U.S. court orders imprisonment for anti-Islam filmmaker



28 September 2012 , By AP

In this image from video provided by CBS2-KCAL9, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula,
the man behind the anti-Islamic movie, is escorted by Los Angeles County
sheriff’s deputies from his home, early Saturday, in Cerritos, Calif.
A federal judge on Thursday ordered a California man behind a crudely
produced anti-Islamic video that inflamed parts of the Middle East to be
detained because he is a flight risk.

U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said Nakoula
Basseley Nakoula should be held after officials said he violated his
probation term for a 2010 cheque fraud conviction.

A federal prosecutor said Nakoula had eight probation violations, including
lying to his probation officers and using aliases.

After his 2010 conviction, Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in prison and
was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without
approval from his probation officer.

A 14—minute trailer for the film “Innocence of Muslims” was posted on
YouTube in July, leading to protests around the Middle East. The trailer
depicts Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester.

The violence broke out Sept. 11 and has spread since, killing dozens.
Nakoula, a Christian originally from Egypt, went into hiding after he was
identified as the man behind the trailer.

In court Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Dugdale said Nakoula was
flight risk based on a “lengthy pattern of deception.”

“He has every incentive to disappear,” Dugdale said.

Nakoula, 55, was handcuffed and shackled in court.

The full story about Nakoula and the video still isn’t known.

The movie was made last year by a man who called himself Sam Bacile. After
the violence erupted, a man who identified himself as Bacile called media
outlets including The Associated Press, took credit for the film and said
it was meant to portray the truth about Muhammad and Islam, which he called
a cancer.

The next day, the AP determined there was no Bacile and linked the identity
to Nakoula, a former gas station owner with a drug conviction and a history
of using aliases. Federal authorities later confirmed there was no Bacile
and that Nakoula was behind the movie.

Before going into hiding, Nakoula acknowledged to the AP he was involved
with the film, but said he only worked on logistics and management.

A film permit listed Media for Christ, a Los Angeles—area charity run by
other Egyptian Christians, as the production company. Most of the film was
made at the charity’s headquarters. Steve Klein, an insurance agent in
Hemet and outspoken Muslim critic, has said he was a consultant and
promoter for the film.

The trailer still can be found on YouTube. The Obama administration asked
Google, YouTube’s parent, to take down the video. But the company has
refused, saying it did not violate its content standards.

Meanwhile, a number of actors and workers on the film have come forward to
say they were tricked. They say they were hired for a film titled “Desert
Warrior” and there was no mention of Islam or Muhammad in the script. Those
references were dubbed in after filming was completed.

Actress Cindy Lee Garcia has sued to get the trailer taken down, saying she
was duped.

#Wisconsin Gurudwara shooting probed as ‘domestic terrorism’


 

 

A man sits on a rock as police investigate the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wis., after a shooting Sunday, Aug 5, 2012. A gunman killed six people at the suburban Milwaukee temple in a rampage that left terrified congregants hiding in closets and others texting friends outside for help. The suspect was killed outside the temple in a shootout with police officers.

The Associated Press

Published Sunday, Aug. 05 2012, 1:07 PM EDT

Police in Wisconsin say seven people are dead at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, including the suspected gunman.

The FBI says it is investigating whether the shootings were an act of domestic terrorism. FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson says in a Sunday night statement that no motive has been determined for the attack at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. She says the investigation is in its early stages.

He says one of those killed outside is the suspect. Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards says the suspect “ambushed” one of the first officers to arrive at the scene as the officer tended to a shooting victim.

Mr. Edwards says the suspect shot the officer multiple times outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Sunday morning. A second officer then exchanged gunfire with the suspect and fatally shot him. Mr. Edwards says the officer who was ambushed is undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital and is expected to survive.

Police do not believe a second shooter was involved, contradicting earlier reports of multiple shooters.

At least three men have been admitted to a Milwaukee-area hospital, including one police officer. A Froederdt Hospital spokeswoman says one of the men is in the operating room, another is in a surgical intensive care unit and the third is being evaluated in the emergency room. All three are considered to be in critical condition.

