NCPCF                                                         Vol. VII-Issue No. 559

NEWS DIGEST                                 Friday, November 17, 2017

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


Portraits  of Injustice/Voices of Victims of Repression

NCPCF Youtube (11/16): “This is a problem I did not know about until it happened to my family” ~ Ashley Young  [Video: 5 min. 36 sec.]
Ashley Young talks about her brother, Nicholas Young, who is the only law enforcement officer ever accused of aiding ISIS (with a gift card). ” “This is a problem I did not know of until it happened to my family – and that’s a problem. It’s a problem that there are so many people that there has to be a family conference.”

The Guardian (11/15): I released 2,000 minks from a fur farm. Now I’m a convicted terrorist ~ Kevin Johnson
People usually laugh when I tell them I am a convicted terrorist. . . Last Wednesday, the court upheld the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the federal statute that put me away for three years and that my lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights have been trying to challenge for nearly a decade. . .Our rights are meaningless if the government intimidates us out of using them. But as Wednesday’s decision makes clear, the judiciary will not protect us from such abuse. The court has legitimized the government’s use of the word “terrorism” to describe nearly any activity of which it disapproves – and emboldened lawmakers around the country who are beginning to do just that.


NPR (11/13): Trump Travel Ban Allowed To Take Partial Effect [Audio: 2 min 6 sec]
A federal appeals court in California has ruled that the Trump administration’s long-delayed travel ban can go into partial effect, allowing the government to temporarily keep travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit puts on hold a lower court ruling last month that blocked the administration’s ban against travelers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Chad.

Special Reports

Pew Research Center (11/15): Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level
The number of assaults against Muslims in the United States rose significantly between 2015 and 2016, easily surpassing the modern peak reached in 2001, the year of the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new hate crimes statistics from the FBI. In 2016, there were 127 reported victims of aggravated or simple assault, compared with 91 the year before and 93 in 2001. In addition, half of U.S. Muslim adults (50%) say that in recent years it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the U.S., with 10% of this group attributing this to discrimination, racism and prejudice. In general, nearly a quarter of U.S. Muslim adults (23%) view discrimination, racism or prejudice as the most important problem facing American Muslims today. As in previous years, the largest number of all types of hate crime incidents against religious groups targeted Jews.


News Digest

Prison Conditions and Abuse/CMUs
Al Jazeera (11/15): Guantanamo detainee: US changed force-feeding policy
Lawyers for a hunger-striking detainee at the US-run Guantanamo Bay detention centre have told a federal court that their client says his weight has dropped to under 90lbs (40kg) after the prison apparently changed its policy on force feeding a month and a half ago. The lawyers for Ahmed Rabbani, who has been held at the facility without charge for the last 13 years, submitted a response late last week to a previously filed motion that called for an independent medical evaluation of their client. According to Rabbani’s lawyers, the prisoner also told them in a phone call last week that he felt like his “body was eating itself up”. Rabbani and other detainees told their lawyers in October the prison’s policy for hunger strikers had changed, when, under the instructions of the Senior Medical Officer (SMO), medical staff “stopped tube-feeding the strikers, and ended the standard practice of closely monitoring their declining health”.

Civil Freedoms Under Threat

The Nation (11/16): RT Was Forced to Register as a Foreign Agent
On Monday, the Russian state-funded television network RT America met a Justice Department deadline to register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). RT rejects the designation and has vowed a court challenge, but says the possibility of asset freezes and arrests forced it to comply. The demand is unusual. Although hundreds of foreign entities are registered under FARA, international media outlets are almost entirely exempt, and none have registered in over a decade. RT America is headquartered in Washington, DC, and RT has bureaus in several other cities. Its operational structure closely resembles US-based, state-owned counterparts like BBC America, Al Jazeera English, and China’s CCTV, yet RT stands alone in being compelled to register under a law established in 1938 to counter Nazi propaganda.


The New York Times (11/15): The F.B.I.’s Dangerous Crackdown on ‘Black Identity Extremists’
An F.B.I. report leaked in October and scrutinized during an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday warns of an emergent domestic terror threat sweeping the nation and threatening the lives of law enforcement officers: the “Black Identity Extremist” (“B.I.E.”) movement. This designation, just recently invented by the F.B.I., is as frightening and dangerous as the bureau’s infamous Cointelpro program of the 1960s and ’70s, under which J. Edgar Hoover set out to disrupt and destroy virtually any group with the word “black” in its name. Today, entirely nonviolent black activists face violations of their civil liberties and even violence if they’re deemed part of B.I.E. Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program, said the “Black Identity Extremists” label simply represents an F.B.I. effort to define a movement where none exists. “Basically, it’s black people who scare them,” he said.


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