News from North America, Wednesday 22nd May 2013

BBC News: “The American military has turned off its wi-fi service inside the prison at Guantanamo Bay following threats by the hacker collective Anonymous.

Access to social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, from military computers has also been blocked because of the threat.

Anonymous had threatened to ‘disrupt activities’ at the base, in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike.”

The Guardian: “Officials in the US say they have identified five men who might be responsible for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 and there is enough evidence to justify seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists or killing them with a drone strike. However, there is not enough proof to try them in a US civilian court as the Obama administration prefers.

The men remain at large while the FBI gathers evidence. The investigation has been slowed by the reduced US intelligence presence in the region since the 11 September 2012 attacks and the limited ability to assist by Libya’s post-revolutionary law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which are still in their infancy since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime.”

Boston Globe: “After his arrest for a murderous rampage, alleged killer Keith Luke described to police a plot to invade the homes of non-whites, kill them, and drive to a temple hosting bingo night, where he had intended to have a ‘happy ending’ by committing suicide.

‘I decided I was going to kill as many non-whites as possible, and then kill myself,’’ Luke told police, his defense attorney said today in court.

As the disturbing and gruesome confession was recounted in Brockton Superior Court, Luke, on trial for attacking three Cape Verdean nationals, killing two of them, smirked, then stared ahead blankly.”

Washington Post: “Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling on Monday sharply criticized his party’s selection of E. W. Jackson as its nominee for lieutenant governor, saying it will “feed the image of extremism” in the party.

Jackson, a Chesapeake minister, emerged as the surprise winner Saturday in a seven-way race decided at a party convention in Richmond. Bolling, who is not seeking re-election, said the man party activists chose to replace him has made ‘simply indefensible’ statements.”

Al-Jazeera: “Thousands of New Yorkers – including mayoral candidate Christine Quinn – have marched to protest the shooting death of a gay man in the neighbourhood that was the cradle of the modern US gay rights movement.

‘Homophobia’s got to go,’ protesters chanted on Monday as they rallied waving signs to honour the memory of ‘the gay angel Mark Carson’ and ‘hate no, gun control yes.’

Mark Carson, 32, was killed with a bullet to the head on Friday night in Greenwich Village, allegedly by a 33-year-old man who shouted homophobic slurs at him and also threatened to kill the friend walking with him.”

NPR: “The 30-year-old Uzbek national accused of a terrorist conspiracy in Idaho and Utah waived his right to a detention hearing in Boise on Tuesday, and apparently avoided public disclosure of details of his alleged crimes.

According to a federal court document, an attorney for Fazliddin Kurbanov withdrew his client’s request for the hearing. Kurbanov confirmed the decision through an interpreter and agreed to remain jailed pending a July 2 trial date.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “When advertisements went up on Muni buses implying that Muslims are ‘savages,’ the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency donated the revenue from the ad campaign to the Human Rights Commission. Now several supervisors are asking why the same isn’t being done for ads calling Israel an ‘apartheid’ state.

Supervisor Scott Wiener and six of his colleagues sent a letter to MTA Executive Director Ed Reiskin Monday urging the agency to fork over the $5,030 from American Muslims for Palestine to the HRC to ‘be used to fight growing intolerance alienating the Jewish community.’

‘I don’t think the MTA should be accepting dirty money, whether that dirty money comes from anti-Muslim bigots or whether that dirty money comes from enemies of Israel,’ said Wiener, who usually never misses an opportunity to bemoan Muni’s lack of funding. ‘Those ads were vile, these ads are also vile.’”

UT San Diego: “Police are investigating a series of bomb threats made against the Islamic School of San Diego in the past several weeks, authorities said Tuesday.

The most recent threats came Saturday, when a caller left two voice mails on the school’s answering machine. One stated, in part, “I’m going to throw a bomb at your (expletive) school.”

The staff discovered the threats Monday morning, said Edgar Hopida, spokesman for the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

A similar bomb threat was phoned in to the school on April 28, about two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings.”

Video: VICE: “‘Triple Hate’ is a four-part documentary about Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Memphis City Council, the Klan, the Crips, Ulysses S. Grant, racism, and the specter of history. It will be airing every day this week.”

Comment: CNN: ‘It’s smart politics to exaggerate terrorist threats’ by Bruce Schneier. “Terrorism causes fear, and we overreact to that fear. Our brains aren’t very good at probability and risk analysis. We tend to exaggerate spectacular, strange and rare events, and downplay ordinary, familiar and common ones. We think rare risks are more common than they are, and we fear them more than probability indicates we should.

Our leaders are just as prone to this overreaction as we are. But aside from basic psychology, there are other reasons that it’s smart politics to exaggerate terrorist threats, and security threats in general.”

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