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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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  • Géji

    @Ibn Mikael Says: “You should write a post about the Qur’an burning news. Is it just me or does it seem like a new military burning/shooting/urinating on the Qur’an story emerges every few months or so. Surprising given that they’re “so sorry.””

    Yeah, you’re right, I was just thinking the same thing, since ‘episodes’ of this nature has become more frequent in recent years from the axis of occupiers, it’s think its obvious enough that those “sad” incidents are more “strategical” than “accidental” after-all. When they get “accidentally leaked” every few months, I guess is to whip-up the frustration and deep-anger already felt heavily by many ordinary Afghans since the illegal occupation started, to then give birth to more people joining the resistance, which America will profit as usual, justifying its continue legal terrorism business, without of course a single-beep (as usual) from the reduced to silence and spineless International community.

  • Ali

    Oh, and by the way:

    the only reason why you are succeeding, is because Muslims are telling you who’s doing what. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be as successful. And that’s not me talking, ask the Chief of Police of LA, where he testified in Peter King’s retarded hearings, that Muslims helped foil 65% of the plots.

  • Awesome

    There are ways to confound attempts at profiling certain groups of people, and extreme paranoia is only a few steps away from total sanity. Like a loop, it can only go so far in one direction before it starts coming back.

    @ Proverb

    The fact that there have allegedly been “zero civilian deaths” in the US is not evidence that Bloomberg is incorrect about the scale of the threat. It is also not proof that Muslim terrorists have no tried to kill US civilians. “Zero deaths” merely reflects the rate of success (or lack thereof) that the Muslim terrorists have had – not their attempts.

    – The evidence that Bloomberg is wrong about the scale of the threat, is the lack of evidence to support it. While attacks are real, the threat that is associated with it is not.

    Furthermore, using the claim of alleged zero civilian deaths in US, Bloomberg could simply argue that this is proof that their methods are keeping Americans safe. Afterall, US enforcement has been doing what it has been doing and the result: zero civilian deaths in US from Muslim terrorists. Hence “zero deaths” is also a reflection of the success of the methods employed by US security agencies.

    – Bloomberg cannot successfully argue such a thing without evidence to support it, and there simply isn’t any. All there has been are cases of entrapment designed to meet some quota, which don’t count. The real reason why there has been zero deaths is because of the simple fact that there is zero interest in causing them. Most people have no interest in killing others. The only reason the fear-mongering is hyped up is because there is money to be made and plenty of exploitation to be accomplished in having a “moral panic”.

  • Ali

    @Proverb

    You obviously did not read the links and the reports in those links, choosing instead to bury your head in the sands. The RAND reports that links to the “zero deaths” states clearly

    “[Of the] 83 terrorist attacks in the United States between 9/11 and the end of 2009, only three…were clearly connected with the jihadist cause. (The RAND database includes Abdulmutallab’s failed Christmas Day attempt to detonate a bomb on an airplane.) The other jihadist plots were interrupted by authorities.”

    You can brag all you want about the so-called “success” of racial profiling, discrimination, and harasment your “law enforcement” provides. But you certainly did not help the 11000 American died in the previous year from Homicides, because other FELLOW American, whom are 99% not Muslim, killed them. How is that for “success” for your Law enforcement.

  • Al

    I feel that the events of 9/11 were etched into our collective psyche by the media constantly looping the film footage of that tragedy in such a way as to evoke a collective state of PTSD.
    Scrooge McDu- I mean, Mayor Bloomberg has cashed in on this like every other two-bit a$$hole turned politician/ Islam expert/ military-issue wank tissue looking to turn a buck at the expense of Constitutional law. Perhaps the Muslims of North America should make hijra to lands where Islam and Muslims are greater in number, leaving the paranoid, psychologically scarred, war-loving patriots to the false security of their ever encroaching police state.

  • JD

    Link Above are the NYPD doc’s

  • JD

    Read the documents:

    Newark, N.J.: http://apne.ws/wBk7Hg

    Nassau County: http://apne.ws/xhHxNx

    Suffolk County: http://apne.ws/zmCvMU

  • Pingback: Bloomberg Fail: NY Mayor Defends Racial Profiling of and Spying on American Muslims | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper()

  • JD

    NYPD Built Secret Files On NJ, Long Island Mosques

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/nypd-built-secret-files-o_0_n_1293242.html

    NEWARK, N.J. — Americans living and working in New Jersey’s largest city were subjected to surveillance as part of the New York Police Department’s effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray. The operation in Newark was so secretive even the city’s mayor says he was kept in the dark.

