Inspector General Finds NYPD's Surveillance Of Muslims Routinely Violated Consent Decree Guidelines

from the nypd-blew dept

Following two lawsuits against the NYPD for its pervasive, rights-violating surveillance of the city's Muslims, the department's Inspector General took a look at a sampling of cases from 2010-2015 to see if the Handschu Agreement -- crafted in 1985 and heavily modified in 2002 -- was being followed. The short answer is "No." So is the long answer [PDF].

The guideline was part of a consent decree created in response to pervasive NYPD surveillance of activities protected by the First Amendment, even when no unlawful activity was suspected. The guideline worked for awhile, but the 9/11 attacks changed that. The NYPD brought in two former CIA employees who decided to turn a domestic law enforcement agency into Langley on the Hudson. Former CIA officer David Cohen used terrorism fears to compel a judge to significantly modify the Handschu Agreement.

From that point on, the NYPD steadily abused the revamped agreement. Its "Demographics Unit" designated entire mosques as terrorist entities, placed the city's Muslims under surveillance, and -- best of all -- generated zero leads.

The Inspector General's report points out that the NYPD couldn't even comply with the relaxed, post-9/11 Handschu Agreement. Instead, the Demographics Unit copy-pasted justifications for pervasive surveillance and passed them up the ladder to the rubber stamps handling the approval process.

OIG-NYPD’s investigation found that NYPD, while able to articulate a valid basis for commencing investigations, was often non-compliant with a number of the rules governing the conduct of these investigations. For example, when applying for permission to use an undercover officer or confidential informant, the application must state the particular role of the undercover in that specific investigation, so that the need for this intrusive technique can be evaluated. NYPD almost never included such a fact-specific discussion in its applications, but instead repeatedly used generic, boilerplate text to seek such permission. Tellingly, this boilerplate text was so routine that the same typographical error had been cut and pasted into virtually every application OIG-NYPD reviewed, going back over a decade.

The NYPD's response [PDF] to the report disputes the accusation of using boilerplate permission slips. But that's all it does. It fails to explain how each individual request somehow contained the same typographical error. Repeatedly. For fourteen years.

The NYPD disagrees with the Report’s characterization that the extensions of Preliminary Inquiries contain “boilerplate language.” To the contrary, extension requests include a full and detailed recitation of the key facts justifying investigation, including any new facts/updates learned since the investigation was opened. Often, the added facts learned since the opening of an investigation strengthen the original predicate.

Once an investigation was under way, NYPD supervisors tended to take a very hands-off approach.

Further, among all cases reviewed, NYPD continued its investigations even after legal authorization expired more than half of the time. Often more than a month of unauthorized investigation occurred before NYPD belatedly sought to renew the authorization.

As the IG points out, this is completely unacceptable. The Agreement is there for a reason: to prevent unlawful surveillance. But the NYPD is left alone to ensure its own compliance with the guideline. There's no judicial oversight of these activities -- not like there is with searches, seizures, and stops. Left to police itself, the NYPD proved unworthy of the trust placed in it.

These failures cannot be dismissed or minimized as paperwork or administrative errors. The very reason these rules were established was to mandate rigorous internal controls to ensure that investigations of political activity – which allow NYPD to intrude into the public and private aspects of people’s lives – were limited in time and scope and to ensure that constitutional rights were not threatened.

[...]

As a result, until OIG-NYPD conducted this review, there had never been any routine, independent third-party review to ensure compliance with these rules. NYPD's compliance failures demonstrate the need for ongoing oversight, which OIG-NYPD will now provide.

The NYPD's response admits as much, even as it challenges many of the Inspector General's recommendations. Since February 2002, the NYPD's Demographics Unit has been grading its own papers. A law enforcement hot take, written by a CIA officer and pushed past a local judge, has guided the NYPD for almost 15 years. What it's left behind is a long string of First and Fourth Amendment violations. What it hasn't left behind is a string of successful investigations. Or a coherent paper trail.

