For first time, anti-terrorism law used to have Americans protesting Keystone XL pipeline arrestedDecember 17, 2013
A demonstration against Devon Energy and the company’s role in fracking and tar sands mining, including the Keystone XL pipeline, ended with four individuals being placed under arrest last week. Two of them were arrested by police on the basis that they had violated an Oklahoma anti-terrorism law prohibiting “terrorism hoaxes.”
It is strongly suspected that this happened as a result of advice that TransCanada has been giving local law enforcement in states, where protests against the Keystone XL pipeline have been taking place. They have been meeting with law enforcement and suggesting how terrorism laws could be applied to stop citizens from protesting the corporation’s activities.
I spoke with the two individuals arrested on terrorism charges, their lawyer and a spokesperson for Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance (GPTSR), which for months has been conducting nonviolent direct actions against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma.
On December 13, several people entered Devon Tower in downtown Oklahoma City to protest Devon, an energy company involved in natural gas and oil production that involves fracking. They are also invested and involved in tar sands mining in Canada. Devon Energy CEO John Richels sits on Trans Canada’s Board of Directors.
In an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, two individuals locked themselves with a bike lock inside one of the multiple revolving doors that lead into the atrium of Devon Tower. Two other individuals unfurled a banner from the second floor. The banner had the Mockingjay emblem on it from The Hunger Games and a slogan read, “The odds are never in our favor.” Simultaneously, another banner was unfurled that indicated support for indigenous activists in Canada who have been fighting to prevent energy extraction on their land.
According to attorney Douglas Parr, who is representing the two individuals who unfurled The Hunger Games banner, glitter “fell off the banner” and on to the floor of the atrium. All protesters inside the building were asked to leave. The two individuals, who dropped The Hunger Games banner and left the building when requested to do so by security, were then sought after by police and arrested. The two people locked inside the revolving door were eventually removed and arrested as well.
Stefan said he allegedly let go of The Hunger Games banner and it unfurled. “Consequently, some glitter that was on the banner fell [from the second floor] to the ground.”
“At which point, we were approached by Devon employees,” Stefan added. He and the second individual, Bailey, explained they were engaged in “nonviolent peaceful protest.” What had fallen was glitter. Building security told everyone to leave.
A janitor, according to Stefan, came over to sweep up the glitter. Security did not have the building evacuated. However, FBI and a HAZMAT team were later called to the scene to inspect the substance that had unintentionally landed on the atrium floor of Devon Tower.
“I was present after banner droppers were arrested but before the individuals who had locked themselves in a revolving door were extracted,” Parr recalled. “Police on the scene were communicating with someone off site attempting to find some statute in the Oklahoma anti-terrorism statutes.” They were “trying to figure out if one of those statutes could be applied to the banner droppers.”
But, Parr added, “The building was never evacuated. The atrium was never evacuated. People were never warned off of the building at all.”
Stefan and Bailey were booked into jail for a violation of an Oklahoma felony statute called “terrorism hoax.” The statute is intended to prohibit people from “willfully faking a terrorist attack. The two individuals, who locked themselves in the revolving door, were charged with trespassing.
“To my knowledge,” Parr stated, “it is the first time that any of these statutes in Oklahoma have been used with regard to protest activity.” It’s also the “first time terrorist charges” have been “used as a basis for an arrest” against individuals protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.
Both Stefan and Bailey have not been formally charged with violating a “terrorism hoax” statute, a felony which carries a potential sentence of ten years in prison. They were arrested with “terrorism hoax” as the basis and reports have to be submitted to the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s Office will ultimately decide if they will be charged.
A spokesperson for GPTSR, Eric, noted that the group had video of the action. “Nobody is panicking” in the video when the banner was dropped. “There’s no chaos.” A janitor, he said, cleaned up the glitter with “no protective gear.” But Devon Energy and police chose to escalate the scene and began to discuss possible charges of “biochemical assault” and “terrorism hoax” against protesters.
GPTSR’s action was the second action the group has done at Devon Tower. Previously, they had done a mock oil spill cleanup and engaged in a performance to show how ridiculous and ineffective some of the industry’s methods happen to be. It did not receive as much attention as last week’s action and nobody was arrested.
“Devon Energy is a key player in the deadly tar sands industry,” according to a posting on GPTSR’s website. “And though Devon Energy has been touted as practicing the safest and greenest form of tar sands extraction, the form of extraction that Devon practices, steam assisted gravity drainage, emits 2.5x the greenhouse emissions as open mining according to the Pembina Institute. Additionally, since 80% of tar sands reserves lie too deep within the earth to mine, this type of extraction will utilize 30x more land area than open mining.”
“We wanted to take an anti-fracking stance and also symbolically represent that Devon in Oklahoma is a symbol of power,” Bailey explained.
The group had mostly been engaged in actions in rural areas. Stefan had participated in such an action targeting TransCanada in February. But, Eric said, “You do get attention in the city whereas it’s much more easier to ignore you in the rural areas.” That is why the group has begun to plan nonviolent direct actions against Devon Energy in Oklahoma City.
On June 14 of this year, Bold Nebraska, an organization that fought construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska, obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request that showed TransCanada was “providing security briefings to Nebraska authorities warning them to look into the application of ‘anti-terrorism laws’ on people who oppose the pipeline.”
A presentation consisting of private intelligence gathered by the company on protesters and organizations demonstrating against the corporation advised, “District Attorneys may have more information regarding the applicability of State or Federal Anti-Terrorism laws prohibiting sabotage or terroristic acts against critical infrastructures.” It suggested resident FBI offices “explore federal charges with the US Attorney.”
The presentation was given to local law enforcement in Nebraska to hype the threat to TransCanada. It contains what could be considered dossiers on activists. As GreenistheNewRed.com’s Will Potter described, it is “a playbook on how to go after activists.”
Up and down the route of the pipeline being constructed, TransCanada has been meeting with law enforcement to advise them of what they could do to control protesters and deter them from challenging TransCanada.
Parr cited an open records request and said law enforcement from Oklahoma City had met with TransCanada. He believes that is what police did in trying to apply an Oklahoma anti-terrorism statute to protest activity was a result of advice from TransCanada.
According to Eric, police from Oklahoma showed up to a “week-long training” hosted by GPTSR. Police have conducted surveillance on the group and there has been cooperation among law enforcement in Oklahoma so that protesters are heavily monitored. FBI questioned some of the protesters as they were leaving Devon Tower on Friday.
Parr has “represented a number of people over the course of this last year who have been arrested in protest activity against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands extraction.” TransCanada has managed to obtain temporary restraining orders in two counties in Oklahoma against specific individuals, who were arrested in direct actions. The temporary restraining orders prohibit these individuals from “invasion of the property of TransCanada.” They can be viewed as part of an effort to stifle resistance to the corporation’s pipeline construction.
Environmental groups in Canada, which have been fighting energy corporations, like TransCanada, have been targeted as if they were extremist or terrorist organizations.
To TransCanada, groups like GPTSR and the larger environmental movement targeting pipeline construction are a part of an insurgency to be preemptively halted. The corporation is engaged in psychological operations to, as Sasha Ross has written, “promote an image of popular satisfaction, compliance and respect for authorities in order to facilitate the plans of the state or employer.”
An army field manual, FM 3-24, on counterinsurgency states, “Some elements of culture should be identified and evaluated in a counterinsurgency operation.” This operation can help law enforcement learn how to best approach the population.
To authorities criminalizing protest activity in Oklahoma as terrorism, Eric said this is very “disrespectful to Oklahoma’s history,” since it is a city in America that actually has experienced a terrorist attack, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
The group condemns “corporations trying to put folks away just for being nonviolent protesters and using very scary language that strikes at the heart of people in Oklahoma City.”
Source
(lol @ the thought of the FBI inspecting glitter.)

