program, Lawlor said. Connecticut has resisted implementation of the federal initiative over concerns it turns local cops into immigration agents, making victims and witnesses reluctant to cooperate.

B. The Hill (5/18): Lawmakers back indefinite detention for terror suspects in US

Lawmakers rejected an amendment that would have barred military detention for terror suspects captured in the United States on a 182-231 vote, beating back the proposal from a coalition of liberal Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans led by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.)…. Smith and Amash had hoped to attract enough support from libertarian-leaning Republicans to pass their measure, but only 19 Republicans voted for it, while 19 Democrats voted against. The detainee fight is shaping up to be one of the biggest for this year’s $643 billion defense authorization bill. The issue nearly derailed passage of last year’s version.

See also: Live Wire (5/18): House Endorses NDAA’s Indefinite Detention (5/19): Congress still okay with indefinite detention and torture of Americann

C. Los Angeles Times (5/19): Supreme Court considers whether to take up anti-terrorism laws

The Supreme Court, after a four-year break from terrorism issues, is set to decide as soon as Monday whether to again take up constitutional challenges to George W. Bush-era anti-terrorism laws involving wiretapping and the Guantanamo prisoners. In one case, the Obama administration is asking the court to block a suit against the government’s monitoring of international phone calls and emails. And in the other set of appeals, lawyers for six detainees at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are asking the justices to make good on their promise of four years ago and give the inmates a “meaningful opportunity” to be released.


A. Congressmen Adam Smith and Justin Amash in Politico (5/17): The case against ‘indefinite detention’

The mandatory detention provision was opposed by virtually every national security expert that looked at it — including the heads of the CIA, the Defense Department, the FBI and the director of National Intelligence, as well as several Bush administration national security officials. Leaving these powers on the books is not only a dangerous threat to our civil liberties, but also undermines one of our strongest assets in trying suspected terrorists: Article III courts and domestic law enforcement. Since Sept. 11, the federal government has successfully prosecuted more than 400 defendants charged with crimes related to international terrorism. That is a proven track record of success that we should embrace.

B. New York Times Editorial (5/18): A New Attack on the Constitution

On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down a law allowing the indefinite detention of anyone suspected of terrorism on American soil as a violation of free speech and due process. Two days later, the House made it clear it considered those to be petty concerns, voting to keep the repellent practice of indefinite detention on the books. On a 238-to-182 vote, it rejected a proposal for something so basic that it is hard to believe there was an argument about it: a formal charge and trial for anyone arrested in the United States. You might have thought that was guaranteed in the Constitution, but that right was stripped away in last year’s military policy bill, signed by President Obama, which made an exception for terror suspects…. [T]he bill essentially allowed presidents to brand anyone a terrorist and lock them up for life without a trial.

C. Rev. Richard Killmer in the Huffington Post (5/21): An Apology to Maher Arar — Moving Beyond the Season of Fear

It is important that the discussions about torture always keep the experiences of survivors of torture clearly in mind. More can be learned about the unfathomable horror that torture survivors experienced from the Torture Abolition Survivors Support Coalition International. Maher Arar is a torture survivor…. He was detained by Syria for 12 months — 10 of which were spent confined to a small, underground cell — and he was tortured. Arar reports that he was beaten regularly with shredded cables, and locked in a 3-foot by 6-foot “grave” with no light and many rats.


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NCPCF Mission

Established in October 2010, the NCPCF is a coalition of national and local organizations as well as prominent individuals, whose mission is: To educate the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms in the society, and the abuses of prisoners within the U.S. criminal justice system especially after 9/11, and to advocate for the preservation of those freedoms and to defend those rights according to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related UN Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions.


Member Organizations

American Muslim Alliance (AMA) – Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) – Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) – Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) – Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) – Defending Dissent Foundation (DDF) – Desis, Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) – Friends of Human Rights (FHR) – International Action Center (IAC) – Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice (ICNA-CSJ) – Muslim American Society Freedom (MAS-F) -Muslim Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) – Muslim Justice Initiative (MJI) – Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) – National Lawyers Guild (NLG) – National Liberty Fund (NLF) – The Peace Thru Justice Foundation (PTJF) – Project Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims (Project SALAM) – Universal Justice Foundation (UJF).


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