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Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism’

No. 1 Sponsor of Terrorism? US Media Name Iran, but Overlook a Candidate Closer to Home | FAIR

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2020

If you defined it, say, as “deliberately and violently targeting civilians for political purposes,” that would tend to rule out roadside bombs hitting US military patrols, and rule in Saudi Arabia’s US-backed bombing of Yemeni civilians.

The New York Times (4/8/19) also raised the limited consideration of whether “other government intelligence agencies that use violence—including those of Israel, Pakistan and Russia—also now meet that standard.”…CIA?

https://fair.org/home/no-1-sponsor-of-terrorism-us-media-name-iran-but-overlook-a-candidate-closer-to-home/

After the illegal assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, FAIR (1/9/20) noted that the corporate media offered no moral objections to murdering another country’s high-ranking state official. The media consensus was that Soleimani was a despicable “terrorist” responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans”—a formula that buried the crucial distinction between terrorism and armed resistance, presenting military combat against the US and its allies’ occupation forces in the Middle East as inherently illegitimate.

'The Game Has Changed'

The New York Times’ editorial board (1/3/20) declared that the “real question” about the Trump administration’s drone strike was “not whether it was justified, but whether it was wise,” because Soleimani was “indisputably an enemy of the American people,” and an “architect of international terrorism responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and a great many others in the region, from Yemen to Syria.” The LA Times editorial board (1/3/20) claimed that Soleimani was a

key architect in Iran’s destabilizing policies in the Middle East, and a force behind militias and terror groups that have killed and maimed countless civilians and soldiers, including US troops and contractors.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board (1/3/20) proclaimed that “Mr. Trump’s decisive action” has struck “a blow against terror in the cause of justice and American interests,” and dismissed the need for evidence of Soleimani’s alleged plans to “attack American diplomats and service members.” because it was “belated justice” for the “hundreds of Americans whom Soleimani had a hand in killing,” and was another successful “show of force” to “deter terrorism against Americans.”

This credulous acceptance of the US government’s practice of branding Official Enemies as “terrorists” goes far beyond Soleimani. If there are any questions, they are often confined to whether this will negatively impact the US, with the credibility of US “terrorist” designations, with all of their repercussions, being unimpeachable. For years, corporate media have uncritically parroted the US State Department’s absurd assertions of Iran being the world’s “leading state sponsor of terrorism” with a “near-global reach” (Washington Post, 9/19/18; CNN, 6/2/16, Fox News, 11/2/19). According to the US State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism 2018,” Iran is the “world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism” because it supports

Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq and throughout the Middle East.  Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to provide support to terrorist organizations, provide cover for associated covert operations, and create instability in the region.  Iran has acknowledged the involvement of the IRGC-QF in the Iraq and Syria conflicts, and the IRGC-QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

FAIR (Extra!, 3/02; FAIR.org, 3/13/19) has repeatedly pointed out that US media conveniently avoid defining “terrorism,” because a consistent definition would undermine the conventional usage—that terrorism is what you call weak, nonstate actors using homemade bombs, regardless of their target. If you defined it, say, as “deliberately and violently targeting civilians for political purposes,” that would tend to rule out roadside bombs hitting US military patrols, and rule in Saudi Arabia’s US-backed bombing of Yemeni civilians.

Defining terrorism by the means used to carry out violence rather than the targets of that violence, and emphasizing the identity of the perpetrators rather than their political motives, is a convenient way to avoid the conclusion that the US’s so-called “War on Terror” is a hypocritical farce (FAIR.org, 3/29/18). Glenn Greenwald noted the dishonesty and hypocrisy of US media covering attacks on military targets as terrorism, while the Obama administration redefined “combatant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”—which, in practice, can be anywhere.

Nevertheless, when the State Department declared that Soleimani’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a “terrorist” organization, many reports offered little pushback, except for the possibility that it might “complicate military and diplomatic work by prohibiting contact with foreign officials who have worked with the Guard” (The Hill, 4/8/19)  or “incite retaliation by Tehran against American troops and intelligence officers” (New York Times, 4/8/19).

NYT: Trump Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a Foreign Terrorist Group

The New York Times (4/8/19) also raised the limited consideration of whether “other government intelligence agencies that use violence—including those of Israel, Pakistan and Russia—also now meet that standard.” Politico (4/8/19) tellingly remarked that it’s the “first time the United States has designated an official military force of another country a terrorist group,” because such designations are “typically reserved for non-state actors.”

