Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Myanmar Muslims Suffering Amid Media Blackout

Kourosh Ziabari writes:

As the Muslims around the world cheerfully get prepared for the holy month of Ramadan, the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are painfully subject to the barbaric and appalling atrocities of the extremist Buddhists, finding their life in a constant state of trepidation and suffering.
Branded by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities of the world, Rohingyas are a group of Muslims living in the Rakhine State, located in west of Myanmar. With a population of 3 million, Rakhine state is bordered by the Bay of Bengal to the west and the majority of its residents are Theravada Buddhists and Hindus.The suppression of the Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan region dates back to the World War II. On March 28, 1942, about 5,000 Rohingya Muslims were brutally massacred by the Rakhine nationalists in the Minbya and Mrohaung Townships. After that, the Muslims of the region were frequently subject to harassment by the Burmese government which has so far refused to grant them official citizenship. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, this lack of full citizenship rights means that the Rohingyas should tolerate other abuses, including restrictions on their freedom of movement, discriminatory limitations on access to education, and arbitrary confiscation of property.
It's said that as a result of dire living conditions and discriminatory treatment by the government, some 300,000 Rohingyas have so far immigrated to Bangladesh and 24,000 of them also escaped to Malaysia in search of a better life. Many of them have also fled to Thailand, but neither Bangladesh nor Thailand has received them warmly. Bangladesh is negotiating with the Burmese government to return the Rohingyas and Thailand has sporadically rejected the hopeless immigrants. There have been instances where boats of Rohingyas reaching Thailand have been towed out to sea and allowed to sink, sparking international anger among Muslims and non-Muslims.
Human Rights Watch says the government authorities continue to require Rohingya Muslims to perform forced labor. According to the HRW, those who refuse or complain are physically threatened, sometimes with death, and children as young as seven years old have been seen on forced labor teams.
Writing for The Egyptian Gazette, University of Waterloo professor Dr. Mohamed Elmasry has enumerated the different hardships the Rohingya Muslims have historically undergone. He writes that they are subjected to various forms of extortion and arbitrary taxation, land confiscation, forced eviction and house destruction and financial restrictions on marriage. Rohingyas continue to be used as forced laborers on roads and at military camps.
The Myanmar government's mistreatment of the Rohingyas, however, has long been contested and protested by international organizations. For several years, human rights activists have decried the arbitrary measures leveled against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by the government and the extremist Buddhists. In May 2009, Elaine Pearson, the Human Rights Watch's deputy Asia director issued a statement in protest at the deteriorating conditions of the Rohingya Muslims, calling on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to press the Burmese government to end its brutal practices, "the treatment of the Rohingya in Burma is deplorable - the Burmese government doesn't just deny Rohingya their basic rights, it denies they are even Burmese citizens.”
Now, the conflict has escalated in the Rakhine State again and the Muslims are once more experiencing difficult days as the black shadow of violence and unrest has just cast over their already trembling lives. It was on the reports that 10 Rohingya Muslims were killed by a mob of 300 Rakhines while on their way back from the country's former capital Rangoon. According to a group of UK-based NGOs, 650 Rohingyas were massacred from June 10 to 28. The United Nations estimates that between 50,000 and 90,000 Rohingyas were displaced since the eruption of violence in the Asian nation. However, due to the absence of independent reporters and monitors in the country, it's impossible to verify the exact number of those who have been displaced. It's also reported that some 9,000 homes belonging to the Muslims in the western state of Rakhine were destroyed. On July 20, the Amnesty International called the recent attacks against minority Rohingyas and other Muslims in Myanmar a "step back" in the country's recent progress on human rights, citing increased violence and unlawful arrests following a state of emergency declared six weeks ago.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has voiced its concern over the recent violence in the state of Rakhine and the varying reports which have leaked out as to the number of the Muslims killed. As reported by the TimeTurk News Agency, over 1,000 Rohingya Muslims have been murdered thus far in the conflicts that broke out in the region.
The mainstream media in the West have been largely silent about the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar and the ordeal that has befallen them. They have found other interesting topics to give coverage to, and as always, bigotry against Muslims hardly moves them.
Along with the media, the Western governments have also blatantly turned a blind eye to the heartrending anguish and suffering of the Rohingya Muslims. Even renowned Burmese political activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi who has been released from house arrest and was just invited to Norway to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech 21 years after being awarded the prize preferred not to speak a single word about the unspeakable affliction of her fellow citizens.

The Buenos Aires Bombing Is A False Indicator On Burgas

Gareth Porter writes:

Immediately after the terror bombing of a busload of Israeli youth in Burgas, Bulgaria, both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a “senior U.S. official” expressed certainty about Iran’s responsibility. Since then, the White House has backed away from that position, after Bulgarian investigatorswarned against that assumption before the investigation is complete.
Similary, it is generally assumed that Iran and Hezbollah were responsible for the terrorist bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, because US and Israeli officials, journalists and commentators have repeated that conclusion so often. It was the first reference made by those who were most eager to blame the Burgas bombing on Iran, such as Matthew Levitt and Jeffrey Goldberg.
But that terrorist bombing 18 years ago was not what it has come to appear by the constant drip of unsubstantiated journalistic and political references to it. The identification of that bombing as an Iranian operation should be regarded as a cautionary tale about the consequences of politics determining the results of a terrorist investigation.
The case made by the Argentine prosecutors that Iran and Hezbollah committed that 1994 terrorist bombing has long been cited as evidence that Iran is the world’s premier terrorist state.
But the Argentine case was fraudulent in its origins and produced a trail of false evidence in service of a frame-up. There is every reason to believe that the entire Argentine investigation was essentially a cover-up that protected the real perpetrators.
That is what I learned from my ten-month investigation in 2006-07 of the case, the results of which were published in early 2008.
William Brencick, who was then chief of the political section at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires and the primary Embassy contact for the investigation of the AMIA bombing, told me in an interview in June 2007 that the US conviction about Iranian culpability was based on what he called a “wall of assumptions” — a wall that obstructed an objective analysis of the case. The first assumption was that it was a suicide bombing, and that such an operation pointed to Hezbollah, and therefore Iran.
But the evidence produced to support that assumption was highly suspect. Of 200 initial eyewitnesses to the bombing, only one claimed to have seen the white Renault van that was supposed to have been the suicide car. And the testimony of that lone witness was contradicted by her sister, who said that she had seen only a black and yellow taxicab.
That is only the first of many indications that the official version of how the bombing went down was a tissue of lies. For example:
  • The US explosives expert sent soon after the bombing to analyze the crime scene found evidence suggesting that at least some of the explosives had been placed inside the community center, not in a car outside.
  • The engine block of the alleged suicide car which Police said led them to the arrest of the Shi’a used car salesman and chop shop owner who sold the car, was supposedly found in the rubble with its identification number clearly visible — something any serious bombing team, including Hezbollah, would have erased, unless it was intentionally left to lead to the desired result.
  • Representatives of the Menem government twice offered large bribes to the used car dealer in custody to get him to finger others, including three police officials linked to a political rival of Menem. The judge whose bribe was videotaped and shown on Argentine television was eventually impeached.
Apart from an Argentine investigation that led down a false trail, there were serious problems with the motives attributed to Iran and Hezbollah for killing large numbers of Jewish citizens of Argentina. The official explanation was that Iran was taking revenge on the Menem government for having reneged, under pressure from the Clinton administration, on its agreements with Iran on nuclear cooperation.
But in fact, Argentina had only halted two of the three agreements reached in 1987 and 1988, as was revealed, ironically, in documents cited by the Argentine prosecutor’s report on the arrest warrant for Iranian officials dated October 2006 (unfortunately never made available in electronic form). The documents showed that the Menem government was continuing to send 20 percent enriched uranium to Iran under the third agreement, and there were negotiations continuing both before and after the bombing to resume full nuclear cooperation.
As for Hezbollah, it was generally assumed that it wanted to avenge the Israeli killing of its “ally” Mustafa Dirani in May 1994. But when Hezbollah really wanted to take revenge against Israel, as it did after the Israeli massacre in Qana in 1996, it did not target civilians in a distant country with no relationship to the conflict with Israel; it openly attacked Israel with Katyusha rockets.
It is not clear yet who committed the latest terrorist bombing against Jewish civilians in Burgas, Bulgaria. But the sorry history of that Buenos Aires investigation should not be used to draw a premature conclusion about this matter or any other terrorist action.
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book,Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006. Read other articles by Gareth.

Via: "Dissident Voice"

Deep State and MI5

Annie Machon: ex-MI-5 whistle-blower, activist and author joins Jack Etkin for an elucidating and revealing look at 'Deep State' and high-level national and international intelligence and security methodologies.

Annie covers subjects such as false-flag/black operations, the MI-5's botched attempt on Gaddafi's life, the London Tube bombing (7/7), 9/11 and others.

This penetrating and articulate interview is a must see.

© 2009 Lazarus Productions

Obama "Shooting People Evil, Senseless, Beyond Reason"

Jay Johnson writes:

While reading the Text of Obama Statement on Shootings in Colorado - Associated Press 7/20/2012, one line struck this writer as quite astounding: 

"We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It's beyond reason."

The President may have realized afterward that since he has been ordering the shooting of thousands in a half-dozen countries, the words "evil, senseless, beyond reason" could easily reflect back on himself. A later Obama statement on the massacre in a Colorado movie house did not contain the words 'evil, senseless, violence beyond reason.'

In any case, history books, in some future, probably not to distant, day will deplore Obama's pathetic 9/11 excuse for increasing and extending a ten year old military occupation war in dirt poor Afghanistan, killing, and killing easily, young and old Afghani, who are fighting invaders of their nation as they have always done. And perhaps one day independent investigative journalism will reveal whose instructions Obama was following from within that "financial element" that FDR confided "has owned the government since the days of Andrew Jackson. "*

Historians will denounce his shameful exceeding of his executive powers under the Constitution, to have assassinated even American citizens without trial, and ridicule the pack of lies he offered in sick defense of his frightening Hellfire and Predator drones murdering intentionally and collaterally while menacing all citizens in some of the most poverty-stricken populations on earth. Historians will judge his character by his once infamous joking about using a drone on his daughters boyfriends- "they'll never know what hit them."**

Very possibly, scholars will chronicle a time when Americans were no longer kept in ignorance by a commercial media blackout of the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.' life, when King called his country " the greatest purveyor of violence in the world " and condemned US wars as all meant to maintain "unjust overseas predatory investments."*** Such a time might well arrive in the racing era of instant world-wide personal communication while Barack Obama is still alive and prosecutable for crimes against humanity, or in his own words of 2012, 'for violent, evil, senseless and beyond reason, terrorizing fellow human beings." - With the record of his words Obama would have difficulty pleading insanity.

Jay Janson peoples historian activist, musician and writer, who has lived and worked on all the continents and whose articles on media have been published in China, Italy, England and the US, and now resides in New York City.


Franklin D. Roosevelt, Wikipedia 

** listen or read: King's April 1967 New York sermon: Beyond Vietnam - a Time to Break Silence
or see International Awareness Campaign  


