US Citizen Convicted of Providing ‘Material Support’ to Terrorists
BOSTON — The following statement on the conviction today of Tarek Mehanna may be attributed to American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose:
“The ACLU of Massachusetts is gravely concerned that today’s verdict against Tarek Mehanna undermines the First Amendment and threatens national security.
“Under the government’s theory of the case, ordinary people–including writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers–could be prosecuted for researching or translating controversial and unpopular ideas. If the verdict is not overturned on appeal, the First Amendment will be seriously compromised.
“The government’s prosecution does not make us safer. Speech about even the most unpopular ideas serves as a safety valve for the expression of dissent while government suppression of speech only drives ideas underground, where they cannot be openly debated or refuted.
“The ACLU believes that we can remain both safe and free, and, indeed, that our safety and our freedom go hand in hand.”
The ACLU of Massachusetts has condemned the use of conspiracy and material support charges where the charges are based largely on First Amendment-protected expression.
In Mr. Mehanna’s case, the charges against him have been based on allegations of such activity, such as watching videos about “jihad”, discussing views about suicide bombings, translating texts available on the Internet, and looking for information about the 9/11 attackers. Historically, government prosecutors have used conspiracy charges as a vehicle for the suppression of unpopular ideas, contrary to the dictates of the First Amendment and fundamental American values.
After the ACLU of Massachusetts submitted a memorandum of law in support of Mehanna’s motion to dismiss the parts of the indictment against him that were based on protected expression, U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole denied permission for the memorandum to be filed with the court. A copy of the memorandum is available here.
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Impact Seen As Roughly Comparable to Radiation-Related Deaths After Chernobyl; Infants Are Hardest Hit, With Continuing Research Showing Even Higher Possible Death Count.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 19, 2011 — An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services. This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima.
Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.
Just six days after the disastrous meltdowns struck four reactors at Fukushima on March 11, scientists detected the plume of toxic fallout had arrived over American shores. Subsequent measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found levels of radiation in air, water, and milk hundreds of times above normal across the U.S. The highest detected levels of Iodine-131 in precipitation in the U.S. were as follows (normal is about 2 picocuries I-131 per liter of water): Boise, ID (390); Kansas City (200); Salt Lake City (190); Jacksonville, FL (150); Olympia, WA (125); and Boston, MA (92).
Epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, said: “This study of Fukushima health hazards is the first to be published in a scientific journal. It raises concerns, and strongly suggests that health studies continue, to understand the true impact of Fukushima in Japan and around the world. Findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation.”
Mangana is executive director, Radiation and Public Health Project, and the author of 27 peer-reviewed medical journal articles and letters.
Internist and toxicologist Janette Sherman, MD, said: “Based on our continuing research, the actual death count here may be as high as 18,000, with influenza and pneumonia, which were up five-fold in the period in question as a cause of death. Deaths are seen across all ages, but we continue to find that infants are hardest hit because their tissues are rapidly multiplying, they have undeveloped immune systems, and the doses of radioisotopes are proportionally greater than for adults.”
Dr. Sherman is a contributing editor of “Chernobyl – Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” published by the NY Academy of Sciences in 2009, and author of “Chemical Exposure and Disease and Life’s Delicate Balance – Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer.”
The CDC issues weekly reports on numbers of deaths for 122 U.S. cities with a population over 100,000, or about 25-30 percent of the U.S. In the 14 weeks after Fukushima fallout arrived in the U.S. (March 20 to June 25), deaths reported to the CDC rose 4.46 percent from the same period in 2010, compared to just 2.34 percent in the 14 weeks prior. Estimated excess deaths during this period for the entire U.S. is about 14,000.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ailis Aaron Wolf, (703) 276-3265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
City lights spy on Farmington Hills, Michigan
In Farmington Hills, Michigan, things just got a whole lot creepier. Officials say the installation of ten new high-tech light posts will curb crime and cut energy costs for the Midwest community.
All the townspeople have to do in return is give up their privacy.
Farmington Hills just became the first city in America to host a state-of-the-art system of lampposts that make up something called the Intellistreets system. Farmington Hills native Ron Harwood worked over ten years to make the project a reality, and as of Friday his dream had fully come to fruition. For his neighbors that dream of a future where their every move won’t be monitored, however, they might want to think about heading out of Michigan.
Simply put, the Intellistreets project is a system of Internet-connected luminaries that communicate with one another across the city. In addition to lighting the area, they can broadcast verbal and written messages, monitor rainfall and give directions.
According to their own website, the system is also great for “data harvesting.”
Not only does Intellistreets offer information about the neighborhood and provide light, it also monitors the conversations of pedestrians, records video, monitors foot-traffic and counts heads — all of which is recorded and stored for possible analysis. And according to Harwood, the tiny 80,000 community of Farmington Hills isn’t going to be the only town using his technology — Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh have placed orders and the inventor claims that he is in talks with the Department of Homeland Security.
“This is not a system with spook technology,” Harwood tells WXYZ News. To placate that argument, however, one must be comfortable knowing that their every move and whisper is recorded and monitored by a network of computers between posts that can be controlled by a central hub, iPhone or tablet.
Harwood’s cohort, Illuminating Concepts business development director Jeff Stribbell has the same thoughts. At the unveiling of the system in Farmington Hills last week, Stribbell acknowledged that the posts do make recordings — but that doesn’t mean you should be scared.
“These issues of security don’t always mean that you’re being videotaped. They mean, in some cases, that you’re being informed,” said Stribbell.
