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    Default NYPD Muslim Spying Program

    NYPD cops’ training included an anti-Muslim horror flick

    Village Voice - 19 January 2011




    This month, when a group of New York City police officers showed up for their required counter-terrorism training, they got to watch a movie.? And not just some diddly 20-minute educational film, either. It was a full-length color feature, withmore explosions than a Transformers sequel and more blood-splattered victims than an HBO World War II series.

    The bad news was that it was a spectacularly offensive smear of American Muslims. The film is called The Third Jihad. It is 72 minutes of gruesome footage of bombing carnage, frenzied crowds, burning American flags, flaming churches, and seething mullahs. All of this is sandwiched between a collection of somber talking heads informing us that, while we were sleeping, the international Islamist Jihad that wrought these horrors has set up shop here and is quietly going about its deadly business. This is the final drive in a 1,400-year-old bid for Muslim world domination, we’re informed. And while we may think there are some perfectly reasonable Muslim leaders and organizations here in the U.S., that is just more sucker bait sent our way.

    “Americans are being told that most of the mainstream Muslim groups are moderate,” says the narrator, “when in fact if you look a little closer you’ll see a very different reality. One of their primary tactics is deception.”

    The message here is that lurking behind those veils and prayer caps is a secret plan to impose a religious order out of the Dark Ages here in the U.S. The favorite image in The Third Jihad – shown over and over – is an enormous black-and-white Islamic flag flying over the White House.

    This is pretty toxic stuff, the kind of film likely to spark a picket line at a local theater. In this case, however, the impact is somewhat more sinister, since the audience was law enforcement officers attending a mandatory prep session on what to know about the terrorist threat.

    “After it was over, I was thinking, ‘What was that?’” said a cop who saw the movie at a training facility used by the department in Coney Island. “It was so ridiculously one-sided. It just made Muslims look like the enemy. It was straight propaganda.”


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    Default NYPD Muslim Spying Program

    Informant: NYPD paid me to 'bait' Muslims

    By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO | Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — A paid informant for the New York Police Department's intelligence unit was under orders to "bait" Muslims into saying inflammatory things as he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending study groups on Islam, he told The Associated Press.

    Shamiur Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bangladeshi descent who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called "create and capture." He said it involved creating a conversation about jihad or terrorism, then capturing the response to send to the NYPD. For his work, he earned as much as $1,000 a month and goodwill from the police after a string of minor marijuana arrests.

    "We need you to pretend to be one of them," Rahman recalled the police telling him. "It's street theater."

    Rahman said he now believes his work as an informant against Muslims in New York was "detrimental to the Constitution." After he disclosed to friends details about his work for the police — and after he told the police that he had been contacted by the AP — he stopped receiving text messages from his NYPD handler, "Steve," and his handler's NYPD phone number was disconnected.

    Rahman's account shows how the NYPD unleashed informants on Muslim neighborhoods, often without specific targets or criminal leads. Much of what Rahman said represents a tactic the NYPD has denied using.

    The AP corroborated Rahman's account through arrest records and weeks of text messages between Rahman and his police handler. The AP also reviewed the photos Rahman sent to police. Friends confirmed Rahman was at certain events when he said he was there, and former NYPD officials, while not personally familiar with Rahman, said the tactics he described were used by informants.

    Informants like Rahman are a central component of the NYPD's wide-ranging programs to monitor life in Muslim neighborhoods since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Police officers have eavesdropped inside Muslim businesses, trained video cameras on mosques and collected license plates of worshippers. Informants who trawl the mosques — known informally as "mosque crawlers" — tell police what the imam says at sermons and provide police lists of attendees, even when there's no evidence they committed a crime.

    The programs were built with unprecedented help from the CIA.

    Police recruited Rahman in late January, after his third arrest on misdemeanor drug charges, which Rahman believed would lead to serious legal consequences. An NYPD plainclothes officer approached him in a Queens jail and asked whether he wanted to turn his life around.

    The next month, Rahman said, he was on the NYPD's payroll.

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Tuesday. He has denied widespread NYPD spying, saying police only follow leads.

    In an Oct. 15 interview with the AP, however, Rahman said he received little training and spied on "everything and anyone." He took pictures inside the many mosques he visited and eavesdropped on imams. By his own measure, he said he was very good at his job and his handler never once told him he was collecting too much, no matter whom he was spying on.

    Rahman said he thought he was doing important work protecting New York City and considered himself a hero.

    One of his earliest assignments was to spy on a lecture at the Muslim Student Association at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. The speaker was Ali Abdul Karim, the head of security at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn. The NYPD had been concerned about Karim for years and already had infiltrated the mosque, according to NYPD documents obtained by the AP.

    Rahman also was instructed to monitor the student group itself, though he wasn't told to target anyone specifically. His NYPD handler, Steve, told him to take pictures of people at the events, determine who belonged to the student association and identify its leadership.

    On Feb. 23, Rahman attended the event with Karim and listened, ready to catch what he called a "speaker's gaffe." The NYPD was interested in buzz words such as "jihad" and "revolution," he said. Any radical rhetoric, the NYPD told him, needed to be reported.

    John Jay president Jeremy Travis said Tuesday that police had not told the school about the surveillance. He did not say whether he believed the tactic was appropriate.

    "As an academic institution, we are committed to the free expression of ideas and to creating a safe learning environment for all of our students," he said in a written statement. "We are working closely with our Muslim students to affirm their rights and to reassure them that we support their organization and freedom to assemble."

    Talha Shahbaz, then the vice president of the student group, met Rahman at the event. As Karim was finishing his talk on Malcolm X's legacy, Rahman told Shahbaz that he wanted to know more about the student group. They had briefly attended the same high school in Queens.

    Rahman said he wanted to turn his life around and stop using drugs, and said he believed Islam could provide a purpose in life. In the following days, Rahman friended him on Facebook and the two exchanged phone numbers. Shahbaz, a Pakistani who came to the U.S. more three years ago, introduced Rahman to other Muslims.

    "He was telling us how he loved Islam and it's changing him," said Asad Dandia, who also became friends with Rahman.


    Secretly, Rahman was mining his new friends for details about their lives, taking pictures of them when they ate at restaurants and writing down license plates on the orders of the NYPD.

    On the NYPD's instructions, he went to more events at John Jay, including when Siraj Wahhaj spoke in May. Wahhaj, 62, 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. In 2004, the NYPD placed Wahhaj on an internal terrorism watch list and noted: "Political ideology moderately radical and anti-American."

    That evening at John Jay, a friend took a photograph of Wahhaj with a grinning Rahman.

    Rahman said he kept an eye on the MSA and used Shahbaz and his friends to facilitate traveling to events organized by the Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society. The society's annual convention in Hartford, Conn, draws a large number of Muslims and plenty of attention from the NYPD. According to NYPD documents obtained by the AP, the NYPD sent three informants there in 2008 and was keeping tabs on the group's former president.

    Rahman was told to spy on the speakers and collect information. The conference was dubbed "Defending Religious Freedom." Shahbaz paid Rahman's travel expenses.

    Rahman, who was born in Queens, said he never witnessed any criminal activity or saw anybody do anything wrong.

    He said he sometimes intentionally misinterpreted what people had said. For example, Rahman said he would ask people what they thought about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, knowing the subject was inflammatory. It was easy to take statements out of context, he said. Rahman said he wanted to please his NYPD handler, whom he trusted and liked.

    "I was trying to get money," Rahman said. "I was playing the game."

    Rahman said police never discussed the activities of the people he was assigned to target for spying. He said police told him once, "We don't think they're doing anything wrong. We just need to be sure."

    On some days, Rahman's spent hours and covered miles in his undercover role. On Sept. 16, for example, he made his way in the morning to the Al Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn, snapping photographs of an imam and the sign-up sheet for those attending a regular class on Islamic instruction. He also provided their cell phone numbers to the NYPD. That evening he spied on people at Masjid Al-Ansar, also in Brooklyn.
    Text messages on his phone showed that Rahman also took pictures last month of people attending the 27th annual Muslim Day Parade in Manhattan. The parade's grand marshal was New York City Councilman Robert Jackson.

    Rahman said he eventually tired of spying on his friends, noting that at times they delivered food to needy Muslim families. He said he once identified another NYPD informant spying on him. He took $200 more from the NYPD and told them he was done as an informant. He said the NYPD offered him more money, which he declined. He told friends on Facebook in early October that he had been a police spy but had quit. He also traded Facebook messages with Shahbaz, admitting he had spied on students at John Jay.

    "I was an informant for the NYPD, for a little while, to investigate terrorism," he wrote on Oct. 2. He said he no longer thought it was right. Perhaps he had been hunting terrorists, he said, "but I doubt it."

