What Could Possibly Go Wrong?…

Law enforcement agencies have long relied on turning petty criminals into informants. Low-level drug dealers… petty burglars… people attempting to travel while Muslim:

Awais Sajjad, a lawful permanent U.S. resident living in the New York area, learned he was on the no-fly list in September 2012 after he tried to board a flight to Pakistan at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was turned back.

At the airport, FBI agents questioned Sajjad, a Muslim, before releasing him. But they later returned with an offer. In exchange for working for them, the FBI could provide him with U.S. citizenship and compensation. The FBI, the agents reminded Sajjad, also had the power to decide who was on the no-fly list.

When he refused, the FBI agents “kept him on the list in order to pressure and coerce Mr. Sajjad to sacrifice his constitutionally-protected rights,” according to an amended lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in New York.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Sajjad and three other men, accuses the United States of violating their rights by placing or keeping them on the no-fly list after they declined to spy on local Muslim communities in New York, New Jersey and Nebraska…

In 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit alleging that the FBI tried to turn Nagib Ali Ghaleb, a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived in San Francisco, into an informant. He was prevented from returning home from Yemen but was later told he could fly if he became an FBI informant in the Yemeni community in California. A court decision is expected soon on whether his right to due process was violated.

But unlike in the ACLU lawsuit, Kassem said, “this cases advances for the first time the unprecedented question about whether the FBI can infringe on their First Amendment rights by retaliating against them for not becoming informants.” …

Somewhere in Hell, Osama bin Laden does a little victory dance.






48 replies
  1. 1
    sparrow says:

    This kind of thing boils my blood. Plain violations of the law, and “maybe” these guys will win a court case. It should be a slam-dunk! And what the fuck, FBI? You know who’s way more of a threat these days? The freaking Bundy nuts who are actually DRAWING WEAPONS ON FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. Oh but wait those are white “christians” so doesn’t matter.

    Fucking sick of this shit.

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    To make the delicious omelette of Western freedom you have to crack a few eggs of Eastern people with no power.

    /from The Collected Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld.

  3. 3
    🌷 Martin says:

    In other good news, Georgia says you can finally bring your gun up to the TSA area, but not beyond. Since tarmac employees are outside the TSA area, I take it they can legally bring guns out on the tarmac?

  4. 4
    gratuitous says:

    And while the FBI pursues this, how many folks are gathering the weapons and ammo for a little shooting spree? Folks the FBI has known about for years, but doesn’t dare touch for some reason that’s totally not racist? Meanwhile a casual little abuse of power means someone with a funny-sounding name can just forget about boarding a plane anytime soon.

  5. 5
    muddy says:

    @🌷 Martin: That’s excellent. Bring them right up to the bottle-neck, and kill the most people at once. Like fish in a barrel.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    Ministerium für Staatssicherheit. this is savoring winning the cold war, right?

  7. 7
    burnspbesq says:

    @sparrow:

    Plain violations of the law,

    Of what law, specifically?

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    @🌷 Martin: Deal signed the bill in Ellijay, Ga, an area known for its active klan community. The AJC showed him with different ethnicity behind him when he signed the bill, but the picture of the audience showed a different make-up.

  9. 9
    PaulW says:

    Who ever knew that converting our nation into a war-footing police state would become rife with corruption and abuse?

    Oh, right, our modern history of the 1910s Palmer Raiders, the 1940s Japanese internment, the 1950s Red Scare, the COINTELPRO thing and having Hoover wiretap everybody in the civil rights movement, etc.

    The no-fly list has been an embarrassment from Day One, a terrible over-reaction to something that could have been resolved with better intel and footwork rather than relying on the laziest ass cheap thing to do. It’s been 1) rife with errors, 2) rife with abuse, 3) lacking effective oversight and resolution of errors, 4) more trouble than it’s worth.

    Just get rid of the damn thing. We have other ways of keeping our airways safe.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T, but not really, since it’s in keeping with the thread title: Governor Deal signed a bill today which allows people in Georgia to carry guns in churches, bars, and some government buildings.

    Guns in bars. What could possibly go wrong!?

    ETA: Also, what Martin and JPL said while I was typing and looking for a link.

  11. 11
    🌷 Martin says:

    @burnspbesq: That seems to be a recurring problem with the no-fly list – a lack of common sense laws surrounding its use. For example, how to get your name off the damn thing.

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I can’t decide whether to say “Darwin weeps” or “Darwin laughs.”

  13. 13

    Also OT: Former Paul Ryan intern gets 30 mo in prison for cyberstalking.

    The judge agreed that working on the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich seemed to be Savader’s “breaking point.”

  14. 14
    J.Ty says:

    Fucking FBI. Hoover’s rot ran deep.

  15. 15
    Sloegin says:

    Nice freedom of travel you have there Mr Muslim person. It would be a pity if anything should accidentally happen to it.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    @BGinCHI: Felons aren’t allowed to register guns, but if they use a gun to stand their ground, it’s okay. If a felon brings a gun to a church, there is a hundred dollar fine, so all is good.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    The judge agreed that working on the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich seemed to be Savader’s “breaking point.”

