Phone and email records to be stored in new spy plan
Details of every phone call and text message, email traffic and websites visited online are to be stored in a series of vast databases under new Government anti-terror plans.
By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
9:00PM GMT 18 Feb 2012
Landline and mobile phone companies and broadband providers will be ordered to store the data for a year and make it available to the security services under the scheme.
The databases would not record the contents of calls, texts or emails but the numbers or email addresses of who they are sent and received by.
For the first time, the security services will have widespread access to information about who has been communicating with each other on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Direct messages between subscribers to websites such as Twitter would also be stored, as well as communications between players in online video games.
The Home Office is understood to have begun negotiations with internet companies in the last two months over the plan, which could be officially announced as early as May.
It is certain to cause controversy over civil liberties - but also raise concerns over the security of the records.
Access to such information would be highly prized by hackers and could be exploited to send spam email and texts. Details of which websites people visit could also be exploited for commercial gain.
The plan has been drawn up on the advice of MI5, the home security service, MI6, which operates abroad, and GCHQ, the Government’s “listening post” responsible for monitoring communications.
Rather than the Government holding the information centrally, companies including BT, Sky, Virgin Media, Vodafone and O2 would have to keep the records themselves.
Under the scheme the security services would be granted “real time” access to phone and internet records of people they want to put under surveillance, as well as the ability to reconstruct their movements through the information stored in the databases.
The system would track “who, when and where” of each message, allowing extremely close surveillance.
Mobile phone records of calls and texts show within yards where a call was made or a message was sent, while emails and internet browsing histories can be matched to a computer’s “IP address”, which can be used to locate where it was sent.
The scheme is a revised version of a plan drawn up by the Labour government which would have created a central database of all the information.
The idea of a central database was later dropped in favour of a scheme requiring communications providers to store the details at the taxpayers’ expense.
But the whole idea was cancelled amid severe criticisms of the number of public bodies which could access the data, which as well as the security services, included local councils and quangos, totalling 653 public sector organisations.
Labour shelved the project - known as the Intercept Modernisation Programme - in November 2009 after a consultation showed it had little public support.
Only one third of respondents backed the plan and half said they feared the scheme lacked safeguards and technical rigour to protect highly sensitive information.
At the same time the Conservatives criticised Labour’s “reckless” record on privacy.
A called Reversing the Rise of the Surveillance State by Dominic Grieve, then shadow home secretary and now Attorney General, published in 2009, said a Tory government would collect fewer personal details which would be held by “specific authorities on a need-to-know basis only”.
But the security services have now won a battle to have the scheme revived because of their concern over the ability of terrorists to avoid conventional surveillance through modern technology.
They can make use of phone tapping but their ability to monitor email traffic and text messages is limited.
They are known to have lobbied Theresa May, the Home Secretary, strongly for the scheme. Their move comes ahead of the London Olympics, which they fear will be a major target for terror attacks, and amid a climate of concern about terrorists’ use of the internet.
It has been highlighted by a number of attacks carried out after radicalisation took place through websites, including the stabbing by a young Muslim woman of an MP at his constituency surgery.
Sources said ministers are planning to allocate legislative time to the new spy programme, called the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), in the Queen’s Speech in May.
Though not exactly 'current', I think this belongs here:
The Plot to Bring Down Britain's Planes
Today on Channel 4 from 9:00pm to 10:30pm
Documentary showing the inside story of the UK's largest and most dangerous surveillance operation. In 2006, a group of young British men from Walthamstow in East London planned to blow up multiple US airliners leaving Heathrow with explosives disguised as soft drinks. If successful, it would have been the worst terror attack since 9/11, potentially killing over 2000 people and crippling the world aviation industry.
Over the summer of 2006, with the investigation spreading from the streets of East London to Al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan, the British authorities faced a nerve-shredding race trying to gather enough evidence to make arrests before the terrorists could launch their attacks. The film reveals the friction between the US and UK authorities, and how premature arrests threw the planned operation into jeopardy. Featuring first-time interviews with officers from Counter Terrorism Command, plus members of the British government and the CIA.
First, the US State Department offered up to $33 million for help in catching the leaders of radical Islamist group Shabab, which controls much of Somalia. But Shabab has made a counter-proposal: a bounty of 10 camels for Barack Obama.
