The Authoritarianization of U.S. Counterterrorism (I.e., Covert, Extra-Judicial Gangstalking, Electronic Torture, and Murder of Civilians) (Sahar F. Aziz, 9/12/2019)

The Authoritarianization of U.S. Counterterrorism (I.e., Covert, Extra-Judicial Gangstalking, Electronic Torture, and Murder of Civilians) (Sahar F. Aziz, 9/12/2019)

Epigraph Quote:

1) From my point of view, the uses of this new technology philosophically are comparable to and amount to the Biblical Fall of man, the eviction from paradise. The all-encompassing thought-reading and mind-influencing capacity (of this technology) divides man into two encampments: Those few “God-like” people, who are allowed to use these means, and all others, whose freedom and free will is being taken away.

Dr. Rauni Kilde, Former Chief Medical Officer of Northern Finland, author, and TI (targeted individual)

2) “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today. My own government. I cannot remain silent.”

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., peace activist and targeted individual (TI) assassinated by FBI Cointelpro criminal operatives in 1968

I) The Authoritarianization of U.S. Counterterrorism

75 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1573 (2018).

63 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2018 Last revised: 20 May 2019

by Sahar F. Aziz Professor of Law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and the Director of the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers Law School. I thank Sudha Setty, Gregory Gause, Peter Yu, Asli Bali, Aziz Huq, Aziz Rana, Khaled Beydoun, Benjamin Davis, and Margaret Hu for their feedback on earlier drafts. I also thank the National Security Section of the Association of American Law Schools for hosting a works-in-progress panel that provided peer feedback for an earlier draft. All errors are mine alone.1.

Rutgers Law School

The Authorization of U.S. Counterterrorism

Date Written: September 12, 2018

Abstract

More than seventeen years since the “War on Terror” began, the United States has failed to recognize how its authoritarian allies, rather than its adversaries, have defined its counterterrorism practices. Western democracies have adopted signature practices of authoritarian regimes. Torture, secret renditions to black sites, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, targeted killings, selective anti-terrorism enforcement against dissidents and minorities, criminalization of political beliefs, and decreased due process rights are among the counterterrorism practices found in both the United States and their Middle East allies, albeit in varying degrees.

Human rights are de-coupled from security, or worse, treated as an impediment to preserving national security. Although the balance between security and liberty has been the topic of lively debate since 9/11, I proffer that the impetus behind rights violations is not limited to perennial tensions between security and liberty in times of war. Increased international coordination in counterterrorism between authoritarian regimes and liberal democracies also adversely affects human rights.

As terrorism crosses borders with ease, transnational counterterrorism has become a necessity. International organizations and states coordinate preventing terrorism, identifying and apprehending known terrorists, and prosecuting terrorism suspects between nations. One consequence of such coordination is the normalization of illiberal counterterrorism norms and practices common among democratic nations.

While coordinated counterterrorism is warranted to combat transnational terrorists, the current rights subordinating approach is counterproductive. Western governments that engage in or directly support rights-infringing practices ultimately aid terrorists as they proclaim themselves legitimate defenders against transnational state violence. Aggressive state measures trigger backlash attacks as new grievances arise; thereby feeding a cycle of state and non-state violence at the expense of civilian lives. The challenge for Western democratic nations is to avoid a race to the bottom in their counterterrorism coordination with authoritarian regimes.

Keywords: Counterterrorism, National Security, Secret Rendition, Egypt, War on Terror, Authoritarian, Transnational Terrorism, Terrorism

157475WASH. & LEE L. REV. 1573(2018)

[W]e will not hesitate to take decisive action. We will always do so legally, discriminately, proportionally, and bound by strict accountability and strong oversight. The United States—not our adversaries—will define the nature and scope of this struggle, lest it define us.1

Table of Contents

I. Introduction………………………………………………………….1574

II.Theorizing the Causes of Terrorism…………………………1578

III.The Legal and Policy Framework for Transnational Counterterrorism……………………………..1585A.
Prioritizing Terrorism Prevention……………………..1588B.
Unfulfilled Commitments to Human Rights………..1590
IV.The Authoritarianization Effect of Transnational Counterterrorism……………………………..1593A.
Coordination in Counterterrorism Between the United States and Middle East Countries…………..1596B.
Rights-Infringing Counterterrorism in the MiddleEast: The Case of Egypt……………………………………1600C.
The Authoritarianization Effect on United States Counterterrorism……………………………….16071.
Rights Promoting Rhetoric…………………………..1608
EXEC.OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY 9(2015).

