These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 17, 2014.
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Wilder's Freedom Party Leads Poll for Dutch European Parliament Elections
Gerrt Wilders, leader of the PVV Freedom Party
Geert Wilders" Freedom Party (PVV) leads in Dutch polls next month's European Parliament elections. According to a report in the Dutch publication, Spitsnieuws:
A TNS NIPO poll published today predicts that the PVV, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, will become the biggest party in the European elections in the Netherlands.
According to the poll the PVV is going to win the European elections on 22 May with 18.1% of the votes, followed by the Liberal VVD of Prime Minister Mark Rutte with 16.2% and the liberal-democrat D66 party with 15.7%.
The losers of the European elections would be the Christian-Democrats and Labor.
In our April NER article, Geert Wilders Once Again Endures a Firestorm of Criticism, we noted how Dutch voters in the March 2014 municipal elections had voted their disapproval of the ruling coalition parties in the Hague Parliament, noting how they immediately tried to pin the blame on Geert Wilders as an extremist. Presciently in our conclusion we suggested that those same Dutch voters would ultimate vindicate him in the May european elections. We wrote:
To paraphrase England’s Henry II regarding the fate of former boon companion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett, the Dutch political and media establishment might say: “who will rid us of this upstart meddlesome blonde.” We hope that those Dutch folks who went to the polls on March 19th and gave the PVV victories in several smaller municipalities may be joined by others in the majority, who didn’t vote. That might provide the PVV with a victory in the May EU parliamentary elections. We have seen Wilders bounce back from previous episodes like a proverbial cat with nine lives. His Euro-skeptic alliance partners, especially Ms. Le Pen in France, would deem that a stunning and well deserved turnabout.
Tuesday, a news conference held by New York Police Commissioner William Bratton announced the dismantling of the NYPD Muslim community surveillance program; The Demographic Unit, renamed the Zone Assessment Unit. Department spokesperson Stephen Davis remarked:
Understanding certain local demographics can be a useful factor when assessing the threat information that comes into New York City virtually on a daily basis. In the future, we will gather that information, if necessary, through direct contact between the police precincts and the representatives of the communities they serve.
Democrat Mayor of New York, William Di Blasio called the move:
a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.
CAIR-NY welcomes the closing of the NYPD Zone Assessment Unit. This is an important first step. However, the damage of unconstitutional mass spying on people solely on the basis of their religion has already been carried out and must be addressed. We need to hear from the mayor and NYPD officials that the policy itself has been ended and that the department will no longer apply mass surveillance or other forms of biased and predatory policing to any faith-based community.
Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York said:
The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community. Those documents, they showed where we live. That’s the cafe where I eat. That’s where I pray. That’s where I buy my groceries. They were able to see their entire lives on those maps. And it completely messed with the psyche of the community.
Thus ends a program developed in 2003 with the assistance ex-CIA officer Lawrence Sanchez at the request of former Commissioner Ray Kelly. In the wake of 9/11 it was deemed important to try and identify extremists in New York and outlying targeted Muslim communities who might provide assistance in terrorist plots threatening the City of New York. That meant identifying informants within the community, creating a veritable census of the community and its institutions including monitoring Mosques and their leaders for inflammatory ideology.
Given the failure within the federal intelligence community exposed in the Report of the 9/11 Commission to collect, analyze and disseminate counter terrorism intelligence, forming special units within the NYPD to detect and prevent terrorist attacks made eminent sense to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The NYPD counterterrorism program had another component the International Liaison Program with officers located in 11 overseas cities. The combined NYPD counterterrorism effort alleged to have stopped more than 16 terrorists plots including intercepting a perpetrator of a possible dirty bomb attack planned for the 2004 Republican National Convention in Manhattan. These programs have been pummeled with criticism that they were costly, and didn’t result in any arrests. New York Muslim community activitists and civil liberties groups point to a “pretrial examination before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in which Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Division Thomas Galati admitted that the program had never generated a lead”.
With the arrival of Mayor DiBlasio and Commissioner Bratton in 2014, the Muslim Community Mapping effort by the NYPD became subject to litigation by Muslim plaintiffs, in actions previously filed in the Newark, New Jersey Federal District Court and in the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn. Mayor DiBlasio during his electoral campaign had urged accommodation of New York Muslim community concerns. The Washington Post tagged Bratton, in December 2013 as “healer in chief of a worried Muslim community”.
The first case was brought by Muslim plaintiffs in 2012 against the City of New York as a result of a 2011 Associated Press investigation of the New York Police Department (NYPD) surveillance of Muslim mosques in New Jersey. The AP series:
Revealed that the NYPD dispatched undercover officers into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program. Police also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim student groups were investigated and dozens were infiltrated. Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit after 9/11.
