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Tag Archive | "racial profiling"

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Gun Parts, Ammo Found Hidden Inside Stuffed Animals at Rhode Island Airport, Suspects are Free to Go

Posted on 10 May 2012 by Emperor

TSA via AP

This photo provided by the Transportation Security Administration shows pistol parts hidden in a stuffed animal found at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I.

Can you imagine if a Muslim or “Muslim looking” person had stuffed animals with gun parts and ammo? You can bet he would be on a one way ticket to Guantanomo! (via. What If They Were Muslim?)

By NBC News, msnbc.com staff and news services
(msnbc.com)

WARWICK, R.I. — Gun components and ammunition were found hidden inside three stuffed animals carried by a passenger at Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport on Tuesday, federal transportation officials said.

Authorities later allowed the 4-year-old boy and his father to continue their travel to Detroit after concluding the man didn’t pose a risk, authorities said. He told police that he didn’t know the parts were inside the stuffed toys — which included a Mickey Mouse and a teddy bear.

“It appears to be the result of a domestic dispute,” Rhode Island Airport Police Chief Leo Messier said. “It was jointly investigated by the RI Airport Police, FBI and the RI State Police and it was determined that there was no threat at any time to air safety.”

NBC News station WHDH reported that a magazine loaded with two .40-caliber rounds was discovered inside a bunny and a firing pin was inside Mickey Mouse.

‘Artfully concealed’
Officials with airport police and the Transportation Security Administration declined to comment further, saying the incident remained under investigation.

A TSA officer noticed the disassembled gun components “artfully concealed” inside three stuffed animals. The stuffed animals were inside the child’s carry-on bag, which had been put through an X-ray machine as part of normal security screening.

The parts could have been assembled to make a full firearm, authorities said.

The items were confiscated. Police have not released the man’s name.

Passengers at T.F. Green told WHDH they were thankful the system worked.

“I know a lot of people don’t like the screening procedure, but I’m thankful that they really screen people and we feel much safer because of it,” one woman told the station.

NBC News station WHDH and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sam Harris, “Profile the Muslim Looking People!”

Posted on 02 May 2012 by Haddock

Sam Harris continues the absurdist act that he has something intelligent to say when it comes to topics other than Neuroscience. We also learn that he possesses a 9mm, and travels with 75 rounds of ammunition, if the religion-bashing industry doesn’t work out maybe he can be the new spokesman for the NRA?

In a recent blog post, the pop Atheist guru writes that “we” should specifically profile Muslims at airports, and “be honest about it.” He is sick of the “tyranny of fairness” in which airport security searches people randomly when we all know that it’s the “Mooslims” who want to kill everyone on the plane. He concedes that he hasn’t “had to endure the experience of being continually profiled…”, and that he would find it “frustrating” if he had, but if someone looks like they may commit a crime (based on their ethnic appearance), they should be targeted for extra scrutiny.He uses the comedian Ben Stiller’s appearance as an example:

“But if someone who looked vaguely like Ben Stiller were wanted for crimes against humanity, I would understand if I turned a few heads at the airport. However, if I were forced to wait in line behind a sham search of everyone else, I would surely resent this additional theft of my time.”

Attempting to speak on behalf of the very people he wants profiled, he implies that Muslims should “welcome” profiling, at the very least it would “save them time!”

He goes on;

We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.

Maybe Sam will want Muslims to wear crescent and star badges so as to be identified as “Muslim?” By saying “conceivably be Muslim” Sam is really saying any Brown, Middle Eastern or South Asian looking person, perhaps someone with a turban?

In a very poor attempt to soften the racialist tone, he adds this caveat;

And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?)… (emphasis added)

As with most advocates of procedures that single out specific people for harassment, Sam Harris himself doesn’t have to experience the frustration that comes from this harassment. It’s easy to say, “Muslims should just cooperate and make it easier on themselves and everybody else” when one doesn’t have to experience such situations, multiple times, themselves.

He recounts earlier in the blog post an ironic experience he had at the airport whereby he “accidentally” smuggled nearly 75 rounds of ammunition past the inspectors, while a three-year old was momentarily taken from her family so that her sandals could be inspected.

I once accidentally used a bag for carry-on in which I had once stored a handgun—and passed through three airport checkpoints with nearly 75 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

Question: What the hell is Sam Harris doing with 75 rounds of ammunition?

As of today (May 1st), he has added an addendum to his blog, complaining that some people didn’t take too kindly to his simply presenting the “facts” as he sees them. One of those basic “facts” is;

“…that, in the year 2012, suicidal terrorism is overwhelmingly a Muslim phenomenon. If you grant this, it follows that applying equal scrutiny to Mennonites would be a dangerous waste of time.”

He must have not read the report which stated that only 6% of terrorist acts committed in the United States from 1980-2005 years were committed by Muslims, and that even in 2012 an American is more likely to get struck by lightning than to be killed/hurt by a Muslim terrorist.

He goes on;

“1. When I speak of profiling “Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim,” I am not narrowly focused on people with dark skin. In fact, I included myself in the description of the type of person I think should be profiled (twice). To say that ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, dress, traveling companions, behavior in the terminal, and other outward appearances offer no indication of a person’s beliefs or terrorist potential is either quite crazy or totally dishonest.”

Well that’s a sigh of relief! It’s not “just” dark-skinned Muslims that he wants to be profiled, but all Muslims! What universalistic spirit!