For first time, anti-terrorism law used to have Americans protesting Keystone XL pipeline arrested
December 17, 2013

A demonstration against Devon Energy and the company’s role in fracking and tar sands mining, including the Keystone XL pipeline, ended with four individuals being placed under arrest last week. Two of them were arrested by police on the basis that they had violated an Oklahoma anti-terrorism law prohibiting “terrorism hoaxes.”

It is strongly suspected that this happened as a result of advice that TransCanada has been giving local law enforcement in states, where protests against the Keystone XL pipeline have been taking place. They have been meeting with law enforcement and suggesting how terrorism laws could be applied to stop citizens from protesting the corporation’s activities.

I spoke with the two individuals arrested on terrorism charges, their lawyer and a spokesperson for Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance (GPTSR), which for months has been conducting nonviolent direct actions against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma.

On December 13, several people entered Devon Tower in downtown Oklahoma City to protest Devon, an energy company involved in natural gas and oil production that involves fracking. They are also invested and involved in tar sands mining in Canada. Devon Energy CEO John Richels sits on Trans Canada’s Board of Directors.

In an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, two individuals locked themselves with a bike lock inside one of the multiple revolving doors that lead into the atrium of Devon Tower. Two other individuals unfurled a banner from the second floor. The banner had the Mockingjay emblem on it from The Hunger Games and a slogan read, “The odds are never in our favor.” Simultaneously, another banner was unfurled that indicated support for indigenous activists in Canada who have been fighting to prevent energy extraction on their land.

According to attorney Douglas Parr, who is representing the two individuals who unfurled The Hunger Games banner, glitter “fell off the banner” and on to the floor of the atrium. All protesters inside the building were asked to leave. The two individuals, who dropped The Hunger Games banner and left the building when requested to do so by security, were then sought after by police and arrested. The two people locked inside the revolving door were eventually removed and arrested as well.

Stefan said he allegedly let go of The Hunger Games banner and it unfurled. “Consequently, some glitter that was on the banner fell [from the second floor] to the ground.”

“At which point, we were approached by Devon employees,” Stefan added. He and the second individual, Bailey, explained they were engaged in “nonviolent peaceful protest.” What had fallen was glitter. Building security told everyone to leave.

A janitor, according to Stefan, came over to sweep up the glitter. Security did not have the building evacuated. However, FBI and a HAZMAT team were later called to the scene to inspect the substance that had unintentionally landed on the atrium floor of Devon Tower.

“I was present after banner droppers were arrested but before the individuals who had locked themselves in a revolving door were extracted,” Parr recalled. “Police on the scene were communicating with someone off site attempting to find some statute in the Oklahoma anti-terrorism statutes.” They were “trying to figure out if one of those statutes could be applied to the banner droppers.”

But, Parr added, “The building was never evacuated. The atrium was never evacuated. People were never warned off of the building at all.”

Stefan and Bailey were booked into jail for a violation of an Oklahoma felony statute called “terrorism hoax.” The statute is intended to prohibit people from “willfully faking a terrorist attack. The two individuals, who locked themselves in the revolving door, were charged with trespassing.

“To my knowledge,” Parr stated, “it is the first time that any of these statutes in Oklahoma have been used with regard to protest activity.” It’s also the “first time terrorist charges” have been “used as a basis for an arrest” against individuals protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.

Both Stefan and Bailey have not been formally charged with violating a “terrorism hoax” statute, a felony which carries a potential sentence of ten years in prison. They were arrested with “terrorism hoax” as the basis and reports have to be submitted to the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s Office will ultimately decide if they will be charged.

A spokesperson for GPTSR, Eric, noted that the group had video of the action. “Nobody is panicking” in the video when the banner was dropped. “There’s no chaos.” A janitor, he said, cleaned up the glitter with “no protective gear.” But Devon Energy and police chose to escalate the scene and began to discuss possible charges of “biochemical assault” and “terrorism hoax” against protesters.

GPTSR’s action was the second action the group has done at Devon Tower. Previously, they had done a mock oil spill cleanup and engaged in a performance to show how ridiculous and ineffective some of the industry’s methods happen to be. It did not receive as much attention as last week’s action and nobody was arrested.

“Devon Energy is a key player in the deadly tar sands industry,” according to a posting on GPTSR’s website. “And though Devon Energy has been touted as practicing the safest and greenest form of tar sands extraction, the form of extraction that Devon practices, steam assisted gravity drainage, emits 2.5x the greenhouse emissions as open mining according to the Pembina Institute. Additionally, since 80% of tar sands reserves lie too deep within the earth to mine, this type of extraction will utilize 30x more land area than open mining.”

“We wanted to take an anti-fracking stance and also symbolically represent that Devon in Oklahoma is a symbol of power,” Bailey explained.

The group had mostly been engaged in actions in rural areas. Stefan had participated in such an action targeting TransCanada in February. But, Eric said, “You do get attention in the city whereas it’s much more easier to ignore you in the rural areas.” That is why the group has begun to plan nonviolent direct actions against Devon Energy in Oklahoma City.

On June 14 of this year, Bold Nebraska, an organization that fought construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska, obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request that showed TransCanada was “providing security briefings to Nebraska authorities warning them to look into the application of ‘anti-terrorism laws’ on people who oppose the pipeline.”

A presentation consisting of private intelligence gathered by the company on protesters and organizations demonstrating against the corporation advised, “District Attorneys may have more information regarding the applicability of State or Federal Anti-Terrorism laws prohibiting sabotage or terroristic acts against critical infrastructures.” It suggested resident FBI offices “explore federal charges with the US Attorney.”

The presentation was given to local law enforcement in Nebraska to hype the threat to TransCanada. It contains what could be considered dossiers on activists. As GreenistheNewRed.com’s Will Potter described, it is “a playbook on how to go after activists.”

