NYPD Muslim Surveillance and Mosque Infiltration Exposed

On the heels of a court deciding the New York City police department’s stop-and-frisk program violates constitutional search and seizure limitations, the Associated Press reports the NYPD has for years engaged in the infiltration of mosques and and the large-scale, dragnet surveillance of Muslims. It appears this Muslim surveillance program, like the stop-and-frisk program, does not require a credible determination of probable cause that the people targeted are engaged in unlawful activities. The AP story begins with the following revelation of the scope of the surveillance program:

The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

For the Back to School List—Military Recruiter Opt Out Form

While shopping for pens, notebooks, or a backpack, don’t forget to consider adding one more item to your back to school list—a military recruiter opt out form. All government school systems and most private schools that receive education funding from the United Stated government are required to provide to military recruiters high school students’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers, plus any additional information about the students provided to colleges or prospective employers. The only way to prevent the sharing of this information is for a student or parent to opt out of the disclosure.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Hundreds Protest NH Police Chief’s Tank Request

The Concord Monitor reports that hundreds of people came to the Concord, New Hampshire city council meeting Monday night to protest Concord Police Chief John Duval’s ongoing effort to obtain a Lenco BearCat G3 armored vehicle for the town’s police department.

BearCat opposition at the meeting was overwhelming. The Concord Monitor notes that most of the dozens of people speaking during two hours of public testimony opposed acquisition of the tank-like armored vehicle, while outside hundreds of people, including Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire supporters, “played drums, chanted and held signs identifying themselves as citizens, neighbors and taxpayers.” To justify the need for the armored vehicle, Duval’s initial grant application suggested Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire supporters are terrorists.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Washington Gay Policy Push Counterproductive in Russia

Americans upset over a new Russian law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors” should think twice before calling on the United States government to help their cause. That is the message of Stephen F. Cohen, a professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University who expresses sympathy with gay rights movements but skepticism of US government action to advance such movements in Russia. As a guest on National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm Show on Monday, Cohen made astute comments regarding the situation. Here is my transcription of Cohen’s comments, which you can hear him present in the discussion that starts at 33:40 in the show:

It’s an odious law. But, first, gay folks in Russia will have to achieve full rights on their own. No outside country or power can do this for them. In fact, Western intervention on this will make the problem for gays in Russia worse because it will fuse it with nationalism, which is already the main rising force in Russia.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

NH Police Chief: I Need Tanks to Fight the Free State Project!

Mother Jones reports that Concord, NH Police Chief John Duval has backed off his outlandish suggestion that his police department needs a Lenco Bearcat G3 to fend off the terrorism threat posed by the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire. Duval had made the claim in his application for a $250,000-plus grant to purchase the armored vehicle that Free State Project President Carla Gericke simply calls a tank.

Of course, Duval still wants his Bearcat nonetheless—even if he does have to amend his application. You see, several other New Hampshire police departments already have the armored vehicle, the Bearcat looks really neat in the advert video with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” playing. And, somebody else is willing to pay for it! Nothing moves the demand curve like “it’s free”.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Does Washington Post Purchase Create Spooky Conflict of Interest?

Everyone is talking about Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’s recent purchase of the Washington Post. Less noticed is the conflict of interest between his ownership of the Post and Amazon’s potentially significant profits from computing and data storage contracts with numerous US government agencies including the CIA. The question is whether the newspaper will be able to even-handedly report on the US government despite Bezos’s financial interest in US government contracts.

Though not as well known as its retail sales business, Amazon is a big player in data storage and cloud computing. GCN reports that Amazon’s cloud services arm Amazon Web Services is the “largest hosting company in the world” and has more than 300 government agencies as customers.

Among Amazon’s more recent government contracts is a 10 year, $600 million contract to build private cloud services inside CIA data centers.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

President José Mujica Versus the United Nations

Uruguay’s President José Mujica is standing up to United Nations bureaucrats at the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) who are chastising Uruguay for advancing legislation that will allow the legal growth, sale, and purchase of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Mujica plans to defend his nation’s marijuana law reform in a speech before the UN General Assembly in September. For a preview, read here excerpts from Mujica’s Thursday radio address to Uruguayans after the marijuana reform law passed in Uruguay’s lower house of congress.

In 2011, the INCB similarly chastised Bolivia for withdrawing from the 1961 United Nations Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs so Bolivia could rejoin the convention with a reservation protecting the traditional use of coca leaves in the nation. Later, Bolivian President Evo Morales defended before a UN anti-drug meeting in May 2012 his nation’s choice to respect what he called “a millennia-old tradition in Bolivia.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

James Comey Won’t Improve the FBI

Expect business as usual at the FBI after Monday’s Senate confirmation of James B. Comey, Jr. to be the Bureau’s new director. Comey had previously served as George W. Bush’s Deputy Attorney General. Every indication is that Comey will lead the FBI in the same trajectory it has traveled under Director Robert S. Mueller’s leadership since September 2001—a trajectory the American Civil Liberties Union outlines as dangerous to liberty in the succinct report “The Ten Most Disturbing Things You Should Know About the FBI Since 9/11.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The Rise of SWAT

In a KERA Radio interview this week, investigative reporter Radley Balko provides an informative overview of the the history of police SWAT teams in the United States. Balko addresses factors that have contributed to the rise of SWAT including the war on drugs, civil asset forfeiture, joint task forces, and the providing of US government grants and surplus military equipment to state and local police.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.