On Thursday, the State Department said that Shabab “is responsible for the killing of thousands of Somali civilians, Somali peace activists, international aid workers, journalists and African Union peacekeepers.” Individual rewards were offered for tip-offs about various leaders depending on their seniority, with the founder Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed valued at $7 million.
The group has claimed responsibility for mass suicide bombings and prides itself on its connections with Al-Qaeda.
It was, therefore, no surprise that Shabab was defiant in the face of a new US manhunt.
"I can assure you that these kind of things will never dissuade us from continuing the holy war against them," posted Fuad Mohamed Khalaf (bounty: $5 million) on a propagandist website.
He then referred to an incident in Koran, when a bounty of 100 camels was offered on the prophet Mohammed. The US President was then priced at one tenth of that.
Perhaps reflecting Shabab’s view of women, Hillary Clinton fetched an even lower reward: “10 hens and 10 roosters.”
Despite the fighting words, Shabab has suffered a series of setbacks in its quest to turn Somalia into an Islamist land. A coalition of the government, the African Union and Ethiopian troops has recaptured several key settlements and bases from the hardline Islamists since the turn of the year.
BBC News Magazine. By Tara McKelvey. 1 October 2013.
Al-Qaeda's standards for membership have slipped. The organisation is admitting a new generation of members - and expanding its reach.
Osama Bin Laden did not want the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab to join the al-Qaeda network. He criticised their leaders in a letter that was found in Abbottabad after he was killed in 2011, implying that they imposed unduly harsh penalties on "those whose offences are ambiguous".
Al-Qaeda's new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is less concerned with al-Shabab's shortcomings. Less than a year after Bin Laden's death, Zawahiri welcomed al-Shabab into the fold.
"He thought it would extend the reach," says Richard Barnett, the former co-ordinator of the al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team at the United Nations.
The induction of al-Shabab shows a new style of al-Qaeda leadership. Zawahiri and his cohorts are more accommodating - and also more ambitious in their scope - than their predecessors.
"They've franchised themselves out," says Daniel Green, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Leah Farrell, a former Australian Federal Police intelligence analyst, says: "If you add in affiliates and franchises and branches, then al-Qaeda's bigger now than it ever has been."
The reason for the admission of new members is simple. "Vintage al-Qaeda," she says, describing Zawahiri and his cohorts, have not carried out a major attack on Westerners in years.
For that reason, al-Qaeda leaders are turning to other ways to maintain their place on the global stage - and are less strict about admissions requirements.
On 21 September, al-Shabab launched its attack on Nairobi's Westgate mall, killing more than 60 people. The brutal nature of the attack ensured that al-Qaeda would remain in the news for some time.
Meanwhile, another al-Qaeda-affiliated group has taken control of a border town in Syria. Its leaders are not the only ones who want to carry the al-Qaeda banner.
Militants in Indonesia and other countries have been trying to get the attention of Zawahiri. "They're essentially waving their little hands about and saying, 'Please can we join?'" says Farrell.
Militants want to join because they know their organisation will be transformed by their affiliation with al-Qaeda.
"What's in a name? A hell of a lot," says Barnett.
For many militants, the name al-Qaeda conveys a sense of "purity", he explains. "It says that you're not corrupt and that you're ruthless." Membership in the club has other consequences, too.
"You get a lot of street cred," Green says. "But you also know that with the designation comes your likely death."
More than 1,600 militants in Pakistan have been killed by drones over the past nine years, according to a report by the New America Foundation, a think tank based in Washington.
Drone strikes have killed many of al-Qaeda's top leaders. Because of the looser standards for membership in the organisation - and the relatively broad definition of al-Qaeda in a 2011 White House report - al-Qaeda is bigger now than it ever has been.
Besides the "al-Qaeda core" - Zawahiri and his cohorts - the organisation includes a handful of affiliates, explained the American Enterprise Institute's Katherine Zimmerman in a September paper.
These affiliates include al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as al-Shabab.
In addition, al-Qaeda has supporters who do not have formal ties with the organisation.
"There are over 100,000 partisans all around the world who contribute to al-Qaeda's aims and subscribe to its ideology," wrote Noman Benotman and Jonathan Russell in a September paper for the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based counter-extremist think tank.
