Attacks create unwarranted profiling of Muslim Americans.
Shamsi & Harwood 14 – Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, and Matthew Harwood, ACLU's senior writer/editor, 2014 (“How Surveillance Turns Ordinary People Into Terrorism Suspects,”Mother Jones, Nov. 6th, Accessed 6/16/15, J.L.)
The SAR database is part of an ever-expanding domestic surveillance system established after 9/11 to gather intelligence on potential terrorism threats. At an abstract level, such a system may seem sensible: far better to prevent terrorism before it happens than to investigate and prosecute after a tragedy. Based on that reasoning, the government exhorts Americans to "see something, say something"—the SAR program's slogan. Indeed, just this week at a conference in New York City, FBI Director James Comey asked the public to report any suspicions they have to authorities. "When the hair on the back of your neck stands, listen to that instinct and just tell somebody," said Comey. And seeking to reassure those who do not want to get their fellow Americans in trouble based on instinct alone, the FBI director added, "We investigate in secret for a very good reason, we don't want to smear innocent people." There are any number of problems with this approach, starting with its premise. Predicting who exactly is a future threat before a person has done anything wrong is a perilous undertaking. That's especially the case if the public is encouraged to report suspicions of neighbors, colleagues, and community members based on a "hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck" threshold. Nor is it any comfort that the FBI promises to protect the innocent by investigating "suspicious" people in secret. The civil liberties and privacy implications are, in fact, truly hair-raising, particularly when the Bureau engages in abusive and discriminatory sting operations and other rights violations. At a fundamental level, suspicious activity reporting, as well as the digital and physical infrastructure of networked computer servers and fusion centers built around it, depends on what the government defines as suspicious. As it happens, this turns out to include innocuous, First Amendment-protected behavior. As a start, a little history: the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative was established in 2008 as a way for federal agencies, law enforcement, and the public to report and share potential terrorism-related information. The federal government then developed a list of 16 behaviors that it considered "reasonably indicative of criminal activity associated with terrorism." Nine of those 16 behaviors, as the government acknowledges, could have nothing to do with criminal activity and are constitutionally protected, including snapping photographs, taking notes, and "observation through binoculars." Under federal regulations, the government can only collect and maintain criminal intelligence information on an individual if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that he or she is "involved in criminal conduct or activity and the information is relevant to that criminal conduct or activity." The SAR program officially lowered that bar significantly, violating the federal government's own guidelines for maintaining a "criminal intelligence system." There's good reason for, at a minimum, using a reasonable suspicion standard. Anything less and it's garbage in, garbage out, meaning counterterrorism "intelligence" databases become anything but intelligent. When the Mundane Looks Suspicious The SAR program provides striking evidence of this. In 2013, the ACLU of Northern California obtained nearly 2,000 SARs from two state fusion centers, which collect, store, and analyze such reports, and then share those their intelligence analysts find worthwhile across what the federal government calls its Information Sharing Environment. This connects the fusion centers and other federal agencies into an information-sharing network, or directly with the FBI. Their contents proved revealing. A number of reports were concerned with "ME"—Middle Eastern—males. One headline proclaimed, "Suspicious ME Males Buy Several Large Pallets of Water at REDACTED." Another read, "Suspicious Activities by a ME Male in Lodi, CA." And just what was so suspicious about this male? Read into the document and you discover that a sergeant at the Elk Grove Police Department had long been "concerned about a residence in his neighborhood occupied by a Middle Eastern male adult physician who is very unfriendly." And it's not just "Middle Eastern males" who provoke such suspicion. Get involved in a civil rights protest against the police and California law enforcement might report you, too. A June 2012 SAR was headlined "Demonstration Against Law Enforcement Use of Excessive Force" and reported that "a scheduled protest" by demonstrators "concerned about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers" was about to occur. What we have here isn't just a failure to communicate genuine threat information, but the transformation of suspicion into pernicious ideological, racial, and religious profiling, often disproportionately targeting activists and American Muslims. Again, that's not surprising. Throughout our history, in times of real or perceived fear of amorphously defined threats, government suspicion focuses on those who dissent or look or act differently. Counterterrorism Accounting Law enforcement officials, including the Los Angeles Police Department's top counterterrorism officer, have themselves exhibited skepticism about suspicious activity reporting (out of concern with the possibility of overloading the system). In 2012, George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute surveyed counterterrorism personnel working in fusion centers and in a report generally accepting of SARs noted that the program had "flooded fusion centers, law enforcement, and other security outfits with white noise," complicating "the intelligence process" and distorting "resource allocation and deployment decisions." In other words, it was wasting time and sending personnel off on wild goose chases. A few months later, a scathing report from the Senate subcommittee on homeland security described similar intelligence problems in state-based fusion centers. It found