The NYPD has spent years building an enormous spying operation aimed at Muslim Americans all across the country. They pay people to read editorials written by Muslim. They pay people to attend Muslim events--even rafting trips--and to surveil pretty much every Muslim everywhere.
A couple problems with this:
1. Spying on people who haven't done anything wrong is not the police's job. At all.
2. Even if it was, we have the FBI, NSA, ATF, and two dozen other agencies whose job it actually is to watch out for domestic problems.
3. This is an enormous waste of resources. Especially during a recession.
4. Muslims are less-likely than other homegrown American terrorist groups--like say Sovereign Citizens, Christian Fundamentalists, or Anti-Choice Activists--to engage in terrorism. Yet the cops are not watching them.
This is just appalling on every level. Has the incredible scrutiny the NYPD have put on Muslim Americans resulted in any arrests? No. No it hasn't.
NYPD spying program aimed at Muslims - Salon.com
The hallmark of a Surveillance State is that police agencies secretly monitor and keep dossiers on not only those individuals suspected of lawbreaking, but on the society generally, including those individuals about whom there is no suspicion of wrongdoing. For the past year, the Associated Press has systematically exposed how the New York Police Department, often working in conjunction with the CIA, engaged in a sprawling spying campaign aimed at Muslim individuals, students, institutions and mosques in the United States, all without a whiff of any suspected wrongdoing. Yesterday, the four AP investigative reporters who have exposed this program won a well-deserved Polk Award for their “investigation that showed the NYPD had built one of the largest domestic intelligence agencies in the country.” In particular, the “reporters documented how the NYPD assigned ‘rakers’ and ‘mosque crawlers’ to ethnic neighborhoods, infiltrating everything from booksellers and cafes to Muslim places of worship.”
On Monday, AP detailed how the NYPD spied on numerous Muslim students and their campus organizations. In particular, “police trawled daily through student websites run by Muslim student groups at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers and 13 other colleges in the Northeast” and “talked with local authorities about professors in Buffalo and even sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students’ names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.” The dossiers noted the names of Muslim student leaders and even stored emails sent and received by some of them. All this, even though the “documents mention no wrongdoing by any students.”
Today, AP released a newly obtained report by the NYPD from 2007 about the Muslim community in Newark, New Jersey — both Middle Eastern and African-American in origin — prompting one of the AP reporters, Matt Apuzzo, to ask on Twitter: “If NYPD can write docs like this outside its jurisdiction, where cant they go? Post-9/11, is NYPD a nat’l police force?” As AP reported today about this newly released dossier: “Americans living and working in New Jersey’s largest city were subjected to surveillance as part of the New York Police Department’s effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray.” The report was produced as part of a surveillance campaign whereby “plainclothes officers from the NYPD’s Demographics Units fanned out across Newark, taking pictures and eavesdropping on conversations inside businesses owned or frequented by Muslims.” Yet again, “the report cited no evidence of terrorism or criminal behavior,” but was meant to instead be “a guide to Newark’s Muslims.”
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