Tennessee state Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, supports GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims entering the U.S.(Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins / File / The Tennessean.com)
“For him to suggest banning all Muslims, I don’t have a problem with that,” said Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet. Beavers, a supporter of the GOP presidential nominee, said people are scared and it’s the government’s job to protect them. In her opinion, that means preventing Muslims coming into the country through immigration, refugee resettlement or any other means for now.
“No, I don t think there’s anything Islamaphobic at all. It’s about protecting our own, protecting our country,” Beavers said.
“It s our job to protect Tennessee.”
Islamophobia threatens TN tradition of accepting refugees
The comments mirror the fears of many, especially Republican lawmakers and leaders around the country, heightened in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. After the attack in Paris, Gov. Bill Haslam said he received perhaps more calls from constituents than during any other time in office. Haslam did ask federal officials to stop sending Syrian refugees to Tennessee. He didn’t go as far as Beavers though.
“Governor Haslam does not agree,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals, when asked for a comment about Trump’s proposal.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes blasted his party’s presidential frontrunner. Haynes, who recently vacated a seat in the state legislature to take over the state party, said Trump’s comments have no place in the Republican party or American politics.
“Demanding that our borders be secure or raising legitimate questions about our screening process is one thing, but a wholesale ban on a religious basis is just wrong. This isn’t a conservative proposal; it s an outlandish idea that goes against American exceptionalism,” Haynes said.
“Donald Trump is running for the highest office in the United States. This comment doesn’t reflect someone who is serious about that endeavor.”
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, and House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, called for a ban on all refugees entering the U.S. after the Paris attacks. In light of Trump’s comments, Ramsey again said it’s time to “press the pause button” on refugee entry.
“While I would not favor an explicitly religious test, I do think it is time to place a moratorium on immigration from a long list of countries with ties to terrorism,” Ramsey said in a prepared statement to The Tennessean.
“The United States has been the most welcoming nation in history by a large margin. But a nation without secure borders is no nation at all. We are at war with radical Islam and everyone outside of the Obama administration knows it.”
Tennessee GOP leader: Round up Syrian refugees, remove from state
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin, declined comment through a spokesman. Casada recently suggested gathering up Syrian refugees in Tennessee with the help of the National Guard. Many Republican presidential candidates were quick to denounce Trump’s comments. Like Trump though, Beavers perpetuated the idea that Muslims aren’t Americans. She recited a figure included in Trump’s statement that purports a quarter of Muslims polled say violence against Americans is justified as part of the “global jihad.”
The Trump campaign cited a poll provided by the Center for Security Policy. It describes itself as a donor-driven entity focused on national security. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the organization as once respectable, but says its leader, Frank Gaffney Jr., is “gripped by paranoid fantasies” about Muslims and is “one of America s most notorious Islamophobes.”
When asked, Beavers acknowledged there are Muslim-Americans.
Hundreds rally in Nashville to support Syrian refugees
Beavers also believes the state should continue to fight to ban refugees from entering the state. Although Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery recently issued an opinion that said the state can’t prevent federal placement of refugees, Beavers said she has asked Senate leadership to explore the idea of hiring outside attorneys to sue the federal government. The concept could come up for discussion during a legislative hearing Wednesday, called to examine Tennessee’s refugee resettlement program. The agenda includes several presenters from state and local government, the Tennessee National Guard, the conservative Heritage Foundation and Catholic Charities of Tennessee, the program that oversees refugee resettlement in the state. The hearing is set for 1 p.m.
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Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins issued the following statement over the weekend in advance of this week’s pre-trial hearings in the 9/11 case:
CHIEF PROSECUTOR MARK MARTINS
REMARKS AT GUANTANAMO BAY
5 DECEMBER 2015
Good evening. As we begin another series of pre-trial sessions in the case of United States v. Mohammad, et al., I want to take this moment to reach out to those family members of the September 11th fallen who have accompanied us here to Guantanamo this week. Be assured that your loved ones are never forgotten. Fourteen Septembers ago, Jessica and Rebecca Scott lost their father, Randolph, on the 84th floor of Two World Trade Center. For years, the Scott family believed that Randolph had died instantly when United Airlines Flight 175 flew into the tower, very near the office where he worked. Randolph had called his wife Denise. Thinking the first crash was a minor incident, he wanted her to know he was fine. The harsh reality of the attack would not reach Denise until later that morning when Rebecca called her from college. Nearly a decade later, Denise learned of a hastily written note that had been thrown from the tower. Somehow, the scrap of paper had been recovered that morning by a security guard at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It read:
84th floor, West Office, 12 people trapped.