    Shahbaz said he forgave Rahman.

    "I hated that I was using people to make money," Rahman said. "I made a mistake."

    http://news.yahoo.com/informant-nypd...134358506.html

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    NYPD Has Spied On Muslim Residents For Years, Hasn’t Generated A Single Terrorism Lead


    Posted by JacobSloan on November 2, 2012


    The Mercury News on the frustrating lack of insidious plots by the city’s residents:

    In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloging mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday.

    [The NYPD had] help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and cataloged every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames. Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism.

    But in a June 28 deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case. “Related to Demographics,” Galati testified that information that has come in “has not commenced an investigation.”

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    NYPD Forced To Produce Muslim Surveillance Records

    11/26/2013

    A federal judge ruled on Friday that targets of the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims can probe the department's files.

    Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen's order comes at an early phase of a lawsuit against the NYPD, one of three such ongoing legal efforts. It will allow the plaintiffs in the case, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the City University of New York's CLEAR project, to make extensive legal discovery that could bolster their allegations that the department has engaged in unconstitutional spying.

    The groups sued the NYPD over revelations from reporting by the Associated Press that the NYPD had engaged in widespread surveillance of Muslim communities in and around New York City. Another group is suing over spying in New Jersey, and civil rights lawyers have also revived a lawsuit, first filed in the 1970s, in an attempt to curb the department's surveillance after 9/11.

    As part of its lawsuit, the plaintiffs are trying to find out whether the police force's internal surveillance policies endorsed targeting Muslims because of their religion. A lawyer for the NYPD argued in court last month that the department had no program that surveilled Muslims solely because of their religion, and the city offered to hand over only documents pertaining to the Muslim individuals and groups who are plaintiffs in the suit. The legal groups representing the plaintiffs countered that that would allow the NYPD to essentially put the plaintiffs -- instead of the police -- under the microscope.

    Chen sided in part with the ACLU and its co-counsels, ruling that the NYPD would need to turn over records of its surveillance policies. At the same time, however, she blocked the civil liberties group from searching through police documents to discover how often Muslims are targeted for surveillance as opposed to non-Muslims.

    “We’re gratified that the judge rejected the NYPD’s defense that we should not obtain documents showing it acted with a discriminatory purpose," Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU's National Security Project, said in a statement. "For the first time, the NYPD will have to produce key records about its Muslim surveillance program, and answer questions about its biased policies and practices.”

    The city, which will have two and a half months to turn over NYPD Intelligence Division strategy and policy documents, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4339419.html


    Comments:


    2 1/2 months to turn over the records... More than enough time for the dog to eat the homework.

    Translation: We did not target Muslims solely based on their religion. We also took into account their dress, skin tone, speech and used our own bigotry towards minorities to great success if success is based on how many people we systemically harassed for no good reason.

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    Federal judge dismisses lawsuit over NYPD surveillance of NJ Muslims

    February 20, 2014

    NEWARK — The New York Police Department's intelligence unit didn't discriminate against Muslims with far-reaching surveillance aimed at identifying "budding terrorist conspiracies" at Newark mosques and other locations in New Jersey, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

    In a written decision filed in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought in 2012 by eight Muslims who alleged the NYPD's surveillance programs were unconstitutional because they focused on religion, national origin and race. The suit had accused the department of spying on ordinary people at several mosques, restaurants and grade schools in New Jersey since 2002.

    The plaintiffs, including the former principal of a grade school for Muslim girls, "have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion," Martini wrote. "The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies."

    The judge added: "The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. ... The motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among the ordinary law-abiding Muslims."

    The ruling also singled out The Associated Press, which sparked the suit with a series of stories based on confidential NYPD document showing how the department sought to infiltrate dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups and investigated hundreds in New York and elsewhere.

    "Nowhere in the complaint do the plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of documents by The Associated Press," Martini wrote. "This confirms that plaintiffs' alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press's unauthorized disclosure of the documents. ... The Associated Press covertly obtained the materials and published them without authorization. Thus the injury, if any existed, is not fairly traceable to the city."

    The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented the plaintiffs, called the decision troubling.

    "In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD's illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD's blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices, the court's decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion," CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy said.

    The city's Law Department had no immediate comment on Thursday. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had been staunch supporters of the surveillance programs, saying they were needed to protect the city from terrorist attacks.

    A similar lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn is still pending.


    http://www.northjersey.com/news/crim...J_muslims.html

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    Disappointment Dismissal of Suit Against NYPD's Muslim Spying

    2/20/2014

    The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today expressed its disappointment with the decision of a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against the NYPD for widespread spying on law-abiding Muslims in that state.

    In August of 2011, an investigation by The Associated Press revealed an NYPD program developed in partnership with the CIA to target American Muslims with unprecedented monitoring, surveillance and alleged civil rights violations.

    AP's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Probe Into NYPD Intelligence Operations

    As a result of these revelations, civil liberties groups filed two lawsuits challenging the legality of the NYPD's indiscriminate monitoring of the Muslim community in New York City, New Jersey, and along the East Coast.

    The surveillance was part of a comprehensive human mapping program that described and monitored Islamic institutions, including houses of worship, student groups, and businesses that cater to the Muslim community. The NYPD recruited informants it referred to as "mosque crawlers" to monitor religious sermons without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

    US District Judge William Martini dismissed the lawsuit in part because he believed that any harms resulting from the NYPD's surveillance were "not fairly traceable to the City" but rather caused by the Associated Press "covertly obtain[ing] the materials and publish[ing] them without authorization."

    "Dismissal of the lawsuit further promotes the suspicion many Muslims already have, that they will be spied on and there is little they can do about it," said CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Director Khurrum Ali. "This decision will weaken the belief that community members can protect their civil rights through the justice system."

    The lawsuit was filed by Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights in June 2012 on behalf of an army veteran, a council of New Jersey Muslim religious leaders and an association of Muslim student groups.


    http://www.cair.com/press-center/pre...im-spying.html

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    Judge: NYPD's Spying on Muslims Is OK, Reporting On It Is Not

    Critics say ruling is reminiscent of legal justification for Japanese American internment camps

    by Sarah Lazare - February 21, 2014

    A federal judge ruled Thursday that the NYPD's secret spying on Muslims in schools, restaurants, and mosques with no evidence of wrongdoing is perfectly legal, and it was the media's exposure of this surveillance that was the real cause of harm. The decision prompted outcry from civil rights and racial justice advocates.

    "The idea that the only harm was that you found out you are being spied on is ridiculously absurd logic," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an interview with Common Dreams. "When a judge says it's okay for a government to do any level of spying on a religious community, that has a chilling effect,"

    U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey on Thursday tossed out the lawsuit Hassan v. City of New York, brought against the NYPD by a group of New Jersey-based Muslims — including an Iraq war veteran and the former principle of a Muslim girls' grade school — who had been directly targeted by the surveillance. In a complaint filed by the civil rights organization Muslim Advocates and counseled by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the plaintiffs charged they had been unlawfully targeted on the basis of race, religion, and country of origin, causing them direct harm.

    Martini — a Bush appointee and former Republican congressman — rejected their argument, writing, "The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies."

    The judge went on to argue that the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press investigations of the NYPD's spying on Muslim communities — not the surveillance itself — caused harm to the plaintiffs. He wrote,

    None of the Plaintiffs’ injuries arose until after the Associated Press released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not “fairly traceable” to any act of surveillance.

    "Martini essentially said that what the targets didn’t know didn’t hurt them," writes Dan Froomkin for The Intercept.

    Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy slammed the ruling: "In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD’s illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD’s blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices, the court’s decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion."

    Since 2002, the NYPD has spied on Muslims in "20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools, and two Muslim Student Associations in New Jersey," according to a statement from CCR. This has included sending paid infiltrators and informants into Muslim communities, capturing video and photograph surveillance, and community mapping. The NYPD also identified "ancestries of interest" when determining which communities to target. These people were surveyed with no indication of wrongdoing, and to date there is no evidence that the spying has made anyone more safe.

    Critics warn that the Thursday ruling strikes a dangerous blow to civil rights.

    “The ruling is a modern day version of the discredited Korematsu decision allowing the wholesale internment of Japanese Americans based solely on their ancestry," said Azmy. "It is a troubling and dangerous decision.”

    A similar lawsuit by the ACLU, and legal proceedings filed by civil rights lawyers, are still pending. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs in this case vow to press on.

    “The fight is not over by any means," said Glenn Katon, legal director of Muslim Advocates.

