Over 120 Rights And Religious Groups Join ACLU In Call For DOJ To Investigate NYPD's Surveillance Of Muslims

from the pushing-back dept

Over the last few years, the NYPD's intrusive surveillance of the city's Muslim population has raised many concerns about civil liberty violations while simultaneously failing to turn up much in the way of terrorist plots.

The ACLU has gathered the support of 125 civil rights, religious, racial justice and other community organizations, all of which have signed its letter requesting that the DOJ investigate the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims.

Dear Acting Assistant Attorney General Samuels and Section Chief Smith:

The undersigned civil rights, faith, community, and advocacy groups request that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice commence a prompt investigation under 42 U.S.C. § 14141 into the New York City Police Department’s (“NYPD”) discriminatory surveillance of American Muslim communities.

As shown by the NYPD’s own documents, for over a decade, the Department has engaged in unlawful religious profiling and suspicionless surveillance of Muslims in New York City (and beyond). This surveillance is based on the false and unconstitutional premise, reflected in the NYPD’s published “radicalization” theory, that Muslim religious belief, practices, and community engagement are grounds for law enforcement scrutiny. That is a premise rooted in ignorance and bias: it is wrong and unfairly stigmatizes Muslims, who are a law-abiding, diverse, and integral part of our nation and New York City. Unsurprisingly, the NYPD’s surveillance program has had far-reaching, deeply negative effects on Muslims’ constitutional rights by chilling speech and religious practice and harming religious goals and missions. It has frayed the social fabric of Muslim communities by breeding anxiety, distrust, and fear. The NYPD’s biased policing practices hurt not only Muslims, but all communities who rightfully expect that law enforcement will serve and protect America’s diverse population equally, without discrimination.

Under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 § 210401, the United States Attorney General is authorized to conduct investigations concerning “a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers . . . that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” 42 U.S.C. § 14141(a)...
As we've seen previously, the NYPD has placed blanket surveillance on entire mosques, justifying it with guidelines weakened by a former CIA officer who exploited post-9/11 paranoia to broadly expand the department's surveillance powers and eliminate built-in protection of civil liberties. This surveillance continues to this day despite an NYPD official admitting these programs have yet to generate a single useful lead or investigation.

The ACLU has drawn support across a variety of religious groups, many of which recognize that while the NYPD may be focused on Muslims now, any other religious (or political, activist, etc.) group could be subject to the same intrusive surveillance if a future attack brings with it guilt by association.

If the DOJ follows through, this will be the second time in recent months that it has weighed in on the NYPD's questionable tactics. Back in June, Attorney General Eric Holder filed a brief recommending that if Judge Scheindlin found the department's stop-and-frisk program to be unconstitutional, independent oversight should be appointed to keep the department in line. Sheindlin did find elements of the program unconstitutional and one of the remedies was, indeed, independent oversight.

As was pointed out then, the DOJ's reputation may be terrible, but one of the few areas in which it has been "aggressive and commendable" is its handling of civil rights violations by police departments. Hopefully, this will result in more of the same.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    OldGeezer (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:18pm

    If these "law abiding citizens" were not in this country they would be burning flags and shouting death to America. It was Muslims that brought down the towers and have committed countless other acts of terror. The members of this so called "religion of peace" held massive celebrations when they heard the news on 9/11. They should be infiltrated and kept under investigation.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:28pm

    Re:

    No.

     

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  3.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:38pm

    Re:

    Because all Muslims are extremists, right? How would you feel if you were kept under constant surveillance because a few far right nuts got together and formed militia groups that targeted civilians?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:51pm

    exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    Do you know what paranoia is ?

    funny term you chose there. Perhaps you should understand terms before using them, makes you look like a hack.

     

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  5.  
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    OldGeezer (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re:

    The key words here is a few. Certainly not all Muslims are extremists but in much of the world a good portion of them are. The sleeper cells are in the mosques. When our founding fathers formed our religious freedoms they had no idea that some day people would hide behind it so they could plot to commit mass murder.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're simply wrong.