The guard tried to alert first responders by radio, but a few minutes later, the building collapsed. The Federal Reserve kept the note safe, eventually turning it over to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Later analysis revealed a clue in the form of a dark thumbprint on the note. It was Randolph s blood, which eventually enabled the medical examiner s office to trace it to its author. After Denise found the right time to tell her daughters about the note, she agreed to let the Museum display it in public exhibit. And when she saw it, Rebecca immediately recognized the handwriting. Though lost that day, Randolph is not forgotten. A handwritten letter. A wedding ring. A handkerchief. These are among the items on display in the September 11 Memorial and Museum that bring our memories rushing back and that tell our loved ones stories so that future generations will never forget.
Upcoming Proceedings and Developments in United States v. Mohammad, et al.
On Monday the Military Commission convened to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi will hold another series of pre-trial sessions without panel members present. These five Accused stand charged with plotting the attacks of September 11th, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 persons. I emphasize that the charges are only allegations. The Accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Matters under consideration by a 2 military commission in this or any other particular case are authoritatively dealt with by the presiding Judge. Any comments addressing systemic issues that are the subject of frequent questions by interested observers should always be understood to defer to specific judicial rulings, if applicable. In between commission sessions, the parties continue moving methodically toward trial, as the prosecution provides discovery to the Defense in accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2009 ( M.C.A. ). During the October 2015 pre-trial sessions, the Judge resolved a longstanding dispute about whether the defense teams must sign a Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Receipt of Classified Information ( MOU ) as the predicate for receiving classified information from the government. By 22 October, defense counsel for all five Accused signed the MOU, enabling cleared defense-team members to receive additional responsive discovery while ensuring the protection of national security information. Within days of their signing the MOU a standard requirement in national security cases the prosecution promptly began providing them classified information. We continue to do so. In light of the volume of information to be reviewed, the process is painstaking and time-consuming.
To date, more than 320,000 pages of unclassified material and 15,000 pages of classified material comprising the government s case against the Accused, as well as material required to be disclosed to the defense under the government s affirmative discovery obligations, have been provided to each of the defense teams all while safeguarding our nation s counterterrorism secrets. The parties have briefed in writing some 196 substantive motions and have orally argued some 46 motions. Of the 196 substantive motions briefed, 9 have been mooted, dismissed, or withdrawn; 96 have been ruled on by the Commission; and an additional 38 have been submitted for and are pending decision. The Commission has received testimony from 27 witnesses in nearly 69 hours of testimony, with all witnesses subject to cross-examination, to assist it in deciding pre-trial motions. The parties have filed 191 exhibits and more than 100 declarations alleging facts and providing references to information the Commission s consideration of these issues. This information, while never meant to suggest that justice can be measured merely by numbers, nonetheless reflects methodical movement toward trial. In further movement toward trial, the Judge last month rescinded an order severing the case of United States v. Ramzi Bin al Shibh from the other four cases. AE 312D. He did so after resolving issues that had led the Commission to conclude the severance order was necessary. In particular, the Judge resolved an alleged conflict of interest in the defense team for Mr. Binalshibh, finding that there is no actual or potential conflict of interest. Unofficial/Unauthenticated Transcript at 8842. He also resolved the government s December 2013 request for a determination that Mr. Binalshibh is competent to stand trial, finding that Mr. Binalshibh does not suffer from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature of the proceedings or to conduct or cooperate intelligently in the defense of his case. AE 152KK at 9. The Commission has thus indicated its intent to continue on Monday where it left off in October: receiving evidence on a defense motion to stop all activities that bring female members of the Joint Task Force-Guantanamo guard force into direct physical contact with the Accused (AE 254Y). The Commission also indicated its intent to receive evidence and hear argument 3 on a series of other motions, including a defense motion regarding attorney-client meetings (AE 254), a defense motion alleging unlawful influence directed at the Judge (AE 254WW, AE 254ZZZ), and a defense motion to dismiss for defective referral (AE 8). The Commission s order listing the sequence of matters it intends to address is Appellate Exhibit 387. This Docket Order is available on the military commissions website.