that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel assigned to the centers "forwarded 'intelligence' of uneven quality—oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections... and more often than not unrelated to terrorism." Effectiveness doesn't exactly turn out to be one of the SAR program's strong suits, though the government has obscured this by citing the growing number of SARs that have triggered FBI investigations. However, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the FBI doesn't track whether SARs uploaded into the domestic intelligence network actually help thwart terrorism or lead to arrests or convictions. You are, of course, what you measure—in this case, not much; and yet, despite its dubious record, the SAR program is alive and kicking. According to the GAO, the number of reports in the system exploded by 750%, from 3,256 in January 2010 to 27,855 in October 2012. And being entered in such a system, as Wiley Gill found out, can prove just the beginning of your problems. Several months after his home was searched, his telephone rang. It was a Chico police officer who told Gill to shut down his Facebook page. Gill refused, responding that there was only one reason he thought the police wanted his account deleted: its references to Islam. The phone call ended ominously with the officer warning Gill that he was on a "watchlist." The officer may have been referring to yet another burgeoning secret database that the federal government calls its "consolidated terrorism watchlist." Inclusion in this database—and on government blacklists that are generated from it—can bring more severe repercussions than unwarranted law enforcement attention. It can devastate lives. Twenty-First-Century Blacklists When small business owner Abe Mashal reached the ticket counter at Chicago's Midway Airport on April 20, 2010, an airline representative informed him that he was on the no-fly list and could not travel to Spokane, Washington, on business. Suddenly, the former Marine found himself surrounded by TSA agents and Chicago police. Later, FBI agents questioned him at the airport and at home about his Muslim faith and his family members. The humiliation and intimidation didn't end there. A few months later, FBI agents returned to interview Mashal, focusing again on his faith and family. Only this time they had an offer to make: if he became an FBI informant, his name would be deleted from the no-fly list and he would be paid for his services. Such manipulative quid pro quos have been made to others. Mashal refused. The meeting ended abruptly, and he wasn't able to fly for four years. As of August 2013, there were approximately 47,000 people, including 800 US citizens and legal permanent residents like Mashal, on that secretive no-fly list, all branded as "known or suspected terrorists." All were barred from flying to, from, or over the United States without ever being given a reason why. On 9/11, just 16 names had been on the predecessor "no transport" list. The resulting increase of 293,650%—perhaps more since 2013—isn't an accurate gauge of danger, especially given that names are added to the list based on vague, broad, and error-prone standards. The harm of being stigmatized as a suspected terrorist and barred from flying is further compounded when innocent people try to get their names removed from the list. In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security established the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program through which those who believe they are wrongly blacklisted can theoretically attempt to correct the government's error. But banned flyers quickly find themselves frustrated because they have to guess what evidence they must produce to refute the government's unrevealed basis for watchlisting them in the first place. Redress then becomes a grim bureaucratic wonderland. In response to queries, blacklisted people receive a letter from the DHS that gives no explanation for why they were not allowed to board a plane, no confirmation of whether they are actually on the no-fly list, and no certainty about whether they can fly in the future. In the end, the only recourse for such victims is to roll the dice by buying a ticket, going to the airport, and hoping for the best. Being unable to board a plane can have devastating consequences, as Abe Mashal can attest. He lost business opportunities and the ability to mark life's milestones with friends and family. There is hope, however. In August, four years after the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of 13 people on the no-fly list, a judge ruled that the government's redress system is unconstitutional. In early October, the government notified Mashal and six others that they were no longer on the list. Six of the ACLU's clients remain unable to fly, but at least the government now has to disclose just why they have been put in that category, so that they can contest their blacklisting. Soon, others should have the same opportunity. Suspicion First, Innocence Later... Maybe The No Fly List is only the best known of the government's web of terrorism watchlists. Many more exist, derived from the same master list. Currently, there are more than one million names in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, a database maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. This classified source feeds the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), operated by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center. The TSDB is an unclassified but still secret list known as the "master watchlist." containing what the government describes as "known or suspected terrorists," or KSTs. According to documents recently leaked to the Intercept, as of August 2013 that master watchlist contained 680,000 people, including 5,000 US citizens and legal permanent residents. The government can add people's names to it according to a shaky "reasonable suspicion" standard. There is, however, growing evidence that what's "reasonable" to the government may only remotely resemble what that word means in everyday usage. Information from a single source, even an uncorroborated Facebook post, can allow a government agent to watchlist an individual with virtually no outside scrutiny. Perhaps that's why 40% of those on the master watchlist have "no recognized