|Police Commissioner Ray Kelly|
There are false equivalencies, and then there are feckless equivalencies. A newspaper columnist has just compared N.Y. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to Rush Limbaugh slander victim Sandra Fluke. Mike Lupica of the Daily News has had it with the abuse being heaped on Kelly for having the guts to trash civil rights in the name of public safety. If you think the War Against Women is bad, says Lupica, then the War Against Ray Kelly is just plain horrid. So much so that Islamophobic anti-civil libertarians are fighting back with a rally today at Police HQ to support continued police surveillance of Muslims of every age, gender, residence -- anywhere and everywhere and forevermore.
The livid Lupica sputters that Kelly is being attacked out of pure "turf war" spite by the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Times and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who've all taken umbrage at his spying spree. Lupica was so mad that he made a typo which unintentionally speaks the truth:
They do this as Kelly continues to do everything he can — and within the law, despite the coverage — to keep the city safe at the most dangerous period in his history. The Times even asserts that the kind of surveillance employed by Kelly and the NYPD produces no “obvious payoff for public safety.”Even as legal experts are weighing in and speculating that the police spying program is most likely illegal, and Attorney General Eric Holder is "taking a look" at the practice after being intensely pressured to do so, Kelly is fighting back. He could not have picked a more telling venue to defend himself in a speech over the weekend: the Cipriani Club on Wall Street. The Cipriani's balcony was the infamous site of champagne-sipping one percenters hurling insults at OWS protesters last fall. Of course, the NYPD conducts part of its surveillance from the Goldman Sachs office building, so it's no surprise he picked the financial district to give his little talk. Kelly surmises that while most Muslims are law-abiding citizens, you have to keep an eye on them. They're prone to being radicalized:
We know that while the vast majority of Muslim student associations and their members are law-abiding.we have seen too many cases in which such groups were exploited..... The notion that the Police Department should close our eyes to what takes place outside the five boroughs is folly, and it defies the lessons of history. If terrorists aren’t limited by borders and boundaries, we can’t be either.Kelly conveniently failed to mention that most, if not all, of the "exploited" groups and individuals are actually entrapped by the police and/or FBI and arrested to much fanfare after they are convinced by informants and undercover agents to aspire to blow things up. Law enforcement m.o. is to find marginally intelligent or mentally disturbed people who can be easily used as tools in the phony War on Terror. None of those charged was ever really capable of or even close to carrying out an attack. They got caught on tape saying they hated America, or admired Al Qaeda, or maybe wanted to blow stuff up. That was enough to charge, even convict, them.
In his column today, Lupica gives us two feeble examples of how the NYPD surveillance program has made us safer:
Let Kelly continue to use NYPD surveillance of conversations inside an Islamic bookstore in Bay Ridge, one attached to a mosque, that helps New York cops keep a Herald Square subway station from being blown sky high.The names you want to know about on that one, guys who certainly were a threat to public safety, were Shahawar Matin Siraj and James Elshafay, eventually arrested and tried and convicted in federal court. Siraj, who worked in that bookstore, ended up getting 30 years. And there is the “spying” that last year resulted in the arrests of Ahmed Ferhani and Mohammed Mamdouh and a plan from radical Islam to bomb a Manhattan synagogue.
Lupica doesn't tell you that Siraj was set up by an informant and was strung along with bribes from the police -- or that Elshafay was a schizophrenic who was convinced to plead guilty and testify against Siraj. You can read all the details here. The other two alleged terrorists whom Lupica cites were initially investigated by the FBI, who dropped the case for lack of credible evidence. The NYPD got the sloppy seconds, and the charges were eventually reduced. The duo, in effect, pled guilty to "wanting to" blow up a synagogue.Lupica chooses to ignore the facts, and instead warns the public to "get off Kelly's back, and get out of his way":
At a time when you look around at what passes for political leaders in a presidential election year from both parties, watch them blow with the wind, you have actual leadership from Kelly, who stands his ground and tells the truth about the city in which he works and the world in which he lives.
You don’t go to war against Ray Kelly on something as important as this; you stand with him. Sometimes you wonder if Kelly’s loudest critics, the ones from politics or the newspapers or the protesters in the street Saturday yelling about him, have forgotten what year it is.I think Mr. Lupica has forgotten what century it is. He seems to have wandered into a time machine and traveled back to the Spanish Inquisition, or the Salem Witch Trials, or even as recently as the 1950s and Joe McCarthy's Red Scare. Man's inhumanity to man knows no expiration date, though, and Lupica is exactly correct: 2012 is turning out to be a very unforgettable medieval year.