    "The surveillance program violates the Constitution, and we are confident that this decision will not hold up to review upon appeal."


    https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/02/21-2

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    Federal judge removes US Muslims from Constitution

    By Nat Hentoff - February 25, 2014

    As reported by the Associated Press’ Tom Hays on Feb 21, a federal judge in Newark, N.J., decided that the New York Police Department has been within its constitutional bounds spying on Muslims at mosques, restaurants, colleges and grade schools in New Jersey since 2002.

    Not surprisingly, most of the national media ignored this shocking ruling.

    U.S. District Judge William Martini explained that police officers, who also infiltrated the locations they spied on, were trying “to locate budding terrorist conspiracies” (“Judge: Spying on NJ Muslims by NYPD Was Legal,” Tom Hays, AP, Feb. 21).

    The lawsuit, Hassan v. City of New York, was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of New Jersey plaintiffs who were targeted by the celebrated former New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and his NYPD.

    According to the CCR, the plaintiffs included “a decorated Iraq War veteran, current and former Rutgers University students, the parent organization of the Muslim Student Associations of Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick campuses), a coalition of New Jersey mosques, and the owners and proprietors of a grade school for Muslim girls” (ccrjustice.org).

    They were tracked only because they were Muslims, and, of course, the surveillance was done without a warrant. As the CCR’s legal director, Baher Azmy, correctly tells us:

    “The court’s decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion” (“Court Gives NYPD Green Light to Conduct Religious Surveillance,” ccrjustice.org).

    For the future of our republic, this decision, which trashes our Constitution, should be discussed and debated in our schools as its appeal moves through the federal courts — ultimately, I assume, to the Supreme Court. I doubt that many of our young will even know about the case unless the press stays on it, reporting on such educational information from Azmy as:

    “The ruling is a modern-day version of the discredited Korematsu decision allowing the wholesale internment of Japanese Americans based solely on their ancestry.

    “It is a troubling and dangerous decision.”

    And all Americans should continue following this story knowing this fact from the CCR:

    “After more than a decade in operation, the surveillance program (by New York police) has produced not a single lead on terrorist activity.”

    While I was a reporter for The Village Voice in New York, I wrote a number of investigative accounts on Commissioner Kelly’s enthusiastic justification of this patently unconstitutional extension of the NYPD. I also reported on the constant applause he and the department received from then New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    The mayor also reveled in the cops’ mammoth stop-and-frisk operations against mostly blacks and Latinos in New York.

    Bloomberg had insisted on being New York City’s “education mayor” while the school system foundered. However, with the exception of certain targeted neighborhoods, he remained popular enough that he could have been re-elected had the law allowed it.

    And while the former mayor doesn’t care (not surprisingly), courses on the Constitution and dramatic accounts of how it has survived are missing in the New York City school system — and in many other cities.

    But one media organization that continues to cover the mass removal of citizenship from Muslims is the Associated Press. Its reporters won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories factually detailing the extent and depth of the NYPD’s surveillance and infiltration.

    In his ruling affirming the legality of this Orwellian pursuit of Muslims who could be associated with terrorists, Judge Martini castigated the AP, which “covertly obtained the materials and published them without authorization. Thus the injury, if any existed, is not fairly traceable to the city (of New York).”

    The culprits, apparently, were the press and the uncurbed First Amendment.

    In its complaint filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, the CCR noted, “the NYPD also closely monitors the activities of Muslim Student Associations at colleges and universities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.”
    Why the other states’ Muslim groups?

    Simply because their membership is Muslim. The NYPD’s “reports include the names of professors, scholars and students without any evidence that they engaged in wrongdoing.”

    Further discarding their targets’ constitutional rights, “undercover NYPD officers sometimes pose as students to attend MSA events. One officer, for example, went on a rafting trip with an MSA and monitored and recorded how often the student participants on the trip prayed, and that they discussed religious topics.”

    Such revealing information!

    I do hope that the justices of the Supreme Court will finally allow television cameras during their oral arguments on this case and others. I have been in the high court’s press section for a few of those oral arguments, and it’s very informative to witness how the justices — in questioning the attorneys and also answering their questions — reveal their preset conclusions as they try to shape the votes of their colleagues.

    If the Supreme Court opens those sessions as they take place, classrooms all over the country should tune in to hear how it was possible for American Muslims to be banished from our Constitution in this century — with so little attention, let alone outrage, from the rest of the country.

    Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

    http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/couri...be32a61f8.html

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    NYPD ending controversial program to spy on Muslims


    04/16/14

    The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.

    The decision by the nation’s largest police force to shutter the controversial surveillance program represents the first sign that William J. Bratton, the department’s new commissioner, is backing away from some of the post-9/11 intelligence-gathering practices of his predecessor. The Police Department’s tactics, which are the subject of two federal lawsuits, drew criticism from civil rights groups and a senior official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who said they harmed national security by sowing mistrust for law enforcement in Muslim communities.

    To many Muslims, the squad, known as the Demographics Unit, was a sign that the police viewed their every action with suspicion. The police mapped communities inside and outside the city, logging where customers in traditional Islamic clothes ate meals and documenting their lunch-counter conversations.

    “The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community,” said Linda Sarsour, of the Arab American Association of New York. “Those documents, they showed where we live. That’s the cafe where I eat. That’s where I pray. That’s where I buy my groceries. They were able to see their entire lives on those maps. And it completely messed with the psyche of the community.”

    Ms. Sarsour was one of several advocates who met last Wednesday with Mr. Bratton and some of his senior staff members at Police Headquarters. She and others in attendance said the department’s new intelligence chief, John Miller, told them that the police did not need to work covertly to find out where Muslims gather and indicated the department was shutting the unit down.

    The Demographics Unit, which was renamed the Zone Assessment Unit in recent years, has been largely inactive since Mr. Bratton took over in January, the department’s chief spokesman, Stephen Davis, said. The unit’s detectives were recently reassigned, he said.

    “Understanding certain local demographics can be a useful factor when assessing the threat information that comes into New York City virtually on a daily basis,” Mr. Davis said. “In the future, we will gather that information, if necessary, through direct contact between the police precincts and the representatives of the communities they serve.”

    The department’s change in approach comes as the federal government reconsiders and re-evaluates some of its own post-9/11 policies. Although the police department’s surveillance program was far smaller in scope than, say, the bulk data collection by the National Security Agency, a similar recalibration seems to be unfolding.

    The Demographics Unit was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency officer Lawrence Sanchez, who helped establish it in 2003 while working at the Police Department and while he was still on the spy agency’s payroll.

    The goal was to identify the mundane locations where a would-be terrorist could blend into society. Plainclothes detectives looked for “hot spots” of radicalization that might give the police an early warning about terrorist plots. The squad, which typically consisted of about a dozen members, focused on 28 “ancestries of interest.”

    Detectives were told to chat up the employees at Muslim-owned businesses and “gauge sentiment” about America and foreign policy. Through maps and photographs, the police noted where Albanian men played chess in the afternoon, where Egyptians watched soccer and where South Asians played cricket.

    After years of collecting information, however, the police acknowledged that it never generated a lead. Since The Associated Press published documents describing the program in 2011, Muslims and civil rights groups have called for its closing.

    Mr. Bratton has said that he intends to try to heal rifts between the Police Department and minority communities that have felt alienated as a result of policies pursued during the Bloomberg administration. The meeting last week put Mr. Bratton in the room with some of his department’s harshest critics.

    “This is the first time we’ve felt that comfort sitting with them,” said Ahmad Jaber, who resigned from the Police Department’s Muslim advisory board last year to protest the surveillance tactics. “It’s a new administration, and they are willing to sit with the community and listen to their concerns.”

    The Demographics Unit was one aspect of a broad intelligence-gathering effort. In addition, informants infiltrated Muslim student groups on college campuses and collected the names, phone numbers and addresses of those who attended. Analysts trawled college websites and email groups to keep tabs on Muslim scholars and who attended their lectures.

    The police also designated entire mosques as suspected “terrorism enterprises,” a label that the police claimed allowed them to collect the license plate numbers of every car in mosque parking lots, videotape worshipers coming and going, and record sermons using informants wearing hidden microphones.

    Traditionally, police work is based on investigating particular individuals whose actions and behavior give rise to suspicion of criminality...

    The logic of the ancient Greeks didn't do well with partitives. One logically cannot induce much from anything but a universal statement....

    Now that the "Demographics Unit" has been dropped, what's the new name for the unit doing this spying?

    As a candidate, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “deeply troubled” by the tactic of surveilling mosques. Despite investigations that stretched for years, the Police Department’s efforts never led to charges that a mosque or an Islamic organization was itself a terrorist enterprise.