Up and down the route of the pipeline being constructed, TransCanada has been meeting with law enforcement to advise them of what they could do to control protesters and deter them from challenging TransCanada.

Parr cited an open records request and said law enforcement from Oklahoma City had met with TransCanada. He believes that is what police did in trying to apply an Oklahoma anti-terrorism statute to protest activity was a result of advice from TransCanada.

According to Eric, police from Oklahoma showed up to a “week-long training” hosted by GPTSR. Police have conducted surveillance on the group and there has been cooperation among law enforcement in Oklahoma so that protesters are heavily monitored. FBI questioned some of the protesters as they were leaving Devon Tower on Friday.

Parr has “represented a number of people over the course of this last year who have been arrested in protest activity against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands extraction.” TransCanada has managed to obtain temporary restraining orders in two counties in Oklahoma against specific individuals, who were arrested in direct actions. The temporary restraining orders prohibit these individuals from “invasion of the property of TransCanada.” They can be viewed as part of an effort to stifle resistance to the corporation’s pipeline construction.

Environmental groups in Canada, which have been fighting energy corporations, like TransCanada, have been targeted as if they were extremist or terrorist organizations.

To TransCanada, groups like GPTSR and the larger environmental movement targeting pipeline construction are a part of an insurgency to be preemptively halted. The corporation is engaged in psychological operations to, as Sasha Ross has written, “promote an image of popular satisfaction, compliance and respect for authorities in order to facilitate the plans of the state or employer.”

An army field manual, FM 3-24, on counterinsurgency states, “Some elements of culture should be identified and evaluated in a counterinsurgency operation.” This operation can help law enforcement learn how to best approach the population.

To authorities criminalizing protest activity in Oklahoma as terrorism, Eric said this is very “disrespectful to Oklahoma’s history,” since it is a city in America that actually has experienced a terrorist attack, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

The group condemns “corporations trying to put folks away just for being nonviolent protesters and using very scary language that strikes at the heart of people in Oklahoma City.”

Source

(lol @ the thought of the FBI inspecting glitter.)

NYPD designates mosques as terrorism organizationsAugust 28, 2013
The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.
Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.
Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.
The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.
The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques and at least one prominent Arab-American group in Brooklyn, whose executive director has worked with city officials, including Bill de Blasio, a front-runner for mayor.
De Blasio said Wednesday on Twitter that he was “deeply troubled NYPD has labelled entire mosques & Muslim orgs terror groups with seemingly no leads. Security AND liberty make us strong.”
The revelations about the NYPD’s massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, “Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.” The book by AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials.
The disclosures come as the NYPD is fighting off lawsuits accusing it of engaging in racial profiling while combating crime. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that the department’s use of the stop-and-frisk tactic was unconstitutional.
The American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups have sued, saying the Muslim spying programs are unconstitutional and make Muslims afraid to practice their faith without police scrutiny.
Both Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have denied those accusations. Speaking Wednesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Kelly reminded people that his intelligence-gathering programs began in the wake of 9/11.


"We follow leads wherever they take us," Kelly said. "We’re not intimidated as to wherever that lead takes us. And we’re doing that to protect the people of New York City."


Full article

NYPD designates mosques as terrorism organizations
August 28, 2013

The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.

The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.

The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques and at least one prominent Arab-American group in Brooklyn, whose executive director has worked with city officials, including Bill de Blasio, a front-runner for mayor.

De Blasio said Wednesday on Twitter that he was “deeply troubled NYPD has labelled entire mosques & Muslim orgs terror groups with seemingly no leads. Security AND liberty make us strong.”

The revelations about the NYPD’s massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, “Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.” The book by AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials.

The disclosures come as the NYPD is fighting off lawsuits accusing it of engaging in racial profiling while combating crime. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that the department’s use of the stop-and-frisk tactic was unconstitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups have sued, saying the Muslim spying programs are unconstitutional and make Muslims afraid to practice their faith without police scrutiny.

Both Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have denied those accusations. Speaking Wednesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Kelly reminded people that his intelligence-gathering programs began in the wake of 9/11.

Full article

The drone that killed my grandson by Nasser al-AwlakiJuly 20, 2013
I learned that my 16-year-old grandson, Abdulrahman — a United States citizen — had been killed by an American drone strike from news reports the morning after he died.
The missile killed him, his teenage cousin and at least five other civilians on Oct. 14, 2011, while the boys were eating dinner at an open-air restaurant in southern Yemen.
I visited the site later, once I was able to bear the pain of seeing where he sat in his final moments. Local residents told me his body was blown to pieces. They showed me the grave where they buried his remains. I stood over it, asking why my grandchild was dead.
Nearly two years later, I still have no answers. The United States government has refused to explain why Abdulrahman was killed. It was not until May of this year that the Obama administration, in a supposed effort to be more transparent, publicly acknowledged what the world already knew — that it was responsible for his death.
The attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., said only that Abdulrahman was not “specifically targeted,” raising more questions than he answered.
My grandson was killed by his own government. The Obama administration must answer for its actions and be held accountable. On Friday, I will petition a federal court in Washington to require the government to do just that.
Abdulrahman was born in Denver. He lived in America until he was 7, then came to live with me in Yemen. He was a typical teenager — he watched “The Simpsons,” listened to Snoop Dogg, read “Harry Potter” and had a Facebook page with many friends. He had a mop of curly hair, glasses like me and a wide, goofy smile.
In 2010, the Obama administration put Abdulrahman’s father, my son Anwar, on C.I.A. and Pentagon “kill lists” of suspected terrorists targeted for death. A drone took his life on Sept. 30, 2011.
The government repeatedly made accusations of terrorism against Anwar — who was also an American citizen — but never charged him with a crime. No court ever reviewed the government’s claims nor was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing ever presented to a court. He did not deserve to be deprived of his constitutional rights as an American citizen and killed.
Early one morning in September 2011, Abdulrahman set out from our home in Sana by himself. He went to look for his father, whom he hadn’t seen for years. He left a note for his mother explaining that he missed his father and wanted to find him, and asking her to forgive him for leaving without permission.
A couple of days after Abdulrahman left, we were relieved to receive word that he was safe and with cousins in southern Yemen, where our family is from. Days later, his father was targeted and killed by American drones in a northern province, hundreds of miles away. After Anwar died, Abdulrahman called us and said he was going to return home.
That was the last time I heard his voice. He was killed just two weeks after his father.
A country that believes it does not even need to answer for killing its own is not the America I once knew. From 1966 to 1977, I fulfilled a childhood dream and studied in the United States as a Fulbright scholar, earning my doctorate and then working as a researcher and assistant professor at universities in New Mexico, Nebraska and Minnesota.
I have fond memories of those years. When I first came to the United States as a student, my host family took me camping by the ocean and on road trips to places like Yosemite, Disneyland and New York — and it was wonderful.
After returning to Yemen, I used my American education and skills to help my country, serving as Yemen’s minister of agriculture and fisheries and establishing one of the country’s leading institutions of higher learning, Ibb University. Abdulrahman used to tell me he wanted to follow in my footsteps and go back to America to study. I can’t bear to think of those conversations now.
After Anwar was put on the government’s list, but before he was killed, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights represented me in a lawsuitchallenging the government’s claim that it could kill anyone it deemed an enemy of the state.
The court dismissed the case, saying that I did not have standing to sue on my son’s behalf and that the government’s targeted killing program was outside the court’s jurisdiction anyway.
After the deaths of Abdulrahman and Anwar, I filed another lawsuit, seeking answers and accountability. The government has argued once again that its targeted killing program is beyond the reach of the courts. I find it hard to believe that this can be legal in a constitutional democracy based on a system of checks and balances.
The government has killed a 16-year-old American boy. Shouldn’t it at least have to explain why?

