Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Trump image of immigrants as a terrorist threat

Kate Brannen at Just Security (More Info Needed on Travel Ban’s Claim that 300 Refugees Under Counterterrorism Investigations 03/06/2017) has an update on the demagogic claims that the Trump Family Business Administration is making about "criminal aliens" to justify their mass deportation program that is primarily aimed at Latinos residents in the US.

A key point is that being investigated for something at all terrorism-related is not at all the same as being charged, much less convicted. And as Brannon writes, "It goes without saying that just because there is an investigation, that does not mean terrorist activity has been established."

... Faiza [Patel] notes that it’s important to know whether the word “investigation” is actually referring to an “assessment” or a full investigation. “An assessment is an early stage investigation which does not require suspicion of criminal activity, but rather can be started by an agent with an ‘authorized purpose,'” Faiza says. “The overwhelming majority of assessments do not result in full investigations — not surprising because they are not based on facts.”

This New York Times article from 2011 shows that from December 2008 to March 2009, only 3.7 percent of 11,667 assessments led to full investigations.

The number of investigations leading to successful prosecutions is even smaller. According to Justice Department statistics, there were 580 terrorism and terrorism-related convictions from Sept 11, 2001 through the end 2014. That’s roughly 41 to 42 per year, so about 10 percent of full investigations lead to a conviction (assuming the numbers obtained by the NYT are representative of the rate at which investigations lead to convictions).

Also of note is the fact that terrorism-related suspicions can cover a broad category of offenses, including immigration violations, according to Faiza. “These may have started as terrorism investigations, but we cannot know whether they actually have anything to do with terrorism.”

Andrew Lindsay analyzed the information on immigrants and terrorism last month for the Brennan Center in What the Data Tells Us About Immigration and Terrorism 02/17/2017, reminding us that many of the actual "terrorism" convictions since 2001 have been FBI stings, some of very dubious quality:

For example, Laguerre Payen is one of four convicted in a Newburgh, NY sting operation made infamous by an HBO documentary. An FBI informant recruited James Cromite, a low-level drug dealer and offered him $250,000 to recruit three other Muslims and carry out an attack. The informant recruited Payen, a homeless crack addict and paranoid schizophrenic. When told of a trip to Florida as reward, Payen said he could not go because he had no passport. He hardly posed the type of threat on which the government should expend resources.

Another example is Patrick Abraham, one of five convicted in a Miami sting operation. An FBI informant targeted a group of poor African-American and Haitian men, offering them $50,000 to join a terror plot. Subsequently, the informant recorded Abraham and the other men pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda. The group, dubbed the Liberty City 7, was not even Muslim, but a sect of the Moorish Science Temple that called itself the “Seas of David.” According to Mother Jones, the men were financially strapped misfits who operated out of a warehouse, where they had no weapons save a ceremonial sword. They were clearly misguided in seeking support from a purported member of a terrorist group but not, as the government asserts, domestic al-Qaeda operatives intent on, much less capable of, committing harm to the United States.
"Relying on raw and undifferentiated data," he writes, "serves to obfuscate rather than assist the development of an effective response" to terrorism.

And there's this: Fahgim Abeb and Rod Nordland, Afghans Who Worked for U.S. Are Told Not to Apply for Visas, Advocates Say New York Times 03/10/2017.

Officials at the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York said they had learned that as of Thursday, Afghans were being told that applications were no longer being accepted, though the suspension had taken place on March 1. “Our worst fears are proving true,” said Betsy Fisher, the group’s policy director.

Mac McEachin, another official at the organization, said the decision could affect the 2,500 soldiers of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division who might be deployed to Syria. “Now that the world has seen how we turn our backs on our Afghan allies, there is almost no chance that local allies in Syria will be inclined to work with us,” he said.

American military officials are also requesting an increase in troops deployed to Afghanistan.
Does anyone in this Administration know what they're doing except for hustling sweetheart deals for the family business?

No comments: