On Friday, November 26, Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, parked a van loaded with what he thought was a bomb near Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Oregon, where the city’s annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony was taking place. He dialed a telephone number that he expected would detonate the bomb. Nothing happened. On the advice of an associate, he stepped out of the car to dial again. At that moment, FBI agents arrested him on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction; if found guilty, he could face life imprisonment.
Daniel Van Pelt, a former member of the New Jersey State Legislature, has been given 41 months in a federal prison for accepting at $10,000 bribe to help a developer get the environmental permits needed for construction along the coast of New Jersey. Undercover FBI informants provided the evidence needed to convict Van Pelt.
The White House is currently facing criticism after a federal jury convicted former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani of just one out of 285 charges. Critics assert that the single conviction is an example of why suspected terrorists should be tried in military court instead of civilian court. Others, however, cite the conviction as evidence that civilian courts effectively deliver justice.
Many stories in vogue these days involve overzealous politicians caught in egregious attempts to apply the law. On a local scale, one of the latest of these attempts occurred last month in New Castle, New York, when two middle-school students had the police called on them by a town councilman. Their crime? They were selling homemade goods for $1.00 apiece at Gedney Park — cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and Rice Crispy treats which they had baked themselves.
Secretary Janet Napolitano has written an opinion piece defending her cabinet office, the Department of Homeland Security, and its tactics allegedly needed to prevent terrorist attacks on American airline flights. The secretary focused, particularly, on AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology) in use nationwide.
As Texas prepares for the convening of the 82nd Legislature on January 11, several important bills pertaining to the right of Texans to keep and bear arms will come under consideration. Among the gun rights-related bills is HB 145, which was introduced by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Dist. 89). If HB 145 becomes law, Texas would become the latest state to join the ranks of those which have adopted a Firearms Freedom Act.
On November 4, CBS News reported a U.S. seizure of 30 tons of marijuana after surveillance of a warehouse in Otay Mesa, California. After following a tractor-trailer leaving the warehouse and finding 10 tons of marijuana inside, U.S. authorities obtained a search warrant for the warehouse. They discovered an additional 4 tons of pot and the opening to an elaborate 600-yard tunnel connecting the warehouse to one across the border in Mexico.
Jewish groups in Chicago are on high alert after last week's failed attempt to mail two bombs to synagogues there. Two packages containing explosives were intercepted on planes coming out of Dubai and East Midlands airports. The plot is believed to have been formulated by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
To the chagrin of freedom lovers nationwide, the Transportation Security Administration is not only increasing its militant efforts at the airport, but doing so in a disturbingly intrusive way. According to a law enforcement official at the TSA, security officials will be changing their traditional hand pat-down at the airport to a “hand-sliding motion.”