Nasser al-Awlaki, the founder of Ibb University and former president of Sana University, served as Yemen’s minister of agriculture and fisheries from 1988 to 1990.
Source

The drone that killed my grandson by Nasser al-Awlaki
July 20, 2013

I learned that my 16-year-old grandson, Abdulrahman — a United States citizen — had been killed by an American drone strike from news reports the morning after he died.

The missile killed him, his teenage cousin and at least five other civilians on Oct. 14, 2011, while the boys were eating dinner at an open-air restaurant in southern Yemen.

I visited the site later, once I was able to bear the pain of seeing where he sat in his final moments. Local residents told me his body was blown to pieces. They showed me the grave where they buried his remains. I stood over it, asking why my grandchild was dead.

Nearly two years later, I still have no answers. The United States government has refused to explain why Abdulrahman was killed. It was not until May of this year that the Obama administration, in a supposed effort to be more transparent, publicly acknowledged what the world already knew — that it was responsible for his death.

The attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., said only that Abdulrahman was not “specifically targeted,” raising more questions than he answered.

My grandson was killed by his own government. The Obama administration must answer for its actions and be held accountable. On Friday, I will petition a federal court in Washington to require the government to do just that.

Abdulrahman was born in Denver. He lived in America until he was 7, then came to live with me in Yemen. He was a typical teenager — he watched “The Simpsons,” listened to Snoop Dogg, read “Harry Potter” and had a Facebook page with many friends. He had a mop of curly hair, glasses like me and a wide, goofy smile.

In 2010, the Obama administration put Abdulrahman’s father, my son Anwar, on C.I.A. and Pentagon “kill lists” of suspected terrorists targeted for death. A drone took his life on Sept. 30, 2011.

The government repeatedly made accusations of terrorism against Anwar — who was also an American citizen — but never charged him with a crime. No court ever reviewed the government’s claims nor was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing ever presented to a court. He did not deserve to be deprived of his constitutional rights as an American citizen and killed.

Early one morning in September 2011, Abdulrahman set out from our home in Sana by himself. He went to look for his father, whom he hadn’t seen for years. He left a note for his mother explaining that he missed his father and wanted to find him, and asking her to forgive him for leaving without permission.

A couple of days after Abdulrahman left, we were relieved to receive word that he was safe and with cousins in southern Yemen, where our family is from. Days later, his father was targeted and killed by American drones in a northern province, hundreds of miles away. After Anwar died, Abdulrahman called us and said he was going to return home.

That was the last time I heard his voice. He was killed just two weeks after his father.

A country that believes it does not even need to answer for killing its own is not the America I once knew. From 1966 to 1977, I fulfilled a childhood dream and studied in the United States as a Fulbright scholar, earning my doctorate and then working as a researcher and assistant professor at universities in New Mexico, Nebraska and Minnesota.

I have fond memories of those years. When I first came to the United States as a student, my host family took me camping by the ocean and on road trips to places like Yosemite, Disneyland and New York — and it was wonderful.

After returning to Yemen, I used my American education and skills to help my country, serving as Yemen’s minister of agriculture and fisheries and establishing one of the country’s leading institutions of higher learning, Ibb University. Abdulrahman used to tell me he wanted to follow in my footsteps and go back to America to study. I can’t bear to think of those conversations now.

After Anwar was put on the government’s list, but before he was killed, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights represented me in a lawsuitchallenging the government’s claim that it could kill anyone it deemed an enemy of the state.

The court dismissed the case, saying that I did not have standing to sue on my son’s behalf and that the government’s targeted killing program was outside the court’s jurisdiction anyway.

After the deaths of Abdulrahman and Anwar, I filed another lawsuit, seeking answers and accountability. The government has argued once again that its targeted killing program is beyond the reach of the courts. I find it hard to believe that this can be legal in a constitutional democracy based on a system of checks and balances.

The government has killed a 16-year-old American boy. Shouldn’t it at least have to explain why?

Nasser al-Awlaki, the founder of Ibb University and former president of Sana University, served as Yemen’s minister of agriculture and fisheries from 1988 to 1990.

Source

I just don’t understand how they can keep someone for 3 years after they are cleared for release?!
But here’s more on the topic of ongoing detention after detainees have been cleared for release & Obama’s moratorium on releasing Yemeni prisoners (which he just lifted in May to appease hunger strikers; it didn’t work):

In all of the mainstream media analysis of WikiLeaks’ recent release of Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) from Guantánamo, relating to almost all of the 779 prisoners who have been held at the prison over the last nine years and four months, one group of prisoners has so far been overlooked: the Yemenis.

The most unfortunate group of men in Guantánamo, the Yemenis — 89 in total — make up over half of the 172 prisoners still held. In 2006 and 2007, when the majority of the Saudi prisoners were released, as part of a political settlement between the Bush administration and the Saudi government, which introduced an expensive rehabilitation program to secure the return of its nationals, no such deal took place between the US and President Saleh of Yemen.

Just 23 Yemenis have been released from Guantánamo throughout its history, and those who remain have found themselves used as political pawns. When President Obama established the Guantanamo Review Task Force to examine the cases of all the remaining prisoners in 2009, the Task Force — a collection of sober officials and lawyers from various government departments and the intelligence agencies — recommended that 36 Yemenis should be released immediately, and that 30 others should be held in a new category of imprisonment — “conditional detention” — until the security situation in Yemen was assessed to have improved.

The Task Force also recommended that five others should be put forward for trial, and 26 others held indefinitely without charge or trial.

The designation of this latter group for indefinite detention — as part of a group of 48 prisoners in total — dismayed human rights activists and supporters, in general, of the principle that preventive detention is only authorized if the prisoners in question are enemy prisoners of war, removed from the battlefield until the end of hostilities.