Just hours after the attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Ehud Barak were quick to announce that Iran and the Hezbollah were behind the attack. In fact, it didn’t take the Israeli PM more than two hours to blame another country for committing an act of war on Israeli citizens in a third country’s territory. Of course, Netanyahu didn’t provide any evidence to support his thesis. In fact, even today, three days after the attack, no clear leads suggesting any Iranian or Hezbollah's connection are available.
What was it then that made Netanyahu so determined? Is it because he himself was privy to the knowledge that Israeli agents have been murdering Iranian scientists for years? Did Netanyahu react the way he did because he thought to himself that considering Mossad’s assassinations in Tehran, Israel may well have brought on itself an Iranian retaliation? Was Bibi projecting?
I obviously do not have access to Netanyahu or Barak’s minds, but Israel has certainly by now made it clear that its desperation to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, even if such an attack would escalate into a global nuclear conflict. In order to grasp such morbidity we have to bear in mind that collective self-annihilation is inherent to Israeli culture. As it happens, the story of Masada and Samson, both heroic suicidal narratives, are cherished in Israel. Yet, as much as Netanyahu and Barak are keen to launch a world war, it is far from being clear whether the Israeli masses are quite as keen to sacrifice themselves on the Jewish national altar.
I guess that both Barak and Netanyahu’s rush to blame Iran must be seen as an indication of their clear eagerness to attack the country. By now, the two Israeli leaders have managed to rid themselves of any significant voices against such an attack. The former head of Mossad Meir Dagan and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Askenazi, both of whom opposed military action against Iran, are now excluded from any decision-making process. Veteran Major-General Shaul Mofaz, the leader of the Kadima party, who also opposed an attack on Iran, left Netanyahu’s coalition last week. It seems as if no one within the Israeli cabinet is there to stop Barak and Netanyahu’s genocidal enthusiasms.
Furthermore, from an Israeli military perspective the current chaos in Syria is interpreted as a ‘window of opportunity’. Israeli generals assume that Assad’s regime, fighting for its survival, would refrain from joining any attack on Iran. Also Israelis believe that without Syria’s backing, Hezbollah also would stay out of it. In Israeli military terms, this means that the north of Israel is in no imminent danger of Hezbollah’s medium and short range missiles - at least for the time being.
The Israelis are, as usual, deluded. For some peculiar reason, they fail to grasp the possible devastating consequences of such a conflict. Barak, for instance, commented ‘optimistically’ last week that a clash with Iran may ‘cost the lives of up to 500 Israelis.’ First, it is interesting to learn about the ease in which an Israeli Defence Minister is happy to sacrifice 500 of his people. Second, it is far from being clear on what Barak’s estimate is based. Considering the common assumptions that Iran would retaliate immediately launching a first wave of more than 1500 missiles in the direction of Tel Aviv, Barak must believe that each Iranian rocket is capable of destroying no more than one third of an Israeli. Barak is indeed an optimist.
It is also far from being clear whether Israel possesses the military capacity to hit Iran and imperil its nuclear project. Earlier this year, American analysts suggested that the Israeli Air Force doesn’t posses the necessary might to attack Iran. For example, it lacks the airborne re-fuelling capacity needed to dismantle the Iranian nuclear project. It is also far from being clear whether Israel would attack Iran without an American green light and it is widely accepted that it is more than unlikely that Obama would provide such an approval ahead of the American election.
I guess the meaning of it all is pretty simple: whether Israel attacks Iran is obviously an open question. However, we have a clear indication that the Israeli leadership is more than keen to do so. Barak and Netanyahu are begging for a pretext to launch a global conflict. The meaning of it is totally is clear - the Jewish state and its pro-war lobbies are the ultimate threat to world peace. This threat must be taken care of immediately.

Surviving Progress

Documentary telling the double-edged story of the grave risks we pose to our own survival in the name of progress.

With rich imagery the film connects financial collapse, growing inequality and global oligarchy with the sustainability of mankind itself.

The film explores how we are repeatedly destroyed by 'progress traps' - alluring technologies which serve immediate need but rob us of our long term future.

Featuring contributions from those at the forefront of evolutionary thinking such as Stephen Hawking and economic historian Michael Hudson.

With Martin Scorsese as executive producer, the film leaves us with a challenge - to prove that civilisation and survival is not the biggest progress trap of them all.





Monday, July 30, 2012

The Rise Of Non-Muslim Terror Acts In The US

17,000 “Islamic Terrorist” Attacks Exist Only In Fevered Islamophobic Brains

Sheila Musaji writes:

Robert Spencer objects to an MSNBC News Report by Michael Isikoff which discussed an increase in right-wing attacks over the past several years.  Spencer claims In this one, Isikoff claims that there has been a “surge” of “right wing attacks” in the last couple of years—since Obama has been president (racism implication noted). This is sheer Leftist fantasy; meanwhile, Isikoff and NBC completely ignore the very real and readily documented surge in jihad plots in the U.S. over the last two years.

Of course, any recognition that we face a serious problem from EXTREMISTS no matter what their ideological or religious underpinnings is an argument that Spencer must attempt to refute because it gets in the way of his paranoid delusion that all or most terrorists are Muslims.

In a number of recent articles we can clearly see Spencer (and the rest of his Islamophobic cohorts who endlessly repeat each others anti-Muslim memes) newest meme.  Spencer makes the claim (as have others) that there have been 17,000+ Islamic jihad terror attacks since 9/11.  (He provides a link to a http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/).  Spencer then says:  Two non-Muslim terrorists: Tim McVeigh and, sixteen years later, Anders Breivik. And Scott Shane suggests that the “focus of counterterrorism efforts” should be shifted from Islamic jihadists to “the subculture of anti-Muslim bloggers and right-wing activists.”

Spencer also posted what he calls a “demonization roundup” in which he once again brings up this fake number of 17,000 Muslim terrorist attacks, but this time has upped his non-Muslim number to 4 -That’s four white male terrorists, versus 17,000+ jihad terror attacks since 9/11 committed by Muslim males (many of whom were white, by the way) and a handful of females. To the LA Times, the existence of those four is sufficient to refute the commonsensical call for the TSA to address the actual source of its troubles and reason for its existence.

Lies upon lies.  No matter how you define terrorism - Breivik and McVeigh are certainly not the only non-Muslim terrorists.  If this is the extent of Spencer’s research abilities, then any claims he makes to being a serious scholar of anything are pretty much undermined.

Spencer could go to legitimate sources to obtain factual information from which to make an informed decision about extremist and terrorist threats.

As Stephen Walt notes ... according to the EU’s 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, the total number of terrorist incidents in Europe declined in 2009. Even more important, the overwhelming majority of these incidents had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.  The report is produced by Europol, which is the criminal intelligence agency of the European Union. In 2009, there were fewer than 300 terrorist incidents in Europe, a 33 percent decline from the previous year. The vast majority of these incidents (237 out of 294) were conducted by indigenous European separatist groups, with another forty or so attributed to leftists and/or anarchists. According to the report, a grand total of one (1) attack was conducted by Islamists. Put differently, Islamist groups were responsible for a whopping 0.34 percent of all terrorist incidents in Europe in 2009. In addition, the report notes, “the number of arrests relating to Islamist terrorism (110) decreased by 41 percent compared to 2008, which continues the trend of a steady decrease since 2006.”