    The future of those programs remains unclear. The former police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, has said his efforts were lawful and helped protect the city from terrorist attacks. Last month, a federal judge in New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit over the department’s surveillance there, saying Muslims could not prove they were harmed by the tactics.

    Two other federal lawsuits continue to challenge the department’s tactics. One legal claim has been brought under a civil rights case that dates back to the Police Department’s surveillance of student groups and protesters in the 1960s and 1970s. Martin Stolar, one of the lawyers who brought that claim, maintains that the post-9/11 surveillance programs violate the court order in that case. A judge has not yet ruled on that question.

    Like Muslim community leaders, Mr. Stolar said he wanted to see exactly what the department had planned. Police officials have changed the name of the program before, he said.

    “I want them to say that they’re getting rid of not just the unit, but the kind of policing that the unit did,” Mr. Stolar said. “Is it still going to be blanket surveillance of where Muslims hang out? Are they going to stop this massive surveillance?”

    Based on Mr. Davis’s remarks, the Police Department appears to be moving its policies closer to those of the F.B.I. Both agencies are allowed to use census data, public information and government data to create detailed maps of ethnic communities.

    The F.B.I. is prohibited, however, from eavesdropping on and documenting innocuous conversations that would be protected by the First Amendment. F.B.I. lawyers in New York determined years ago that agents could not receive documents from the Demographics Unit without violating federal rules.

    Until Mr. Stolar’s case is decided, the police may not destroy any of the Demographic Unit files, he said. Beyond that decision, the future of the documents is unclear.

    Mr. de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday that the closing of the unit was “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.”


    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/ny...=44206823&_r=1

    Comments:

    After a decade, now they think it’s a “critical step”? how can you serve your city when you view it’s citizens as suspects. Police already has a bad rap from the power abuse they in engage in, this will take lot more than just a news announcement of them ending the program. This program is only shutting down because it was exposed by the press, how many other states have similar hidden programs? And how can we be certain it won’t continue again under a different name?

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    NYPD pressured to eliminate all traces of Muslim surveillance practice


    The NYPD announced on Tuesday night that it was closing the hub of its Muslim surveillance programme, the Demographics Unit (also known as the Zone Assessment Unit) following widespread criticism. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the reform was “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.”

    But Muslim leaders and civil rights lawyers are now demanding to know whether similar programmes to monitor communities without suspicion are still active in other parts of the NYPD, and called for an overt change in policy to eradicate any remaining vestiges. The police department is currently facing three lawsuits relating to the surveillance in the New York and New Jersey courts, and activists are vowing to maintain pressure on police commissioner William Bratton until a change of policy is achieved.

    “The closure of the Demographics Unit is definitely a positive sign, but we are concerned that this work will carry on within different units of the NYPD. We want the police to establish a new policy that will eliminate mass surveillance of Muslims and other communities for good,” said Ryan Mahoney, head of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    The existence of the secretive Demographics Unit was revealed by the Associated Press in a Pulitzer prize-winning series of articles in 2011. The unit ran undercover police officers, which it called “rakers”, scouring places where Muslims were assumed to be prevalent such as Islamic bookstores and cafes, and taxi companies with Pakistani drivers.

    The surveillance programme has been shrouded in such deep secrecy that details are sketchy as to whether the activities extended beyond the Demographics Unit, and if so how widely. The AP investigation uncovered at least one other outfit within the NYPD, the Terrorist Interdiction Unit, that acted as an entire squad of officers handling informants in mosques and other Muslim locations, though it is not clear to what extent the programmes are still active.

    “We have no information – that’s what’s concerning,” said Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, CCR. “We now need to know whether the closure of the Demographics Unit, positive as it is, is a symbolic and bureaucratic maneuver or whether it will ultimately end mass surveillance.”

    The anxiety of civil rights groups over the extent of the NYPD’s reforms has been heightened by the absence so far of any comment from Bratton himself. The commissioner, who took up the position in January under the new De Blasio administration, developed similar plans to map Muslim communities when he was head of the Los Angeles police department, but dropped them in the face of widespread opposition.


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...y-Muslims.html


    Reader Comments:

    If this Bratton commissioner had similar plans in LA, who’s to say there won’t be any new spy program under a different name now that this one has been exposed?

    I'm not surprised at the program, though. Former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly was interviewed and appeared in a rabidly anti-Islam documentary that was shown on a continuous loop to NYPD trainees. Then he lied about it. These are not clever people.

    The Police State is American policing - they make even the Russians look like amateurs. Of course it was the mirror image of BLOOMBERG and Ray KELLY - two prize racists.

    America still hasn’t grasped that its own policies (domestic and international) are actually CAUSING the problems, NOT solving them.

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    Muslim advocate: ‘Nothing’s changed’ on NYPD surveillance


    Oct. 9, 2014

    On Monday night, the Mayor de Blasio administration filed a legal brief in a New Jersey federal court that argued the New York Police Department's surveillance activities in Muslim neighborhoods are legally permissible.


    The brief disappointed some advocates, who had opposed the program under former mayor Michael Bloomberg, and had hoped Mayor Bill de Blasio would end it when he took office earlier this year.


    If you weren’t following New York City politics and didn’t know we had an election last year, you wouldn’t see a difference in the response around surveillance, from the last administration to this administration,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, in an interview on Wednesday with Capital. “When I saw that I was like nothing’s changed.”


    As a mayoral candidate, de Blasio suggested he would end the blanket surveillance, telling WNYC, "I have spoken out clearly and said we need to do a full review of all surveillance efforts, and anything that is not based on specific leads should not continue."


    But the administration argued in its brief that it "would be irresponsible for the NYPD not to have an understanding of the varied mosaic that is the Muslim community to respond to such threats."


    The filing came after opponents of the policy filed to reinstate the case, following its dismissal by federal district court judge William Martini. Plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Muslim Advocates, appealed the ruling in July. The city's brief, signed by corporation counsel Zachary Carter, argued that the surveillance was “to understand where a foreign or domestic Islamist radicalized to violence might try and conceal himself," and that “it would be irresponsible for the NYPD not to have an understanding of the varied mosaic that is the Muslim community to respond to such threats.”

    Sarsour, who endorsed de Blasio at a Muslims for de Blasio press conference last year, had hoped for more from the administration.


    There has to be a message that comes forcefully from the administration that says we should not ever spy on an entire community solely based on religion or political ideology," said Sarsour, who was honored by the White House for her advocacy work with immigrant communities. "They haven’t done that and they need to do that because anything less than that is not going to be helpful.”


    Asked about the potential repercussions from the administration's decision, Sarsour said, “To be honest with you, the fallout is going to come when the time comes for the administration is going to need the community for something,” and she wondered aloud, “Will they ever evolve from those positions? I don’t know. I don’t see that happening.”


    Sarsour, , said the de Blasio administration has yet to take a firm stance against ethnic or racial profiling when it comes to police surveillance.


    A spokesperson for de Blasio reiterated the position taken by the Law Department for the City of New York, who earlier said their brief to the New Jersey court dealt only with “technical legal issues” not the “broader policy issues concerning surveillance of Muslim communities.”


    Here is an excerpt from a key portion of the 79-page brief:

    “Plaintiffs further allege that the NYPD has identified twenty-eight ‘ancestries of interest’ and that the NYPD identified where those ancestries congregate and which businesses they visit. These allegations support the more likely explanation that the NYPD’s goal was to understand where a foreign or domestic Islamist radicalized to violence might try and conceal himself or attempt to recruit others to assist him. A comprehensive understanding of the makeup of the community would help the NYPD figure out where to look—and where not to look—in the event it received information that an Islamist radicalized to violence may be secreting himself in New Jersey. In fact, it would be irresponsible for the NYPD not to have an understanding of the varied mosaic that is the Muslim community to respond to such threats. Federal law enforcement recognizes these legitimate purposes. For instance, the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (“DIOG”) explicitly permits the FBI to identify locations of concentrated ethnic communities to aid in the analysis of potential threats and vulnerabilities and to assist in domain awareness. One specific example in the DIOG of when this type of domain awareness is useful is to know ‘where identified terrorist subjects from certain countries may relocate to blend in and avoid detection.’ Plaintiffs’ allegations regarding two NYPD reports—a February 2006 report on discussions about the controversy surrounding the publication of a Danish artist’s cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and an October 2006 report after a plane crash in Manhattan—similarly demonstrate the obvious legitimate law enforcement purpose behind them. The Danish cartoon on the Prophet Muhammad was widely publicized, causing strong reactions, some violent and deadly, in other countries. … That the NYPD thereafter gauged the reactions to the cartoon in local communities to assess the possibility of unlawful conduct or violence here is more likely for the purpose of ensuring public safety than purposeful discrimination on the basis of religion. The same is true of the 2006 plane crash report. Because it involved a plane flown into a Manhattan building just as in 9/11, prudent policing for public safety would have the NYPD collecting information about the 2006 incident.”

    http://www.capitalnewyork.com/articl...e3ce-391722642

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    NYPD Just Opened Police Department Branch In Israel


    12/17/14



    It might sound like the stuff of click bait or satire, but a new New York Police Department branch has in fact been opened in Israel of all places.


