Sunday, September 25, 2011

When terrorists were Irish Catholics...

Reading stories like this really pisses me off.
NEW YORK -- For several weeks, the Associated Press has reported extensively on the New York Police Department’s secret surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods, including a lengthy report Thursday about an initiative specifically targeting Moroccans where they eat, shop and pray.

New York’s top tabloids, however, aren't applauding the AP’s dogged reporting in the face of early denials from the police department. Instead, they've given support to the NYPD's just-revealed methods for monitoring Muslims.

“The Associated Press has added, unintentionally, to its flattering profile of the NYPD’s anti-terror squad with a report on how a first-rate intelligence unit does business,” the Daily News editorial board wrote Friday.

The editors argued that "to AP's intrepid, if not obsessed, reporters, these basic and benign measures are a scandal." However, the editors continued, “they just don't get it, and, with the exception of the most knee-jerk civil liberties activists, they are essentially alone in not getting that the NYPD is valuably scoping out the who, what and where of neighborhoods by observing little more than activities in public view.”
Let's consider what's going on here. The NYPD, in cahoots with the CIA, has begun investigating Muslims for the simple act of being Muslims. These aren't people who are suspected to be terrorists, these are people who show up to their houses of worship to pray. This is patently unconstitutional, f'ing insane, but because they're Muslims, not only is little being done about it, but all too many people in the country cheer this kind of crap with glee. Most others, including the mainstream media, just don't seem to care.

Let's set the record straight. When Irish Catholics were the best known terrorists in the West and there was legitimate fear in the streets of one of our nation's biggest and most important allies -- people that blew up and maimed god knows how many UK citizens, and killed at least one US citizen -- we obeyed our constitutional obligations, including due process, and didn't resort to something like allowing the NYPD to spy on US citizens who just so happened to be Irish Catholics, who went to mass at Irish Catholic churches in NYC. We even did this knowing that there were sympathizers and those who would directly aid the Irish Republican Army in the US, including someone who now sits in the US Congress. Why? Because we are a nation of laws!

Now that our country is most concerned about extremist terrorists who just so happen to be Muslims, everything's changed. Because they're Muslims -- because they're different from "us" in the view of most Americans -- apparently, it's somehow become okay to ignore constitutional rights obligations, to count them as something less than human.

Well, that sort of thinking disgusts me. Muslims in this country are entitled to ALL the same legal protections, including our constitutionally-guaranteed rights to due process. If we ignore these rights for Muslims, it won't be long before we ignore them for people who are friends with Muslims, and then it won't be long before we ignore them for everyone. As Benjamin Franklin is often attributed for saying, he who sacrifices liberty for security deserves neither.

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