But when one examines the State Department’s rationale for designating Iran as the “world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” it should be clear that Iran is considered so because it supports armed resistance groups opposing the US and Israel’s illegal occupation of Middle Eastern territories. As FAIR (6/6/19, 1/21/20) noted, if US media tend to consider the imperial violence committed by the US and its allies to be righteous and inherently defensive by default, then any anti-imperialist violence must be considered aggressive and illegitimate, simply because it resists US-backed violence.

Of course, as Stephen Zunes and Gareth Porter have already pointed out (FAIR.org, 1/21/20), there is little evidence that the IRGC-Quds Force formerly headed by Soleimani were responsible for the 13-year old talking point of Iran killing “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—a country the US illegally invaded and is currently occupying against the will of its elected representatives—except for the far-fetched claim that those IEDs were too “sophisticated” to have been made in Iraq. Contrary to reports, Soleimani did not seem to have “imminent” plans to attack the US, because he had arrived in Baghdad to attend regional peace talks with Saudi Arabia on behest of the Iraqi prime minister, with Trump’s knowledge. Soleimani was also a widely respected adversary of ISIS and the US-backed Syrian rebels linked to Al Qaeda (FAIR.org, 3/21/16, 1/4/17, 7/27/17).

Corporate media’s propagandistic coverage is most apparent when they consistently refuse to hold the US government accountable to its own standards for what constitutes “state sponsors of terrorism.” Comparing Iran’s relationship with armed Middle Eastern resistance groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthi rebels with the US’ relationship with Israel and Saudi Arabia make it abundantly clear that the US far eclipses Iran in terrorism sponsorship.

If Iran is a “state sponsor of terrorism” because it provides support to “Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza,” then does the US providing cash, weapons and surveillance for Israel’s state terrorism against Palestinians qualify the US as a “state sponsor of terrorism”? According to B’Tselem’s figures from 2000 all the way through the end of 2019, while Palestinian militants have killed a total of 301 Israeli civilians, Israeli security forces have killed 5,279 Palestinians who did not take part in hostilities, or were killed during the course of targeted killings (which are illegal under international law).

Likewise, if Iran is considered a state sponsor of terrorism because it provides material support to Hezbollah, what does that say about US support for Israel, whose illegal occupation of southern Lebanon prompted Hezbollah’s rise? In the conflict over Lebanon, Israel has been responsible for shedding far more civilian blood: According to Human Rights Watch, the 2006 Lebanon War resulted in the deaths of 43 Israeli civilians from Hezbollah’s indiscriminate rocket attacks, and around 900 Lebanese civilian deaths from Israeli airstrikes.

Even though the vast majority of State Department–designated terrorist groups are Sunni extremists that view the West and Iran as their biggest enemies, Grayzone reporter Ben Norton has repeatedly noted that US officials dishonestly conflate Sunni miitant groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS—who advocate a genocidal takfiri policy towards civilians and fellow Muslims—with Shi’a Islamist groups like Hezbollah, which primarily attack military and government targets for the purpose of expelling US presence from the region.

Despite the dubious media consensus on Iran being the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, annual reports from the National Counterterrorism Center attribute the vast majority of terrorist attacks since 2001 to “Sunni extremists” who adhere to the Wahabbi-Salafi ideology, held in common by ISIS and Al Qaeda. US ally Saudi Arabia spends vast sums of money to export this extremist Sunni ideology—while Iranian/Shi’ite terrorism isn’t even a category in US counterterrorism reporting, and is a much smaller threat than domestic white nationalist terrorist attacks. Yet, under current US law, Americans can sue Iran, but not Saudi Arabia, for terrorism in US courts, because Iran is on the US list of designated state sponsors of terrorism and Saudi Arabia is not.

Aside from the alleged link between Saudi officials and the 9/11 attacks killing nearly 3,000 people on US soil, Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war to crush Yemeni independence (considered by the UN to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis) can also qualify as state sponsorship of terrorism.

According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), the conflict has caused over 100,000 deaths since 2015. While the Houthi rebels have killed over 2,000 civilians, Saudi Arabia has killed 8,000 by deliberately attacking civilian targets. The US sponsors Saudi Arabia by being its biggest arms dealer, as well as providing intelligence, training and refueling, which makes the US a partner to the Saudi-led coalition’s war crimes (Guardian, 10/3/19).

