Overpass collapse on Mexico City metro kills at least 24
- Associated Press
DK Metcalf impressed many around the NFL when the big Seattle Seahawks wide receiver clocked 10.37 seconds in the 100 meters at the USA Track and Field Golden Games last week in Southern California. “I thought it was a marvelous challenge that he took on,” Carroll said after the Seahawks' rookie minicamp Saturday. “DK is a very special individual, and it would take a special person to even think about doing that, even consider the thought of doing that.”
- Associated Press
The Republican who now leads the Arizona county elections department targeted by a GOP audit of the 2020 election results is slamming former President Donald Trump and others in his party for their continued falsehoods about how the election was run. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer on Saturday called a Trump statement accusing the county of deleting an elections database “unhinged” and called on other Republicans to stop the unfounded accusations. The former president's statement came as Republican Senate President Karen Fann has demanded the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors come to the Senate to answer questions raised by the private auditors she has hired.
- Business Insider
'Donald Trump didn't need to sleep five hours a night': McCarthy says that Biden doesn't have the 'energy' of the former president
"At no time, having known Joe Biden for quite some time, does he have the energy of Donald Trump," McCarthy said during a Fox News interview.
- Business Insider
GOP election official in the Arizona county targeted by ballot recount called Trump 'unhinged' and said 'we can't indulge these insane lies'
"We can't indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country," the Maricopa County recorder said in response to Trump.
The Heat pay a 40-year-old veteran $2.5 million even though he never plays, and players think more teams should do it
Udonis Haslem may not play much for the Heat, but he plays a huge role as a mentor and leader in the locker room.
The 2021 Miss Universe National Costume Show took place on Thursday. The most daring costumes had see-through fabric and dramatic headpieces.
- Associated Press
Police are reaching out to villagers in northern India to investigate the recovery of bodies buried in shallow sand graves or washing up on the Ganges River banks, prompting speculation on social media that they were the remains of COVID-19 victims. On Friday, rains exposed the cloth coverings of bodies buried in shallow sand graves on the riverbank in Prayagraj, a city in Uttar Pradesh state. Navneet Sehgal, a state government spokesman, on Sunday denied local media reports that more than 1,000 corpses of COVID-19 victims had been recovered from rivers in the past two weeks.
- The Daily Beast
mychoixIn California right now, you can get an abortion without speaking to a single other human being. You log onto a website—mychoix.co—put in your health information, answer some questions, and wait for an email from a clinician letting you know if you’ve been approved. If you are, an online pharmacy will ship you a package of mifepristone and misoprostol—a two-pill regime that is safer than many prescription drugs and 98 percent effective at terminating early-stage pregnancies. You will take it, you will bleed, your pregnancy will—in all likelihood—end.This particular configuration is available in only one state, for a limited time, due to an emergency declaration issued by the Food and Drug Administration during the pandemic. But make no mistake: This is the future abortion advocates want.Medication abortion has been available in the U.S. since 2000, when the FDA approved a mifepristone-based drug called Mifeprex for use in ending early-stage pregnancies. At the time, the administration also attached a set of restrictions known as an REMS to the product’s distribution—something it has done for less than 0.01 percent of the 20,000 drugs it’s ever approved for use. The REMS required Mifeprex—which is safer than both penicillin and Viagra, and 14 times less dangerous than giving birth—to be prescribed and dispensed in-person, by a certified prescriber, at a clinic or hospital. That meant the medication could not be obtained at a pharmacy, but had to be obtained from a physician willing to register with the drug manufacturer and stock the medication in their office. The result was that abortion pills—the most common way to end a pregnancy in several other countries—were harder to access in the U.S. than fentanyl or oxycodone.Ever since then, advocates have been pushing to get the REMS on Mifeprex reduced or repealed entirely. The American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have all called on the agency to lift the restrictions. The ACLU sued the Trump administration over the restrictions in 2017; ACOG signed onto the suit last year. The agency eventually updated the medication’s label, extending how long into a pregnancy it could be used, but it refused to alter the dispensing restrictions.Then, in July of last year, a federal district court in Maryland did what no advocate or medical group had been able to do: It ordered the FDA to lift the in-person requirement on mifepristone for the duration of the COVID public health emergency—clearing the way for providers to see patients remotely, and to send abortion pills by mail.