Friday, July 19, 2013
A Neocon for Homeland Security?
This piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates says it all about the inexplicable floating of Ray Kelly for the Department of Homeland Security:
In his 2006 book “The Audacity of Hope,” the future president wrote that he could “recite the usual litany of petty slights” directed at him because of his skin color, including being profiled by the police. “I know what it’s like to have people tell me I can’t do something because of my color,” he wrote. “And I know the bitter swill of swallowed-back anger.” That same bitterness probably compelled Obama, as president, to speak out after Prof. Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested, and to famously note last year, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
That is why it is hard to comprehend the thinking that compelled the president, in a week like this, to flirt with the possibility of inviting the New York City Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, the proprietor of the largest local racial profiling operation in the country, into his cabinet.
Kelly’s name has been floated by New York politicians of both parties as the ideal replacement for Janet Napolitano, who resigned last week. The president responded by calling Kelly “well-qualified” and an “outstanding leader in New York.” He sounded a pitch for bringing the commissioner into the White House’s fold.
“Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is,” said the president. “But if he’s not, I’d want to know about it.”
There are some other things that the president should want to know about. Chief among them would be how his laudatory words for Kelly square with the commissioner’s practices and with the president’s deepest commitments.
The N.Y.P.D.’s stop-and-frisk program has been well-covered in this newspaper and elsewhere. It is now public knowledge that the police department, each year, stops hundreds of thousands of citizens, largely black and Latino men, for reasons as thin and subjective as “furtive movements.” Very few of those stops lead to actual charges, much less arrests, and according to the commissioner that’s fine.
“If you don’t run the risk of being stopped, you start carrying your gun, and you do things that people do with guns,” Kelly recently told The Wall Street Journal.
Another stalwart for the constitution. By all means let's give him a hige federal agency with unlimited funds to play with. What could go wrong?
Well, we know one thing for sure. He won't be inclined to release any reports about homegrown right wingers like Napolitano foolishly did:
[T]here's an incident from the past few years that showed a deeper side of Kelly's brushes with the Isalmophobic fringes: his participation in and department's poor and repeatedly misleading involvement with the film "The Third Jihad." Kelly appeared in an exclusive interview for the film, which was shown widely during police trainings—both facts his department falsely denied and which he has never forthrightly dealt with.
"The Third Jihad" was produced by a shadowy non-profit called the Clarion Fund, which now calls itself the Clarion Project. Founded in the mid-2000s, Clarion's best known for producing films that portray Islam in a negative light and implicitly advocate for hawkish policies like going to war with Iran. (Clarion also runs a website.) Spearheaded by an Israeli-Canadian and closely linked with an Israeli-based Orthodox evangelist group called Aish Hatorah—which the journalist Jeffrey Goldberg described as "Jewish extremists"—Clarion's advisers include a who's who of America's most prominent Islamophobes, including Frank Gaffney and Daniel Pipes, as well as lesser-known anti-Muslim activists like Harold Rhode. (It's "Iranium" documentary was written and directed by an ideological Israeli settler in the West Bank.)
In 2009, Clarion released "The Third Jihad," the second of its three feature length documentaries, which purports to outline the threat to the U.S. by an insidious Muslim Brotherhood takeover plot. Enter the NYPD, and it's deception about the film. In a front page story, the New York Times reported last January:
In January 2011, when news broke that the department had used the film in training, a top police official denied it, then said it had been mistakenly screened “a couple of times” for a few officers.
In the Times story, a top aide to Kelly, Paul Browne, denied that the commissioner had sat down with the filmmakers and instead said they "lifted the clip from an old interview." But a follow-up story the next day, the Times revealed that Kelly's aide had misled the paper about both his and commissioner's role in the film:
A year later, police documents obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Law reveal a different reality: “The Third Jihad,” which includes an interview with Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was shown, according to internal police reports, “on a continuous loop” for between three months and one year of training.
On Tuesday, the film’s producer, Raphael Shore, e-mailed The Times and provided a date and time for their 90-minute interview with the commissioner at Police Headquarters on March 19, 2007. Told of this e-mail, Mr. Browne revised his account. “He’s right,” Mr. Browne said Tuesday of the producer. “In fact, I recommended in February 2007 that Commissioner Kelly be interviewed.”
The Police Department’s admission suggests a closer relationship between it and the provocative film, which has drawn angry condemnation from Muslim and civil rights groups, than officials had previously acknowledged.
In an e-mail, Mr. Browne said that when he first saw the film in 2011, he assumed the commissioner’s interview was taken from old clips, even though the film referred to Mr. Kelly as an “interviewee.” He did not offer an explanation as to why he and the commissioner, on Tuesday, remembered so much of their decision.
It also shows a truly dangerous relationship between Ray Kelly and the nuttiest of neocon freaks.
Kelly shouldn't even be considered in passing because of his heinously bigoted stop and frisk policy. But dabbling in the neocon swamp completely disqualifies him for anything remotely associated with anti-terrorism policy. Remember: this is their credo:
Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran
This person shouldn't be anywhere near a national police agency charged with monitoring terrorism. Who knows what his agenda is?
digby 7/19/2013 01:00:00 PM