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www.CivilFreedoms.org

NCPCF News Digest Issue No. 34  -  August 31, 2011

‘Civil Freedoms for All’   

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.   Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this issue

Fear Inc.: The Roots of Islamophobia Network in America

The Holy Land Case on Appeal

Maryland teen arrested by FBI in Jihad Jane plot 

With CIA help, NYPD built secret effort to monitor mosques, daily life of Muslim neighborhoods 

2001-2011: A decade of civil liberties erosions in America

Muslim coalition calls for investigation of alleged NYPD surveillance

10 Ways the Government Watches You

The decade’s biggest scam

Seeking cooperation but also after convictions

Poll of the Week       What’s your opinion? Vote!

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaching, do you think the US would restore back the civil freedoms sacrificed during the so-called war on terror?

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Website of the Week    

The Leadership Conference

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Useful Reports    

Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America (130 pp.)

Download this report (pdf)

Introduction and summary

Chapter 1: Donors to the Islamophobia network

Chapter 2: The Islamophobia misinformation experts

Chapter 3: The grassroots organizations and the religious right

Chapter 4: The right-wing media enablers of anti-Islam propaganda

Chapter 5: The political players

Conclusion

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Upcoming Events 

NCPCF Sponsored Event in Boston, MA on September 24, 2011

Reclaiming power and defending our communities: How YOU can protect yourself from profiling and preemptive prosecution (12:30 – 5 PM)

More information to follow

 A Peace rally in Washington DC on September 10, 2011

Organized by the Peace Thru Justice Foundation

In Defense of Al-Islam, Muslims, Peace Activists

and the Better of the “Two Americas”

Date: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2011

Place: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

950 Pennsylvanian Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us!

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NEWS DIGEST 

Pre-crime Reports: Thoughtcrime Prosecutions

A. Associated Press (8/24): With CIA help, NYPD built secret effort to monitor mosques, daily life of Muslim neighborhoods

Excerpts

 Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Police Department has become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. These operations have benefited from unprecedented help from the CIA, a partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying. 

B. CounterPunch (8/31): The Holy Land Five Case                 

Excerpts

As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and my father remains incarcerated in a modern-day internment camp, the time in which we live begins to feel less like 2011 and more like 1942. But this week could determine whether today’s justice system is capable of rewriting the sad chapters of our history. I say this week because on Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the long-awaited oral arguments in the Holy Land Foundation case, involving what was once our country’s largest Muslim charitable organization.

C. Electronic Intifada (9/1): Oral arguments begin in Holy Land Five’s case for appeal

Excerpts

The Electronic Intifada interviewed Noor Elashi last weekend as the families and legal teams for the Holy Land Five were preparing to head to the appelate court, in the hopes that the judges would determine that these Constitutional violations took place and therefore move to exonerate the men.

D. Washington Post (8/30): Seeking cooperation, but also after convictions                 

Excerpts

The federal government’s domestic counterterrorism efforts have scaled up dramatically, largely through a transformation of the FBI into an intelligence-driven agency and a large increase in the number of agents devoted to fighting terrorism. Justice Department and FBI officials say they have helped prevent a second major terror attack on American soil and arrested numerous would-be terrorists. Mehanna’s lawyers have argued that portions of the charges violate his First Amendment rights to free speech. And terrorism experts say it is one of the first U.S. cases to attempt to criminalize Internet translations in support of a terrorist group.

E. Philadelphia Inquirer (8/25): Maryland teen arrested by FBI in Jihad Jane plot, sources say

Excerpts

The FBI has secretly arrested a Maryland juvenile who allegedly conspired in a terrorism plot with the Philadelphia-area woman known as Jihad Jane, sources have told The Inquirer.

The boy is 17 but was 15 when he conspired with Colleen LaRose of Pennsburg, Montgomery County, to solicit money and recruits for a jihad, according to documents and sources. His case is sealed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

F. USA Today (8/26): NYPD confirms CIA advisory role on ‘trade craft issues’

Excerpts

Speaking to reporters in New York, commissioner Raymond Kelly acknowledged that the CIA trains NYPD officers on “trade craft issues,” meaning espionage techniques, and advises police about events happening overseas. Kelly also said he was unaware of any other U.S. police department with a similar relationship with the CIA.

Government Policies Under Scrutiny

Palo Alto Patch (8/28): 10 Years After 9/11: Civil Rights Still Under Attack

Excerpts

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, dozens gathered at the Mountain View Senior Center for a legislative hearing about continued discrimination against Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities, and to collaborate on potential legislative solutions. Panelists ranging from high school students to senior citizens told heart-wrenching stories of harassment they face constantly at school, work, airports and even their homes.