Developments in United States v. Al Nashiri
The proceedings in United States v. Al Nashiri remain stayed as the President considers re-nomination and re-confirmation of the military judges as judges on the United States Court of Military Commission Review ( U.S.C.M.C.R. ), our first reviewing court. The government filed two interlocutory appeals in that court on grounds that the military trial judge in the Al Nashiri case had, under the statute authorizing such appeals, terminated proceedings of the military commission with respect to [certain] charges and excluded evidence that is substantial proof of a fact material in the proceeding. 10 U.S.C. 950d. Meanwhile, the Military Commission has abated future commission sessions pending resolution of these appeals by the U.S.C.M.C.R. See AE 340J. The government s efforts to seek re-nomination and re-confirmation of the military judges were prompted by language in a June 2015 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, our federal appellate reviewing court. The U.S.C.M.C.R. has sought to expedite consideration of the government s interlocutory appeals, as the law commands. Last November, however, the D.C. Circuit had stayed proceedings in the U.S.C.M.C.R. while it considered Nashiri s petition for a writ of mandamus and prohibition to the U.S.C.M.C.R. alleging that military judges are assigned to the U.S.C.M.C.R. in violation of the Appointments Clause and cannot be freely removed in violation of the Commander-in-Chief Clause of the Constitution. Order, In re Al-Nashiri, No. 14-1203 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 12, 2014), ECF No. 1521946. On 23 June, the D.C. Circuit denied Nashiri s petition and dissolved its stay of the U.S.C.M.C.R. s proceedings. In re Al-Nashiri, 791 F.3d 71, 86 (D.C. Cir. 2015); Order, In re AlNashiri, No. 14-1203 (D.C. Cir. June 23, 2015), ECF No. 1559091. The court reasoned it would be inappropriate to issue the writ because Appellee can adequately raise his constitutional challenges on appeal from final judgment. In re Al-Nashiri, 791 F.3d at 73. In doing so, the D.C. Circuit did not resolve questions raised by the Appointments Clause challenge, but it concluded that the President and the Senate could decide to put to rest any Appointments Clause questions regarding the CMCR s military judges . . . by re-nominating and re-confirming the military judges to be CMCR judges. Id. at 86. According to the D.C. Circuit, [t]aking these steps whether or not they are constitutionally required would answer any Appointments Clause challenge to the CMCR. Id. Our efforts to seek re-nomination and re-confirmation of the military judges continue. The government has reported to the U.S.C.M.C.R. that on 10 September 2015, the Secretary of Defense assigned several incoming military judges to be U.S.C.M.C.R. judges under 10 U.S.C. 950f. Also on that date, he recommended that the President nominate those judges in addition to the judges already serving on the Court for appointment and confirmation as U.S.C.M.C.R. judges. The Secretary s recommendation has been transmitted to the President for his consideration of their appointment as U.S.C.M.C.R. judges. If the military judges are so appointed, their appointment is expected to proceed on to the Senate Armed Services Committee for the Senate s advice and consent. The government will further update the U.S.C.M.C.R. no later than 11 December 2015.
Meanwhile, the government continues its comprehensive review process to comply with the Commission s 24 June 2014 Order. AE 120AA. In this Order, the Commission established a ten-category construct to focus the Prosecution s analysis of information as it unilaterally fulfills its discovery obligations and responds to current and future discovery requests from the defense for information regarding the Central Intelligence Agency s former Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program. Id. To date, the prosecution has substantially responded to the Order with respect to all ten categories and continues to seek access to other, potentially discoverable information. For six of the ten categories, the Commission had previously approved requests for substitutions and other relief under the M.C.A. to prevent damage to national security. See AE 120NNNN. And last month the Commission approved such requests for an additional two categories. See AE 120SSSS; AE 120UUUU. Other requests remain pending with the Commission. The prosecution also continues work that began in February to review the full Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of the Central Intelligence Agency s Detention and Interrogation Program. AE 206Q. The prosecution is required by law to review the Study for potentially discoverable information, see AE 206U, and to request substitutions and other relief from the Commission using the M.C.A. s classified information procedures as necessary to protect national security information while also ensuring that an accused can confront the charges and evidence and can raise lawful defenses.
Developments in United States v. Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi
In July, the Defense brought to the Commission s attention the possibility of a conflict of interest involving one of the Accused s previous detailed defense counsel who represents an Accused in another military commission. AE 49I at 1. The Commission later ruled that the previous detailed defense counsel was excused from representing Mr. Abd al Hadi and that his excusal was proper. Id. at 4-5. It also ruled that there is no conflict of interest between Mr. Abd al Hadi and the excused counsel or between Mr. Abd al Hadi and his current detailed defense counsel. Id. at 7. The government asked the Commission to inquire during the September pretrial sessions whether Mr. Abd al Hadi had restored his current detailed defense counsel to full representational capacity. During the September 2015 pre-trial sessions, Mr. Abd al Hadi requested the release of his current detailed military defense counsel, and the Chief Defense Counsel approved his request. AE 53B at 1. The Military Judge thereafter approved the release of his current detailed military defense counsel, necessitating the detailing of new military defense counsel to represent Mr. Abd al Hadi. Id. The Military Judge cancelled the pre-trial sessions previously scheduled to begin in November to allow this process to occur. The Military Judge also ordered defense counsel to notify the Commission of certain events to keep the Commission abreast of the progress of the Chief Defense Counsel in detailing new military defense counsel and in this 5 new Detailed Military Defense Counsel s formation of an attorney-client relationship with Mr. Abd al Hadi. AE 53B at 1.