Zawahiri has made it easier for militant groups to become part of the al-Qaeda franchise. Yet joining the network still takes time - at least a year, explains Farrell.
Militant leaders try to keep their correspondence private. That may mean downloading a document on to a thumb drive and giving it to someone - who will then transport it to a courier in Pakistan.
"That person will have to get the document to Zawahiri," says Seth Jones, author of Hunting in the Shadows.
Once the militants have established contact, they will begin to work out a partnership.
"The dialogue starts with ideological issues," says Jones. They may talk about "the legitimacy of attacks or the goals of a specific group".
Once terms have been worked out, Zawahiri will announce that the militant organisation has become part of al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda remains notorious for its grisly attacks on subways, shopping malls and other places. Yet at the same time, the organisation continues to draw people into its fold.
Zawahiri says that Western authorities will never succeed in wiping them out, according to Barnett. Al-Qaeda is more than an organisation, he explains, "it is an idea".
"All the efforts have been about destroying the structure without dealing with why people join," says Barnett.
The power of al-Qaeda to attract new members testifies to its enduring quality - and shows the challenges Western officials face when trying to tamp down its threat.
Adam Joseph Bartsch (Photo by Nashville Police Department)Adam Joseph Bartsch (Photo by Nashville Police Department)
A federal air marshal was arrested after being accused of snapping cellphone photographs underneath women’s skirts and dresses as they boarded a flight in Nashville, TN on Thursday.
The 28-year-old marshal, Adam Joseph Bartsch, of Rockville, MD, was charged with disorderly conduct by police. He admitted to the crime, known colloquially as 'upskirting', and has been relieved of his duties while the Transportation Security Administration considers whether to suspend or terminate his employment.
"(The TSA) does not tolerate that sort of criminal behavior," said Michael Pascarella, spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service, which is overseen by the TSA, to the Associated Press.
According to the police, Bartsch was on duty when a witness realized he was taking photos of women as they walked by. When the witness brought this to the attention of a flight attendant, airport police were informed and Bartsch was removed from the plane, a Southwest Airlines flight traveling from Nashville to Tampa, FL.
"We removed a passenger from Flight No. 3132 from Nashville to Tampa prior to departure due to a Customer concern that was brought to our attention," Southwest said in a statement to NBC News. "We turned the matter over to local law enforcement, and the passenger did not travel as scheduled."
Bartsch is scheduled to appear in court on November 14.
CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds
Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes
The Guardian. Sarah Boseley, health editor. 4 November 2013
Doctors and psychologists working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA to become involved in the torture and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has concluded.
The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health professionals working with the military and intelligence services "designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees".
Medical professionals were in effect told that their ethical mantra "first do no harm" did not apply, because they were not treating people who were ill.
The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation and force-feeding.
The two-year review by the 19-member taskforce, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, supported by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations, says that the DoD termed those involved in interrogation "safety officers" rather than doctors. Doctors and nurses were required to participate in the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike, against the rules of the World Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Doctors and psychologists working for the DoD were required to breach patient confidentiality and share what they knew of the prisoner's physical and psychological condition with interrogators and were used as interrogators themselves. They also failed to comply with recommendations from the army surgeon general on reporting abuse of detainees.
The CIA's office of medical services played a critical role in advising the justice department that "enhanced interrogation" methods, such as extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.
Although the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at Guantánamo Bay in recent years, and the CIA has said it no longer has suspects in detention, the taskforce says that these "changed roles for health professionals and anaemic ethical standards" remain.
"The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm regardless of where they serve," said Dr Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University and member of the taskforce.
He added: "It's clear that in the name of national security the military trumped that covenant, and physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and practice. We have a responsibility to make sure this never happens again."The taskforce says that unethical practices by medical personnel, required by the military, continue today. The DoD "continues to follow policies that undermine standards of professional conduct" for interrogation, hunger strikes, and reporting abuse. Protocols have been issued requiring doctors and nurses to participate in the force-feeding of detainees, including forced extensive bodily restraints for up to two hours twice a day.
Doctors are still required to give interrogators access to medical and psychological information about detainees which they can use to exert pressure on them. Detainees are not permitted to receive treatment for the distress caused by their torture.