    The NYPD has been characterized by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a “private army.” He’s not far off. The NYPD is actually bigger-than-the-FBI. While they have extensive counterterrorism operations, the NYPD has vastly overstated their effectiveness and their track record. That’s the sort of propaganda-meeting-cover-ups that a “private army” can pull off.


    What the NYPD really means by “counterterrorism” is their controversial spying programs and the unconstitutional “stop and frisk” policies, which have been proven to disproportionately target so-called “minority” communities.


    But now, the Middle East newspaper Al-Monitor, has documented the bizarre opening of an NYPD branch in Israel’s Sharon District Police headquarters in Kfar Saba.


    This branch has been put together along with former Israeli and veteran NYPD detective, Charlie Ben-Naim.


    Ben-Naim is himself a former Israeli, who seems to have retained dual citizenship in the U.S. He moved to New York originally to marry a local resident, and soon after joined the NYPD.


    Even weirder than the opening of this NYPD branch in Israel is that Ben-Naim is the only officer stationed there.


    As strange as all of this sounds, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said back in 2010 that, “the NYPD has a great brand overseas. There’s high expectations that come with these postings and we want to meet it, so that means a very careful selection process on our end.”


    Such foreign branches of this “private army” include stations in London, Lyons, Hamburg, Toronto, and Tel Aviv, according to New York Magazine.

    http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/1...ch-in-israel/#

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    Company Asks Cops to Keep Use of License Plate Trackers Secret

    03/03/2015


    The NYPD may soon become the latest police department to begin paying private license plate tracking corporation Vigilant Solutions for access to the company’s nationwide location database, according to a report in the New York Daily News anddocuments unearthed by Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar. By contracting to access Vigilant's rapidly growing National Vehicle Location Service (NVLS), where police will find over two billion records of ordinary Americans’ movements, the NYPD may also sign on to some very questionable secrecy provisions found in the company’s terms of service agreement.

    It's been very difficult to discern exactly which public agencies dip into and feed Vigilant's massive location tracking database, or how much police departments and federal law enforcement pay to access the treasure trove of sensitive information. It now appears that that's in part because, as with the high-tech cell phone trackingStingray tool, agencies that contract with Vigilant are asked to keep mum on the details of their arrangements.

    Ars Technica reports:
    Vigilant requires that its licensees—law enforcement agencies—not talk publicly about its LPR database. According to the 2014 edition of its terms and conditions: "This prohibition is specifically intended to prohibit users from cooperating with any media outlet to bring attention to LEARN or LEARN-NVLS."

    An update to the terms, identified by Ars' Farivar, is even stricter:
    You agree not to use proprietary materials or information in any manner that is disparaging. This prohibition is specifically intended to preclude you from cooperating or otherwise agreeing to allow photographs or screenshots to be taken by any member of the media without the express consent of LEARN-NVLS. You also agree not to voluntarily provide ANY information, including interviews, related to LEARN products or its services to any member of the media without the express written consent of LEARN-NVLS.

    The demand that cops don't discuss surveillance technology with members of the media absent Vigilant's permission likely can't be obeyed by officials unless they want to risk running afoul of open records laws, which don't provide an exemption for records corporations would like to keep secret from the public.

    But the demand is indicative of a truly disturbing pattern emerging in the United States. Local law enforcement obtains federal grants to contract with shadowy surveillance corporations. Those corporations (or the FBI) demand that the law enforcement agencies who buy or contract to use spy technology do not discuss the tools publicly. The technologies in question are highly controversial, largely because they succeed not by targeting specific people suspected of wrongdoing, but by sweeping up the sensitive information of potentially millions of people accused of no crime. The public largely remains in the dark about local law enforcement's use of these tools, meaning legislators don't have the information they need to make laws to govern the new technology, and courts can't rule on the legality of the surveillance.

    This is the case with cell site simulator technology manufactured by the Harris Corporation—the stingray—and it appears to be the case with license plate tracking technology sold or leased by Vigilant Solutions.

    Private industry and the police are winning big through these secretive arrangements. The taxpayer—and her rights not to be warrantlessly tracked by the cops—loses big time. State legislatures and congress need to step up to the plate to deal with the menace of secret, dragnet surveillance. New technology shouldn't translate into the demise of the gold standard of American criminal investigations, the probable cause warrant.

    Unless the cops have a good reason to believe you're up to no good, they shouldn't be tracking you or your phone calls. Unfortunately, in part because of this unprecedented private-public secrecy regime, you are being tracked, even if you aren't suspected of a crime.

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/technology...-trackers-secr

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    Surveillance, discrimination stifling Muslim community

    May 10, 2014

    Three weeks ago, the New York City Police Department curtailed its surveillance program that devoted a special task force to surveil Muslims and their communities. This program was criticized for its indiscriminate surveillance of Muslims. The news of NYPD’s decision to curtail its surveillance program was commended by the general public; however, the Muslim community has little reason to celebrate since the police will continue the use of “undercover informants” to gather intelligence on Muslims deemed worthy of investigation. This breach of privacy in spaces including mosques, an intimate place of prayer for Muslims, is just another example of why fear has become commonplace in the Muslim community, including the community here at UT.

    I am a Muslim third-year at the UT, and through my time here and active engagement with the Muslim community I have learned that there is an undeniable fear of being politically active. Speaking from my own experience, my father has on several occasions advised me to abstain from raising legitimate political concerns. While my father urges me against such activism, I am lucky that he does not stop me — probably because he does not have the heart to stop something he believes in as well. My experience reflects what I understand as the norm for the Muslim community. The heart of this fear is the breach of privacy in our community.

    The importance of privacy is articulated through Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs where Maslow puts safety and security as one of the basic needs. Safety and security are undermined when privacy is violated — ironic given that increased surveillance is supposed to increase them both. Because of that, privacy has become a popular topic of discussion for all Americans, especially considering the recent leaks of the once-secret NSA surveillance program dubbed PRISM. In fact, according to Gallup, 53 percent of adults disapprove of the government’s surveillance program and only 10 percent have no opinion. However, the popular discourse tends to leave out the discriminatory targeting of Muslim Americans. It is this specific targeting of the Muslim community that has introduced fear into the community.

    In March, Edward Snowden spoke via webcam at the annual South By Southwest Festival hosted here in Austin. His talk highlighted the issue of privacy and PRISM, but it did not address the Muslim community’s marginalization in these breaches of privacy. Shortly after 9/11, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act, which greatly expanded the federal government’s power to surveil suspected terrorists. What followed were policies and legislation that target Arab and Muslim citizens. In response, writes Arun Kundnani in “The Muslims Are Coming,” national Muslim organizations had to decide whether to assimilate or to take on the “movement-building tradition of black civil rights” in order to protest the violations of their rights. They chose to follow the “strategy of declaring one’s loyalty to America and presenting Muslims as model citizens.” Again, fear was the major barrier.

    Like those Muslim organizations, Muslims here at UT are afraid to speak out. According to Veneza Bremner, senior police officer of the Public Information Office, the Austin Police Department does not have a surveillance program that specifically targets any one community. There may be surveillance programs based on investigative interests, but those details cannot divulged. This does not quell the fears of Muslims, however, especially when U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY), former Chairman and current member of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, and people like him say that surveillance of Muslims should increase. Muslims’ fears are further validated when our own community here in Austin reinforces such racism. For example, two years ago when a bomb threat was issued for the UT campus, the caller was described as having a “Middle Eastern” accent. This turned out tobe false. Furthermore, such a characterization is impossible considering that there is no one set accent for the Middle East, a region of many languages.

    We should note that fear has become a vicious cycle. Terrorists sought to instill fear in the hearts and minds of Americans on 9/11. In the wake of that horrific day, Americans passed and instituted a complicated system of surveillance and discrimination, thereby introducing fear into the Muslim community. In short, fear has given into fear; which is why as Longhorns, staying true to the motto “What Starts Here Changes The World,” we have an obligation and responsibility to break this cycle.