It has already been established that the more “Muslim” a person looks at the airport, the less likely they are to attempt anything violent on the plane. It simply would make no sense for a person to raise a thousand red flags in the minds of airport security, before they even board the plane. The entire point of a terrorist is to accomplish their goal, not to raise the suspicions of everyone around them before they get the chance to do so.

Since the stereotypical image of a Muslim in the minds of many is that of a “dark-skinned man of the Orient,” Muslim profiling is for all practical purposes racial profiling.

Juan Cole wrote about this on his blog nearly a year ago, when two Muslim clerics were forced to exit a plane because the pilot refused to fly if they were still on board;

“The terrorist costume is a simulated reality, circulated in Hollywood and countless news broadcasts, that evokes a causal relation between appearance and action. The terrorist costume is familiar to nearly all Americans: a thick beard, an ashen robe, brown skin, sandals holding dirty feet, and some sort of headgear, usually a turban (Sikh style, of course). The terrorist wearing this costume often sports a Qu’ran, so the audience can be certain that he is a Muslim.

Yet the acts of terrorism that have been committed by radicals of Muslim heritage involved perpetrators, like Mohamed Atta, who didn’t at all resemble the image of the Hollywood terrorist. Rahman and Zaghloul dressed in a way that set off alarms in some of their American co-passengers because the latter entertained Orientalist fantasies. Ironically, Muslim-American clerics are among the more law-abiding people in the country.”

Harris’s pro-profiling views are not shocking to anyone who knows his history of loonieness. Harris after all is the same unprincipled and bigoted individual, who has, as Bob Pitt noted;

backed Geert Wilders, joined the hysterical campaign against the so-called Ground Zero mosque and claimed that “the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.”

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Why I Agree With Asra Nomani: KFC Restaurants Need to be under Constant Surveillance

Posted on 10 March 2012 by Danios

Asra Nomani, who is a real life Muslim, recently wrote a piece for the Daily Beast defending the NYPD’s practice of racial profiling and spying on the American Muslim community.  Haroon Moghul, another prominent American Muslim figure, blogged a response, which was cross-posted on LoonWatch.  Nomani had written in her article:

Indeed, just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don’t police ourselves enough.

Moghul shot back:

The first part of her sentence, about Colombians, is actually right on (by her silly logic); the second part contradicts her own logic (she can call for profiling some Latinos, but she doesn’t have the courage to apply her racializing logic to white America), and everything after “I believe” speaks to how little Asra actually knows anything about the Muslim community, as well as the several seconds of your life which you could have done something better with.  For law enforcement to go after white extremism the way it seems to be going after Muslims (at least, with respect to the NYPD), they wouldn’t be going after the KKK, as Asra suggests–unless Asra means to suggest that Muslim student organizations at Yale and UPenn are offshoots of al Qaeda. Law enforcement would instead have to spy on as many white institutions (churches, civic clubs, student organizations, etc.) as they could.

Danios of LoonWatch chimed in: “Will Asra Nomani stay consistent and support spying on white people?”

But, Haroon Moghul and Danios of LoonWatch are way off: it’s not proper to compare peace-loving, good Christian white folk to Muslims or Latinos.

The real million dollar question is: should the police racially profile and spy on the black community?  Using Asra Nomani’s sage advice, I think we must.  For the longest time though, I have worried that our sense of political correctness has kept us from sensible law-enforcement strategies that carefully look at black male youth, black neighborhoods, and black hangout spots.

The LAPD and other police departments should send “rakers” into the black community–police officers whose racial background (black) and language skills (ebonics) match the places they are monitoring, including black streets, black high schools, and black hangout spots like basketball courts.

Public spaces, especially those protected from police scrutiny due to racial sensitivities, are a natural meeting spot for criminals. If the NYPD was tracking shopping malls or pizza shops where criminal activity is being planned, we wouldn’t complain. Because of racial political correctness, we’re protesting looking into black communities.  Alas, criminals and gang-bangers use our political correctness and racial sensitivity as a weapon against us.

There are other black people who believe law enforcement has to do its job and spy on black people.  I know at least four different random black people who feel the same way I do.

The last few decades of battling violence in the black community has revealed one truth: black neighborhoods are spaces used by blacks intent on criminal activity.  Asra Nomani wrote:

[M]osques and Muslim organizations are institutional spaces used by Muslims intent on criminal activity, not much unlike the pews of a Catholic church or a Godfather’s Pizza might be the secret meeting spot for members of the Italian mafia.

Nomani has done extensive research on this topic.  I heard she watched all three parts of The Godfather.  If we want to crack down on black crime, I suggest especially high surveillance of watermelon stands, basketball courts, and near white women.  As far as I’m concerned, we need plenty of “raking.”

Police and FBI sources reveal that blacks are responsible for much of the violence and crime in our nation.  Kevin Alfred Strom went through the FBI Uniform Crime Report and found the following:

According to the FBI, Blacks are more than 3 times as likely to be thieves as Whites. They are more than 4 times as likely to commit assault as Whites. They are almost 4.5 times as likely to steal a motor vehicle. According to the FBI, Blacks are more than 5 times as likely to commit forcible rape as Whites, over 8 times as likely to commit murder, and more than 10 times as likely to commit robbery. For all violent crimes considered together, Blacks are almost 5.5 times more likely to commit violent criminal acts than Whites, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report…

A few more statistics:

85% of all felonies committed against cabbies in New York City are committed by Blacks.

Nearly 25% of all Black males between the ages of 20 and 29 are in jail or on probation. This doesn’t include those wanted or awaiting trial!