“By causing certain patients to decide between forgoing or substantially delaying abortion care, or risking exposure to COVID-19 for themselves, their children, and family members, the InPerson Requirements present a serious burden to many abortion patients,” Judge Theodore Chuang wrote in the 80-page decision. “Particularly in light of the limited timeframe during which a medication abortion or any abortion must occur, such infringement on the right to an abortion would constitute irreparable harm.”In Washington state, Dr. Jamie Phifer—an abortion provider who has worked at abortion clinics for 10 years, and in telemedicine for two—heard the news and sprang into action.“I called one of my colleagues who does brick-and-mortar [abortion] practice and I was like, ‘I got an idea,’” she told The Daily Beast. “‘I think we could do this.’"Phifer launched her company, a telemedicine abortion service called Abortion on Demand, in April. And she wasn’t alone. In the months between July—when the in-person requirement was lifted—and today, at least five other companies across the U.S. started offering abortion pills by mail. Several brick-and-mortar abortion clinics, including one Planned Parenthood affiliate, started offering direct-to-patient abortions, too. (Four Planned Parenthood locations were offering the service before last year through an experimental research study.)Texas Passes Bill That Would Create Anti-Abortion VigilantesThe launch of these companies signaled a sea change in the way Americans can access abortion. Some of them look familiar, with the bright color schemes and slightly mind-numbing technical language of a local health clinic, but others boast the sans serif fonts and twee illustrations of a typical millennial startup. (“Your body. Your health. Your time,” reads the tagline for Choix, which notes that the “x” on the end of its name “allows for more gender neutral language.”) All offer online visits with a licensed provider, same or next-day appointments, and overnight shipping. There are no exam tables, no hospital gowns, no throngs of angry protesters.Most of the companies require patients to speak with a provider for at least 10 minutes before receiving their prescription. (Choix can offer prescriptions by email because of the more relaxed telehealth laws in California.) But the process is less time-intensive and more automated than going into a clinic or doctor’s office and meeting with a provider. “Everything that doesn't require a human being to gather information is functionally done by a robot,” Phifer said.The automation allows the companies to keep prices low—four of the five companies charge less than $250 for the entire service—and serve a high volume of patients. Choix would not release exact numbers, but said they’d served several hundred patients since launching the service in October; Minnesota-based company Just The Pill served over 100 between October and January.While the numbers are low compared to the more than 600,000 people who get abortions in the U.S. each year, they are reflective of a growing trend. Already, the percentage of patients choosing medication abortion has jumped from 14 percent in 2004 to nearly 40 percent in 2017.“I do think this is the future of medication for abortion for most folks,” said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. “It’s meeting them where they are, in their homes.”Especially in the early days of the pandemic, the need for the service was obvious. No one wanted to go to a doctor’s office—and even if they could, many had kids at home or sick families to care for. The Planned Parenthood that McNicholas oversees in Illinois was the first to start offering pills by mail last year, and it quickly started receiving requests from as far away as Texas. (Texas Gov. Greg Abbott paused abortion services at the beginning of the pandemic, claiming he wanted to save medical resources for COVID patients.)Leah Coplon, program director at Maine Family Planning, said she received multiple requests to ship abortion pills to New York—including from a woman whose partner was working overtime as an ER doctor and couldn’t find anyone to take care of her kids.“She was like, ‘I can’t leave and I can’t bring my kids to any clinic… I don’t have a way to get an abortion right now,’” Coplon said. “There were several people in similar situations who really felt that they didn’t have another option.”Heartbeat Abortion Bills Were Once a Fringe Idea. Could They Overturn Roe v. Wade?Despite the high demand, the rollout wasn’t exactly seamless. On Jan. 12, six months after the in-person dispensing requirements were lifted, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Judge Chuang’s ruling. Overnight, Trump’s FDA was free to enforce the restrictions, and the providers were barred from providing abortions by mail.Julie Amaon, the medical director for Just the Pill, said her company went back to basics after that, securing a mobile clinic and driving 1,200 miles around Minnesota each week to deliver abortion pills in person. Phifer, meanwhile, suspended the launch of her business entirely, canceling contracts with service providers