Despite US media obfuscation, it’s often admitted that Saudi Arabia couldn’t wage this war without crucial US support, meaning the US could end this conflict anytime it wants to by withdrawing that support.

Even on the debate’s own terms, there’s a much stronger case that the US rather than Iran is actually the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism. A country that supported bringing “the terrors of the earth” to Cuba to sabotage its revolutionary government, and funded terrorist Contra groups in Nicaragua with cash gained from selling weapons to Iran, as well as providing the groundwork for Al Qaeda and ISIS to emerge (Extra!, 1/02; FAIR.org, 11/22/19), has no credibility to designate any other state as a terrorist organization.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Pensacola: Blowback Terrorism The problem isn’t ‘radical Islam’

Posted by M. C. on December 9, 2019

Apparently the FBI brass considered this intelligence pure gold because they went on to use America’s interventionist policy in the Middle East as their main talking point when grooming and entrapping idiots by the hundreds into fake terrorism plots across the country since that time.

https://original.antiwar.com/scott/2019/12/08/pensacola-blowback-terrorism/

Florida Senator Rick Scott is lost in the dark. After Friday’s deadly Afghan war-style “green on blue” attack by a Saudi air force officer at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida, the senator issued a statement calling the shooting an act of terrorism, and stating that this was the case, “whether this individual was motivated by radical Islam or was simply mentally unstable.”

First of all, “terrorism,” means the use of violence against civilians in order to provoke a political reaction. But these targets were all members of the U.S. Navy, not civilians. The three killed are Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters. This is a tragedy, but it’s not really terrorism.

Then again, of course, the real question about terrorism is not about the victims, but about the motives of the perpetrator, Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani. And here is where the Florida senator misses the point. The possibilities as he presents them are that the attack was motivated either by “radical Islam” or “mental instability.” But perhaps the perp’s belief in his religion hadn’t changed at all, in terms of degrees of devotion or in beginning to prefer a different, stricter Islamic doctrine. And maybe he wasn’t mentally ill either. After all, there was a shooting at the navy’s Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii the day before, and all indications are that that shooter’s motives were purely personal.

As long as the senator is speculating, why should religion or mental illness be considered the most likely explanations at all? Maybe al-Shamrani had gambling debts. Maybe he was blackmailed into it by an unknown party. (At least 10 other men were taken in for questioning, at least one of whom is alleged to have recorded the attack with his phone camera.) …

Maybe he was mad about American foreign policy.

That’s what he said his motive was: [Errors in original.]

“I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity. I am against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil. What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countrie, I see invasion of many countries by it’s troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV.

“Your decision-makers, the politicians, the lobbyists and the major corporations are the ones gaining from your foreign policy, and you are the ones paying the price for it.

“What benefit is it to the American people to suffer for the sake of supporting Israel?

“Do you expect to transgress against others and yet be spared retribution?

“How many more body-bags are American families willing to receive?

“For how long can the US survive this war of attrition?

“The US Treasury spend billions of dollars, in order to give Americans a false sense of security .

“The security is shared destiny

“You will not be safe until we live it as reality in pleastain, and American troops get out of our lands .”

No wonder American papers and news stations are so reluctant to quote the whole statement. For Republicans, Democrats, spies, soldiers, Zionists and their media myna birds, “Mohammed made him do it” is surely a preferable explanation to “Uh, this is all our fault.”

But al-Shamrani’s statement doesn’t have anything to do with “radical Islam.” (Notably, though Twitter deleted his statement, the replies remain, and seem to uniformly consist of denunciations of the attack and the attacker by other Muslims.) Whatever this man’s sect and degree of devotion, this attack was political. As others have noted, some of the phrases in the screed have been borrowed directly from Osama bin Laden and Anwar Awlaki’s statements (though so far he is said to have no established ties to terrorist groups.) This would include the reference to the “war of attrition” that bin Laden had wanted to initiate against the U.S. since the early 1990s. That wasn’t about radical Islam targeting unbelievers either.

