Federal Judge Paraphrases Mike Rogers; Tells Muslims Their Rights Can't Be Violated If They Don't Know They're Being Violated

from the and-not-even-AFTER-that-either,-apparently dept

The federal judge handling the lawsuit seeking an injunction against the NYPD’s pervasive surveillance of Muslims appears to have taken a page from Rep. Mike Rogers’ book. Judge William Martini has dismissed the case, stating that the only reason the plaintiffs claimed their rights were being violated is because someone told them their rights were being violated.

Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel sums it up:

The core of his logic is that Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo have injured NYC’s Muslim community by providing them proof of the spying targeted at them.

From the ruling itself:

None of the Plaintiffs’ injuries arose until after the Associated Press released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not “fairly traceable” to any act of surveillance.

Your rights aren’t violated until you know they’ve been violated. And even then, knowing they’ve been violated apparently doesn’t give you standing to pursue this claim, at least not according to Judge Martini.

Martini takes time to lay into the acts of journalism that led to this suit being filed, pointing out that the AP’s reporters “covertly” obtained access to NYPD documents, before (shock!) publishing them (without authorization) along with their “interpretation” of the confidential papers. If these two reporters would have minded their own business, no one would have known their rights were being violated and Judge Martini wouldn’t have been inconvenienced by having to consider the plaintiffs’ claims.

Martini’s reasoning is just as flawed as Rogers’, but he does Rogers one better by detailing the sort of pervasive surveillance he finds to be perfectly non-rights-violating. Back to Wheeler:

Martini said all this spying was cool because it was designed to find Muslim terrorists hiding among Muslims…

As I emphasized here, when it was first reported, NYPD wasn’t hunting for Muslim terrorists in places where the 9/11 terrorists were known to hang out — cheap hotels, gyms, cybercafes, and a bunch of other businesses catering to anonymity rather than Muslims. Rather, the NYPD was hunting terrorists in schools in Newark, including the one above teaching girls in fifth to twelfth grade, and another teaching first through fourth graders.

The NYPD was hunting terrorists in a girls school.

The plaintiffs’ expressed concerns that past surveillance efforts could negatively affect their futures are waved away for being speculative rather than “provable.” This is more the law in general rather than Martini’s interpretation, but up until the AP exposed the documents, the NYPD’s surveillance programs were also more speculative than provable. And given recent history, how much “speculation” is actually being deployed here?

Plaintiffs Syed Hassan, Soofia Tahir, and Zaimah Abdur-Rahim fear that being the subjects of surveillance will interfere with their careers. Hassan is a U.S. Soldier and Tahir is expecting to begin a career in international social work. Both plaintiffs allege that career advancement will require background checks and security clearances. Both allege that their affiliations with organizations falsely labeled as “threats” will hinder their career advancement.

Who knows what sort of flags the NYPD’s surveillance will raise on background checks, or whether anything noted by the department is actually merited? The NYPD’s informants have been known to inflate claims and flat out make stuff up just to meet the expectations of the Demographics Unit. Simply putting their names into the system could create problems for the claimants. Just ask Dr. Ibrahim, who spent a decade on the TSA’s “no fly” list because of an FBI agent’s clerical error.

But take away all the other questionable parts of Martini’s decision and we’re still left with this: a federal judge telling plaintiffs their rights weren’t violated until the program was exposed, and even then, actually weren’t violated.

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Comments on “Federal Judge Paraphrases Mike Rogers; Tells Muslims Their Rights Can't Be Violated If They Don't Know They're Being Violated”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Makes sense, if a man drugs a girl into oblivion and rapes her she was actually not violated since she didn’t know the man raped her! Ok everybody, free rape pass! We can go further! Maddoff hasn’t violated any laws or stolen any money because nobody knew what he was doing so he’s all clear!

One has to question how this moron got to be a judge. Either you have your rights violated or not.

Greevar (profile) says:

So the plaintiff can’t take the NYPD to court because they weren’t aware of the covert surveillance until someone told them about it with unauthorized publication? Also, the NYPD can violate any rights they wish, so long as the victim is not aware of it.

No, the NYPD does not have the power to participate in illegal surveillance just because the people being surveyed are unaware of their rights being violated. Police surveillance is, by its nature, covert. How is anyone supposed to fulfill the supposed 3 requirements the judge cited in order to effectively challenge these violations if the violations are being deliberately obscured from their awareness? So if I’m not aware that the police searched my home without a warrant or probable cause, I can’t challenge their actions? What about my right to due process?

