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NCPCF                                               Vol. VII-Issue No. 551

NEWS DIGEST                             
Friday, September 22, 2017

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” ~Montesquieu

Website of the Week

Color of Change
Color Of Change helps people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, they move decision makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people, and all people. Until justice is real.


Portraits of Injustice/Voices of Victims of Repression

Democracy Now! (9/21): Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh Deported from U.S. to Jordan
Rasmea Odeh has been deported from the United States, after living in the U.S. for more than 20 years. Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud in 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison and deportation for failing to disclose her conviction on bombing charges by an Israeli military court more than 40 years ago. Odeh says her conviction, more than 40 years ago, was obtained through weeks of torture and sexual assault in Israeli custody. Her supporters say she was targeted over her support for Palestinian liberation.

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News Digest

 

News From NCPCF and Coalition Members

The Remarkable Al-Baluchi Conferences.  A Report by Steve Downs, former Executive Director of NCPCF

On September 13 and 14, 2017, Kathy Manley and I attended a remarkable conference on Washington organized by the Military Legal Defense team for prisoners at Guantanamo, and various civil rights organizations including our organization National Coalition To Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF); George Washington Law School; and Witness Against Torture. This third annual conference (which I have taken to calling the “Al-Baluchi Conferences” in honor of its true creator) was entitled Building National Security on Inalienable Rights. It seemed to herald a new cooperative effort by some members of the military, together with civil rights organizations to deal with the corrosive issue of torture and abuse of civil rights. . more. .


Pre-Crime Reports/Pre-emptive Prosecutions/Thought Crimes/Entrapment/Material Support
Boston Herald (9/22): In Geller beheading plot, men ‘hoped to achieve martyrdom’
An Everett man dismissed by his own lawyer as a fat, failed loner was the mastermind in a plot to behead conservative columnist ­Pamela Geller, his alleged co-conspirator testified yesterday. “We hoped to achieve martyrdom,” Nicholas Ro­vinski testified in Boston federal court, referring to himself, defendant David Wright, who is facing terrorism charges, and Wright’s uncle, Usaamah Rahim, who was shot and killed as he brandished a knife in a confrontation with police and federal agents in Boston. Wright, 28, of Everett is charged with conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, among other charges, and could face up to life in prison if convicted. On cross-examination, Wright’s attorney, Jessica Hedges, tried to show the group more as bumblers than lethal jihadists. Hedges pressed Rovinski on other ideas he had come up with to cause havoc, including taking over a battleship, unleashing an electromagnetic pulse, or overloading the U.S. with opiates and then suddenly cutting off the supply. Rovinski, who has cerebral palsy and walks with a limp, acknowledged that he and Wright, who weighed 500 pounds at the time of his arrest, did not have the means to carry out these attacks.
Profiling

In These Times (9/19): We Can’t Fight Trump-Style Hate with the Surveillance State
How do we effectively challenge organized white supremacists? Post-Charlottesville, the spotlight focused on the work of an organization of former white supremacists that helps turn neo-Nazis away from racism: Life After Hate. Much of this coverage decried cuts to the funding of Life After Hate. The funding that Life After Hate lost came from a federal program focused on surveillance and policing that disproportionately targets Muslims, called Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). This program has been widely criticized for promoting institutional discrimination and criminalization of Muslim communities. Furthermore, Life After Hate plans to expand its programs to include work challenging “jihadism,” indicating that the organization is buying into the federal program’s troubling “war on terror” framework. While CVE currently focuses on Muslim communities, many critics fear it will chill dissent and access to social services for many marginalized communities.

 

Civil Freedoms Under Threat

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (9/19): As arrests are made, protesters question the tactics used by St. Louis police
Police used a technique called kettling on Sunday night to box in about 100 people at a busy downtown intersection and arrest them for failing to disperse. St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk was caught in the kettle Sunday night. A line of bike cops formed across Washington Avenue, east of Tucker Boulevard and police in helmets carrying shields and batons blocked the other three sides of the intersection at Tucker and Washington. Faulk heard the repeated police command, “Move back. Move back.” He had nowhere to go. The police lines moved forward, trapping dozens of people — protesters, journalists, area residents and observers alike. Multiple officers knocked Faulk down, he said, and pinned his limbs to the ground. A firm foot pushed his head into the pavement. Once he was subdued, he recalled, an officer squirted pepper spray in his face.
 

Government Policies Under Scrutiny
 
Southern Poverty Law Center ((/18): SPLC tells Supreme Court: President Trump’s Muslim ban is an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom
The SPLC joined other civil rights organizations and members of the clergy today in telling the U.S. Supreme Court that President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom. “Long before Donald Trump became president, he made his hostility toward immigrants, refugees and Muslims abundantly clear,” said SPLC Deputy Legal Director Naomi Tsu. “As president, his Muslim ban blatantly discriminates against travelers to the United States on the basis of religion—a violation of the First Amendment. It also encourages a climate of harassment that allows people to be singled out for their religion, language, skin color or dress. A policy that so brazenly violates our nation’s fundamental principles cannot stand.”

NBC News (9/20): Children of Internment Resisters Attack Travel Ban in Supreme Court Brief

The Supreme Court should take heed of its failure to stop the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and reject a Trump administration travel ban against six predominantly Muslim countries, a new friend-of-the-court brief argues. Jay Hirabayashi, Holly Yasui, and Karen Korematsu filed the brief Monday in a case to decide whether President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban in March violates the U.S. Constitution and goes beyond the president’s authority under federal immigration law. Their fathers — Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred Korematsu — were all involved in unsuccessful Supreme Court challenges to the constitutionality of military orders issued under the authority granted through an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942.


Editorials/Opinions

Huffington Post (9/18): A Scary Number Of Americans Don’t Think Muslims Or Atheists Have First Amendment Rights
Nearly a quarter of Americans ― 22 percent ― either don’t know or don’t believe that U.S. Muslims are granted the same constitutional protections as other citizens. Misinformation can have real impact on people’s lives. Hate crimes against Muslims have risen sharply in recent years, often fueled by rhetoric from that paints the religious minority as outsiders in their own country. A major tactic of anti-Muslim campaigns and commentators has been to cast Islam as a political ideology rather than a religion, which would preclude Muslims from receiving protections on the basis of their faith.
 
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