Tag Archives: NBC News

Boston Marathon Bombing Victim Sues Glenn Beck for Defamation

Image: Commentator Glenn Beck arrives at the 45th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville in this file photo

Commentator Glenn Beck arrives at the 45th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee in this file photo from November 9, 2011.

NBC News

A Saudi Arabian national who was injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings has filed a defamation and slander lawsuit against firebrand conservative commentator Glenn Beck for publicly accusing him of being the “money man” who funded the horrific attacks.

Abdulrahman Alharbi, a 20-year-old exchange student who lives in Revere, Mass., said in a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Boston that his reputation was “substantially and severely damaged” after Beck made on-air comments tying him to the twin explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the broadcast companies linked to Beck’s show: The Blaze, Inc., Mercury Radio Arts, Inc., and Premiere Radio Networks, Inc. It seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

Alharbi said in the court filing obtained by NBC News that Beck “repeatedly and falsely identified” him as an “active participant” in the April 15, 2013, attack, “repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain” him and “repeatedly and falsely accused” of him of being a “criminal who had funded the attacks.”

In the lawsuit, Alharbi said he has been called a “murderer, child killer and terrorist” in the wake of Beck’s statements.

A spokesman for Beck declined to comment.

Alharbi was a spectator near the marathon finish line at the time of the explosions and was injured. Federal authorities investigating the attack questioned him and searched his apartment before concluding he was not involved in the attack, the lawsuit said.

Authorities blame the bombing on two brothers: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in a shootout with police four days after the bombings, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, who was captured and is being held pending trial in November. He has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction.

— Daniel Arkin, with The Associated Press

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Filed under Boston Marathon Bombings, Glenn Beck

FBI Arrests 18 L.A. Sherriff’s Deputies in Corruption/Inmate Abuse Investigation

It’s good to read how the tables can turn on the bad apples in law enforcement…

Daily Kos

One small blow, perhaps, to the burgeoning Prison Industrial Complex. From NBC News:

Nearly 20 L.A. current and former sheriff’s deputies were expected to be arrested Monday in connection with a two-year- federal probe into corruption and inmate abuse in the Los Angeles County jail system, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said Monday.Some 18 deputies, most still active in the department, were either arrested without incident or were expected to surrender Monday to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the sources. None of those arrested ranked higher than lieutenant.

The sources said that the deputies are alleged to have committed crimes that include use of force under color of authority and obstruction of justice. The investigation is ongoing, according to sources, but the arrests seem to culminate an investigation that included allegations that deputies tried to hide an informant who was providing information to the FBI while locked up after the deputies discovered the informant had a cell phone.

http://investigations.nbcnews.com/…

According to the article, the informant was using his cellphone to provide the FBI with photos of the ongoing inmate abuse.

The article also says that much of the onus of these arrests will fall on L.A. Chief Sheriff Lee Baca, who is seeking a fifth term. In June, the Justice Department caught some of his deputies harassing and intimidating Blacks and Latinos in L.A.’s Antelope Valley district.

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Morning Maddow: November 26

This satellite image provided by TerraServer.com and DigitalGlobe shows an image captured on Sept. 2, 2010, shows a portion of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including the secret facility known as Penny Lane, upper middle in white. In the early years after 9/11, the CIA turned a handful of prisoners at the secret facility into double agents and released them.

 

 

Morning Maddow

Florida’s Republican party calls on Rep. Trey Radel to resign. (Tampa Bay Times)

Heritage Action says it will score the confirmation vote on Janet Yellen for Fed Chair. (WSJ)

A member of the House leadership sets a Congressional baby record. (McClatchy)

Mississippi to start issuing free voter ID cards soon. (AP)

Penny Lane: Guantanamo Bay’s other secret CIA facility. (AP)

towboat carrying 69,000 gallons of fuel sinks on the Mississippi. (NBC News)

Watch 5 U.S. cities expand in size. From space. (Washington Post)

Explore:

 

 

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Behind That Photo of Chris Christie Wagging His Finger at a Teacher

It seems that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie never seems to miss an opportunity to yell at dissenters of some of his policies.

Slate

On Saturday, during a short reporting trip to New Jersey, I watched Gov. Chris Christie campaign in Somers Point and captured a moment that quickly got memed. Over the weekend I’ve seen the photo I tweeted of teacher Melissa Tomlinson being lectured by Christie get copied on dozens of Twitter accounts and blogs. This isn’t a #humblebrag—just saying, I was surprised that “Christie takes exception to protesting teacher” was a story in November 2013.

But here’s what I saw. After the rally, Christie made his way back to his campaign bus, flanked by low-key security guards. Tomlinson, who had been carrying a sign and handing out fliers from her Badass Teachers Association, asked Christie why he’d called New Jersey schools “failure factories.” Christie rounded on her, blurting out that he was sick of “you people.”

