Preemptive profiling: Targeting Iraqis in the U.S.

Revolutionary Worker #1177, December 1, 2002, posted at

"This is the largest and most aggressive program like this we've ever had."

Senior U.S. official, New York Times , Nov. 17

Secretly, the federal government has launched a massive spying operation on literally thousands of Iraqi citizens in the U.S.--including those who also hold dual U.S. citizenship. At the highest levels, the U.S. authorities are pressing hard to bomb Iraq, invade it, occupy its most strategic parts, and rule it--with the expectation that this will cause a massive loss of Iraqi civilian and military lives. And knowing this, they are haunted by the idea that Iraqi people in the U.S. may seek revenge-- and bring the war back to the U.S. itself.

Now that the operation is underway, senior government officials have leaked some details to the press. They confirm that the U.S. government has gotten "national security warrants" for wire- tapping and electronically bugging some of their "targets." And they describe a major campaign to pressure Iraqi people inside the U.S. to spy on their relatives, friends and associates. This involves intimidating visits by federal agents--requesting information from Iraqis and other Arab Amer- icans about political activities in their communities. The unspoken threat is clear: if you don't join our list of informants, you are likely to find yourself on our list of suspects.

Many different U.S. spy operations and political police are reportedly involved in these operations, including: the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA, the immigration service, the State Department and the National Security Agency. Many of them have been previously forbidden by law to investigate U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

In addition, these officials revealed that once war breaks out, the government plans to move beyond surveillance--and start arresting and detaining Iraqis they suspect of hostility to the U.S.

All of this is taking place at the same time that the officials admit that there are no known specific threats. In other words, these are spy operations on both visitors and citizens that are taken without meeting the legal standard of "probable cause"--it is simply and directly "profiling" by nationality, and it is based on the idea of "preemptive" targeting of people who may be propelled to do something in the future because of massive violence the U.S. is planning to unleash on their home country.

Gordon Johndroe, spokesman of the White House Office of Homeland Security, refused to answer questions about the legality of these operations--saying this program is classified and so can't be officially discussed.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)