Statistically, Black neighborhoods are 3500% more violent than White ones.

Nearly 25% of all Black males between the ages of 20 and 29 are in jail or on probation. This doesn’t include those wanted or awaiting trial!

Statistically, Black neighborhoods are 3500% more violent than White ones.

Well, since blacks won’t police themselves, I think it’s high time the police do it for them.  (Does anyone have an Official “I’m Black” card I can use so this sounds less offensive?)

Nomani notes:

Like the NYPD tracking the Newark restaurants where Muslims congregate, Karachi police have a local spot they have on constant surveillance: a restaurant called Student Biryani, selling a rice dish popular in the country. I learned this tracking the police case against the militants involved in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The mastermind, Omar Sheikh, met with his logistical chiefs at Student Biryani, and the police report reveals the men even took some biryani home as carryout. Militants can easily huddle in Student Biryani’s crowded restaurant space and get a hot meal and much-needed noise.

Damn those wily terrorists and their biryani bellies.  Although my extensive googling revealed no evidence for this claim that the popular food chain Student Biryani in Pakistan is under “constant surveillance” by police, I think Nomani raises a good point.  In our fight against black violence, I think we need to keep all KFC restaurants under constant surveillance.  A tracking and listening device should be included in all takeout boxes.  I once heard a gang of Bloods once ate a full 12-piece of crispy chicken at one KFC in one city at one moment in history.  Gang members can easily huddle in KFC’s crowded restaurant space and get a hot meal and much-needed noise (and chicken).

Many African countries make no apologies for monitoring their black citizens.  Neither should the LAPD or other police departments apologize for monitoring blacks.  Blacks should in fact open their doors to the surveillance and help the cops smoke out the criminals in their community, so that black neighborhoods and communities are safe spaces.

Note: If you didn’t figure it out already, the above article is not to be taken seriously and is actually a spoof of Asra Nomani’s article on American Muslims.  My purpose was to reveal how utterly revolting Nomani’s expressed views are, something that only becomes apparent when you switch out “Muslim” for black, Jewish, etc.

Addendum I:

I had thought I was being especially creative when I came up with the KFC bit, but then I realized I had missed this gem from Nomani’s original article (I almost spit my drink out when I saw it): Nomani defended the NYPD spying on

restaurants frequented by Muslims, including Kansas Fried Chicken, a place run by folks of Afghan descent, according to the report.

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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Asra Nomani in The Daily Beast: Spy on White People

Posted on 09 March 2012 by Danios

(cross-posted from avari)

By Haroon Moghul

So, Asra Nomani writes an(other) embarrasing example of self-hatred for The Daily Beast, applauding law enforcement’s apparent targeting of Muslims throughout the Greater New York City area. Her essay is riddled with simple errors, clear misperceptions of how law and constitutionalism function, an inability to process profiling, and some faulty logic, perhaps the finest instance of which is here:

Indeed, just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don’t police ourselves enough.

The first part of her sentence, about Colombians, is actually right on (by her silly logic); the second part contradicts her own logic (she can call for profiling some Latinos, but she doesn’t have the courage to apply her racializing logic to white America), and everything after “I believe” speaks to how little Asra actually knows anything about the Muslim community, as well as the several seconds of your life which you could have done something better with.For law enforcement to go after white extremism the way it seems to be going after Muslims (at least, with respect to the NYPD), they wouldn’t be going after the KKK, as Asra suggests–unless Asra means to suggest that Muslim student organizations at Yale and UPenn are offshoots of al Qaeda. Law enforcement would instead have to spy on as many white institutions (churches, civic clubs, student organizations, etc.) as they could.

Because, of course, by Asra’s article’s painful logic, a person’s whiteness is a sufficiently significant lead to get law enforcement to pay attention to him, just as a Muslim institution is, on the grounds of its Muslimness, a target of suspicion sufficient to merit law enforcement’s full attention. This is a point Amy Davidson made far more succinctly in an excellent post at The New Yorker:

There is a difference between chasing clues and treating Islam, in and of itself, as a lead.

Does Asra mean to suggest we should be spying on white folks indiscriminately, because they, like the KKK, are white? Should we spy on white Muslims twice, since they are white and Muslim, and so somehow become extremists that hate themselves. I spoke about this issue on a far more relevant basis to Welton Gaddy of State of Belief Radio.

By the way, I’ll be at Fordham’s Manhattan campus today (Monday, March 5th), speaking about the long history of Islam and especially Islam in America. It’s free, and I’ll try to make it fun, educational, and enlightening. We’ll be starting at 6pm at Fordham’s South Lounge inside 113 West 60th Street, right off Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The event ends at 8pm.

Haroon Moghul is a Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. He is an Associate Editor and columnist at Religion Dispatches and writes for the Huffington Post.

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

Posted on 22 February 2012 by Danios

(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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NYPD monitored Muslim students all over Northeast

Posted on 19 February 2012 by Danios

The FBI is busy entrapping young Muslims while the local police department is spying on Muslim students without warrant or reason.  Here’s a report from The Associated Press:

NYPD monitored Muslim students all over Northeast

By CHRIS HAWLEY, Associated Press – 19 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the elite Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned.

Police talked with local authorities about professors 300 miles (480 kilometers) away in Buffalo and even sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students’ names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.

