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Tag: Dearborn

Homeland Security Chief to Visit Michigan to Discuss Resettlement of Syrian Refugees

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

To prepare for the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson plans to travel to Detroit and nearby Dearborn to discuss the issue on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reports. 

Michigan has received more Syrian refugees than any state but California and Texas since 2013.

Details of the visit weren’t clear Monday, but the White House said Johnson is visiting “to host a roundtable (discussion) with resettled Iraqi and Syrian refugees, as well as a discussion with interfaith student groups about” Homeland Security’s efforts to “counter violent extremism.”

FBI Director James Comey Says Bureau Not Conducting Mass Surveillance with Planes

dearborn mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is not using planes for mass spying, Director James Comey said at a congressional hearing, the Detroit Free Press reports. 

Comey was addressing concerns of residents, especially in Dearborn, Mich., where a small FBI plane has been spotted flying over the heavily Muslim community.

“We do not use planes for mass surveillance,” Comey said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, said Dearborn residents are suspicious.

“Many citizens feel reason to distrust the FBI because of their religious or ethnic background,” Conyers said when asking about the planes.

American-Arab Advocate: More Transparency Needed Over FBI Spy Planes

fbi-logBy Fatina Abdrarraboh
for Detroit News

Earlier this month, The Detroit News reported about a series of missions by an FBI spy plane over Dearborn. The plane, which is outfitted with a night vision camera and listening device equipment, flew over a portion of Dearborn and Melvindale for multiple nights. Melvindale has a growing Arab-American population. The section of Dearborn that was flown over have two mosques around the flight pattern of this particular spy plane.

The FBI claims that the flights over this area were not for surveilling the community and are routinely used to track drug dealers and violent extremists. In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge of Metro Detroit Paul Abbate stated, “The FBI does not employ aviation assets to conduct mass surveillance, nor to target specific communities…Further, the FBI Detroit Field Office is not aware of any specific or credible threats within the local Detroit Metropolitan Area.”

Given a lack of transparency regarding what spy planes are really doing, as well as the FBI’s track record locally, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Since the FBI stated there were no specific or credible threats, why were they flying over one particular area for multiple nights? Given that the FBI has used the problematic practice of sending informants into mosques, are they also able to take pictures of cars in one location, like in a mosque parking lot? When using their listening equipment on the spy plane, are they listening and capturing private cell phone conversations?

In recent years, the ACLU uncovered a 2009 FBI memorandum stating that Dearborn was on their radar “because Michigan has a large Middle Eastern and Muslim population, it is prime territory for attempted radicalization and recruitment by terrorist groups.” There is no evidence to suggest that this mapping has ceased, even though there is not a single conviction involving a local Muslim going abroad to join an extremist group in the past decade from the community’s approximately 300,000 people.

Our respective organizations’ constituents, Metro Detroit, and indeed the country have much at stake in the pursuit to ensure individual rights and liberties are protected. We appreciate The Detroit News’ reporting, which provoked questions about the spy plane as well as similar issues prior to this. Investigative reporting is what differentiates open and democratic societies from totalitarian ones. It is media which helps to keep the nation’s citizenry informed in order that we can be more aware when holding our government accountable.

To read more click here. 

Fatina Abdrarraboh is director of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – Michigan.

 

Family Seeks Justice for Muslim Leader Killed by FBI in Michigan 5 Years Ago

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of a Muslim leader killed by the FBI in Dearborn, Mich., wants to know what happened and who shot him more than five years ago because relatives suspect a cover-up.

The Detroit Free Press reports that family of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, of Detroit, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case.

Abdullah was shot 20 times in October 2009 as part of an counterterrorism sting over what the FBI characterized as his extremist views and an illegal trafficking scheme.

The FBI has said it acted properly, but family and supporters believe he was a victim of an overzealous war on terrorism.

According to the official account, four FBI agents opened fire on Abdullah after he shot the bureau’s dog.

Other Stories of Interest

Is Michigan Man, 71, A War Criminal or Simply an Ice Cream Man

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Is Mahmoud Bazzi, 71, a Lebanese native who operates an ice cream truck in Dearborn, a war criminal?

Jim Schaefer of the Detroit Free Press headed to Ireland for a detailed report on the whole ordeal.