The first official word from police was that they didn’t know how many victims or suspects were involved. But a short time later, after an extensive search of the temple, authorities said they did not believe there was more than one shooter.

“It was a very coordinated thing. It wasn’t haphazard,” temple member Amardeep Kaleka told CNN. He said his father was wounded in the attack.

“This is nerve-racking. No one really knows what’s going on. Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Mangat said. Later, when he learned of the deaths, he said, “It was like the heart just sat down. This shouldn’t happen anywhere.”

It is still unknown how many were wounded in the shooting. At least three priests may be among those shot, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

According to the Journal Sentinel, one of the temple’s committee members said the motive for the shooting is unknown, but identified one shooter as a white male who is not a member of the temple, and suggested it may have been “a hate crime.”

U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday that he and First Lady Michelle Obama had been “deeply saddened” to learn of a shooting that left at least seven people dead at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

“As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family,” he said, in a White House statement.

Police and ambulances have cordoned off the area, and tactical units are on scene, while officers were dispatched to another nearby temple as a precaution.

With reports from James Bradshaw and Reuters

 

Myanmar censors publication of magazines #Censorship


 

Icon for censorship

Icon for censorship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s censors have suspended two weekly magazines indefinitely in the latest confrontation between the government and the newly aggressive press.

The Press Scrutiny Board informed Voice Weekly and Envoy editors Tuesday that their publications have been suspended for violating regulations. The authorities did not explain the reasons for the bans.

Reporters at the publications said privately they suspected they were linked to articles speculating about the details of an anticipated Cabinet reshuffle.

President Thein Sein eased censorship as one of his reforms after decades of repressive military rule. The flourishing of press freedom has brought serious investigative reporting and sensationalism, both of which make the government uncomfortable.

Voice Weekly also faces a defamation suit over a story alleging irregularities in several government ministries’ accounts.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Three Women Prisoners assaulted in Mumbai Jail for raising issues


‘Published: Monday, Apr 23, 2012, 8:30 IST

By Dilnaz Boga | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Three suspected women Maoists sympathisers lodged in Mumbai District Women’s Prison in Byculla have alleged that the jail authorities had assaulted them for highlighting the prison’s problems. They have filed a complaint in the sessions court at Sewri.

Angela Sontakey, 42, Sushma Ramteke, 22, and Jyoti Chorghe, 19, were arrested by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) in April last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The three have pleaded for a thorough investigation into the assault incident of April 2. They want their statement to be recorded and the police register an FIR.

They have alleged that in a bid to alienate them the jail authorities directed the volunteers of the NGOs not to talk to them and they were denied admission to computer classes run by an NGO. The trio alleged that the authorities even confiscated Mahatma

Gandhi’s biography and a jail manual they had brought with them to share with other prisoners about prison rights.

On March 31, the trio saw some inmates being beaten by the authorities. When they tried to intervene, they were attacked by the jail employees, the complaint stated. The three were accused of instigating inmates. The inmates protested by refusing food and demanded an apology from the administration.

Two days later, Sontakey, Ramteke and Chorghe were sent to solitary confinement. “No complaint was registered before punishing us. No doctor came. No medical tests were done before the confinement and after,” the application said.

The trio then went on a hunger strike for six days. The complainants claim that they had been targeted by the authorities. “We had always raised our voice against the corrupt practices of the jail. Bribe is taken for giving requisition for your guards, for getting things, to go to JJ Hospital and for making false medical record.”

The three complained that the jail inmates are so “terrorised” by the jail’s Reform and Rehabilitation Centre that they fear to seek help. The other inmates approach them for writing applications and counselling. “This has alarmed the authorities as they feel that their importance is diminishing,” says the complaint.

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should be not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones,” the complaint quotes from South African leader Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

IG Prisons Surender Kumar said, “There are three or four people from that group who have been creating trouble in the jail by demanding different things. We had complained about them to the judge. I’m not aware about the assault incident but I don’t think our officers would have resorted to such tactics.”

