[Ppnews] New COINTELPRO campaign directed at Arabs

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Fri Mar 11 08:59:57 EST 2005

New COINTELPRO campaign directed at Arabs, Muslims and South East Asians

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Al-Jazeerah, March 5, 2005


BERKELEY, CA: Similar to the COINTELPRO operation against the African 
Americans during the 1960s, the Arab, Muslim and South East Asian 
communities are currently facing a new FBI counter intelligence program, 
says Dr. Hatem Bazian, Professor at the Near East and Ethnic Studies 
Department, University of California, Berkeley.

COINTELPRO is the acronym for a series of FBI counterintelligence programs 
designed to neutralize political dissidents. In the 1960s and 1970s - the 
program was directed against the civil rights movements, and especially 
against the community leadership of  African Americans, Latinos and Native 
Americans.  In the 1980s there was a program against Central American 
solidarity groups.

In a speech entitled, the New COINTELPRO campaign directed at Arabs, 
Muslims and South East Asians, Dr. Bazian said that the present FBI 
operations directed at Arabs and Muslims and South Asians, which it deems 
to be the enemies of state, have similarities between what took place in 
1960s and what is taking place now.

He added that all sub-divisions - such as ethnic groupings, immigrants or 
indigenous and ideological differentiations of the Muslims, Arabs and South 
Asians are included as target by the counter Intelligence operation.

Dr. Bazian went on to say that as pinpointed by Brian Glick author of War 
At Home, four methods were employed by the FBI during the height of the 
Cointelpro poperation during 1960s and the same methods are being employed 
now which are: 1) Infiltration. 2) Psychological warfare from outside. 3) 
Harassment through the legal system. 4) Extra legal force and violence.

He graphically explained how the community has been affected by the 
arrests, raids or search warrants against the Muslim, Arab and South Asian 
individuals, groups and organizations. In the hour long speech at the UC 
Berkeley campus, he also exposed the media frenzy created by the FBI and 
the Department of Homeland Security by pre-arranging media coverage of 
these arrests, raids or search warrants.

Through legal harassment, he added, the government can set in motion a 
great size of fear which begins to permeate every sector of the targeted 
community.  A number of areas in the US have been hard hit by the 
government legal campaign and it will take sometimes before we are 
recovered both financially and organizationally to national level.

Dr. Bazian argued that the arrests, raids or search warrants campaign is 
redirecting the agenda of the Muslim, Arab and South Asian individuals, 
groups and organizations while the legal cases are draining resources of 
the community.

Infiltration in the Arab, Muslim and South East Asian community

Explaining the infiltration in the Arab, Muslim and South East Asian groups 
and organizations, Dr. Bazian said: "In my opinion the period of 
recruitment was put into place immediately after 9/11 and is still 
underway, three years removed after the tragic events." The Infiltration is 
underway, under the premise of security America from the sleeper cells, he 

He believes that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI arms have 
reached the limit in the recruitment campaign and every major Arab and 
Muslim and South East Asian organization or center must have someone on the 
job of collecting information for big brother. "The discredit and disrupt 
phase has just started and rest assure that it will kick into high gear in 
the next few years, considering the personnel inducted by the Bush 
administration in his second term."

Dr. Bazian said that the Israeli centric members of the American society is 
offering its services for collecting information about the Muslims for its 
own ideological reason which is to benefit of the security of Israeli 
political and economic interests in America. "Many Israeli centric 
individuals and organizations view with great alarm the increase in numbers 
and assertiveness of American Muslim and Arab communities. Since it has 
potential in the long run of causing the reconsideration of the existing 
policies vis a vis Israel and the Middle East."

"The infiltration program directed by the Israeli centric grouping has 
longer experience in this field and is also able to recruit from a diverse 
group of personnel that speak Arabic and served possibly in some capacity 
in the occupied territory. The Israeli centric groups include the Front 
Page Magazine and Campus Watch of Denial Pipes. The Anti-Discrimination 
League (ADL) has for a long time been engaged in collecting information as 
well," he added.

He believes that at this point that the Department of homeland Security and 
the FBI have already developed a database which contains the name of every 
local, regional and national leader in the Arab, Muslim and South East 
Asian communities.

The current infiltration program has a two fold goal: one, arrest those who 
might express support to Ben Laden; and second, which is more important 
these days, focusing on the pro-Palestinian sentiments among the targeted 
communities. When we look at all the cases emerged after 9/11, the 
overwhelming majority cases that we are confronted have to do more with the 
Palestinian issue rather than Osama Ben Laden and the US while many of the 
pro-Israeli activists have been constantly trying to make that link, thus 
discrediting pro-Palestinian activists for speaking out for Palestine.

Psychological warfare from outside

Second major tool employed during the height of Cointelpro operation was 
psychological warfare from outside at the targeted group, Dr. Bazian 
said,  which is now done through 24/7 negative campaign against the 
Muslims, Arabs and South East Asians in the mainstream media.

Under the psychological warfare, during 60s and 70s, the security agencies 
planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and other 
publications in the name of targeted groups. They forged correspondence, 
sent anonymous letters, and made anonymous telephone calls. They spread 
misinformation about meetings and events, set up pseudo movement groups run 
by agents, and manipulated or strong-armed parents, employers, landlords, 
school officials and others to cause trouble for activists.

At present the security agencies provide negative stories about Muslims, 
Arabs and South East Asians that often have no connection to what is taking 
place, he said adding the it is intended to maintain a siege mentality 
among members of targeted groups.