This is the NYPD in its own words, arguing with IG about the office's findings.

First, the NYPD didn't implement electronic tracking of its Demographics Unit cases until after it was already on the losing end of two civil rights lawsuits.

The Intelligence Bureau began discussing the development of an electronic case tracking system for Handschu investigations in February 2016 to assist in complying with the proposed modifications to the Handschu Guidelines as part of the settlement in the Handschu and Raza litigations.

It will only now begin thinking about keeping all related investigative documents together in one place.

While the prior history of a case and/or its proposed subject(s) is set forth in the Investigative Statement, the Intelligence Bureau will consider if there is a more effective way to trace the full history of an investigation, including other levels of investigation (i.e., checking of leads, Preliminary Inquiries, etc.) which may have occurred related to its underlying facts.

It will also only now start thinking about documenting the written approval process for deploying new informants or extending the use of existing ones.

The Intelligence Bureau will consider the development of best practices for documenting the written approval of the use of human sources in Handschu investigations by the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence, including name, signature, and date.

Even though the NYPD has been running investigations under the modified Handschu Agreement since 2002, it won't be until later this year that it will finally deliver a comprehensive compilation of baseline policies governing terrorism-focused investigations.

As is evidenced by the Inspector General's findings -- and the NYPD's own admissions -- the department has never been interested in accountability. It's far more interested in pretending it's the DEA, FBI, CIA, and NSA all rolled into one local law enforcement office. And it operates with a level of opacity surpassing the federal agencies it aspires to be. The report finds a pattern of noncompliance and the NYPD defends itself by either pointing out that if there's no requirement to do something, it sure as hell isn't going to do it, or nodding thoughtfully and promising to get right on things it should have addressed more than a decade ago.




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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Aug 2016 @ 2:20pm

    ... and?

    So the IG investigates, finds that the NYPD routinely overstepped if not flat out broke the few weak rules that were in place and... they pinky-swear that they'll do better at some point in the future, and are otherwise allowed to continue on, business as usual?

    Sure the OIG-NYPD says that they'll be providing oversight, but given the complete and utter lack of consequences for past misdeeds I wouldn't expect the NYPD to particularly care as really, what's the worst that they're likely to face, another stern warning to do better?

    Yup, that'll certainly teach 'em to pay attention to the rules in the future.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2016 @ 3:16pm

    They failed to abide

    Since they have not only failed to follow the guidelines, but continued to give themselves permission to monitor an entire group of people based on their religion, let the NYC Muslims be the ones monitoring the NYPD. They know exactly what it feels like to be under a microscope of pervasive surveillance and I honestly feel like they have earned the right to watch the watchers. We know for a fact that the NYPD illegally stops and searches people based only on their skin color, so do the same with the employees of NY. If they bleed blue, let them do it under a microscope of surveillance for a few decades and see how they like it.

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  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 30 Aug 2016 @ 4:33pm

    no punishments will happen for those that knowingly broke the law yet again solely because they are treated as above those same laws they keep getting caught breaking.

    They have every incentive to keep breaking laws because they will not be held accountable for spitting on their oaths to protect and serve.

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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 30 Aug 2016 @ 4:33pm

    Deep Thought

    Yeah, well, NYPD may have started thinking about it. But my bet is that, unlike Deep Thought, it's going to take a lot longer than seven-and-half million years for them to finish thinking about it.

    Much less acting on the answer.

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  • identicon
    Sok Puppette, 30 Aug 2016 @ 4:53pm

    "Compelled a judge"?

    Unless they actually held a gun to his/her head, the judge deserves some blame here.

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  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 30 Aug 2016 @ 5:19pm

    PU NYPD

    The NYPD's response [PDF] to the report disputes the accusation of using boilerplate permission slips. But that's all it does. It fails to explain how each individual request somehow contained the same typographical error. Repeatedly. For fourteen years.

    Russian hackers must have gained access to NYPD's network in order to embarrass NYPD (like NYPD needs any help).

