If you do leave your house with a pressure cooker, you could be surrounded by FBI agents in an instant!
First let me clarify that this is not satire. This isn’t from The Onion, it’s from The Detroit News:
Federal agents arrested a suspicious traveler with an altered Saudi Arabian passport at Detroit Metro Airport over the weekend after discovering a pressure cooker in his luggage.
According to a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court, the passenger, Hussain Al Khawahir arrived at Detroit Metro on Friday from Saudi Arabia via Amersterdam. He had a visa and a Saudi Arabian passport, and told officers in the baggage control area that he would be visiting his nephew at the University of Toledo, the complaint said.
In the baggage area, two customs officers interviewed the passenger and noticed a page had been removed form the man’s passport, the complaint said. The man said that he did not know how the page was removed form the passport, and stated that the passport was locked in a box that only he, his wife and three minor children have access to in his home, the complaint said. His hometown was not listed in court documents.
While at the airport, customs and border officials also examined his luggage and found a pressure cooker inside. When questioned about it, the man initially said that he brought the pressure cooker for his nephew because pressure cookers are not sold in Saudi Arabia, the complaint said. The man then changed his story and admitted his nephew had purchased a pressure cooker in America before, but it “was cheap” and broke after the first use.
So basically, he was arrested for lying about why he had a pressure cooker in his luggage. He couldn’t possibly have been so flustered by what happened that he couldn’t think of what to say, right? Obviously, he must be a dangerous “terrorist” carrying one pressure cooker into the country to make a bomb. Because no one sells pressure cookers in the U.S., right? So is he part of a terrorist “cell” that brings pressure cookers into the country one at a time for some future plot?
At least they read the guy his rights, according to the article.
Of course the hysteria stems from the Boston Marathon bombings in April in which pressure cooker bombs were used.
Here’s a little more information:
Hussain Al Kwawahir appeared for a brief hearing at 1 p.m. in federal court on charges he allegedly used an altered passport and lied to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent about the pressure cooker.
It was unclear Monday whether his arrest is terrorism related or a misunderstanding. But the prosecutor handling the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel, who prosecuted the terror case against underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
No one has told his court-appointed lawyer anything either.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade declined comment on the particulars of the case or whether there are any links to terrorism.
“We never want to jump to conclusions and read more into a situation than is there, but we want to make sure all cases are fully investigated to protect the public,” McQuade said.
Don’t these people have anything better to do? We have children shooting each other with guns all over the country, but they’re worried about cooking equipment. What if I order a pressure cooker on Amazon? Will the FBI come to my house and question me? Don’t worry, I’m not taking that chance.
This story follows on a previous one–also in Michigan–in which a Saudi student cooked rice in his pressure cooker and was carrying it over to his next door neighbor’s house when other neighbors freaked out and called the FBI. From The Daily Mail: FBI surrounds house of Saudi student after sightings of him with pressure cooker pot – only to discover he was cooking RICE.
A Saudi student living in Michigan was questioned in his home by FBI agents after neighbours saw him carrying a pressure cooker and called the police.
Talal al Rouki had been cooking a traditional Saudi Arabian rice dish called kabsah and was carrying it to a friend’s house.
According to reports in a Saudi newspaper on Friday, the FBI are increasingly vigilant about ‘pressure cooker’ home-made bombs after the Boston bombers used one to make an explosive….
The young student showed them his pressure cooker and explained to them he used to make a rice dish.
An FBI agent said: ‘You need to be more careful moving around with such things, Sir’
So watch out! If you’re going to take a meal to a sick friend or an elderly neighbor, for heaven’s sake use a transparent glass casserole dish so the “authorities” can see what you’re carrying. Especially if you happen to be a brown person or have a foreign accent, of course.
I guess we can expect a long string of pressure cooker arrests, while Congress refuses to vote for background checks on gun sales and Americans continue to kill and maim each other with firearms on a daily basis.
I only wish this were a joke.
Stunning news just breaking now from ABC News: ‘Mounting Evidence’ Boston Bombers Involved in 2011 Triple Murder
Massachusetts investigators have developed what they call “mounting evidence,” bolstered by “forensic hits,” that point to the possible involvement of both Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar in a gruesome, unsolved triple homicide in 2011, law enforcement officials told ABC News.
The officials cautioned that until more definitive DNA testing is complete, it is still too early to consider bringing an indictment against the younger of the two brothers, who officials said has admitted his role in the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured 260 more on April 15. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the Marathon bombing attack, but Dhzokhar survived and was captured.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s “best friend” Brendan Mess was murdered along with Erik Weissman, and Raphael Teken in Mess’ apartment in Waltham, MA on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Knowing what we know now, that Tamerlan believed the 2001 attacks were a Jewish conspiracy to turn Americans against muslims.
Tamerlan and Mess were once roommates and did boxing and martial arts training together.
Now law enforcement officials tell ABC News that some crime scene forensic evidence provided a match to the two Tsarnaev brothers. The officials also said records of cell phones used by the Tsarnaevs appears to put them in the area of the murders on that date. Several officials confirmed the new findings but declined to be identified because they are not authorized to comment on the ongoing investigation.
A number of Tamerlan’s friends have reportedly begun to suspect that he may have been involved in the murders, but this is the first time I’ve heard any mention of a connection to Dzhokhar. One reason the friends became suspicious is that Tamerlan did not go to his supposed “best friend’s” funeral.
Back to the ABC story:
…the case went cold, until photos of the Boston Marathon suspects were released and family and friends of the Waltham victims recognized them and remembered Tamerlan’s strange behavior after the murders. He did not attend his friend’s funeral and vanished from the martial arts gyms where the men had sparred together.
Then, Gerry’s Italian Kitchen became a focal point again on April 24, nine days after the Marathon bombing, after investigators removed a Planet Aid charity donation bin from its parking lot. A driver had discovered discarded fireworks inside and law enforcement sources told ABC News the gunpowder had been removed from the cartridges.
This led to investigators questioning whether Tamerlan had ever worked at Gerry’s. “The eatery’s management” told ABC that neither of the brothers ever worked there. Still…
looking back, multiple residents of Waltham and Watertown remember Tamerlan Tsarnaev delivering food to their homes and Tsarnaev family members have told reporters the brothers worked as pizza deliverymen. The eatery’s management, however, steadfastly denied that either Tsarnaev brother worked there.
Scott Wood, a jiu jitsui trainer who befriended and trained Mess at a martial arts studio in Vermont, said he always believed whoever the killer or killers were, they got in Mess’ home “under the guise of being a friend.”
This is a breaking story. I’ll update if I get more information.
I wrote in my morning post that Eric Williams, a former Kaufman County, Texas Justice of the Peace, had been arrested in connection with the murders of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse and District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia McLelland. It now seems certain that Williams will be charged with capital murder later this week.
Forty-six-year-old Eric Williams was booked into the Kaufman County Jail on Saturday after police searched his home. The ex-justice of the peace has been charged with emailing “terroristic threats” to county employees. Although murder charges have not yet been made, sources told CBS 11 that Williams is a prime suspect in the shooting deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland; his wife, Cynthia McLelland; and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.
Williams is being held on a $3 million bond.
Both Mike McLelland and Hasse had prosecuted their suspected killer. Williams was convicted in March 2012 of the burglary of a building and theft by a public servant.
He was sentenced to two months of probation for stealing computer equipment from a county building. The man lost his justice of the peace position, his law license and health insurance as a result of the conviction, according to the Dallas Morning News.
During his trial, the disgraced county official said that McLelland and Hasse didn’t like him, CBS reports.
Initially, police suspected the murders were payback for prosecutions of members of a white supremacist group, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. One of the prosecutors in that case even stepped down, citing “security concerns.”