It’s fighting them over there that causes them to fight us here. It always has been.*

The perpetrators of virtually every single terrorist attack against the U.S., beginning with Egyptian Islamic Jihad/proto-al Qaeda’s assassination of Rabbi Kahane in New York City in 1990, have cited their wanting revenge for, and desire to play a role in a war that the United States started here on Earth. Before September 11th, al Qaeda’s leaders cited the presence of U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia which were being used to attack other Muslim countries such as Iraq, support for Israel’s occupations in Palestine and (then) Lebanon, support for Saudi kings and Egyptian military despots, theft of Arab oil resources at artificially low prices, and support for other nations’ oppression of Muslim minorities. The plan was to attack us to provoke an overreaction. As the great intelligence beat reporter James Bamford explained,

“Ayman al-Zawahiri argued that al-Qaeda should bring the war to ‘the distant enemy’ in order to provoke the Americans to strike back and ‘personally wage the battle against Muslims.’ It was that battle that bin Laden and Zawahiri wanted to spark [with the 9/11 attacks]. As they made clear in their declaration of war ‘against Jews and Crusaders,’ they believed that the United States and Israel had been waging war against Muslims for decades. Now their hope was to draw Americans into a desert Vietnam, with bin Laden in the role of North Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh.”

Twelve years after the humiliation of “America’s mayor,” Rudy Giuliani by Rep. Ron Paul in a 2007 Republican Party presidential debate, when Paul explained the truth about the terrorists’ motives for attacking the United States, the argument has still not been won. That is, of course, because the same people who are responsible for these policies, including the government’s handmaidens in the major media, are the same ones in charge of diagnosing and confronting the problem now. But that’s just how it works. The worse they fail, the more job security they have in the future, at least until the trillions of dollars spent becomes too many and retrenchment becomes unavoidable.

But it’s no mystery. You could ask Robert Mueller, James Comey and the FBI about it. Their agent, James Fitzgerald, told the 9/11 Comission in long-since forgotten testimony about al Qaeda that,

“I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem, they identify with people who oppose repressive regimes, and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States.”…

The rest here

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Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Reflects on Civil War, Oil, Terrorism and America in Rare Interview – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2019

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201911111077273037-syrias-bashar-al-assad-reflects-on-civil-war-oil-terrorism-and-america-in-rare-interview/

Having endured a deadly, drawn-out civil war which is gradually drawing to a close, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is facing the daunting task of reuniting and reconstructing a devastated nation, filling in the power vacuum in newly-liberated parts of the country and overcoming a Western-imposed economic blockade.

The Presidential Palace in Damascus overlooks the Syrian capital, but the most troubled parts of the war-ravaged country are out of sight.

The future of those lands, as well as the broader question of how to solve the ongoing political imbroglio and rebuild Syria, are on Bashar al-Assad’s mind as he speaks in his first interview to foreign media in over a year.

The president talks to RT’s Afshin Rattansi about the origins of the conflict that engulfed his country and the role of Western governments in it, and gives his take on the recent and future developments in Syria and elsewhere.

On the interview embargo

Bashar al-Assad, who turned 54 in September, last gave an interview to a foreign news outlet in June 2018. He says he had stopped speaking to Western media completely because of their hunt for a “scoop”, but feels now that “public opinion in the world, and especially in the West, has been shifting during the past few years”.

“They know that their officials have told them so many lies about what’s going on in the region, in the Middle East, in Syria, in Yemen,” he says of the Western public. “They know there is a lie, but they don’t know the truth; so, I think, it’s time to talk about this truth.”…

On chemical attacks

As the fighting intensified, a series of alleged chemical attacks occurred in opposition-held areas in 2013. Damascus and Moscow both suggested that the March attack in Khan al-Assal was a false flag operation by the opposition-aligned militias, which blamed the government in turn.

When UN investigators arrived on the ground to investigate the incident, their visit coincided with an even larger-scale sarin attack in Ghouta on 21 August, which reportedly led to hundreds of casualties. The United States was quick to accuse the Syrian government and was on the brink of a military intervention, averted only when Damascus agreed to surrender all of its chemical weapons…

On the US’ role in terrorist insurgence

The president reiterates a widespread assumption that those terror groups emerged as a direct consequence of the CIA arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union.

He says of the American policy: “They invaded Afghanistan, they got nothing. They invaded Iraq, they got nothing, and they started to invade other countries but in different ways.

“The problem with the Unites States now is that they fight a survival war from their point of view because they are losing their hegemony…

On the ‘looting’ of Syria’s oil

During the war, terrorists have captured large swathes of oil-rich territories in northeast Syria; they have since been ousted from there by US-backed Kurdish militias which apparently continue extracting and smuggling out Syria’s oil.

