|Anthony Freda Art|
By Joe Wright
Earlier in the year a Malaysian woman became the first to successfully contest having been put on the U.S. secretive No-Fly list. In that case, Rahinah Ibrahim, a student at Stanford in 2005, was detained at San Francisco Airport while en route to Kona, Hawaii as part of a Ph.D. program in architecture and design. She was detained, interrogated, then released after two hours, but subsequently ended up on the No-Fly List . . . for 7 years.
After a lengthy battle, it was admitted that a clerical error led to her addition to the list and that, worse still, the government knew early on that it was a mistake and tried to conceal the error. Ibrahim is still battling over the legal fees in that case, which has revealed yet more potential deception on the part of the U.S. government.
It has been suspected that Ibrahim’s victory would have wider ramifications, as it seemed that the “clerical mishap” was a bit too convenient amid the FBI’s “mosque outreach program” involving Bay Area Muslims and Sikhs. (Source)
Naveed Shinwari hasn’t seen his wife in 26 months. He suspects it’s because he refused to become an informant for the FBI.
In February 2012 Shinwari, who has lived in the US since he was 14, flew to Afghanistan to get married. He says that before he could get home to Omaha, Nebraska, he was twice detained and questioned by FBI agents who wanted to know if he knew anything about national security threats. A third FBI visit followed when he got home.
The following month, after Shinwari bought another plane ticket for a temporary job in Connecticut, he couldn’t get a boarding pass. Police told him he had been placed on the US no-fly list, although he had never in his life been accused of breaking any law. Another FBI visit soon followed, with agents wanting to know about the “local Omaha community, did I know anyone who’s a threat”, he says.
“I’m just very frustrated, [and I said] what can I do to clear my name?” recalls Shinwari, 30. “And that’s where it was mentioned to me: you help us, we help you. We know you don’t have a job; we’ll give you money.”
A lawsuit has now been filed against the FBI on Shinwari’s behalf and four other American Muslims who believe they are part of an instititunalized intimidation to become informants based on the imposed travel restrictions of the No-Fly list.
Vice.com returns to the case of Rahinah Ibrahim to show the real reason why she (and her daughter) might have found themselves on the No-Fly list, as well as being entered into the greater Terrorist Screening Database that exists:
She belongs to a women’s economic organisation called Jamaah Islah Malaysia – there have been rumours that the FBI confused this with the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
With such a possible connection, she would have been added to the list as a possible informant, even if she wasn’t concluded to be a direct threat. Vice adds another known case to the list that has spurred a challenge:
Gulet Mohamed, a US citizen of Somali descent, is also currently challenging his placement on a no-fly list. Mohamed has not been charged with any crime, but his placement on the list left him stranded in Kuwait for a month from December 2010 to January 2011. His designation prevented him from flying home. During his confinement, US authorities grilled him about his travels in Somalia and Yemen, but Mohamed denied having contact with militants. Mohamed, then still a teenager, says he was beaten and that federal agents made him an offer of becoming an informant, which he turned down. Ultimately, he was allowed back into the US in January 2011. This January, a federal judge ruled that he had a right to challenge his placement on the list.
The FBI’s use of informants and patsies should underscore the reason why the secrecy of the No-Fly list needs to disappear. The FBI has been known to let informants commit crimes, have been involved with cartels in the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, create terror plots, target activists to inform on one another and even classify prepping as “suspicious activity.” When observed in total, this organization is likely the top U.S. terror group.
And now they are being implicated once again at the heart of a system that has not proven to have found a single terrorist, but has only served to impose widespread terror on innocent Americans and foreigners alike.
Filed on Tuesday night in the US district court for the southern district of New York, the case accuses the US attorney general, Eric Holder, the FBI director, James Comey, the homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, and two dozen FBI agents of creating an atmosphere in which Muslims who are not accused of wrongdoing are forbidden from flying, apparently as leverage to get them snitching on their communities.
All of the familiar suspects.
In light of the many ways that ordinary Americans can be put on terror watch lists, even without getting on an airplane, this latest information is only making it clearer that a culture of fear and suspicion is being purposely cultivated:
Shinwari said his placement on the no-fly list and his dealings with the FBI had a chilling effect. “I don’t want to open up to people any more, or express myself politically or otherwise. It’s definitely had an effect on me participating in my local mosque,” he said.
These are the identical sentiments expressed in the case of the NYPD Demographics Unit:
Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York stated it most aptly: “The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community.”
Before we give in to intimidation, we must win this element of psychological warfare. One major step toward doing that is the realization of who is the true threat to freedom. With the official narrative of the terror threat expanding to include everyone, not just a specific group, we can read these developments as great news. The veil is lifting; without division, there will be nothing left for tyranny to conquer.
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