First Muslim lawmaker appointed to House Intelligence Committee

Lauren French for POLITICO: “Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced in a closed-door meeting Tuesday she would name the first Muslim lawmaker to the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Carson would be the first Muslim to serve on the committee and was the second Muslim to be elected to Congress. He already serves on the Armed Services Committee and worked for the Department of Homeland Security’s Fusion Center — the clearinghouse established by the federal government to streamline data sharing between the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice and the military.
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Secret Papers Describe Size of Terror Lists Kept by U.S.

August 6, 2014

WASHINGTON — About 20,800 United States citizens and permanent residents are included in a federal government database of people suspected of having links to terrorism, of whom about 5,000 have been placed on one or more watch lists, newly disclosed documents show.

The documents are briefing materials about accomplishments in 2013 by the Directorate of Terrorist Identities, a component of the National Counterterrorism Center, an interagency clearinghouse of information about people known to be or suspected of being terrorists.

The documents were classified Secret and were published Tuesday by The Intercept, an online magazine. The disclosure provided new details about the numbers of people within the broad database and on terrorist watch lists derived from it — a system that has grown rapidly over the last four years, according to government officials.

Over all, the number of people listed in the center’s database of terrorism suspects surpassed one million in June 2013, the documents said. Of those, approximately 680,000 were on the watch lists, which can keep people off planes or from entering the country and subject them to extra scrutiny at airports, traffic stops or border crossings.

Among other things, the documents showed that the main terrorism suspects database contains records on 8,211 people who are suspected of having links to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based affiliate of Al Qaeda that intelligence officials have said is the most dangerous component of the group at present.

A map associated with the files ranked the top five cities where Americans who have been deemed “known or suspected terrorists” are concentrated. Four are large cities: New York, Houston, San Diego and Chicago. But the second-highest was Dearborn, Mich., a city of fewer than 100,000 people that has a large Arab and Muslim population.

Much of the document relates to efforts to fill in missing data. After the April 2013 attack at the Boston Marathon, the National Counterterrorism Center set out to fill gaps involving biometric markers like fingerprints of the Americans on various watch lists, adding facial images for 370 people and fingerprints for 163. It obtained the information from driver’s license images and from the Department of Homeland Security, it said.

The center also used “clandestinely collected travel data” provided by the C.I.A. to fill in gaps about international travel of people in the database, it said.

9/11 Islamist from Hamburg

February 28, 2014

 

In December 2001, German security service supported the CIA to kidnap the Islamist Mohammed Haydar Zammar,52. He had lived in Hamburg for many years and was suspected to be a key figure within the 9/11 Hamburg terror cell of Muhammad Atta. He was brought to Syria and stayed in jail for the last twelve years. According to an Arab news portal, the Islamist militia “Ahrar ash-Sham” released Zammar during an operation in autumn 2013 from the prison in Aleppo. The militia has offered him and five further „political prisoners“ for exchange.

 

German security authorities seek to locate Zammar, who went to hiding but contacted relatives in Hamburg and Aleppo. Zammar cannot be arrested again, as the statue of all charges against him is barred after ten years.

 

In 1971, Zammar moved from Aleppo to Hamburg. In 1982, he became a German citizen and moved to Afghanistan to join the Mujaheddin. In 1991, Zammar travelled again to Afghanistan and Bosnia to show other activists how to work with explosives. He became a radical preacher in Hamburg and was in touch with the pilots of September 11th, Muhammad Atta und Zuad Jarrah. Despite of his close relationship to the Islamists terrorists, Zammar denied any involvement or to be informed about the terror plot.

 

However, the case is peculiar for German security authorities and former government officials. The Office of the German Chancellor was informed about all plans related to the kidnapping of Zammar, a German citizen, to Syria. Zammar claims to be tortured under Syrian custody and questioned by German authorities.