US President Donald Trump has made it clear in recent weeks that “securing” Syria’s oil (i.e. keeping it in the hands of Kurds and away from the Damascus government) is his major priority in Syria. Moscow has recently exposed Washington’s efforts to keep the oil fields under its military control, describing them as “banditry.”…

On Turkey’s invasion

Fighting is still going on in some parts of the country, particularly in the rebel-held north-west province of Idlib and in the north-east, where Turkey recently launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters who it designates as terrorists.

It drove the Syrian Democratic Forces – a Kurdish-led alliance of militias that includes Arab groups – to seek protection from Damascus, whose forces have moved into the areas vacated by American troops and Kurds.

Al-Assad views the Turkish encroachment as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty but refuses to lay the blame on the Turks altogether.

“The Turkish people are our neighbours, and we have a common history, and we cannot make them the enemy,” he says. “The enemy is Erdogan and his policy and his coteries. So, being against those [terrorist] groups in Turkey and in Syria does not mean that we see eye to eye in another aspect, especially after he invaded Syria, publicly and formally.”

On the Kurdish deal

Al-Assad, now probably in a much stronger military position than ever in the past nine years, has ruled out a power-sharing agreement with Kurds. He says the deal with the SDF is intended for the Syrian government to restore “full sovereignty” over the previously Kurdish-held territories and pull the Kurds from the Turkey border in order to “remove the pretext for the Turks to invade Syria.”

He adds he has also invited Kurds to join the government forces; some heeded the call and some did not…

On attacks by Israel

Tel Aviv, which is at loggerheads with Damascus over the Golan Heights, has on many occasions bombed targets in Syria throughout the war that it believes are signs of Iran’s military presence in the country.

Asked if Israel provides a direct support to terrorists, al-Assad says: “Every time the Syrian army advanced against those Al-Nusra terrorists in the south, Israel used to bombard our troops, and whenever we advance somewhere else in Syria, their airplanes started committing air strikes against our army.”

In his opinion, this indicates that there was a “correlation” between the operations of Israel’s army and Syria-based terrorists.

On Iranian tanker arrest

Al-Assad took a back seat over the summer when headlines from the Middle East were mostly dominated by Iran’s stand-off with the US and the UK.

Syria was indirectly implicated in a spat between Tehran and London over a tanker seized by the Royal Marines off Gibraltar on suspicion of shipping Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

The president strikes a tone similar to that of his allies in Iran, calling Britain’s actions an act of “piracy.” He suggested that the UK “wanted to affect the people in Syria” in “the last-ditch attempt” to turn them against his government…

On rebuilding Syria

Cornered by Syrian troops and Russian airstrikes, the Idlib terrorists are posed to surrender sooner or later. And however preoccupied President al-Assad may be with the restive province, a transition from war to peace will be needed next.

That transition is complicated by international sanctions, but al-Assad is adamant that Syria will be able to overcome it – with a little help from its friends.

“We have the human resources enough to build our country,” the president reassures, “so I would not worry about this embargo, but definitely, the friendly countries like China, Russia and Iran, will have priority in this rebuilding.”

When asked whether the EU member states would be allowed to participate, he answeres flatly: “Every country which stood against Syria will not have a chance to be part of this reconstruction.”

What about Britain?

“Definitely not.”

*Daesh is a terror group banned by Russia, the US, and numerous other states.

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The FBI’s Long History of Treating Political Dissent as Terrorism

Posted by M. C. on October 23, 2019

“What is known is that there is a persistent pattern of monitoring civil society activity,” the report concludes, calling for strict oversight and reform of the bureau. “The FBI continuously singles out peace, racial justice, environmental, and economic justice groups for scrutiny. This is consistent with a decades-long pattern of FBI First Amendment abuses and suggests deeply seated political bias.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/22/terrorism-fbi-political-dissent/

While terrorism in the U.S. is relatively rare, over the last decade most politically motivated violence has come at the hands of far-right extremists. Despite that reality, the FBI has devoted disproportionate resources to the surveillance of nonviolent civil society groups and protest movements, particularly on the left, using its mandate to protect national security to target scores of individuals posing no threat but opposing government policies and practices.

Since 2010, the FBI has surveilled black activists and Muslim Americans, Palestinian solidarity and peace activists, Abolish ICE protesters, Occupy Wall Street, environmentalists, Cuba and Iran normalization proponents, and protesters at the Republican National Convention. And that is just the surveillance we know of — as the civil liberties group Defending Rights & Dissent documents in a report published today. The report is a detailed catalog of known FBI First Amendment abuses and political surveillance since 2010, when the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General published the last official review of Bush-era abuses. The incidents the report references, many of which were previously covered by The Intercept, were largely exposed through public records requests by journalists, activists, and civil rights advocates. The FBI relentlessly fought those disclosures, and the documents we have were often so heavily redacted they only revealed the existence of initiatives like a “Race Paper” or an “Iron Fist” operation, both targeting racial justice activists, while giving away little detail about their content.

But the targeting of political dissent is nothing new for the FBI. In fact, one of the bureau’s first campaigns, which began a hundred years ago next month, was an abusive crackdown of politically active immigrants it viewed as disloyal potential terrorists.

On the second anniversary of Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution, law enforcement agents at the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation — the FBI’s precursor — raided the Russian People’s House in New York City, where immigrants gathered to take classes, and beat and arrested everyone they found there. In the months following, local and federal police across major U.S. cities rounded up thousands of men and women, mostly foreign-born, who they accused of being subversives and Communists. The raids followed politically motivated investigations into immigrant associations, labor organizing groups, and leftist and anarchist circles.

The Palmer Raids, as they came to be known, after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, ushered in an era that tested the nation’s commitment to the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution. One hundred years later, the FBI continues to target political dissent with a broad mandate, little oversight, and next to no transparency. The FBI continues to routinely conflate dissent with terrorism, and remains particularly fixated on leftist ideologies. Like the old bureau under Palmer, today’s FBI also casts its net around a wide range of civil society and social justice groups as well as racial and religious minorities.

“What is known is that there is a persistent pattern of monitoring civil society activity,” the report concludes, calling for strict oversight and reform of the bureau. “The FBI continuously singles out peace, racial justice, environmental, and economic justice groups for scrutiny. This is consistent with a decades-long pattern of FBI First Amendment abuses and suggests deeply seated political bias.”

After reviewing the report, a spokesperson for the FBI wrote in a statement to The Intercept that every activity the FBI conducts “must uphold the Constitution and be carried out in accordance with federal laws.” The spokesperson added that the bureau’s investigative activities “may not be based solely on the exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment” and that its methods “are subject to multiple layers of oversight.” On its website, the bureau calls the Palmer Raids “certainly not a bright spot for the young Bureau” but adds that they did allow it to “gain valuable experience in terrorism investigations and intelligence work and learn important lessons about the need to protect civil liberties and constitutional rights.”

In fact, FBI violations of civil liberties and constitutional rights continued to be exposed at different points in the bureau’s history — most notably in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and in the post-9/11 years…

Across the country, activists have taken note. “I think a lot of us have just become used to being surveilled by the government,” said Mustafa Jumale, policy manager with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration based in Minneapolis, where the FBI has targeted Muslims and African immigrants. “The FBI has been harassing Somalis since I was in college. As a student, they used to just come to our student association, pull people out of class, all these things.”

Jumale added that some fellow activists, and particularly those who are not citizens, have scaled back their engagement in response to the surveillance, working “behind the scenes” but avoiding protests and public statements. But others noted that surveillance won’t succeed to intimidate a social justice movement that feels as urgent as ever.

“Activists today are knowledgeable and informed about COINTELRPO and previous iterations of surveillance of activists, and people are pretty hip to it. They understand the government may be watching them,” said Myaisha Hayes, an organizer with the racial justice group Media Justice whose grandfather spent 45 years in prison over his involvement with the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. “When people are oppressed and they’re fighting for greater justice and liberation, there are very few things that are going to stop them.”

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The FBI’s terrorism watch list violates the Constitution, federal judge says

Posted by M. C. on September 6, 2019

“Innocent people should be beyond the reach of the watchlist system,” Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “We think that’s what the Constitution requires.”

It is a sad state of affairs when the Jihadist version of AIPAC, CAIR, succeeds in defending US rights where congress fails.

https://outline.com/aBzwXa

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that an FBI watch list of more than 1 million “known or suspected terrorists” violates the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens in the database.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia in favor of 23 Muslim Americans who sued over their inclusion in the Terrorist Screening Database found that the watch list infringes on their constitutional right to due process. Trenga noted that the list restricts their ability to fly and engage in everyday activities and backed the plaintiffs’ concerns that they were flagged secretly and without a clear methodology.

