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NYPD and CIA - Long In Bed Together - On New Operation Against Shiite Muslims
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JUAN GONZALEZ: A new report by The Associated Press has revealed the New York Police Department recommended increasing surveillance of the Shiite Muslim community in 2006 as tensions between the United States and Iran escalated. The report is based on a series of interviews and a confidential 10-page police document recently obtained by AP. The May 2006 NYPD intelligence report is called "U.S.-Iran conflict: The Threat to New York City" and it makes several recommendations including increasing monitoring of specific Shiite mosques and centers in New York and surrounding areas. The report is just the latest revelation by The Associated Press into secret intelligence operations set up by the New York Police Department following September 11th attacks targeting Muslim neighborhoods. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim student groups were investigated and dozens were infiltrated. Police monitored and catalog daily life in Muslim communities from where people ate and shopped to where they worked and prayed. According to The AP, many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans. On Thursday, a coalition of Muslim and civil rights organizations reiterated their call for the immediate resignation of New York City police Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly. The groups released a press statement saying such acts of surveillance undermine trust between the Muslim community and the NYPD. These measures are merely the latest in the well documented history of NYPD's targeting of communities of color through discriminatory policing practices.

AMY GOODMAN: The AP report comes on the heels of another controversy surrounding the New York Police Department and the Muslim community, the police department's admission that it aired an anti-Muslim film, The Third Jihad to nearly 1500 officers during training. To talk more about the report, we go to Washington, D.C. to speak with Associated Press reporter Matt Apuzzo who co-wrote the piece, "Document Shows NYPD Eyed Shiites Based on Religion." Earlier this week, he and his colleagues at The AP were named finalists for the 2012 Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting for their ongoing reporting on the New York Police Department's intelligence unit. So, Matt, welcome to Democracy Now!. Tell us what you found in this latest report you did. Tell us exactly what this document is.

MATT APUZZO: This document is an NYPD secret memo prepared for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly by the Intelligence Division, this is the unit that was set up and beefed up after 9/11 to basically root out terrorists and be the eyes and ears in the city for the NYPD. What the document does is, it says there are ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran and if those tensions were to escalate, what are the threats to New York, and what can we be doing now to mitigate those threats and try to get ahead of the curve? That type of analysis, that goal is the kind of analysis that frankly every intelligence agency does and everybody expects should be done. But what happens is, is they then say, this is the threat and they go through and they say this is the demographics of our city. They make note of the number of Iranians who live in the northeast and then they talk a little bit about the makeup of Iran and the political nature of Iran, and then they list a bunch of recommendations. And the recommendations go from the obvious-we should try to recruit more sources who speak Farsi, to things like, as you mentioned at the top of the show, we need to be increasing our intelligence gathering at Shiite mosques. I mean, it is very hard to read that document as saying anything other than, you're doing religious profiling. What that document says is, we should look at all Shiite mosques because we need to know about Iranian terrorists. They might be there, so-Iran is Shiite country, Iran sponsors terrorism. We have Shiites in the United States. That's where we should be, where the Shiites are in America.

That was really striking for us because Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the NYPD doesn't even consider religion in its policing. So, we've asked the mayor if he still thinks that's true, but his office had no comment. Ray Kelly has said they only follow leads. But, there are no leads at all in this document that suggests this is why we're going into these mosques, this is why we're spying on Shiite mosques here. There are no leads other than they're Shiites. Ray Kelly downplayed that at a news conference yesterday and said, well, this is a contingency plan. If hostilities were to break out between the U.S., this is our contingency plan. That was confusing to us because it doesn't say that anywhere in the document. There's no indication what would trigger this contingency plan. And also, what we haven't been able to really get an answer for, if this is a good idea, if this is sensible police work, why wait? Why make a contingency plan? Why not just do it. And if it's not a good idea, if it's not something then why would you even have it as your contingency plan? If it's not sensible then why would it be your contingency plan? So, we haven't been able to get answers to those questions. But, the document has really, for us, been a little bit of a window into the analysis that drove a lot of the programs we have been reporting on for the last six months; the demographic unit which monitors conversations and coffee shops and hookah bars and social clubs, to the mosque crawlers that go to the mosques. We knew this was going on. We had documents showing it was going on. For the first time now, we have documents backed up by interviews showing, well this is why it was going on, and at least in this instance, the logic wasn't to follow the lead, it was follow Muslims.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Matt, once again, the document shows the extraordinary reach of the New York Police Department. It's talking not just about surveillance in New York City, but also of mosques up and down the North East. You've seen this before, the New York Police Department basically conducting operations wherever it feels it needs to do so.