Detectives trawled Muslim student websites every day and, although professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing, their names were recorded in reports prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Asked about the monitoring, police spokesman Paul Browne provided a list of 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism charges in the United States and abroad who had once been members of Muslim student associations, which the NYPD referred to as MSAs. Jesse Morton, who this month pleaded guilty to posting online threats against the creators of the animated TV show “South Park,” had once tried to recruit followers at Stony Brook University on Long Island, Browne said.

“As a result, the NYPD deemed it prudent to get a better handle on what was occurring at MSAs,” Browne said in an email. He said police monitored student websites and collected publicly available information, but did so only between 2006 and 2007.

“I see a violation of civil rights here,” said Tanweer Haq, chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Syracuse. “Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever. Muslim students want to have their own lives, their own privacy and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that everybody else has.”

In recent months, the AP has revealed secret programs the NYPD built with help from the CIA to monitor Muslims at the places where they eat, shop and worship. The AP also published details about how police placed undercover officers at Muslim student associations in colleges within the city limits; this revelation has outraged faculty and student groups.

Though the NYPD says it follows the same rules as the FBI, some of the NYPD’s activities go beyond what the FBI is allowed to do.

Kelly and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeatedly have said that the police only follow legitimate leads about suspected criminal activity.

But the latest documents mention no wrongdoing by any students.

In one report, an undercover officer describes accompanying 18 Muslim students from the City College of New York on a whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York on April 21, 2008. The officer noted the names of attendees who were officers of the Muslim Student Association.

“In addition to the regularly scheduled events (Rafting), the group prayed at least four times a day, and much of the conversation was spent discussing Islam and was religious in nature,” the report says.

Praying five times a day is one of the core traditions of Islam.

Jawad Rasul, one of the students on the trip, said he was stunned that his name was included in the police report.

“It forces me to look around wherever I am now,” Rasul said.

But another student, Ali Ahmed, whom the NYPD said appeared to be in charge of the trip, said he understood the police department’s concern.

“I can’t blame them for doing their job,” Ahmed said. “There’s lots of Muslims doing some bad things and it gives a bad name to all of us, so they have to take their due diligence.”

City College criticized the surveillance and said it was unaware the NYPD was watching students.

“The City College of New York does not accept or condone any investigation of any student organization based on the political or religious content of its ideas,” the college said in a written statement. “Absent specific evidence linking a member of the City College community to criminal activity, we do not condone this kind of investigation.”

Browne said undercover officers go wherever people they’re investigating go. There is no indication that, in the nearly four years since the report, the NYPD brought charges connecting City College students to terrorism.

Student groups were of particular interest to the NYPD because they attract young Muslim men, a demographic that terrorist groups frequently draw from. Police worried about which Muslim scholars were influencing these students and feared that extracurricular activities such as paintball outings could be used as terrorist training.

The AP first reported in October that the NYPD had placed informants or undercover officers in the Muslim Student Associations at City College, Brooklyn College, Baruch College, Hunter College, City College of New York, Queens College, La Guardia Community College and St. John’s University. All of those colleges are within the New York City limits.

A person familiar with the program, who like others insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it, said the NYPD also had a student informant at Syracuse.

Police also were interested in the Muslim student group at Rutgers, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 2009, undercover NYPD officers had a safe house in an apartment not far from campus. The operation was blown when the building superintendent stumbled upon the safe house and, thinking it was some sort of a terrorist cell, called the police emerency dispatcher.

The FBI responded and determined that monitoring Rutgers students was one of the operation’s objectives, current and former federal officials said.

The Rutgers police chief at the time, Rhonda Harris, would not discuss the fallout. In a written statement, university spokesman E.J. Miranda said: “The university was not aware of this at the time and we have nothing to add on this matter.”

Another NYPD intelligence report from Jan. 2, 2009, described a trip by three NYPD officers to Buffalo, where they met with a high-ranking member of the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and agreed “to develop assets jointly in the Buffalo area, to act as listening posts within the ethnic Somalian community.”

The sheriff’s department official noted “that there are some Somali Professors and students at SUNY-Buffalo and it would be worthwhile to further analyze that population,” the report says.

Browne said the NYPD did not follow that recommendation. A spokesman for the university, John DellaContrada, said the NYPD never contacted the administration. Sheriff’s Departments spokeswoman Mary Murray could not immediately confirm the meeting or say whether the proposal went any further.

Another report, entitled “Weekly MSA Report” and dated Nov. 22, 2006, explained that officers from the NYPD’s Cyber Intelligence unit visited the websites, blogs and forums of Muslim student associations as a “daily routine.”

The universities included Yale; Columbia; the University of Pennsylvania; Syracuse; New York University; Clarkson University; the Newark and New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers; and the State University of New York campuses in Buffalo, Albany, Stony Brook and Potsdam; Queens College, Baruch College, Brooklyn College and La Guardia Community College.

“Students who advertised events or sent emails about regular events should not be worried about a ‘terrorism file’ being kept on them. NYPD only investigated persons who we had reasonable suspicion to believe might be involved in unlawful activities,” Browne said.

But such assurances seem to offer little comfort to some former students.

One University at Buffalo student, Adeela Khan, did end up in a police report after receiving an email on Nov. 9, 2006, announcing an upcoming Islamic conference in Toronto. The email said “highly respected scholars” would be attending, but did not say who or give any details of the program. Khan says she clicked “forward,” sent it to a Yahoo chat group of fellow Muslims and promptly forgot about it.

“A couple people had gone the year prior and they said they had a really nice time, so I was just passing the information on forward. That’s really all it was,” said Khan, who has since graduated.