In accordance with that order, on 13 November, the defense notified the Commission that it detailed three new military defense counsel to the case. AE 7B; AE 7C; AE 7D. Also, on 18 November, the Chief Defense Counsel notified the Commission that an agreement was reached for two civilian counsels to work on Mr. [Abd al Hadi s] case in a pro bono status. AE 53D at 1. He also indicated he is in the process of hiring a [Department of Defense] civilian attorney whom he will detail to represent Mr. [Abd al Hadi] as an assistant defense counsel . . . . Id. In a written order, the Commission set a 1 January 2016 deadline for pro bono civilian defense counsel to complete and submit all required documentation to obtain security clearances and to complete all required application procedures for qualification as civilian defense counsel prescribed by [Regulation for Trial by Military Commission] 9-5.c. AE 53D at 2.
Although the next pre-trial sessions were originally scheduled for the week of 25 January, one of the newly detailed defense counsel informed the Commission during an 18 November Rule for Military Commissions 802 conference that the defense was not ready to proceed in light of the ongoing efforts to obtain pro bono civilian defense counsel. Id. at 1. He further informed the Commission that it could not proceed until the pro bono civilian defense counsel was detailed as the lead defense counsel. Id. at 1-2. The prosecution agreed with the defense position concerning the Commission s inability to proceed with substantive matters. Id. at 2. The Military Judge kept the January 2016 session in place so that the defense could state their position on the record, id., but shortened the scheduled hearing dates by three days. The next scheduled hearings are now set to occur from 26 through 27 January 2016. AE 15J.
Developments in Al Bahlul v. United States
On 12 June 2015, in a two-to-one decision, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul s conviction for conspiracy to murder protected persons, attack civilians, commit terrorism, and carry out other war crimes. The two-judge majority held that this conviction violated the separation of powers enshrined in Article III 1. Al Bahlul v. United States, 792 F.3d 1, 22 (D.C. Cir. 2015). On 27 July 2015, the government petitioned the D.C. Circuit to rehear the case en banc. On 25 September 2015, the D.C. Circuit granted the petition, vacated the 12 June 2015 judgment, and set forth a scheduling order for the parties briefs. With the briefing complete last month, the court held oral argument on 1 December 2015 and took the appeal under advisement. * * * * On Monday, our Nation will commemorate National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. In remembrance of those whom we lost on that day as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor and with appreciation to those who continue to serve today, I recognize the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and government civilians of Joint Base Andrews, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. Holding sharply adversarial and accountable trials of this magnitude requires a commitment to first principles of justice under law. But practical implementation would of course be impossible without the support of superb military and civilian personnel serving in our government.
This is just a sample of the gallows humor circulating in Beijing, where citizens have to deal with daily with thick brown smog that blankets everything. Buses and cars are clogged with heavy traffic on roads on a heavily polluted day in Beijing, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. The man accused of opening fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs is making his first appearance in court.
China has ordered thousands of factories to close and parents kept children home from school as choking smog 25 times above safe levels blanketed the Chinese capital for the fifth day in a row, casting a shadow over Beijing’s negotiations at ongoing climate-change talks in Paris. While world leaders are meeting this week in Paris to try to solve the climate crisis, another environmental calamity is underway in China. It also ordered all construction sites to stop work as well to cut emissions, after issuing an orange alert, the second-highest response to air pollution, on Sunday. On Sunday, the reading for PM 2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, hit 274 micrograms per cubic meter in most parts of the capital.
People are wearing the airtight face mask as they cross the street.
Reuters Shutdown Beijing are urging people to stay indoors
China’s state news agency Xinhua said tests confirmed that the majority of the latest spike in pollution came from coal burning. The governments of more than 190 countries are meeting in Paris this week to set targets on reducing carbon emissions in an attempt to forge a new global agreement on climate change. Northern China was unusually cold in November, and once the government cranked up coal-fired boilers to provide residential heating, smog levels spiked and have continued to climb.
The world’s biggest carbon emitter has adopted air quality standards, introduced monitoring stations and cleaner standards for transportation fuel while shutting some coal plants and moving factories out of cities. Authorities said they didn’t issue the highest red alert because they were expecting the air quality to improve by Wednesday.
“And 90 percent of these orders are sent to Beijing“.
Beijing’s severe pollution follows a bout of record-breaking smog in the country’s northeast last month, when PM2.5 levels reached 1,400 micrograms per cubic meter in the city of Shenyang – the highest registered so far – and 860 micrograms per cubic meter in neighboring Changchun.
A cold front from the north reached the capital at about 11 pm on Tuesday, and by midnight the concentration of PM2.5 particles, considered most risky to human health, had dropped to 22 – considered a healthy level – in the suburbs and 88 in the city.