The day after the bodies of Cynthia and Mike McLelland were found, an anonymous writer sent an email to county officials threatening that more attacks were imminent if the writer’s demands were not met.
Law enforcement authorities have since linked the the threat back to Eric Williams, a former justice of the peace who is now the prime suspect in the slayings.
The McLellands were found dead in their home over Easter weekend. Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down Jan. 31 as he walked to the county courthouse….
Williams was convicted of stealing county equipment last year and sentenced to probation in a highly contentious case prosecuted by McLelland and Hasse. That case is on appeal. Williams faces another theft charge in a case related to money allegedly misused from a law library fund.
Three people murdered over what sounds like fairly small-time burglary charges. And all Williams got was probation. I wonder if Williams was threatening more killings. It seems possible, based on the arsenal he had assembled.
Authorities searched the Williams’ home and that of his in-laws, who live down the street from them, on Friday. Those searches led to the execution of a search warrant on Saturday at Gibson Self Storage on Seagoville Road near U.S. Highway 175.
Authorities seized more than 20 weapons from the unit, which was rented on behalf of Williams. Some of the weapons are similar to those used in the Hasse and McLelland slayings. Ballistics tests are now being conducted by the Texas Rangers crime lab on the weapons that are of the same caliber as those used in the killings
Police also found a car in the storage unit that looked like one seen in the area at the time of the McLelland murders.
Hours after the McLellands’ bodies were found, authorities met with Williams at a local Denny’s restaurant, Williams’ attorney, David Sergi, told CNN earlier this month.
Investigators took swab samples from Williams’ hands to test him for gun residue, according to the lawyer. Results were not made public by officials, but Sergi said the tests came back negative….
On Friday, Sergi released a statement saying that Williams “has cooperated with law enforcement and vigorously denies any and all allegations. He wishes simply to get on with his life and hopes that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
So police apparently suspected Williams right away. Williams is still maintaining his innocence. We’ll have to wait to see what happens after he’s charged. It sounds like police are pretty certain they’ve got their man.
Please use this as an open thread.
Royal Mayo, who has lived his entire life in Steubenville, Ohio spoke to a conservative publication, International Business Times (IBT) and made some shocking remarks about the victim in the high profile Steubenville rape case. Mays is a former president of the local chapter of the NAACP–he left the post in 2010–and is still a member of its “executive committee.” According to a statement given to IBT, he does not speak for the NAACP.
Mayo used the words “alleged victim,” referring to 16-year-old “Jane Doe” (whose name has not been published because she is a minor), despite the fact that two teenagers have already been convicted of raping her. He claims Jane Doe is at fault because she got drunk and willingly left a party to be with Trent Mays.
In a phone interview with the International Business Times, Mayo described the 16-year-old girl as the “alleged victim” and said she might have been having consensual sex. “She said her mother brought her to the party, at 3 o’clock, with a bottle of vodka,” Mayo said. “Where did you get it, young lady? You brought it from home? Where’d you get it? You came to the party with your mother.”
Mayo added that she might have been a willing participant, apparently unfazed by the inflammatory nature of such statements. “They’re alleging she got raped; she’s acknowledging that she wanted to leave with Trent. Her friends say she pushed them away as she went and got into the car, twice telling them, ‘I know what I’m doing; I’m going with Trent,’” Mayo said.
Mayo also claims the girl arrived at the party with her mother and a bottle of vodka. I’m not sure where he got that information. Mayo knows Ma’lik Richmond and his family and has counseled Richmond in the past.
“Back in August, when the rumors first started going around, I talked to Ma’lik, and he said, ‘No, Mr. Mayo, we didn’t do anything to that girl. I don’t know what these rumors are; I don’t understand it.’”