Leaked Document Shows NYPD Infiltrated, Spied On Leftist Groups


 By Kristen Gwynne | Sourced from AlterNet

The Associated Press has obtained another document detailing the New York Police Department‘s (NYPD) spying, this time on liberal political groups. Documents and interviews obtained by the AP show that undercover NYPD officers attended meetings run by liberal organizations, and kept intelligence files on activists planning demonstrations across the country.

The AP reports that the NYPD’s infiltration tactics are nothing new:

  The infiltration echoes the tactics the NYPD used in the run-up to New York’s 2004 Republican National Convention, when police monitored church groups, anti-war organizations and environmental advocates nationwide. That effort was revealed by The New York Times in 2007 and in an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit over how the NYPD treated convention protesters.

Police said the pre-convention spying was necessary to prepare for the huge, raucous crowds that were headed to the city. But documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the police department’s intelligence unit continued to keep close watch on political groups in 2008, long after the convention had passed.

In April 2008, an undercover NYPD officer traveled to New Orleans to attend the People’s Summit, a gathering of liberal groups organized around their shared opposition to U.S. economic policy and the effect of trade agreements between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

When the undercover effort was summarized for supervisors, it identified groups opposed to U.S. immigration policy, labor laws and racial profiling. Two activists — Jordan Flaherty, a journalist, and Marisa Franco, a labor organizer for housekeepers and nannies — were mentioned by name in one of the police intelligence reports obtained by the AP.

“One workshop was led by Jordan Flaherty, former member of theInternational Solidarity Movement Chapter in New York City,” officers wrote in an April 25, 2008, memo to David Cohen, the NYPD’s top intelligence officer. “Mr. Flaherty is an editor and journalist of the Left Turn Magazine and was one of the main organizers of the conference.Mr. Flaherty held a discussion calling for the increase of the divestment campaign of Israel and mentioned two events related to Palestine.”

The document provides the latest example of how, in the name of fighting terrorism, law enforcement agencies around the country have scrutinized groups that legally oppose government policies. The FBI, for instance, has collected information on anti-war demonstrators. The Maryland state police infiltrated meetings of anti-death penalty groups. Missouri counterterrorism analysts suggested that support for Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, might indicate support for violent militias — an assertion for which state officials later apologized. And Texas officials urged authorities to monitor lobbying efforts by pro Muslim-groups.

  The AP noted that police often monitored protests to plan for the possibility of violence or riots, adding that:

By contrast, at the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests and in related protests in other cities, officials at the U.S. Homeland Security Department repeatedly urged authorities not to produce intelligence reports based simply on protest activities.

“Occupy Wall Street-type protesters mostly are engaged in constitutionally protected activity,” department officials wrote in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the website Gawker. “We maintain our longstanding position that DHS should not report on activities when the basis for reporting is political speech.”

  But Occupy Wall Street organizers say the NYPD is following them, and infiltrating, them as well. The New York Times recently reported that some occupiers believe they are being spied on by NYPD officers, and that the NYPD’s surveillance is OWS-related.

The surveillance, also documented in Muslim neighborhoods, is being carried by what the AP categorizes as an un-checked, secret unit:

  The Intelligence Division, a squad that operates with nearly no outside oversight and is so secretive that police said even its organizational chart is too sensitive to publish. The division has been the subject of a series of Associated Press articles that illustrated how the NYPD monitored Muslim neighborhoods, catalogued people who prayed at mosques and eavesdropped on sermons.

Read full document here

Judge rules Illinois eavesdropping law unconstitutional for second time in a year


Map of USA with Illinois highlighted

Image via Wikipedia

By Associated Press,

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Illinois law against recording conversations was ruled unconstitutional Friday, the second time in the past year a judge has struck it down.

The eavesdropping law makes it a felony to record conversations without the consent of everyone involved. Even recording public officials in public places can be illegal.

Cook County Judge Stanley Sacks declared the law unconstitutional Friday, saying it went too far and could make “wholly innocent conduct” illegal.

