Tuesday, June 17, 2014

‘Inventing terrorists’: New study reveals FBI set up terrorism-related prosecutions

June 16, 2014 11:43
Nearly 95 per cent of terrorist arrests have been the result of FBI foiling its own entrapment plots as a part of the so-called post-9/11 War on Terror, a new study revealed.

According to the report entitled ‘Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution’, the majority of arrests involved the unjust prosecution of targeted Muslim Americans.

The 175-page study by Muslim advocacy group SALAM analyzes 399 individuals in cases included on the list of the US Department of Justice from 2001 to 2010.

“According to this study’s classification, the number of preemptive prosecution cases is 289 out of 399, or 72.4 percent. The number of elements of preemptive prosecution cases is 87 out of 399, or 21.8 percent. Combining preemptive prosecution cases and elements of preemptive prosecution cases, the total number of such cases on the DOJ list is 376, or 94.2 percent,” the report concluded.
The authors define ‘preemptive prosecution’ as “a law enforcement strategy adopted after 9/11, to target and prosecute individuals or organizations whose beliefs, ideology, or religious affiliations raise security concerns for the government.”

Nearly 25 percent of cases (99 of 399) contained material support charges. Another almost 30 per cent of cases consisted of conspiracy charges. More than 17 per cent of the analyzed cases (71 of 399 cases) involved sting operations. Over 16 percent of cases (65 of 399 cases) included false statement or perjury charges, and around six percent of cases involved immigration-related charges.

According to the report, since 9/11 only 11 cases posed “potentially significant” threat to the United States.

“Only three were successful (the [Tamerlan and Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev brothers and Major Nidal Hasan), accounting for 17 deaths and several hundred injuries,” the paper says.

One of the FBI’s strategies involved “using agents provocateur to actively entrap targets in criminal plots manufactured and controlled by the government.”
“The government uses agents provocateur to target individuals who express dissident ideologies and then provides those provocateurs 25 with fake (harmless) missiles, bombs, guns, money, encouragement, friendship, and the technical and strategic planning necessary to see if the targeted individual can be manipulated into planning violent or criminal action,” the report concluded.

The government could also choose to use “minor ‘technical’ crimes,” such as errors on immigration forms, an alleged false statement to a government official, gun possession, tax or financial issues, etc., to go after someone for their “ideology.”
“What they were trying to do is to convince the American public that there is this large army of potential terrorists that they should all be very-very scared about. They are very much engaged in world-wide surveillance and this surveillance is very valuable to them. They can learn a lot about all sorts of things and in a sense control issues to their advantage,” Steven Downs, an attorney for Project SALAM, which issued the report, told RT. “And the entire legal justification for that depends on there being a war on terror. Without a war on terror they have no right to do this. So they have to keep this war on terror going, they have to keep finding people and arresting them and locking them up and scarring everybody.”
In the conclusion, authors of the report offered the US government several recommendations that the DOJ "should employ" to change the present unfair terrorism laws. A total seven recommendations call on the US government to accurately identify people who offer material support for terrorism, strengthening the “entrapment” defense in the courts; abolish “terror-enhanced sentencing” that triples or quadruples jail time in cases linked to terrorist acts; disallow secret court proceedings, and immediately notifying defendants if any evidence in their case is derived from secret surveillance.

Income Inequality by State


What Makes the United States So Unequal?

By Robert J.S. Ross

If governments did nothing, Western Europe and the United States would have similar levels of inequality. But governments don’t sit on the sidelines. They collect taxes. They provide social programs. They take steps that can lessen the amount of market inequality. The difference: Governments in European and other high-income societies do much more to reduce inequality than the United States.

Comparisons among the high-income countries usually show the United States as the most unequal.

Comparisons of income inequality among the high income countries usually show the United States as the most unequal, as measured by a standard index called the Gini coefficient. A Gini value of 100 means that all the income is held by one household. A value of 0, on the other hand, means that all income is equally shared.

For the United States, the Gini coefficient runs about 38, according to the OECD, the economic policy tank for the rich countries, or about 48, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The American Gini rating has risen sharply in the last generation, after falling gradually in the middle of the twentieth century.

By comparison, the Nordic countries– Sweden, Denmark, Norway – have among the lowest Gini coefficients, in the 25-27 range, while Germany has a Gini of 29 and France, 28.

Comparisons that show the United States as the most unequal of high-income societies typically take into account the income households have from market-based activity (work and investments) and government transfer programs (Social Security and unemployment compensation, for instance) and subtract away taxes. Researchers call the end result from these calculations “post tax and transfer” or “disposable” income.

Political decisions determine taxes and transfers. Public policies, everything from minimum wage to labor laws, also influence market-based income. So we should expect inequality levels to differ among developed nations. Even so, the actual differences among developed nations can be surprising.
Political decisions determine taxes and transfers.

On the yardstick of market-based income, the level of inequality in the United States does not come off as particularly extreme. The United States ranks eighth most unequal among the 26 countries that reported 2010 data to the OECD. The United States sports about 7 percent more market-based inequality than the average of all OECD nations.

The extreme inequality status of the United States only kicks in when we go beyond market-based income and look at tax and transfer policies.

In the United States, taxes and transfers are doing much less to reduce inequality than these policies are doing in other developed nations. On average, rich countries’ tax and transfer policies reduce inequality by about 36 percent. The figure in the United States: only about 24 percent.

In Sweden, market-based inequality shows a Gini of about 44, but the disposable income Gini sits at a much more equal 27, a reduction of 39 percent in inequality. In the United States, the market Gini comes in about 50. The disposable income Gini: just 38 in the OECD data, a reduction of only 24 percent.

Over the last generation, major changes in U.S. tax and transfer policies – mainly cuts in the tax rates on high incomes – have actually served to increase inequality.

Inequality, to be sure, is increasing in almost all high-income countries, the consequence of the triumph of global capitalism and its neoliberal policy package: market dominance, privatization, and deregulation. But even in this company, the United States stands out for the depth of its commitment to policies – particularly tax policies – that favor the rich.
The United States stands out for its policies that favor the rich.

Many Americans are, not surprisingly, concerned about excessive taxes. Ours, after all, has been a nation forged in a struggle against a grasping, remote, tax-hungry overlord. Yet when we compare ourselves to other countries about as rich and democratic as we are, it appears we are not highly taxed. Our total taxation level stands at about 24 percent of GDP (the total value of national production and income), a level significantly lower than the 34 percent average of the other high-ncome countries.

Why should we care about how little our tax system reduces inequality? Among the world’s high-income countries, the British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have powerfully pointed out in The Spirit Level, the more unequal societies – and regions within countries – have more violence, infant mortality, lower life expectancies, and more mental illness. Societies that are more equal, on the other hand, have more trust among people. Our levels of inequality produce fractured community and social resentment, and they drive sour and even violent politics.

Inequality has become like the weather: Everybody talks about it but no one does anything. Unlike the weather, we can fix this mess and heal these wounds. To do so, we may need a reminder from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”