Naturally, I find Mayo’s victim blaming repulsive and way way beyond inappropriate, but I do think some of what he says about the police could have some validity even though he isn’t the best source for cover-up charges. He suggests that Mays and Richmond were singled out to be “sacrificed” because Richmond is black and poor and Mays is not from Steubenville–he was recruited from another county.
“You hear local people saying, ‘We got this out of the way, let us just heal, let the community start to heal.’ It’s like these two were sacrificed, the poor black kid and the white kid who is from the next county, in the next town over, who were sacrificed over all the other dirt and corruption that would be uncovered if you come into Steubenville,” Mayo says.
He claims that police had other DNA samples that were ignored and that a witness who testified he saw Richmond digitally penetrate the Jane Doe when she was unconscious–Evan Westlake–refused to give a DNA sample and police didn’t compel him to do so.
It’s true that the Steubenville Police Department has a history of corruption and racism. It was
the target of 48 civil-rights lawsuits over a 20-year period regarding issues such as false arrests, excessive force and police misconduct. As a result, it became only the second city in the country to be subject to a consent decree from the federal government. In its 1997 ruling, the Department of Justice stated, “The United States alleges that officers of the Steubenville Police Department have engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges or immunities secured and protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States and that the city of Steubenville, the Steubenville Police Department and the Steubenville city manager (in his capacity as director of public safety) have caused and condoned this conduct through inadequate policies and failure to train, monitor, supervise and discipline police officers and to investigate alleged misconduct.”
Mayo’s victim-blaming is getting the most attention in media reports so far; but some of his points about police misconduct may well have some merit. A Grand Jury will begin meeting in mid-April with a judge appointed from another Ohio county. There certainly are indications of a cover-up that may have benefited students whom Mayo calls “connected.” In addition to Westlake, you have to wonder why neither the boy at whose home the attack took place nor his parents have been charged with anything.
Let’s hope such suspicions will be thoroughly aired before the Grand Jury.
NOTE: At Salon.com, Mary Elizabeth Williams published a detailed statement from the national NAACP:
”The NAACP abhors the remarks attributed to Royal Mayo regarding the rape victim in the Steubenville. The remarks are Mayo’s own, and do not reflect the position of the NAACP and its membership.” Mayo is a member of the Ohio NAACP executive committee. The statement added, “Mr. Mayo is not the president of the Steubenville NAACP and is not a spokesman for the NAACP. The article attributing him as such has been corrected by the International Business Times. Rape is a despicable crime of violence. The NAACP understands that comments that blame victims for the actions of their attackers contribute to and perpetuate a culture of acquiescence to rape. The NAACP advocates strongly for a society where victims of rape and sexual assault can come forward and seek legal redress without further retribution from the community, media or society at large.”
UPDATE: Mayo is now claiming he never made any statements blaming the victim. From WRTF.com
A member of the Steubenville NAACP is claiming an article by the International Business Times is false when it claims he told them he blamed the victim of the Steubenville rape trial for the assault.
Royal Mayo tells WTRF.com he “absolutely never said that,” in reference to claims made in the article. In the article, Mayo also claims that other teens involved that night were let off easy, because they were “well-connected.”
Three deputies have been placed on leave in the wake of a medical examiner’s report that labeled the death of a Maryland man with Down syndrome a homicide.
“After thorough consideration of all of the facts, I made the decision to place the deputies on administrative leave,” Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said in a statement obtained by WJLA. “When completed, the death investigation will be forwarded to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Frederick County for review to determine if this case will be presented to a Grand Jury.”
WJLA reported on Friday that Robert Saylor, 26, of New Market, Md., was asphyxiated on Jan. 12, according to a medical examiner’s ruling late last week, WJLA previously reported.
A “law enforcement source familiar with the case” told the station that Saylor “went into distress when he was put face down on the ground.”
