Bloomberg Says Spying On Muslims OK Because ‘We Go After The Terrorists’ – OpEd
By Paul Woodward - War in Context
In a press conference earlier this week, when New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg took challenging questions from reporters on the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance program, Bloomberg seemed to think that those posing the questions must be taking their own freedom for granted.
Remind yourself when you turn off the light tonight, you have your job because there are young men and women who have been giving their lives overseas for the last 200 plus years so that we would have freedom of the press. And we go after the terrorists. We are going to continue to do that and the same thing is true for the people that work on the streets of our cities.
So those reporters who whine about getting arrested while trying to cover Occupy Wall Street, or who suspect that the NYPD might be infringing on the constitutional rights of American Muslims, need to shut up. They should understand that they wouldn’t have the freedom to be asking these questions if it wasn’t for the NYPD. Got that?!
The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports:
The report was stamped top secret.
Inside was a confidential dossier compiled by the New York Police Department documenting “locations of concern” in Newark – all of the city’s 44 mosques, Muslim-owned restaurants and businesses and Islamic religious schools.
In 2007, the NYPD began an undercover spy operation within New Jersey’s largest city to find and document areas where Muslims lived, worked and prayed.
Today, city officials and many of those targeted voiced anger at the disclosures, which came in the wake of an Associated Press report showing that a secret NYPD surveillance program aimed at Muslims had extended throughout the Northeast.
“I have deep concerns and I am very disturbed that this might have been surveillance that was based on no more than religious affiliation,” Mayor Cory Booker said.
Booker said he had been unaware of the undercover work and the Newark Police Department – which had been contacted by the NYPD early on – had not been involved in any joint operations.
“What we are discovering appears to be an NYPD operation in our city that involved the blanket surveillance of Newark residents and workers based solely on the religion of those individuals,” he said. “If this is indeed what transpired, it is, I believe, a clear infringement on the core liberties of our citizenry.”
Separately, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey immediately demanded a further investigation by the state Attorney General.
“These actions represent a violation of the public trust and raise red flags about religious discrimination and targeting by law enforcement,” ACLU-NJ executive director Deborah Jacobs said in a statement.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the New York Police Department has been methodically compiling data on the region’s Muslim populations, infiltrating mosques and student groups and building profiles of local ethnic groups.
But new reports on the extent of that surveillance operation revealed the NYPD had been operating well outside its jurisdiction, cataloging Muslim communities on Long Island and elsewhere and monitoring Muslim college students across the region.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has strongly defended his department.
“The police department goes where there are allegations. And they look to see whether those allegations are true,” he told reporters earlier this week. “That’s what you’d expect them to do. That’s what you’d want them to do. Remind yourself when you turn out the light tonight.”
In Newark, the NYPD apparently catalogued every mosque and Muslim-owned business in the city – from fried-chicken joints to houses of worship located in private homes.