terrorist group affiliation," according to the government's own records. Nothing encapsulates the post-9/11, Alice-in-Wonderland inversion of American notions of due process more strikingly than this "blacklist first, innocence later... maybe" mindset. The Terrorist Screening Database is then used to fill other lists. In the context of aviation, this means the no-fly list, as well as the selectee and expanded selectee lists. Transportation security agents subject travelers on the latter two lists to extra screenings, which can include prolonged and invasive interrogation and searches of laptops, phones, and other electronic devices. Around the border, there's the State Department's Consular Lookout and Support System, which it uses to flag people it thinks shouldn't get a visa, and the TECS System, which Customs and Border Protection uses to determine whether someone can enter the country. Inside the United States, no watchlist may be as consequential as the one that goes by the moniker of the Known or Appropriately Suspected Terrorist File. The names on this blacklist are shared with more than 17,000 state, local, and tribal police departments nationwide through the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Unlike any other information disseminated through the NCIC, the KST File reflects mere suspicion of involvement with criminal activity, so law enforcement personnel across the country are given access to a database of people who have secretly been labeled terrorism suspects with little or no actual evidence, based on virtually meaningless criteria. This opens up the possibility of increased surveillance and tense encounters with the police, not to speak of outright harassment, for a large but undivulged number of people. When a police officer stops a person for a driving infraction, for instance, information about his or her KST status will pop up as soon a driver's license is checked. According to FBI documents, police officers who get a KST hit are warned to "approach with caution" and "ask probing questions." When officers believe they're about to go face to face with a terrorist, bad things can happen. It's hardly a stretch of the imagination, particularly after a summer of police shootings of unarmed men, to suspect that an officer approaching a driver whom he believes to be a terrorist will be quicker to go for his gun. Meanwhile, the watchlisted person may never even know why his encounters with police have taken such a peculiar and menacing turn. According to the FBI's instructions, under no circumstances is a cop to tell a suspect that he or she is on a watchlist. And once someone is on this watchlist, good luck getting off it. According to the government's watchlist rulebook, even a jury can't help you. "An individual who is acquitted or against whom charges are dismissed for a crime related to terrorism," it reads, "may nevertheless meet the reasonable standard and appropriately remain on, or be nominated to, the Terrorist Watchlist." No matter the verdict, suspicion lasts forever.
American Muslims face an onslaught of hate crimes after each crisis.
Dado 14 – Natash Amer Dado, Arab American News reporter and Wayne State University graduate, 2014 (http://newamericamedia.org/2014/09/muslim-americans-say-isis-terrorism-may-lead-to-more-hate-crimes.php, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Fellowships, September 10th, Accessed 9/18/2015, J.L.)
Muslim Americans Say ISIS Terrorism May Lead to More Hate Crimes Muslim Americans Say ISIS Terrorism May Lead to More Hate Crimes Story tools Comments AAAResize Print Share and Email Arab American News, News Report, Natasha Dado, Posted: Sep 10, 2014 Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, was a victim of a hate crime this week that wouldn’t have occurred had it not been for the phenomenon of the terrorist group “Islamic State” (ISIS). Sarsour, who has become a voice for Muslim Americans nationally, discussed the incident on social media. “My deputy director and I were harassed by a bigoted drunk who hurled hateful Islamophobic and anti-Arab epithets at us on 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge [a neighborhood in Brooklyn],” Sarsour wrote in a Facebook post about the incident. “He said, ‘you are cutting people’s heads off, sharmoota, I’m going to cut off your head and see how you will feel, you Arab b…..’” The attacker appeared to be referencing the IS, which beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steve Sotloff. The IS claimed the men were murdered in retaliation for the united States’ involvement in Iraq. Sarsour said the attacker had some sort of item or tool in his back pocket. The man ran after them and picked up a huge NYC metal garbage can and threw it at them, causing them to run into oncoming traffic. Muslim Americans still face widespread challenges fighting hate and discrimination more than a decade after 9/11, and IS terrorism seems to be creating even more misunderstanding about members of the community and their faith. Since ISIS first gained a stronghold in Mosul, Iraq in early June, Muslim American religious and community leaders have repeatedly condemned the group publically to prove it doesn’t represent their faith. “The Islamic State is actually succeeding in causing damage to the image of Muslims and Islam,” said Majid Shah, a Muslim American from Washington D.C. In response to IS terrorism, users on social media sites have been posting derogatory comments about Arabs and Muslims. For many Muslim Americans another attack on the United States by a group that commits acts of terrorism in the name of Islam would be detrimental and possibly increase hate crimes against the community. After 9/11 many people blamed Islam for the attacks, and took out their anger and frustration on the community. Former Vice President Dick Cheney recently predicted an attack this decade that would be far deadlier than 9/11. On Monday, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned that ISIS could attack the United States within two months and Europe in one month if more action against the IS wasn’t taken. Iraqi American Alia Almulla said the situation for Muslim Americans would be worse than it was after 9/11 if the IS attacked the United States. “I feel like it will be way worse then what happened with Sept. 11,” she said. Almulla