    For months in mid-2007, plainclothes officers from the NYPD’s Demographics Units fanned out across Newark, taking pictures and eavesdropping on conversations inside businesses owned or frequented by Muslims.

    The result was a 60-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, containing brief summaries of businesses and their clientele. Police also photographed and mapped 16 mosques, listing them as “Islamic Religious Institutions.”

    The report cited no evidence of terrorism or criminal behavior. It was a guide to Newark’s Muslims.

    According to the report, the operation was carried out in collaboration with the Newark Police Department. But the Newark police director at the time said no local officers participated. And Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker, said he never authorized the spying and was never told about it.

    “Wow,” he said as the AP laid out the details of the report. “This raises a number of concerns. It’s just very, very sobering.”

    Police conducted similar operations outside their jurisdiction in New York’s Suffolk and Nassau counties on suburban Long Island, according to police records.

    Such surveillance has become commonplace in New York City in the decade since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Police have built databases showing where Muslims live, where they buy groceries, even what Internet cafes they use and where they watch sports. Dozens of mosques and student groups have been infiltrated and police have built detailed profiles of ethnic communities, from Moroccans to Egyptians to Albanians.

    The documents obtained by the AP show, for the first time in any detail, how those efforts stretched outside the NYPD’s jurisdiction. New Jersey and Long Island residents had no reason to suspect the NYPD was watching them. And since the NYPD isn’t accountable to their votes or tax dollars, those non-New Yorkers had little recourse to stop it.

    “All of these are innocent people,” Nagiba el-Sioufi of Newark said while her husband, Mohammed, flipped through the NYPD report, looking at photos of mosques and storefronts frequented by their friends.

    Egyptian immigrants and American citizens, the couple raised two daughters in the United States. Mohammed works as an accountant and is vice president of the Islamic Culture Center, a mosque a few blocks from Newark City Hall.

    “If you have an accusation on us, then spend the money on doing this to us,” Nagiba said. “But you have no accusation.”

    The Newark police director at the time, Garry McCarthy, is now in charge of the Chicago Police Department. He said the NYPD initiated the operation and none of his officers participated.

    “The NYPD reached out to us as a courtesy when they were coming into Newark. Period,” McCarthy said in a brief phone interview Wednesday.

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not return a message seeking comment about the report.

  • khushboo

    I’m so sick of people saying monitoring Muslims is for our own “security”! Those same people would be in an uproar if this happened to them or if it happened to only Black people or only Jews. This is getting out of hand and if we don’t speak out against this, it’ll just get worse. I’m ashamed that only a few of us in our community spoke out against this! If we don’t have a voice, the crazies will be speaking for us…and according to the polls where we live, they have spoken!

  • JD

    US Haditha Marine Frank Wuterich discharged

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17121937

    Former Sgt Frank Wuterich as he leaves the courtroom on the last day of the manslaughter court martial into the killings at Haditha 24 January 2012 Frank Wuterich apologised for the loss of life but said his men did not behave dishonourably

    The US Marine Corps has discharged the man convicted over the killing of

    Iraqi civilians in Haditha, a spokesman said.

    Former Sgt Frank Wuterich, 31, was given a general discharge under honourable conditions and completed his service on Friday, he added.

    Wuterich avoided imprisonment after reaching a plea deal, but had earlier faced several counts of manslaughter.

    Twenty-four people died in the 2005 killings, including women and children, after a roadside bomb killed a Marine.

    Wuterich was one of eight men charged in the case, but charges against six were dropped or dismissed and one was acquitted

    ==============

    The general discharge is an administrative action that describes imperfect honorable service. This discharge prohibits future re-enlistment into any branch of the military. A general discharge does permit benefits, though, and is acceptable to the Department of Veterans Affairs–an important link in the chain of communications.

    A prospective employer rarely challenges a general discharge under honorable conditions. The discharge is not an albatross and there’s typically no stigma attached to it. General discharges could convert to honorable discharges if the return to civilian life encourages formation of a stellar citizen

    Justice Served High Five Everyone

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    JD
    Its very funny that she cannot find 500 elected officials to support her :-)

  • http://www.wmonline.com Dave

    When people like the good mayor justify the suspension of human and civil rights in the name of security, they, well, you know, as Ben Franklin said, “deserve neither.”
    Hate crimes against United States Muslims is up 50% in 2010! And it is up because of justications like the mayor’s. He really should be ashamed of himself!
    If we cannot preserve and protect our human and civil rights beause we have allowed ourselves to become so afraid, doesn’t that mean that Osama bin Laden, even though he is dead, won and we lost? I think so!

