Tag Archives: terrorism
In an article published by The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Murtaaza Hussain describe five prominent American Muslims who had long been under surveillance by the NSA and the FBI including Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country. In all of the reporting of this “revelation” based upon NSA documents from Edward Snowden, it seems strange that no one has made the obvious point that this entire scenario has happened multiple times in the past history of the FBI – most notably in the aggressive surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the entire civil rights movement. Now instead of an entire race of people fighting for equal rights being the target, it’s people who belong to one religion and are only trying to exist as American citizens.
Last Friday, federal prosecutors dropped all charges against Dr. Sami Al-Arian, University of South Florida professor, Palestinian activist and community leader, who has been in house arrest limbo for five years. Dr. Al-Arian is one in a long list of Palestinian activists who have been purposefully tied up in the legal system with their lives and activism disrupted, while federal prosecutors continued to look for actual evidence of criminal activity. In Dr. Al-Arian’s case, the repressive prosecutors finally gave up. As in the movie “USA vs. Al-Arian” – it often seems like it should be “USA vs. Palestinian Activists”.
On June 22nd, CNN aired a debate between Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT! For America and Linda Sarsour, director of the Arab American Association of New York on the question of whether the media is “fueling the fear of Islam”. To me this question is answered by an irrefutable “YES!” Our media has instilled great fear of Muslims and hatred of our faith as a propaganda tool for the War on Terror. The Western media uses terrorist and fanatic stereotypes in television shows, movies, novels, and, most troubling of all, biased academic works and news outlets, which feature Islamophobic spin-doctors. Hate is an industry.
As of today, there have been 940 shooting victims in the city of Chicago. Last year, there were 2185 victims of gun violence. Combined, that is more victims than those who perished on 9/11, and that is only for about 18 months. Gun violence in the city has gotten so bad that, earlier this year, the city was nicknamed “Chiraq.” Ouch.
On June 10 in Detroit, Rasmea Odeh, a 66 year old Chicago Palestinian and Arab community organizer, will start her trial for allegedly “lying” on her twenty year old citizenship application about an over forty year old conviction in an Israeli military court. If found guilty, she could face up to ten years in federal prison, an immediate revocation of her citizenship, and deportation from the United States. Given Odeh’s stature in the Palestinian and Arab community in Chicago as a tireless organizer for women and immigrant rights, these years old charges only indicate the extremes the government is willing to go to suppress Palestinian activists.
In late April, Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) documents describing the process for designating prisoners to Communications Management Units (CMUs), or as some call them “Guantanamo North”, were made public by a Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) lawsuit filed in 2010. The documents confirm what was suspected all along – CMU prisoners are being denied due process from their initial labeling as a CMU prisoner to their inability to challenge their status. Plus over sixty percent are Muslims although Muslims comprise only six percent of the federal prisoner population.
I first learned about the incident through a tweet from Boston-based journalist Omar Sacirbey: “Did you hear we caught a terrorist last week?” And I said to myself: “Why, no, I did not.” In fact, most probably, much of the nation did not hear about the terrorist that was caught in the Houston area on March 27.
Mohammad Hassan Hamdan, a 22-year-old from Dearborn Heights, Michigan was arrested on Sunday, March 16 at Detroit Metro Airport by the FBI who said he allegedly told an undercover informant that he planned to fly to Lebanon to join the militant group Hezbollah to fight in Syrian. Hezbollah, classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, currently supports Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against anti-government forces. In the complaint the Special Agent of the FBI, part of the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), states that the FBI learned of his plan to travel to Syria with the help of a confidential informant who told the FBI about Hamdan’s plan.
On June 25, 2013, the newly launched Newseum Institute hosted a program entitled “NSA Surveillance Leaks: Facts and Fiction.” This was the first time officials of the National Security Agency (NSA) and government intelligence bodies joined experts in law, journalism and First Amendment rights advocacy to discuss the infamous NSA leaks and the ensuing media frenzy.
The panelists debated at length whether this media frenzy was a justified step in protecting Americans’ privacy or presented a threat to national security. Yet for a program that sought to provide an alternative to the “sound-bite constitutional analysis” of the past weeks’ news coverage, serious consequences of the reports were never discussed.