was a victim of a hate crime after 9/11. The incident occurred in 2007 while she was pregnant and living in Oklahoma City. She was sitting at a park with her family when people started questioning her about the headscarf she was wearing. Someone approached her and pulled off the headscarf. “Over there they are not educated at all about Islam or wearing a scarf. They have not even seen these things,” she said. The attackers asked why she had the headscarf on and whether she was wearing it because she was bald and had lice. “They pulled it off to see if I really have hair or whatever,” she said. Speaking to The Arab American News, one Muslim woman who did not want to be identified remembered that when the Boston bombings happened she was worried about what it would mean to her community if the perpetrators were Muslim. “When the Boston bombing happened I was praying, ‘God please don’t let that be a Muslim, because when an incident like that happens you pay a price,’” she said. She said that after the Boston bombing, women in parts of Massachusetts were attacked because they were wearing hijabs. S
Animosity toward Muslims and people of other nationalities
(Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states of Colorado (#127) and New York (#R039535). He received both his MSW (1988, Wurzweiler School of Social Work)) and Ph.D. (1976, Ferkhauf Graduate School) from Yeshiva University in New York City. Dr. Schwartz is a Certified Psychoanalyst having graduated from NPAP (National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis) in 1992. He now lives and writes about psychotherapy in Boulder, Colorado and Southwest Florida, “Acts of Violence, Fear of The Unknown, Xenophobia”, https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/acts-of-violence-fear-of-the-unknown-xenophobia/, July 27, 2011, ak.)
Last week’s tragedy in Norway once again raises important questions about ethnic hatred and violence. Norway is known for being one of the most peaceful nations in the world. It’s people are tolerant, gentle and generous. It is for these reasons that they happily accepted and embraced immigrants into their country. It seems that this is what led to the violent bombing and shootings that caused so many deaths and shook Norwegians and other Europeans to the core. According to news reports, Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect, professes anti Muslim, pro white and pro Christian beliefs and politics. His plan was to incite similar minded people around the world to rise up and commit similar violent acts against foreigners. His professed fear was that Europe and the world were being colonized by Muslims. Why do violent acts as those based on ethnic hatred, occur? The answer has a lot to do with the term, xenophobia. We know that a phobia is a fear of something to which we have been exposed that had an aversive impact on our lives. For instance, I have known people who, after having been stuck in an elevator, cannot enter any other such conveyance because of a deep seated fear that they cannot control. Xenophobia is much the same except for the fact that the fearful response is to people who are foreign or alien. After the 9/11 attacks, some Americans become xenophobic to anyone perceived to be Arab or Muslim. Airplane passengers refused to fly with them, others demanded that Muslims be deported and a few even perpetrated violent acts upon completely innocent American Muslims and Arabs. In at least one case that was reported, someone from India was mistaken for being Muslim and was attacked almost ending his life. A unique reality of life today is that modern travel and communication has brought the world together as never before. Through the internet people communicate with each other from the most distant places possible. Internet communication comes not only through E. Mail but through internet telephone service that has made calling inexpensive. More than a telephone call, people can use Skype and other video services, to have face to face contact with one another without leaving their office or home. Several years ago, I received an E. Mail inquiry from someone in George…the former soviet state and now an independent country. I was startled when he told me that he wanted to see me about couples counseling for him and his girlfriend. The appointment was made with information about my address, etc. I was even more startled when he and his girlfriend appeared for the session. Speaking perfect English and with only the slightest of accents, they told me about their problems. Several weeks later they flew back to Georgia. This is the paradox of today. The fact that modern technology has brought the world close together, that very close proximity has spurred fear and hatred. This fear of anyone foreign is irrational and dangerous. Yet, in a time of great anxiety about the world’s economy and acts of terrorism, it’s important that everyone resist the appeal of demagogues who want to prey upon our worst nightmares. It is too easy, as it always has been in troubled times, to pick a scapegoat and use them as a target for all of our frustrations. This is not healthy and can lead to dreadful consequences.
APA, no date
(The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members, “Managing traumatic stress: coping with terrorism”, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/terrorism.aspx, ak.)
Terrorism threatens a society by instilling fear and helplessness in its citizens. It seeks to hold a society or government hostage by fear of destruction and harm. When terrorist acts occur, people generally look for ways to cope with the acute stress and trauma. Terrorism evokes a fundamental fear of helplessness. The violent actions are random, unprovoked and intentional, and often are targeted at defenseless citizens. Trying to cope with the irrational information that is beyond normal comprehension can set off a chain of psychological events culminating in feelings of fear, helplessness, vulnerability and grief. Xenophobia — fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners — can be heightened under a terrorist threat and can become a social and psychological danger. The fear generated by terrorism can be exacerbated by a population's diversity if there is distrust between groups, categories and classification of citizens.