Spencer could go to http://www.fbi.gov/ which is the site of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, you can access a great deal of information about terrorism in the U.S.  You can check out the FBI’s most wanted domestic terrorists.  There are 7 listed right now, and none seem to be Muslims.  You can check out their Domestic Terrorism In the Post-9/11 Era report.

Spencer could check out numerous existing reports and surveys about terrorism, radicalization, and strategies to counter these that have been produced by respected governmental and academic organizations that clearly paint a very different picture of the facts.  Spencer could check out the ADL or SPLC data bases on terrorism and extremism. 

Spencer could check out our TAM collection of information on the topic titled Claim that all terrorists are Muslims ignores history.  Spencer could check out Danios of Loonwatch [url=http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/annual-report-zero-civilians-in-u.s.-killed-by-islamic-terrorism8230-just-l2011 Annual Report: Zero Civilians in U.S. Killed by Islamic Terrorism… Just Like Every Year Since 9/11[/url]

Spencer could - but facts get in the way of propaganda.  Robert Spencer cites a rabidly anti-Muslim site called the Religion of Peace as the source for his number of 17,000 terrorist attacks worldwide since 9/11.  That would be somewhat like citing a KKK or White Supremacist site for their information about Jews or African-Americans.  This site lists acts commited around the world - some in wars, some having nothing to do with Islam, but to do with nationalist or political struggles, some in civil wars.  No links are given.  No sources for any of this just a list of supposed attacks carried out by “Islamic terrorists”.  All of my suggestions for Spencer to check out contain lots of links and sources.

The Religion of Peace is run by Daniel Greenfield aka Sultan Knish about whom we have a backgrounder here.  Here is some information on Greenfield from that article
Farha Khaled wrote in an article about the connections between many of the anti-Muslim bloggers:
One such blog is the rabidly anti Palestinian and Islam hating blog ‘Sultan Knish‘ run byDaniel Greenfield an Israeli sabra living in New York, who is a fellow at the David HorowitzFreedom Centre the same organisation that sponsors Jihad Watch.  Daniel is obsessed with a pathological hatred for Muslims and a delusion that the US military exists to carry out his fantasy of a war on Islam

Daniel’s postings regularly dehumanise Muslims, and are filled with anti Islam screeds which he fabricates on whim, not unlike Ned May.  He also has a Torah Parsha blog and this video shows him in a debate about New Media. In a common theme amongst neo cons, Daniel complains there is a plot to destroy the US military by Obama.  In one blog post ‘Winning the War on Terror‘ he suggests genocide:
‘We would have to be willing to kill millions, directly or indirectly, while maintaining an alliance that would defy Russia, China and the First World nations that would accuse us of genocide. The real name for this war might well turn out to be World War III. It would take a Churchill or a Roosevelt to launch something like that, and while the world would be radically different afterward, it might well turn out to be radioactively different too.’
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported that
FrontPage Magazine’s Daniel Greenfield reacted with total hysteria today to a report on anti-Muslim activists, “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in the United States,” that was released by the Center for American Progress (CAP) last week. Greenfield alleges that the report, which named FrontPage Magazine and its head David Horowitz as key players in fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S., is part of an anti-Semitic conspiracy.

“If Americans view Islam badly, it can only be because a handful of Jewish experts financed by other rich Jews brainwashed them into it,” Greenfield writes, falsely implying that the CAP report makes the argument that the Jewish community writ large is maligning Muslims in the U.S. Rather, CAP’s report profiles a small handful of activists, some Jewish and some not, who have worked to demonize the Muslim community.

Greenfield actually compares CAP’s work directly to major anti-Semites deserving of condemnation, writing, “When Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad blamed Jewish influence for the poor image of Muslims in the West, he was widely condemned for it.” And he doesn’t stop with one example. He further analogizes CAPs report to various major instances of anti-Semitism over the centuries. “England’s first socialist party blamed the Boer War on the Jews. Henry Ford claimed the Jews were behind WWI. Charles Lindbergh delivered speeches accusing the Jewish lobby of stirring up war against Germany,” writes Greenfield.

He even analogizes the report to the anti-Semitic violence of the Nazis, particularly on Kristallnacht: “In the dark days of the Twentieth Century, while Jewish storeowners were sweeping up broken glass, and Jewish children were being assaulted on the streets of Europe – the appeasers were blaming the Jewish lobby for growing tensions in Europe. Now as Jewish storeowners sweep up broken glass after leftist pro-Muslim attacks on their stores and Jewish children are attacked again on the streets of Europe – growing tensions with the Muslim world are once again blamed on the Jewish Lobby.”

Greenfield’s conclusion: “The Center for American Progress is guilty of repeating a sinister history” and “blaming Jews for Islamophobia.” Greenfield says CAP’s researchers have done “the work of the jihadists and have thus also become part of the problem.”

In his Web posting, Greenfield takes a cheap shot at the report’s co-author, Faiz Shakir, of whom he says that if he “really wanted to understand why his religion is viewed negatively by so many Americans,” Shakir should “stand at Ground Zero, the graveyard of thousands murdered by holy warriors invoking the Koran … walk through Times Square, where a fellow Pakistani plotted to detonate a car bomb, or … visit the small towns where every few weeks a body is lowered into the ground courtesy of a Muslim terrorist.”
Garibaldi at Loonwatch has more on the source for this spurious numberTheReligionOfPeace.com: Working to Streamline the American Empire’s “War on Terror”.  Read the full article for details about the many items of false or misrepresented information.  In that article he says:
The clear visual intent of this “Islamic terrorism ticker” is to provoke an emotive fear and anxiety of a global, monolithic, totalitarian Islam (read: Muslims), that is waging terror everywhere through thousands upon thousands of unmitigated and random attacks. On TROP the “terror ticker” serves as ammunition for the site’s stated missionary proposition of portraying “Islam” as “the world’s worst religion.” It also aids in the attempt to tie terrorism to Islam.

