As we approach the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, it appears that the New York Police Department is keeping tabs on certain ‘ancestries of interest’ and no surprise that Lebanese are included on the list:

Documents proving the existence of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Demographic Unit have been released despite repeated denials from police officials that such a programme is used.

The information, made public this weekend, shows […] 28 predominantly Muslim nationalities being followed, monitored and befriended by secret agents known as “rakers”.

The plain-clothes cops are trained to infiltrate mosques, community centres, loiter in coffee shops and even malls in New York and the tri-state area. They speak fluent Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi and the NYPD’s official guidelines to its unit include: “Deploy officers in civilian clothes throughout the ethnic communities.”

Operatives were told to: “Par­ticipate in social activities, ie cricket matches, cafés and clubs, gather intelligence and report activity.”

The NYPD’s “ancestry of interest” list includes Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, India, Iran, Iraq and black American Muslims. The UAE and Bahrain are the only Gulf countries listed.

New York City Police officers being debriefed by their lieutenant (in the white shirt) in Times Square, May 29, 2010.  Photo by Luigi Novi.

New York City Police officers being debriefed by their lieutenant (in the white shirt) in Times Square, May 29, 2010. Photo by Luigi Novi.