MATT APUZZO: Right. So, in this instance, they're talking about suburban Philadelphia and West Hartford, Connecticut. Those are the southernmost and northernmost reaches on the list-of the mosques on the list. What's interesting here, is this is so far outside the New York Police Department's actual physical jurisdiction. Some of what they do, they actually are able to pick up undercover federal jurisdiction because this unit is technically part of a federal high intensity drug trafficking taskforce set up under the auspices of the federal government. At least some of these documents we've obtained were actually done on federal computers. But, we've not been able to get any answer from the Obama administration. The Justice Department wants nothing to do with this. They haven't answered our questions for months on this about whether this is OK. We just want to know-the Obama administration has been really clear about where it comes down on what police departments and what the federal government should be doing as far as outreach to communities and how we should be building those bridges. They've not said whether-we want you doing that, but we also what you doing this stuff that the NYPD does.

The federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the NYPD. A lot of this stuff was done in collaboration with senior CIA officers. The CIA has trained NYPD officers. They get federal money for these programs. They're using federal computers for these documents. But, ask Tom Perez from the Civil Rights Division what he thinks about this-it was frustrating for us. He literally does not even answer the questions, he just walks away. It's hard to get an answer. A lot of people who find this troubling have said, Pete King, Congressman from New York, he's been so against it, he's come out so in favor of the NYPD. He's saying what he believes and you have to give somebody credit for being willing to engage in this. These are hard conversations. This is uncharted waters we're in. You have to give people credit for coming forward and saying, this is what I believe, and if it's not popular on either side, fine. This is what I believe. What we've been trying to do from the very beginning is let people know what's going on so people can have-so people can make informed decisions. A lot of people, I think, are just-we don't even want to get involved in this; we don't want to know, we don't want to talk about it, we don't want to have anything to do with it.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Even getting this document-the NYPD is notorious for resisting Freedom of Information requests. How difficult was it to get them to turn over this document?

MATT APUZZO: Oh, they didn't turn it over. In the course of this reporting, we've receive documents from a variety of sources who've done so, frankly, probably with some risk to their careers, and lot of people inside the department. The majority of people talking about this-Ray Kelly has said repeatedly, this is disgruntled FBI guys. The FBI didn't even know about these programs. We've been building these reports on dozens and dozens of interviews with people inside the Intelligence Division, people with intimate knowledge of these programs, many of whom say, no, we're not ashamed of this. This is the way you should be doing it. And some of whom who say, this is not with the police department should be doing. And again, we're just trying to get that discussion going, and, frankly, here we are, six months after the first story came out and we're still talking about it and we think it is a topic worth talking about and certainly a topic worth exploring.

AMY GOODMAN: Matt Apuzzo, we have to break, but we're going come back to this discussion. We'll also be joined by a Harlem imam to talk about the effect of the release of the report on the surveillance on the Muslim community in New York. This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman. We're speaking with Matt Apuzzo, the AP reporter among the team who has broken the story of a New York Police Department report saying they would be surveilling the Muslim community.

AMY GOODMAN: Matt Apuzzo is still with us, reporter for The Associated Press, co-author of the report called, "Document Shows NYPD Eyed Shiites Based on Religion." We are going to link to that at our website, Democracynow.org. We're also joined by Imam Talib Abdul-Rashid, spiritual leader at The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood and a member of The Islamic Leadership Council of New York. Matt Apuzzo, I just want to go back to the issue of the CIA and the New York Police Department relationship. News recently, the CIA saying they did not approve this relationship, though a top official within the CIA, David Cohen, after September 11th, came to New York and worked high up in the-became one of the top officials in the New York Police Department.