“There is no evidence, or contention, that any of these plaintiffs satisfy the definition of a ‘known terrorist,’ ” wrote Trenga, adding that even harmless conduct could result in someone being labeled as a “suspected terrorist” on the watch list.

“An individual’s placement into the [watch list] does not require any evidence that the person engaged in criminal activity, committed a crime, or will commit a crime in the future,” the judge wrote, “and individuals who have been acquitted of a terrorism-related crime may still be listed.”

The ruling could reshape the government’s process for a watch list that has long been criticized for inaccuracy and described by opponents as “a Muslim registry created in the wake of the widespread Islamophobia of the early 2000s.” Trenga ordered both the plaintiffs and defendants to submit arguments about how to fix the constitutional problems with the database, which encompasses nearly 1.2 million people, including about 4,600 U.S. citizens or residents, as of June 2017.

Trenga’s 32-page opinion was hailed as a significant win by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the civil liberties organization that filed the lawsuit in 2016…

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Media Stenography Turns Beheaded Saudi Protesters Into ‘Terrorism’ | FAIR

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2019

Is this a case of NYT as government mouthpiece. Or NYT as incompetent? Or both?

One thing this piece shows is Isis and SA are different sides of the same coin.

https://fair.org/home/media-stenography-turns-beheaded-saudi-protesters-into-terrorism/

Saudi Arabia executed 37 men on April 23, as it announced in a press release in its official gazette. The first line of the release read, “Saudi Arabia said it executed 37 citizens last Tuesday after they were convicted of terrorism.”

A cursory Google search would have shown that this assertion was completely false. But many in the US press dutifully stenographed this claim into a headline:

  • “37 Saudis Executed for Terrorism-Related Crimes”: Time (4/23/19)
  • “Saudi Arabia Executes 37 in One Day for Terrorism”: New York Times (4/23/19)
  • “Saudi Arabia Beheads 37 Prisoners for Terrorism Crimes”: PBS NewsHour (4/23/19)

In fact, by looking at court documents from the Saudi government, we know that of these 37 men, 11 of them were accused of being “Iranian spies,” and 22 were accused of participating in a demonstration during the Arab Spring. (These 33 belonged to the Shia minority; the others practiced Sunni Islam or could not be identified.)

Of the 22 men accused of protesting, six were juveniles at the time. Mujtaba Al Suweikat was on his way to study at Western Michigan University when the Saudi authorities arrested him and charged him with “inciting disloyalty to the king.”

Saeed Mohammed Al Skafi was 17 during the protests. One of the charges against him was “posting pictures of other detainees.” Most of the others were convicted of offenses like “chanting disloyal slogans about the king” and “using social media to incite demonstrations.”

Of the 11 convicted of being Iranian spies, they were also found guilty of farcical offenses such as “condemning the bloodshed” (in February 2012, Saudi forces in the Shia-majority Saudi governorate of Qatif had sprayed protesters with bullets) and saving images and documents of the protests (which are also available on YouTube) on their hard drives…

In its first version of the article, which has changed since then, the New York Times wrote of Saudi Arabia, “It listed the 37 men by name but provided little information about what specific crimes had been committed by whom or when.” Instead of relying on a Saudi press release, the Times could have tried a cursory web search–or even searched its own archives. In an article by the Times editorial board (8/3/17) nearly two years ago, it had a short biography of Mujtaba Al Suweikat, the “disloyal” Western Michigan student, and the specific crimes he had been charged with.

Though the Times article was edited after publication to include some information that didn’t come from the Saudi press release–citing a Human Rights Watch official’s concern that many of the cases “raised serious rights concerns,” for example–the revised article was still misleading. For example, in paragraph three, it stated,  “Some men had been involved in bomb attacks on security headquarters that had killed officers, the [state news] agency said.” As far as we know, none of the 37 executed men had been involved in any bomb attacks, but the Times never challenged this Saudi government assertion.

Furthermore, the Times said that 14 of those killed had been arrested in relation to “sometimes violent protests.”  It failed to mention that that violence came from the Saudi government. This video, from July 2012, clearly shows Saudi police firing on unarmed protesters

The articles in the Times, Time magazine and the NewsHour all mentioned Saudi/Iranian relations, thereby amplifying longstanding Saudi propaganda that accuses Shia of being naturally loyal to Iran, which is blamed for  “stoking unrest” to justify brutal crackdowns of the religious minority.