"Putting on a uniform does not and should not abrogate the fundamental principles of medical professionalism," said IMAP president David Rothman. "'Do no harm' and 'put patient interest first' must apply to all physicians regardless of where they practise."The taskforce wants a full investigation into the involvement of the medical profession in detention centres. It is also calling for publication of the Senate intelligence committee's inquiry into CIA practices and wants rules to ensure doctors and psychiatrists working for the military are allowed to abide by the ethical obligations of their profession; they should be prohibited from taking part in interrogation, sharing information from detainees' medical records with interrogators, or participating in force-feeding, and they should be required to report abuse of detainees.
A wheelchair-bound Canadian woman was denied entry to the United States this week because she was previously diagnosed with clinical depression. Now she wants to know why the US Department of Homeland Security had her medical history on file.
The Toronto Star’s Valerie Haunch reported on Thursday that 50-year-old author Ellen Richardson was turned away from the city’s Pearson Airport three days earlier after DHS officials said she lacked the necessary medical clearance to cross into the US.
“I was turned away, I was told, because I had a hospitalization in the summer of 2012 for clinical depression,’’ Richardson told the Star.
The woman, who has been paraplegic since an unsuccessful suicide attempt in 2001, was planning to fly to New York City to start a 10-day Caribbean cruisein collaboration with a March of Dimes group, and had already invested around $6,000 into the trip, she told the paper.
“I was so aghast. I was saying, ‘I don’t understand this. What is the problem?’ I was so looking forward to getting away . . . I’d even brought a little string of Christmas lights I was going to string up in the cabin. . . . It’s not like I can just book again right away," she said.
But according to what American officials told her, it would take the permission of US government-approved doctor and around $500 in fees in order to enter the country. Richardson soon left the airport defeated, but only afterward did she begin to raise questions about what the DHS knew about her.
"It really hit me later — that it's quite stunning they have that information,” she told CBC.
Richardson said she has been on numerous cruises since 2001, and traveled through the US for all of them. Only this week, however, did the DHS cite the June 2012 hospital stay, spawning questions about how much personal information American officials hold on foreign persons.
According to Richardson, the border agent told her that the US Immigration and Nationality Act allows the government to deny entry to anyone with a physical or mental disorder that may pose a “threat to the property, safety or welfare,” and that her “mental illness episode’’ from last year warranted extra attention.
“The incident in 2012 was hospitalization for depression. Police were not involved,’’ her attorney, David McGhee, told the Star, adding that he approached Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews as well “to tell me if she’s aware of any provincial or federal authority to allow US authorities to have access to our medical records.”
“Medical records are supposed to be strictly confidential,” McGhee said.
"We don't know how deep the connection is between US customs" and Canadian authorities, Richardson’s member of Parliament, Mike Sullivan, told CBC. With her story quickly going viral, however, others hope to soon find out the full scope of the data being managed by the DHS.
“This is scary,” MPP France Gelinas told the Star for a follow-up published Friday morning. “They got access to information that should never have been accessible to anyone.”
“Canadians must be assured that their personal records are kept confidential, as intended,” Sullivan added to Hauch’s latest report.
As RT reported previously, employees of the DHS’ Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, have access to huge databases, both federally and privately run, which contain information on travelers including tax ID numbers, past itineraries and even physical characteristics. As for hospital visits in other countries, however, Richardson and others generally expect that information to be not on file.
According to Star reporter Jack Lakey, an Ontario health ministry official said Thursday that US authorities “do not have access to medical or other health records for Ontarians travelling to the US.”
“If the province didn’t knowingly hand over the information, it only leaves the federal government as the source, possibly in some kind of information sharing agreement with the US that we aren’t supposed to know about,” Lakey speculated. “Given its recently revealed complicity in allowing the U.S. to spy on G8 and G20 leaders when they gathered here in 2010, it is no stretch to believe Ottawa is also playing ball with them on this.”
A US government contractor claims his life turned into a thriller worthy of Hollywood after Google auto-completed his search to reference bomb-making. The man lost his job and is suing top Washington brass, from the CIA head to the Secretary of State.