and calling off a pre-planned article in Marie Claire. On the day the decision was announced, she had already ordered thousands of dollars worth of mifepristone from an online pharmacy—medication which she could no longer ship. “I called the owner of the mail order pharmacy and was like, ‘Do not accept! Do not accept!’” she recalled. She joked later: “I’ve lost about 10 pounds of weight in stress in the last four months.”The providers sat in limbo for three months, waiting to see what the Biden administration would do. On April 12, to their relief, the FDA announced it would voluntarily rescind the in-person requirement—at least for the duration of the public health emergency. Several companies told The Daily Beast they started shipping pills again the next day.But the FDA had a final surprise in store: Just last week, the agency announced it would launch a full-scale review of the REMS—a move many advocates believe is the first step in repealing them entirely.“The scientists, the medical reviewers, are being tasked with: ‘OK, you assess the evidence and you tell us what to do,’” said Kirsten Moore, director of the Expanding Medication Abortion Access (EMAA) Project. “From our perspective, the data all points in one direction: The REMS are outdated and should be lifted.”The driving force behind the expansion of medication abortion is ease of access. The hundreds of abortion restrictions passed by state legislatures since 2011 have made getting an in-clinic abortion a headache at best, and impossible at worst. Dozens of clinics have been shuttered by these regulations in recent years; six states have only one clinic left, and 11 million women live more than an hour’s drive from the nearest abortion provider. Even when they get to the clinic, abortion-seekers face mandatory 24-hour waiting periods, forced ultrasounds, and required counseling on fetal pain.A medication abortion by mail, by contrast, feels simple: all you need is an internet connection, a mailing address, and about a day to recover. Multiple providers told The Daily Beast they often saw patients who were in their cars, fitting their telehealth visit between class or errands. McNicholas said a number of patients took their appointments on their lunch breaks. “They could schedule their appointment at 11 o'clock, go out to their car or close their office door, have their health-care visit and then move on with life,” she said.Mail-order abortions are especially helpful in rural areas—93 percent of the patients at McNicholas’ clinic who used the service last year lived in a rural community—but they are also useful for people with children, who are in an abusive relationship, or who simply want privacy around their decision. Phifer said her own job was pretty much the same whether she was prescribing in-person and online, but the difference in her clients was noticeable. “I think because they’ve gone through less steps to get an abortion, when I do see them on their video they seem more relaxed, or they just seem more…” she paused. “They didn't have to walk through a line of protesters. So that’s been really meaningful.”Advocates are quick to point out that medication abortion is not a silver bullet for access. Besides the logistical issues—needing an internet connection and a consistent mailing address, to start—there are medical ones. Medication abortion is only available up to 11 weeks into pregnancy, and is not recommended for people with severe anemia or who are at risk for an ectopic pregnancy. For people who are further along in their pregnancy, who have medically risky pregnancies, or who simply want to see a provider face to face, Abortion Care Network Deputy Director Erin Grant said, “we'll always need in-clinic abortion."And conservatives are already moving to limit access to medication abortion as quickly as they did with surgical procedures. Thirty-two states have passed laws requiring a doctor to dispense the abortion pills, despite recommendations from the World Health Organization and other medical groups that mid-level providers like nurse practitioners be allowed to prescribe it. Nineteen states require that the prescribing clinician be physically present with the patient when they take the abortion pills, thereby banning abortion by telemedicine.Anti-abortion activists, meanwhile, have seized on the false notion that most women regret their abortions, setting up clinics and hotlines to promote an unproven method of “abortion reversal.” The method’s proponents claim they can stop a medication abortion in its tracks if the patient consents to taking a high dose of progesterone instead of the second abortion pill. There is no concrete evidence that this procedure is either safe or effective—the only major study on it had to be stopped halfway through after several participants were hospitalized—but eight states passed laws requiring physicians to tell their patients about it anyway.The irony is that brick-and-mortar clinics are the institutions most likely to challenge restrictive laws like these in court. (Every challenge to an abortion restriction heard by the Supreme Court since 1973 was filed on behalf of a clinic or provider.) They are also more likely to be engaged and politically active in their communities, and provide crucial services like STI testing, contraception, and the kind of medical counseling needed to combat false ideas like “abortion reversal.”For these reasons, advocates say, the fight to expand access to abortion pills cannot come at the expense of brick-and-mortar clinics.