back to article Snowden leaks latest: NSA, FBI g-men spied on Muslim-American chiefs

New documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden confirm that the NSA and the FBI spy on Muslim-American leaders, including Republican Party politicians and military veterans. The Intercept reports that the Feds are using tactics and techniques intended for catching terrorists and spies to monitor the email accounts of …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Muslim-Americans?

    To match the general hyphenated-American usage, wouldn't that imply that the ancestors of these people came from, um, Muslia?

    What's wrong with 'American Muslims', which both does away with the clumsy phraseology and removes the implicit suggestion that they have a long foreign ancestry?

    1. Mike Smith
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Muslim-Americans?

      "wouldn't that imply that the ancestors of these people came from, um, Muslia?"

      Alternatively, it could be read to suggest that Muslim-Americans are, you know, not quite real Americans.

      Which could help Uncle Sam no end next time it decides that public xenophobia needs a boost.

      1. Levente Szileszky

        Re: Muslim-Americans?

        "Alternatively, it could be read to suggest that Muslim-Americans are, you know, not quite real Americans."

        Total nonsense - it's a very common thing here and I never met anyone who wouldn't be proud of her/his ancestry, who would be offended by hearing, say, 'Irish-American', would take it as a pejorative.

        1. Gray
          Flame

          Re: Muslim-Americans?

          It's pure bullshit! The use of the hyphenated xxx-American is totally intended to diminish the standing of the person/group so labeled. Otherwise, the appropriate label would be simply, "American."

          America is a racist nation. Even our vehement denial of racism confirms the fact. Every non-caucasian person must needs be labeled to establish their place in the hierarchy, i.e., "Native" American, "African" American, "Jewish" American, "Muslim" American, and so on. To say this is not pejorative labeling is to say that segrated schools truly offered "equal" education to all.

          One interesting experiment I've conducted in recent times is to enquire of my fellow citizens: "Do you think it appropriate that a Muslim should be elected President?" I'll leave the responses to your fertile imagination.

          And of course, the NSA/FBI/et al are playing on these racist phobias in their labeling and monitoring. The scorpions cannot deny their nature.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Muslim-Americans?

            I have never been to a country that was not racist or colour orientated. I lived for sometime in the Middle East. On only my second or third day in the Middle East I was told by someone who was a shade of dark mahogany that a suicide victim did not matter because they were black.

            Oh that's all right then? Not in my book!

            As for other racial and religious issues, in some work places lines had to be drawn to keep the different sects, religions and races apart to prevent fights breaking out between them.

            So for all those who think such issues are a USA or Europe issue, (as I had been taught); open your eyes it is pervasive. It is a destructive and dangerous issue across the globe and it affects far more than good neighbour relationships as it damages a whole swathes of life.

            On another side to the matter; when a target is monitored, who is trying to contact them may be of more interest than who they contact. If monitoring of my communications could help identify the steady stream of fraudsters and hucksters who contact me and could disrupt their quasi criminal acts, where do I sign up please?

            1. Tom 13

              Re: a USA or Europe issue

              I'm inclined to say it is mostly a USA or Europe issue for pretty much the reasons you've outlined: so far we are the only places that have advanced the issue far enough that you get a fair bit of mixing without wholesale riots breaking out to the point that you have to segregate according to race to keep the peace. It's not that we are more evil than other places, it is that we are less.

              In addition to your notes about monitoring, I have to re-emphasize the end note on the article. If you are engaged in counter-spying for your country, you go looking for exactly the sorts of people you'd expect to be infiltrating. I'd expect the infiltrator to try to build as patriotic a resume as possible to get to the best information he can. It's what Philby and Hiss did.

          2. Risky

            Re: Muslim-Americans?

            So racist that 10 years ago you'd have lazy newspaper articles sayign that America would never elect a black president. Then they did, and more critically his race wasn't an issue at the election, it was about all the usual stuff.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: his race wasn't an issue at the election

              I have to disagree with that. It's just that the racism doesn't fit the current LSM template. If The Big 0 were white instead of black, he never would have been elected. When Bill Clinton said someone like him would have been bringing in the coffee in most political organizations, it was one of the few truths he ever told. I don't think Bill Clinton is particularly racist. I think he sees and instantaneously evaluates everyone on the basis of what that person can do for him politically. Women... well that's a different story. But even then it would be his SECOND evaluation of them.

