Privacy SOS

This is what a surveillance state looks like

Thanks to the Associated Press, we now have a glimpse of how the New York Police Department marshals its massive intelligence gathering capacity to place a religious community under siege. 

The target: New York’s Shi’a population, estimated to be 35,000 strong (8,500 of whom are believed to be Iranian). 

The motive: rising tensions with Iran and the potential for war. 

The recommended action: mobilizing 10 different components of the NYPD to detect and counter potential terrorist threats.

The May 2006 strategic report made public by the Associated Press outlines activity to be undertaken by the Terrorist Interdiction Unit, the Leads Investigation Unit, the Priority Targeting Section, the Intelligence Analytical Unit, the Demographics Unit, Field Intelligence Officers, the Citywide Debriefing Team, the Cyber Unit, the Strategic Intelligence Unit and the Liaison Unit. As the drum of war with Iran beats ever louder, the NYPD’s vast surveillance army must be on red alert.

The document, US-Iran Conflict: The Threat to New York City, lists the mosques and other organizations to be targeted, and draws particular attention to the Alavi Foundation which it claims is "using its Islamic Centers as a means of penetrating the Black Muslim community to recruit sympathizers."

It sees Palestinians as a potential danger and refers to a New York Sun report that some 50 – 100 Hamas and Hezbollah agents had infiltrated the United States. But it gives a pass to the MEK – the Iranian opposition group promoted by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former Homeland Security head Tom Ridge although it is on the State Department’s terrorism list. The NYPD surveillance units are not expected to confine their snooping to the City’s perimeters since, the report states, "rural jurisdictions surrounding New York City provide atmospheres conducive to the covert planning and preparation of a terrorist attack."

We now know that for nearly six years the NYPD intelligence division has been conditioned to regard the City’s Shi’a residents, the Black Muslims they might have seduced as "sympathizers" and Sunni Palestinians as an enemy within.

We also know that all Muslims are regarded as suspects by many in the New York Police Department.

A Brennan Center for Justice FOIA has revealed that the viciously Islamophobic film The Third Jihad was shown on a "continuous loop" within the NYPD and viewed by "68 lieutenants, 159 sergeants, 31 detectives and 1,231 patrol officers." Its message?  The "true agenda" of Islam is "to infiltrate and dominate America….This is the war you don’t know about."

Is the NYPD preparing for war with all Muslims, as well as Iran?

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.