Please Speak Directly into the Key Fob

Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Blog
Next week, the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporters who broke the story about the NYPD surveillance program will be publishing a book. While much has been written about this insidious program, Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America has still more unsettling surprises. The revelations of authors Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman show how the mindset behind development of the federal PRISM program, collecting data from citizens’ emails and phone conversations.
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A US - Islamist Exchange Program?

Posted on August 27, 2013 in Countdown
When Secretary of State Kerry spoke yesterday about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, he called their use a “moral obscenity” and alluded to the possibility of intervention—regardless of UN support—sooner rather than later. The chemical weapons attack that occurred just a few days ago is the deadliest attack since Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on thousands of Kurds in Halabja 25 years ago.
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March on Washington: Arab Americans and the Civil Rights Movement

Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Blog
On Saturday, Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry addressed tens of thousands of Americans from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The march on the National Mall drew crowds in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, originally delivered on August 28, 1963.
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Calling it Like We See It

Posted on August 20, 2013 in Countdown
Though, in many respects, Arab American views toward Egypt’s continued unrest are in line with the deep division on the ground, we all agree the fighting must stop and that Egyptians themselves are the only ones who can carve out their own path forward.
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A Vote for the Amash Amendment is a Vote in Defense of the Constitution

Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Blog
The House of Representatives is currently debating the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Defense. Some of the most controversial amendments have been regarding Syria, Egypt, and the NSA’s surveillance programs. After a considerable delay, the House Rules Committee decided earlier this week that Congressman Amash’s (R-MI) DoD Appropriations amendment was in order and will get a vote.
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Mos Def YouTube Video Sheds Light on Inhumanity of Force-Feeding at Gitmo

Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Blog
Inhumane treatment continues at Guantanamo Bay, where over 100 of the 166 prisoners detained there are in the midst of a hunger strike. Some have been fasting for over 100 days. The number of those currently being force-fed has reached at least a quarter of the total population of the prison, over 40 people. Seeking to raise awareness about the plight of these prisoners, rapper and MC Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, underwent the standard operating procedure for force-feeding used in the detention center.
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Republican hypocrisy on surveillance

Posted by on July 08, 2013 in Blog
By Yasmine Taeb and Isaac Levey The recent wave of disclosures about the National Security Agency (NSA)’s widespread surveillance of Americans’ electronic communications has cast renewed pressure on Congress to act to rein in the President’s authority in this area. Congressional action is essential if surveillance is to be cut down or subjected to more serious oversight, since the Constitution itself doesn’t necessarily offer much protection in this area.
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AAI Statement to Civil Liberties Board Concerning NSA Surveillance

Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Blog
The recent revelations about the breadth of electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) raise troubling questions about Americans’ privacy, civil liberties, and the protection secured by the Bill of Rights. While no concrete examples of illegal activity or constitutional violations have emerged to this point, we remain deeply concerned about the potential for abuse that exists, especially given the secrecy in which these activities are shrouded. This is cause for concern for all Americans, but for obvious reasons, it is of special relevance to the Arab American community. When programs like these operate without public scrutiny or accountability, the risk of profiling, harassment, or other methods of arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement is troubling.
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The Need for Balanced Surveillance Authority

Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Blog
By Isaac Levey Legal Fellow The recent revelations about the National Security Agency's (NSA) collection of Americans’ phone records and the PRISM program, which monitors Internet activity, have focused renewed attention on the conflict between privacy and security, and how easily the government can monitor our communications. Since the Constitution itself may not offer much protection against surveillance like this, meaningful controls must come from Congress.
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House Judiciary Hearing Highlights Civil Liberties Challenges Post-9/11

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Blog
By Isaac Levey Legal Fellow Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “Protecting U.S. Citizens’ Constitutional Rights During the War on Terror.” Witnesses discussed the always-timely and elusive quest to balance perhaps the two most important goals our policymakers should face: protecting our citizens and our nation from violent attacks; and observing the sacred constitutional freedoms we must prize as much as our safety.
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