    With this call to action, it is imperative to recognize that the gravity of this situation, the continued discrimination and surveillance programs, urges haste, but we can also find hope in what we have accomplished thus far. Students here at UT are starting to engage with issues that matter, and the Muslim Community is making strides in advancing UT and, more generally, America. During Islam Awareness Week at UT, Muslim organizations on campus held events to combat ignorance, one of the root causes of fear. The event on Sharia Law, or Islamic Law, aimed to clarify one of the religion's most misunderstood concepts. Nationally, the Council on American-Islamic Relations continues to work with law enforcement and legislatures on mutual understanding. These are just a few examples which show that by working together, Muslims and non-Muslims can break down the barriers of fear between them and establish in their place a new relationship built on trust.

    Correction: An earlier version of this column's headline was misleading about the connection between surveillance programs and the UT Muslim community. The surveillance program mentioned is a project of the New York City Police Department, not the Austin Police Department.

    http://www.dailytexanonline.com/opin...slim-community

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    Court Offers Rare Opportunity for Public Comment on NYPD Spying

    Mar 22, 2016

    There’s little dispute today that we live in a National Security State. Unlawful police surveillance and infiltration of religious and political groups has become so common that it barely evokes outrage. Perhaps the most notorious perpetrators of unwarranted spying on Americans is the New York Police Department (NYPD), which continues to establish questionable counter-terrorism and counterintelligence units to spy on New Yorkers despite being repeatedly sued over it.



    However, there’s a rare opportunity this month and next to voice opposition to NYPD spying practices. U.S. District Court Judge Charles S. Haight, Jr. recently issued a Notice of Fairness Hearing for which the federal court is seeking comment from the public.



    The Fairness Hearing, which will be held on April 19 at 10 a.m. at the Moynihan Federal Courthouse (500 Pearl Street in Manhattan), stems from a proposed settlement agreement in two class-action lawsuits, one of which has been ongoing for more than 40 years.



    The more recent lawsuit, Raza v. City of New York, was filed in 2013 by several legal and political groups on behalf of religious and community leaders, mosques and a charitable organization, alleging they were swept up in NYPD dragnet surveillance of Muslims.



    Also in 2013, lawyers filed briefs in Handschu v. Special Services Division, an historical lawsuit that established a decades-long consent decree restricting NYPD surveillance and infiltration of political groups and activists. A settlement agreement was reached in January for both the Raza and Handschu cases.



    The settlement agreement would amend the longstanding “Handschu Guidelines,” which have been eviscerated since 9/11. Since Raza and Handschu are class action lawsuits, the court is inviting comment from the class of political groups and activists—hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of New Yorkers.



    In order to comment, you must register with the court by April 5th. In anticipation of a desire by class members to submit comments, a coalition of political groups are hosting free public educational workshops to review the history of Raza andHandschu and the consent decree, as well as learn details of the proposed settlement agreement, and how to file comments.



    New Yorkers interested in learning more about these lawsuits, NYPD spying, and this rare opportunity to comment should come to 339 Lafayette Street in Manhattan on either Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30pm or Thursday, March 31 at 6:30pm for free public education workshops on these issues.



    Full article @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kris-h...eid=83e6bcb3fa

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    NYPD ends controversial Muslim spying unit

    04/16/14


    The New York Police Department is shuttering a controversial, once-secret unit devoted to surveillance of local Muslim communities.

    eferred to as the “Demographics Unit,” the unit, advised by an official from the Central Intelligence Agency, had engaged in broad surveillance of Muslim communities, such as neighborhoods, mosques, businesses in New York and New Jersey, without specific evidence of criminal behavior. Testifying under oath, an NYPD official admitted that the program had not lead to a single terrorism investigation. Nevertheless, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had defended the unit’s operations, saying, “We have to keep this country safe.” The unit was first revealed as part of a Pulitzer prize-winning investigation by the Associated Press.


    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/nypd-bill...al-muslim-unit

    Comment: well that didn't take long....


    NYPD Undercover "Converted" To Islam To Spy On Brooklyn College Students


    Oct 29, 2015

    On the leafy Midwood campus of Brooklyn College, a lecture at the school’s Islamic Society had just ended when a woman stood up and asked to take the Shahada, the Muslim testimony of faith.

    Nobody knew the woman with light skin and dark hair, who appeared to be in her twenties. In a voice that lilted up at the end of each sentence, she began professing her new beliefs. “Melike Ser” or “Mel,” was not a student and had no apparent connections to the school, but the students embraced her anyway, excited about her conversion.

    This past April, four years after Mel’s public act of faith, two Queens residents, Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, were arrested and charged with allegedly planning to build a bomb. The US Justice Department issued a release stating that the women were linked to members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State, and revealed that a Detective from the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau was heavily involved in bringing the women to justice.

    Among the ISO members, some of whom ran in the same social circles as Velentzas and Siddiqui, the arrests set off a chain of frantic text messages, phone calls, and Facebook posts: “Mel” wasn’t “Mel.” She was an undercover cop.

    At one point, the complaint states that the undercover officer downloaded and printed out The Anarchist Cookbook for the two women, even bookmarking the section that outlined how to build fertilizer bombs.


    Full article @ http://gothamist.com/2015/10/29/nypd...r_brooklyn.php



    NYPD under fire over cop who ‘converted’ to Islam to spy on college students

    4 Nov, 2015

    Civil rights activists are speaking out about revelations that an undercover detective with the New York Police Department “converted” to Islam in order to spy on Muslim students at Brooklyn College over a four-year period.

    That work led to the recent arrest of two Queens women allegedly involved in a terrorist bomb plot.

    The NYPD has already been under fire for running a demographics unit which conducted blanket surveillance of the Muslim community after 9/11 in New York and New Jersey, despite such activity being in violation of the Constitution.

    “The problem has been that the courts who are tasked with determining what is and what is not unconstitutional, illegal – and what is and is not entrapment – have been complicit, and have expanded the prosecutorial and police powers to engage in predatory practices against Muslim communities in particular,” human rights attorney Lamis Deek told RT.

    “While under law and logic this would be considered entrapment. If you look at the complaint, it is clear this case is entrapment. Unfortunately we are not going to find a court or a judge to do that,” Deek added.

    Deek said that in a case like Velentzas and Siddiqui’s, where the plot is manufactured and orchestrated by a confidential informant – in this case, the officer went by “Mel” – and those working with the informant, law enforcement will make sure that the defendants’ lives are so “infiltrated” and controlled that they behave in a way that ensures they can have no defense.

    The revelations about the NYPD’s undercover operation came from a Justice Department release announcing the arrest of two Queens women, Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, on conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in April 2015. It revealed that a detective from the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau was heavily involved in bringing the girls to justice and foiling the bomb plot, according to the Gothamist.

    “The work of the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau, its undercover Detective, and its seamless collaboration with the Special Agents and the Detectives of the Joint Terrorism Task Force…should serve as a model for early detection and prevention of terrorist plotting,” said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton in the release.

    Deek said that in a case like Velentzas and Siddiqui’s, where the plot is manufactured and orchestrated by a confidential informant – in this case, the officer went by “Mel” – and those working with the informant, law enforcement will make sure that the defendants’ lives are so “infiltrated” and controlled that they behave in a way that ensures they can have no defense.

    “The law says that if defendants speak about political issues that relate to the case then [they] are predisposed to engaging in these acts, and that predisposition overcomes [their] defense of entrapment,” said Deek.

    The Justice Department alleged the girls had researched how to construct bombs to use as a weapon of mass destruction on American soil. They obtained bomb-making instructions and materials, and used instructions provided by Al-Qaeda’s online magazine.

    Deeks said that what is telling about the complaint is that the NYPD informant, Mel, had been working around young people at the college for four years. Yet there was no issue or suspicious activity until she met the two Queens women who were ultimately arrested in July 2014.

    “The complaint only lists actions that these two girls took from August onwards, from the time they met this undercover informant and she built a relationship with them,” Deek said. “What we see instead is the Joint Terrorism Task Force informant was in the very least inciting them to engage in these actions that would later lead to their arrest.”

    Mother Jones reported that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and its use of informants takes a majority share of the Bureau’s budget, requiring $3.3 billion to support a national network of 15,000 informants who are paid $100,000 per case, or who work off criminal or immigration violations.

    “The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” says Martin Stolar, a lawyer who represented a man caught in a 2004 sting involving New York’s Herald Square subway station, told Mother Jones. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.”

    On this point, Deek’ concurs, but she added that while this operation is not effective, it is creating fear.

    “What they have done effectively is terrorize the Arab-Muslim-Pakistani communities of New York and the US. People are afraid to talk to each other. They don’t know who is who, and what is what. They are being disciplined and their First Amendment rights are being actively curtailed, so this is a very violative program that mimics tactics … of occupying governments,” Deek said.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/320706-nypd-u...eid=83e6bcb3fa

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    Rudy Giuliani Brags About Treating All Muslims Like Criminal Suspects


    Alex Emmons

    July 20 2016, 12:11 p.m.