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 7.10.35 AM Dave Weigel on Flickr

“This story—oh really? They have more money now than they’ve ever had before. This is an old story from you folks, and they fail because you guys are failing in those schools. Have you ever sent your child to one of those schools?

“You portray us as the bad guys,” said Tomlinson.

“Guess what, this is the most money the school has ever spent on education in the history of this state,” said Christie.

“It is not,” said Tomlinson.

“$9 billion in education!” yelled an onlooker.

“Yeah, and it’s down 0.1 percent,” said Tomlinson.

“And it’s never enough for you,” said Christie.

“All I want is money for my students and my school,” said Tomlinson.

“Do your job,” said Christie, turning away and heading into the bus.

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 7.11.49 AM

 

The crowd of Christie supporters cheered. “Good for him!” yelled the guy who’d supplied the $9 billion number. An elderly woman turned to Tomlinson and told her “you’re in the wrong place, hon.”

“I know,” said Tomlinson with a shrug.

Most people commenting on the photo have gotten the details right, but I’ve noticed some (occasionally rude) remarks about the expression on Christie’s wife’s face. Mary Pat Christie smiled through the entire talk-off. Why? Because a local NBC News camera was facing her, capturing the scene. Two days later, I don’t see any trace of the video online. Is that a statement on how ordinary the confrontation was? Possibly. I think it’s also a reflection of the front-runner coverage boosting Christie as the race ends, as the polls showing him winning (with up to 37 percent of voters not even knowing who is opponent is) are taken as prima facie evidence that he’s running a faultless campaign. The day after this little contretemps, one of north Jersey’s major papers ran an analysis of how the governor’s tone had moderated so much recently.

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Pirates snatch two American sailors from oil boat off Nigeria coast, US officials say

c-retriever PSV

PSV C-Retriever, image via Christian/Shipspotting

Apparently those pirates have yet to learn the lessons of kidnapping Americans on the high seas…

NBC News

Two Americans were kidnapped by pirates after their ship was attacked off Nigeria’s coast, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The U.S.-flagged oil supply vessel C-Retriever was targeted in the Gulf of Guinea early Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Maritime news website gCaptain reported that the ship’s captain and its chief engineer had been abducted.

U.S. officials said the working assumption was that the pair had been kidnapped for ransom.

The seized vessel is owned by Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore, according to Reuters. The company was not immediately available for comment.

Sources told NBC News that there were no U.S. warships in the region and no immediate plans for a hostage rescue attempt. However, there is a contingent of U.S. Marines aboard a Dutch warship in the area as part of a military exchange program.

In April 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL snipers killed three Somali pirates as they rescued American cargo ship Capt. Richard Phillips, who had offered himself as a hostage to save his crew.

The high-seas hijacking has been turned into a film starring Tom Hanks. “Captain Phillips” earned more than $52 million during its first two weeks in cinemas.

In an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Oct. 11, Phillips said the waters off Nigeria were now “worse than Somalia.”

“If you’re gonna be in the merchant marines, you’ll have to deal with piracy,” Phillips added. “Firemen go into a burning house. Police have to deal with violent situations. Merchant marines have to deal with piracy.”

Rory Lamrock, an analyst specializing in maritime security with U.K.-based risk-management firm AKE, said there had been “an increase in the severity of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea” over the past two years.

In August, Nigeria’s navy killed 12 pirates as they tried to flee from a fuel tanker they had hijacked.

Earlier this month, the International Maritime Bureau reported that pirate attacks off Nigeria’s coast had jumped by a third this year – with 29 attacks on vessels recorded in the first nine months of 2013, up from 21 in the same period last year.

“Pirates, often heavily armed and violent, are targeting vessels and their crews along the [Nigerian] coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters,” the IMB said. “In many cases, they ransack the vessels and steal the cargo.”

The IMB said in the first nine months of 2013 the Gulf of Guinea accounted for all crew kidnappings worldwide, 32 of them off Nigeria, and two off Togo. In such incidents, sailors are taken ashore and usually held for ransom.

In a separate report, Denmark-based security firm Risk Intelligence earlier this month estimated117,000 tons of oil products worth around $100 million had been stolen by pirate gangs in the Gulf of Guinea since 2010.

Alistair Galloway, owner of private security provider Endeavour Maritime, said the discovery of new oil reserves in West African countries including Cameroon and Liberia was driving up shipping traffic in the area.

“This oil boom is attracting a far richer shipping environment and therefore more higher-value targets and that is the biggest threat to the region’s maritime security,” he said.

Galloway cited differences between West African pirates and their better-known Somalia-based counterparts.