“When we treat pills like they’re a silver bullet for our conversation about access to abortion in this country, we’re just forgetting that all options should be on the table, and these are two different procedures that work for different people,” said Grant.“I feel like we're in this moment right now where it's like, ‘Why can't we have both?’” she added. “Why not dream big?"What Back Alley? These Women Say DIY Abortion Can Be EmpoweringMost of the providers who spoke to The Daily Beast were confident that telemedicine abortion is here to stay. (Other clinicians were, after all, shipping pills across the country before it was even legal.) Several of them were in a group WhatsApp, where they shared advice on how to manage their text lines or which online consent forms were best. The group meets every few months by Zoom.But the providers also know that the future of medication abortion—of abortion in the U.S. in general—is precarious. The current hold on the REMS lasts only until the end of the federally declared public health emergency, which could end at any time, and the result of the FDA’s review isn’t expected until November.Phifer said that’s one of the reasons she didn’t take investor money or partner with an existing clinic when launching her business.“If something happens with my company it will be awful for me, and it will be awful for my financial wellbeing, but it won’t take down a clinic or an entire group of clinics,” she said.Later, she added with a laugh: “I don't think this is going to be my retirement plan. I just would be really mad at myself if I didn't try.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The six-time Oscar-nominated actress is known for "Enchanted" and "Arrival," but here's how all 37 of her films stack up, according to critics.
- Business Insider
Bill Gates spotted for the first time since his split from Melinda in an Instagram picture with his daughter Jennifer
The picture is the first of the Microsoft billionaire since announcing his divorce from Melinda Gates.
Firefighters put out a blaze early on Sunday at one of the Philippines' largest hospitals that had prompted the evacuation of dozens of patients from the facility, which also treats coronavirus sufferers. No casualties were reported in the fire at the government-run Philippine General Hospital in the capital, Manila, which was extinguished at dawn. On Twitter, Vice President Leni Robredo made an appeal for "big, industrial fans" to clear the smoke caused by the fire.
- The Independent
‘Quick decision-making is not Mr Biden’s style’
- The Daily Beast
KOB4/Metropolitan Detention CenterA suspected white supremacist is facing charges after allegedly ditching a bullet-riddled car containing three dead men in the parking lot of an Albuquerque hospital this week.Richard Kuykendall, a 41-year-old with an “apparent association” with the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, was charged Friday with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition for his role in the Wednesday triple homicide, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for New Mexico.Prosecutors allege that after a deadly shootout in a nearby alley, Kuykendall drove to Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital with the victims, removed his shirt and told a security officer “that there were three dead guys in the Chevy” before he walked away.The criminal complaint—first obtained by Seamus Hughes, a researcher at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism and a Daily Beast contributor—notes that authorities only believe Kuykendall “may be responsible for the death of one of the three men.”The victims, who have not yet been identified, were also members of the gang. Kuykendall is being held on bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque.SHOOTING VIDEO: @ABQPOLICE said three bodies showed up at Kaseman Hospital around 3pm yesterday. They have not confirmed these videos are connected, but show a what appears to be a barrage of bullets at 2:40p yesterday. 2 miles away a bloodied man is seen leaving the scene @KOB4 pic.twitter.com/jqnvdcW4Tn— Ryan Laughlin (@RyanLaughlinKOB) May 13, 2021 Prosecutors described the Aryan Brotherhood as a “nationwide prison gang that strives to control drug distribution and other illegal activity within state and federal prisons.” Formed by white inmates, it has about 20,000 members both in and out of prison and is known for using Nazi symbols, including swastikas and SS lightning bolts, the complaint states.While authorities have not provided a motive for Wednesday’s slaying, the complaint notes that the gang is known for murdering or threatening members who do not remain loyal or pose a threat to the enterprise.