          3. scarletherring

            Re: Muslim-Americans?

            > Do you think it appropriate that a Muslim should be elected President?

            Well, I think it was Sam Harris (but might be wrong about that) who suggested that they would much prefer a Muslim President over an atheist one.

        2. Mike Smith

          Re: Muslim-Americans?

          Point taken, but it wouldn't take a lot of propaganda effort to poison that. Subtly asking the question "are you Muslim or American?" would do the trick.

          1. Ross K
            Trollface

            Re: Muslim-Americans?

            Point taken, but it wouldn't take a lot of propaganda effort to poison that. Subtly asking the question "are you Muslim or American?" would do the trick.

            Kinda like the "Who do you support, Rangers or Sellick?" question that Glaswegians are fond of asking in order to determine your religious persuasion?

    2. Ross K

      Re: Muslim-Americans?

      It's just a bullshit tag that helps the general populace feel a bit better about themselves when the xxxxx-Americans are discriminated against, or herded off to internment camps like the Japanese-Americans during WWII.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Muslim-Americans?

        "...or herded off to internment camps like the Japanese-Americans..."

        I initially misread that as "internet camps", and for a tiny fraction of a second my mind ran away with that, trying to imagine what marvellously wondrous places of whimsy those might be; then the built-in auto-correct hit, and I was rather disappointed...

    3. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Muslim-Americans?

      When the subject is about roots there are Jewish-American etc terms so it isn't really about any origin country. OTOH I agree, American Muslims is far more correct term but also far more vulnerable for abuse, from both sides.

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Muslim-Americans?

      "the implicit suggestion that they have a long foreign ancestry?", All human beings have a long foreign ancestry?.

    5. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

      Re: Muslim-Americans? -"long foreign ancestry"

      All but the American-Americans (a.k.a Native Americans) have a long foreign ancestry. If your ancestral line hasn't been there for over 516 years then you come from colonial origins. End of.

      Anyway, 5 Muslims out of 7,485 email addresses does strike me as racial profiling of the worst order. NOT!

      Of course there would be more Muslims than those 5, but are we to believe there were no other "prominent" people on the list who aren't Muslim? Is there a word for a "racist antiracist" (apart from hypocrite-bastard)?

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Muslim president

    The same organisations used to spy on black-American leaders - and do much more than spy - leading to a black president,

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Muslim president

      Are you saying the NSA and FBI were responsible for Obama being black, or Obama being President?

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Charles Manning

          Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

          Obama was hardly raised as a typical American black kid. If he had been, the road to prez-ship would have been a lot harder.

          Obama was exclusively raised by his well educated white mother and his white family. Although he hung out with African American people in his later developmental life, he was essentially a white boy in a coffee coloured skin wigh African American mates.

          Even his "roots" differ vastly from African Americans. Obama's black genes are from Kenya whereas the slaves that made up the African American gene pool are from the west coast of Africa - almost entirely different culturally almost no slave history.

          Thus, once you get past the first few cells, Obama really has little in common with your average African American.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

            And Bush had a lot in common with every other white Texan ?

          2. Vector
            Thumb Down

            Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

            "Obama was exclusively raised by his well educated white mother and his white family. Although he hung out with African American people in his later developmental life, he was essentially a white boy in a coffee coloured skin wigh African American mates.

            Even his "roots" differ vastly from African Americans. Obama's black genes are from Kenya whereas the slaves that made up the African American gene pool are from the west coast of Africa - almost entirely different culturally almost no slave history"

            Oh, yes, and all of that was at the forefront of the minds of everyone who elected him president. I'm sure everyone's first thought was: "just how black is he?"

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

              "just how black is he?"

              Best quote of the campaign. He has an African father and a (white) american mother - so he is the first black US president but could be the first white Kenyan one.

            2. Tom 13

              Re: "just how black is he?"

              It seems to be a frequent question for Clarence Thomas. Yet he has actual roots being described.

              Joe Biden of all people got this one right: he's a black man who talks like white people most of the time and black people when he needs to. If he talked only one or the other he'd never be president. The white liberals wouldn't have voted for him because "he wasn't' educated enough" if he only spoke like Jesse Jackson, and the black people wouldn't have racistly voted as a single block for him if he spoke like Joe Biden.

          3. DougS Silver badge

            @Charles Manning

            What difference does it make if his "black genes" originated from Africa instead of from US blacks with a slave history? The genes are equivalent, they don't acquire something special because a few generations of ancestors were slaves.

