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Vol. 80/No. 37      October 3, 2016

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US rulers: NY bombs mean less rights, more spying

NEW YORK — Following a Sept. 17 pressure-cooker type bomb explosion that injured 31 people in New York City’s busy downtown Chelsea neighborhood, city and state authorities deployed 1,000 armed cops and National Guard. They shut down dozens of streets and subway stations, and broadcast a manhunt alert that set off millions of cellphones across the city during Monday morning rush hour Sept. 19. That day New Jersey cops shot and arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami, an Afghani-born U.S. citizen who worked in his family’s restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

From Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump to New York officials, government and media figures have called for new restrictions on political rights they say are necessary to further the U.S. “war on terror.” The propaganda hysteria also serves to justify U.S. military interventions in the Middle East and promote attacks on Muslims and mosques.

After the Chelsea explosion New York cops found a second pressure-cooker bomb several blocks away. Authorities charged Rahami with placing both bombs, as well as an explosion earlier that day in Seaside Park, New Jersey, before a Marine Corps charity race, and with abandoning a backpack containing explosive devices in Elizabeth.

Rahami was taken into custody Sept. 19 after a gun battle in Linden, New Jersey, and charged with attempted murder of a police officer. The next day he was charged by federal authorities with use of weapons of mass destruction and other crimes.

No group has taken credit for the bombs, but authorities say Rahami was carrying a notebook praising jihad and al-Qaeda leaders.

The same evening as the New York explosion, nine people were stabbed at a St. Cloud, Minnesota, mall by Somali-born 20-year-old Dahir Adan, called a “soldier of Islamic State” by the IS-linked news agency Amaq.

“The Socialist Workers Party calls on working people and all defenders of democratic rights to oppose efforts by the capitalists, their government and their politicians to use these attacks as a pretext to escalate restrictions on the political rights of working people and fan the flames of anti-Muslim bigotry,” SWP vice-presidential candidate Osborne Hart said in a Sept. 20 statement.

At a Sept. 18 news conference in St. Cloud, members of the Muslim and Somali communities expressed condolences to the victims of the attack and called for vigilance against attacks on Muslims. “We are also concerned about the potential backlash,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The Central Minnesota Islamic Center in St. Cloud and the community it represents has no relationship with Islamic State or other Islamist outfits, spokesman Mohamoud Mohamed said. “We are victims of those terrorist groups.”

Stoking up an atmosphere of panic that encourages attacks and government spying against Muslims, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told supporters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, “We better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough.”

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on Sept. 18 called for “an intelligence surge to help identify and thwart attacks before they can be carried out.” She pressed for expanded surveillance of internet users.
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