At an ANSWER LA meeting last night on Immigration Rights, Ban Al-Wardi (American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee-LA/OC) detailed the Orwellian moves the FBI is making into the Arab/Muslim communities.
The FBI, she explained, is pretending to be a “member of the community”, holding meetings with the Arab and Muslim leaders explaining how the PATRIOT Act is their friend. Yessiree, the FBI tells them, with the PATRIOT Act, we protect you! Then they lovingly detail all the noxious parts of it. Are there, you ask, any Arab or Muslim FBI agents present at the meeting? Don’t be silly. Ban said at the meetings she was at there was one token Latina and the rest were Aryan/Anglo crew-cutted males. (Crew-cuts in 2004 in LA? I hope they aren’t trying to go undercover.)
After heaping praise on the PATRIOT Act, the FBI then attacks pamphlets that Arab groups have distributed. As an example,, one pamphlet said “If an FBI agent wants to question you, you have the right to have a lawyer present.” Well, this got the FBI’s panties in a twist. No no no they said, this is wrong. We need to get information fast, so if someone wants to have a lawyer present, this might slow us. So even if what you are saying is true, don’t say it. We can move faster without all that bothersome lawyer stuff – so this helps us help you! Aw, how thoughtful of them.
But wait, there’s more. Do you fear your mosque might be attacked, they asked. Then give us blueprints to the buildings, including home residences of staff, locations of alarms, and the unlock codes. Are they requesting the same information from synagogues, much less from churches? What do you think?
Ban did skip the 6 hour mock training sessions where you pretend to be an FBI agent breaking into immigrant homes. This is so you can feel their pain (The FBI’s pain, not the immigrant’s pain.) Sometimes we accidentally shoot someone and this makes us feel bad, the FBI said. No, I am not making this up.
Of course, while FBI holds these Happy Face meetings, their attacks on immigrants, especially against Arab and Muslims, continue unabated.