It is thought that constant external psychological pressure would lead to 
behavior modification in the targeted group. A basic behavior modification 
program has been directed at the Arabs, Muslims and South Asians to bring 
about a complete change in their world view.

"The message from the negative campaign is that the problem is in what you 
believe and with whom you associate. And if you change it completely, leave 
those whom you associate with, then you will be accepted as normal and 
positive member of the American community."

Dr. Bazian pointed out that the leading cases of arrest of individuals, the 
exposure of some secret groups training in a hamlet and account of money 
movements, all intended to keep the psychological pressure on the targeted 
community. Yet a number of these cases are real and the evidence was with 
the prosecution, but the overwhelming numbers of all others are nothing 
more than a psychological tool to employ for the specific purpose of 

The number of cases directly related to 9/11 are limited to one or possibly 
two, however the continuous stream of arrests and charges brought against 
Arabs, Muslims and South East Asians are intended to maintain the 
psychological pressure, he said. "We have 266 other cases that we are 
dealing with in the courts today. None of them have anything with the 
activities of 9/11.  Three years since 9/11, we don't have their actual 
names from the 1000 arrests and 266 cases.

Harassment through the legal system

Dr. Bazian argued that one of the most powerful tool at the disposal of the 
FBI and the DHS is the legal system which can be deployed as an instrument 
of control rather than basic adjudication of dispute between various 
parties, including the government.

"During the early days of the 20th century the Justice Department perfected 
the use of legal system in a campaign of harassment and intimidation 
directed towards anarchists and communists alike, presently we are 
witnessing once again the use of legal system in a well designed campaign 
directed against the leadership and activists in the Arab, Muslim and South 
East Asian communities."

Dr. Hatem Bazian summarized the goal of harassment through legal system in 
the following 10 forms:

First: Through the legal process the FBI and the DHS structures immediately 
put the individuals and organizations out of business, since an arrest or 
search warrant is intended to halt all activities carried out by the 
identified subject.

Second: By arresting or charging or serving a search warrant the FBI and 
DHS can immediately produce negative responses in the community towards 
those individuals and groups targeted. It is common to speak in private and 
they most likely to say that they must have done something otherwise the 
FBI would not have come after it.

Third: The legal process allows for media frenzy to take place, and a wider 
negative campaign permeated the society towards targeted individuals and 

Fourth: Through the arrests and raids and searches, the FBI and the DHS 
people are able to indirectly set the agenda of activities of the community 
organizations since Immediately after the arrest, the targeted communities, 
groups or individuals would begin to mobilize for some type of a legal 

Five: Another more damaging outcome of the approach is the real possibility 
of split and fallout among the community members, who begin to point the 
finger at each other and those who are arrested, charged or searched.

Six: The legal process allows for new and less experienced people emerge at 
the local community scene. And their initial task is figuring out who is 
who and what needs to be done when the group is under siege. These are the 
moments that make it possible for infiltration to take position and power 
in the community.

Seven: The legal process is very expensive and if the community groups, for 
most part the second and third generation immigrants and their limited 
resources are required to mount a large number of legal battles then their 
financial position is greatly impacted. Take for example, Prof. Sami Al 
Arian's case in Florida, where the retainer for the lawyers was upwards 
than $ 650,000 and the financial cost of the law suit is expected to go for 
about 2.5 million dollars by the end of this legal battle.

Eighth: The legal harassment also leads to disrupting national networks 
built over years of trust and relationship developed over generations. When 
legal battle developed one of its outcome is the destruction of those 
relations and the planting of seeds of doubt and mistrust among people who 
had long standing relations for over a generation.

Nine: The regional and national panel of organizations and rules begin to 
take more of a localized characteristic, due to the pre-occupation with the 
legal battle governed by the specific association and reference to them. As 
such Chicago Muslims of South East Asia begin to focus mainly on their own 
field. While (Muslims in) Dallas and New Jersey will be pre-occupied with 
their own set of legal cases that will be against furthering the national 

Ten: Fear is a very important commodity and its introduction as an 
instrument of control is a strategic one. Fearful people will accept a 
variety of initiatives that under normal conditions will be considered 

The legal tools are intended to bring about fear and provide a lesson to 
everyone in the Muslim, Arab and South East Asian communities.

The extra legal force and violence

The extra legal force and violence happened in the 60s and 70s but not yet 
deployed against the Muslim, Arab and South East Asian communities, Dr. 
Bazian said. However, he added, that one can argue that this has been used 
through the massive arrests and torture of prisoners in the US. This is 
something that we accept but we don't have yet extra legal force and 
violence against the community directly but we should be watchful for this 
in the future.

One the positive developments in encountering the government campaign, Dr. 
Bazian sees an increasing resistance emerging in the Muslim, Arab and South 
East Asian communities in many places with concentration of Muslim and Arab 
population such as Chicago, New York and Texas.

In this perspective, he pointed out that the 650,000 dollar retainer to 
lawyers of Professor Sami Al Arian of the University of South Florida was 
raised by the community on a national level. The government has handed Dr. 
Sami Al Arian, who is in solitary confinement for three years, a 49 count 
indictment which allows foreign intelligence sources, Israeli sources, to 
be admitted into the court against him.

Another important development, according to Dr. Bazian, is coalition 
building across the racial and ethnic lines. The coalition of the Japanese 
community was in the forefront to the support of the Muslim, Arab and South 
East Asian communities. This was followed by the Asian Law office as well 
as many other ethnic communities which came to develop modes of collation 
building for the long term, Dr. Hatem Bazian added.

The Freedom Archives
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