MATT APUZZO: Right. So, after 9/11, David Cohen, who's one of the top intelligence officers of the CIA, came to the NYPD as the head of intelligence and one of the first things he did was in collaboration with George tenet, who was the CIA director, arranged for another CIA officer, Larry Sanchez, to come to New York. Now, it is a very murky arrangement. So, George tenet sent Larry Sanchez to New York as his personal representative. So, he's still on the CIA payroll, he still has his CIA badge. He starts the morning at the station, reads all the intelligence, and then goes over to the NYPD and shares it. And that is what, I think-intelligence sharing is absolutely supposed to happen, and post 9/11, that was the focus. But, what Larry also did was, Larry was also the architect of a lot of these programs. New York was trying to figure out how to find these things; how to get these leads, how are we going to get these informants, where are we going to put our undercovers? And Larry was able to bring a lot of the expertise, and a lot of the officers that we've interviewed said, Larry was invaluable in helping us build these programs, reviewing our records. And now, that is what we've focused on, the CIA relationship. The CIA has also trained an NYPD detective at the farm, which is the spy school in Virginia. Just most recently, there was another senior-one of the most senior CIA officers in the country, went to New York on what the federal government called a management sabbatical, but, what Ray Kelly said was information sharing. So, we don't, still, really know what his job was there, but we do know it's ending early-nine months-into a one-year stint. It sounds like from what David Petraeus said yesterday before Congress yesterday, that sort of relationship isn't going to continue. They're going to find some new way to collaborate and share information. but, it doesn't sound like they're going to be sending anybody back.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I'd like to bring the Imam into the conversation. Your reaction to this continued exposure of what the New York Police Department is doing in the Muslim community, not only in New York City but up and down the East Coast?

IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID: We're not surprised at all. Those of us who are familiar with the history of the NYPD, we know that there has been a long-standing tension not just between the Muslim community, but between communities of peoples of color here in New York City. We view these latest programs, programs that are focused on Muslim New Yorkers as being directly related to NYPD intelligence programs of the past, the Red Squads of the 1950's and 60's, focused in on political activists except now instead of just focusing on the political community, there's focusing on our religious community.

AMY GOODMAN: Have you experienced the surveillance at your mosque, at the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, and also the fact you're the President of the Islamic leadership Group here in New York, what people are saying, other imams?

IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID: Other imams throughout the city, we are positive they are on their list. We have lawyers in our communities who have seen the list. We know for a fact that there are mosques throughout the city that have been targeted under this program.

JUAN GONZALEZ: One of the sentences in this report that The AP uncovered says "FBI officials have suspected that the Alavi Foundation is using its Islamic centers as a means of penetrating the Black Muslim community to recruit sympathizers." The Alavi Foundation being an association that has connections with the Iranian government. This effort to paint the black community as being infiltrated by foreign forces?

IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID: That's an old theme going all the way back to the 1930's. Government still doesn't get it, that the African-American community is capable of its own analysis of problems, capable of organizing itself as a community. When one looks at that document under "Ancestries of interest," which was one the NYPD documents, African Americans are the only American-born or indigenous group on that list. The whole premise is a fallacy. The African-Americans, we do not have any kind of history of terrorist activity in America, in spite of the circumstances under which we came here in the first place.

AMY GOODMAN: Matt Apuzzo, you are nodding your head. Talk more about that.

MATT APUZZO: Yeah, so, one of the documents that we were able to obtain along the way was their "Ancestries of interest," and the Imam's absolutely right. It's 28 countries, almost all of them are Muslim countries, and then American-Black Muslim. There clearly is a concern or a viewpoint that the NYPD about Muslim converts and about African American Muslims. One of the programs we uncovered along the way was the name change program. The NYPD, basically, they data mine everybody in New York who changes their name. If you change your name, I am Matt Apuzzo my name and I take the last name Muhammad, I'm going to get looked at. If the Imam changes his name to Matt Apuzzo, he's going to get looked at because the concern is, well, is he trying to go undercover?. Is he going to try to obscure his identity? The feeling on that is that, well, if somebody's taking a Muslim name, maybe they're becoming more religious, becoming potentially more violent. If there Americanizing their name, just as generations of immigrants have done, if they are Americanizing their name, well then maybe that Muslim is trying to avoid scrutiny and try to blend in. And so, you'd get a background check, you'd get put in a police database, and depending on who was doing the analysis and what time in the program this was, you might get a visit from the NYPD just to ask about why you were changing your name.

IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID: Listening to this, this helps me to understand that one of the basis for this current activity is actually the 2007 NYPD report on the so-called homegrown radicalization. Back then, the Muslim-American Civil Liberties Coalition challenged many of the premises that are in that report as to how they identify Muslims who were being "Radicalized." They fought the coalition then-those of us in the Muslim community who were you're saying to them, this is not right, this gives the wrong impression. They smugly dismissed our criticisms. Now we find out they actually built programs based on these false premises in the first place.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Matt, I'd like to ask you just briefly, am I wrong or have I been witnessing a increasing sort of division between the FBI and the New York Police Department? Several times that the New York Police Department has arrested so-called terrorist suspects where the FBI has almost disdained them as real entrapment efforts, not real terrorism cases. Do you see a growing division between the FBI and the NYPD on these matters?

MATT APUZZO: There is a rift, but I actually think it gets a little-I mean, the rift between the NYPD and the FBI is a oversimplified thing. There is a rift between the FBI and the NYPD's Intelligence Division, but, I actually think this most recent case, the Pimentel Case, I mean, I think that that might be a case of just some bruised egos on both sides. If the NYPD wants to bring a case that the FBI doesn't want to bring a case on, I mean, certainly the NYPD can bring a case. Now, the the FBI-if they didn't want the case to be brought, they didn't bring it. I mean if the NYPD decides they want to bring it, I mean, that in and of itself I don't think is indicative of the rift. Certainly there is a division between the Intel Division and the FBI in New York. But to the Imam's point, which is, I think, fascinating about the idea of building these programs and what is effective policing-I mean, how we're going to the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Barack Obama have talked about this very issue globally or nationally about how we're going to-about what are best practices for policing, and they're very eager to talk about it as long as you don't talk about New York. We've asked for months to try to talk to them about the NYPD's programs, which federal money finances, but we can't get Homeland Security to say, yeah, we're for this. This is what we want. This done in every city. Or, no, we are actually against that, we don't want it done in any city, or actually, we only want it done in New York. It does seem weird, right? If it's good practice, if this is good law enforcement, it should be replicated and put everywhere. And if it's not good law enforcement, then we certainly don't want it done in the city that is the biggest focus of the biggest focus of international terrorism.

IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID: Just a few weeks ago, you did a program here on Democracy Now! in which you were highlighting the continued militarization of the police force in New York City and other major cities. This is another example. A few years ago under Mayor David Dinkins, he implemented a policy and approach that was called "Community Policing." Of course, under the Giuliani administration, they moved away from community policing, and now here we are in the past decade under Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly. Ray Kelly has moved the NYPD completely away from community policing. They are in fact running the NYPD like it's the private army of Mayor Bloomberg.

JUAN GONZALEZ: You're having a protest today, Imam Rashid, down at Foley Square here in New York city, and you're calling for the resignation of the Police Commissioner?

IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID: Absolutely. The Police Commissioner and his spokesman Paul Browne. They have continuously misled and lied to New Yorkers, generally, and Muslim New Yorkers in particular. They've been caught in their lies and the taxpayers of New York are not paying them to lie to us about what they're doing, so we're calling for the resignation.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much for being with us, Matt Apuzzo in Washington, D.C., reporter for The Associated Press, co-author of a new AP report called, "Document Shows NYPD Eyed Shiites Based on Religion." And Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood and President of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York. He'll be at Foley Square today at three o'clock in New York City, that's the court's area of New York, leading the protesting. This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. The Super Bowl is coming up and some are saying Occupy the Super bowl. Stay with us.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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Report: NYPD Spied on Muslim College Students Throughout Northeast


The Associated Press has revealed the New York City Police Department monitored Muslim college students at schools throughout the Northeast including Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. In one case, the NYPD sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York where he recorded students' names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#3
AMY GOODMAN: We turn to the latest in the scandal around the New York City Police Department's spying on Muslims. The Associated Press has revealed the New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students at schools throughout the Northeast, including Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania. In one case, the NYPD sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York where he recorded students' names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.

The report is just the latest revelation by the Associated Press into secret intelligence operations set up by the New York Police Department following the September 11th attacks targeting Muslim neighborhoods. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim student groups were investigated. Dozens were infiltrated. Police monitored and cataloged daily life in Muslim communities, from where people ate and shopped to where they worked and prayed. According to the AP, many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans.

We're joined in studio here in New York by Jawad Rasul. He is one of the students who was monitored by the New York Police Department and is named in this newly disclosed report tracking the activities of Muslims, of our guest and his friends. He is the only student who's come under surveillance to now publicly speak out about his experience.

We're also joined by Democracy Now! video stream by Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. His group is joining with the Connecticut Civil Rights Coalition to call for a state probe into the spying on Muslims.