This should not have been a contentious viewpoint, but it was a sign of the paranoia regarding Guantánamo — which was deliberately engendered by the prison’s supporters, and bought into by Obama administration officials — that few voices of dissent were raised when the President attempted to justify holding 48 men indefinitely because they were regarded as too dangerous to release, even though there was insufficient evidence to put them on trial.

In the real world, rather than the permanently spooked world of Guantánamo and terrorism, this would mean that there was no evidence, and that what the government had instead was multiple levels of hearsay and information extracted through torture. And this, indeed, is what has become apparent in the Detainee Assessment Briefsreleased by WikiLeaks, which have demonstrated that much of the government’s supposed evidence — against prisoners who, presumably, include some of these 48 men — was either extracted from “high-value detainees” likeAbu Zubaydah, who were tortured in secret CIA prisons, or from informants within Guantánamo, who were bribed or coerced to tell lies about their fellow prisoners.

The 28 Yemenis “approved for transfer” from Guantánamo, and the poor reasons for their ongoing detention

Beyond these 48 men, however, and the 26 Yemenis included in the total, the Yemenis cleared for release (or “approved for transfer,” in the careful words of the Task Force) have fared no better. Although President Obama released one Yemeni who had won his habeas corpus petition in the fall of 2009, and six others the week before Christmas, the capture, on Christmas Day 2009, of a would-be plane bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had apparently been recruited in Yemen, caused a sudden backlash against releasing any more Yemenis from Guantánamo, which President Obama accepted without criticism, imposing a moratorium on releasing any Yemenis that is still in place 16 months later. (This moratorium lasted from 2009 to May 2013 when he lifted the ban because of the ongoing hunger strike. So no prisoners who were cleared for release were able to leave during this time.)

Since January 2010, just one Yemeni has been freed — a patently innocent man who also won his habeas corpus petition — while, in general, a terrible injustice has been allowed to prevail. On the one hand, this involves the US government endorsing guilt by nationality, and being content to tar the whole of Yemen as a terrorist nation that cannot be trusted with looking after prisoners released from Guantánamo, and on the other it involves supporters of Guantánamo telling deliberate lies about the Yemenis, by claiming that released Yemenis have “returned to the battlefield” in significant numbers, when only two examples have been reported — one who was subsequently killed in an airstrike, and another who surrendered to the Yemeni authorities.

In fact, the majority of the alleged recidivists in the Gulf — around a dozen ex-prisoners — are Saudis, released by President Bush against the advice of his own intelligence agencies, who identified them as a threat. These men passed through the rehabilitation program but then some of them crossed the border into Yemen to join Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a small terrorist cell inspired by Osama bin Laden’s example.

As a result of President Obama’s moratorium, the remaining 28 men cleared for immediate release by the Task Force but still held have been consigned to a fate that, in effect, is no different from the 48 men held indefinitely without charge or trial. The identities of these men have not been publicly announced, and it has not been possible to identify all of them, but 19 cleared Yemenis who are still held are identified in the WikiLeaks documents.

Latest on detainees cleared for release: Some 56 Yemenis have been cleared for release, including around 30 who can only be transferred back to their native land if certain security requirements are met. The administration has also reportedly been talking to Afghanistan about whether it could offer guarantees that released prisoners would not be a threat.

Officials said that detainees would have their cases dealt with on an individual basis, raising the prospect of a few prisoners being freed from Guantánamo one-by-one in the next few weeks rather than any wholesale transfer.

In a statement, the government of Yemen welcomed the move and pledged to “ensure the safe return of its detainees and … their gradual rehabilitation and integration back into society”.

Obama said that he would appoint a senior envoy at the State Department and the Defense Department whose sole responsibility would be to examine ways of transferring detainees to other countries. He had also asked Pentagon officials to come up with another site where military tribunals could take place to prosecute alleged terrorists.

Finally, he said that those detainees who had yet to be charged in those tribunals could be dealt with by the US civilian justice system – as several recent high-profile terrorism cases have been. “Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee,” he said.

*It’s also important to note that this moratorium on releasing innocent prisoners (???) was only lifted in an attempt to appease the majority of the prisoners at Guantanamo who were (& 106 still are) on a hunger strike & not because Obama has decided to keep his first term promise of closing the prison.

The Terrorists Have Won

The thing about the current state of the NSA Domestic Spying programs is that nobody seems to care.

This problem of apathy is probably because privacy loss on this scale is not really a tangible thing to most people. It’s hard to imagine how big a city is, let alone a country, and how many people are seeing your every tweet, status update, phone call, etc.

You threaten to “take away” people’s guns, they balk.

You threaten to “take away” people’s health care, they scream bloody murder.

But you tell them that the government is spying on them? Well, no biggie! They do that to everyone, and it’s to stop Terr’ists™.

What seems to happen is that people think of it as an either/or question:

1. The government has to watch everyone

—OR—

2. The Terr’ists™ among us will kill us all.

It rarely seems to occur to us that this reactionary spying is caving into what the terrorists want. When you live in constant fear of being killed going about your everyday life, then, to turn a phrase, the terrorists have won.

When you have the NSA doing elaborate legalistic acrobatics to say that seizing phone records, passwords, bank information, is not “unreasonable search and seizure” because it’s not on paper, that’s some bull.

So where does it stop?

Submitted by: kellanium

What Obama has specialized in from the beginning of his presidency is putting pretty packaging on ugly and discredited policies. The cosmopolitan, intellectualized flavor of his advocacy makes coastal elites and blue state progressives instinctively confident in the Goodness of whatever he’s selling, much as George W. Bush’s swaggering, evangelical cowboy routine did for red state conservatives. The CIA presciently recognized this as a valuable asset back in 2008 when they correctly predicted that Obama’s election would stem the tide of growing antiwar sentiment in western Europe by becoming the new, more attractive face of war, thereby converting hordes of his admirers from war opponents into war supporters. This dynamic has repeated itself over and over in other contexts, and has indeed been of great value to the guardians of the status quo in placating growing public discontent about their economic insecurity and increasingly unequal distribution of power and wealth. However bad things might be, we at least have a benevolent, kind-hearted and very thoughtful leader doing everything he can to fix it.