            One can argue he's not as black as many African-Americans, since he's part white and had more of a white upbringing. But he still faced/faces a lot of racism, especially as president, as is obvious from the number of people who still insist he wasn't born in the US and is a Muslim.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ DougS

              But he still faced/faces a lot of racism, especially as president, as is obvious from the number of people who still insist he wasn't born in the US and is a Muslim.

              Surely that's standard for a Democrat President? Maybe I'm prejudiced, but my feeling is every single one of his detractors who offer only abuse, as opposed to reasoned objection, is a Republican.

              (And only a Republican would have the temerity to deny what a nasty bunch of fuckers their cheerleaders are)

              1. DougS Silver badge

                Re: @ DougS

                I think it is standard for all presidents these days, since things are so partisan. George Bush was criticized by democrats for his silver spoon upbringing and fake good ol boy shtick.

                There are more racist republicans than democrats, but the number of racist democrats is far from zero and there were some lifelong democrats down south who voted for McCain and Romney because they wouldn't vote for Obama simply due to his race.

            2. Don Jefe

              Re: @Charles Manning

              I just wanted clarification on the NSA/FBI culpability in creating Obama. Initially I was just trying to be funny, as the comment caught me off guard. But then I started thinking about it and it hit me. What if there was something to it! If we could somehow get hold of a PowerPoint presentation about the program it would be fucking huge!

              Snowden would be instantly forgotten if it came out that the NSA and FBI could make people black. Not only could they do it, they had done it and made a faux black person President. It also explains the overnight Colin Powell reversal on Iraq. I had suspected cloning technology was at play there, but a covert black person fabrication program makes much more sense. Everybody who isn't white knows you can't trust a white person to begin with. But a white person disguised as a black person could slip in and wreak havoc and nobody would see it coming! So many questions. Mandela, Bill Cosby, that guy that plays basketball! Fuck!!! What about Ronald Reagan?!?!

              1. Shaha Alam
                Trollface

                Re: @Charles Manning

                "I just wanted clarification on the NSA/FBI culpability in creating Obama. Initially I was just trying to be funny, as the comment caught me off guard. But then I started thinking about it and it hit me. What if there was something to it! If we could somehow get hold of a PowerPoint presentation about the program it would be fucking huge!"

                I hear Obama has had the same ethnicity from birth.

                so if you're right, the NSA/FBI sure play a long game.

                1. Don Jefe

                  Re: @Charles Manning

                  Of course it's a long game. Everybody in those agencies except the appointed figureheads are normal government bureaucrats that are nearly impossible to fire and have plenty of additional job security as long as there's someone who doesn't like the US, Jesus or Apple Pie.

                  What this all confirms is that the birth record of Obama was a forgery, but it was his ethnicity that had been changed, not his place of birth as the conspiracy nutters like to claim.

                  1. Tom 13

                    Re: is that the birth record of Obama was a forgery,

                    I think the explanation is simpler than that. I think the public certificate has been altered, but the information on it is correct. I think that because of when it was issued, it would have listed his race as "negro" instead of "black". Because at the time the certificate was issued, calling a negro "black" was worse than calling him a "n***er" is now. But with the change in the cultural status of the words, somebody in his campaign took offense, and photoshopped it to the now politically correct term "black".

            3. Levente Szileszky

              Re: @Charles Manning

              "The genes are equivalent, they don't acquire something special because a few generations of ancestors were slaves."

              DougS, are seriously trying to argue with someone who clearly uses "gene pool" as an argument for different 'cultural background'...?

              Just read his BS blurb about Obama again, he's the archetype of the fake-science racists, no point in arguing with him...

          4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

              @ FormerKowloonTonger. Please, let me give you a shorter explanation. Who the hell could loose against things like Palin and the rest the Republicans have come up with, not to mention the whole damned party. Most of the Americans just used common sense.

              1. FormerKowloonTonger
                Meh

                Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

                Re:

                "@ FormerKowloonTonger. Please, let me give you a shorter explanation...."

                I'm assuming here that you mean why not impeach this Obama figure right now. The realistic obstacle to Impeachment/Conviction is the Democrat controlled Senate. It won't pass the Senate, they simply won't convict Obama, even if a few Democrats use some common sense and vote for the good of the nation rather than their personal vote seeking for tenure. When pigs fly.