Jawad, welcome to Democracy Now!

JAWAD RASUL: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what happened. What was this whitewater rafting trip that you went on?

JAWAD RASUL: We went on many trips, including rafting and paintballing and skiing. We used to play a lot of other sports, as well. And we used to meet at other friends' houses. We used to go out to eat. On this

AMY GOODMAN: Where did you grow up?

JAWAD RASUL: I grew up in Queens. On this particular trip, apparently this agent was actually picked up by me in my car at a nearby train station.

AMY GOODMAN: What was his name? Or what did you call him?

JAWAD RASUL: Well, we don't know for sure, but we think we have a hunch.

AMY GOODMAN: What did you call him?

JAWAD RASUL: We called him "Jibran."

AMY GOODMAN: But now you think you know his name?

JAWAD RASUL: No, we stillthat's what we know about him. We don't know whatif that was his real name.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you picked him up. So you knew him?

JAWAD RASUL: We areonly now that we think back, we can realize as to who it was, because his life story did not make sense, out of all the people.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

JAWAD RASUL: Sometimes he would say he lived in Westchester, sometimes he lived in Long Island. He would always be available for all the trips, even though he said that he worked. And we didn't see him attending a lot of classes, but he used to always be in the lounge area.

AMY GOODMAN: At school, at City College?

JAWAD RASUL: At school, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, you picked him up. You became friends with him?

JAWAD RASUL: He wasbasically, all the people that were in my area, we decided that, to make it easy on them, we would meet up in Jackson Heights, and I would pick them up in my car and go to the meet-up spot in Brooklyn, where the wholewhole group is going to meet up and then go to rafting.

AMY GOODMAN: And how long did you raft? Did you

JAWAD RASUL: It was about 24 hours. We went one evening, and we came back the next evening.

AMY GOODMAN: So how did you come to realize that you were under surveillance by the New York Police Department?

JAWAD RASUL: On the 14th of February, I got a call from an AP reporter, Chris Hawley, who told me that my name has been cited on this list, and what do I think about it? Obviously, I was speechless.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think about it?

JAWAD RASUL: It'sit's really disheartening, to be honest. We are actually trying to be better American citizens, as much as we can. You know, like I said earlier, I try to buy American to help the American economy. And then these kind of things come out, and thatit really throws us back. And I think, honestly, it's even hurting NYPD's try and attempt at fighting homegrown terrorism, because these kind of tactics actually create more hatred towards them and the other law-enforcement agencies and really destroys the trust that any youth might have developed with the government.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn right now to our guest in Connecticut, Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The report indicates that students at the University of Pennsylvania, at Yale University, were tracked, were monitored. Mongi, what do you know?

MONGI DHAOUADI: So far, that's all we know, is that there is some activities by the New York Police Department in Connecticut. We heard about a week and a half ago that there was a report issued also by the Associated Press speaking about the New York Police Department monitoring some locations within Connecticut, specifically in West Hartford. And now this report that just came out over the weekend speaking specifically that the New York Police Department was monitoring students along the Northeast colleges, but also specifically at Yale University. We don't know much about their activities. We don't know if they were coordinating some of these with local law enforcement, even though yesterday, at least, we heard from university officials, city officials, state officials denying any knowledge about this, which we will take on its face value.

But at the same time, we are questioning the legality of these activities. This is a city that's not in our state that is engaging in profiling Muslims based on their religions and ethnic backgrounds. And we have a lot of questions, that today we are organizing a press conference, and we are calling on a full and transparent investigation into this matter.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to get both of your response to the New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly last month invoking the 9/11 attacks to defend the monitoring of Muslims.

COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY: We believe we're doing what we have to do, pursuant to the law, to protect the city, a city that's been attacked successfully twice and had 14 plots against it inyou know, in the last two decades.

AMY GOODMAN: That's New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Jawad Rasul, your response?

JAWAD RASUL: I would love to see those leads, really.

AMY GOODMAN: What has this meant in your life? You have decided to come forward, and you're the only student named who is speaking publicly. Why?