Sister Assata -  This is what American history looks like 
By Alice Walker

I don’t know why, given where we are with dronefare, but I didn’t expect the man making the announcement about Assata Shakur being the first woman “terrorist” to appear on the FBI’s most wanted list to be black. That was a blow. I was reminded of the world of “trackers” we sometimes get glimpses of in history books and old movies on TV. In Australia the tracker who hunts down other aboriginals who have, because of the rape and murder, genocide and enslavement of the indigenous (aboriginal) people, run away into the outback. He shows up again in cowboy and Indian films: jogging along in the hot sun, way ahead of the white men on horseback, bending on his knees to get a better look at a bruised leaf or a bent twig, while they curse and spit and complain about how long he’s taking to come up with a clue. And then there were the “trackers” who helped the pattyrollers during our four hundred years of enslavement. When pattyrollers (or patrols) caught run-away slaves in those days they frequently beat them to death. I’ve often thought of the black men whose expertise at tracking fugitives helped bring these terrors, humiliations and deaths about. When I was younger I would have been in a rage against them; not understanding the reality of invisible coercion, and mind and spirit control, that I do now. Today, only a few years older than Assata Shakur, and marveling at the unenviable state of humanity’s character worldwide, I find I can only pray for all of us. That we should be sinking even below the abysmal standard early “trackers” have set for us: that the US government can now offer two million dollars for the capture of a very small, not young, black woman who was brutally abused, even shot, over three decades ago, as if we don’t need that money to buy people food, clothes, medicine, and decent places to live.

What is most distressing about the times we live in, in my view, is our ever accelerating tolerance for cruelty. Prisoners held indefinitely in orange suits, hooded, chained and on their knees. Like the hunger strikers of Guantanamo, I would certainly prefer death to this. People shot and bombed from planes they never see until it is too late to get up from the table or place the baby under the bed. Poor people terrorized daily, driven insane really, from fear. People on the streets with no food and no place to sleep. People under bridges everywhere you go, holding out their desperate signs: a recent one held by a very young man, perhaps a veteran, under my local bridge: I Want To Live. But nothing seems as cruel to me as this: that our big, muscular, macho country would go after so tiny a woman as Assata who is given sanctuary in a country smaller than many of our states.

The first time I met Assata Shakur we talked for a long time. We were in Havana, where I had gone with a delegation to offer humanitarian aid during Cuba’s “special period” of hunger and despair, and I’d wanted to hear her side of the story from her. She described the incident with the New Jersey Highway Patrol, and assured me she was shot up so badly that even if she’d wanted to, she would not have been able to fire a gun. Though shot in the back (with her arms raised), she managed to live through two years of solitary confinement, in a men’s prison, chained to her bed. Then, in what must surely have been a miraculous coming together of people of courageous compassion, she was helped to escape and to find refuge in Cuba. One of the people who helped Assata escape, a white radical named Marilyn Buck, was kept in prison for thirty years and released only one month before her death from uterine cancer. She was a poet, and I have been reading her book, Inside/Out, Selected Poems, which a friend gave me just last week. There is also a remarkable video of her, shot in prison, that I highly recommend.

This is what solidarity can look like.

The second time I saw Assata, years later, I was in Havana for the Havana Book Fair. Cuba has a very high literacy rate, thanks to the Cuban revolution, and my novel, Meridian, had recently been translated and published there. However, this time we did not talk about the past. We talked about meditation. Seeing her interest, and that of Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly, and others, I decided to offer a class. There under a large tree off a quiet street in Havana, I demonstrated my own practice of meditation to some of the most attentive students I have ever encountered. The mantra: Breathing in: “In,” breathing out: “Peace.”

I believe Assata Shakur to be a good and decent, a kind and compassionate person. True revolutionaries often are. Physically she is beautiful, and her spirit is also. She appears to hold the respect, love and friendship of all the people who surround her. Like Marilyn Buck they have risked much for her freedom, and appear to believe her version of the story as I do.

That she did not wish to live as an imprisoned creature and a slave is understood.

What to do? Since we are not, in fact, helpless. Nor are we ever alone.

I call on the Ancestors 
by whose blood 
and DNA 
we exist 
to accompany us 
as always 
through this lengthening 
sorrow.
And to bear witness 
within us 
to all that we are 
aware.

FBI billboards not about Assata Shakur; it’s about repressing the black communityMay 5, 2013
Following the ludicrous announcement that the Obama administration has placed Assata Shakur on its “most wanted terrorist list”, the FBI has erected billboards in Newark, New Jersey announcing its recently increased $2 million dollar reward. However, any critically thinking person knows that these billboards are not about capturing Assata Shakur but sending a message to the rest of us. Interestingly, perhaps just a coincidence or not, Newark, New Jersey is the place where a theater co-owned by Shaquille O’Neil, recently reneged on an agreement to show a popular independent film about the life of another former member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.Is Assata Shakur in New Jersey? No, she is not and the FBI and the Obama administration know exactly where she is, in Cuba where she has lived since being granted political asylum by its government in 1979 after escaping from prison. 
This is not about Assata Shakur, it is about sending a message to the Black community and those that live within it who stand up to police violence, oppression and murder of residents, one of the very reasons for the formation of the Black Panthers. It is about the political repression of those who advocate on the behalf of the many political prisons being held by the United States government often in torturous conditions. It is about sending a message to anyone who would take up arms in defense of life, liberty and true freedom in a country that is home to the largest prison population in the world which the federal government and various corporations use as slave labor. It is about sending a message to those that would dare stand up and point out that the US government is the most violent entity on the planet and one that commits acts of terrorism against non-white people and nations on behalf of maintaining the American imperialist status-quo.Why else would the U.S. government seek to name Assata Shakur as a domestic terrorist after all these decades? We are talking about a woman who was shot twice while attempting to give herself up to police who were co-operating with Federal authorities to target and assassinate or otherwise eliminate members of the Black Liberation movement just as they had done and admitted in a civil lawsuit to doing to Martin Luther King Jr.The FBI and its corporate media wing fail to report the details of the sham case built against Assata Shakur after failing to win convictions on other trump up charges. The corporate media is failing to point out that a police officer, a state witness against Assata Shakur for the murder of another police officer, has recanted his testimony and admitted to lying on the stand. Medical personnel stated that because of nerves severed by a bullet, Assata Shakur would have been physically prevented from firing a weapon and it was also stated that her wounds indicate her hands were raised when she was shot consistent with her claim that she was giving herself up.Just as Assata Shakur has pointed out that COINTELPRO utilized and received full cooperation from the corporate media to demonize and alienate freedom fighters from the people who supported them, corporate media today is still fulfilling that role. The concept of a free and independent press in America has always been a fraud and it remains so today.
Source
Read more about Assata Shakur & find a link to her autobiography here.

FBI billboards not about Assata Shakur; it’s about repressing the black community
May 5, 2013

Following the ludicrous announcement that the Obama administration has placed Assata Shakur on its “most wanted terrorist list”, the FBI has erected billboards in Newark, New Jersey announcing its recently increased $2 million dollar reward. However, any critically thinking person knows that these billboards are not about capturing Assata Shakur but sending a message to the rest of us. Interestingly, perhaps just a coincidence or not, Newark, New Jersey is the place where a theater co-owned by Shaquille O’Neil, recently reneged on an agreement to show a popular independent film about the life of another former member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Is Assata Shakur in New Jersey? No, she is not and the FBI and the Obama administration know exactly where she is, in Cuba where she has lived since being granted political asylum by its government in 1979 after escaping from prison.