                That very vocal Palin woman is a lightweight. Remember she resigned her Governorship of Alaska in mid-term; she simply doesn't belong in any responsible position, elected or otherwise, in either Party.

                1. DougS Silver badge

                  Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

                  How would it be for the "good of the nation" to vote to impeach Obama? We've got more important things to worry about than another political show trial. If you impeached every president who violated the Constitution, you should have also impeached Bush II, Clinton (for stuff other than lying about a blowjob) Bush I (for Iran-Contra if nothing else) and Reagan (for Iran-Contra - or if he really didn't know what his underlings were doing, for dereliction of duty)

                  Besides, if you impeach Obama you have President Biden! Does anyone really want that, other than Joe Biden?

                2. Lars Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

                  @ FormerKowloonTonger, Sorry I don't get you, " impeach this Obama figure", why, I have no problems with him and I would have voted for him too. The problem with Sarah Palin was that the Republicans elected her. Which in my books means that something is very wrong in that party, even FOX got rid of her in no time.

          5. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

            Re: Don Jefe Muslim president @Charles Manning - "no slave history"

            Wrong on the east African slave history. China imported very many times as many African slaves as the nascent USA and nearly all from the east African coast (only males and castrated so no current African-Chinese). The Arabs slaved that coast for thousands of years. Also American and European slavers took people form the East Coast for the Americas market; well recorded by the Royal Navy who intercepted the slaver ships of the Cape Coast following UK abolition of slavery. Those poor sods didn't get taken home but ended up an indentured workers in the Cape Colony.

          6. scarletherring

            Re: Don Jefe Muslim president

            > Obama's black genes are from Kenya whereas the slaves that made up the African American gene pool are from the west coast of Africa - almost entirely different culturally almost no slave history.

            Actually, East Africa was also quite thoroughly exploited by slavers. Only they were mostly Arabic, not European, and the slaves went East, not West.

  3. Fazal Majid

    Ghafoor has known about this for a while, and has been at the forefront of exposing warrantless surveillance, hence the retaliation. Here is his lawyer six years ago recounting the Kafkaesque process of suing the government for it:

    http://www.salon.com/2008/07/09/alharamain_lawsuit/

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Fazal Majid

        Oh, and I forgot this fun story about Gill - http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=12172 - anyone linked to Abdurahman Alamoudi is going to be on the FBI's watch list for a very long time!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised

    The USA locked up lots of Japanes people who were US Citizens in the USA during World War 2.

    You are guilty until proven innocent.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Not surprised

      But without those camps we wouldn't have George Takei. At least not George Takei as a retired Starfleet Officer, playwright and all around hilarious person.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not surprised

      If only they had tortured the enemy non-combatants rounded up in 1939 we would have had information about Japanese fleet deployments at Midway and the political response to the A bomb.

    3. FormerKowloonTonger

      Re: Not surprised

      Indeed, by that shy, shrinking violet of a liberal president named Franklin Delano Roosevelt. How times have changed.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: that shy, shrinking violet of a liberal president

        Fascists have never worried about killing each other. They only worry about making sure they are the ones who strike first.

    4. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Not surprised

      Yeah, same for the commies ...

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Does it really matter

    They also spy on the President, the vice-president and anyone else that dirt can be thrown at when they no longer need them.

    It's the American, European, Asian, Arab, African , South American way of life : in other circles it's called Politics...

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Does it really matter

      "It's the American, European, Asian, Arab, African , South American way of life : in other circles it's called Politics..."

      ...because the proper term - 'Byzantine' - is trademarked by the homonymous empire, and they're known to sue at the drop of a hat.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foreign power

    It should be noted that "foreign power" is a wide term under FISA, and can include any "foreign-based political organization, not substantially composed of United States persons".

    So when Putin does it as an open, clearly defined law with a legally watertight definition of foreign power this somehow is an outrage against democracy. When we do it, this somehow is fine... Sorry... it is probably me being thick today... Maybe I need another coffee... Or another definition of hypocrisy and double standards (the Oxford dictionary one has been rewritten).

    1. Slawek

      Re: Foreign power

      Does Putin go to court to get approval for the surveillance?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Foreign power

        > Does Putin go to court to get approval for the surveillance?

