New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-NYC) Condemns NYPD and CIA Surveillance, Harassment, Infiltration, and Persecution of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Communities and Demands an Independent Investigation

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2011

Contact: Bina Ahmad, 608-658-4228; Lamis Deek, 212-226-3999; Garrett Wright, 646-459-3012

The New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-NYC) condemns the ongoing joint NYPD-CIA surveillance, harassment, infiltration, deliberate disruption, and persecution of New York City and area Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities.

A series of articles released by the Associated Press has documented and made public a massive domestic spying apparatus set up by the NYPD with active participation from the CIA.  This program destroys these communities’ privacy, liberty, security, and right to exist free from government interference.

The joint NYPD-CIA operation puts these communities under an endless and competing system of surveillance that includes police monitoring of mosques, homes, elementary schools, colleges and universities, restaurants, community and political organizations, stores, other institutions of civic and social life.  The NYPD utilizes a “Demographics Unit” to deploy hundreds of undercover officers, countless informants, and technological surveillance to place entire communities under illegal surveillance. Over the years, an aggressive campaign of predatory prosecution was launched wherein informants, who themselves were induced with financial and immigration incentive to act as provocateurs, entrapped Muslims so as to justify the brutal war on Muslims at home and abroad.

Despite the revelation by the Associated Press series that the NYPD targeted these communities on the basis of religion and race within New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Commissioner Kelly initially deceived the public by denying the existence of this program before the New York City Council earlier this month.  The NYPD has yet to disavow the use of such a program.

The NLG-NYC condemns these racist, Anti-Muslim, unconstitutional, and immoral governmental assaults on freedom, dignity, and justice.  These attacks are the latest in a long history of racist profiling and targeting of communities of color, including the shameful NYPD-FBI COINTELPRO campaign of murder and frame-ups directed against the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party, as well as the ongoing NYPD racial profiling of African Americans and Latinos through abusive policing practices.

The NLG-NYC joins the Muslim Communities of New York and New Jersey in demanding the following:

  • The immediate cessation and disclosure of all surveillance, and infiltration operations targeting Muslim, Black, Arab, and South Asian communities and the passage of anti-racial profiling legislation.
  • An end to predatory prosecutions and the entrapment schemes that law enforcement agencies have been conducting in New York and throughout the United States.
  • Attorney General Eric Schneiderman publicly address and investigate these abuses by the NYPD, in response to Sen. Kevin Parker’s letter, dated October 5, 2011.
  • The establishment of an independent commission to investigate the role of the CIA and to oversee the surveillance operations of the NYPD to ensure that no additional misconduct and constitutional violations occur.
  • The establishment of guidelines that clearly state, once and for all, what practices are prohibited and intolerable in a free society.
  • Ongoing oversight of all future actions of the NYPD.

The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.

Download this statement here.

NLG-NYC Attorneys Demand Return of OWS Generators

On Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 Guild attorneys representing the OWS Legal Working Group sent a letter to FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano demanding the return of generators confiscated from Zuccotti Park one day below the onset of freezing temperatures and snow. Read the letter here.

UPDATE: The generators were picked up from FDNY on November 8, 2011. Thanks to all for all of the hard work on getting them back!


Please make a financial contribution of any amount to the NLG-NYC chapter and its Mass Defense Committee to ensure Legal Observers are on the streets and attorneys are in the courts to support the Occupy Wall Street movement. All NLG-NYC Legal Observers (the “Green Hats”) and attorneys are volunteers, but overhead costs are piling up for the many new “Green Hats” being issued, office supplies, telephone and cell phone calls, late night taxi trips to far-flung precincts, etc. Click here to support our work.

NLG-NYC Mass Defense Committee Mobilizes for Occupy Wall Street


Since September 17, the NLG-NYC Mass Defense Committee has provided critical legal support for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and encampment. Dozens of NLG-NYC Legal Observers continue to monitor police activity while protestors carry the NLG-NYC hotline number (shown above) on their persons in case of arrest .  NLG-NYC attorneys are currently organizing legal support for over 80 arrestees. The protests have recently received wide spread media coverage in the NYTimes, The East Villager and AMNY after video footage of police kettling and pepper spraying of demonstrators was posted on youtube.

Save the Date! Attica is All of Us

Join us on Friday, September 9, 2011 at The Riverside Church for Attica is All of Us, an evening of music, performances and conversation to mark the 40th anniversary of the Attica Rebellion and Massacre and address mass incarceration and current prison struggles. Free and open to the public.


  • Attica Brothers, represented by:
    Joseph Harris
    Calvin “Hutch” Hutchinson
    William Anthony Maynard
    Melvin Muhammad
    Carlos Roche
    Al Hajji Sharif
  • Asha Bandele, Drug Policy Alliance, Journalist
  • Baba Amiri Baraka, African-American Poet Laureate, Pan-African Elder Statesman, & Community Activist
  • Dhoruba Al-Mujahid Bin-Wahad, Consultant, Institute For Development of Pan-African Policy, Ghana, W. Africa
  • Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association
  • Elizabeth Fink, Attica Brothers Legal Defense
  • Amy Goodman, Journalist, Author; Host and Executive Director, Democracy Now!
  • Joseph “Jazz” Hayden, Campaign to End the New Jim Crow
  • Jamal Joseph, former Black Panther; Chair, Columbia University’s School of the Arts Film division
  • Cornel West, Professor, Public Intellectual & Activist and more….

Attica is All of Us
Friday, September 9, 2011
7-10 P.M. (doors open at 6:30 P.M.)

490 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
(Enter on Claremont Avenue)

Presented by Attica is All of Us and The Riverside Church Prison Ministry. In collaboration with the Campaign to End Jim Crow, The Culture Project and The Nation.


For more information on the Attica Prison Rebellion, click here.