The State Department yielded to pressure from a coalition of Seattle and Washington state politicians, community groups, and advocacy organizations and agreed to withdraw at least one ad in the department's Metro bus ad campaign in Seattle promoting the “Rewards for Justice” campaign. The program pays rewards to individuals who provide leads about the location of wanted terrorists.
Congressman Jim McDermott, Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, and King county councilmember Rod Dembowski joined forces with others in the community, as well as organizations like the ACLU and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), to raise concerns about the ads. Mayor McGinn reported at least some success in their efforts [emphasis added]:
[Arsalan] Bukhari [of the Council on American-Islamic Relations] worked with the ACLU of Washington State to convene a meeting that included Magdaleno Rose-Avila and Sahar Fathi of our Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. After a productive meeting, the lead investigator for the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program, Tim Corso, acknowledged our concerns with the ad that featured the language “Global Faces of Terrorism” along with photos of men from the Philippines, Somalia, Russia, Sudan and Algeria. He has agreed to take down this particular ad and to work with community advocates in doing outreach in Seattle going forward.
Mayor McGinn expressed optimism that Seattle's opposition would make a difference elsewhere as "Seattle is the first city to receive these ads and the recommendations provided by the community will drive how the program is implemented in other cities across the country." In addition to the ACLU and CAIR, the mayor credited a long list of organizations who participated in the efforts which also included the Service Employees International Union:
This was made possible through the collaborative work by the many community advocates who came together on this issue: in particular (and in no specific order), the American Civil Liberties Union – Washington, Council on American-Islamic Relations (Washington Chapter), Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Office of King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, Office of Congressman Jim McDermott, Minority Executive Directors Coalition, Mothers for Police Accountability, the Seattle Human Rights Commission, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, SEIU Healthcare 775NW, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Faith Action Network (Seattle).
"A week ago the world learned of another foiled airplane bombing attack by the Yemeni offshoot of al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden's successors are desperate to strike the U.S. again, which isn't news to most Americans but seems to elude some Members of Congress.
In August 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the U.S. government on behalf of al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki. The two organizations questioned the government’s right to put Awlaki on a “kill list” and argued that the “government’s refusal to disclose the standard by which it determines to target U.S. citizens for death independently violates the Constitution.” The complaint continued:
“Don’t consult with anyone in fighting the Americans; fighting the devil doesn’t require consultation or prayers or seeking divine guidance.”
So said Anwar al Awlaki in a video released online on Monday. Awlaki is, of course, the notorious al Qaeda cleric who openly claims Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan (aka the Fort Hood shooter) and Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab (who tried to blow up Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009) as his “students.”
Legal activist groups filed an extraordinary lawsuit yesterday to prevent the U.S. military and CIA from undertaking the "targeted killing" of persons suspected of posing a terrorist threat to the U.S.
In what was billed as “his first U.S. appearance since the Bush administration barred him from the country in 2004,” the Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan spoke last night to a nearly full house at the Great Hall of the Cooper Union in New York City. It may well in fact have been his first public appearance in the U.S. ever. For before the Bush administration “barred him” – or, in other words, revoked his visa – in 2004, Ramadan was hardly the internationally renowned public figure that he is today.
Phil Hare, the Democrat who represents Illinois's seventeenth congressional district, ran unopposed for a second term in 2008. A union man, he's an opponent of free trade who voted Yes for the stimulus, cap-and-trade, and health care bills. In 2008 he earned a 100 percent rating from Americans for Democratic Action, the ACLU, and the public employees union AFSCME. In two elections, Hare has never faced a strong Republican opponent. He's served in Congress during boom times for Democrats. But those days are over.
There are two updates related to Amnesty International’s relationship with former Gitmo detainee and jihadist Moazzam Begg this Sunday. (For background on the relationship, see here. For background information on Begg, see here, here, here, here, here and here.)
First, the Sunday Times (UK) reports that Salman Rushdie has joined the growing chorus of observers who denounce Amnesty’s alliance with Begg (emphasis added):