    I could see something like that breaking a person – assuming, of course, that the kind of person who would work for Newt wasn’t already broken.

  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    @sparrow:
    Remember Professor Rahinah Ibrahim and her lawsuit against the US government? Here are the Techdirt stories on her, in case your blood hasn’t boiled enough.

  19. 19
    J.Ty says:

    @PaulW: There’s an apocryphal story, probably a joke gone mutant, about some revolutionary/environmental/gay rights/whatever groups that consisted almost entirely of undercover FBI agents during the COINTELPRO era.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    @ranchandsyrup: He used the Newt defense, how clever.

  21. 21

    @Omnes Omnibus: he surrounded himself with some of the “best” that conservatives have to offer. Pauly Ryan, Newtie, Helmet-haired Calista. Color me surprised that he ended up a barely-self aware prisoner. hoocouldanode?

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    In other good news, Georgia says you can finally bring your gun up to the TSA area, but not beyond.

    Well, it’s not like anyone could ever cause harm in the TSA area, right? It’s so far-fetched to think that such a thing could ever happen.

    Oh, wait, I forgot — if the LAX shooter had thought that other people might have guns, he never would have brought a gun! Because armed citizens are always a better deterrent than armed police officers.

  23. 23

    @JPL: The twinkie defense for the 21st century. Newt is filled with toxic goo and has a much longer shelf life than one would imagine.

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @ranchandsyrup: How interesting that the linked article never mentions that he was (according to reports at the time of his arrest) Paul Ryan’s sole intern during the 2012 campaign. Wouldn’t that be a little more pertinent to report than his having worked for Team Gingrich?

    EDIT: Phrased that badly. Article never mentions Ryan at all.

  25. 25
    scav says:

    Here might be the next thing the sweaty daddy followers might swoon over, Russia: Swearing in films banned by lower house

    The measure would impose fines for swearing in films, plays, concerts and shows, the Itar-Tass news agency reports. In addition, members of the public could face penalties of up to 2,500 roubles (£42; $70) for swearing in public and officials would have to pay double.

    Next stop the upper house and then the bear-wrestler will stage an event with a pen (it apparently joins another existing ban). The very model of FRRRREEEEEDDUUUMMM we are supposed to aspire to, da?

    GSD there are crazies flopping out everywhere.

  26. 26
    David in NY says:

    Great documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in NY, “The Newburgh Sting,” about, well, the Newburgh sting, http://tribecafilm.com/filmgui.....urgh-sting, manufacturing terrorists out of down-and-out black men: offering them rewards of hundreds of thousands of dollars to “do nothing” and putting Stinger missiles in their hands (which of course we should fear they would have gotten hold of by themselves) — requiring that they be sentenced to 25 years in prison. Last showing on Friday night (rush tickets only, but looked like they had been available at last Sunday’s showing).

    The movie is particularly good on the FBI’s appalling treatment of Muslim mosques, hardly any (maybe none) of which has been found involved in terrorism, several of which have ejected radical members (and informed the FBI, which didn’t follow up), and at least one of which called the FBI to investigate a member who was, you guessed it, an FBI agent provocateur. The FBI claims to be trying to establish good relations with Muslims, but as the main post shows, that’s pretty much BS.

    I believe the documentary has been picked up by HBO and will show July 21. Really worth seeing.

  27. 27

    @SiubhanDuinne: Good catch! The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver is still teflon coated.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: This is from the WSJ, A psychologist says Savader has bipolar disorder. Barbara Kirwin says he suffered a breakdown after working for the presidential campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

  29. 29
    JPL says:

    double post… Most articles are citing AP and I can’t find one that includes the entire statement from the judge, although it’s possible, the judge only mentioned Newt.

  30. 30
    Golgaronok says:

    @J.Ty: an updated version of The Man Who Was Thursday, perhaps?

  31. 31
    J.Ty says:

    @Golgaronok: Perhaps. Nice link! (Well, I read the wikipedia summary, but still.)

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    @David in NY:

    The Muslim community has been so hyperactive in trying to distance itself from radicals and prove that it’s mostly made up of good citizens that it’s really sickening to see how mainstream society, including the FBI, has mostly reacted by pissing all over them.

    And it’s really a no-fucking-brainer. The notion of immigrants ending up more patriotic than the native-born is an old story, similar to religious converts becoming more Catholic than the Pope. It would be especially true for a demographic like American Muslims who as a whole have done better for themselves here than Muslim communities in, say, Europe. You have a ready made source of supporters there, if you only have the common fucking sense to use it.

    But nope. All Hajjis look alike, and it’s politically correct tyranny to say otherwise.

    ETA: from what I hear of people in the military, they have similar problems there, as does the CIA. They want and badly need translators and experts with the right cultural background, but the paper-pushers with the security clearances make it so near-impossible that they’re still severely understaffed even a decade and change after 9/11.

  33. 33
    J.Ty says:

    @Chris: The military did have that “oops, we fired all the gay linguists” moment in 2007 that AFAIK they still haven’t undone. (And if you know anything about linguists, it should be clear that firing the gay ones will basically destroy the department.)

  34. 34
    Citizen_X says:

    How the fuck* can you keep a US citizen from entering the country?