Community Action

A. CNN (8/25):  Muslim coalition calls for investigation of alleged NYPD surveillance

Excerpts

New York-area Muslims and civil liberties advocates called Wednesday for investigations and hearings after a report said that in the years since the 9-11 attacks, city police have carried out covert surveillance on Muslims with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency. ”We need the (New York) City Council to hold hearings and to investigate these revelations,” said Ramzi Kassem, an associate professor of law at the City University of New York. He supervises CUNY’s Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project, which aims to meet the legal needs of New York City Muslims affected by counterterrorism policies.

B. The Sacramento Bee (8/24):  CAIR: Coalition Calls for DOJ Probe of Secret NYPD-CIA Program to Spy on Muslims

Excerpts

A coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations today called on the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into allegations that the New York City Police Department (NYPD), with support from the CIA, is conducting a massive covert program to monitor the Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey.

C. Reuters (8/25):  Muslim group seeks federal probe of New York police “mosque crawlers,” informers

Excerpts

A U.S. Muslim civil liberties organization has called for a federal investigation and Senate hearings into a report the CIA was helping New York City police gather intelligence from mosques and minority neighborhoods. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) suspects the joint CIA-police intelligence-gathering described in an Associated Press report violates the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974 and a presidential order banning the CIA from spying on Americans, CAIR attorney Gadeir Abbas said.

Islamophobia & Civil Rights

A. The Empire (8/24): Anti-Muslim activities in New York “misguided and divisive”: NYCLU report

Excerpts

The New York Civil Liberties Union just released a report on the rise of anti-Muslim activities throughout the state. The report, according to NYCLU, “examines the role that federal national security policies, law enforcement agencies and politicians have played in inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment and anti-mosque activities.” “Government policies that cast blanket suspicion on all Muslim residents are misguided and divisive,” Udi Ofer, one of the paper’s authors, said in a statement. “Religious profiling was unconstitutional before 9/11, and it’s unconstitutional after 9/11. Our elected officials must stand up for religious freedom and ensure that New Yorkers treat each other with respect and understanding.”

B. Washington Post (8/30): Muslim Americans say life is more difficult since 9/11

Excerpts

Officials with Muslim advocacy groups say that they have spoken out repeatedly against extremists but that the American public, including Muslims, often doesn’t hear about it. “Our reach in terms of community awareness of our programs promoting moderation is not where we’d like it to be,” said Safaa Zarzour, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, the nation’s largest Muslim group. Zarzour said that anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States is concentrated among a few individuals and groups. Most Muslims have warm relations with colleagues, neighbors and local public officials, he said.

Profiling

A. Los Angeles Times (8/28):  Deportation reviews raise some immigrants’ hopes

Excerpts

As the Obama administration plans to review nearly 300,000 deportation cases and close those deemed low priority, advocates urge immigrants to be cautious until more details are known.

B. Associated Press (8/29): Federal judge temporarily blocks enforcement of Ala. law cracking down on illegal immigration

Excerpts

A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of Alabama’s new law cracking down on illegal immigration, ruling Monday that she needed more time to decide whether the law opposed by the Obama administration, church leaders and immigrant-rights groups is constitutional.

C. USA Today (8/31): 15 arrested in N.Y. Playland melee over head scarves                                   

Excerpts

The park was crowded with Muslims celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr, one of Islam’s two major holidays. Police from at least nine agencies converged on the park after county police sought assistance in responding to the disturbance, which involved 30 to 40 people.

D. Los Angeles Times (8/26): California Senate panel OKs part of Dream Act

Excerpts

The key committee clears the most significant obstacle to the bill that would give college students who are illegal immigrants access to public aid. A foe calls the bill ‘an outrage.’

Civil Freedoms Under Threat

A. Security News (8/30): 10 Ways the Government Watches You                 

Excerpts

In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the size and scope of the U.S. national-security apparatus has greatly expanded. Since its inception, the Patriot Act has been controversial, and some argue that it is an attack on the freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights. In May of this year, two Democratic members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said “Americans would be appalled if they knew how broadly the Justice Department has interpreted what the law allows government snoops to do.”