 

(Süddeutsche Zeitung)

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/hamburger-islamist-zammar-verschleppt-verhaftet-ausgetauscht-1.1901694

 

Islam, the Milanese Judges in the Abu Omar Case: “Extremists Cultivated in Viale Jenner”

January 15, 2014

 

The written judgment that sentenced Abu Omar to six years in prison for international terrorism explained that the sentence was greatly reduced due to unlawful seizure by the CIA and Omar’s subsequent unlawful detention.

For at least two years, between 2001 and 2003, in the mosques of Milan’s Viale Jenner and Via Quaranta Omar, the imam, would instruct his flock to sacrifice themselves in the “battle” of “all Muslims against all non-Muslims ” or Jihad which involves the duty to “kill people.” The spiritual guide was “one of the main nodes in Lombardy to the “terrorist group Ansar al- Islam, also linked to Osama bin Laden.“On 17 February 2003, Abu Omar, of Egyptian origin, was illegally seized through “extraordinary rendition” in Milan by the CIA and taken to Egypt, where he was also tortured.

THE INVESTIGATION The imam kidnapped by the CIA Abu Omar was sentenced to six years in jail for international terrorism, on the one hand there are dozens and dozens of pages of wiretaps and documents proving that the former imam recruited “soldiers” in Milan who were ready for “martyrdom” in Kurdistan and on the other hand the imam was unlawfully abducted by 007 Americans. According to the indictment, the CIA was given the green light by SISMI, the Italian military secret service.

According to the preliminary hearing judge Stefania Milan Donadeo, although Abu Omar does not deserve the “extenuating circumstances given the seriousness of the facts” and his ” dangerousness,” and in “accordance with Article 133 of the Penal Code, the court had to take into account the illegitimate detention suffered.” The kidnapping of former imams has been brought to light in 33 convictions.

The sentence for Abu Omar, who was brought to trial in absentia (he is still in Egypt) by deputy prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli, came almost 11 years after his abduction. Before being seized, the former imam had already been under investigation for international terrorism by Digos , coordinated by the anti-terrorism PMs Armando Spataro and Ferdinando Pomarici . According to the indictment, between 2001 and 2003 he was a member, along with 13 other foreigners, of an association, which had “the purpose of committing acts of violence for the purposes of terrorism in Italy and abroad.”

 

La Repubblica: http://milano.repubblica.it/cronaca/2014/01/15/news/islam_i_giudici_milanesi_su_abu_omar_cos_formava_martiri_in_viale_jenner-76042412/

CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds

November 3, 2013

 

Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes Doctors and psychologists working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA to become involved in the torture and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has concluded.

The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health professionals working with the military and intelligence services “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees”.

Medical professionals were in effect told that their ethical mantra “first do no harm” did not apply, because they were not treating people who were ill.

The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation and force-feeding.

The CIA’s office of medical services played a critical role in advising the justice department that “enhanced interrogation” methods, such as extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.

Although the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at Guantánamo Bay in recent years, and the CIA has said it no longer has suspects in detention, the taskforce says that these “changed roles for health professionals and anaemic ethical standards” remain.

“The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm regardless of where they serve,” said Dr Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University and member of the taskforce.

 

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/04/cia-doctors-torture-suspected-terrorists-9-11

CAIR Michigan director: Discussion of drones ‘long overdue’


U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s demand that the government vow not to use drones on American soil without an “imminent threat” reflects the view of some Arab-Americans in Metro Detroit, the leader of an Islamic advocacy group said Wednesday.

“We’ve been long overdue for having a national conversation about the abuse of drones in extrajudicial killings,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan. “It was just a matter of time before the conversation would turn to: Are we not going to use the drones here … the same as we do in Pakistan and Afghanistan?”

Walid spent hours Wednesday watching the Republican senator’s filibuster on the Senate floor, which delayed a vote to confirm John Brennan as CIA director as his continuous talking pushed into its 12th hour.

President Barack Obama’s choice of Brennan, 57, to head the Central Intelligence Agency has become entangled in growing tensions between Congress and the administration over its use of unmanned, armed drones to attack suspected members and allies of al-Qaeda. Brennan oversees the drone program as Obama’s counterterrorism adviser.