Jeffrey Kantor claims that Google incorrectly auto-completed his web search: “How do I build a radio controlled airplane” into “How do I build a radio controlled bomb.” This was back in 2009 when he was innocently browsing the internet, in search of an unconventional present for his son's birthday.
After the ill-fated query, which turned the man looking to surprise his son into a prospective terrorist, Kantor claims to have become a victim of the government's vicious campaign of harassment.
At the time of the incident Kantor worked for a government contractor, the Appian Corporation, a software company which built Army Knowledge Online (AKO), "the world's largest intranet" service for the US Army. It supports over 2.2 million Army, Department of Defense and other military users.
According to the complaint cited by Courthouse News, he was visited at work by government investigators who adopted a "good cop/bad cop" approach when communicating with Kantor. Mr Kantor says in his complaint that the "bad cop" allegedly made "anti-Semitic comments repeatedly over the course of five months”.
He alleges government officials also monitored his book purchases and home computer; on top of this, they secretly attached a GPS antenna to his car to track him.
Meanwhile, his coworkers would allegedly "repeat back Kantor's private information, including emails, websites he went to, library books he got from the library, conversations he made in his house or in his car, phone calls, information about the contents of his house…"
According to Kantor, these conversations were camouflaged death threats which he took to the Anti-Defamation League, but received no help whatsoever. On the contrary, he claims, the move only provoked more threats from the government, as well as a stream of never-ending harassment at work.
"If Kantor ever got angry after his private information was repeated back (by slamming a cabinet or typing loudly on his computer), the [subcontractor] CRGT and Northrop Grumman employees would tell the same story about how there was a neighbor in their community who seemed like such a nice guy, but then went on a murder suicide," the complaint stated.
Eventually, Kantor was fired from Appian, but allegedly received the same treatment in other firms he worked for.
He is suing the crème de la crème of US government officials, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as his former employer, Appian.
He is seeking $13.8 million in compensatory damages and $45 million in punitive damages for alleged civil rights violations and disclosure of private information. His suit also urges the federal court to order the government to stop stalking him.
Yes. I know of someone who has a psychotic episode triggered by a number of things, including a difficult situation professionally. She began by thinking that her bosses were reading her work emails, which was quite possible, even probable. In fairly short order this turned into her bosses trying to kill her and sending her subliminal messages through the TV. This chap's story reminds me a little of hers.
The Google way with cookies & algorithms probably means that, depending on your previous choices, the auto-complete function will attempt to calculate its results pre-emptively. It does the same thing with adverts.
So, as I have said before, when you've finished a session, always dump your cookies.
An Arabic language student was told he cannot sue two FBI agents and three TSA agents for a 2009 incident in which he was held at Philadelphia International Airport for carrying flashcards and a book which were critical of US policy in the Middle East.
Nicholas George was traveling from his home in suburban Philadelphia back to school at Pomona College in California in August 2009 when agents found flashcards containing translations for “bomb” and “terrorist” in his possession. He was then apprehended.
The college senior explained that he was in possession of the cards because they were study material. He had an interest in Middle East politics and intended to take a Foreign Service exam in the coming months.
“I want to serve my country using my Arabic language,” he told CNN after the incident. “And it seems crazy to me that for that I was arrested and treated like a criminal.”
He was kept for five hours; two of which were spent handcuffed at the airport police station. George, who was 22 at the time, was released after two agents from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force spent 30 minutes asking whether he was a member of a “pro-Islamic” or “communist” group. They also sought to determine whether he had met “anyone in his travels who was overtly against the US government.”
“They asked me why I had those words. I told them honestly because I had been trying to read Arabic news media, especially Al-Jazeera, and these are words that come up when you read the news about the Middle East,” George said.
George's lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), asserted that the agents had violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights by violating his freedom of speech and conducting an illegal search and seizure.
Neither TSA nor the FBI disagreed with George's claims, including the assertion that agents scrubbed his cell phone for explosive residue and found no evidence.
A district judge disagreed with the agents' claim that they were immune from a lawsuit because they were trying to protect national security. However, a US Court of Appeals overturned that decision in a ruling issued Tuesday.