     

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  7.  
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    Mike Brown (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:05pm

    Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    Based on my reading of this article, I'd say it's clear Tim knows what paranoia is. The question then is, do you?

     

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  8.  
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    Zem, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:20pm

    And the IRA are a group of Catholic terrorists that are known to raise funds in the US. The Oklahoma Bomber was Catholic. I assume you also beleive that Catholics "should be infiltrated and kept under investigation."

    See how easy it is to build up a hate argument, as shallow and false as it may be.

    The one thing government does better than taxes, is after taking the rights away from a minority, they take away those rights from all of us. No one should be subject to this level of surveillance simply because of the religion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:29pm

    Extremist Muslim Holy War

    Notice that this is an extremist segment of the Muslim faith, that engaged in a Jihad against the infidels, therefore it would make sense to look at that religion as the basis for further possible attacks.

    They were not saying the rosemary's when they were flying a flock of planes into American icons.

    So if the 9/11 attacks were 'claimed' to be from Buddhists, who formally declared "WAR" on America, it would make sense to keep a weather eye on that group.

    clearly they are all not extremists or out to blow up Americans, but the ones that are not, would they 'report' those they think might be, or just keep it to themselves ?

    You might consider calling the police if you overheard the person next door building a bomb and talking about blowing up Americans, but does that apply in to all Muslims, or do they 'keep quite' and see what happens.

    It is after all a religious faith that has declared a HOLY WAR against America, it would make sense to watch that particular religion and not others that have not declared a holy war against you.

    And it has nothing to do with the religion itself, it has to do with the motives of some to use that religion for their own gains.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

    Re:

    if the IRA or the Oklahoma Bomber were part of an extremist faction of the Catholic church and a large proportion of the Catholic faith, and committed their acts in the name of "Christ", then YES, it would be appropriate to look at the Catholic church to identify this large sub-group within that faith committing these acts.

    But the IRA does not or did not do acts of terror in the name of Christ, nor did the Oklahoma bomber, IRA wants Irish independence, and who know about the Oklahoma Bomber, but neither of them are a large faction or sub-group that has declared (publicly) their HOLY WAR, based on their religious beliefs.

     

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  11.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    One could also say that when the founding fathers devised the 2nd amendment, they had no idea what weapons would exist over 200 years later.

    We cannot pick and choose to whom freedoms apply. They either apply to everyone or to no one.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

    Re:

    Why don't you go shout at some clouds, old geezer? Most of them cause rainfall and many are involved in hostile storms that damage America. More Americans have been killed by floods and hurricanes than these supposed terrorists you are so afraid of...

     

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  13.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:43pm

    Re:

    "See how easy it is to build up a hate argument, as shallow and false as it may be."

    As a Catholic from Northern Ireland I know all about this. I know how Catholics were treated in the 60s and 70s. This is why I feel sympathy towards the millions of innocent Muslims across the world.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah - and there are no terrorists that call themselves christian - BooYah

    This "NY problem" is systemic, tip of the iceberg - and is not isolated to NY, it goes way beyond anyone's religion and has everything to do with undermining the rights of everyone. Wagging fingers adds nothing to the discussion.

     

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  15.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re:

    I guess you have no complaints about the NSA then?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Extremist Muslim Holy War

    "It is after all a religious faith that has declared a HOLY WAR against America, it would make sense to watch that particular religion and not others that have not declared a holy war against you."

    This is where you lose the point, an entire religious faith has not declared holy war, it is only a minute percentage of people that follow the religion that share those views.

    Do you think it is accurate to say that Christianity has declared a holy war on gay marriage just because some members feel that strongly abou it?

    "And it has nothing to do with the religion itself, it has to do with the motives of some to use that religion for their own gains."

    I think you just did a 180 there, so which is it the religion or the individuls???

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    yes, I do being paranoid is a fear of something that is not going to happen, news break !!!! 9/11 happened !!

    So you see, you cant be paranoid about something that happened !!!

    You can be paranoid and they "they are all out to get me" when in fact, THEY ARE ALL OUT TO GET YOU.

