NCPCF Vol. IV-Issue No. 255
NEWS DIGEST Tuesday, April 8, 2014
‘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
DOJ Notifies Terror Suspect Evidence Gathered Through NSA Program
British man: If I testify in US, I’ll be arrested
The Agenda Behind Honor Diaries
The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror
Angus King: Cheney Should Try Waterboarding ‘If He Doesn’t Think That Was Torture’
Senate panel finds CIA illegally interrogated terror suspects after Sept. 11
Judge dismisses lawsuit over drone strikes in Yemen that killed al-Awlaki
Take CIA out of loop on torture report
Who’s “Emotional” – Feinstein or the C.I.A.?
Solitary confinement’s mockery of human rights
Perspective: Five myths about the Boston Marathon bombing
New York Against Prison Injustice: March and Rally. May 5th, 12:30 pm, Albany, East Capitol Park (Eagle Street between Washington Avenue and State Street). Keynote speaker: Cornel West. Free buses from NYC and Upstate. For more information,- firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-434-4037
A. Help Dr. Hossein Lahiji & Attorney Najmeh Vahid (Lahijis) be reunited with their children. Sign the Petition to commute the 10-month prison sentences of Dr. Lahiji & his wife and return them to their 4 US-citizen minor children in Iran. If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by April 20, 2014, the White House will review it and respond!
B. Ziyad Yaghi #51771-056 is still in the Special Housing Unit at the maximum security federal prison in Coleman, Florida. He has been there since October. In addition, he has not been receiving his mail for over a month. Please complain about this situation to Charles Lockett, Warden, Federal Correctional Complex- USP-2, PO Box 1024, Coleman, FL 33521-1021 and also the Bureau of Prisons.
C. Surveillance State Repeal Act (H.R.2818) introduced by Rep. Rush Holt, would repeal the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Both laws have received harsh criticism since classified information leaked by Edward Snowden revealed widespread electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ask your representative to support this important bill. Find your representative Here, and let your representative hear from you on a regular basis.
Website of the Week
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression began in response to the FBI raids on seven homes and an anti-war office on Friday, September 24, 2010. The FBI also handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to fourteen activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. Across the country organizations and individuals are standing together to protest the United States government’s attempt to silence and criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists.
Portraits of Injustice/Voices of Victims of Repression
Law at the Margins (4/5): Perspectives: Shifa, from Prayers to Plexiglass
By S. Sadequee. Ehsanul Sadeque is currently in a federal prison in a Communication Management Unit. A sister tells his story. “Shifa’s wellbeing behind bars is always confining our minds, especially my parents as they are unable to be there for him. This is a punishment for us that began with his illegal kidnapping and incarceration. The horrid Bureau of Prison in Atlanta made us visit him through a video monitor and headphones when he was in solitary confinement for over three years before his trial had even begun. When we were allowed contact visits once or twice a year for holidays after many requests, the prison forced us to see him in orange jump-suit shackled with chains in his feet and hands. The iron manacles did not allow him to open a soda can or eat anything we bought him from the vending machine.”
Pre-Crime Reports/Pre-emptive Prosecutions/Thought Crimes/Entrapment/Material Support
A. Wall Street Journal (4/3): DOJ Notifies Terror Suspect Evidence Gathered Through NSA Program
Federal prosecutors have notified a terror suspect in Portland, Ore., that some of the evidence against him was gathered through the controversial National Security Agency bulk surveillance program–marking another case where judges will likely have to rule on the legality of such government programs. Reaz Qadir Khan, 48, is the fourth terror suspect in the U.S. to receive such a notification. The first came in October, when the Justice Department issued a similar notice to a man awaiting trial in Colorado on charges he sought to aid a terror group in Syria.
B. Washington Post (4/4): British man: If I testify in US, I’ll be arrested
A British man who quit a 2001 shoe-bomb plot and became a valuable witness at terrorism trials told a judge Friday that he does not want to testify in the United States because he’ll be arrested on terrorism charges filed in Boston. Saajid Badat spoke to U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest via a video link from the United Kingdom several days after the judge told lawyers she thought Badat might surprise them and agree to testify in the United States if she asked him a series of direct questions.
A. Tikun Olam (4/4): Brandeis Awards Islamophobe Ayan Hirsi Ali Honorary Degree
“It’s commencement time and universities are proudly announcing who they’ve snagged as honorary degree and commencement speakers. Brandeis has an august list including Geoffrey Canada and Jill Abramson, worthy honorees certainly. But one choice stands out like a sore thumb: Ayan Hirsi Ali. Readers will recall that she is the executive producer of Honor Diaries, the latest bit of Islamophobe propaganda from the Clarion Project shop. I also reported that she gave an interview in Reason Magazine in which an incredulous interviewer got her to admit she favored extermination of Islam, even by military means. It’s an extraordinary account of unfettered almost genocidal hate.”
B. Letters from the Underground (4/1): The Agenda Behind Honor Diaries
When reviewing films like Honor Diaries it is imperative we know the figures behind their creation and distribution — from producers and writers to the organizations which sponsored and helped in the shaping of the films. This assessment goes beyond researching the backgrounds of those interviewed and helps us examine the presence of political agendas and ulterior motivations. Honor Diaries certainly lives up to its purpose of being “more than a movie” as we come to find that those working behind the scenes use the films theme, that of women’s rights abuses, as a way in which to obscure their involvement in histrionic anti-Islam campaigns; they continue to push their Islamophobia, this time with a semblance of legitimacy.
Islamophobia and Civil Rights
A. The Guardian (4/3): The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror – review
Arun Kundnani has written a sharp study of anti-Islam hysteria. Arun Kundnani’s book, vastly more intelligent than the usual “war on terror” verbiage, focuses on the war’s domestic edge in Britain and America. His starting point is this: “Terrorism is not the product of radical politics but a symptom of political impotence.” The antidote therefore seems self-evident: “A strong, active and confident Muslim community enjoying its civic rights to the full.” Yet policy on both sides of the Atlantic has ended by criminalising Muslim opinion, silencing speech and increasing social division. These results may make political violence more, not less, likely.
B. Todd Fine in Medium.com: The Rhetoric of “Islamic Terrorism” and the September 11 Memorial Museum
“The curatorial team made numerous politically-charged decisions in the design of the museum’s permanent exhibition, and one of the most sensitive, and likely subject to substantial international scrutiny, will be the characterization of Islam in relation to the ideology of al-Qaeda. Islam is the religion of nearly one-fourth of the world’s population, and tying the beliefs of 1.6 billion people to the actions of a small group would be highly reckless in such a prominent setting. Therefore, I was alarmed to discover that the museum has indeed chosen to conflate terrorism and religion, with their advance materials using the highly problematic term “Islamic terrorism.
Prison Conditions and Abuse/CMUs
A. The Washington Post (4/3): Lawsuit: Feds retaliating against hunger strikers
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has retaliated against about 20 immigrant hunger strikers and supporters at a Washington detention facility by sticking them in solitary confinement, activists said Thursday, and two legal groups sued to halt the practice.
B. The Nation (4/4): After Lawsuit, ICE Releases Hunger Strikers From Solitary Confinement
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials removed immigrant hunger strikers from solitary confinement Thursday, according to attorneys representing three of the detainees. The move comes shortly after the American Civil Liberties Union Washington and Columbia Legal Services (CLS) filed a lawsuit claiming ICE officials placed the detainess in isolation cells in retaliation against their protest activities. The lawsuit argued that punishing inmates for staging a hunger strike violates their free speech rights.
C. Catholic Herald (4/4): Bishop urges US to take ‘clear stance against torture’
The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has said he welcomes the possible release of a Senate intelligence committee report that says the CIA used torture techniques in interrogating some terror suspects after 9/11. “It is time for the United States to take a clear stance against torture. Release of the full report on CIA interrogation practices will help our country strengthen its moral credibility,” said Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa.
D. Huffington Post (4/6): Angus King Thinks Dick Cheney Should Try Waterboarding ‘If He Doesn’t Think That Was Torture’
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney should give waterboarding a try himself if he doesn’t believe the interrogation tactic qualifies as torture. During a visit to American University in Washington, D.C. late last month, Cheney said he had no regrets over the controversial interrogation practices used by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Bush administration.
