Recently, the Center for Constitutional Rights held a press conference, hosting lawyers Steve Downs and Kathy Manley of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. Based in Albany, NCPCF’s mission is to educate the public about ongoing civil and political freedoms eroding, while police commit abuses both in society and to prisoners in jails.
Downs and Manley released the first report of its kind, “Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution” in conjunction with Project SALAM (Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims). The report discusses the impact of the War on Terror, which has been preying on the weakness and fear of the American people, and specifically the use of preemptive prosecution, defined as “a law enforcement strategy, adopted after 9/11, to target and prosecute individuals or organizations whose beliefs, ideology, or religious affiliations raise security concerns for the government.”
Inventing Terrorists reveals the stunning fact that only 4 of 399 individuals tried for terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11 were found guilty of a crime. The remaining 395 were found guilty of “preemptive” crimes. Inventing terrorists: a movement of creationism, and a “charade designed to make the American people believe that a terrorist army is loose in the U.S… the truth is… most of the people convicted of terrorism-related crimes pose no danger to the U.S. and were entrapped by a preventive strategy known as preemptive prosecution.”
Listen to an interview with Kathy Manley, one of the authors of “Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution.”
Downs and Manley, who defended Yassin Aref, an imam from Albany who was entrapped by an FBI informant, have persuaded the FBI to tape their interviews in subsequent cases. This new development is some change. If police insist on interviewing witnesses, maybe roughing him or her up, there will be evidence. Though still a long road to fight, with drones, surveillance, Guantanamo, and secrecy; should a snag be hit along the way, no more can we be told there’s “no tape” or evidence of coercion of testimony.
According to Chris Hedges, “preemptive prosecution mocks domestic law as readily as preemptive war mocks international law”. Well put, I thought. We are now living in a society where prior to the publishing of “Inventing Terrorists”, maybe we had to carry a copy of the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to prevent ourselves from being arrested!!? I suppose now we have a choice, this new publication, or the old.
Overt discrimination as existed during Southern Slavery, morphing into the version existing today, or that which developed out of the 9/11 tragedy towards Muslims, is awful! It does not seem to be improving. Police feel blatantly justified to throw their power around, unnecessarily. The word “TERRORISM” is used so frequently, my gut curdles; I wonder if anyone truly knows what it means. Look at the number of people in our prisons. There is no mistake black and brown people comprise the majority of these individuals. The Government has a clear agenda and is set to target specific individuals. Americans have become Terrorists, at home and away. If more people don’t start becoming aware, the government is going to continue get away with it ad infinitum in the land of the “free.”