By Marvin Wolf OP/ED
The latest news comes courtesy of the Associated Press and involves New York. Apparently a 911 tape has been released showing that New York cops have been spying on Muslims for years. This would not be much news except the New York cops were not in New York spying on Muslims, but rather in New Jersey spying on Muslims.
There is an ancient rivalry between New York and New Jersey police. New York police used to beat up New Jersey police caught in New York. New Jersey retaliated by arresting New York cops, pursuing suspects over the George Washington Bridge under unlicensed gun charges.
The spying on Rutgers students has been justified on the craziest and most contradictory of reasons. One, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner is claiming universal jurisdiction for NYPD operations like he’s Ronald Reagan. Two, he’s claiming the cops were not acting as police officers while in New Jersey. What were they acting as - KGB agents? Don’t we arrest non-police officers who spy on people? Isn’t that stalking? Weren’t the New York officers paid by NYPD at the time?
How far does New York jurisdiction go? Do they claim to have the right to spy on New Jersey police officers who are Muslim? Are they spying on Governor Christie? Are they spying on Hillary Clinton’s assistant?
The article suggests that NYPD was trained for this by the CIA. I thought the CIA didn’t have jurisdiction in the US.
What else haven’t they told us about and where does this stop? It starts with spying on Muslims who are suspected of terrorism, but let them get away with that and the next thing you know, they’ll be calling New Jersey sports teams by New York names (like, for instance, the New York Giants), calling boroughs of New Jersey by New York names (like West New York) and, dare I say it, dating our women. Snooki must be protected at all costs from these invaders from across the Hudson.
We are all against terrorism but there are limits. This is America, not the Soviet Union.
The NJ Attorney General’s Office is sticking up for the operation, saying that there is no law prohibiting out-of-state law enforcement agencies from conducting operations in our state. So who else is doing this to New Jersey? If this is legal for New York to do, why not for Alabama? Maybe Texas police will now spy on Mexicans in Newark. Maybe Canadian Mounties can do some off-duty spying to stop the illegal transnational moose trade, eh? Maybe Rhode Island police should start doing random stop and frisks in Irvington. Georgia might try to repatriate descendants of fugitive slaves back to Georgia plantations. After all, New Jersey laws don’t count. Or maybe we should pass a law.
I’m sure if the situation were reversed, New York would be screaming bloody murder. Come to think of it, hasn’t New York had more terrorist attacks than New Jersey? Maybe to protect New Jersey, our police have to spy on threats against New Jersey citizens in New York. Threats like Michael Bloomberg. Is that an air conditioner hooked up to his limo or something more sinister? Is he trying to pass a new commuter tax? Is he secretly dating Snooki? Maybe New Jersey police officers should go to New York and start monitoring all those meter maids that unfairly target cars with New Jersey plates.
Muslim groups are suing the NYPD claiming it’s unconstitutional to pick on someone because of their religion, but most New Jersey politicians are reluctant to act because of that “soft on terrorism” thing. But even if it is somehow legal, why not use New Jersey officers instead of New York officers? Afraid to share the federal money backing this? I think it’s not really about terrorism, it’s all about power and money. I have heard a response that some New Jersey police were also involved in that operation, but let’s face it, just because something is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s right. Slavery once was legal.
So be warned. Remember Mayor Bloomberg’s mania about sugar in soft drinks. New Yorkers should not think they can get away with buying a Big Gulp while they visit a New Jersey 7-11. New York’s Big Brother may be watching and waiting to pounce.
If the NYPD really wants to protect us all over the country, why not spy on those people who send spam e-mail or harass people for debts they don’t really owe? I think we’d all applaud them for that. Or maybe they should spy on and prosecute a few of Mr. Bloomberg’s banker friends, or doesn’t he think they have jurisdiction for that? Economic terrorism hurts people too.
I do have an idea to help a little. If the cops were working in New Jersey and paid for it, don’t they owe New Jersey taxes?
If Bloomberg really wants federal power, maybe he should run for President. I think Syria will need a new one soon. Yeah, Syria sounds about right. Plenty of Muslims to spy on there.
Marvin Wolf is a regular columnist and satirist for Local Talk News.