NCPCF                                                        Vol. VIII-Issue No. 566
NEWS DIGEST                                   
Friday, January 12, 2018

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” ~Montesquieu
Third Annual Community Potluck
Third Annual Community Potluck did not happen on New Years Day 2018 as planned due to rain and some very cold weather! However, it was postponed to the following Sunday, which was a warm and sunny day. Over two hundred people came to the event to see old friends, make new friends, sing and enjoy good food.  More photos and videos are on the NCPCF Facebook page.


Portraits of Injustice/Voices of Victims of Repression

Adam Dandach
Adam Dandach is a young Muslim prisoner who suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Adam is currently incarcerated in Texas, USA. All of the posts are written by him.


Huffington Post (1/8): Sessions’ DOJ Charged A White Supremacist With Terrorism. They Just Didn’t Tell Anyone. [Article & Video: 42 sec.]
Usually, when the FBI arrests a terrorist and the Justice Department charges them, it’s a big deal. The Justice Department didn’t do any of that when federal prosecutors unsealed terrorism charges last week against Taylor Michael Wilson. The 26-year-old white supremacist from St. Charles, Missouri, allegedly breached a secure area of an Amtrak train on Oct. 22 while armed with a gun and plenty of backup ammunition. He set off the emergency brake, sending passengers lunging as the train cars went “completely black.” A close review of how the Wilson case unfolded indicates that, at virtually every step along the way, the investigation into the 26-year-old was handled differently than it would have been if authorities had any suspicion Wilson was inspired by any foreign terrorist organization, like the self-described Islamic State.

NPR (1/10): ACLU Says U.S. Government Is Denying Basic Rights To Citizen Captured In Syria [Audio: 4 min. 14 sec.]
American forces have been holding a U.S. citizen captured in Syria in confinement overseas without formal charges or access to a lawyer. The ACLU says the man is being denied his basic rights to due process.


News Digest

Fresh off a major court setback over its detention powers, the Trump administration is signaling its intention to transfer to another country an American citizen it has held without charge for 119 days as an enemy combatant, in order to preempt a federal judge’s rebuke. Justice Department attorneys asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to recognize a claimed right to transfer the anonymous U.S. citizen the military has held since September in an undisclosed prison in Iraq.

First described in government documents obtained by Reuters in 2013, parallel construction is when law enforcement originally obtains evidence through a secret surveillance program, then tries to seek it out again, via normal procedure. In essence, law enforcement creates a parallel, alternative story for how it found information. That way, it can hide surveillance techniques from public scrutiny and would-be criminals. A new report released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday, based in part on 95 relevant cases, indicates that law enforcement is using parallel construction regularly, though it’s impossible to calculate exactly how often. It’s extremely difficult for defendants to discern when evidence has been obtained via the practice, according to the report.


With major NSA surveillance authorities set to expire later this month, House Republicans are rushing to pass a bill that would not only reauthorize existing powers, but also codify into law some practices that critics have called unconstitutional. The bill would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which serves as the basis for some of the NSA’s largest surveillance programs, and keep it on the books through 2023. The law was first passed in 2008 after the George W. Bush administration’s secret warrantless wiretapping was made public, effectively to legalize what the administration was doing. The law allows the intelligence community to spy on Americans’ transnational communications without a warrant so long as the “targets” are not Americans. In 2013, documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA vacuums up a tremendous amount of wholly domestic communications through the program as well.
Sixteen years ago, I had a sudden tight sensation in my chest while absorbing all the horrific news of the day. Now the feeling is back. At no other point since the months following the September 11 attacks have I felt as worried about my life as a Muslim in this country as I have since the rise of Donald Trump, from the beginnings of his campaign for president in 2015 all the way through his first year in office. That’s a long stretch to feel like it’s hard to breathe, but since Trump is known to have shifted money from his charitable foundation into his own pockets, why wouldn’t he steal my oxygen, too?
Vox (1/10): Study suggests Trump’s “Muslim ban” actually improved attitudes toward Muslims
A study published this week in the journal Political Behavior suggests that Trump’s Muslim ban may have had an unexpected upside, according to political scientists Loren Collingwood, Nazita Lajevardi, and Kassra A.R. Oskooii of the University of California Riverside, Michigan State University, and the University of Delaware, respectively. The authors found that the national discourse about the Muslim ban — and a general sense from liberal and mainstream media that the policy was at odds with “American values” — prompted some respondents to shift their attitudes, ultimately causing many Americans who had previously supported or been neutral on the issue of Trump’s Muslim ban to come down against it.


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