So now we're learning that federal spooks have been monitoring mosques, as well as businesses and homes of U.S. Muslims for suspicious radiation. I think John Emerson at Seeing the Forest understands this one rightly: the Bushies are leaking about this program because they know that most folks won't mind a little dubiously legal, warrantless, peeking into the secret doings of putatively brown people who practice a "foreign" religion.
Unfortunately, this kind of stuff has always been what police agencies do to the enemies of the moment. Been there; seen that.
- There was the time in the 80s when my partner was speaking on the radio by phone about an upcoming, legal, public protest of government policies in Central America; as soon as she hung up the local police called on a number that she never announced asking for more details.
- Later she told me she would call a student activist at a local college about demonstration plans; seconds later, she picked up the phone and found that woman already on the line. Neither had dialed; each had spoken aloud about calling the other.
- Less humorously, soon after we arrived in South Africa to teach computer publishing to anti-apartheid newspapers, "roofers from the landlord" showed up to inspect our rented house from top to bottom. It later came out that a San Francisco leatherman acting out a spy fantasy had been selling Red Squad information he bought from a corrupt cop to the South African secret police.
The purpose of the spying is as much intimidation as information. White, middle-class people can laugh this stuff off. Muslim immigrants forced to do a turn as objects of our fears can't.
Alamdar S. Hamdani, a Texas lawyer describes how the spook work plays out among his clients:
Legal rights must seem a mirage to communities routinely subjected to this stuff.
Fortunately, some do find ways to laugh:
Read the rest here.