        Surveillance in Russia is much the same as in most of Western Europe, with the exception of the UK where even your local councillor can wiretap you at a whim. In other words, surveillance may be carried out by the usual suspects (police, customs, tax office, and parliamentary and executive security services--including the Interior Ministry but not the president or the prime minister), and it requires a warrant from a competent court (if you're going to say "well, that's just rubber-stamping", please look at what Western European courts do). Surveillance may commence before the warrant is approved, I believe, but no systematic collection of data may be legally carried out, and neither are telecom providers required to archive data or metadata as Directive 2006/24/EC (so enthusiastically supported by the British government) required EU ISPs to do. Speaking of metadata, that can be accessed without a warrant, same as in the EU.

        Perhaps you should visit Russia sometime. You might find that it's not just a cold, but also a cool place. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Foreign power

          > Surveillance in Russia is much the same as in most of Western Europe

          I see there are a few downvotes on that post (which turns out to be mine: no wonder I was mostly agreeing with it when I started to read :b). Anyway, given the lack of explanation I presume those are from people who are somehow shocked by the idea that perhaps a) things elsewhere are not that different to what one sees at home, and that b) things elsewhere could be anything other than what we're told by the media, especially television.

          As a long-time expat I see this type of reactions all the time back home. People will rather believe, even on points of fact, some lifestyle magazine article than what they're told by someone who lives there, knows the culture, speaks the language fluently, and happens to be a trusted friend of yours! (I'm not referring to Russia here, but same story)

          Our propaganda is subtle but incredibly effective, same as our censorship (cf. "Veline e silenzio", U. Eco, 2009).

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Foreign power

        >Does Putin go to court to get approval for the surveillance?

        No, because Putin is a brutal dictator.

        Here we go to court and the court says that anything we want to do is legal - that's because we are a free democracy

      3. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Foreign power

        > Does Putin go to court to get approval for the surveillance?

        ????? It is a secret court, they approve everything requested ... they are known by the name "court" to fool naïve citizens like you.

        Slawek, I just looked at the other posts you wrote ... Christ, I think you need to quit watching CNN and Fox news. Go read some books, from the US AND from abroad, preferably history books and you will notice that the exact same event is not described in the same way, depending on where the book was written. That will be your first hint to what you are fed daily, propaganda. Go learn how to read between the lines ...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Foreign power

      There's no hypocrisy.. everyone gets spied upon by everyone else. Friends, enemies, ordinary folks just trying to make a living and raise a family. They're all grist for the mill of "intelligence", both foreign and domestic. What country you're in doesn't matter. Everyone wants to know everything. As technology grows, it will only get worse.

  7. Beachrider

    This is not EASY stuff...

    Governments are correctly taken-to-task for abuse of people, even when they are attempting to protect some people from other people. The Japanese Internment of 100,000 people in four US states during WWII is one example. Kipling's "White Man's Burden" was a rallying cry at the dawn of the 20th century, is horribly condescending now.

    The criticism for the actions is just. A lot of important, valuable gains have been made from actions that would be horrible to do today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is not EASY stuff...

      Beachrider, your point can easily be taken out of context or used as a pretext to justify abuses. I also do not necessarily agree with it to start with, but you have made an interesting insight nonetheless. That's what the +1 is for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is not EASY stuff...

        Experiments done by Mengele on concentration camp prisoners, the results of which advanced the US aerospace industry. E.g.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Oh did you think there was some kind of "due process" involved.

    This is National Security we're talking about here.

    1. ian 22

      Re: Oh did you think there was some kind of "due process" involved.

      Are you saying the Constitution is not a suicide pact?

      I've heard that somewhere...

  9. Joe User
    Megaphone

    To put it simply . . .

    You're all guilty until proven innocent (whatever our definition of "innocent" might be at that time).

  10. Gis Bun

    5 out of how many?

    So they spied on 5 Muslim-Americans. That is a tiny percentage of the 7500+ who were spied on. Who are the rest? Priests? Garbage collectors? WWE officials?

  11. TheColinous

    Last's month's reveal of 800 babies of unwed mothers in Tuam in Ireland says that we should put every single Christian everywhere under constant surveillance.

    But of course, that is "isolated groups and individuals, and we can't tar EVERY christian with the same brush!" Muslims are different. Just because we say so. No matter how atheist or secular they are, they must be watched. They are secret jihadists.

    Do I need the sarcasm tag?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Catholics have been official suppliers of terrorism to Her Majesties govt for 100years, killed more people in "the troubles" than died in 9/11 and kept the Army tied up on British streets for 2 generations.