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    • identicon
      Sgt Dixon, 31 Aug 2016 @ 9:56pm

      Re: PU NYPD

      Russians? This is closer to the real reason. Before the Iron Curtain fell, they used to ask, "Why do Polish* policemen go around in threes?"
      "There's one who can read, one who can write and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals."

      * or Russian, East German etc

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  • icon
    OldGeezer (profile), 30 Aug 2016 @ 8:41pm

    Political correctness aside, It's hard to forget the huge crowds cheering and celebrating in the streets throughout Muslim countries when the towers fell. People whine about these poor persecuted Muslims but I want to vomit every time I hear "Islam is a religion of peace". The claim that a minority of Muslims are radicalized may be true but when you are talking about the largest religion in the world that is still millions that want our destruction and who knows how many thousands willing to strap on a bomb vest. This is a group that many condone murdering their own children suspected of immorality and call it "honor killings". They bomb schools in their own country for daring to educate women. There are sleeper cells all over this country and the best place where you might overhear plots and possibly get an agent undercover is at mosques. If these surveillance tactics haven't been effective yet they must not be doing it right. Nearly all terrorism in this country in recent years has been committed by Muslims whether by cells or independent loners. We have been fortunate that there hasn't been a massive attack like 9/11 but who knows what could be planned. It is not a matter of if, but when terrorists will set off a nuclear device in a major US city. No one protests when undercover agents infiltrate white supremacist and other radical groups but who was flying the planes on 9/11? Oh yeah, Muslims. It only took 19 of them. The Taliban and AL-Qaeda were bad enough but nothing like the growing threat if ISIS.

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    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 2:44am

      Re:

      Wow.

      So they are this massive monolithic thing and they are all exactly like each other.

      Also notice that when a white guy shoots up a black church hes a disturbed nutcase, when a brown person sneezes they are swearing allegiance to Isis and bombing children.

      Not all Muslims fit the caricature in your addled brain, but all of them are treated poorly for the actions of a few. But then you 'Good People'(tm) can't figure out why a disaffected youth who you shit upon daily might look for support online and meet up with the wrong people.

      And let us not forget that a majority of 'terrorism' plots stopped in the country and dreamed up & carried out by the FBI and CI's (of dubious value) often roping in people with substandard intelligence. That they have sent CIs into mosques who in turn were reported to the FBI as possibly being dangerous because they were pushing people to join them in jihad... and the FBI couldn't be bothered to even pretend to investigate the CI.

      Terrorism is the first answer given to anything different these days. When the power went out in the NE, for days they swore it was terrorism related... until they figured out it was a bunch of power companies who profited rather than spend cash to do what was required of them. Some balloons pop in a restaurant as part of an announced test... they locked it all down and reported terrorists murdering people. People cheered a sports ball event, people panic & terrorists are shooting people.

      We are so terrified of terrorism, given your diatribe, because they tell us we should be. Keep us focused on the boogeymen and ignoring you are more likely to be shot by a cop, attacked by a shark, hit by a car, have failing infrastructure fall and kill you... than be in a terrorist attack.

      Perhaps maybe meet the Muslims around you, many of whom hate ISIS (who have murdered more Muslims than any other group) and consider that they aren't evil drones here to murder you in your sleep. Perhaps consider the high number of collateral damage events from drone strikes murdering innocents doesn't exactly make us look like the good guy in those other countries.

      Perhaps consider that the spin you lap up from the media isn't the whole story, and blindly listening to our leaders, who we KNOW lie on a regular basis to us, we rarely get the actual truth.

      Perhaps we need to admit that sometimes we are just as bad as ISIS is, and if we stopped pretending we were always on the side of the angels and perfect in every possible way perhaps we might deal with the actual problems.

      Oh and because I was way to eloquent, I don;t want to blow up my image, kiss my ass you cranky old delusional fuck. Your kind are the reason the world sucks, perhaps shut up and let better people run things.
      k thks bai...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 3:23am

        Re: Re:

        Perhaps we need to admit that sometimes we are just as bad as ISIS is

        No we aren't! Nowhere even close.