Khan was a board member of the Muslim Student Association at the University at Buffalo at the time. She says she never went to the conference, was not affiliated with it and had no idea who was speaking at it.

But officer Mahmood Ahmad of the NYPD’s Cyber Intelligence Unit took notice and listed Khan in his weekly report for Kelly. The officer began researching the Toronto conference and found that one of the speakers, Tariq Ramadan, had his U.S. visa revoked in 2004. The U.S. government said it was because Ramadan had given money to a Palestinian group. It reinstated his visa in 2010.

The officer’s report notes three other speakers. One, Siraj Wahaj, is a prominent but controversial New York imam who has attracted the attention of authorities for years. Prosecutors included his name on a 3 ½-page list of people they said “may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, though he was never charged.

The other two are Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir, two of the nation’s most prominent Muslim scholars. Both have lectured at top universities in the U.S.. Yusuf met with President George W. Bush at the White House following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The post about the academic event was enough to get Khan’s name mentioned in the weekly MSA report, which was stamped “SECRET” in red letters and sent to Kelly’s office.

There is no indication that the investigation went any further, or that Khan was ever implicated in anything. But she worries about being associated with the police report.

“It’s just a waste of resources, if you ask me,” she said. “I understand why they’re doing it, but it’s just kind of like a Catch-22. I’m not the one doing anything wrong.”

The university said it was unaware its students were being monitored.

“UB does not conduct this kind of surveillance and if asked, UB would not voluntarily cooperate with such a request,” the university said in a written statement. “As a public university, UB strongly supports the values of freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, and a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

The same Nov. 22, 2006, report also noted seminars announced on the websites of the Muslim student associations at New York University and Rutgers University’s campus in Newark, New Jersey.

Browne, the police department spokesman, said intelligence analysts were interested in recruiting by the Islamic Thinkers Society, a New York-based group that wants to see the United States governed under Islamic law. Morton was a leader of the group and went to Stony Brook University’s MSA to recruit students that same month.

“One thing that our open source searches were interested in determining at the time was, where do Islamic Thinkers Society go — in terms of MSAs for recruiting,” Browne said.

Yale declined comment. The University of Pennsylvania did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Other colleges on the list said they worried the monitoring infringed on students’ freedom of speech.

“Like New York City itself, American universities are admired across the globe as places that welcome a diversity of people and viewpoints. So we would obviously be concerned about anything that could chill our essential values of academic freedom or intrude on student privacy,” Columbia University spokesman Robert Hornsby said in a written statement.

Danish Munir, an alumnus adviser for the University of Pennsylvania’s Muslim Student Association, said he believes police are wasting their time by watching college students.

“What do they expect to find here?” Munir said. “These are all kids coming from rich families or good families, and they’re just trying to make a living, have a good career, have a good college experience. It’s a futile allocation of resources.”

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Homeland Security TSA Agent Exposed As Anti-Muslim Bigot

Posted on 12 October 2011 by Danios

Roy Egan, “a veteran officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Chicago” and a TSA agent, was confronted by a reporter for his rabid anti-Muslim Facebook comments.  Right now, the story is limited to local ABC News.  I wonder if this will be aired on national and cable news networks.

A word of caution is in order: Roy Egan is just one part of a much larger problem.  He is a cog in a much larger Islamophobic machine.  The Department of Homeland Security and the TSA are operating inherently racist, bigoted, and fear-mongering policies.

(cross-posted from ABC)

October 12, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) – A veteran officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Chicago is being disciplined after posting hundreds of racist and derogatory comments on Facebook.

His name is Roy Egan. Not only were Officer Egan’s racial and religious rants open for anyone to see, for years he openly identified himself by name on Facebook and listed his employer as U.S. Homeland Security-TSA, the Transportation Security Administration.

For the past nine years, Egan has worked as a TSA baggage screener at O’Hare Airport. The 46-year-old has noted on his Facebook page, “I look for bad stuff going on airplanes.”

But it wasn’t Egan’s personal data that caught the eye of the I-Team. It was his public postings calling “Islam a cult that glorifies death…and a filthy religion.” It is a theme Egan repeated in postings just about every day: that Muslims should be exterminated.

In the garage at Egan’s southwest suburban home, the I-Team questioned the nine-year TSA officer about his anti-Muslim statements.

Goudie: “You posted those, didn’t you?
Egan: It was common stuff I picked off the web and made comments on.
Goudie: What does it say that a TSA officer is saying these kinds of things about Muslims?
Egan: I don’t refer to it in my job.”

Egan’s job is to screen baggage at O’Hare. Since 9/11, the treatment of Muslim travelers and allegations of Middle Eastern profiling, have dogged Homeland Security agencies.

Officer Egan recently posted, “does anything at all make you smile more than a Muslim burning by his own hateful hand.” He maintains such beliefs don’t interfere with his work.

Goudie: “How about if some Muslim name, on a piece of luggage comes by you? Does it get extra scrutiny?
Egan: No, no. That’s against the rules. I wouldn’t do it. There’s no reason for me to open it unless we’re mandated to open it via the machine telling us to. I would never discriminate against a passenger.
Goudie: Do you understand why this attracted our attention?
Egan: I suppose…I don’t hide what I do. I don’t think anything I’ve said is illegal. I don’t think, I definitely don’t do anything illegal.”

