The Latest: Feds monitor anti-Muslim sentiment after attack

7 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Analysis: President prods Congress to act on gun reforms.

The US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, has described allegations of unlawful detention at Chicago’s Homan Square police facility as “extremely important”, in the first official acknowledgement by the US Justice Department that the off-the-books interrogation warehouse may pose constitutional concerns.

WASHINGTON — President Obama sought to do more than soothe the frayed nerves of American citizens after last week’s apparent ISIS-inspired attack in San Bernardino.A former U.S. congressman has launched a tirade of hate-filled abuse against Muslims in a Facebook rant in which he branded Islam ‘evil’ and a ‘cancer.’ Walsh also directed his xenophobic attack towards U.S.

The nation’s top law enforcement official also warned that a new federal investigation into racial bias in Chicago police department practices could be expanded to include the treatment of prisoners at the facility, if more information were to come to light. Some conservatives criticized Lynch for her comments to a Muslim civil rights group, where she lamented “the ability of people to issue hateful speech of all types from the anonymity of a screen.” Speaking to a Muslim Advocates dinner in Arlington, Va., Lynch affirmed that “this is a country that is based upon free speech.” However, she went on to suggest that the Justice Department would “take action” when such speech “edges towards violence, when we see the potential to lift…that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric.” First Amendment precedents generally protect speech, even hateful speech, from punishment unless the comments are intended to incite direct action against specific individuals or in a specific place. “We always have a concern when we see the rhetoric rising against any particular group in America, that it might inspire others to violent action — and that violent action is what we would have to deal with,” Lynch told journalists at Justice Department headquarters. He also prodded a gun control-resistant Congress to act. “What could possibly be the argument to allow a terror suspect to buy an automatic weapon?” Obama said, just days after congressional Republicans blocked bills in both houses that would have expanded online and gun show background checks as well as barred anyone on federal terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms or explosives. “We need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons, like the ones that were used in San Bernardino. A transparency lawsuit brought by the Guardian revealed last month that more than 7,000 detainees had been “disappeared” at Homan Square – most held without access to lawyers or notification of their presence at the secretive facility. She also urged Americans “not to give into fear” in the wake of the apparent terrorist attack in California. “So, [what] we’re focused on, obviously, is protecting all of the people under the ambit of the Department of Justice.” In an interview Sunday about the San Bernardino shootings that killed 14 people, Lynch said she was “not sure” which ideology the San Bernardino shooters were driven by.

Nearly 6,000 of those held between August 2004 and June 2015 were black, but only 68 were allowed access to attorneys or a public notice of their whereabouts, according to obtained internal police records. However, hours later in an Oval Office address, President Barack Obama discussed the shootings and the need for the U.S. to “destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant group. This sometimes irritates many in the governing class, who imagine their lives would be smooth and easy, the skies would be blue and there would never be a discouraging word, if they didn’t have to put up with criticism from their fellow Americans who do not understand how great their leaders are.

My message to not just the Muslim community but to the entire American community is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.” According to Politico, Lynch also “touted the Justice Department’s work investigating anti-Muslim hate crimes and advocating for Muslim communities whose efforts to build or expand mosques have been stymied by local opposition.” This is all fairly expected stuff for an AG to tell a minority American population that has been maligned and abused for years over the actions of a few motivated radicals, and the resulting unhinged blubbering of the more paranoid, revanchist members of the majority. Free speech confuses certain recent immigrants, too, who came to these shores from places where speech is anything but free, and saying the wrong thing can even be fatal.

There is a cancer in Islam, and if they’re not going to learn to assimilate, I don’t want them in this country.’ Walsh, a conservative talk show host rants on: ‘Here, I’ll give you a perfect opportunity. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said that too many law-abiding Americans are mistakenly on terror watch lists, and should not lose their Second Amendment rights. The inquiry follows the delayed release of dashcam video of the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, a teenager who was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke.

