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Bloomberg Fail: NY Mayor Defends Racial Profiling of and Spying on American Muslims

(See Update I, II, and III below)

It has now been unearthed that the NYPD has been using racial profiling to illegally target the American Muslim community, spying on Muslim students without reason or warrant.  Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York, was questioned yesterday about this unethical practice; he defended it using the typical, disgusting, and morally repugnant justifications that have become so commonplace in our national discourse thanks to the War on of Terror. (Here is an article documenting Mayor Bloomberg’s response.)

Bloomberg ominously warned journalists: “You are not going to survive. You will not be able to be a journalist and write what you want to say if the people who want to take away your freedoms are allowed to succeed.”

This cowardly fear-mongering has long been used by authorities to strip citizens of their rights: They are going to get you, unless you surrender your basic civil rights!

Actually, I should clarify that statement; it should read: They are going to get you, unless you surrender the basic civil rights of those dark-skinned, foreign-looking Moozlums!

Sadly, most Americans succumb to this alarmist rhetoric, readily surrendering what is not theirs to give away to begin with: the Constitutional rights of our nation’s most vulnerable minority.

Bloomberg continued:

We have to keep this country safe. This is a dangerous place. Make no mistake about it. It’s very cute to go and to blame everybody and say we should stay away from…[policies like] intelligence gathering. The job of our law enforcement is to make sure that they prevent things and you only do that by being proactive.

A dangerous place?  In fact, those big bad Islamic terrorists have killed zero civilians in the United States since 9/11, which was over a decade ago.  A similar situation exists in Europe, with Europol’s annual terrorism reports showing zero civilian deaths from Islamic terrorism in the last half decade (which is as far back as the annual terrorism reports go).  Quite simply, as an American I have a higher chance of being struck by and killed by lightning–or of being killed by peanuts–than of being killed by Islamic terrorists.  No amount of fear-mongering, alarmist propaganda, and Islamophobic rhetoric can overcome this simple fact, which is why it bears repetition:

In the past decade, zero civilians have been killed in this country by Islamic terrorists.  

Therefore, it is a boldfaced lie to claim that the threat of terrorism is so grave and ominous that we must resort to such illegal and unethical tactics to Keep Us Safe.

Bloomberg regurgitates the standard nationalistic myth, saying:

Remind yourself when you turn off the light tonight, you have your job because there are young men and women who have been giving their lives overseas for the last 200 plus years so that we would have freedom of the press. And we go after the terrorists. We are going to continue to do that and the same thing is true for the people that work on the streets of our cities.

This “argument” is often used to quell debate and stifle criticism: “[our] young men and women have been giving their lives overseas for the last 200 plus years so that we would have freedom of the press.”  This argument, steeped in uber-patriotism and drenched in nationalistic propaganda, is intended to fly over rational debate (what does the “giving [of] lives overseas for the last 200 plus years” have anything to do with “freedom of the press”?), and tap into our basest emotions: anyone who dares reject this argument by pointing out that it is not just a non-sequitur but patently false runs the risk of being accused of lack of patriotism and of being “un-American”.

This is so, as I wrote earlier, because the military is our country’s most sacred institution:

The military is our national religion, its soldiers are our holy warriors, the Navy Seals are our highest religious order, those soldiers who died in war are our martyrs, 9/11 was our Karbala, Patriot Day is our annual holy day, the flag is our holy book and symbol, Osama bin Laden is Lucifer, Terrorism is the greatest Evil, supporting the troops is our greatest religious obligation, and failure to do so is the greatest blasphemy and the highest of sins.

It is true that our military has been waging wars (of aggression) “overseas for the last 200 plus years”, as I documented in another article of mine: “We’re at War!” — And We Have Been Since 1776: 214 Years of American War-Making.  But, this is hardly something to be proud of…and these wars had nothing to do with “freedom of the press”–most of them had everything to do with spreading American hegemony and usurping the resources of other peoples (and in doing so, stripping them of their most basic civil liberties).

In fact, the greatest insults to the freedom of the press have historically been during times of war.  The First Amendment Center notes in The First Amendment: A Wartime Casualty?:

Sanford Levinson, a law professor at the University of Texas, writes: “It is difficult to read our constitutional history … without believing that the Constitution is often reduced at best to a whisper during times of war.”

The First Amendment is no exception. Attorney Michael Linfield, author of Freedom Under Fire: U.S. Civil Liberties in Times of War, writes: “Rather than being an exception, war-era violations of civil liberties in the United States are the accepted norm for our government.”

The article goes on to mention numerous instances in American history when civil liberties (including freedom of the press) were stripped by the government during wartime.  The War on of Terror is certainly no exception.

I hesitate closing this article with the standard meme of “it is un-American to curtail civil liberties”, but after second thought, I will save my readers from this trite, mythical, and nationalistic mantra.  As our military history will attest to, it is actually very, very American to do so, at least when it comes to minorities: racism has beset our nation during most of her many wars, whether it was against American Indians, Hispanics, or Asians.  Today’s wars against Arabs/Muslims overseas–and the concomitant stripping away of their human rights both at home and abroad–simply mean staying true to a long-held American tradition.