2.The Normalization of Torture and Indefinite Detention……………………………………………………16113.
Establishing a Surveillance State and Selective Counterterrorism Enforcement…………………….1620V.
Reversing the Race to the Bottom……………………………1628

VI.Conclusion…………………………………………………………….1634

I. Introduction

More than seventeen years since the “War on Terror” began, the United States has failed to recognize how its authoritarian allies, rather than its adversaries, have defined its counterterrorism practices. Western democracies have adopted signature practices of authoritarian regimes.2 Torture, secret renditions to black sites, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, targeted killings, selective anti-terrorism enforcement against dissidents and minorities, criminalization of political beliefs, and decreased due process rights are among the counterterrorism practices found in both the United States and their Middle East allies, albeit in varying degrees.3

Human rights are de-coupled from security, or worse, treated as an impediment to preserving national security. Although the balance between security and liberty has been the topic of lively debate since 9/11, I proffer that the impetus behind rights violations is not limited to perennial tensions between security and liberty in times of war. Increased international coordination in counterterrorism between authoritarian regimes and liberal democracies also adversely affects human rights. As terrorism crosses borders with ease, transnational counterterrorism has become a necessity.4
International organizations and states coordinate preventing terrorism, identifying and apprehending known terrorists, and prosecuting terrorism suspects between nations.5
One consequence of such coordination is the normalization of illiberal counterterrorism norms and practices common among democratic nations.6

While coordinated counterterrorism is warranted to combat transnational terrorists, the current rights-subordinating approach is counterproductive.7 Western governments that engage in or directly support rights-infringing practices ultimately aid terrorists as they proclaim themselves legitimate defenders against transnational state violence.8
Aggressive state measures trigger backlash attacks as new grievances arise; thereby feeding a cycle of state and non-state violence at the expense of civilian lives.9 The challenge for Western democratic nations is to avoid a race to the bottom in their counterterrorism coordination with authoritarian regimes.

To be sure, the deplorable techniques used in the “War on Terror” did not originate solely in the authoritarian regimes of the Middle East and Central Asia.10 Such practices originated from colonial powers in Algeria, Palestine, Afghanistan, and were subsequently adopted by new ruling elites post-independence.11 Other practices, such as rendition and targeted killings with drones, were innovated by the United States.12

The Article, thus, explores the narrow issue of the impact on democratic states’
conformity with human rights arising from working with authoritarian states in the Middle East. Specifically, I proffer that counterterrorism coordination with dictatorships normalizes the use of violence and dehumanization of suspects by the U.S. government.13 As more agents work with foreign agents who operate in a legal and political context where rights are subordinate to authoritarian security practices, the toleration, aiding and abetting, or direct violations of human rights may rise as the institutional culture of an agency shifts towards a more authoritarian mentality. The adverse consequences of this drift away from liberal principles are not limited to the subordination of individual rights. Security interests are also compromised. Terrorists astutely exploit state violence and rights violations to legitimize their claims as defenders of justice against state oppression.14 Terrorist recruiters point to the wide net of suspicion and prosecution cast upon Muslim minorities as evidence of the state’s illegitimacy.15

Such trends are consistent with some scholars’ findings that human rights abuses may correlate with terrorism.16 Prescriptively, I recommend that financial and legal restrictions should be imposed on U.S. intelligence and security agencies’ collaboration with authoritarian regimes with a track record of rights violations in their counterterrorism practices. Existing legal restrictions on the delivery of U.S. foreign aid to countries that violate human rights should be expanded to encompass financial support and coordination in counterterrorism.17

Put simply, U.S. security agencies should be restrained in the degree to which they can cooperate with countries that violate human rights in counterterrorism. This Article looks to the authoritarian practices of Egypt, one of the U.S.’s major allies, as a case study. Having long practiced torture, indefinite detention, trial of civilians in military courts, and other human rights violations, Egypt was a destination, among other nations, of terrorism suspects in the U.S. extraordinary rendition program.18

In comparing the United States counterterrorism practices with Egypt’s, the authoritarianization effect of coordination is brought to the forefront. Specifically, American national security policies and practices post-9/11 have become rights-infringing in ways that mirror those of Middle Eastern authoritarian regimes, and their predecessor colonial powers.19

Hawkish U.S. government national security rhetoric and fear mongering translates into fewer civil liberties and more human rights violations— first for Muslims and eventually for the American public at large.20 Ranging from the extreme practices of torture, indefinite detention, and targeted assassinations to prosecutions that deny defendants’ due process, habeas corpus, and confrontation rights, America’s
counterterrorism practices are troublingly similar to those of their authoritarian partners in the “War on Terror.”21

II. Theorizing the Causes of Terrorism

For centuries, people have fought asymmetrical wars against sovereign nations in pursuit of political, social, economic, and religious goals.22 The conflicts are often grounded in loca

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