The ruling comes in the case of Christopher Drew, an artist who was arrested in 2009 for selling his work on a downtown Chicago street without a permit. Police charged Drew with violating the eavesdropping law after learning he recorded conversations during his arrest.

Drew said Friday he was happy with Sacks’ decision. The law should let people gather information about police conduct in public, he said.

“Otherwise, you need to come out with a big camera rolling, and they’ve already pulled their pants up,” Drew said.

But Drew’s attorney, Joshua Kutnick, said Sacks rejected Drew’s claim that he had a First Amendment right to gather information on police. Instead, he said, the judge ruled the law’s restrictions were simply too broad.

The decision comes as state lawmakers consider legislation to revamp the eavesdropping statute and permit the recording of public officials on duty in public places.

There was no immediate word from the Cook County state’s attorney or the Illinois attorney general on whether the ruling will be appealed. A similar ruling issued by a Crawford County judge in September has already been appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Kutnick said the Legislature meant to protect individual privacy but went too far. He compared the law to one struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2008. That law barred secret compartments in vehicles that could hide weapons. The court said it was flawed because it also criminalized harmless uses like hiding jewelry or documents.

The attorney argued Illinois should change its law so anyone taking part in a conversation can record it. That would still protect people from having outsiders tape their conversations.

“I think the state of Illinois is finally starting to come around,” Kutnick said

“To those who believe in resistance, who live between hope and impatience and have learned the perils of being unreasonable. To those who understand enough
to be afraid and yet retain their fury.”

Nobel Peace Prize Jury Under Investigation


By Karl Ritter, Associated Press

02 February 12

The nomination deadline for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize closed Wednesday amid renewed criticism that the award committee has drifted away from the selection criteria established by prize founder Alfred Nobel.

Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Cuban rights activists Oswaldo Paya and Yoani Sanchez are among the candidates who have been publicly announced by those who nominated them.

The secretive prize committee doesn’t discuss nominations – which have to be postmarked by Feb. 1 to be valid – but stresses that being nominated doesn’t say anything about a candidate’s chances.

Its choices often spark debate – the world rarely agrees on who’s most deserving of the $1.5 million award – but this year the committee is facing criticism even before the deliberations have begun.

Stockholm’s County Administrative Board – the authority that supervises foundations and trusts in the city – has formally asked the Nobel Foundation to respond to allegations that the peace prize no longer reflects the will of Nobel, a Swedish industrialist who died in 1896.

The move comes after persistent complaints by Norwegian peace researcher Fredrik Heffermehl, who claims the original purpose of the prize was to diminish the role of military power in international relations.

“Nobel called it a prize for the champions of peace,” Heffermehl told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “And it’s indisputable that he had in mind the peace movement, the movement which is actively pursuing a new global order … where nations safely can drop national armaments.”

Since World War II, especially, the prize committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, has widened the scope of the prize to include environmental, humanitarian and other efforts.

For example, in 2007 the prize went to climate campaigner Al Gore and the U.N.’s panel on climate change, and in 2009 the committee cited President Barack Obama for “extraordinary efforts” to boost international diplomacy.

“Do you see Obama as a promoter of abolishing the military as a tool of international affairs?” Heffermehl asked rhetorically.

Nobel gave only vague guidelines for the peace prize in his 1895 will, saying it should honor “work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Geir Lundestad, the nonvoting secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, dismissed Heffermehl’s claims.

“Fighting climate change is definitely closely related to fraternity between nations. It even concerns the survival of some states,” he told AP.

Still, the county administrative board decided it was worth raising the matter with the Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation, which manages the prize assets.

“We have no basis to suggest that they haven’t managed it properly. But we want to investigate it,” said Mikael Wiman, a legal expert working for the county.

The board has an obligation to make sure Nobel’s will is respected, and has the authority to suspend the foundation’s decisions, going back a maximum of three years, if they do not, Wiman said, adding that such measures were highly unlikely.

“The prize committee must always adjust its rules to today’s society,” he said. “But peace work has to be at the core – it can’t deviate too much from that,” Wiman said.

The peace prize and the other five Nobel awards are always handed out Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

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