The NYPD had also undertaken similar surveillance of the Somali Muslim community in Buffalo, New York. The Newark federal court ruling was immediately contested by Muslim community leaders and civil rights groups as abetting ‘spying’ and so-called community profiling. The New Jersey case harkens back to CAIR and other Muslim advocacy groups in New York contesting a 2007 NYPD Muslim profiling manual. There was also a case brought by an ex- Muslim NYPD officer against a consultant to the NYPD counterterrorism unit. Ironically, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, who set up the Muslim community surveillance program, received an award in 2012 from the Department’s Muslim Advisory Council.
On February 20, 2014, the first action brought by New Jersey Muslim Plaintiffs in the matter of Hassan v. City of New York, 2:12-CV-3401, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark) was dismissed by Federal District Judge William F. Martini who noted in his decision:
[T]he Plaintiffs in this case have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion. The more likely explanation for the surveillance was a desire to locate budding terrorist conspiracies. The most obvious reason for so concluding is that surveillance of the Muslim community began just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorists’ activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. While this surveillance program may have had adverse effects upon the Muslim community after the AP published its articles; the motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.
In an interview with Brooke Goldstein of the Lawfare Project, we asked her about the NYPD surveillance program. She said:
What I can say is that from my dealings with the NYPD, they were not targeting Muslims and engaging in discrimination based on race or religion. What they were doing was targeting institutions that have a connection to terrorism and those groups happen to be Islamist. ... Simply because of the fact they have a theological justification has now opened up the NYPD surveillance program to accusations of so-called Islamophobia which are absolutely baseless and ridiculous.
In light of Tuesday’s announcement by NYPD Commissioner Bratton, could the Eastern District case brought by New York plaintiffs be mooted? Or will the announcement spur further Lawfare litigation by New York Muslim plaintiffs?
The NYPD abandonment of the Muslim community mapping programs may embolden Muslim Brotherhood influencers in the Obama Administration, especially Arif Alikhan, assistant secretary for policy and Mohamed Elibiary, a senior member of the US Department of Homeland Security’s advisory council. Alikhan, as deputy mayor of Los Angeles for public safety, worked to scuttle a similar Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Muslim community ‘mapping’ program in 2007 when current NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton was LAPD Police Chief from 2002-2009. Elibiary on the DHS Advisory panel had been actively involved in elimination of Islamic Jihad doctrine from DHS and other federal agencies’ counterterrorism training materials. Perhaps NYPD Commissioner might turn to a community self policing proposal being promoted by MPAC, a Muslim Brotherhood front with influence in Washington, called “Safe Spaces”. According to a Wall Street Journal article, “Mosques get a New Message”, Safe Spaces , is about a voluntary program by boards of American Mosques engaging in identifying and ‘converting’ extremists in their midst thereby co-opting local and national law enforcement profiling of their communities.
With the end the NYPD Muslim community surveillance by order of Commissioner Bratton, New Yorkers must be concerned about who will monitor Islamist extremists and potential terror threats in the Big Apple. As of Tuesday, Lawfare by Muslim Brotherhood interests reigns supreme in all five boroughs.
Abu Hamza, the radical Islamic hate cleric, turned his London mosque into “the base of operations for the global export of violence and terror”, a New York jury was told at the start of his trial on terrorism charges.
“Abu Hamza was not just a preacher of religion,” Edward Kim, assistant US attorney, said in opening arguments. “He was a trainer of terrorists and he used the cover of religion so he could hide in plain sight in London. His goal was clear, simple and vicious. All able-bodied Muslims had a duty to wage war against non-Muslims. He was a leader with a global following, who didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He dispatched young men around the world to train, to fight, to kill.”
The white-bearded imam, who lost his hands and an eye in an explosion in Afghanistan, shuffled papers with his stumps and put on a prosthetic limb to take notes as he listened to the prosecution lay out its allegations about his role at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London.
Mr Kim explained that two other Britons would play a key role in the prosecution case. He said that Feroz Abbasi, a Ugandan-born Londoner who was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in Dec 2001, was sent by Hamza for training for jihad missions by al-Qaeda commanders.
Saajid Badat, a British terrorist “supergrass”, would describe training with Mr Abbasi at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan via video link from Britain, the prosecutor said. Mr Abbasi, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for three years before his return to London in 2005, has never been charged by US or British authorities.
The jury will also hear testimony from Mary Quin, a former American hostage who escaped the kidnapping in Yemen and later travelled to the Finsbury Park mosque to confront Hamza. The prosecution will play a tape recording that she he made of her encounter in which Hamza allegedly admitted providing the kidnappers with a satellite telephone and justified the hostage-taking.
Mr Kim also noted that flak jackets, chemical warfare suits and gas marks were found at the Finsbury Park mosque - the “tools of war stockpiled in a place of worship”.