JAWAD RASUL: It's not easy, first of all, to come out, because I'm constantly being discouraged from family and friends to go out in public and really stick my neck out. But I think it's important for someone to speak out and let the NYPD know that you're not doing good by this. You're actually hurting your chances to actually build a rapport with these youth that they feel are troublesome.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to read the comment of the Yale University president, Richard Levin. In an emailed message to the entire university community, he said, "I am writing to state, in the strongest possible terms, that police surveillance based on religion, nationality, or peacefully expressed political opinions is antithetical to the values of Yale, the academic community, and the United States. Also I want to make sure our community knows that the Yale Police Department has not participated in any monitoring by the NYPD and was entirely unaware of NYPD activities until the recent news reports." Mongi, have you been in touch with Yale University?

MONGI DHAOUADI: Not directly, but I have spoken to some students from the MSA at Yale. I've spoken to the chaplain, who works for the chaplain's office at Yale University. And I received a message yesterday after we questioned whether there was any knowledge or any coordination. And I'm pleased to see that kind of strong language, that kind of resolve, on the part of the officials from Yale University. But we would like that to be also followed by some real concrete actions on the ground to protect the rights of these students at Yale University.

If the New York Police Department, which we think they engaged in profilingprofiling in Connecticut is illegal, it is unlawful, therefore, we would like to see some full investigation into the matter and to hold them accountable. This is not New York City. This is the state of Connecticut. We have laws. New Haven, a city, is known for its standing by the civil rights and civil liberties of its people. And I think it is the responsibility of these officials to make sure that they protect the lives and the privacy and the rights of these citizens and these residents. These college students have come from different various places around the world, and they come to find and engage in a lively and constructive life at Yale University, as it's known for that. And then to have this fear hanging over their head that someone is watching them and recording every move, it is really disheartening. And we hope that the officials follow these strong statements, as they stand nextbeside the students, followed with concrete actions on the ground to hold the NYPD responsible for its actions, that we think they're borderline, at least, of breaking the laws in Connecticut.

AMY GOODMAN: The AP reported the other universities where Muslim student associations were monitored included Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse, New York University, Clarkson University, the Newark and New Brunswick campuses of Rutgers, and the State University of New York campuses in Buffalo, Albany, Stony Brook, Potsdam, also Queens College, Baruch College, Brooklyn College and LaGuardia Community College. So the City College system and the State University of New York college system. Jawad, how are you organizing? How are students organizing? And are you doing it across campuses and across states?

JAWAD RASUL: This organization is really starting now. I have, myself, written an open letter to NYPD, asking them to move away from these tactics, which are really reactionary, and move to proactive tactics that could engage the students that could possibly be isolated by the foreign policy situation and basically the social conditions that exist that create an identity crisis amongst them.

AMY GOODMAN: Jawad, we justI read the statement of the Yale University president, who said that the Yale police did not know about this. What do you know about the City University police? And has the CUNY president and chancellor made a statement yet?

JAWAD RASUL: I'm not familiar with CUNY or the CUNY police, but I know that City College has released a statement saying that they do not agree to these kind of tactics at City College, and they were not aware.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, we have known about this for quite some time, New York Police Department surveillance in New York City schools, for months. Leonard Levitt's NYPD Confidential revealed last year that the police infiltrated Muslim student associations at Brooklyn, Baruch, City, Hunter, Queens and LaGuardia Colleges. Are you asking your college, your university, the City University system, to make a statement at this point?

JAWAD RASUL: City College has, but I think I'm going to

AMY GOODMAN: That's one college

JAWAD RASUL: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: within the CUNY, City University of New York, system.

JAWAD RASUL: I'm, myself, personally going to be organizing my friends and contacts at different MSAs to start at least a letter campaign or some kind of petition to ask them to come out against this and ask even the NYPD to stop this and move towards proactive tactics. And I'm, myself, willing to work with them on this to engage the Muslim youth in order to do something about the homegrown terrorist problem.

AMY GOODMAN: The issue of how many times you prayed, what was your reaction to that on this camping trip?

JAWAD RASUL: Firstly, the undercover agent got it wrong, because we actually pray five times a day. So not only he was having fun to raft with us, he was actually not doing his job properly. But even besides that

AMY GOODMAN: Did he pray with you?

JAWAD RASUL: He probably did. Otherwise, we would probably know there was something wrong, because it was a group of students that organized around the prayer hall in the City College. So, but it's really surprising that these kind of things that he feels are important for the police to know, that we are praying four times a day or our discussion was largely based on Islamic topics, it'sI mean, we are in America, not in Syria or Egypt. We're not supposed to expect these kind of things.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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