Waging War at Home and Abroad While Pledging Peace - by Stephen Lendman
Promising peace on May 19, Obama wages war against Middle East/North African and Central Asian states, as well as Muslim Americans at home. Earlier articles explained they've:
-- been targeted;
-- hunted down;
-- bogusly entrapped by stings, false evidence or other means;
-- rounded up;
-- held in detention;
-- kept in isolation;
-- denied bail;
-- restricted in their right to counsel;
-- tried on secret evidence;
-- convicted on bogus charges;
-- given long sentences; and
-- incarcerated for extra harsh treatment as political prisoners in supermax confinement or segregated Communication Management Units (CMUs).
In fact, they violate US Prison Bureau regulations, stipulating that "staff shall not discriminate against inmates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political belief (including) administrative decisions (involving) access to work, housing and programs."
Moreover, the Supreme Court's February 2005 Johnson V. California decision prohibited segregating prisoners by race, national origin, or language, citing 14th Amendment protections against racial discrimination.
Nonetheless, post-9/11, Muslims have been vilified for their faith, ethnicity, activism, prominence, and, in the case of the Holy Land Foundation, charity. Bogusly, however, they were called a terrorist group and shut down, its principles given long prison terms for providing legitimate financial and other assistance, not aid to global terror groups.
Imam Amin Abdul Latif understands well. Recently, without explanation, he was removed from a plane with his son, also an Iman, despite having cleared security. Angrily he responded:
"I've never experienced anything like that before, that level of humiliation and disrespect. Never in my life! As an American citizen, you expect more. The whole idea of freedom of religion - that's what we pride ourselves over. As Americans, we pride ourselves! Now, we (no longer can) take pride. You single out a group of people (for their faith). This is just horrible."
Ironically, he and his son were headed for an Islamophobia conference.
More serious are bogus indictments, charging innocent men and women with terrorism, conspiracy to commit it, and related offenses. Two Queens, NY men, both Muslims, are likely victims, Ahmed Ferhani and Mohammed Mamdou, charged with planning to bomb synagogues in Manhattan.
On May 12, New York Times writers William Rashbaum and Al Baker headlined, "Suspects in Terror Case Wanted to Kill Jews, Officials Say," both writers implying prosecutorial credibility by their inflammatory headline, saying:
According to New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly, their ambitions didn't end there, expressing an interest also "in blowing up the Empire State Building."
Earlier, innocent men and women were charged with alleged plots against various New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Times Square, Kennedy Airport, and the Empire State Building.
Others were falsely accused of plots against US soldiers at Fort Dix, NJ, marines at Quantico, VA, National Guard jets with stinger missiles, Pakistan's ambassador with a surface-to-air missile, an armed forces recruiting station, and other just as preposterous targets. All charges were bogus. Some, in fact, were dropped from indictments. All were to stoke fear and enlist public support for the fake war on terror, filling prison cells with innocent Muslims to do it.
On May 13, Ferhani and Mamdou were arraigned before Judge Melissa C. Jackson in Manhattan's State Supreme Court on conspiracy, hate crimes, weapons possession, and terrorism. According to prosecutor Margaret Gandy:
"The seriousness of this crime is considerable," adding that investigators had convincing, undisclosed evidence. Both men were held without bail. Neither one entered a formal plea, but lawyers said their clients denied wrongdoing.
The previous day, at a City Hall press conference, commissioner Kelly, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. said both men wanted to kill Jews and considered blowing up churches.
Of course, authorities will say anything to incite fear and get convictions, leaving no one safe in today's environment, no matter how pristine pure.
According to Vance:
"They conspired and took concrete steps to blow up synagogues and churches to advance (their) ideological goals and to possess and use illegal firearms and explosives. They did it for jihad, something they referred simply to as the cause, which meant the violence and armed fight against Israel, Jews and other non-Muslims and the West....He was committed to violent jihad, and his plans became bigger and more violent with each passing week."
However, according to Ferhani's father, his son was falsely accused, saying:
"He's a very good kid....He has a very good heart, but if somebody tries tries to tell him something, he always believes it." As for the charges, he added: "Bomb a synagogue? That's not my son....he's not a religious fanatic."