“In Somalia, piracy was really out-of-work fisherman looking to improve their lives, but piracy is West Africa is really part of a bigger criminal system, networks embedded in the nations,” he said. “The networks are in place and it’s been easy for them to attack.”

Johan Potgieter, senior researcher at South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said that pirates tended to feel “disenfranchised.”

He added: “They feel that if the government won’t share its wealth equally, they will take it for themselves by other means.”

 

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China calls for ‘new world order,’ blaming Congress for risking global economy

Image: Chinese and U.S. flags

One has to wonder if the Tea Party caucus and others in both houses of Congress  have a clue about the consequences if the U.S. goes into default…

NBC News

China state media blasts US shutdown, calls for a ‘de-Americanized’ world

With days to go before the United States debt default deadline, Beijing aired its frustrations with the shutdown Sunday, saying it was time to consider a “de-Americanized” world order.

With $1.28 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, China is easily the biggest foreign holder of American debt.

China has also funneled billions of dollars into private American investments – to the tune of an estimated $54 billion in 2012 alone.

“As U.S. politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” according to a stinging op-ed article by state news agency, Xinhua.

The article, published Sunday, conveyed Beijing’s frustration with the spending and debt impasse that has paralyzed Washington for more than two weeks.

“Days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated, and a new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing,” the piece added.

Should Congress not come to an agreement by Thursday’s deadline on a new raised debt ceiling – the upper limit set by Congress on the amount of money the Federal government may borrow – China’s potential losses stand to be devastating.

Prior to Sunday’s commentary article, Chinese officials had been more measured in their analysis of the U.S. budget impasse. Last week, Vice-Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao  noted only that “we have to see that the clock is ticking.”

To many in China, the restraint on the part of China’s ruling Communist Party over its second-largest trade partner’s government problems was perhaps based in the belief that neither party, Democrat or Republican, would allow the U.S. to not honor its financial obligations.

“If we are really rational, I cannot imagine why someone would dare to bear this kind of responsibility because any real default will have a huge impact not only on the U.S. and China, but on the global economy,” said Professor Zhao Longkai, a dean at the Guanghua School of Management at Beijing University. “It’s hard for us to imagine anyone can be that crazy to push the limit to that level.”

Zhao said the patience China had shown until recently was rooted not only in Beijing’s confidence in America’s ability to deal with the budgetary crisis, but also its own burgeoning self-confidence.

“For average Chinese people [the budget crisis] is a show there and we’ve seen it before… we also know that it’s not only the United States that we are relying on, we have a lot of other investments,” Zhao said.

The Xinhua commentary may raise eyebrows in Washington, but Beijing’s frustration underscores a key point: Despite a desire to diversify its holdings, the Chinese government continues to buy U.S. Treasury bonds out of political and economic necessity.

As long as China’s domestic growth and stability are boosted by American debt, the deep ties between the two countries will likely endure.

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Filed under 113th Congress, Debt Ceiling

Obama: You Don’t Get To Extract A Ransom For Doing Your Job

President Barack Obama speaks to the media at the White House as a government shutdown deadline looms over Washington.

Watch Video Here

NBC News

President Barack Obama on Monday again urged House Republicans to pass an eleventh-hour measure to avert a government shutdown, saying that conservatives are holding the government “ransom” over their objections to Obamacare.

“One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election,” he said during a statement at the White House.

Obama said that a shutdown “does not have to happen” and can be prevented if House Republicans agree to pass the Senate’s version of a funding bill before midnight tonight.

“You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway” he said. “Or just because there’s a law there that you don’t like.”

The president’s statement comes as Congress remains deadlocked over a measure to keep the government funded after midnight tonight.

With the clock ticking towards the deadline, House Republicans announced earlier Monday afternoon that they intend to vote on a funding measure that includes a one-year delay of the individual mandate provision of Obamacare, a proposal that Senate Democrats are certain to reject.

In an interview with NPR News, Obama also reiterated that he will not accept such a delay.

“The notion that we would even delay [Obamacare] – simply because the Republicans have decided ideologically that they’re opposed to the Affordable Care Act – is not something that we’re going to be discussing.”

Obama made a similarly late-scheduled address last Friday, reiterating bluntly that he will not roll back his signature domestic policy achievement.

“The House Republicans are so concerned with appeasing the Tea Party that they’ve threatened a government shutdown or worse unless I gut or repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said Friday. “Let me repeat it. That’s not going to happen. More than 100 million Americans currently already have new benefits and protections under the law.”

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Chuck Todd: Pointing out Republican lies isn’t his job

Cartoon fish wrapped in newspaper.

Yeah, but it appears that reporting those lies verbatim is his job….hmm.

Daily Kos

Wanker.

MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don’t expect members of the media to correct the record.During a segment on “Morning Joe,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans “have successfully messaged against it” but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that’s President Barack Obama’s job.

“But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

It’s apparently only the media’s job to give a bully pulpit to Republican lies, which is why when Todd’s employer poll people on Obamacare, they get answers like this:

The misinformation led some of those polled to say things such as, “There are death panels in there, and they’re going to decide whether people get treatment or not,” as one Republican-leaning woman told NBC News.

But, hey, that’s not Chuck’s fault. It’s not his job to, you know, report on things and explain them and clear up misinformation. Because that means research, sifting through facts, figuring out which ones are real and which ones are made up. You know, work.

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Georgia school shooting suspect had nearly 500 rounds of ammo, police say

A sign welcomes Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy students as they return to classes at McNair High School on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 after a man with an assault rifle and other weapons entered the academy yesterday and shot at police from inside.

Yesterday tragedy was averted in an Atlanta school by a brave secretary in the McNair Elementary School office

NBC News

The suspect in a Georgia elementary school shooting who fired six rounds in a front office before surrendering to police had nearly 500 rounds of ammunition with him, authorities said Wednesday.

Michael Brandon Hill, 20, walked into Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., outside Atlanta with an AK-47 type assault rifle, along with bags containing hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a couple of magazines on Tuesday, DeKalb County officials announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, DeKalb County lead investigator Ray Davis and police chief Cedric Alexander outlined what could have been a massacre for the school, but ended with nobody hurt. The suspect surrendered peacefully to police after exchanging gunfire with them.

“He walked in with 498 rounds of ammunition. Fortunately this came to an end quietly, without incident,” Alexander said. “I think we can all make a reasonable assumption he came here to do some harm.”

Hill “did not have anything else in the bag that would harm people,” Davis told reporters. Only one weapon was recovered, authorities said Wednesday, contradicting earlier reports that he had multiple firearms.

As part of their investigation, authorities are looking to locate the owner of the AK-47, who they believe is an acquaintance of Hill’s. Davis said officials believe Hill got the weapon from an acquaintance’s house, although he wouldn’t say whether the weapon was stolen or not.

A photo of Hill holding an AK-47, believed to be the same one used in Tuesday’s shooting, was found on Hill’s cellphone, Davis said.

Also Wednesday, the brother of Michael Brandon Hill, said Hill previously threatened to shoot him and that he suffers from mental disorders.

Timothy Hill told NBC News his brother “was bipolar and suffered from ADD,” and that the two have not spoken recently.

Davis said Hill told investigators he was on medication.

“He indicated that he was on medication and had stopped taking it,” Davis said.

Hill waived his first appearance in DeKalb Magistrate Court Wednesday afternoon.

Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, making terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was questioned for hours by police, but police have no clear idea of what may be a motive or whether Hill has ties to the school.

Police chief Alexander said Hill “may have had prior contact” with someone at the school, but the investigation was still pending.

No other individuals are expected to be charged.

A sheriff’s official in Henry County, Ga., south of Atlanta, said Hill was also charged there in March with making terroristic threats — a felony in Georgia. The indictment is for an incident between Dec. 30 and 31 of 2012 to “unlawfully threaten to commit the crime of murder, a crime of violence, for the purpose of terrorizing another.”

Timothy Hill told NBC News the charge stemmed from Hill threatening to shoot him. Michael Hill was issued a no-contact order afterwards, Timothy Hill said.

Court records show that Hill pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years’ probation and anger counseling.

Buses transported elementary school students from their school to nearby McNair High School on Wednesday to resume classes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, a day after a potential massacre was averted.

Students were greeted by counselors and a sign that read, “Welcome McNair Elementary School. Our prayers our with you,” WSB in Atlanta reported.

Continue reading here…

 

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Obama: Trayvon Martin ‘could have been me’

This was not a “speech”.  There were no teleprompters.  It was strictly off the cuff. 

NBC News

President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the White House Friday to discuss African-Americans’ reaction to last weekend’s verdict in the George Zimmerman case, saying that “Trayvon Martin “could have been me 35 years ago.”

“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away,” he said.

“There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store.  And that includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often and I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida and it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.”

Asked if the president had thoroughly contemplated his remarks, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “I don’t think there’s any question, and you can judge by what he just said and how he said it, he knows what he thinks and he knows what he feels, and he had not just in the past week but for a good portion of his life given a lot of thought to these issues.”

Obama also suggested that the outcome of the case could have been different if Martin were white. “If a white male teen would have been involved in this scenario,” he said, “both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”

The president also nodded to the Justice Department investigation which is probing whether or not to bring federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman. But Obama also urged state and local officials to review their own procedures to see how to improve their law enforcement practices.

Continue reading here

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