“It made me sick. It’s chilling to know that someone who is a federal employee and works at TSA of all places can hold these views with such hatred and such intensity, and to hold them publicly on his Facebook page unabashedly without any sort of regret. It really, it’s scary,” said Ahmed Rehab, Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Egan also posted against gays, Hispanics and blacks. He called President Obama “Muslim-in chief,” made racial comments on Obama’s skin color and said he hopes to “live long enough to see him die.” He described Michelle Obama as a “ghetto snipe” and other names unsuitable to print. And to Attorney General Eric Holder he posted, “die tasting your own blood.”

Egan: “If you read the comment, and it was based on an article that was written, and I’m just commenting on an article. I think he’s committing crimes against our citizens.
Goudie: And he should be dead.
Egan: I didn’t say that. I don’t like the guy.”

TSA officials would not speak on camera, but after learning of our findings TSA officials placed Egan on administrative leave and are moving to fire him.

In a statement, a spokesman said, “TSA has management directives in place governing employee conduct. We hold our security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards. TSA learned of the situation and took immediate steps to initiate the individual’s removal from federal service.”

In my conversation with Egan, conducted before he was suspended, the veteran TSA officer seemed immovable.

Egan: “I don’t do anything against policy, I’ve never done anything against policy that I’m aware of.
Goudie: You’re OK with the things that you’ve posted here, for the public to see?
Roy: I don’t know what you’re fishing for but I’m not trying to do anything against anybody. It’s commentary. It’s freedom of speech commentary.
Goudie: Why would you put this up for the public to see, though?
Roy: I’m not the only one. It’s all over the Internet.”

“We’re going to be in touch with TSA to work with them in order to ensure that this is not a situation that is replicated and that it’s not a deeper problem,” said Rehab.

TSA officials in Chicago declined to answer our questions about screener training and evaluation and whether authorities monitor social media in an attempt to weed out bigoted employees. TSA does have a code of conduct that requires its employees on or off duty to conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t cause the public to question their judgment or harm the agency’s mission.

Transportation Security Administration www.tsa.gov

TSA management directive on employee conductwww.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/foia/TSA_MD_1100_73_5_FINALv2_090521.pdf

Council on American-Islamic Relations www.cairchicago.org

U.S. Department of Homeland Security www.dhs.gov/index.shtm

 

(Copyright ©2011 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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NYPD Spying on Mosques, Muslim Restaurants, and Muslim Students

Posted on 06 September 2011 by Danios

As someone with anti-establishment and anti-authority views, it is no surprise that I’ve been (and still am) highly critical of the military, the CIA, and the FBI for some time now.  Now I’m adding the police to that list.  I’m critical of police brutality, the racism that runs rife through the force, the heavy-handed tactics they use, and their lack of transparency.  And now there’s this: the NYPD caught spying on Muslims, including college-going students.

What perfectly encapsulates the National Security State is the police illegally spying on citizenry on the one hand (in violation of the Fourth Amendment) while on the other hand working hard to prohibit citizens from taping police officers in public doing their job (a denial of our First Amendment right).  Those in authority have the right to know what websites you browse on the internet in the confines of your bedroom while you have no right to know anything about those in authority even when it directly affects you.

The targets of the National Security State are first and foremost Muslims, who are at the bottom of America’s totem pole.  In any case, here is the article from The Associated Press:

By Adam Goldman, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department compiled lists of mosques and Muslim businesses it saw as potential security risks for reasons that included endorsing conservative religious views or having devout customers, according to hundreds of pages of internal police documents newly obtained by The Associated Press.

The records reveal the extent of an undercover effort that initially studied more than 250 mosques in New York and New Jersey and identified hundreds more “hot spots” in a hunt for terrorists. Many showed obvious signs of criminal behavior, but the police explanations for targeting others were less clear.

A Bangladeshi restaurant, for instance, was identified as a hot spot for having a “devout crowd.” The restaurant was noted for being a “popular meeting location for political activities.”

The documents obtained by the AP, many of which were marked secret, paint the clearest picture yet of how the past decade’s hunt for terrorists also put huge numbers of innocent people under scrutiny as they went about their daily lives in mosques, restaurants and social groups. Every day, undercover officers and informants filed reports from their positions as “listening posts” inside Muslim communities.

At the White House, where President Barack Obama recently urged local authorities not to cast suspicion on entire communities, spokesman Jay Carney declined to comment Tuesday on whether it endorsed the tactics outlined in the NYPD documents.

An AP investigation last month revealed that the department maintains a list of “ancestries of interest” that it uses to focus its clandestine efforts. A secret team known as the Demographics Unit then dispatched plainclothes officers into the community to eavesdrop in cafes and chat up business owners.

That effort has benefited from federal money and an unusually close relationship with the CIA, one that at times blurred the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence-gathering.

After identifying more than 250 area mosques, police officials determined the “ethnic orientation, leadership and group affiliations,” according to the 2006 police documents. Police also used informants and teams of plainclothes officers, known as rakers, to identify mosques requiring further scrutiny, according to an official involved in that effort, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the program.

Armed with that information, police then identified 53 “mosques of concern” and placed undercover officers and informants there, the documents show.

Many of those mosques were flagged for allegations of criminal activity, such as alien smuggling, financing Hamas or money laundering. Others were identified for having ties to Salafism, a hardline movement preaching a strict version of Islamic law. Still others were identified for what the documents refer to as “rhetoric.”

Other reasons are less clear.

Two mosques, for instance, were flagged for having ties to Al-Azhar, the 1,000-year-old Egyptian mosque that is the pre-eminent institute of Islamic learning in the Sunni Muslim world. Al-Azhar was one of the first religious institutions to condemn the 2001 terrorist attacks. President George W. Bush’s close adviser, Karen Hughes, visited Al-Azhar in 2005 and applauded its courage.