“The [Aryan Brotherhood] uses murder and the threat of murder to maintain a position of power within the prison and jail system,” the complaint states. “Inmates and others who do not follow the orders of the [Aryan Brotherhood] are subject to being murdered, as is anyone who uses violence against an [Aryan Brotherhood] member.”Prosecutors state Kuykendall was walking in an alley behind a local pizza shop on Wednesday when a dark-colored Chevy Malibu pulled up behind him. When Kuykendall tried to get in the car, shots were immediately fired at him.Kuykendall “ducked and maintained a low center of gravity as he ran around the front” of the car while shots were still being fired. He was able to jump in the car.She Masqueraded as an Aryan Princess to Take Down Neo-NazisA few seconds later, Kuykendall exited the car and walked toward a dumpster, the complaint states. “Kuykendall remained next to the dumpster for nine seconds and then went back to the car.” The Albuquerque Police Department later found a 9mm pistol in the dumpster.Prosecutors state that after possibly moving a person inside the car, Kuykendall got into the driver’s seat—on top of the presumably dead driver—and drove to the nearby hospital.Once there, he took off his shirt, revealing several tattoos associated with the neo-Nazi group, including “a large letter B on his left shoulder and an iron cross on his left breast,” the complaint states.When authorities arrived, they found a car “riddled with bullet holes” with a loaded pistol under the driver’s seat, an empty pistol on the back seat and spent bullet casings throughout the car, the complaint says.It’s far from Kuykendall’s first run-in with the law. “Kuykendall has an impressive criminal history, with at least 35 arrests in New Mexico and Massachusetts,” the complaint states. His crimes range from forgery and identity theft to larceny and conspiracy, to an assault of a family member in 2018.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Business Insider
AOC said Marjorie Taylor Greene is 'deeply unwell' after a video of Greene taunting her through a letterbox resurfaced
The 2019 video emerged after Marjorie Taylor Greene hounded AOC in the halls of Congress. It shows Greene haranguing AOC through her letterbox.
- Associated Press
The student reporter who gained national acclaim when he interviewed President Barack Obama at the White House in 2009 has died of natural causes, his family says. Damon Weaver was 23 when he died May 1, his sister, Candace Hardy, told the Palm Beach Post. Weaver was 11 when he interviewed Obama for 10 minutes in the Diplomatic Room on Aug. 13, 2009, asking questions that focused primarily on education.
- Associated Press
Trevor Lawrence opened Jacksonville’s rookie minicamp on a pitch count. Lawrence is three months removed from labrum surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder. “The No. 1 issue is falling,” coach Urban Meyer said Saturday.
- The Telegraph
The Northern Ireland Protocol is “dead in the water”, a senior ally of Boris Johnson has said as the Government gave the European Union two months to make the system work. Ministers are increasingly worried about the way that the European Union is enforcing checks when goods move from Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fears among senior figures that unless the EU eases checks in time for when the marching season reaches its peak on July 12, tensions could flare. A Government source said: “The marching season is a date whereby you would want to have a material improvement in what is happening. “We need a bit of movement by then because that is when we risk seeing the kind of disruption and the protests that we had recently.” The terms of the Protocol, signed as part of the UK’s exit from the European Union, are designed to stop goods originating from Great Britain passing into the Republic of Ireland without any checks. However the UK Government estimates the EU is carrying out 20 per cent of all its external border checks at the so-called ‘sea border’ in the Irish Sea. One UK source said EU officials were halting shipments of own-brand loaves of bread being transported from a Sainsbury's supermarket in Liverpool to a sister store in Belfast, even though there are no Sainsbury’s shops in the Republic. Lord Frost, Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiator, and his team are examining the idea of ‘mutual enforcement’ of border checks, in which either side enforces checks at the same level as the other, effectively removing them. However the EU is said not to want to engage. Officially the Government still wants to make the protocol work, with insiders insisting that Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, does not want to rip up a treaty just six months into Brexit, although nothing is ruled out. One source said: "If they don't make improvements in the next period of time obviously we are going to have to consider other options." The replacement of Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster with the more hardline Edwin Poots on Friday has increased jitters in Number 10. Senior allies of Mr Johnson are increasingly pessimistic with one describing the protocol to The Telegraph as “dead in the water”. The senior ally added: “The Northern Ireland Protocol does not work. It contravenes the Good Friday Agreement in many ways. It is damaging. “It is not a workable agreement. Whatever you think about Arlene Foster, she was a moderate. And it is always dangerous when you start losing moderates from these key positions.”