Harwood himself adds that he thinks airport body scanners are more invasive than his own system. Regardless of which one he favors, it is no lie that the two are totally on par with one another. And although a festive media event accompanied the ribbon-cutting last week, outlets are quickly ignoring Harwood’s claims of using the technology to better the community and are dismissing them for the sneaky truth.
“The transformation of street lights into surveillance tools for Homeland Security purposes will only serve to heighten concerns that the United States is fast on the way to becoming a high-tech police state,” Infowars reported recently. Even abroad, London’s Daily Mail has singled out the project for infringing on civil liberties.
As a backlash began to hit Intellistreets, the company removed a YouTube video that offered an eerie insight into the surveillance capabilities, touts itself as “The solution for all college campuses” and discusses the system’s ability to store and analyze data. The video was also quick to once again note the Homeland Security features which have the potential to link up to government agencies. Infowars has since responded, asking, “If Intellistreets is such a cutting-edge concept that presents an array of wonderful benefits, as the promo video claims, then why remove it from You Tube?”
“Now that the company has tried to hide the video, it will only generate more suspicion about the true purpose behind Intellistreets and the level of involvement on behalf of Homeland Security,” reads a blog post on the site.
At $3,000 a piece, IntelliStreets luminaries have the potential of lowering energy costs by adjusting brightness to match the appropriate atmosphere and location. Additionally, the company says it has an endless number of entertainment options and can serve as a public address system of sorts and offer advertisements up to passersby. That’s right — it records video, counts heads and spews propaganda! When you put it that way, it’s no wonder that Harwood is in cahoots with Homeland Security.
As of Friday, Farmington Hills has nearly a dozen of the posts, which was afforded through $791,300 in federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds the city was awarded in 2009.
Israel digs trench to isolate farms in the Jordan ValleyIsraeli occupation forces have started to dig a trench in the Jordan Valley, east of Tammun in the northern West Bank, as part of a strategy to exercise more control over Palestinian agricultural land and prevent farmers from reaching their fields. According to the Mayor of Tammun, Jamal Bani Odeh, this is the second such barrier to be created by the Israelis. “The first trench is 5 metres deep and 5 metres wide,” he said. “The two trenches are about 2 kilometres apart.” The first trench was built after the start of the Second, Al-Aqsa, Intifada in 2000.
The Mayor pointed out that the trenches now isolate around 70 per cent of the town’s agricultural land, an area of 98,000 acres. The trenches, he believes, are basically another version of the Apartheid Wall built by Israel as part of its land-grab across the occupied West Bank. Farmers are rarely given permits to access their land and have to make long diversions to get around the barrier.
“Israel claims that the lands are part of buffer and closed military zones,” added Mayor Odeh, “or even that they are army camps and training areas.” Nevertheless, he was adamant that the people of the area will struggle hard to keep their land and access to it. “This is the role that we can play in the resistance against the occupation,” he said.
Israeli bulldozers destroyed industrial stalls in Ath-Thoury neighborhood, in Silwan, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, as part of the destruction that is ongoing to a playground that belongs to the Ibrahimi College, a few meters away from the Jerusalem Wall.
Israel is trying to remove the Palestinian structures from the area in order to build a National Security College, a project that the Jerusalem Municipality is trying to build on Palestinian-owned lands, including land that belong to the Ibrahimi College.
Eyewitnesses reported that dozens of soldiers, and a number of military bulldozers, surrounded the neighborhood, especially the industrial stalls that belong to resident Montaser Sarhan, before demolishing.
The Jerusalem Municipality recently declared its intentions to confiscate the Palestinian lands in order to build a “parking structure”.
Jerusalem is subject to ongoing Israeli violations, including demolition of Palestinian homes and property, illegal annexation of Palestinians lands, and ongoing arrests and harassment of the Palestinians in the area.
NABLUS – Israeli forces on Tuesday bulldozed a main road serving several villages in southern Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said.
Ghassan Daghlas, the PA official for monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that over 30 military vehicles entered the Nablus village of Beita before bulldozers demolished a road in-between the villages of Beita, Osarin and Aqraba.
The Mayor of Huwwara, Moeen Damidi, told the official news agency Wafa that the 4km road was demolished without any warning. It had cost $400,000 to build, he added.
Israeli forces took control of a hilltop east of Beita and erected tents for soldiers to make camp, Daghlas added. Soldiers also took control of a Ayman Ihsan Adeile’s home for military purposes.
Witnesses in the area said there had been noticeable military and settler activity on Tuesday morning.
The villages of Beita, Osarin and Aqraba are all technically in Area A, which is under full Palestinian security and administrative control.
The land between the villages is Area B, under Israeli security control, and reflects the wider physical composition of the West Bank where Palestinian population centers exist as isolated islets.
Area C, under full Israeli control, forms 60 percent of the West Bank.
Tehran says Washington is using the US bases in Afghanistan to conduct espionage operations against the war-torn state’s neighboring countries, including the Islamic Republic.
Speaking on Monday, Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Khazaei also said that the long-term presence of the US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan only created instability in Iran and other neighbors.
He stated that the US spy, who was recently arrested by Iran, was identified after he had left the US-run Bagram Air Base in eastern Afghanistan.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced on December 13 that it had arrested the CIA agent of Iranian descent, named Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, foiling an intricate American plot to carry out espionage activities in the Islamic Republic.
Khazaei also mentioned the Iranian army’s recent downing of a US spy drone, which had violated Iran’s airspace after taking off from a US military base in Afghanistan, as another example of the manner in which the US bases inside Afghanistan were being used against nearby countries.
On December 4, the Iranian military’s electronic warfare unit announced that Iran had downed with minimal damage the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft, while it was flying above the northeastern Iran city of Kashmar.