      A bunch of muslims come along and blow up a couple of buses and suddenly they get all the attention - it's just not fair.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Bring back the Catholics!

        I was much happier being stopped at police checkpoints in London in the late-80's but being free of the oppressive surveillance we're under today.

        Absolutely no sarcasm! Really, life was much better. Even with Maggie breathing.

        1. Don Jefe

          That's always the problem with internal conflicts, they cause too much trouble and sooner or later your slutty cousin ends up marrying one of the troublemakers (or whatever) and it gets awkward to deal with, especially with the Internet around. That's why everybody knows it's best to find enemies in a far off land, ideally that look different and speak a different language, if you're going to artificially support your economy by militarizing your heavy industry sector.

          The Middle Easterners turned out to be a really shitty choice for bad guys. They've got zero style or exciting media presence. Beheadings? WTF is that? Your message is just lost if your propaganda has to be heavily edited to get on the news. You're just going to piss people off with that sort of shit.

          I liked the USSR. As enemies go, snappily dressed guys marching around in snow with mobile ICBM platforms and great color coordination is hard to beat. The Commies may be gone, but now we've got an actual comic book supervillain who hunts apex predators with a crossbow while he's shirtless. That's what we need to take advantage of. No religious crap, no 2,000 year old real estate disputes, just full scale global annihilation one Big Red Button away. Everybody can get behind that. Plus there's a real chance an entire new field of anti-Russia blockbuster films would emerge. Movies have been stuck on repeat since the Commies went broke you know.

  12. phil dude

    We are all humans first....

    everything else second. Religious dogma is not genetic. No matter how much the mullahs, rabbis, priests, lamas, or other institutional PR might like to think it can be inherited.

    Labels are not helpful, and generally are a way of trying to cast one group of humans as being "less than" some other group of humans.

    The founding fathers were well aware of this, which is why "we hold these truths to be self evident" is such an amazing observation.

    Yeah, ok it has taken centuries to bring the rest of humanity under the tent. Labelling someone by their nationality is fine, but it is important to realise that noone has a choice where they are born.

    One of the biggest problems in society (western or otherwise) is that govts and their agencies, like to think they are above the law...

    P.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We are all humans first....

      Surely Evolution - at least the social version - has to lead to the dissolution of all borders. That that is what we should be aiming at.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: We are all humans first....

        Dissolution of borders will not happen without actually having a single government to 'rule' the planet. I don't know about you, but I don't know any government, except with me as Supreme Chancellor of Earth, that I want in charge of everything.

        Borders are like giving your kids separate bedrooms. You don't have to do it, but it greatly reduces the chances of the weaker ones getting killed in a violent territorial dispute.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: We are all humans first....

          ".....Borders are like giving your kids separate bedrooms. You don't have to do it, but it greatly reduces the chances of the weaker ones getting killed in a violent territorial dispute." Yeah, have you noticed that? First, when they're young, they don't mind each other tottering about in each other's rooms to play. Then they get more territorial as they grow into teens, to the point where violence ensues if one teen sticks their head into the other's room unannounced. But, finally, you they leave home to find digs of their own, and you get the fun of converting their rooms into your study/mancave and a gymn! Now, if only we could persuade certain countries it was time to leave the planet and look for their own digs.....

        2. Tom 13

          Re:except with me as Supreme Chancellor of Earth

          I wouldn't want that type of government either. Too many decisions I'd need to make for other people. So, much as our current one has its problems, I'll stick with it.

  13. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I'd like more details...

    Why were these people chosen? Did they happen to have militant contacts overseas, even ifthey are not militant personally? If this surveillance is a result of that, and then the surveillance was quickly dropped after these persons non-involvement was establishedhen I am broadly ok with it.

    If on the other hand, this was some kind of fishing expedition to penetrate the "thinking of the American muslim community or look for bad guys where there is no evidence, or if these people are kept on the list for years, then its repressive, and I want it stopped.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: I'd like more details...

      They were obvious chosen as major nexus points of information flows. Whether or not you suspect them, from a national security only perspective monitoring is the right thing to do.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What ass clowns...

    ...follow the money ass clowns and maybe you can figure out who's a crim?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bingo

    IMHO it's the first time that the NSA have been found to be doing what they should be doing - narrowing their searches to a manageable and logical level.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting list...