A seven-month long New York city police sting, in fact, entrapped the men. This occurs when law enforcement officials or agents induce, influence, or provoke crimes that otherwise wouldn't be committed. However, it doesn't apply in cases of willingness to act lawlessly, government merely aiding, abetting, or facilitating a good chance to do so.
Entrapment involves the following:
-- government officials or agents initiated the idea;
-- individuals were persuaded to act; and
-- they had no previous intent or willingness to do so.
Key is that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that subjects weren't entrapped. Otherwise, due process convictions are prohibited, though judicial fairness seldom occurs in cases involving anyone for political reasons, especially Muslims.
If convicted, Ferhani and Mamdou face potential life sentences, most likely on false charges.
FBI Charges Six South Florida Muslims
On May 14, New York Times writer Dan Van Natta headlined, "Florida Men Accused of Supporting Pakistani Taliban," saying:
"Six people, including two Imams at South Florida mosques, have been indicted on federal charges of providing financial support and encouraging violence by the Pakistani Taliban, the United States attorney here announced Saturday."
Charged were Hafiz Mumammed Sher Ali Khan, an elderly Miami Mosque Imam, known as the Flagler Mosque, Miami's oldest. Others accused included:
-- Izhar Khan, Mumammed's son, an Imam at Margate, FL's Jamaat Al-Mumineen Mosque;
-- Irfan Khan, another son;
-- Ali Rehman (aka Faisal Ali Rehman);
-- Alam Zeb; and
-- Amina Khan (Amina Bibi).
Rehman, Zeb, and Amina Khan reside in Pakistan. The others are in South Florida. Amina is Mumammed's daughter. Alam is his grandson.
Another son, Ikram, called the arrests "ridiculous," saying:
"They can do anything they want in America. They want to scare more people."
Accused of providing material support to a terrorist organization, the Taliban, Ikram explained that his father sent money to a Pakistan madrasa (a school) for charitable purposes only, adding:
"It only does good things for people, and it only does the right thing....None of my family supports the Taliban. We support this country."
According to Rafiq Mahdi, a Fort Lauderdale, FL Imam:
"I have not heard anything or know anything that would lead me to think" these charges are legitimate. "I think as Imams here in the United States, we are keenly aware of the scrutiny that we are receiving. We have a big job to combat the prejudice that has been focused on Islam and Muslims in this country. We have to be careful," as a result.
There are "many of our immigrant brothers who (may) be sending money to family members for charitable purposes and that can possibly be misconstrued."
In other words, six more Muslims were falsely accused of what they didn't do and don't support. Nonetheless, on May 14, a Department of Justice press release headlined, "Six Individuals Charged for Providing Material Support to the Pakistani Taliban," saying:
The four-count indictment charged all six "defendants (with) conspiring to provide and providing material support to a conspiracy to murder, maim, and kidnap persons overseas, as well as conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically the Pakistani Taliban."
Two individuals were arrested in South Florida, another in Los Angeles. The others are at large in Pakistan. All are Pakistani natives.
According to US Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer:
"Despite being an Imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace," though no evidence corroborates DOJ charges against any of those accused.
In later 2008, US banks noticed financial transactions to Pakistan accounts. The FBI was notified. Supposedly they wiretapped phone conversations about transferring funds to Pakistani insurgents for planned assaults against US interests there and in Afghanistan.
Since 9/11, hundreds of innocent Muslims have been bogusly accused of other terror plots, including conspiring with overseas terrorists.
After pleading innocent at a May 16 Federal District Court hearing, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan's lawyer, Khurrum Wahid, asked community members not to prejudge his client, saying:
"The public may have preconceived notions. I would ask the public to keep an open mind, and remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in this country."
Moreover, Khan family relatives and friends asserted that all money sent to Pakistan was to help indigent people as well as to provide charitable support for a madrasa.
According to Fort Laudedale lawyer Victor Comras:
"The key difficulty in prosecuting (these type) cases is proving that the contribution was made 'knowingly' " for purposes other than those claimed. In previous cases, he explained, prosecutors have struggled to prove intent without clear evidence.
However, prosecutors often manipulate alleged evidence to convince juries of terrorist connections and intent. Secret evidence is also used. As a result, innocent victims are wrongfully charged and convicted.
In a post-9/11 climate of fear, it's the wrong time to be Muslim in America. As a result, federal prisons are filled with them for political advantage, not for alleged wrongdoing.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.