Even a cursory glance at TROP’s list of so-called “Islamic terrorist attacks” reveals it to be nothing more than a deeply biased, propagandistic spin-job that conflates:  real terrorist attacks, (semi)religious/culturally motivated crimes, attacks on military personnel and attacks by secular groups with no ideological basis in Islam — all in theaters of occupation, civil war and separatist conflict.
Spencer is entering this most recent meme into the anti-Muslim blogsphere, and it will be repeated by all the other Islamophobes, and they will quote each other as “experts” who agree with this number.  And, voila, another lie will become just one more “fact” that everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims.

The Islamophobes regularly make such statements about the only danger being “Islamic terrorists” and then when faced with any evidence to counter their claims respond with the same tired arguments over and over - McVeigh is the exception that proves the rule, these Islamic supremacists will make the most out of this one Huttaree case, of course there is no moral equivalence as their terrorism is more dangerous, etc.

The truth is that the list of non-Muslim individuals and groups involved in extremist or terrorist acts is extensive.  There are hundreds of exceptions that prove the rule.  We know that Europol says that most terrorism in Europe is carried out by non-Muslims.  The same is true in the United States.  Attempting to focus only on one possible source of terrorism and excluding the others shows nothing except Islamophobic bigotry, and it makes none of us safer.

Here are just a few terrorist incidents that have taken place right here in the United States since 2000 that involve non-Muslims:
2000 to 2012
- Jim D. Adkisson opened fire in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville TN killing two and injuring seven (a note found in his SUV indicated this was intended as a suicide attack and said the church was apparently targeted because of its support of liberal social policies),
- Alabama Free Militia, five members of anti-immigration militia were arrested for planning a machine gun attack on Mexicans.  During raids by federal agents, authorities seized 130 hand grenades, two machine guns and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition
- Chad Altman and Sergio Baca were arrested for the arson of Dr. Curtis Boyd’s clinic in Albuquerque NM
- The Animal Liberation Front targeted a UCLA professor with a firebomb due to her research on animals,
- Samuel Arrington was arrested for a series of 55 arson fires across Los Angeles.
- Daniel L. Barefoot, Sharon Renee Barefoot, Jonathan A. Avery, Jonathan Maynard, Marvin G. Gautier and Rossie Lynwood Strickland , six members of the Nation’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan pleaded guilty to a variety of weapons and conspiracy charges in connection with an illegal gun trading scheme in the early 2000s to finance a plan to blow up the Johnston County, North Carolina, courthouse.
- Philip Bay planned a massacre of fellow Virginia Beach students
- John Patrick Bedell, an anti-government extremist walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.
Birmingham militia anti-immigrant plot.  Five members of a self styled Birmingham, Alabama area anti-immigration militia were arrested for planning a machine gun attack on Mexicans.  2007
- Tyler Brehm went on a shooting rampage in Hollywood, CA and was killed by police
- Anders Breivik (Norway) massacre at Utoya Youth Camp
- Kody Brittingham, a Marine is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.
- Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many others at Virginia Tech before committing suicide,
-  Brian Church, Jared Chase,  and, Brent Vincent Betterly, self-described anarchists, were arrested in Chicago in apparent plot to bomb Obama headquarters, and the mayor’s home ** Charged with conspiring to commit domestic terrorism **
- Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman, two white power skinheads plot to target an African American High School and kill 88 blacks and decapitate 14 more (the numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic to white supremacists) and although expecting to fail try to assassinate Barack Obama,
- Cody Crawford arrested for firebombing the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Mosque in Corvallis, Oregon.  He called himself a “Christian warrior”.
- Demetrius Van Crocker a white supremacist from rural TN attempted to acquire Sarin nerve gas and C-4 explosives that he planned to use to destroy government buildings,
- James Cummings dirty bomb plot, Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear “dirty bomb” in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.
- Matthew L. Derosia rammed a SUV into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota
- John Earl, a Catholic priest drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic and pulled out an ax before being shot at by a security guard,
- Earth Liberation Front members plead guilty to burning The Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington.
- Paul Ross Evans left a package at a women’s health clinic in Austin, Texas containing an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death. A bomb squad detonated the device after evacuating the building. Paul Ross Evans (who had a criminal record for armed robbery and theft) was found guilty of the crime
-  Marcus Faella,  Christopher Brooks, Richard Stockdale, Kent McLellan, Patricia Faella, Jennifer McGowan, Mark McGowan, Diane Stevens, Paul Jackson, and Dustin Perry, arrested in Florida.  Members of a neo-Nazi organization known as the American Front 17 which is considered a domestic terrorism group.  Arrested for “planning and preparing the AF for what he believes to be an inevitable race war” and had stated “his intent ... to kill Jews, immigrants and other minorities.”  **
Leo Felton and Erica Chase bomb plot against Jewish and African-American targets.
-  David Anthony Fuselier and 4 other members of the American Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan were convicted in federal court in Louisiana on conspiracy and intimidation charges for burning a cross at the residence of three African-American men in Longville, Louisiana. The five men, who all pleaded guilty, had burned the cross in an attempt to coerce the victims into leaving the community
- One Goh opened fire at a Christian college in California, killing at least seven people and wounding three
Robert Goldstein planned to blow up 50 mosques in Florida, and [2]
- Anthony Graziano arrested for the firebombing of a Rutherford synagogue, Congregation Beth El, and the home of Rabbi Nossom Schuman and his family earlier this month.
-  Matt Hale of the World Church of the Creator was convicted in 2004 of soliciting the murder of Chicago federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow
-  Jeffrey Harbin who has ties to the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) and was formerly a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, arrested for transporting 12 grenade-like improvised explosive devices.
- Kevin William Hardham has been charged with illegal possession of an explosive device and attempting to use a “weapon of mass destruction,”  after leaving a backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane, Wash
- Robert Hawkins went on a shooting spree in an Omaha, Nebraska mall killing 8 and injuring 5 innocent people
-  Christopher Hecker was arrested and charged with making death threats against the president and threatened to bomb the White House, hotels and other places, including Philadelphia City Hall and the site of the former World Trade Center.  **
- Lucas John Helder rigged pipe bombs in private mailboxes to explode when the boxes were opened, He injured 6 people in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and Iowa. His motivation was to garner media attention so that he could spread a message denouncing government control over daily lives and the illegality of marijuana.
- Rev. Neal Horsley arrested in Atlanta for terrorism against gays & lesbians for advocating the murder of Elton John, and who advocates that gays should be hunted down and killed.  2010 **
-  James Holmes burst into the emergency exit door of a theater and shot 71 people, killing 12, at a midnight premiere of the new Batman movie in Colorado **
-  Darren Wesley Huff was convicted of transporting firearms across state lines with the intent to cause a civil disorder.  Huff intended to arrest public officials pursuant to “citizens arrest warrants,” which were directed at numerous local, state, and federal public officials, including sheriffs, police chiefs, and President Obama. When arrested Huff carried in his vehicle a .45 caliber handgun and an AK-47 with ammunition. He told people that day that he had 300-400 rounds of ammunition with the AK-47 **
- Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Shreveport, LA,
- David Hull, Pennsylvania Klan leader was convicted of a variety of illegal weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to use hand grenades to attack abortion clinics; he also allegedly told an informant that he had turned his car into a “suicide bomb on wheels.”
- Hutaree “Christian warrior” militia.  Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.
- An Idaho Mountain Militia Boys plot to kill a judge an a police officer and break a friend out of jail is uncovered,
- Vadim Ignatov shooting attack on Muslim home in Oregon
- Bruce Ivins anthrax attacks kill five across the U.S. with politicians and media officials as the apparent targets,
- JDL plot by Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel to blow up the King Fahd Mosque and the office of Congressman Darrell Issa in CA foiled,
-  Samuel James Johnson was one of two people arrested that federal investigators say were white supremacists who had plans to attack. Specific details on the plot have not been released but what we do know is it included a number of guns and the intent to hurt government workers and minorities.  The FBI says at some point, Johnson formed his own white supremacist group and was planning to recruit others in an attack against the government and minorities. He’s a former leader and member of the National Socialist Movement – a white supremacist group. **
- Jerry and Joe Kane, two “sovereign citizens” gunned down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.
- Anarchist Joseph Konopka was found in possession of deadly amounts of sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide
- William Krar is charged for his part in the Tyler poison gas plot, a white supremacist related plan, his weapons cache included a half a million rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers, and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases.
- T.J. Lane, a student opened fire in a cafeteria at Chardon High School in Ohio, killing three students and injuring two others before he was arrested.
- John Francis Lechner arrested after ATF agents found 4,100 pounds of explosives, 2,000 feet of detonating cord and dozens of blasting caps at three locations.
- James J. Lee wearing explosives and carrying a gun took hostages at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland before being killed by police. He was protesting the channel’s “anti environmental” message and programming encouraging birth of humans who he called filthy
- Ray Lazier Lengend, a 40-year-old of Guyanese descent has been arrested on five counts of criminal possession of a weapon, five counts of arson one considered a hate crime for a series of molotov coctail firebombings in NYC (including a mosque).
- Ryan Daniel Lewis was convicted of arson in a number of incidents on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front in CA
- Thomas Hayward Lewis, a white power skinhead arrested in Mobile Alabama for vandalism and cache of explosives found in his home
- Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged mass murderer who shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona at a political gathering
- Donny Love, Sr. has been indicted for his alleged role in bombing of the federal courthouse in downtown San Diego.  Multiple nail-laden pipe bombs exploded at a Federal Courthouse in San Diego causing “considerable damage” to the entrance and lobby and sending shrapnel two blocks away. The F.B.I. is investigating links between this attack and an April 25 explosion at the FedEx building also in San Diego
- Keith Luke went on shooting spree in MA to kill as many non whites and Jews as possible,
- Dennis & Daniel Mahon send mail bombs to a diversity office in Scottsdale AZ that injure three,
- Alberto Martinez - two officers were killed at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq by a deliberately placed mine,  Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez was charged, but was acquitted in a court martial trial at Fort Bragg, NC,
Richard McLaren, former president of the Republic of Texas militia, kidnapped his neighbors leading to a week-long standoff between the police and “antigovernment separatists.
- David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan crashed his car into the Edgerton Women’s Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and then started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions
- Justin Carl Moose plot to bomb abortion clinics.  The FBI alleges he referred to himself as the “Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden”
- Dallin Morgan, and Joshua Hogan were arrested in Utah for allegedly planning to bomb their high school assembly and make their getaway in a stolen plane.
- Donny Eugene Mower was arrested on federal charges of attacking a reproductive health clinic in Madera CA, and authorities said he also is responsible for vandalism and menacing signs left at the city’s Islamic center.
Gail Nettles plot to blow up Federal Building
- Robert Pickett discharged a number of shots from a weapon in the direction of the White House,
- Richard Andrew Poplawski - Three Pittsburgh police officers are fatally shot and a fourth wounded by Richard Andrew Poplawski, who had posted his racist and anti-Semitic views on white supremacist websites.
- Project 7, two members are arrested plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officials in order to kick off a revolution,
-  J.T. Ready, a former Marine, a neo-Nazi and member of the anti-immigrant Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, strapped on body armor, grabbed several firearms, and then killed four people in Gilbert, Arizona.  ** He was the target of an FBI terrorism investigation at the time of the shooting.  **
- Charles Carl Roberts IV went into an Amish school in Lancaster County, PA and killed 5 girls before committing suicide,
- Daniel and Timothy Robinson arrested in possession of materials to make bio-chemical weapons
- Scott Roeder Assassination of Dr. George Tiller
- Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, firebombed the American Family Planning Clinic in Pensacola, Florida with a Molotov cocktail; the fire gutted the building.
- Daniel James Schertz, N GA White Knights member pleaded guilty to building pipe bombs designed to blow up buses carrying Mexican and Haitian migrant workers from Tennessee to Florida
- Kyle Shaw bombing of a Starbucks in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, police said his motive was to emulate “Project Mayhem” a series of assaults on corporate America
- Joseph Stack’s suicide flight into an IRS building.
- Roger Stockham was arrested in a car laden with explosives outside one of the nation’s largest mosques in Dearborn MI
- Texas Militia former leaders plot to attack the Federal Building in Houston,
- Frederick Thomas, Dan Roberts, Ray H. Adams, and Samuel J. Crump members of a fringe militia organization in Georgia, arrested for plotting terror attacks on the federal government
- John Thomas stoned a homosexual man to death in Pennsylvania because the Bible said to
-  Joseph Benjamin Thomas and Samuel James Johnson arrested for a plot to blow up the Mexican consulate in St. Paul, Minnesota, and attempting to form a militant supremacist group called the Aryan Liberation Movement targeting minorities, liberals, and government officials.  **
- Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, a pair of “Patriot” movement radicals who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure”—threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
-  Twelve white supremacists have been arrested in Melbourne, Florida crime and criminal conspiracy charges stemming from an alleged plot to attack a rival, anti-racism group at a rally they expected to happen in downtown Melbourne.  **
- Mark David Uhl arrested in plot to kill the family of itinerant Calvinist provocateur Fred Phelps (famous for their “Fag Troops” rallies outside soldiers’ funerals).  2007 **
- Jomar Falu Vives a Fort Carson, CO soldier and Iraq war veteran accused of killing 2 people and wounding another in drive-by shootings,
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting by James Wenneker von Brunn,
- Lonnie Vernon and 4 others were arrested on charges connected with an alleged plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks, Alaska judge
- Clayton Waagner, claiming to act on the part of the “Virginia Dare Chapter” of the Army Of God mailed hoax letters containing a white powder to 554 clinics,
- Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend on the Red Lake, MN Chippewa reservation, then went to Red Lake H.S. where he killed 7 people and wounded 5 others before committing suicide,
- Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.
- Douglas Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon Baxter, 20, of Lakewood, Ohio; Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland; Connor Stevens, 20, of Berea; and Joshua Stafford, 23, of Cleveland were arrested and charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive material to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce for trying to blow up a bridge.  Anarchists.
- Alexander Robert Youshock’s plot to bomb a school in San Mateo, CA
- A man rammed his car into a women’s clinic that he thought was an abortion clinic and set it ablaze in Davenport, Iowa,
- A bomb was left in a women’s clinic in Austin but failed to explode,
- UC-Santa Cruz molecular biologist David Feldheim’s home was firebombed. A car belonging to another researcher from that University was destroyed by a firebomb in what is presumed to be related. FBI is investigating incidents as domestic terrorism related to animal rights groups,
- Three Packages detonate in the mail rooms of two Maryland state government buildings. No serious injuries
-  A homemade bomb damaged a Recruiting Office in Times Square
- A pair of improvised explosive devices were thrown at the Mexican Consulate in New York City. The fake grenades were filled with black powder, and detonated by fuses, causing very minor damage. Police were investigating the connection between this and a similar attack against the British Consulate in New York
- Unknown person firebombed an abortion clinic in Grand Chute, WI
- Unknown person firebombed the Offices of Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis
- white supremacists planned to bomb a series of institutions associated with the black and Jewish communities including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
NOTE:  A few sources of further information—SPLC report, Terror from the right ** — Existing reports on terrorism and radicalization ** — Muslim voices against terrorism and extremism**