This is not about Assata Shakur, it is about sending a message to the Black community and those that live within it who stand up to police violence, oppression and murder of residents, one of the very reasons for the formation of the Black Panthers. It is about the political repression of those who advocate on the behalf of the many political prisons being held by the United States government often in torturous conditions. It is about sending a message to anyone who would take up arms in defense of life, liberty and true freedom in a country that is home to the largest prison population in the world which the federal government and various corporations use as slave labor. It is about sending a message to those that would dare stand up and point out that the US government is the most violent entity on the planet and one that commits acts of terrorism against non-white people and nations on behalf of maintaining the American imperialist status-quo.

Why else would the U.S. government seek to name Assata Shakur as a domestic terrorist after all these decades? We are talking about a woman who was shot twice while attempting to give herself up to police who were co-operating with Federal authorities to target and assassinate or otherwise eliminate members of the Black Liberation movement just as they had done and admitted in a civil lawsuit to doing to Martin Luther King Jr.

The FBI and its corporate media wing fail to report the details of the sham case built against Assata Shakur after failing to win convictions on other trump up charges. The corporate media is failing to point out that a police officer, a state witness against Assata Shakur for the murder of another police officer, has recanted his testimony and admitted to lying on the stand. Medical personnel stated that because of nerves severed by a bullet, Assata Shakur would have been physically prevented from firing a weapon and it was also stated that her wounds indicate her hands were raised when she was shot consistent with her claim that she was giving herself up.

Just as Assata Shakur has pointed out that COINTELPRO utilized and received full cooperation from the corporate media to demonize and alienate freedom fighters from the people who supported them, corporate media today is still fulfilling that role. The concept of a free and independent press in America has always been a fraud and it remains so today.

Source

Read more about Assata Shakur & find a link to her autobiography here.

nolandwithoutstones

whykillthemockingbird:

MUST WATCH:

A Yemeni national, Farea Al-muslimi, describes how a US drone fired missiles on his small village of Wessab in Yemen, “What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: There is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.” The came can be said of US drone attacks on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Uganda, and beyond.

This testimony is really powerful. Watch it if you haven’t already.

Don’t let them use fear to lock down our rights: How political establishment is trying to exploit the Boston bombingsApril 22, 2013
The hunt for the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings is over, but the consequences will continue to be felt, affecting everything from the character of mainstream politics; to the scaremongering about “radical Islam,” both abroad and on U.S. soil; to the question of civil liberties and whether they should be violated if authorities decide there is a “terrorist threat.”
Three days after Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout and brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded and arrested hours later, we still don’t know the motives of the two suspects—whether, as the media implies, based on speculation, that their decision to inflict such terrible carnage was connected in their minds to their identity as Chechens or Muslims or both.
What we do know is that there will be a rush to score political points—and that rush will invariably come at the expense of our rights.
The Boston Marathon bombings were a sadistic attack, designed to maim, and targeted against people who bear no responsibility for the ills of society. But now those bombings are being used as a justification for furthering an agenda of violence and political repression.
It may not be popular to do so, but those who oppose war, racism and injustice need to speak up and question the rush to judge and scapegoat—and challenge those who will try to exploit the horror of the Boston bombings as an excuse to take away our rights.
All of the racist assumptions about “terrorism” that simmer below the surface in the U.S. media and political establishment came bubbling up in the past week.
In general, the media were initially hesitant to label the Boston bombings to be the work of Middle Eastern Islamic extremists. But there were exceptions even in the first days after the tragedy—like CNN anchor John King reporting that the suspected bomber was a “darker-skinned” male with a “possible foreign accent.”
No publication sunk as low as the New York Post, which first falsely reported that a “Saudi national” was in custody for the bombings—and then ran a front cover with an image of two men and the headline “BAG MEN: Feds seek these two.” Those men were not the Tsarnaevs, and had nothing to do with the bombings. But because they had brown skin, the Post felt justified in painting a target on their backs.
The Post later claimed to stand by its story since it “did not identify [the two pictured men] as suspects.” Gawker.com’s Tom Scocca called that excuse “legalistic horseshit.”
Behind it all was the prejudices of the media—and the political establishment beyond them—about what gets called “terrorism”: acts of violence committed by people of Middle East origins who identify as Muslims.
It wasn’t long before the impact was felt. In New York City, on the night of the bombing, Abdullah Faruqu, a Bangladeshi man, was attacked by several men calling him a “fucking Arab.” Heba Abolaban, a young Palestinian doctor and mother, was assaulted in Malden, Mass., two days after the bombing, while walking with her children. Her assailant punched her in the shoulder and shouted, “Fuck you, Muslims!” and “You are involved in the Boston explosions.”
Once the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as suspects—and their background, including their emigration to the U.S. from Chechnya and their Muslim faith, came to light—the racist scapegoating really got underway.
Republicans led the baying for blood, of course. New York Rep. Steve King called for a new McCarthyism, telling the National Review that police must “realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there.” New York state Sen. Greg Ball advocated torturing Dzhokar Tsarnaev, writing, “Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?”
Full article

Don’t let them use fear to lock down our rights: How political establishment is trying to exploit the Boston bombings
April 22, 2013

The hunt for the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings is over, but the consequences will continue to be felt, affecting everything from the character of mainstream politics; to the scaremongering about “radical Islam,” both abroad and on U.S. soil; to the question of civil liberties and whether they should be violated if authorities decide there is a “terrorist threat.”

Three days after Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout and brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded and arrested hours later, we still don’t know the motives of the two suspects—whether, as the media implies, based on speculation, that their decision to inflict such terrible carnage was connected in their minds to their identity as Chechens or Muslims or both.

What we do know is that there will be a rush to score political points—and that rush will invariably come at the expense of our rights.

The Boston Marathon bombings were a sadistic attack, designed to maim, and targeted against people who bear no responsibility for the ills of society. But now those bombings are being used as a justification for furthering an agenda of violence and political repression.

It may not be popular to do so, but those who oppose war, racism and injustice need to speak up and question the rush to judge and scapegoat—and challenge those who will try to exploit the horror of the Boston bombings as an excuse to take away our rights.

All of the racist assumptions about “terrorism” that simmer below the surface in the U.S. media and political establishment came bubbling up in the past week.

In general, the media were initially hesitant to label the Boston bombings to be the work of Middle Eastern Islamic extremists. But there were exceptions even in the first days after the tragedy—like CNN anchor John King reporting that the suspected bomber was a “darker-skinned” male with a “possible foreign accent.”