Mayor Bloomberg affirms the fundamental myth of the War on of Terror, the idea that we need to wage foreign wars (and in the process curtail civil liberties) in order to stop terrorism.  This is a strongly held belief, even though nothing exacerbates the problem of terrorism more than these wars.  In fact, our military interventions in the Muslim world are the root cause of terrorism.  Targeting the American Muslim community is the wrong solution: the only way to stop terrorism is to end our many wars in the Muslim world.  That Americans today failed to realize this simple fact will be looked upon by future generations with amazement.

Update I:

A reader, Christian-friend, commented:

I don’t see him justifying racial profiling, be more accurate!

From the ACLU’s website:

Racial Profiling: Definition (2005 resource): “Racial Profiling” refers to the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.

Whenever in doubt, substitute “Jewish” for “Muslim” and see if it sounds right, i.e. it would be racial profiling if police targeted Jewish citizens.

Update II:

The Associated Press released a secret NYPD dossier from 2007, which further diminishes the above reader’s claim that this doesn’t constitute racial profiling.  That leaked document reads:

For the purposes of this report, a Location of Concern is defined as follows:

–Localized center of activity for a particular ethnic group.

–Popular hangout or meetup location for a particular ethnic group that provides a forum for listening to neighborhood gossip or otherwise provides an overall feel for the community.

That certainly sounds like racial profiling to me.

Update III:

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald writes:

…Muslims generally — and, increasingly, American Muslims — are branded with virtually official non-person status under the law. On Monday, I wrote about the way in which core tyrannical powers — arbitrary detention, limitless spying, due-process-free assassinations — have become normalized in the U.S., Israel and its Western allies, but it is almost always Muslims who are the target of these abuses. Every serious episode of civil liberties assaults in American history was driven by the full-scale demonization of one specific group. There are still plenty of groups who perform that function, but there is no question that Muslims are the prime target now.

This is the reason that sites like LoonWatch are so important: we document the targeting and scapegoating of the Muslim community.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

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  • Lilly

    Truth Seeker – Ok, we get it. Go “correct” another page/social group/religious group/whatever now.

  • Christian-friend

    My ignorance?! those people brought peace in their local region! just because they aren’t in the bible that makes them false prophets! In fact, they should be in the Bible!

  • http://loonwatch Dirkpitt

    Thank goodness somebody is keeping an eye on them.

  • Abdul-Rahman

    “Bloomberg ominously warned journalists: ”You are not going to survive. You will not be able to be a journalist and write what you want to say if the people who want to take away your freedoms are allowed to succeed.”

    Oh yes that corporate puppet Bloomberg (who supported his Wall St crook backers and had the NYPD smash and abuse the brave protesters of Occupy Wall Street) trotting out his own version and rendition of the old tired “they hate us for our freedom excuse” here he’s telling people he basically supports censoring them, because people are allegedly out to come over, take over, and one day stop them from writing what they want. This tired “they hate us for our freedom” excuse for US imperialism refuted in a hilarious video by American comedian David Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM202BVLf78 David Cross on the Terrorists

  • Saladin

    What surprises me is that Marc Sageman was consulted and he has debunked many myths about Muslims and yet the NYPD still did seem to have listened to his advice

  • Daniel

    A_Hakbar, thank you for your humble reply (and I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically).

    I believe most Rabbinical Jews believe that it is nearly impossible to put someone to death–even for murder. On a practical note, until the Sanhedrin is re-assembled, no such punishment can be legally enforced under Jewish law. And even if if it is reconstituted, it is still very difficult to enforce the death penalty. A Sanhedrin is considered “bloody” if it imposed the death penalty even just once in seven years.

    (I wonder what that would make the United States, which has put to death 1,267 people since 1976, or on average 36 a year, or at 257 times that rate? I’m actually not anti-death penalty per se, but it certainly wouldn’t conform to Jewish Law.)

    That said, keep in mind that Iran hardly speaks for the majority of Muslims when they enforce this or any other particular religious law. There are some Muslims who have a view very similar to the Rabbinical Jews–that such a penalty should be imposed incredibly rarely, only on the basis of overwhelming evidence and only if it is combined with an egregious circumstance (for example, apostasy that results in treason against the state.)

    A huge source of abuse of such laws (or blasphemy laws) is they are frequently used as means to avenge personal greviences.

  • A_Hakbar

    @Daniel Says:
    February 23rd, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Daniel, you do have a very strong point.

    I am trying to find good comments, preferred Jewish. Somehow the emphasis on the OT for the Jews has always been on ‘the standard for holy living’, something like ‘The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ in the NT. It is for sure that the repercussions for straying from the law can only be applied after the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth of which the Jewish people in the Moses – Joshua timeframe were a early representation. Nevertheless I would like to receive further revelation on this topic.

  • A_Hakbar

    @Christian-friend Says:
    February 23rd, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    “I am Christian too; I pray to God and I worship His Son, but I recognize Muhammad and Buddha as prophets. Does that mean I am a bad person?”

    – No, it shows your ignorance.