    Curiously very similar to the list of occupations the Russian's treated as suspicious when they took over Eastern Europe...

    Basically anyone with "dangerous" skills, knowledge and/or influence.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting list...

      Basically anyone with "dangerous" skills, knowledge and/or influence. ..... AC

      Quite so, AC, 'tis and 'twas ever the case, and with a secure set of "dangerous" skills, knowledge and/or influence on board and in house and stealthily HyperRadioProActive out in the Virtual Field of MegaMetaDataMan Management, aka IntelAIgent Perceptive Operations, does one have no need of shovellers and producers of this sub-prime BS ........ Joint Statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice on Court-ordered Legal Surveillance of U.S. Persons

      What chance, other that fat slim chance and no chance, has such as that got of not being smelt as a dead rat, and epically failing the plausible deniability test, which is designed at best to only always just afford a temporary cloak of credibility and respectability to dank dark and dire and/or fabless creative and awesomely disruptive shenanigans.

      For any sort of Permanence with Advanced Intelligent Performance from Seriously Able Performers in Astute Active Anonymous and/or Autonomous IntelAIgent Delivery Fields would one be confronting and/or fronting with Universal Virtual Forces and Immaculately Resourced Assets and one of those UnKnown UnKnowns which so much is unknown about, but which one has every right to be correctly fearful of if into spreading FUD and BS ........

      There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. .... Donald Rumsfeld

      And Donald Rumsfeld had his way with words, didn't he. Read 'em and weep and marvel at their home spun charm and quaint prescience.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC Speech

    Hyphenating all things American can be confusing even to the most adept slingers of all PC garbage. I once heard a trivia question that asked "Who was the first African-American president of South Africa"

    My answer that there never has been one and the explanation of why was met with disapproval.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: PC Speech

      I do remember being told of a visiting american who, on meeting a Boy from Brixton (tm), paused uncertainly for a moment or two, then stuck her hand out in a friendly fashion and saif "Hi John. You know, you're the first English African-American I've ever met"

      Made me smile

      A bit

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Muslim-American?

    But "Muslim" is neither a place nor a race.

    It's a belief.

    American-Muslims would be more correct.

  19. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Solved!

    Apparently, these Muslims are just on the list because Getty and similar companies have asked the NSA's help in tracking Tweeters that rip off their copyright (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28198163).

    /What, you had a different wingnut conspiracy theory?

  20. Roj Blake Silver badge
    Joke

    Homeland

    According to a documentary I once saw (I think it was called "Homeland") all US military veterans who are also Muslims are 100% certain to be terrorists.

  21. Lars Silver badge
    Coat

    Signing off

    Reading all of these comments I am sorry I took part, now signing off.

  22. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Obvious question missed.

    Before the thread gets totally lost in silly questions about salves' genes, what is more interesting is why this information was leaked.

    This info came originally from Snowjob, but was released to the press by Glenn Greenwald. So, the two obvious questions are - is this the best Greenie has to offer, is he scraping the bottom of the barrel for actually really interesting tidbits from the Snowjob cache; and did Greenie drop this one because he thinks it is right to try and stir up the paranoia in the American Muslim community?

    If the former is true then Greenie is staring at the end station on the Snowjob gravy train, and despite his protestations of 'caring', he has always been about making a living off of it. His whole lifestyle depends on the sheeple reading his bumph and clicking on his new 'news' site, so if he had anything better he probably would have used it.

    And if it is he latter then it seems a very cyclical ploy, especially given that the five Muslims mentioned all have proven links to those with both Islamist ideals and have worked for 'charities' linked to Islamist terror groups such as HAMAS, and so would seem to be legitimate targets for such surveillance. But then I suppose the shepherds like Greenie need to keep the readership up to make sure they keep on making cash off the sheeples' paranoias, be they brown, black or white.

  23. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Devil

    The Thought Police

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_Police

    "It is the job of the Thought Police to uncover and punish thoughtcrime and thought-criminals. They use psychology and omnipresent surveillance (such as telescreens) to search, find, monitor and arrest members of society who could potentially challenge authority and status quo, even only by thought, hence the name Thought Police. They use terror and torture to achieve their ends."

    - - As foreseen by George Orwell, circa 1949.

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

    Bravo Ben!

  24. Gis Bun

    Errrr

    As if the FBI hasn't looked at other Americans. There are fanatics/extremist from the left and the right. I'm sure some of them are well known.

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