In this TED Talks video, Trevor Aaronson (author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War
on Terrorism) discusses the FBI's use of informants.
Since 2009, paid FBI informants have played a central role in nearly 50% of all domestic terrorism cases. Informants, who can earn up to $100,000 per case, are instructed to build relationships with persons of interest in the Muslim community. Informants then use a mixture of conversation, persuasion, and coercion to determine if these individuals, when given the plot, means, and opportunity, will then participate in terrorist activity.
Critics of this strategy, known as "preemption" or "prevention", argue that the government is solving plots that they themselves create in order to declare an easy victory in the war on terror. In fact, Human Rights Watch recently reported that out of all the high profile terrorism cases announced in the past decade, all but four were initiated by an informant-provocateur.
Despite the fact that white supremacists and violent right-wingers have been responsible for nearly twice as many terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11 as Islamic extremists, the FBI's terror stings have focused almost exclusively on Muslims. As a response of this targeting, parents have told their children not to dress "too Muslim". Muslim Student groups have posted signs in their college club rooms advising members to "please refrain from political conversations."
And now, there are new reports the FBI is "monitoring" Black Lives Matter activists in a similar way to how it treats persons of interest in the Muslim community. It’s a troubling pattern, and it’s being done at taxpayers’ expense under the illusion of safety and national security.
There are many groups working to support those unjustly affected by FBI surveillance, and to raise awareness about the dangers these tactics pose to all Americans. To find out more, and how you can support, please visit their links below:
Project CLEAR - Creating Law Enforcement Accountability And Responsibility
Based at CUNY College, CLEAR aims to address the unmet legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices.
NCPCF - National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
Dedicated to educating the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms after 9/11.
A grassroots activist organization committed to Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims.
An online organizing platform to build grassroots power of American Muslims while advancing social, spiritual, racial, & economic justice.
CCR - The Center for Constitutional Rights
Founded in 1966, a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.