        ISIS's badness is severely limited by their weakness.

        What do you think ISIS would do if they could call on the power of the US military machine?

        If we were anywhere near as bad as ISIS we would have turned most of the middle east (and Pakistan - and maybe even Indonesia/Malaysia) into a radioactive desert by now!

        Sometimes our urge to mea culpa overcomes our sense of perspective.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 5:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What do you think ISIS would do if they could call on the power of the US military machine?

          Invade Iraq?
          Invade Afghanistan?
          Demand the invasion of Syria?

          If we were anywhere near as bad as ISIS we would have turned most of the middle east into what it looks like now.

          FTFY

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 7:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What do you think ISIS would do if they could call on the power of the US military machine?

            Invade Iraq?
            Invade Afghanistan?
            Demand the invasion of Syria?


            In case you didn't notice ISIS did invade Iraq and Syria - and have a proxy (the Taliban) in Afghanistan - AND they have invaded Libya, and they did all that WITHOUT the US Military machine.

            I'll answer my own rhetorical question for you - since you seem to be incab=pable of doing it.
            If ISIS had the US military machine they would not hesitate to Nuke New York and Washington - not to mention Rome, Paris, London and Moscow and every other non-Muslim capital they could think of.

            If we were anywhere near as bad as ISIS we would have turned most of the middle east into what it looks like now.
            The thing that has turned the middle east into what it looks like now is actually Islam in general and groups like Isis (which is simply a copy of expansionist Islamic regimes back to the time of the so called prophet -without ISIS like groups Islam would not exist in the world) in particular.

            All we did was to take the lid of the cauldron. Admittedly this was a stupid thing to do - and a disaster for the indigenous non-muslim populations (Eastern Christians, Yazidis etc). However it is nothing like a response at the level of evil of ISIS. If we were as bad as ISIS we would have unloaded our nuclear arsenal onto the middle east in general and the Islamic hotspots (Saudi Arabia and Iran in particular).



            You are seriously in need of a sense of perspective!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 8:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You are seriously in need of a sense of perspective!

              I've got plenty of it.

              If you consider that ISIS didn't even EXIST before the toppling of Saddam, and the Arab spring that followed because of the instability that caused, the middle east is only controlled by ISIS as a result of...wait for it...American interference.

              Specifically, a poorly chosen war in Afghanistan (which we still technically are in, since we didn't learn from the Soviet failure in the 80's), and a war of poor choice in Iraq because of a dipshit president with daddy issues.

              So spare me the "ZOMG ISIS" rhetoric - this situation is what it is because of the United States. There's no point in trying to spin history because we made some shitty, poorly thought out decisions. Part of being an adult is to own your mistakes.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 11:31am

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

                If you consider that ISIS didn't even EXIST before the toppling of Saddam,

                Your mistake is to see ISIS as a new thing. ISIS is merely the latest incarnation of something that started in the 7th century - 1000 years before the US even existed.

                So spare me the "ZOMG ISIS" rhetoric - this situation is what it is because of the United States. There's no point in trying to spin history because we made some shitty, poorly thought out decisions.

                I actually agree totally with you about the stupidity of our decisions and the fact that we only got into the Iraq thing because of "unfinished business for the Bush family." Very odd because if any nation state was responsible for 9/11 it was Saudi Arabia - our alleged ally.

                However you have to remember that a nasty dictator like Saddam was only necessary as a means of keeping Iraq under control because of the underlying (Islamic) history of the region - going right back to the 7th century.

                The region has not been a nice place to be for anyone apart from high status male muslims for most of the last 1400 years - you can't blame American foriegn policy for that.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 11:53am

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

                  However you have to remember that a nasty dictator like Saddam was only necessary as a means of keeping Iraq under control because of the underlying (Islamic) history of the region - going right back to the 7th century.