“It is simply not reasonable to require TSA officials to turn a blind eye to someone trying to board an airplane carrying Arabic-English flashcards with words such as 'bomb,' 'to kill,' etc.,” wrote Chief Judge Theodore McKee in the three-judge panel's decision. “Rather, basic common sense would allow those officials to take reasonable and minimally intrusive steps to inquire into the potential passenger's motivations.”
The court admitted that George had the right to carry the cards and deemed the arrest by TSA officials “at the outer boundary” of constitutional protection under the Fourth Amendment. The judges also said that “much of the concern had dissipated” when the agents found that George was unarmed. However, the search was still allowed to take place after that information was revealed.
“Suspicion remained, and that suspicion was objectively reasonable given the realities and perils of air passenger safety,” the ruling said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “In a world where air passenger safety must contend with such nuanced threats as attempts to convert underwear into bombs and shoes into incendiary devices, we think that the brief detention that followed the initial administrative search of George was reasonable.”
Ben Wizner, an attorney at the ACLU, told CNN that the government has consistently failed to explain why Arabic flashcards would rouse suspicion.
“Nick doesn't object and we don't object to the fact that he was searched closely, that his belongings were scrutinized,” Wizner said in 2010. “But once that's done, there's absolutely no justification for handcuffing him and locking him in a cell for several hours.”
Arun Kundnani will be taking part in a number of events across the UK to talk about his new book. See below for further details.
Jameel Scott thought he was exercising his rights when he went to challenge an Israeli official's lecture at Manchester University. But the teenager's presence at the protest with fellow socialists made him the subject of police surveillance for the next two years. Counterterrorism agents visited his parents, his relatives, his school. They asked him for activists' names and told him not to attend demonstrations. They called his mother and told her to move the family to another neighborhood. Although he doesn't identify as Muslim, Jameel had become another face of the presumed 'homegrown' terrorist.
The new front in the War on Terror is the 'homegrown enemy,' people who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across the UK. Domestic surveillance has mushroomed - at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly under scrutiny. British police compiled a secret suspect list of more than 8,000 al-Qaeda 'sympathisers,' and in another operation included almost 300 children fifteen and under among the potential extremists investigated. MI5 doubled in size in just five years. However, the official accounts of ‘radicalization’ and ‘extremism’ that underpin these policies fail to grasp the real causes of political violence. Furthermore, public debate has ignored the impacts of such surveillance on ‘suspect communities’ targeted - especially young Muslims.
Based on several years of research and reportage, in locations across the US and the UK, and written in engrossing, precise prose, this is the first comprehensive critique of counterradicalization strategies. Arun Kundnani looks at the root of our domestic anti-terror policies to expose the anxiety, intolerance, and racism that inform them.
ARUN KUNDNANI is an Adjunct Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and teaches terrorism studies at John Jay College. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Leiden University, Netherlands, an Open Society Fellow, and the Editor of the journal Race and Class. He is the author of The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain. He lives in New York.
March 4th, University of Huddersfield<http://www.versobooks.com/events/838-the-muslims-are-coming-islamophobia-extremism-and-the-domestic-war-on-terror>
“An important and moving investigation of the costs of the ‘war on terror’ for those who have been its targets, including the thousands of innocent Muslims who have been infiltrated, entrapped, and surveilled in the search for the radicalized terrorist among us. Kundnani gives eloquent voice to the communities that have been regulated, watched, and silenced by the national security state.” David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism
“A bold new look at the much discussed issue of surveillance, documenting how it impacts the communities most affected - American and British Muslims. With incisive reporting from across the US and the UK, combined with trenchant analysis, Arun Kundnani captures what it feels like to be a ‘suspect population.’” Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire
“This timely and urgent analysis carefully examines the ideologies and law enforcement strategies that undergird the domestic War on Terror. What Kundnani finds is disturbing: sweeping, specious radicalization theory and racialized assumptions about the nature of Islam drive domestic counterterrorism practices. This has had devastating consequences for the rights and liberties of Muslims and the state of constitutional protections in the US and UK.” Jeanne Theoharis, author of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
“An incisive, scholarly, bold, and convincing critique of the never-ending ‘War on Terror,’ whose roots extend far beyond the tragedy of 9/11. An important work.” Wajahat Ali, cohost of Al Jazeera America's The Stream and author of The Domestic Crusaders
Hardback Original | March 2014 | ISBN: 9781781681596 | £14.99 | $26.95 | $32.00CAN | 327 pages
?Alic Aida alert? US holiday ruined for French woman with tricky name
A French woman intending to vacation in New York with her husband and two children was reportedly banned from boarding her flight because of her name--which sounds, if pronounced incorrectly, just like the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda.