    It not an irrational thought that people are going to try to kill you by flying planes into buildings !!! IT FUCKING HAPPEND !!!

    Or were you away that day ?

    It's not even a 'phobia' as its certainly not an 'irrational' fear, again, it really happened, yes there are groups out there, who have stated they are engaged in a holy, religion based war against America who on that basis have made real physical attacks and killed real people, and they said they will and want to do more of it.

    The claim this as a war of the Muslim faith against America, its not the religion, its the people using (and abusing) that religion to their own goals.

    So yes, under those circumstances it makes perfect sense to look at the people involved in that religion to enable them to find those using that religion to kill other people.

    The police are not looking 'at the religion' they are looking at the people using that religion to justify their war.

    and yes, I do remember seeing thousands and thousands of people cheering in the streets after the 9/11 attacks. Do you think any of them if they had heard about the attacks would have info about it, would they have told someone about it, or kept it to themselves.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    "You can be paranoid and they "they are all out to get me" when in fact, THEY ARE ALL OUT TO GET YOU."

    No, you can't. IF they are out to get you, THEN you are not paranoid.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    The post is entitled

    "Over 120 Rights And Religious Groups Join ACLU In Call For DOJ To Investigate NYPD's Surveillance Of Muslims"

    and discusses a call for an investigation of surveillance in NY that is admittedly based solely upon profiling.

    The comments have, predictably, wandered off on a tangent assuming all sorts of things which have little to do with the topic at hand. Some even attempt to justify the surveillance without knowing any details, because - who needs details when hate is involved.

     

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  20.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: Extremist Muslim Holy War

    "it is only a minute percentage of people that follow the religion that share those views."

    I would say they do not follow Islam at all. I would say they have perverted Islam into something else to justify their actions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would say my complaint about the NSA is that they should not hire thief's. Apart from that, when I am directly affected by the NSA I might have something to complain about, but thankyou for showing us a real definition of paranoia, as that is what it is you have with the NSA, it is a real irrational fear that 'they are all out to get you', with no justification for it based on reality.

    paranoia is a powerful thing when you have it, but you just have to keep telling yourself 'its not real', and that "the man' is not going to "get you" because you used a phone to order a pizza, and there is no man with a note pad writing down what you ordered to use that information to arrest and imprison you.

    But you might think like that if you suffer paranoia! just say'in.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Extremist Muslim Holy War

    "Do you think it is accurate to say that Christianity has declared a holy war on gay marriage just because some members feel that strongly about it?"

    if the Christians flew jet planes into the gay and lesbian parade I would! That's the difference.
    And advocated martyrdom and a promise of exultation in heaven I would.

    It is a faction of the religion, its not the religion it the people in the name of that religion, again its not against the religion, but about those abusing that religion for their own motives.

    Think "branch davidian sect" for example.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    Paranoia is about the future, genius.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Extremist Muslim Holy War

    that's true, its not about the religion its about the abuse of that religion, but in the name of that religion, it therefore makes sense to look at the entire religion to enable you to identify those abusing it for their own goals.

    Again, it is not an attack on the Muslim faith, its an attack on those using that faith and abusing that faith for their own goals.

    So you have to look within that faith to find the people in that faith who are abusing it, no point in looking in a catholic church for extremist Muslims, just as you would not look in a Mosque for extremists Catholics.

    If a group of extremists Catholics planned and attacked America you would look at Catholic churches to try to identify that extremist sub-group.

     

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  25.  
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    OldGeezer (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There were explosives back them but I don't think they ever imagined that someone would carry them into a crowd of innocent people and blow themselves up.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    Yes, 9/11 happened. It was one of the most spectacular terror attacks the US government ever pulled off.

     

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  27.  
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    mrbill, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: look at the numbers

    ITs best to look at the numbers. And then lets count how many Tim McVeighs there are vs Islamst bombers. Shall we...

    Since 9-11, there have been over 21,000 Muslim terror attacks.