                  The region has not been a nice place to be for anyone apart from high status male muslims for most of the last 1400 years - you can't blame American foriegn policy for that.


                  That's right - he did keep Iraq under control. Now you have an environment where ISIS can thrive. I'll ask again - what is worse?

                  If you asked someone who's in the middle of the fighting, what do you think they'd say?

                  And if the US, in removing Saddam, allowed this chain of events, I can absolutely blame American foreign policy for that.

                  Should we blame the primitives of not being smart enough to establish what we'd consider an acceptable society?

                  Should we stay there indefinitely to maintain order? Who's going to pay for it?

                  Given how advanced the US considers itself to be, it would take an astronomical amount of stupid to not consider that they would be the ones establishing a society based on what they know, versus what we want them to be.

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            • identicon
              I.T. Guy, 31 Aug 2016 @ 8:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Don't be a silly fool. They knew exactly what would happen if we invaded Iraq:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BEsZMvrq-I


              Why are you not posting as Whatever?

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        • icon
          Padpaw (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 10:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          they would drown the world in nuclear fire is my guess if their leadership truly believes in the suicidal attacks their grunts do.

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        • icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 11:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          ISIS holds hostages...
          we hold hostages, young boys who were sold off for the pleasure of others who were detained at GITMO because someone was convinced that a victim of sexual violence would have had pillow talk about what our enemies were planning.
          People who made the mistake of owning a common brand of cheap watch.

          ISIS tortures...
          GITMO, that prison in Iraq, the black sites, rendition...

          ISIS bombs and hurts innocents....
          Ooops we forgot that was a hospital both times we bombed the hell out of it...
          Oh you dared to try and take people to safety, here lets use the guns on the chopper and cut the kid in half & lie about it...

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            ISIS bombs and hurts innocents....
            Ooops we forgot that was a hospital both times we bombed the hell out of it...

            and if ISIS had nuclear weapons they would use hem on us without a moment's thought.

            We are very restrained in the use of our poser by comparison with them. Unfortunately when we do mess up it is very bad - but this is because of our greater power not our weaker morals.

            In the end it boils down to the whole "wolves vs doves" thing

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            • icon
              That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 3:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              One might consider that for all of the lunacy in the leadership of ISIS, you don't see many of them lining up to be martyrs. They talk the talk, they don't walk the walk.

              Some low level moron might set off a nuke, but the leadership would rather hold onto it and make threats to get things rather than "win" control of a dead region. While they virgins get all of the hype, I doubt many of the leaders believe in it.

              One need only look at our own politicians, who spew whatever gets them the loudest roars from the audience... but are going to do whatever they damn well want later.
              Trumps gonna end crappy trade deals, yet will will outsource all of his products.
              Clintons gonna stop the banks, from being so blatant in flouting the rules until she can quietly remove them.

              The problem is the government is treating ISIS like an entire nation that they can attack, rather than a loose federation of power hungry madmen who just want to subjugate people to have power. This is war like they've never faced in their lifetimes, and they insist that fighting it like every other war will work when the gameboard isn't checkers anymore, its more like Chinese checkers. Many more pieces, many more moves, and using a flawed strategy only benefits the corps who make bank from cleaning up the mess, selling the tools to make the mess, & scoring contracts to fix the mess that manage to improve CEO pay but not the things they were tasked with fixing.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re:

        Not buying it. The definition of Islam is submission, that is, to every word in the Quran as 100% inerrant and perfect forever and for always because it was allegedly spoken verbatim to the holey profit (pigs' blood upon him), who is also inerrant and perfect because he's God's special favorite.

        At the same time it also means someone who thinks this sick, child-molesting serial killer is to be emulated to a T everywhere in the world where there are people who believe in a different god or none at all.

        People who think Charles Manson was totally awesome are scum. Muslims think Muhammad, the 7th century equivalent of Charles Manson, was totally awesome. Therefore, all Muslims are scum. You can't be a Muslim without revering Muhammad. Why shouldn't people who follow the Manson religion be targeted as suspects? Explain to me why one psychopath is somehow better than the other?