UPDATE 7/21/2012
In the article Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer announce new anti-Islam ad we discuss a series of bigoted ads including this most recent one that includes this 17,000 figure, now supposedly increased to 19,207.  It is still the same faulty methodology and bigoted source:
Afsi:sioa train ad

It is curious that AFDI/SIOA/SION thinks that the proper response to a political ad focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, placed by a non-Muslim organization is to attack Arabs, Islam and Muslims.  
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic.  There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE)  are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”.  There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that they are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.  There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured prominently in the Center for American Progress “Fear Inc.” report on the Islamophobia network in America.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the Political Research Associates reportManufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.  There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature.  There is a reason that they are featured (with extensive backgrounder articles) in our TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.  There is a reason that these individuals are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred. 
These people consistently promote the what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims.   They generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.   When they are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.
The claim that “truth tellers” are being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia is nonsense.  The further claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews also proves that Islamophobia doesn’t exist is more nonsense. 
The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.   The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, and it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism.   First published June 2011

Via: "The American Muslim"

Report Denounces Myanmar Attacks On Rohingya

Amnesty Denounces Security Forces and Local Buddhists For State-Sponsored Attacks On Rohingya Muslims In Rakhine State.

Human Rights group Amnesty International has accused security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of carrying out fresh, targeted attacks against Rohingya, the Muslim minority group in Myanmar.

Violence in the last six weeks has been "primarily one-sided, with Muslims generally and Rohingya specifically the targets and victims,'' Benjamin Zawacki, a Bangkok-based researcher for Amnesty, said on Friday.

"Some of this is by the security forces' own hands, some by Rakhine Buddhists with the security forces turning a blind eye in some cases,'' he said.

The violence, which reached its bloodiest point in June, constituted some of the country's deadliest sectarian bloodshed in years and raised international concerns about the Rohingya's fate inside Myanmar.

Following a series of isolated killings starting in late May that left victims on both sides, bloody skirmishes quickly spread across much of Myanmar's coastal Rakhine state.

The government declared a state of emergency on June 10, deploying troops to quell the unrest and protect both mosques and monasteries.

The worst of the violence subsided two weeks later, and authorities said at least 78 people were killed and thousands of homes were burned down or destroyed, with damages roughly split evenly between Buddhists and Muslims.

Refugee Problem

Thein Sein, Myanmar's president, said earlier this month that the solution to ethnic enmity in Rakhine state was to either send the Rohingya to a third country or have the United Nations refugee agency look after them.

UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres said, however, that it was not his agency's job to resettle the Rohingya.

One month after sectarian violence swept across northwestern Myanmar, Rohingya refugees are now fleeing to Bangladesh by the boatload, in a bid to escape the violence.

Despite their plight, Bangladesh is stepping up its efforts to stop refugees from crossing over.