The address comes in the middle of a heated presidential race in which Republican White House hopefuls have said Obama’s policies have made the country less safe from terrorist attacks. Lynch also acknowledged Monday that in an effort to calm the nerves of worried Americans, she and her colleagues have been departing from the Justice Department’s usual practice of being tight-lipped about the findings of investigations where no criminal charges have been leveled.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence began running ads showing clips of terrorist social media videos urging recruits to exploit gun law loopholes by purchasing automatic assault rifles and other firearms at gun shows, calling it “a golden opportunity.” “If Congress continues to do nothing … this issue is a time bomb waiting to explode,” said the group’s president, Dan Gross. “Congress will have to answer as to why it did nothing about it.” Congress also is likely to see a proposal to restore controversial National Security Agency bulk collection powers that were cut earlier this year amid privacy concerns about Americans’ phone records. Republican presidential candidate Lindsay Graham said Obama has been “overwhelmed by radical Islam” during an appearance on “Meet the Press,” adding, “He doesn’t have a strategy to destroy ISIL.” Graham said that what he wants to hear from the President Sunday night is “that he’s going to change his strategy and come up with a regional army to go in and destroy the caliphate in Raqqa, Syria; that he’s going to abandon what is not working.” Republican presidential candidates have blamed Obama for not aggressively linking the California shootings to ISIS-like ideology, something Obama spoke about Saturday in his weekly address. “It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror,” he said. “And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years – the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies. But if you listen to the right-wing media, you’d have thought Lynch announced she would put anyone whose angry anti-Muslim rhetoric results in a hate crime into a FEMA-run re-education camp.

Miss Lynch promised she would take “aggressive action” against anyone who uses “anti-Muslim rhetoric” that “edges toward violence.” Saying rude and impolite things about Muslims is not a nice thing to do. Fourteen Americans were killed three days ago… and you say you’re greatest fear is an anti-Muslim backlash?’ ‘They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted. Republicans, however, have remained steadfast in their opposition to modifying gun laws, placing the blame instead on Obama’s policies to combat terrorism. So, we’re trying to keep people informed, while also maintain the integrity of investigative techniques and the like, so you do have us talking about this investigation more than we can talk about others,” she said. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pledged to reinstate the NSA’s bulk phone records collection powers, telling NBC News yesterday the NSA’s powers must be “as robust as possible within the constitutional limits.”

Nor is there any event too small to keep even the biggest has-beens on the right from rushing to their keyboards to puff their chests out and impress us all with their macho posturing. If someone moves beyond robust and disrespectful speech to make credible threats against Muslims or anyone else the attorney general has a sworn responsibility to protect them from those who would do bad things. Farook and his wife later died in a fierce gun battle with authorities several hours after their commando-style assault on the gathering of Farook’s colleagues from San Bernardino County’s health department. A special shout-out goes to George Pataki, who is literally a bleached cow skull on a fencepost running for president, who found the most cynical way possible to garner attention in the crowded Republican presidential field. She told a dinner of Muslim activists that her “greatest fear” is the “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric” and she promised to prosecute those she thinks are guilty of speech inspiring violence. “When we talk about the First Amendment,” she told them, “we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American.

Whenever Republicans bemoan the rise of Donald Trump, I want to point them to this outrage-spewing right-wing media complex that they have spent 40 years building, nurturing, and mining for voters. An African-American attorney general working for the nation’s first African-American president telling a non-white minority that she will uphold laws that, theoretically, apply to all Americans should be a moment of pride for everyone.

If that bothers you, prosecute me.’ He also posted remarks accompanying his video, which have been viewed more than 110,000 times as of Saturday evening, which said that ‘most Muslims around the world are terrorists, support terrorism and/or support Sharia Law.’ He wrote: ‘Any Muslim that is a terrorist or supports terrorism should be killed. It is an effort by good people to try and live up to the promises of equality in the founding documents that this country has failed to live up to time and time and time again. Instead, it gets cheapened and spat on by charlatans who are either too dumb to understand context or too cynical to admit that they do. (I know which one I’d bet on.) This would all be fine if we were talking about the fringe of the GOP. But while George Pataki might be polling so low that he could drop out of the race and hardly anyone would even notice, the idea animating his tweet is to get himself some attention from the nativist balls of seething anger that have kept Donald Trump aloft for almost six months. It would be nice if there was a counterweight to this xenophobia in the Republican ranks that was doing well in the polls or taking over the ranks in Congress or state legislatures, because at least it would offer some hope that we’ll have a functional two-party system again one day.

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