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      It's hard to forget the huge crowds cheering and celebrating in the streets throughout Muslim countries when the towers fell.

      Citation needed. I can find reference to celebration only in Palestine, and even there the circumstances are a bit dubious.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactions_to_the_September_11_attacks#Islamic_world

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      • icon
        Richard (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re:

        It's hard to forget the huge crowds cheering and celebrating in the streets throughout Muslim countries when the towers fell.

        Citation needed. I can find reference to celebration only in Palestine, and even there the circumstances are a bit dubious.


        You need to be more patient - they haven't got around to it yet. They are still too busy celebrating the sack of Constantinople in 1453

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You need to be more patient - they haven't got around to it yet. They are still too busy celebrating the sack of Constantinople in 1453

          So by 2700 or so we should have video?

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    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      I don't blame them considering how much the "free world" governments keep bombing their cities, overthrowing democratic governments and replacing them with dictatorships.

      They have very good reasons to be pissed off at us.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re:

        don't blame them considering how much the "free world" governments keep bombing their cities, overthrowing democratic governments and replacing them with dictatorships.

        They have very good reasons to be pissed off at us.


        When they besieged and sacked Jerusalem in about 638 AD who were they pissed off with then?

        When they attacked Spain and France a few years later what had we done to incur their wrath?

        When they besieged and finally sacked Constantinople in 674, 717 and 1453 was US foriegn policy responsible.

        What part did the US play in provoking the siege of Vienna in 1683?

        The fact is that Islam is a supremacist ideology that does not need to be provoked by any actual harm - although they are happy to use our mistakes as an excuse because it plays really well with people like you.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The fact is that Islam is a supremacist ideology that does not need to be provoked by any actual harm - although they are happy to use our mistakes as an excuse because it plays really well with people like you.

          You really need to focus on religion in general as far as that comment is concerned. Because frankly, religion has been one of the leading causes of death throughout the ages because of their feeling of supremacy:

          German Peasants' War
          Moro Insurgency
          Northern Crusades
          Algerian Civil War
          Albigensian Crusade
          Great Turkish War
          The Crusades
          French Wars of Religion
          Thirty Years' War
          Taiping Rebellion

          Quite honestly, they're all equally fucking stupid. It's not as if Islam has a monopoly on that.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The Crusades were the result of Muslim attacks for 200 years prior. So I would say they were quite patient before fighting back.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Of course you can quote lots of anecdotal examples BUT look at the historical statistics and you will see that your other examples are isolated pinpricks compared to Islamic violence.

            Have a look at this video and see how the crusades compare to islamic violence in the Mediterranean.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_To-cV94Bo

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 12:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Of course you can quote lots of anecdotal examples BUT look at the historical statistics and you will see that your other examples are isolated pinpricks compared to Islamic violence.

              I see. And somehow you think that makes this comment: Quite honestly, they're all equally fucking stupid. It's not as if Islam has a monopoly on that. less relevant?

              Simple minded idiots fighting over who's imaginary man is right. When you look at the premise, do the numbers really matter?

              Is fighting back because you think your imaginary friend is better ever justifiable?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 1:47pm

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

                When you look at the premise, do the numbers really matter?

                Actually yes the numbers do matter - when they are different to such a huge extent.

                In WW2 the allies did some pretty nasty things and killed a lot of people in ways that no one would want to justify - but no one says that we were as equally f*cking stupid as the Nazis do they?

                You would have rolled over to Hitler.

                What you identify as "religion" is actually a combination of ideology and tribalism - and plenty of "religions" (eg communism, fascism) don't involve believing in some kind of "imaginary friend".

                THe key fault is when you think your beliefs make you somehow superior to the person who disagrees with you - and on the face of that yours do exactly that!

