John Kerry: US candidates’ anti-Muslim rhetoric ‘an embarrassment to our country’

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry © Gonzalo Fuentes
US Secretary of State John Kerry has noted regretfully that “every leader” he meets overseas is completely baffled by the American political rhetoric regarding Muslims in the wake of the deadly Brussels bombings. "It upsets people's sense of equilibrium,” he said.

Reacting to the Brussels attacks, which killed 35 people last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promised to bring back torture and "do a lot more than waterboarding,” while Senator Ted Cruz suggested stepping up policing of "Muslim neighborhoods" across the country.

John Kerry: 'Every' World Leader I Meet Is 'Shocked,' 'Upset' ...

John Kerry: 'Every' World Leader I Meet Is 'Shocked,' 'Upset' By Republican Primary Racehttps://news.grabien.com/story-kerry-every-world-leader-i-meet-shocked-upset-republican-pri

Posted by Grabien on Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or had the laws, waterboarding would be fine,'' Trump told NBC’s “Today.”

"If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people,” the billionaire added. His trademark comments amplified earlier equally controversial remarks.

"I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding and believe me, it will be effective," Trump said during a February 7 interview on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

Kerry told CBS's "Face the Nation" that there are a lot of raised eyebrows over such rhetoric.

"Everywhere I go, every leader I meet, they ask about what is happening in America. They cannot believe it. I think it is fair to say that they're shocked," Kerry said.

"They don't know where it's taking the United States of America. It upsets people's sense of equilibrium about our steadiness, about our reliability."

"To some degree, I must say to you, some of the questions, the way they're posed to me, it's clear that what's happening is an embarrassment to our country," the US Secretary of State added.

Last week, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, CAIR, slammed Cruz’s proposal to empower law enforcement to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods“ as “racist, xenophobic and anti-Muslim.

“Cruz is talking about police 'securing' – what does that mean?" Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR, told Vox. “Does that mean checkpoints on every corner? Does that mean papers on every street? To me, this sounds like an armed occupation of Muslim neighborhoods."

Cruz's proposal has also come under fire from President Barack Obama.

"I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance, which, by the way, the father of Senator Cruz escaped for America, the land of the free," the US president told a press conference in Argentina, referring to his recent trip to Cuba.

"The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense. It's contrary to who we are, and it's not going to help us to defeat ISIL," Obama, who became the first US president to visit Cuba in nearly nine decades, added.

AP revealed in 2011 how in the wake of 9/11 the Demographics Unit in New York Police Department (NYPD) infiltrated Muslim student groups, put agents in mosques and spied on Muslims for potential terrorist activities. AP reported that a senior NYPD official testified in 2012 that the unit never generated leads or triggered a terrorism investigation. The program was shut down in 2014. According to ProPublica, the department “thwarted or helped thwart” 14 terrorist plots against New York since Sept 11, 2001. Last year a federal appeals court reinstated the lawsuit challenging the surveillance, comparing the spying to other instances of heightened scrutiny of religious and ethnic groups, including Japanese-Americans during WWII.

US Senator Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this month, made waves when he said in November that “whatever facility is being used — it’s not just a mosque — any facility that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States, should be a place that we look at,” he said on Fox News’ The Kelly File.

“The bigger problem we have is our inability to find out where these places are, because we’ve crippled our intelligence programs, both through unauthorized disclosures by a traitor, in Edward Snowden, or by some of the things this president has put in place with the support even of some from my own party to diminish our intelligence capabilities,” Rubio, once considered the last best option to defeat Trump and Cruz for the party's nomination for the presidential election, added.