    In his grab-the-pitchforks address to the Republican National Convention on Monday night, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani insisted the enemy wasn’t “most of Islam,” just “Islamic extremist terrorism.”


    But in an interview with The Intercept on the convention floor Tuesday night, Giuliani enthusiastically defended policies that treat all Muslims like criminal suspects.


    Asked whether he supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposals to have police spy on mosques, Giuliani replied, “I was the mayor who put police officers in mosques, in New York and New Jersey.”


    Giuliani even claimed credit for a longer history of police surveillance of New York-area mosques than is widely known, predating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “We did it for the eight years I was mayor,” he said. Giuliani was mayor from 1994 through December 2001.


    “After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center by Islamic extremist terrorists from New Jersey, I did it in early January of 1994.”


    After the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department launched a now well-documented but then-secret program of spying on every mosque within a 100-mile radius of New York City, including in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England. The department acknowledged in 2012 court testimony that the program had never generated an investigative lead and in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio shut down the program’s most controversial unit.


    Giuliani insisted on Tuesday that the mosque surveillance during his tenure “helped stop, hopefully, three or four attacks,” and said that “those leads helped us immensely. And they were enormously valuable to us. And Mayor de Blasio doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”


    But when pressed, Giuliani would not name a terror plot the program stopped. “Of course I cannot! That’s top-secret information. I’m not Hillary Clinton, I do not reveal top-secret information.”


    In his speech on Monday, Giuliani called for “unconditional victory” against “Islamic extremist terrorism” and attacked Hillary Clinton over her willingness to accept Syrian refugees into the United States even though they are “going to come here and kill us.” Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times said the speech would have been better delivered “at the head of a torch-bearing mob.”


    Indeed, Giuliani argued that screening and surveillance were actually doing “good Muslims” a favor. “Failing to identify them promptly,” he said of extremists, “maligns all those good Muslims around the world.”


    Giuliani is the CEO of Giuliani Partners, a lucrative security firm he founded in 2002 to sell “security consulting services” to international companies. In 2004, asked whether he would join the Bush administration, he told CNN that “the money’s really good.” More recently, he joined the powerful global law and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig.


    The NYPD’s post-9/11 program was widely ridiculed by civil liberties groups. The NYPD’s “Demographics Unit” (later renamed the Zone Assessment Unit) mapped neighborhoods based on “ancestries of interest,” including “black American Muslims.” A 2007 report from the NYPD’s Intelligence Division outlines radicalization “indicators,” including “growing a beard,” “abstaining from alcohol,” and “becoming involved in social activism.” The Brennan Center described it as a recipe for “racial and religious profiling deleterious both to civil liberties and to genuine efforts at attaining security.”


    In 2012, the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD was photographing the faces and license plates of mosque worshippers, installing hidden cameras pointed at mosques, and recruiting informants to infiltrate mosques, report on sermons, and bait Muslims into making inflammatory statements.


    The ACLU was critical of Giuliani’s statement to The Intercept.


    “It should come as no surprise that Rudolph Giuliani, a serial violator of civil liberties, reveals himself as directing discrimination on the basis of religion,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “It’s telling that Mr. Giuliani makes his assertions while hiding behind the hollow and implausible claim that he cannot say more because something that might have happened decades ago should remain a secret.”




    https://theintercept.com/2016/07/20/...inal-suspects/


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    The NYPD Is Already a Small Army—Now It Is Hyping Terror Threats to Militarize Even More


    "You name it, we are buying it," says NYPD Chief Bill Bratton as city purchases $7.5 million in military-style gear.

    The NYPD is already the largest and most well-resourced police force in the United States, with more than 34,000 officers on its payroll and a budget that hovers over $5 billion annually.

    But now, the New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio are invoking the specter of ISIS-style terror and the supposed “war on cops” to spend at least another $7.5 million on military-style gear.

    Their effort is part of a nationwide push by police departments to exploit the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse LGBTQ nightclub and the killing of five Dallas police officers to ramp up the militarization and funding of their forces. They do so as growing numbers take to the streets across the United States to charge that it is police who pose a threat to public safety, following the deadly cop shootings of black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

    In a press statement released Monday, the NYPD directly referenced “instances of localized terror attacks, active shooter incidents, and even direct ambushes of police officers” in justifying the massive purchase.

    “Twenty thousand ballistic helmets will be distributed to all uniformed members of the service assigned to patrol functions,” the statement continued. “Additionally, six thousand heavy ballistic vests, which contain a front and rear level three panel, will be furnished in 3,000 vehicles assigned to patrol duties (two per vehicle).”

    The purchases come on top of the more than $320 million that “has been secured to fund a broad spectrum of equipment and training since 2014, including: ballistic vests; helmets and vehicles; tactical escape hoods and belt-worn trauma kits; M4 rifles, OC spray and Tasers; smartphones and tablets; along with a host of training initiatives,” according to NYPD News. The police-affiliated site states, “Much of this funding has been provided by City Hall, the City Council, the New York County District Attorney, among others.”

    International Business Times reporter Cristina Silva wrote Monday, “Some special units will also receive automatic long guns, more powerful pepper spray and Tasers.” And indeed, guns are included among images of new equipment to be disbursed to the NYPD, in addition to the vests and helmets.

    However, the NYPD refused to directly answer repeated requests from AlterNet for clarification on which pool of money will be used to purchase the guns, Tasers and chemical weapons.

    The expenditures come on top of the at least $1.9 billion funneled into training and new equipment over the last three years, according to Bratton. Remarkably, the city is moving to purchase 6,000 ballistic vests after it already bough bullet-proof vests last year.

    Meanwhile, the NYPD receives a windfall from the federal program known as Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)—a “war on terror” creation that operates as a slush fund for the militarization of police forces nationwide.

    More @ http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-pro...rize-even-more

  18. #18
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    Judge Rejects Settlement Over Surveillance of Muslims by New York Police Department


    10/2016



    A federal judge has rejected the settlement of a lawsuit stemming from the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims, saying the proposed deal does not provide enough oversight of an agency that he said had shown a “systemic inclination” to ignore rules protecting free speech and religion.


    In January, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, agreed to appoint a civilian lawyer to monitor the department’s counterterrorism activities as a means of settling two lawsuits accusing the city of violating the rights of Muslims over the past decade.


    But the judge, Charles S. Haight Jr., in an opinion published on Monday, said the settlement did not go far enough for an agency that had become “accustomed to disregarding” court orders.


    “The proposed role and powers of the civilian representative,” Judge Haight wrote, “do not furnish sufficient protection from potential violations of the constitutional rights of those law-abiding Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move and have their being in this city.”


    The decision means lawyers for both sides will have to negotiate changes to the settlement or fight the lawsuit in court. Jethro Eisenstein, a civil rights lawyer in the case, said he and his colleagues planned to discuss the ruling with city lawyers.


    A spokesman for the city’s Law Department, Nick Paolucci, said: “To the extent that the court’s decision is based in part on an inspector general’s report containing findings with which both the city and class plaintiffs’ counsel variously disagree, we are disappointed that the settlement was not approved as the parties originally proposed. That said, we will explore ways to address the concerns raised by the judge.”


    It was Judge Haight who had first acceded to the city’s requests for relaxed rules after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The police commissioner at the time, Raymond W. Kelly, said civilian oversight and traditional restrictions on policing made the city less safe, and the judge agreed, saying the old rules “addressed different perils in a different time.” He eliminated civilian oversight and gave wide authority to the commissioner and his intelligence deputy.


    By rejecting the deal, Judge Haight, of United States District Court in Manhattan, made a tacit acknowledgment that he had gone too far in that ruling.


    It was the authority he granted after Sept. 11, along with help from the Central Intelligence Agency, that allowed the city to turn its eyes on Muslim neighborhoods. Plainclothes officers lingered in coffee shops and halal delis, eavesdropping on conversations and noting the political opinions of owners and customers. They used informers to tape sermons and collected attendance lists at Muslim student groups. Detectives kept files on Muslims who changed their names and conducted long investigations into mosques, cases that put whole congregations under scrutiny for years but never led to charges against a mosque.


    In this new ruling, the judge placed surveillance of Muslims in the context of a century of broad police surveillance used against Italians, African-Americans and suspected Communists. “It is a historical fact that as the decades passed, one group or another came to be targeted by police surveillance activity,” he wrote.


    The judge also cited an August report by the Police Department’s inspector general, which found that investigators had failed to comply with the court-ordered guidelines. It said investigators kept cases open too long and used boilerplate language to justify the use of confidential informers.