  • http://gmail Truth Seeker

    @Chistian Friend:I also consider Mohammad- a Prophet but a FALSE PROPHET.

  • Truth Hurts

    Profiling = Stereotyping

    Why the PC attitude? ;-)

  • Daniel

    Hi Géji,

    I don’t disagree with you. As I stated earlier, I know that the death penalty for apostasy is not in the Quran, and many believe that simple apostasy is not worthy of death–only apostasy that results in treason against the State. And I believe that most conservative Christians would agree that if any crime is worthy of death, treason certainly is. In my country, Benedict Arnold’s name still brings anger–and his crime was 200 years ago!

    And more importantly for a Christian, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is the epitome of treason. Of course, also for a Christian, we view OURSELVES to be as guilty of Jesus’ death as Judas was, for our disobedience to God’s holy Law was the reason we believe Jesus came to die.

    I know that it is tiresome to continually battle the foolish statements of Islamaphobes; but we should not grow weary in addressing those tired, faulty arguments whenever and wherever they arise. If lies are not called out, they gain in strength and, when repeated often enough, become truth in the mind of the majority of the hearers who will not bother to fact-check themselves.

  • Daniel

    A_Hakbar wrote:

    “Deut 13:6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known.

    If you read this verse carefully, there are conditions in place, it is talking of close relatives and the word ‘entices’ is used, so ‘any’ does not apply, since the perputator must be guilty of enticing.”

    Perhaps in this passage; but consider this one, just a few chapters later:

    Deut 17:

    ” 2 If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, 3 and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, 4 and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5 take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. 6 On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 7 The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.”

    In this passage, there is no mention of “enticing” as being the reason to stone the apostate. Rather, it is the mere fact of worshipping other gods that one was to be stoned.

    It is clear–apostates, under the law of Moses, were to be stoned. You many not agree with it, you may not like it; but that was what God (the Triune God–the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) through Moses, commanded.

    Further, a_hakbar wrote:

    “The law is a defined standard for a holy live, but as a means to ‘become’ holy it does fail, that is why the new covenant through Christ was revealed, indeed any form of religion without Christ does fail. The main problem with the Quran is not in the first place the law, but the lack of true provision for the remission of sin.”

    As a Christian, I agree. The Law showed humanity’s utter sinfulness; it brought about no righteousness. And not just apostates are condemned. Paul wrote in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death”–not just apostasy, adultery, murder, sabbath-breaking, etc–ALL sin; but the hope we have Paul continues: “….but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    So if you want to critique Islam, go ahead; but use fair judgment. You might say how horrible the death penalty for apostates is, and it therefore is proof that it could not come from God. But this leads to the troubling conclusion that Moses is likewise condemned, if you use the same standard.

  • Géji

    > “My point is simply this: it is both hypocritical and foolish for a Christian to condemn Islam for something it shares with Christianity, as A_Hakbar was doing. To whit, his argument: *Islam teaches (according to him) that apostates should be executed. *Executing people for changing religions is evil. *Therefore, Islam was evil (specifically, it must have been inspired by an evil spirit).”

    @Daniel

    Hi, thanks for replying. But this subject-(i.e., apostasy) that anti-Muslim bigots like a broken record keep on repeating by using the same old tired arguments, have already been exposed and refuted millions if not billions time. And you’re right to say that it is utterly foolish and hypocritical of Islamophobe bigots to bring something that is present in their religious texts, to then use it as weapon for their anti-Muslim hate. But unlike in their religious scriptures, the Book of Islam promote religious freedom, and never advocates killing anyone for simply ‘loosing’ faith, as faith throughout the Qur’an is presented as a matter of the heart, and cannot be “forced” on anyone. Even here on LW, there are many articles dedicated to the subject that has dismantled into pieces the ridiculous, overly used and abused Islamophobic arguments, and quite frankly, it’s getting tiresome and to nonsensical to keep on addressing this nonsense. Because facts are not what anti-Muslim bigots interested in, so let them keep on repeating their lies like madmen until they chocked on it-(hopefully). As for people of conscience who want to find-out the truth on the subject, there are more than enough accurately answered materials. Thus, no, nowhere in Islam’s holy book is to be found to “kill” those who lost faith, the Qur’an is clear when says – “Let there be no compulsion in religion” – — As for the Hadith you’re referring to, it speaks of those who betrayed, collaborated and then joined with the enemies who were at war and was seeking to exterminate the Muslims.

    —- “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

    —- “If it had been your Lord’s will, all of the people on Earth would have believed. Would you then compel the people so to have them believe?” [Sûrah Yûnus: 99]

    —- “So if they dispute with you (Muhammad), say ‘I have submitted my whole self to Allah, and so have those who follow me.’ And say to the People of the Scripture and to the unlearned: ‘Do you also submit yourselves?’ If they do, then they are on right guidance. But if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message. And in Allah’s sight are all of His servants.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 20]

    —- “The Messenger’s duty is but to proclaim the Message.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 99]

  • Christian-friend

    @A_hakbar

    I am Christian too; I pray to God and I worship His Son, but I recognize Muhammad and Buddha as prophets. Does that mean I am a bad person?

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