Schaefer reports that folks in Dublin say Bazzi was responsible for the murder in 1980 of Derek Smallhorne and Thomas Barrett, who were part of the Irish Defense Forces working for the United Nations peace keeping forces in Lebanon. A third Irish private, John O’Mahony, was shot twice but survived.

Schaefer writes that there are two eye witnesses linking him to the murders. Bazzi, through interpreters, denies it all.

Schaefer reports that on Tuesday, U.S. Homeland Security officers arrested Bazzi at his apartment in east Dearborn. He’s due this week in federal court in Detroit where authorities plan to start the deportation process to send him to his native Lebanon.

Schaefer reports that Bazzi is being held on an immigration violation. He used someone else’s passport to enter the country 21 years ago, Schaefer reports.  U.S. authorities won’t say whether he will face charges linked to the shootings.

To read more click here.

Read full-version at the Detroit Free Press. 

 

Detroit Federal Judge Cracks Down on Convicted Cleric’s Travel and Social Media Use

Ahmad Jebril

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– The magical reach of the Internet, and the challenges it presents authorities,  is illustrated in this case involving popular Dearborn cleric Ahmad Jebril, who is on probation after serving time for a fraud.

Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press reports that U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen is cracking down on the cleric, who has gained worldwide popularity with the extremist militant group that announced last week the formation of an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.

Rosen has ordered that Jebril, 43, must stay in the eastern half of Michigan and tell his probation officer about his activity on social media accounts when requested, the Freep writes. He was released from prison in 2012.

Warikoo writes:

Jebril, who is on probation until March after serving 6½ years in prison on fraud convictions, has become the most popular religious figure for Western fighters flocking to Syria to battle its government — and continues to gain fans online who sympathize with the group that now calls itself the Islamic State.

The Freep reports that Rosen’s order doesn’t restrict what Jebril says online. But he has to get  approval to use any computer equipment, and he has to provide passwords for all accounts. He will also be monitored with GPS technology, and he can be subjected to searches of his car and home.

The restrictive order came after a probation report stated that he violated probation by lying about the location of  a post office box in Dearborn Heights, and failed to notify authorities about speaking engagements in November at two universities and a mosque in North Carolina, the Freep reported.

Needless to say, he’s not happy, and has said so much on his Twitter account.

He was convicted of several counts of fraud involving nearly $400,000, and included allegations that he trashed his rental properties in Metro Detroit to collect insurance, and trying to bribe a juror.

Authorities Mistakenly Arrest Arab-American Leader

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — There’s different kinds of Ooops. There’s the recent one when presidential candidate Rick Perry had a senior moment during the debates. Then there’s the ones where authorities arrest the wrong guy.

This one involved the wrong guy.

The Detroit Free Press reports that police, acting on an FBI arrest warrant, mistakenly arrested an Arab-American leader in Dearborn Friday night in connection with a cigarette smuggling probe and supporting Hezbollah.

Ali Hammoud, president of the Bint Jebail Cultural Center, was released on Saturday after the FBI questioned him and figured out they had the wrong guy, the Free Press reported.

Detroit FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold told the Free Press: “The individual fit the description/identifiers of an active warrant. It was later determined it was not the correct individual, and he was released.”

 

FBI Agents Who Fatally Shot Detroit Imam Weren’t Interviewed Until More than 6 Months Later

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Detroit Free Press reports some puzzling matters surrounding the death of Detroit imam  Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot and killed by four FBI agents during a raid in a suburban warehouse in Dearborn in October 2009.

The paper reports that the four FBI agents were not interviewed by investigators until more than six months later, in May and June, and that the FBI files “contain letters that show their attorney initially declining to let them be interviewed by Dearborn police. The FBI agent who fired eight shots at Abdullah was interviewed in June from Baghdad, Iraq.”

All the agents were cleared of wrongdoing in multiple investigations on the shooting, which stemmed from a raid involving a probe into stolen goods.

The paper also reported that Dearborn police, which investigated the shooting, “expressed concern about their inability at times to get evidence for their investigation of the fatal shooting, according to the records.

“Shortly after the shooting, the FBI removed the hard drives of surveillance video footage it made of the shootings with five covert cameras placed in the warehouse. Dearborn police ‘objected to removal of the hard drives,’ an FBI report said, but the FBI then later provided the department with copies for its investigation, which cleared the FBI of any wrongdoing.”

To read more click here.