B. PC World (8/30): NSA, AT&T Warrantless Wiretapping Case Set for Court

Excerpts

Two cases involving widespread warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens by the National Security Agency will face a major hurdle Wednesday in a federal appeals court in Seattle. A procedural hearing will be held to determine whether actions by the NSA and AT&T, which cooperated with the agency, can be challenged in court.

C. Los Angeles Times (8/29): A key Sept. 11 legacy: more domestic surveillance

Excerpts

In one of the biggest changes to American life since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the government now collects vast quantities of information about its citizens.

D. Atlanta Journal Constitution (8/31): System ‘ can shoot fleas off a dog’

Excerpts

ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley, while concurring that minorities are disproportionately targeted through video systems, said the extent to which surveillance can be used invades everyone’s freedoms.

E. Los Angeles Times (8/25): BART officials craft policy for cutting cellphone service

Excerpts

A policy being developed by Bay Area transit officials would allow BART to cut cellphone service in its stations only under extreme circumstances.

F. Daily Campus (8/26): Does new law violate privacy?

Excerpts

According to NPR News, “the bill requires all Internet service providers to save their customers’ IP addresses-or online identity numbers-for a year.” That might not sound like a big deal, but as written the bill would allow the government to access a person’s internet history even if that person isn’t under investigation for child pornography related crimes. In fact, a person can be suspected of nearly any crime for law enforcement to be able to search a person’s computer, and the police don’t need probable cause to do it.

Editorials/Opinions

A. Abdusattar Ghazali in Op-Ed News (8/19):  2001-2011: A decade of civil liberties’ erosion in America   Part I   Part II   Part III

Excerpts

The so-called War on Terror has seriously compromised the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights of citizens and non-citizens alike. From the USA PATRIOT Act’s over-broad definition of domestic terrorism, to the FBI’s new powers of search and surveillance, to the indefinite detention of both citizens and non-citizens without formal charges, the principles of free speech, due process, and equal protection under the law have been seriously undermined.

B. Thomas Drake in Washington Post (8/25): Why are we subverting the Constitution in the name of security?

Excerpts

From 2001 through 2008, I was a senior executive at the National Security Agency. Shortly after Sept. 11, I heard more than rumblings about secret electronic eavesdropping and data mining against Americans that bypassed the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — the exclusive means in the law for conducting such activity, with severe criminal sanctions when violated. 

C. Glenn Greenwald in Salon (8/26): Secrecy, leaks, and the real criminals

Excerpts

This is a perfect symbol of the Obama administration: claims of secrecy are used to censor a vital critic of torture and other CIA abuses (Soufan) and to prosecute an NSA whistleblower who exposed substantial corruption and criminality (Drake), while protecting from all consequences the official who illegally destroyed video evidence of the CIA’s torture program (Rodriguez) and then help ensure that his torture-hailing propaganda book becomes the defining narrative of those events.  As usual, the real high-level criminals prosper while those who expose their criminality are the only ones punished.

D. Glenn Greenwald in Salon (8/29): The decade’s biggest scam

Excerpts

Exaggerating, manipulating and exploiting the Terrorist threat for profit and power has been the biggest scam of the decade; only Wall Street’s ability to make the Government prop it up and profit from the crisis it created at the expense of everyone else can compete for that title.  Nothing has altered the mindset of the American citizenry more than a decade’s worth of fear-mongering.

E. Heather Yakin in Recordonline (8/27): Muslims deserve same rights as other believers

Excerpts

This piece of xenophobia seems to be based on a fear that judges will use Shariah in court decisions, as a back-door ploy to make it part of U.S. law. I got news for you, toots: The courts rule based on our secular law. If you’ve got a religiously based contract, for example, the court will uphold or overrule the findings of religious authorities — whether it’s a beth din, the presbytery or Catholic canon — in keeping with U.S. law. Rendering unto Caesar those things that are Caesar’s.

F. Andrew Cohen in the Atlantic (8/30): Justice in a Time of Terror: Heroes and Goats                 

Excerpts

But nothing that followed from the rubble of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center was constitutionally inevitable. Each policy choice the United States made, each legal path it chose or had chosen for it, came from the hearts and minds of men and women, fallible creatures all, in most cases challenged as they had never been before in their professional lives.

G. Washington Post Editorial (8/29):  GPS tracking should require a court order

Excerpts

GPS is a valuable tool, and the vast majority of law enforcement officers would probably use it appropriately. But there should be a check against what Judge Alex Kozinski of the California federal appeals court called the possibility of “creepy and un-American” government acts. Requiring a court order before launching a lengthy and intrusive tracking project is not too much to ask.

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