Reed Stanley Berry, 26, of St. Joseph, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell in Grand Rapids to seven years, eight months in prison for assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon – his car.
Berry has not been indicted on any terror-related charges.
The FBI raided his home after he allegedly used the Internet to contact one or more foreign terrorist organisations, court records showed. His attorney, noting that Berry has not been charged with terror crimes, said that Berry’s correspondence, which the government believed was a threat to national security, was speech protected under the First Amendment.
The seeming disparity between the First Amendment rights of Muslims and other Americans is one that has been recently questioned, especially in light of two recent cases; the Hutaree Militia, self-described ’Christian Warriors’ acquitted on the basis of First Amendment rights, and that of Tariq Mehanna, sentenced to seventeen and a half years for translation of classical Arabic texts and his desenting opinion over US foreign policy.
Read the rest of this entry »
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) faced off against federal lawyers on Friday, 21 January 2011, in downtown Portland at the first hearing of its case claiming that the government’s “No Fly List” is unconstitutional.
On behalf of ten US citizens and permanent residents, including Portlander Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, the ACLU alleges that the “No Fly List” violates the right of due process because the government does not tell people whether they’ve been placed on the list, why they’re suspect, or provide an adequate way to get someone’s name off.
ACLU attorney Ben Wizner explained that his team chose to file in Portland in part because it’s where Kariye is from, but also because they hope the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering the West Coast) will give the case a fairer shake than other circuits.
Read the rest of this entry »
This week, I became the first ever former Guantánamo prisoner to have stepped on North American soil as a free man.
Since my return from Guantánamo in 2005, I have travelled the world extensively and been welcomed by ordinary people, as well as world leaders, to talk about the effects of detention without trial and the uncontrolled abuse of power exercised during the US-led “war on terror”. And I’ve had meetings with some of the most powerful political figures in Europe, including Britain, and have delivered speeches in front of presidents and prime ministers. These countries include France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Slovakia, Poland, South Africa, Kenya, Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan, UAE, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan – and Libya, where I met with some of that country’s new leaders, who had themselves been victims of US- and British-instigated rendition. I have not been hindered when entering any of these countries.
What I hadn’t done, however, is to take my message toNorth America, where, undoubtedly, I believe it matters most. Despite having had a book published there, I’ve never been to theUS – althoughAmerica has been to me. Notwithstanding numerous videolink lectures I’ve given to American colleges and institutions, I was not prepared to risk a visit to theUS. And I’m certain the feeling is mutual, at least on a governmental level.
Canada, on the other hand, was a different matter – or so I thought. Read the rest of this entry »