Episode 42: Reflecting on 20 years of the “War on Terror” at home: federal prosecutions

September 24, 2021

As we look back on the past 20 years since 9/11, certain issues come to the forefront – the toll of the war in Afghanistan; the torture of detainees in CIA custody; the worldwide drone program; the ongoing 19-year detention of detainees at Guantanamo. The list goes on. Less visible and examined are the hundreds of “terrorism” prosecutions brought in federal courts since 9/11 and their associated harms: the preying on vulnerable defendants by aggressive government informants to concoct charges; the criminalization of First Amendment activity as “material support” for terrorism; the denials of fair criminal process despite the promise of due process; the cruelty of special conditions of confinement disproportionately used in these cases; the impact on the communities, families, and individuals targeted, many of whom are still in prison. We dedicate this month’s podcast to surfacing this slice of the “war on terror,” with our staff attorney Pardiss Kebriaei interviewing three guests who have been at the forefront of advocacy, organizing, and reporting on these cases for more than a decade – Faisal Hashmi, Jeanne Theoharis, professor of political science at Brooklyn College, and Murtaza Hussain, reporter at The Intercept.

Links to the cases and resources mentioned during the podcast are below.

- For more about Fahad Hashmi, see Jeanne Theoharis, Guantanamo At Home, The Nation, Apr. 2, 2009: https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/guantanamo-home-2/ 

- For more about Ahmed Abu Ali, see our webpage: https://ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/our-cases/united-states-v-ahmed-abu-ali 

- For more about the case of the "Fort Dix Five," see Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, Aug. 29, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/08/29/duka-fort-dix-five-post-911-terror-stings/

- For data on terrorism prosecution since 9/11, see Trial and Terror, a database on The Intercept compiled by Trevor Aaronson and Margot Williams, https://trial-and-terror.theintercept.com/

- The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's manufactured war on terrorism (2014), by Trevor Aaronson

- See also Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions (2014), a report by Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute 


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