    When it was released, officials with the department characterized the report as a vindication, saying it proved they had not investigated anyone unlawfully. They described the problems as minor administrative errors and cast it as a clean bill of health.


    But Judge Haight said it was evidence of “near-systemic failure.” He chastised the department for highlighting favorable aspects of the report but not addressing repeated problems.


    Judge Haight’s involvement in police oversight dates back nearly half a century. A 1971 class-action lawsuit forced the end of the city’s so-called Red Squads and established the intelligence-gathering rules, known as the Handschu Guidelines, named after one of the plaintiffs. The lawsuit has remained active for decades, serving as a check against overreaching by the police. Judge Haight approved the original rules, relaxed them after Sept. 11, and has now called for them to be tightened.


    The settlement he rejected would have placed a lawyer inside the Police Department to review intelligence files and report potential wrongdoing to the police commissioner, the mayor or the judge. Judge Haight said that was not enough. He suggested that the lawyer file confidential quarterly reports with the court. He also opposed a provision that would allow the mayor to eliminate the monitor position after five years.


    “One cannot foretell what will happen over time in this sensitive and volatile part of life,” the judge wrote, “and it is questionable whether it is fair or reasonable to give the mayor this unfettered veto power.”


    In 2011, The Associated Press published a series of articles and internal documents that revealed the workings of the department’s Intelligence Division. Those documents included a list of “Ancestries of Interest” and maps of locations with notations like “popular meeting location for political activities.”


    Judge Haight did not take issue with some aspects of the proposed settlement, including requirements that the department use undercover officers only when other options are impractical and consider the effect that its investigations have on religious groups and people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. The department also agreed to cap the length of investigations in most cases. City officials have said those policies are already in place.


    In meetings this year, Judge Haight heard from community members about the proposed deal. Many in attendance supported the agreement, including Barbara Handschu, for whom the original lawsuit is named. She believed the proposed settlement would offer “far better protections against police surveillance.”


    Others, including Ravi Ragbir, the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition in New York, expressed concern that the civilian monitor’s authority lacked “teeth.” He asked the judge to “push even harder so the guidelines will be much more stronger, giving the community something to use so that if there is violation there are ways that they can address those problems.”


    A settlement, if one can be reached, would result in new policing rules. It would also resolve a separate lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union over the surveillance programs.


    Ms. Handschu had previously told the judge that she accepted the settlement reluctantly, that it did not go “far enough” and that “there are continuing threats in general to the Muslim community which concern me.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/ny...eid=83e6bcb3fa

  19. #19
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    Judge approves settlement to install civilian watchdog on NYPD surveillance of Muslims

    A federal judge has formally approved a settlement that installs a civilian watchdog on an NYPD surveillance panel to protect Muslims from unconstitutional monitoring, the Daily News has learned.

    Federal court Judge Charles Haight green-lighted the settlement late Monday — a week after civil rights lawyers pitched their deal with the NYPD to him, according to court documents.

    Under the agreement, the civilian monitor would sit on the NYPD committee that reviews surveillance ops — and would have the power to directly tell the court about his or her concerns over the constitutionality of ongoing operations.

    This watchdog can't be taken off the committee without a judge approving his or her removal.

    The agreement also resolved several lawsuits that accused the NYPD of trampling on the constitutional rights of some Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    “I am very pleased that the added protections we achieved for the members of the class will now go into effect,” said Jethro Eisenstein, the lead civil rights lawyer who argued the case.

    NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters Lawrence Byrne previously said the department backed the agreement — but stressed that the NYPD didn't admit to any wrondoing in its surveillance tactics.

    “We think it's a fair settlement,” he said last week. “There's no admission of liability. No admission of wrongdoing.”

    A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday that “We are pleased that the court approved the settlement, which expands the role of the civilian representative. We remain committed to strengthening the relationship between our administration and all communities so that residents of every background feel respected and protected.”

    Haight's decision comes several months after he shot down a settlement proposed in January 2016.

    Under the terms of that deal, the city would pick a civilian lawyer to monitor the NYPD's counter-terrorism surveillance, and agreed not to initiate investigations because of ethnicity, religion, or race.

    Haight said that deal didn’t go far enough.

    He also ruled that the civilian monitor must make sure that the NYPD follows the 1983 Handschu Guidelines, which limit the NYPD's surveillance of activities protected by the First Amendment.

    The lawsuits that ultimately led to the deal came after the Associated Press published a series alleging that the NYPD spied on Muslims.

    The NYPD did so by putting cops in Muslim student associations, as well as enlisting informants in mosques, the AP reported.

    The PD denied any wrongdoing.


    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...icle-1.2997769

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    Who is 'Mel'? US terror case may unmask New York police mole


    April 11, 2017

    NEW YORK – For years, a woman named "Mel" mingled with young Muslims in New York, telling them she was a Turkish convert to the faith looking for friends. In reality, she was a cop working for the New York Police Department.

    Her true identity and the full nature of her work remains a guarded secret, but, thanks partly to social media, she may be unmasked as part of an upcoming trial of two women accused of plotting a homemade bomb attack.

    By combing the web, attorneys for the two defendants, Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, say they have obtained the agent's photograph and learned her real name.

    And in recent weeks, they got a judge's permission for a plan to circulate her picture at area mosques in order to build a case that their clients were entrapped by someone fishing for harmless people to lure into a phony plot.

    The defense has an obligation "to investigate the case fully," defense attorney Charles Swift said, including probing the activities and background of the police department's mole.

    That plan has dismayed police officials, who have been working to scrub any trace of "Mel" from the web.

    The NYPD's top counterterrorism official, John Miller, said in a court filing that revealing her identity and widely circulating her picture could jeopardize ongoing undercover investigations.

    The case could provide a rare glimpse into how the police department uses informants and undercover investigators to smoke out Islamic extremists — a tactic that has already sparked complaints by civil rights groups that the nation's largest police department illegally spied on Muslims on the basis of religion.

    From a law enforcement perspective, the stakes are high for other reasons. Investigators with blown covers are often pulled off the street for good as a precaution. That's because risks of exposure are real, said a former NYPD undercover in major drug and gun trafficking cases and subject of the recent book "Gunz and God: The Life of an NYPD Undercover" who still uses an alias, Stevie Stryker.

    "There are people out there who would do anything to take revenge on you," said Stryker, who testified only when courtrooms were closed to the public. "Protecting your identity goes to your house. It's about protecting your wife and family."

    Police and prosecutors have revealed in court filings that the undercover agent befriended Velentzas and Siddiqui in 2013 and sometimes wore a hidden microphone to record their conversations.

    On some of those recordings, made in 2014, Velentzas ranted against the United States and praised the Islamic State militant group. Prosecutors said the pair studied bomb-making and shopped for bomb components, eventually purchasing propane gas tanks, fertilizer and a pressure cooker.

    The undercover officer played along, prosecutors said, and talked with them about potential targets.

    Velentzas, despite taking the woman into confidence, still had suspicions, prosecutors said in court filings. She used her smartphone to search for the fake name the officer was using, as well as sites with titles like "How to Spot Undercover Police," and "Informants, Bombs and Lessons."

    It's unclear how or why the undercover sought to befriend the defendants in the first place.

    After news reports on their arrests, several students at Brooklyn College took to Facebook to share their suspicions — later confirmed by a professor — that the same undercover officer, using the name "Melike Ser" or "Mel," had been showing up at student political meetings, former organizer Tom DeAngelis said Monday. Other students told the news site Gothamist that she took a public profession of faith and also circulated at Muslim community centers.

    DeAngelis, 23, who graduated last year, said that he encountered her twice and recalled how she once had an exchange in Turkish with one of his friends. Otherwise, "I didn't think anything of it," he said. "She was just there. A lot of us were a little bit naive at that point."

    Using news reports and online searches, defense lawyers said they uncovered photos of the woman, her real name, her alma mater and even the names and pictures of some of her close friends.

    The police department conceded it was aware of two compromising internet posts: one on Facebook by someone who had a photo of the woman and warned she was an undercover officer, and another on a website with a photo of a wedding she attended in her real life. The department took immediate steps to have them removed.

    U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson ruled late last month that, though he has concerns about the undercover's safety, he can't legally prohibit the defense from using information about her that was found in the public domain. He also rejected prosecutors' request to close the courtroom to the public if she ends up testifying at trial that hasn't yet been scheduled.

    The judge instead came up with another protection he said he considered more appropriate: allowing the undercover officer to wear traditional Muslim dress that covers a woman's face.

    DeAngelis doesn't remember if she was wearing a hijab or some other covering when he met her. Either way, he said knowing now that "Mel" was a police officer "really messes with you."

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/04/11...lice-mole.html


 

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