 

John Brennan is a secret Muslim, says anti-Islam activist

A former FBI agent and current anti-Islam activist believes that John Brennan, President Obama’s pick to head the CIA, is secretly a Muslim and therefore “unfit for duty” in the government.

On Friday, John Guandolo, the vice president of the Virginia-based Strategic Engagement Group (SEG), appeared on the Boca Raton-based radio show of Tom Trento, the president of the anti-”Shariah Islam” group The United West, formerly the Florida Security Council. Guandolo described how Brennan has supposedly “interwoven his life professionally and personally with individuals that we know are terrorists and he has given them access” to top officials in the federal government and “brought known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions.”

Guandolo continued that what “some would say is most disturbing, Mr. Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on behalf of the United States when he served in Saudi Arabia” and it “was the culmination of a counterintelligence operation against him to recruit him” by foreign operatives.

Judge adjourns weeklong hearing in Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo without ruling on major issues

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — A weeklong hearing into the legal framework for the Sept. 11 terrorism military tribunal came to an end Friday without a ruling on the most significant motions but progress on some issues that must be resolved before the eventual trial.

After hours of often arcane debate at the U.S. base in Cuba, the military judge presiding over the case deferred most decisions until later. Notable among them were proposed rules for handling classified evidence that prosecutors said are necessary to protect national security and defense lawyers argued are overly broad and restrictive.

Army Col. James Pohl heard arguments on nearly 20 motions and did resolve some matters, including issuing a ruling that the five men charged with planning and aiding the Sept. 11 attacks may sit out their pretrial hearings. While the extent of the progress was in dispute, both the chief prosecutor and defense lawyers agreed the case was unlikely to be ready for trial in 2013.

The five defendants facing charges that include terrorism and murder include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a self-styled terrorist mastermind who grew up in Kuwait and attended college in North Carolina. He condemned the U.S. in a lecture to the court on Wednesday as he wore a camouflage vest that had been approved by the judge.

The judge heard lengthy arguments on a motion from the defense asking the judge to decide that the constitutional rights recognized in civilian criminal trials will apply in the special tribunals for war-time offenses. Prosecutors argued it was too soon to make that determination and the judge deferred a ruling.

Most of the arguments centered on the proposed security rules, including provisions that the defense said will prevent the five prisoners from publicly disclosing what happened to them while detained in secret CIA prisons overseas. The U.S. government says they were subjected to “enhanced interrogation”; critics say it was torture.

Lawyers for the defendants said the proposed rules would prevent them from using what happened in the CIA prisons to challenge statements the men made to authorities or to argue that they shouldn’t get the death penalty. It would also prevent the public from learning details about the harsh interrogations.

AP wins Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting on NYPD surveillance

Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan of The Associated Press today were named winners of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their months-long series outlining the New York Police Department’s surveillance of minority and particularly Muslim neighborhoods since the 9/11 terror attacks.

In addition, the AP had finalists in two other Pulitzer categories, Feature Photography and National Reporting.

The Pulitzer Prizes are the most prestigious honors in journalism.

The NYPD stories revealed that the department had become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, sending undercover officers into minority neighborhoods, student groups and houses of worship, though there was no indication they harbored criminals or terrorists.

In documenting the extent of the NYPD’s undercover operations, conducted with the advice and guidance of the CIA, the AP team’s stories ignited ongoing debate in the halls of government, in the ethnic communities, on editorial pages and across the Web.

NYPD: Shredding the Constitution

The massive surveillance program implemented by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in coordination with CIA officials is shredding the Constitution, putting at risk the rights and freedoms of Arab Americans and American Muslims. If left unchecked, their behavior will weaken the foundations of our democracy and seriously compromise our values as an open and inclusive society.

Revelations by the Associated Press have established that the NYPD, working with a few CIA officials, has been monitoring Arab and Muslim-owned businesses, mosques, and “mapping” areas of the city where high concentrations of Muslims and Arab immigrants are known to live. In order to accomplish these objectives, the NYPD has coerced and entrapped Muslims to act as spies.