The holidaymakers, Aida Alic and her family, were on their way for a 10-day trip to the USA last Wednesday when their plans suddenly got ruined.
“Madam, you’re blacklisted,” Alic was told at the Swiss International Air Lines check-in desk at the Geneva airport. The company’s official explained that they received a notice from American Immigration Service saying that the woman was banned from entering the territory of the United States, French daily Le Dauphiné Libéré reported.
“At first I thought it was a joke, but then I realized that our trip was fizzled out,” said Alic, a resident of the Savoie region in south-eastern France. “To be on a blacklist like a terrorist, you become paranoid,” the 33-year-old added.
Alic called the American Consulate in Lyon, but got no explanation over the ban, according to Europe 1.
She could only think of one reason – her name. In her French passport it is written with Alic being on the first line and Aida on the second, which altogether makes it sound almost like the terrorist organization founded by Osama Bin Laden.
“Alic Aida, Al Qaeda,” she said, adding that in fact, her name – which is of Yugoslav origin – should be pronounced as “Alitch” rather than “Alik”.
Anyway, the holiday plan was ruined and Alic – having her French manicure with the American flag painted on her nails – had nothing to do but postpone seeing the Statue of Liberty for an indefinite time.
As a result of the incident, the French family lost 2,700 euros that they paid for the tickets as such cases are not covered by insurance, noted RIA Novosti.
The United States has hundreds of thousands of Americans and foreigners on its terrorist watchlist system. Those secretly blacklisted have no realistic path to challenge their status. However, there is one known case when a Malaysian woman had been able to clear her name after nine years legal fighting with the US Department of Homeland Security. http://rt.com/news/154968-french-woman-qaeda-banned/
How the war on terror criminalises ordinary people
It is now accepted that the war on terror has generated an extensive repertoire of its very own terror. Drone strikes resulting in extrajudicial killings, rendition and torture – zones of exception like Guantanamo Bay come to mind, as does Britain's complicity in extraordinary rendition and torture.
Then there are the normalised, everyday forms of terror operational in Britain that rarely register as state-sanctioned violence because they are understood to keep us safe. This includes MI5 and police raids without charge, compulsory schedule 7 detention and questioning and stop and search of communities made suspect.
Even less visible than state violence is the global regime of targeted sanctions against non-state armed actors and those even indirectly connected to them. UN Security Council Resolution 1373 requires states to establish their own domestic banning regimes in order to criminalise the support and financing for terrorism. Variously referred to as "blacklisting", "banning" or "proscription", the designation of organisations and individuals as terrorist has been under scrutiny for bearing all the hallmarks of authoritarian dictatorships.
These forms of "lawfare", including the Terrorism Act 2000 (UK), criminalise diverse forms of association and support, without requiring intentional acts of violence against civilians. This creates serious consequences for many diaspora in the UK – including Tamils, Kurds, Baluch and Palestinians – who remain connected to armed struggles for self-determination by virtue of being a people with a shared historical and political culture.
Terrorist listing makes no distinction between armed conflicts and terrorism. Worse, listing transforms diverse armed conflicts into terrorism in spite of whether armed groups are fighting an authoritarian regime or responding to state terror. Clearly, many non-state armed groups have terrorised and killed civilians and breached the laws of war. But by labelling non-state actors as a priori terrorists, the political claims of non-state actors, and the root causes of armed conflicts, are denied and diverse forms of state terror are legitimated as "counter-terrorism".
This effect has been described by international legal jurist Antonio Cassese as institutionalised violence. Banning organisations is a tool of British foreign policy which functions as institutionalised state violence in three key ways: firstly by denying the application of international law and principles of self-determination; secondly, by foreclosing opportunities for peaceful settlement of conflict; and thirdly, by legitimating and facilitating state terror and repressions and in some cases the war crimes of other states. ... http://phys.org/news/2014-05-war-terror ... eople.html