Whether or not someone was aware of their rights being violated cannot be a factor in challenging rights violations. The government agency must be held accountable for violations of protected rights regardless of victims’ awareness. The whole point is to prevent and discourage violations of civil rights. What good is the 4th amendment if the NYPD can ignore it if they’re doing it in secret? If the NYPD assassinates someone and no one is aware of it, is it legal? No, if a person murders another and nobody knows about it, our system of law says they still committed murder. A crime is a crime whether the victim is aware of it or not. “Injury in fact” is a bullshit excuse.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i will point out as i have a number of times: nanobots are HERE, NOW…
(yes, they are ‘proof of concept’ type lab gizmos, but it ain’t too far off… who knows what the NSA has up their sleeve, or our butts…)

so-o-o-o, by this ‘judges’ ‘logic’, when we have nanobots crawling up our ass, inserting themselves in our neurons, and otherwise spying on us down to the cellular level, it will be -like- totally double-plus good, ’cause they are -like- totally unobtrusive and shit…

fucking moron…
i have a special necktie for you and your kind…

Anonymous Coward says:

The key to immorality is ignorance then!

So, according to this logic, they key to immorality is being a completely ignorant moron, and drugs to.

If you don’t know that you were killed, then you aren’t dead! If you’re too smart though, and will realize that you’re dead or dying, the answer is using drugs to make your stupider and numb your body so much that you won’t be aware of someone kicking you in the groin, let alone being killed!

That One Guy (profile) says:

And yet again...

We’ve got someone who should know better pulling out the Peeping Tom defense to try and wave away illegal and/or unconstitutional actions.

‘No of course putting cameras in the womens’ showers wasn’t illegal or a violation of their rights or privacy, after all, they didn’t know about the cameras.’ /s

The fact that it’s a freakin’ Federal Judge making this argument, instead of just some moronic politician, is flat out disgusting, it’s pretty obvious he’s yet another ‘Any means are justified if the claimed goal is ‘important’ enough’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wow, this man got both a law degree and an appointment to the federal bench, all I ever got from a box of Cracker Jacks was a silly toy top.

Based on his ruling, Rohypnol has a new add campaign.

“Are you tired of all the legal hassles of dealing with the courts after you have abducted and raped a women? Well now your troubles are all over. Rohypnol, you date won’t ever remember being abducted and raped, and if she can’t remember, then it didn’t happen, and you have not just my word on it, but federal Judge William Martini, word, and ruling on it as well. So remember, the next time you are going to rape someone, if you don’t plan on killing them, Rohypnol”

the drug to use when you don’t want to violate the rights of the women you are raping.

Zonker says:

So to sum up, according to Martini’s ruling:

Watching you shower is not violating your privacy, but the guy who pointed out the camera is guilty.

Searching your medical history to find reasons to deny you employment/healthcare is not a HIPAA violation, but the doctor who told you they were searched is guilty.

Accepting bribe money from lobbyists is not corruption, but the reporter who exposed the money trail is guilty.

Breaking into your home and abducting you in your sleep, inserting an anal probe in you, then returning you to your bed all while your unconscious is not an abduction or invasive monitoring, but anyone helping you to discover the truth of what happened that night is guilty.

The mayor of NYC building a private army under the NYPD and colluding with the judiciary to keep the largest city in the nation by population under his direct control is not a massive power grab in violation of the rights of its citizens, but the NYCLU attempting to expose and disempower him is guilty.

Anyone not see this as a tool for criminals to avoid responsibility for their crimes while pinning the blame on others?

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

It's legal if you don't get caught

Except, of course, it isn’t. Ask any judge: “When does a murder occur? When the act is committed or when the murder is first discovered by the authorities?”

The answer, pure and simple, is: at the time of the the act. Whether or when the murder is discovered is irrelevant; if you kill someone, you have violated the law.

Likewise, an infraction of a citizen’s civil rights occurs at the time of the act. The judge keeps trying to hand-wave that away, saying, “It’s only illegal if they get caught.”

If a citizen had the temerity to make that statement, the judge would throw his gavel and hit the idiot right between the eyes. So then he has the hypocritical nerve to assert the same thing on behalf of the government?

GEMont (profile) says:

Murder is no longer a crime.

To rephrase the current logic of US authority:

If you are raped but are also drugged so that you do not wake up while being raped, then you were not raped.

Using this logic, murder is a crime that cannot actually happen, because the victims of murder cannot be aware that they were murdered… cuz they’re dead.

Thus, if you were murdered, you were not murdered, because you did not know you were murdered.

You really gotta love these corporate criminal types.

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