Civil Freedoms Under Threat
A. Miami Herald (4/3): McClatchy: Senate panel finds CIA illegally interrogated terror suspects after Sept. 11
CIA officers subjected some terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks to interrogation methods that were not approved by either the Justice Department or their own headquarters, and illegally detained 26 of its 119 captives in CIA custody, the Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded in its still-secret report, McClatchy has learned. The spy agency program’s reliance on brutal techniques – much more abusive than previously known – and its failure to gather valuable information from the detainees harmed the United States’ credibility, according to the committee’s findings in its scathing 6,300-page report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. The agency also repeatedly misled the Justice Department while stymieing Congress’ and the White House’s efforts to oversee the secret and now-defunct program, McClatchy has learned.
B. Reuters (4/3): Obama’s NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data
President Barack Obama’s plan for overhauling the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program could force carriers to collect and store customer data that they are not now legally obliged to keep, according to U.S. officials.
Government Policies Under Scrutiny
A. Washington Post (4/4): Judge dismisses lawsuit over drone strikes in Yemen that killed American Anwar al-Awlaki
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Obama administration officials for the 2011 drone-strike killings in Yemen of three U.S. citizens, including an al-Qaeda cleric. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the case raises serious constitutional issues and is not easy to answer, but that “on these facts and under this circuit’s precedent,” the court will grant the Obama administration’s request.
B. Miami Herald (4/4): Senate findings on CIA interrogations likely roadmap for litigation
A scathing and still-secret Senate report on harsh CIA interrogations and detentions threatens to drag President Barack Obama into a legal thicket he’d rather avoid. With its findings that the CIA flagrantly abused some detainees and held some without legal authorization, the Senate Intelligence Committee report now headed for the White House could become a roadmap for future litigation. “The report could put pressure on the Obama administration to abandon its impunity for torture policy,” said retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor of the Guantánamo military commissions.
A. Christopher Anders on CNN.com. (4/3): Take CIA out of loop on torture report
“Feinstein should insist — and Obama should agree — that the White House itself conduct the declassification review. . . . By law, the president has authority to declassify information, and he surely has the authority to decide the process for declassifying this landmark report. The CIA should never have had a torture program, never should have lied about what it was doing and never should have been given broad authority to review the Senate oversight report. Obama cannot now hand the agency a black-out pen to continue to hide the horrors it inflicted around the globe and the harm it caused to our American values. It’s time for someone other than the CIA to decide what all Americans can know about its wrongs.”
B. Mary E. Buser in the Washington Post (4/4): Solitary confinement’s mockery of human rights
“During my tenure as an assistant chief of mental health on New York City’s Rikers Island from 1998 to 2000, I worked in the punitive segregation unit, which is known as “the Bing.” Even if inmates had no psychiatric issues before they entered solitary, the strain of confinement to an 8-by-9-foot cell — with a daily shackled walk to spend one hour in an outdoor cage — makes mental decompensation swift.”
C. Peter Van Buren on TomDispatch.com.(4/6): No-Fly-List America
Rahinah Ibrahim “was no threat to anyone, innocent of everything, and ended up on the [U.S. no-fly] list only due to a government mistake. Her life was derailed by the tangle of national security bureaucracy and pointless ‘anti-terror’ measures that have come to define post-Constitutional America. Here’s what happened, and why it may matter to you.”
D. Amy Davidson in The New Yorker (4/6): Who’s “Emotional” – Feinstein or the C.I.A.?
“Who gets “emotional” about torture—or, rather, what is the proper emotional response to a history of torture and lies? On Fox News, on Sunday morning, Chris Wallace asked Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A., about a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sixty-three hundred pages long, that “says the C.I.A. misled the public about the severity and the success of the enhanced interrogation program.” Hayden’s first response was to talk about the feelings of Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee, citing an article by David Ignatius: “He said Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ‘ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.’ ”
E. Susan Zalkind in The St. Augustine Record (4/6): Perspective: Five myths about the Boston Marathon bombing
At the Boston Marathon this month, its host city will mark one year since Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly planted two bombs at the finish line, killing three and injuring hundreds more. As the nation commemorates the resilience of runners, victims, first responders and residents, many questions surrounding this tragedy remain unresolved. Let’s tackle some persistent questions about this heinous act.
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 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) – United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) – Universal Justice Foundation (UJF).
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