  • http://ilfdinar.wordpress.com/ ilfdinar

    Sarcasm
    I think the government should spy on Black people to decrease the theft rate or the homicide rate
    or the government should spy on Jews to clamp down on financial crime or white collar crime (racist huh) goes to show what will happen if the shoe is on the other foot

  • JD

    France’s top court has rejected a bid by far right candidate Marine Le Pen to grant her supporters anonymity, in a move that threatens her election hopes.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17124750

    The Constitutional Court rejected her argument that the names of elected officials who endorse a presidential candidate should not be made public.

    She is said to be just short of the 500 endorsements needed to stand.

    Meanwhile, opinion polls suggest President Nicolas Sarkozy has slashed the lead of rival Francois Hollande.

    In other developments in the French election campaign

    Mr Sarkozy visited a wholesale food market in Paris to challenge accusations by Ms Le Pen that households in the city are unwittingly eating halal meat

    An opinion poll in Le Monde newspaper suggested 46% of schoolteachers in France would back Mr Hollande in the first round

    Green candidate Eva Joly raised eyebrows by using crude language about her strained relations with former environment minister Corinne Lepage, who is also bidding to stand in the election on an environmental platform

    =============

    Guess one racist bigot is better then a even bigger racist bigot. Anyone else notice the “households in the city are unwittingly eating halal meat” line is same as Spam Geller

  • CSD

    Also, why is the New York City police department investigating the University of Pennsylvania and any other areas of the US? Does Bloomberg think this scope creep has no bounds? Contrary to what Bloomberg may think it is my understanding he was elected to be the mayor of New York City.

  • http://www.yellow-stars.com eslaporte

    And – it’s not just racial profiling, it’s also religious and political profiling. Are you a pious Muslim? Well – you are “radicalized” – and being “radicalized” means your are “dangerous.”

    The counter-terrorism framework openly touted by the Dutch uses religious piousness – and the “Mohammad B.” (after van Gogh’s killer) profile against Moroccan young men.

    The use of religious and political profiling MUST BE STOPPED if we wish to continue to live in a free society!

  • mjasghar

    The problem, it seems to me, is why can’t American Muslims coordinate their political power in a way that a community of the same size i.e. Jewish Americans can. Maybe because so many are first gen. immigrants who just want to make lots of money and not get involved in politics or they might get sent back home?
    It’s interesting to note that until Clinton, every US President had to be a war veteran. Indeed, it seems being a successful general is a stepping stone to political office – Colin Powell as an example. Bet on that Obama’s lack of military time will be raised soon

  • mindy1

    We need better intellegence to see who the REAL threats are, and not just spy on people at random

  • Farlowe

    In Australia there is more chance of being killed on the golf course by falling trees or lightning than being killed by a terrorist. The last terrorist bombing I remember was in the 1970’s and the suspects were members of Ananda Marga.

  • Proverb

    The fact that there have allegedly been “zero civilian deaths” in the US is not evidence that Bloomberg is incorrect about the scale of the threat. It is also not proof that Muslim terrorists have no tried to kill US civilians. “Zero deaths” merely reflects the rate of success (or lack thereof) that the Muslim terrorists have had – not their attempts.

    Furthermore, using the claim of alleged zero civilian deaths in US, Bloomberg could simply argue that this is proof that their methods are keeping Americans safe. Afterall, US enforcement has been doing what it has been doing and the result: zero civilian deaths in US from Muslim terrorists. Hence “zero deaths” is also a reflection of the success of the methods employed by US security agencies.

  • Ibn Mikael

    You should write a post about the Qur’an burning news. Is it just me or does it seem like a new military burning/shooting/urinating on the Qur’an story emerges every few months or so. Surprising given that they’re “so sorry.” Yeah, sorry enough to never actually address the issue and tell the troops to not act like childish morons. And I love the comments in articles talking about the Qur’an burning. It’s always a load of nonsense about how irrational the Afghans are for being upset about it, as if American would be perfectly nonchalant if Afghans invaded our country, pissed on our dead, sodomized our detainees, bombed our weddings, and then proceeded to continuously insult us by denigrating the Bible and everything we hold sacred.

  • HGG

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

    I don’t see how. He *is* justifying racial profiling, you can’t argue that.

    Maybe you could argue racial profiling is justified. That wouldn’t be any better, but at least it would be honest.

  • Danios

    @ Christian-friend:

    I responded in the update above.

  • Christian-friend

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

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