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 11:09am

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

                  THe key fault is when you think your beliefs make you somehow superior to the person who disagrees with you - and on the face of that yours do exactly that!

                  I don't agree that feeling superior to someone who believes in their imaginary friend is a fault.

                  It isn't my issue that you see things that aren't there.

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          • icon
            OldGeezer (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 10:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are certainly right about the crusades. Our lies and propaganda about WMDs is no more bullshit than the Roman church claiming the crusaders were fighting to recover the "holy grail". They imagined some golden jeweled chalice used by Christ at the last supper. What we know from the bible and from ancient historians is that even if he was real, he lived in poverty on the charity of his supporters. What he would have drank from would have been pottery or a wooden cup.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2016 @ 9:07am

    Who said big government was bad?

    We need more, bigger government. Big government gooooooodddddddddd!

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

  • icon
    OldGeezer (profile), 31 Aug 2016 @ 9:46pm

    It is true that the only people that Muslims hate more than us are other sects of Muslims. They have been killing each other for centuries and that will never change. Lone nut jobs like Timothy McVeigh will continue to surface. I can't say for sure I won't die in an accident any time I get behind the wheel. I also think it unlikely that a relatively small city as mine will be the target when terrorists finally manage to get their hands on a nuclear device.

    Back to the beginning of my comment, I still remember, and you can't deny the news coverage of the massive joyous celebrations in the streets in dozens of cities throughout the entire middle east on 9/11. We know Muslim leadership has been involved in many attacks in the past. The "martyrs" who die in suicide bombings have their photos on billboards praising their bravery and Muslim groups provide financial support for their families.

    The fact is the US is partly to blame for their hatred. AL-Qaeda is a result of our meddling in world affairs in the 80's coming back to bite us in the ass. We have propped up regimes to take down governments we don't like and are surprised when they turn out to be even worse and turn against us. WWII was the last time our military involvement was absolutely justified. Even then we supported Stalin because he was the enemy of our enemy and look where that got us. We fly drones to target terrorists and inevitably kill innocent civilians and the rage that incites will only recruit more terrorists. Our torture and humiliation of prisoners, many of whom were probably innocent added to the Muslims desire for revenge.

    The US thinks it has to control all world affairs and it rarely ends well. We don't need the kind of isolationism that allowed Hitler to invade other countries but in most cases we should just butt out. If the British hadn't had the balls to stand up and fight the Nazis we would all be speaking German by now. We need allies and there are times we should go to their defense. Perhaps we were right to force Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We weakened his military force and with minimal involvement we kept some measure of control over him. As evil as he was it was probably better to leave him in power. There is no way we can stop the sects of Muslims from oppressing and killing each other. We were probably justified to go into Afghanistan after 9/11 and had we stayed the course we probably could have captured Osama Bin Laden. Instead, our endless obsession with thinking we can bring democracy to the entire world and eliminate all evil dictators got us involved in Iraq and after all the death and destruction that country is still about as fucked up as they ever were. Even we don't have real democracy. We are a plutocracy.

    The FBI's efforts so far in trying to get intelligence about Muslims has been a total failure. That doesn't mean they should not surveille them to try to discover terrorist plots, it just means they should get better at it. The ridiculous entrapment of inventing their own plots has to end. Had they followed up on investigating the Boston bombers with what they already knew about them they might have stopped them. There were many clues before 9/11 that were ignored. They were aware of most of the 19 and they should have never been allowed to board an airplane. They knew some of them were in the country and lost track of them. When the flight instructor reported that there were middle eastern men that wanted to learn to fly a plane but were not interested in how to land one they did not follow up on it.

    We can't usually know when some crazy person will shoot the president thinking he will impress Jodie Foster or some psycho will go off his meds and gun down a fast food restaurant or college dorm. We DO know that when eventually when we see a mushroom cloud over New York or L.A. it will be Muslims behind it. Muslims hold grudges all the way back centuries ago when the evil Roman church tried to slaughter them to the present day atrocities that we are guilty of.

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


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