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Feds Charging Moms and Others With Terrorism Aboard Planes

Is an irate mother aboard a plane who spanks her child a terrorist? Are the feds going too far charging people on planes with acts of terrorism? Could be.

By Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Pae
Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Los Angeles and Oklahoma City — Tamera Jo Freeman was on a Frontier Airlines flight to Denver in 2007 when her two children began to quarrel over the window shade and then spilled a Bloody Mary into her lap.
She spanked each of them on the thigh with three swats. It was a small incident, but one that in the heightened anxiety after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would eventually have enormous ramifications for Freeman and her children.
A flight attendant confronted Freeman, who responded by hurling a few profanities and throwing what remained of a can of tomato juice on the floor.
The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman’s arrest and conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.
“I had no idea I was breaking the law,” said Freeman, 40, who spent three months in jail before pleading guilty.
For Full Story

Read Tamera Jo Freeman Criminal Complaint

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Fed Grand Jury Indicts Investor For Crashing Plane and Faking Death

This, fair to say, is not your typical federal crime. But it may not be so far fetched to say it would make a good movie. Or maybe a great one.

By Associated Press
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A federal grand jury indicted an Indiana investment adviser Tuesday on charges of deliberately crashing his small airplane in the Florida Panhandle to try to fake his own death as part of a plan to escape financial ruin.
Authorities say Marcus Schrenker, 38, an amateur daredevil pilot and businessman, secretly parachuted to the ground before the crash and sped away on a motorcycle he had stashed away in central Alabama.
A three-day search came to an end on Jan. 13, when authorities finally caught up to Schrenker at a campground near Tallahassee, where they say he tried to take his own life by slashing one of his wrists.
The grand jury also charged him Tuesday with making a fake distress call and he remained jailed after spending a few days in the hospital being treated for his injuries.
For Full Story

Read Government Affidavit

Columnist Says U.S. Better Step Up Efforts to Help Mexico In Violent Drug War

Michael Braun

Michael Braun

Some experts say the U.S. better get more proactive and help the Mexican government fight drugs. The consequences of not helping out enough could be devastating.

By Michael Braun
Security DeBrief

After I read Tony Kimery’s outstanding article in HSToday entitled, ‘Savage Struggle on the Border,’ I could not help but dwell on the irony and absurdity of what’s happening in both Mexico and the United States as a result of this war.
I am stunned by the fact that most Americans have paid little attention, if any at all, to the drug related violence in Mexico, and I’m even more concerned that they have not made the connection to the threat that this sustained bloodbath poses to our national security. If the brave Mexican law enforcement, military and security forces under President Calderon’s direction lose this ‘all or nothing’ fight with the cartels, Mexico will certainly become a narco-state, and life as we know it in both Mexico and the United States will change forever.
There were well over sixty beheadings in Mexico last year, yet the brutality being unleashed by the cartels is seldom deemed newsworthy by America’s media. However, if there were a beheading in Iraq or Afghanistan today by a Muslim extremist group, it would receive international coverage and would certainly receive global condemnation.

Read more »

Inauguration Goes Off Without Glitches Despite Intelligence Reports That A Radical Somalia Group Might Try to Disrupt It

bbc photo

bbc photo

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – The most security-intense inauguration of our times went off without apparent glitches Tuesday, even in wake of intelligence reports of a possible threat from an East Africa radical Islamic terrorist group.
The Associated Press reported that law enforcement and intelligence officials got word that a Somalia-based group, al-Shabaab, might disrupt the inauguration, according to a joint FBI/Homeland Security bulletin issued Monday night.
The news agency said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke indicated there was little specificity and uncertain credibility. The AP said a senior law enforcement official said the Somali alert had been posted to make sure no effort was spared.

IT’S OFFICIAL! HE’S NUMBER 44….

Canadian Border Agents Deny Controversial Figure Bill Ayers Entry Into Country

Bill Ayers, who became a controversial figure in the 2008 presidential campaign, has once again garnered some unwanted attention. Was this a matter of politics? After all, he’d been in Canada many times before.

By Marina Jimenez
Toronto Globe and Mail
William Ayers/univ. photo

William Ayers/univ. photo

An American academic and former 1960s radical accused by U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin of being a “terrorist” friend of Barack Obama’s has been denied entry into Canada to speak at an education conference.
William Ayers, a distinguished education professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago, said he was perplexed and disappointed when the Canada Border Services Agency declared him inadmissible at the Toronto City Centre Airport on Sunday evening.
He said he has travelled to Canada more than a dozen times in the past.
“It seems very arbitrary,” he said. “The border agent said I had a conviction for a felony from 1969. I have several arrests for misdemeanours, but not for felonies.”
For Full Story
More Stories of Interest
Atty. Gen. Mukasey Appeals Judge’s Order in Sen. Stevens Case For Him To Cough Up Materials (Anchorage Daily News)

Bush Cuts Sentence of 2 Texas U.S. Border Patrol Agents

Citizens and politicians on both sides of the fence pushed for this. In the final hours, President Bush came through for them.

By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush on Monday granted early prison releases to two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer fueled the national debate over illegal immigration.
Bush, responding to heavy pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike, commuted the prison sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The two guards from El Paso, Texas, each were sentenced to more than 10 years for the shooting, which they tried to cover up. They will be released within two months.
Opposition to their convictions, sentencing and firings has simmered ever since the shooting occurred in 2005.
“After four years of fighting this, it’s taken a toll on me and my daughter, and really the whole family,” said Joe Loya, Ramos’ father-in law, who has received tens of thousands of supportive e-mails and spent much of the past two years traveling the country to speak about the case. “We wouldn’t give up. … I knew sooner or later God would come through – that finally it would happen.”
For Full Story

SURPRISE: Doesn’t Appear Bush Will Give Last Minute Pardons To Big Names Like Scooter Libby or Sen. Ted Stevens (New York Times)

Tex. U.S. Atty. Sutton Praises Bush Decision to Cut Border Agents’ Sentences But Keep Conviction

U.S. Atty. Sutton/doj photo
U.S. Atty. Sutton/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
In a carefully worded statement, Texas U.S. Atty. Johnny Sutton  Thursday night praised Pres. Bush for cutting two Texas Border Agents’ sentences, but upholding their convictions  for shooting and wounding  a Mexican drug dealer and covering up the incident.
“Today, the President exercised his power under the Constitution to grant executive clemency to former Border Patrol Agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos,” Sutton said in the statement.
“Like the trial judge and the court that reviewed the cases on appeal, President Bush found that Compean and Ramos were justly convicted of serious crimes and that their status as convicted felons should remain in place.”
After careful thought and deliberation, President Bush has concluded that Compean and Ramos have sufficiently punished, and that the remainder of their terms should be spent on supervised release. I have only the highest respect for the President’s decision to allow their convictions to stand, but to reduce the time they must spend in prison.”
The two men were serving a 10-year sentence.  They are expected to  be released within two months.