Amnesty called on Myanmar to accept the Rohingya as citizens, something the government has staunchly opposed because it does not consider them an ethnic group native to Myanmar.

"Under international human rights law and standards, no one may be left or rendered stateless,'' Amnesty's Zawacki said.

"For too long Myanmar's human rights record has been marred by the continued denial of citizenship for Rohingya and a host of discriminatory practices against them.''

Via: "Al-Jazeera"

The New Ottomans

Can Turkey Strike A Balance Between The Country's Modern, Secular Aspirations and Its Deep-Rooted Islamic Identity?

Turkey straddles two worlds, Europe and Asia, but its relationship with the West has always been troubled. Once dubbed the sick man of Europe, the member of NATO has sought membership of the European Union, but always been denied.

Today, roles have been reversed. Turkey is booming, with economic growth at 8.5 per cent while its nearest European neighbours are going broke.

This economic success has earned the country international respect. Turkey is now acting as a trusted broker with its turbulent neighbours in the Caucasus, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Syria.

Morsi, The Military and The Media

The Country's New Civilian Administration Is Fighting To Establish Its Authority In A New Media Landscape.

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's president, has been in the job for less than a month, but has already found himself caught up in a battle with the country’s state media. The power struggle between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and President Morsi is being played out in the front pages of the country’s newspapers and on its television screens.

Private media outlets, which have taken off since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, are growing in numbers and becoming more opinionated than ever. State-owned media meanwhile have been accused of favouring the military over their new leader.

In this week’s News Divide, we look at the stand-off between Egypt’s new civilian administration and a state-owned media that continues to be influenced by remnants of the old regime.

This week’s News Bytes: In Moscow, authorities charge a former policeman in connection with the murder of prominent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya; WikiLeaks claims victory in a court battle against a US financial firm that imposed a blockade against the whistle-blowing site; and an Ethiopian court hands out tough sentences against six journalists in what critics are calling a blow to press freedom in the country.

Wicked Game

Artist: Gypsy Soul

U.S. Admits Surveillance Violated Constitution

A plaque commemorates National Security Agency operatives at the agency’s Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters. Photo:Ryan Somma/Flickr

Spencer Ackerman writes:

The head of the U.S. government’s vast spying apparatus has conceded that recent surveillance efforts on at least one occasion violated the Constitutional prohibitions on unlawful search and seizure.

The admission comes in a letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassifying statements that a top U.S. Senator wished to make public in order to call attention to the government’s 2008 expansion of its key surveillance law.
“On at least one occasion,” the intelligence shop has approved Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to say, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found that “minimization procedures” used by the government while it was collecting intelligence were “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” Minimization refers to how long the government may retain the surveillance data it collects.  The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is supposed to guarantee our rights against unreasonable searches.
Wyden does not specify how extensive this “unreasonable” surveillance was; when it occurred; or how many Americans were affected by it.
In the letter, acquired by Danger Room (.pdf), Wyden asserts a serious federal sidestep of a major section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
That section — known as Section 702 and passed in 2008 — sought to legalize the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance efforts. The 2008 law permitted intelligence officials to conduct surveillance on the communications of “non-U.S. persons,” when at least one party on a call, text or email is “reasonably believed” to be outside of the United States. Government officials conducting such surveillance no longer have to acquire a warrant from the so-called FISA Court specifying the name of an individual under surveillance. And only a “significant purpose” of the surveillance has to be the acquisition of “foreign intelligence,” a weaker standard than before 2008.
Wyden says that the government’s use of the expanded surveillance authorities “has sometimes circumvented the spirit of the law” — a conclusion that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence does not endorse. 
The office does not challenge the statement about the FISA Court on at least one occasion finding the surveillance to conflict with the Fourth Amendment. Danger Room initially misunderstood the letter to mean that its author, top intelligence official Kathleen Turner, made the statements she was merely informing Wyden he could to issue publicly without revealing classified information.
But this is a far cry from how Director of National Intelligence James Clapper typically describes the new FISA law. When the law was up for reauthorization this spring, Clapper wrote to congressional leaders to say its renewal was his “top priority in Congress,” (.pdf) as the law “allows the Intelligence Community to collect vital information about international terrorists and other important targets overseas while providing robust protection for the civil liberties and privacy of Americans.”
Suspicions about abuse of the government’s new surveillance powers are almost as old as the 2008 expansion of the law. In 2009, citing anonymous sources, the New York Times reported that “the N.S.A. had been engaged in ‘overcollection’ of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic,” if unintentional. The Justice Department told the Times that it had already resolved the problem.
But as the American Civil Liberties Union noted in a May letter to lawmakers, “There is little in the public record about how the government implements” the expanded law. An ACLU Freedom of Information Act request discovered that the Justice Department and intelligence bureaucracy refer to “compliance incidents” (.pdf) in their internal accounting of the new surveillance — which seemed to suggest difficulty staying within the broadened boundaries of the law. (Full disclosure: My wife works for the ACLU.)
Wyden has been a lonely congressional voice against renewing the government’s broadened surveillance powers. Last month, he quietly used a parliamentary maneuver to stall the renewal after it passed a key Senate committee.
Wyden’s argument was that the government had not fully disclosed the extent of its new surveillance powers. It argued to Wyden that it is “not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed under the authority of the [FISA Amendments Act].” Separately, the National Security Agency insisted that it would violate Americans’ privacy even to tally up how many Americans it had spied upon under the new law.
On Friday, Wyden said in a statement: I applaud the DNI for agreeing that transparency should prevail in this situation… I believe that protections for Americans’ privacy need to be strengthened, and I believe that the FISA Court’s rulings help illustrate why this is necessary. I look forward to debating this issue on the Senate floor.”
In her letter to Wyden, Turner insisted — as the government has in the past — that all Constitutional and legal problems with the expanded surveillance have already been rectified. The government, she writes, believes the FISA Amendments Act is “a well-calibrated statute that strikes an appropriate balance between protecting national security and safeguarding privacy and civil liberties.”
“At no time,” she continues, “have these reviews found any intentional violations of law.”
Via: "Wired"