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New York City Mayor Eric Adams Screams ‘Outside Agitators’ To Justify Repressing Students

In a press conference last night, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, accompanied by NYPD Deputy Commissioner Rebecca Weiner, said he had received a piece of intelligence that “shifted his thinking” about campus demonstrations and led to an aggressive police deployment both at Columbia University and City College of New York (CCNY). What was the intelligence? “Outside agitators,” according to a report from Associated Press. These outside agitators have come onto the campuses “to radicalize our children,” and were leading students into “more extreme tactics,” Adams said.

According to CNN, Weiner, whose “intelligence” past is suspect, is currently sifting through the names of individuals arrested to determine whether they are affiliated with the universities. “We want to make sure that we’re giving you accurate information,” she said. “But I think the larger point is really important, which is, this is not about students expressing ideas. It is about a change in tactics that presents a concern and a normalization and mainstreaming of rhetoric.” Adams claimed that there were people arrested who were affiliated with “terrorist groups,” and not just a few but a “substantial number.” The night before, police entering Columbia and CCNY, at the request of those schools, arrested 173 at CCNY and 119 at Columbia.

Adams went so far as to claim that one of the “well-trained professionals” who had been identified was a woman married to “someone that was arrested for terrorism.” He was referring to Nahla Al-Arian, a 63-year-old retired elementary school teacher, who hadn’t been on Columbia’s campus all week, but only briefly stopped by on April 25 while in New York on a trip with her daughters, because she was inspired by the student protests. She admired the peaceful protest from a distance, never speaking with any of them in her brief drop by. However, her daughter’s photo of her happy, content mother went on social media—from which it was used for such sloppy intelligence, or actually a reckless disregard for actual intelligence, that a terrorist was guiding the demonstrators.

Her husband, Sami Al-Arian, had indeed been arrested in 2003 and ultimately convicted under the Espionage Act, in what has the smell of a set-up, typical of those orchestrated against Arab/Muslim men in the “war on terror.” It was a very flimsy case, yet this was the “married to a terrorist” story that was picked up and went viral on social media.

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