All three outlets also added gratuitous details about the attack in Sri Lanka and/or other ISIS-related attacks–attacks that there’s no suggestion any of the defendants were connected to…

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The other knife problem

 

 

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Astonishing bias: 452 Islamic terror attacks in 31 countries just THIS YEAR (so far) and zero coverage from the media – NaturalNews.com

Posted by M. C. on March 22, 2019

https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-20-islamic-attacks-gets-zero-coverage-from-media.html

(Natural News) The vast majority of Americans have come to expect biased coverage from the so-called “mainstream media,” and what’s more, they have come to expect that coverage will be designed to advance the Democrats’ Left-wing agenda.

That’s according to some of the most recent polling data available.

But additional evidence also supports the contention that what the media tends to cover aren’t subjects that are of vital interest or importance to most Americans, and that the media covers ‘narratives’ it helps create, failing — intentionally — to give equal weight to similar stories.

The most recent example involves how American journalists initially covered the terrorist attack in New Zealand. Immediately after news of the attack first broke, the Democrat-aligned media filled their airwaves and bandwidth with far-Left pundits and politicians, as well as their own hosts and reporters, who were all quick to blame POTUS Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim “rhetoric.”

In the days that followed, the same Left-wing media outlets hammered on the narrative that 28-year-old alleged attacker Brenton Tarrant is a “white nationalist” and “right-wing extremist” who hates Muslims — as though only white, right-wing extremists are behaving as terrorists these days and the only people they are murdering are people of Islamic faith.

The fact is, however, that by far, the bulk of terrorist attacks this year — and in recent years — have been committed by Muslim extremists, and often against followers of other faiths. But our media doesn’t often report those and when they do, reports are quick, superficial, and fact-based. No narratives, no outraged guest analysts, and no lecturing, finger-wagging hosts. (Related: How the media distorts the New Zealand shooting to protect radical Muslim jihadis while demonizing white people.)

As reported by Natural News:

On January 27, Muslim extremists bombed a Roman Catholic cathedral on the Philippine island of Jolo, killing some 20 people and injuring dozens of others. But you probably didn’t hear about this horrific religious massacre because the perpetrators were violent Islamic terrorists that targeted Christians, which means the Leftist media pretty much completely ignored it...

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The Real Largest State Sponsor Of Terrorism | HuffPost

Posted by M. C. on October 21, 2018

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-real-largest-state-sponsor-of-terrorism_us_58cafc26e4b00705db4da8aa

Adam Weinstein

Saudi Arabia—not Iran—is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world today and Wahhabism remains the source of most radical Islamic extremism. For years Iran has borne the unenviable title of “world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism.” However, out of the 61 groups that are designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department, the overwhelming majority are Wahhabi-inspired and Saudi-funded groups, with a focus on the West and Iran as their primary enemy. Only two are Shi’a—Hezbollah and Kataib Hezbollah, and only four have ever claimed to receive support from Iran. Nearly all of the Sunni militant groups listed receive significant support from either the Saudi government or Saudi citizens…

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Are We Fighting Terrorism, Or Creating More Terrorism?

Posted by M. C. on May 30, 2017

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/may/28/are-we-fighting-terrorism-or-creating-more-terrorism/

But the UK is already the most intrusive surveillance state in the western world. The Manchester bomber was surely on the radar screen. According to press reports, he was known to the British intelligence services, he had traveled and possibly trained in bomb-making in Libya and Syria, his family members warned the authorities that he was dangerous, and he even flew terrorist flags over his house. What more did he need to do to signal that he may be a problem? Yet somehow even in Orwellian UK, the authorities missed all the clues.
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Terrorism Is Not a Forest Fire – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 25, 2017

https://lewrockwell.com/2017/05/jack-perry/terrorism-not-forest-fire/

The West still seems at a loss to understand why this is happening. Well, guys, here’s why: You need to get out of the Middle East and stay out. It really is that simple. And you guys have been told that repeatedly for decades. But the real reason Western governments refuse to listen is because they’re pretty much safe against suffering the consequences of Western government Middle East meddling. It’s the public that pays the price, not the politicians.
The public pays in civilian and military lives and taxes used to support the military and the bankster profiteers. Read the rest of this entry »

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