    *Oops, sorry Mr. Putin.

    @burnspbesq:

    Of what law, specifically?

    Is there any law behind the no-fly list, or is it just make-shit-up-as-we-go-along?

  35. 35
    smintheus says:

    Several years ago I was in touch with the lawyer for a British Muslim prisoner at Gitmo, Bisher al Rawi, since released without charge. He suffered a long imprisonment simply (to judge by every document I saw) because the British govt was determined to force him to become (for a second time) an informant against British Muslims. He had briefly agreed to help put govt agents in touch with a radical imam who was in hiding, and then decided he didn’t want to be their spy any longer. So they began trying to intimidate him; then they prevented him and fellow businessmen from flying to Africa on business, and threatened him some more. Then they allowed him to fly there, immediately had him arrested, handed over to the CIA to be tortured…and when he continued to refuse to play ball with them, they sent him on to a secret prison in Afghanistan to be tortured, and eventually to Gitmo. British agents continued to visit him offering him his freedom if only he would agree to go back to spying.

    These govt @ssholes should be put in prison.

  36. 36
    Patrick says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    O/T, but not really, since it’s in keeping with the thread title: Governor Deal signed a bill today which allows people in Georgia to carry guns in churches,

    Maybe somebody smarter than me can shed some light; why is there a need for a gun in a church? I thought the bible preached “thou shalt not kill” and “turn the other cheek”…

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq: Well, how about the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments?

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Patrick: Um, that’s the hippy-dippy Bible, not the true word of Jeebus, son of Mammon and nephew of Moloch.

  39. 39
    Violet says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Did the law that Governor Deal signed indicate whether it was okay for black people and brown people and Muslims to carry guns into those places? Especially into places mostly frequented by white people? I’m sure all those white people would be just fine with black people opening carrying guns into their churches. Safety first!

  40. 40
    Donut says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Okay, I’ll bite, but let’s re-phrase the question.

    How is this not a violation of his right to due process, specifically the Due Process clause. You’re the fancy law-talkin’ guy, I just have a lowly education in US history, but why don’t you tell us whether this activity by the FBI is taking a bigger shit all over the 5th or 14th Amendments? I’m guessing probably more like 14th, but again, what the fuck do I know?

    Is that clear enough for discussion now, counselor?

    Jesus, you really can over-stick on some things, you know? On occasion lay people do speak colloquially about matters of law on the Internets.

  41. 41
    Jay C says:

    @Patrick:

    why is there a need for a gun in a church?

    Because it’s likely to be the Church Of Second Amendment Jesus – it’s a requirement a la Sikh daggers….

  42. 42
    Donut says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’m guessing 14th myself! W00t!

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @PaulW: A guy I knew was on the no fly list. He was a middle aged white guy with a name something like “John Murphy”, or some other generic Irish name. He was on the no-fly list because of something to do with the IRA but he wasn’t involved with the IRA at all. He said it had basically destroyed his life because he couldn’t fly for work. Couldn’t get any answers from the government as to why he was on the list or how to get off it. The whole thing was a mess.

  44. 44
    Wally Ballou says:

    @Patrick: Hey, you never know when a phalanx of zombie gay socialist feminist Kenyan Chicano Muslim secularist NWO DFHs will come bursting into the nave right in the middle of services to assassinate, incarcerate, or otherwise oppress God’s Own.

  45. 45
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Patrick:

    The law says that you can take your gun into a church only if the church property owner* does not specifically prohibit it. It will be interesting to see which churches say, Sure, fine, let’s all pray ‘n’ pack together, and which churches say, Sorry, not in the Lord’s house.

    I know that the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church (where both MLKs, Sr. and Jr., preached) said they will prohibit guns. My guess is that the huge suburban mega-churches are more likely to be okay with it. I hope some enterprising reporter or academic does a careful survey after the law’s been in place for, say, six months (or after the first totally-an-accident, didn’t-know-the-safety-was-off, haven’t-they-suffered-enough fatality in a place of worship).

    *I haven’t read the legislation. I suppose “property owner” could refer either to the church administration itself, or to the landlord or mortgage-holder, but I don’t know.

  46. 46
    low-tech cyclist says:

    The FBI, the agents reminded Sajjad, also had the power to decide who was on the no-fly list.
    When he refused, the FBI agents “kept him on the list in order to pressure and coerce Mr. Sajjad to sacrifice his constitutionally-protected rights,” according to an amended lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in New York.

    That’s extortion. If Sajiad wins his case, the agents should be prosecuted.

  47. 47
    JustRuss says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Thank you. Can’t believe it took 46 comments before anyone thought of that.

  48. 48
    Glocksman says:

    @JPL:

    Felons aren’t allowed to register guns, but if they use a gun to stand their ground, it’s okay. If a felon brings a gun to a church, there is a hundred dollar fine, so all is good.

    Not good.
    Or good, depending upon your point of view I guess.

    That said, Georgia law notwithstanding, convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms under Federal law.

    Of course the strength of that law depends upon the willingness of the US Attorney to prosecute offenders.
    Surprisingly enough the US Attorney where I live (southwestern Indiana) does prosecute such offenses.

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