The Washington Post reports how Saylor, who was with a health aide, came into contact with Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris:
As officials tell it, Saylor had been watching “Zero Dark Thirty” at a Frederick movie theater last month and, as soon as it ended, wanted to watch it again. When he refused to leave, a theater employee called three off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies who were working a security job at the Westview Promenade shopping center and told them that Saylor either needed to buy another ticket or be removed.
Joseph Espo, an attorney representing Saylor’s family, intimated to CBS News that he’s concerned the sheriff’s office might face a conflict of interest when investigating the actions of its own deputies.
You bet your ass there is a conflict here. It is disgusting.
“We just think it would have been preferable to have an outside agency take a look,” Espo said. “I think what [the family members] most want to see out of the investigation is a clear account of what happened and why it happened.”
During the investigation, the deputies who were with Saylor are still active. They are Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris. They had been working secondary employment with Hill Management at the Westview Promenade.
Since Robert Saylor’s death has been ruled a homicide, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page has been lit up with hundreds of comments, saying the officers should be jailed and they are a disgrace and should be fired.
Sheriff Charles Jenkins has written a letter to the community, calling the incident “tragic” and urging people to reserve judgment. The sheriff was childhood friends with the victim’s father, making the case even more difficult.
“I really sympathize with his family. I wish we could have that moment in time back.”
Frederick County’s top prosecutor is promising a thorough investigation into the death.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said Wednesday he has received the investigative file from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office on the death of Saylor.
Saylor died of asphyxiation Jan. 12 after three sheriff’s deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a Frederick movie theater at the manager’s request. The state medical examiner’s office has ruled the death a homicide.
“There did come a point when they had to remove him from his seat,” says Jenkins. “There was no excess force. They did have to handcuff Mr. Saylor and unfortunately as they were walking out he suffered a medical emergency.”
Baltimore attorney Joseph Espo, who is representing the family, said Saylor’s caregiver might have been able to defuse the situation, but the caregiver was outside getting her car to take Saylor home when the conflict started.
“They could have just waited a couple of minutes for Ethan’s caregiver to return to the scene and let her deal with it,” Espo said. “He was sitting in his seat, while admittedly not having paid for another ticket, minding his own business. It was not an urgent situation that required immediate attention.”
When the caregiver returned to the theater, she tried to intervene and de-escalate the situation but was ignored, Espo said.
“The deputies continued doing their thing,” he said. “They didn’t disengage.”
Espo said he and the family met with Jenkins on Friday and expressed their disappointment that the three deputies were still on duty.
“The decision to keep the deputies on regular duty was deeply troubling to the family,” Espo said. “Ethan died in their custody, and these officers just went right back to work.”
Paul Foss, head elder at Damascus Road Community Church, which Saylor and his mother, Patti, had attended for several years, said Saylor was a valued member of the congregation who loved hugs from his church friends. After learning of Saylor’s death, church members filled his seat with bouquets of flowers, Foss said.
“He loved to be there for both services, the 9 and the 11, and he had his seat right up front,” Foss said. “We miss Ethan.”
Foss said Saylor’s arms were often wrapped around the neck of Senior Pastor Richard Fredericks as Fredericks greeted congregants. He would take advantage of the break between services to go see — and hug — his many friends, as well as enjoy the refreshments served in the lobby, Foss said.
“Ethan loved to eat, and he’d go and get a plate, and if you weren’t watching he’d go and get a second plate,” he said.
Foss views Saylor’s death as a tragedy that could have been avoided.
“Someone with a cooler head should have said, ‘Let’s take a deep breath, and let’s come back to this in 10 minutes,’” he said. “If something could come out of this that can help this not happen in the future, I’m all for that.”
Saylor, a graduate of The Benedictine School in Ridgely, had worked briefly for Goodwill Industries.
Weikert said he was saddened by the tragic irony surrounding Saylor’s death. An enthusiastic supporter of law enforcement, Saylor collected information on different agencies and would call for deputies just so they could come to his house and talk to him.
“The part of society he trusted the most ended up being his worst nightmare,” Weikert said.