No publication sunk as low as the New York Post, which first falsely reported that a “Saudi national” was in custody for the bombings—and then ran a front cover with an image of two men and the headline “BAG MEN: Feds seek these two.” Those men were not the Tsarnaevs, and had nothing to do with the bombings. But because they had brown skin, the Post felt justified in painting a target on their backs.

The Post later claimed to stand by its story since it “did not identify [the two pictured men] as suspects.” Gawker.com’s Tom Scocca called that excuse “legalistic horseshit.”

Behind it all was the prejudices of the media—and the political establishment beyond them—about what gets called “terrorism”: acts of violence committed by people of Middle East origins who identify as Muslims.

It wasn’t long before the impact was felt. In New York City, on the night of the bombing, Abdullah Faruqu, a Bangladeshi man, was attacked by several men calling him a “fucking Arab.” Heba Abolaban, a young Palestinian doctor and mother, was assaulted in Malden, Mass., two days after the bombing, while walking with her children. Her assailant punched her in the shoulder and shouted, “Fuck you, Muslims!” and “You are involved in the Boston explosions.”

Once the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as suspects—and their background, including their emigration to the U.S. from Chechnya and their Muslim faith, came to light—the racist scapegoating really got underway.

Republicans led the baying for blood, of course. New York Rep. Steve King called for a new McCarthyism, telling the National Review that police must “realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there.” New York state Sen. Greg Ball advocated torturing Dzhokar Tsarnaev, writing, “Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save more lives?”

Full article

Reporter asks White House if US airstrikes that kill Afghan civilians qualify as ‘terrorism’

Amina Ismail, a journalist at McClatchy: I send my deepest condolence to the victims and families in Boston. But President Obama said that what happened in Boston was an act of terrorism. I would like to ask, Do you consider the U.S. bombing on civilians in Afghanistan earlier this month that left 11 children and a woman killed a form of terrorism? Why or why not?

Jay Carney, White House press secretary: Well, I would have to know more about the incident and then obviously the Department of Defense would have answers to your questions on this matter. We have more than 60,000 U.S. troops involved in a war in Afghanistan, a war that began when the United States was attacked, in an attack that was organized on the soil of Afghanistan by al Qaeda, by Osama bin laden and others and more than 3,000 people were killed in that attack. And it has been the President’s objective once he took office to make clear what our goals are in Afghanistan and that is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda. And with that as our objective to provide enough assistance to Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan government to allow them to take over security for themselves. And that process is underway and the United States has withdrawn a substantial number of troops and we are in the process of drowning down further as we hand over security lead to Afghan forces. And it is certainly the case that I refer you to the defense department for details that we take great care in the prosecution of this war and we are very mindful of what our objectives are.

…in an attempt to completely dodge the original question. Just throw in the words “al Qaeda” & “terrorism” here & there, & you’ve got a White House response. 

Source

“This was a heinous and cowardly act, and given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.” - President Obama

CIA trains & spies for Syrian rebels – report
March 23, 2013

Some Syrian rebel groups get training and intelligence straight from CIA officers, US officials told media. The helping hand is meant to bolster the secular opposition against both governmental troops and Islamist forces.

The CIA’s increased involvement in Syria is part America’s greater engagement in the war-torn country, according to The Wall Street Journal. The spy agency has selected some small rebel units from the Free Syrian Army to receive combat training and fresh intel they can act upon, the newspaper says, citing unnamed US officials and rebel commanders.

The training is provided by the CIA, working together with British, French and Jordanian intelligence agencies. The rebels are taught to use various kinds of arms, including anti-tank weapons. They are also schooled in urban combat tactics and counterintelligence tactics. The experience will supposedly help them stand against the professional Syrian army, which scores victories against the armed opposition thanks to both more advanced weapons and better organization.

The rebels are also receiving fresh intelligence collected by the CIA, which they can act upon at short notice. The extent of the info provided remains in secret, but the US can potentially provide what they gather trough satellite and signal surveillance as well as intelligence coming through exchanges with Israeli and Jordanian agencies.

The CIA is said to keep this part of dealing with the rebels limited, withholding sensitive types of information, like the suspected locations of Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.

The US spy agency was previously working in Turkey vetting rebel groups for receiving arms shipments from Gulf monarchies. The effort aimed at preventing the weapons from being funneled to Islamists had mixed results, the WSJ says. The CIA also works with Iraqi counterterrorism units to counter the flow of Islamist militants across the border to Syria.

The White House has been reluctant to send combat-worthy equipment to Syrian rebels, despite calls inside the US and from Gulf and some European countries to do so. It is concerned that those would end up in the hand of the more powerful Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist force, the Nusra Front. Unlike arms, the intelligence from CIA is operationally useful for a short period of time and would not be traded for years to come, a US official explained.Washington’s concern over the growing influence of the Nusra Front was reiterated on Friday by President Barack Obama, as he was visiting Jordan as part of his Middle Eastern tour. 

“I am very concerned about Syria becoming an enclave for extremism because extremists thrive in chaos, they thrive in failed states, they thrive in power vacuums,” Obama said after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The Nusra Front is believed to be responsible for the bloodiest bombings in Syria over the past months. The latest such attack was the assassination of Mohammad Buti and influential Sunni preacher and supporter of the Syrian government. Buti was killed on Thursday along with some 50 others when a car bomb was detonated near a Damascus mosque.

The US is reportedly gathering intelligence on Nusra Front commanders and fighters for a possible campaign of targeted drone killing similar to those the CIA wages in Pakistan and Yemen and the Pentagon in Afghanistan.

Source

So this lobbyist (representing weapons/drones companies) testifying to the House Public Safety Committee explains honestly why his group is putting money into making sure that drones are allowed:

My name is Paul Applewhite; I’m on the board of directors for the Pacific chapter of the Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International…in the Pacific Northwest we represent about 80 companies, 1,400 employees, about 120 million dollars in taxable revenue…the backlash against unmanned vehicles has just caused the city of Seattle to cancel their unmanned systems. Back in May of 2012, you had Ian Stawicki who ran around and killed 5 people. The longer this man was running around the city of Seattle, the more people he was killing…why are we denying ourselves this great technology that is now available?



But now every time you pull this out you have to DOCUMENT IT, which to me discourages the use of it. We give every one of our law enforcement officers lethal force on their hip. We’re saying, give them the judgment to be able to pull this thing out and use it, up to and including lethal force. Why is this technology so much different? 

So, it’s really come to this already. Lobbyists transparently, openly, unapologetically calling to use drone technology to kill Americans on U.S. soil - not that it is any worse or more significant than killing U.S. citizens who are out-of-the-country, like American citizen Anwar Awlaki and his 16-year-old Abdulrahman Awlaki (neither of whom had a history of violence, at all) both of whom were killed by the U.S. without being charged with any crime and without any form of due-process.

But still, that this sort of discourse is now the status-quo, and is now being aggressively pursued by billion-dollar special interests publicly is terrifyingly.