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    Sorry, you dipshit; you don't get to rant about irrational thought when that's all that passes through the plumbing system you use for a brain. Go fuck a solar panel.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 7:33pm

    More Americans are killed domestically every year by the police then by terrorists. Perhaps we should infiltrate them...

     

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  30.  
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    Wolfy, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 7:34pm

    We need to grow up and quit indoctrinating our children with religious nonsense.

    Islam poses special problems, but ALL religion is dangerous.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and it is obvious you dont know your
    History http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: look at the numbers

    Yes, all those Irish muslims wanting their independence were terrible before the 9/11 attacks too.

     

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  33.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 1:45am

    Re: Re:Seriously???

    You try to brush off the IRA analogy because the group wasn't large enough? Ok fair point, it's not a big enough chunk of Christianity.

    Try to explain this one away. The KKK

    Largest domestic terrorist group ever and in the name of Christ.

     

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  34.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 3:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    When our founding fathers formed our religious freedoms they had no idea that some day people would hide behind it so they could plot to commit mass murder.

    Remember the Inquisition? The Crusades? Are you Catholic you extremist murderer?

    Got the problem? I'd say the founding fathers never thought there would be people like you so willing to throw freedom under the bus or they'd have provided some Amendment to hang those types of people. (tw-way-logic)

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 4:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    Technically you can still be paranoid if your responses are grossly disproportionate. Sure if you see a group of people in an alley and you suspect corretly that they're going to mug you you're not paranoid. You're paranoid when you pull out a full auto carbine and open fire "just in case".

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The 2nd amendment wasn't actually met to mean anything like it's interpreted today.

    The 2nd amendment only applies to militias, as in State Militias. An individual is not a militia, not even if they own a gun. The 2nd amendment was put there to stop a strong central government from taking all the weapons away from the states, in case that central government became so corrupt the ex-colonists had to overthrow it just like they did Britain.

    Back then there really wasn't any controversy over Americans having guns, many needed guns to go hunting to feed themselves and their families, much like most of us today need cars to get to work or anywhere today.

     

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  37.  
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    OldGeezer (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 6:06am

    Re: Re:

    By that reasoning we should shut down all police agencies because more people die by these unpreventable tragedies than are injured and killed by violent crime. It is no secret that one of the ultimate goals of these Muslim terrorists is to detonate a nuclear device in a densely populated area. As misguided as many of the government agencies efforts are, lets hope they are going to be able to prevent that.

     

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  38.  
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    Pragmatic, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Timothy McVeigh. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and John King.

    Gee, we sure seem to have a lot of extremists in the US of A. Is that why the NSA is keeping us under surveillance?

    The key words here is a few. Certainly not all right-wingers are extremists but in much of the world a good portion of them are.

     

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  39.  
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    NOT APPLICABLE, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 10:15am

    BOLLOCKS

    OldGeezer you are in need of a lobotomy, not as a cure for anything concerning you're being a moron, but just for a laugh. May the force be with you.

     

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  40.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    You can be paranoid and they "they are all out to get me" when in fact, THEY ARE ALL OUT TO GET YOU.


    But in this case, they are not all out to get you. So you're simply paranoid.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Remember, remember, the Fifth of November. The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: exploited post-9/11 paranoia

    1 : a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations
    2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 4:18pm

    Re: Extremist Muslim Holy War

    'They were not saying the rosemary's...'

    That's 'rosaries.' If you're going to try to make religious analogies, at least have the decency to not mutilate their sacraments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 9:30pm

    Re: BOLLOCKS

    If I were to have that lobotomy maybe I would be happy and ignorant that millions of Muslims hate us and would be happy to murder innocent Americans and our allies. They believe that in the afterlife they will get to pop 80 cherries if they blow themselves up killing us in the name of Allah. These "martyrs" are considered heroes and their families receive support. There are probably hundreds of sleeper cells in this country. They make contact in the mosques and sometimes even their leadership is involved. They are the ones that need a closer look at the airports. We frisk grandmas and little kids so we can be politically correct.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: BOLLOCKS

    But if you had your lobes removed, where would you wear your earrings?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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