Al-Azhar was also a sponsor of Obama’s 2009 speech reaching out to the Muslim world.

The list of mosques where undercover agents or informants operated includes ones that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has visited and that area officials have mentioned as part of the region’s strong ties to the Muslim community. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stood beside leaders of some mosques on the list as allies in fighting terrorism.

The documents are a series of internal presentations, including one prepared for Kelly. Following the AP’s reporting, they were provided to the AP and veteran New York police reporter Leonard Levitt, who runs the website NYPDConfidential.com. Because the list of mosques is so long and explanation for the surveillance is so limited, the AP is not identifying the individual mosques that were under surveillance.

An NYPD spokesman did return messages seeking comment Monday, a holiday, and again Tuesday. The police department has said it follows leads and does not trawl entire neighborhoods.

New York police identified 263 “hot spots” throughout the city, the documents show. Like the mosques, the examples of hot spots ranged from businesses that sold untaxed cigarettes and where inflammatory rhetoric was overheard to those with less obvious criminal connections.

The example of the Bangladeshi restaurant flagged for its “devout” clientele further undercuts Bloomberg’s claim that the NYPD does not take religion into account in its policing. Last week the AP revealed that the NYPD maintained a list of “ancestries of interest” that included “American Black Muslim,” which is a religion, not an ancestry.

Police also kept tabs on seven of the area’s Muslim student associations, defined in the documents as “a university-based student group, with an Islamic focus, involved with religious and political activities.” Two were flagged for having Salafi speakers. One was cited for having students who are “politically active and are radicalizing.”

Since the AP reports, several Muslim civil rights groups and a New York congresswoman have urged the Justice Department to investigate the NYPD for what critics see as racial profiling. Under U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has stepped up investigations of local police departments for possible civil rights violations, but none involves national security cases.

Apuzzo and Goldman can be reached at dcinvestigations(at)ap.org or at http://twitter.com/mattapuzzo and http://twitter.com/goldmandc

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Helpful Tip for Terrorists: Don’t Dress in “Arabian Attire”

Posted on 05 June 2011 by Danios

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun was recently on Fox “News” and expressed his outrage that an elderly white lady was frisked by TSA agents whereas a young man in “Arabic attire” was allowed to go through without any extra screening.  Watch the video (courtesy of The Young Turks) of the interview, along with some spot-on commentary by Ben Mankiewicz and Jayar Jackson:

All the 9/11 hijackers and other terrorists dressed in Western clothing. One would assume that a would-be terrorist would be smart enough not to draw attention to himself by dressing in “Arabian attire”. That’s taught in like Terrorism 101-A at Al-Qaeda University. Duh.

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Terrorism Act: ‘They asked me to keep an eye on the Muslim community’

Posted on 24 May 2011 by Danios

From The Guardian:

People from ethnic minorities are up to 42 times more likely than white people to be the target of a counter-terrorism power which allows the stopping and searching of the innocent yet grants them fewer rights than suspected criminals, official figures seen by the Guardian show.

The power is contained in schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to stop people at ports and airports for up to nine hours without the need for reasonable suspicion that they are involved in any crime.

But the rabbit hole goes deeper: MI5 officers are randomly stopping brown people “without the need for reasonable suspicion that they are involved in any crime”, then threatening to charge them with “crazy allegations” that they are terrorists unless they agree to become informants and spies.  If these allegations were true, why doesn’t the MI5 ever charge these people with a crime and give them a fair trial, or at least a farcical military tribunal?

Here is the article, again from The Guardian:

Terrorism Act: ‘They asked me to keep an eye on the Muslim community’

Asians tell of being targeted and cajoled by officers from MI5 and special branch

Asif Ahmed, 28, describes how he was detained and asked to spy:

Watch the video here

Just after landing at Edinburgh airport on 11 April 2010 Asif Ahmed was met by plainclothes officers and taken away from his wife. He was about to turn from model citizen into a terror suspect, one of 85,000 people who met a similar fate that year.

Officers met the couple just after they got off the flight from Stansted and told them Ahmed needed to come with them for a “normal check”.

The couple were returning from a weekend break and Ahmed saw no reason why he might be suspected of anything. Indeed, after London was attacked by terrorists in July 2005, Ahmed worked for the mayor of London and in Scotland to improve relations between Muslims and the rest of the population.

He was taken to a room by two officers who told him they were from special branch, a police department that deals in intelligence and security matters. Ahmed, 28, was told he was being questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

When he asked why, an officer replied: “No reason, it is just a random stop.” Ahmed told them they had stopped the only two people on the flight who looked like Muslims.

They said they did not know he was Muslim, which he did not believe.

The officers Ahmed remembers were detectives – a sergeant and a constable. They did not give their names but did give their identification numbers.

Ahmed says he felt compelled to answer their questions: “I had no choice, I was told I had no right to refuse.” He says the officers told him that if he exercised the right to remain silent, he could be detained further and eventually face jail.

Ahmed says he was questioned about his job, where he prayed, the Muslim groups he was active in. He was asked for a definition of extremism and what he would do if he found out someone was going to carry out an act of terrorism. He got the answer to that correct: he would tell the police.

In another room his wife was questioned. She was upset about being asked details about her sister, who was seriously ill at the time. Ahmed says the policemen interviewing him kept saying that he and his wife, studying for a PhD in political science, were “interesting people”. Then one of the officers asked if he would become a spy: “They asked if I would like to work with special branch, to keep an eye on the Muslim community in Edinburgh … They asked me three times. They said do it covertly.” He refused.

A similar scene played out at Stansted on 31 December 2007. Abdullah, a youth worker from east London, had returned from a Haj tour in Saudi Arabia with a tour group. “I was told that there was a problem with my passport and two white men in dark suits approached me and said that they needed to talk to me.”

They were police officers and he was taken to a room: “I was told that I had been stopped under terrorism-related legislation … I was given a sheet of paper that basically said that they were allowed by law to do this to me and I needed to comply with questioning.”

He was asked about his family, how his trip had been paid for, which mosque he prayed at and if he had “any additional training or skills”.

His mobile phones were taken away and searched. Then his questioning was disrupted by the arrival of another man, who said he was called Matthew, and a woman. “They were casually dressed and took over from the previous two men. They introduced themselves as MI5. I was concerned why MI5 would want to speak to me and listened attentively.”

In a written statement Abdullah says the officers quizzed him and said his “name had come up in circles discussing terrorist activity and it was up to me to prove where I stood. They wanted my help in tackling potential terrorists and related activity”.

He added: “They showed me some photos of a number individuals. I knew most of them well as they were friends and local associates. Some I didn’t recognise and one I wasn’t too sure about.

“This was the one they pressed me on. They also wanted details about the individuals that I knew, which I provided. I tried to be as co-operative as possible and in the end they took my number and left me theirs.

“Strangely, Matthew insisted that I save it discreetly under work or taxi. I was then escorted out and was free to leave.”

Abdullah believes MI5 wanted to turn him into a spy. “Matthew called me several times to arrange a follow-up meeting. He said he wanted me to help him in the work MI5 does. We had a phone discussion and I said that I thought that what they were trying to do was noble but I had reservations about the way in which they operate on an ethical level and was uncomfortable with that. He insisted that I meet him and said that ‘it was in my long-term interest’ to do so.”

A meeting was arranged for 22 January 2008 outside a tube station.

“I was told to meet Matthew outside Farringdon station but was directed by phone from there to a nearby location and Matthew walked with me to a hotel.”

He said he was asked about “my personal and work details – past and present. I mentioned here that I had visited Egypt in the summer of 2004 for six months to study Arabic.

“I was asked about my future plans – I mentioned that I planned to return to Egypt shortly to continue with my Arabic and Islamic studies.

“He mentioned that he really wanted me to help him with the photos. I said that I had already told him what I knew.

“In the end Matthew said that he wanted to meet me again but I wasn’t so sure any more as I could see that something was wrong.”

Despite telling MI5 he was not interested, the barrage of calls and texts pleading for a meeting just kept coming.

After that “Matthew called me a few times to arrange a further meeting. He gave me a mobile number (07522 055 947) but I decided that I didn’t want to have any more contact.”

By mid-February Abdullah was fed up. “I texted Matthew to explicitly say I wasn’t interested in any further contact and for him not to contact me anymore,” he said. “I also mentioned that if I did have any information about any threat, terrorist or otherwise, that I would naturally report it to the police. I then called my phone provider and changed my number.”

In May 2008, Matthew obtained the new number and called again. He wanted information, which Abdullah said he did not have.

But the MI5 officer, Abdullah alleges, made a threat. “He said I needed to see him before I travelled to Egypt, for my own good. Otherwise I would find it difficult over there because they had ‘international partners’.”

Abdullah said: “He was threatening me – if I go to Egypt, I might be arrested and ill treated. I took it as a threat. They could have me arrested, and tortured there. It was quite clear.”

There is no independent evidence to support the claims that police and MI5 are abusing schedule 7 stop and search powers by trying to turn innocent people into informers.

But there is a consistency of testimony from those who have been stopped and pressured to inform.

Solicitor Alastair Lyon, who has advised dozens affected by schedule 7, said: “This is a power which has sowed fear in the most vulnerable of our communities. The security services and special branch are operating in an unregulated and unchecked way without legal observers, to put pressure on people. This is a legal black hole allowing them to question thousands of people about very personal details without any of the usual human rights safeguards.” He added: “It has created a legal black hole where personal and sensitive information is, on pain of imprisonment, forced from individuals who are told that in effect they have no rights. It is a complete abuse of authority.”

For youth worker Mohammed, the link between his being stopped under schedule 7 and other approaches is clear. For a year security service officers tried to recruit him, approaching him at home, in the street, even as he ate at a tandoori restaurant. One of them, called Jeff, showed him pictures of various people.

Then on 5 November 2008, he was stopped at Stansted airport while returning from Spain and taken to a room. Mohammed said: “Then Tim came in. [He] showed me a badge and said he’s from MI5. He spoke about Jeff. ‘He’s been trying to meet me but you haven’t responded,’ said Tim.

“He reminded me that he is working for my best interest: he doesn’t want this to come out, doesn’t want for my workplace to become dirtied, my reputation – as if I’ve got something to hide and I’ve done something wrong in the first place.”

He added: “We know that you went to a terror camp, transited in Dubai and changed passports. We know you went to Dubai in 2006 and met AQ figures.”

Mohammed said: “I told him these were crazy allegations and how would they have this info anyway.”

Tim said: “We don’t need to go there ourselves, we have info from locals.”

Mohammed was let go with the promise that Tim would be in touch. He did indeed call several days later, but Mohammed did not reply.

Does this “Gestapo crap” remind anyone of this:

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