- Business Insider
"The Mitchells vs. the Machines" repeated as Netflix's most popular movie this week, while new Netflix originals also made the list.
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos U.S. Department of Justice / GettyOn Thursday morning, Omar Ameen appeared, clad in a red jumpsuit and via remote video, in an initial removal hearing to confront some of the most serious charges that a potential deportee can face. The Department of Homeland Security contends that Ameen, an Uber driver and father of four, is in fact a leading member of a feared ISIS hit squad, and that he murdered a police officer in his native Iraq before lying on his refugee application about his terrorist connections in an elaborate plot to gain admission into the United States.The fact that each of those accusations was obliterated in federal court just last month is, to the Department of Homeland Security at least, of little consequence.Ameen’s hearing, conducted remotely, is the latest installment in a three-year saga of a man who sought freedom and safety in the West, only to become the victim of what his legal team calls an attempted frame job by a crooked Iraqi militia leader with an ancestral grudge and financial incentive to lie—and of the Trump administration’s fervent desire to justify ending the nation’s refugee program for good.Now, years after he was first arrested on bogus charges, the 47-year-old is still being held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention on those same charges, facing removal to a country where his chief accuser has vowed to have him executed.“There is just a level of insanity from the government on this case that is just remarkable, given that they’ve pursued a lie and don’t seem to recognize it,” said Rachelle Barbour, Ameen’s federal defender in his now-dismissed extradition case. Barbour likened ICE’s decision to detain Ameen “Trumpian,” part of an institutional legacy of hostility to due process in the immigration system that she had hoped would end with the Biden administration.“We are back doing this again, as if we have not tread all this ground? As if they have learned nothing?” Barbour said. “I totally understood this under Trump. But how are we doing this again? Aren’t they ashamed of themselves?”Ameen grew up, like his parents and grandparents before him, in the village of Rawah in northwestern Iraq. Even before the U.S. invasion and the subsequent civil war, Rawah was a place where grudges lasted for generations, and where guilt-by-blood-association could be enough to threaten your life. Ameen’s own father had been murdered by al Qaeda and his brother had been kidnapped by a Shiite militia, according to his application for refugee status. Fearing increasing threats from enemies of a cousin affiliated with al Qaeda, Ameen left Iraq in 2012.He initially entered Turkey on a tourist visa, then began the refugee application process for himself, his wife Khansaa, and his three young children. Ameen’s application, which like all potential refugees included a thorough background check, was eventually approved, and in November 2014, his family was resettled in the United States—five out of 69,975 people who were admitted that year.The family moved from Utah, the location of their initial resettlement, to Sacramento, joining a growing Iraqi diaspora in northern California. Ameen became an Uber driver and part-time mechanic, and he and Khansaa had a fourth child as they both pursued green cards to obtain permanent resident status in the United States.But on Aug. 15, 2018, their lives were upended. Dozens of FBI agents swarmed the family’s home, and Ameen was arrested on charges of murdering Ihsan Jasim, a former Iraqi police officer, in his hometown of Rawah. The Iraqi government was seeking Ameen’s extradition in order to try him for the murder, a crime witnessed by the victim’s nephew, known in court documents only as “Person Five.”Person Five, according to DOJ filings reviewed by The Daily Beast, alleged that Ameen was a Tom Clancy-esque terrorist mastermind: a member of al Qaeda in Iraq, a close friend of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the commander of a hit squad that had terrorized Rawah for months.Biden Raises Cap on Refugee Admissions After OutrageThe claims were facially ludicrous—not least because Ameen and his family were living in Turkey at the time the murder was allegedly committed. Despite ironclad alibis placing him in another country, Person Five claimed that Ameen had actually left Turkey in the middle of his refugee application process. Ameen then allegedly traversed 600 miles of war-torn Syria and the deserts of Al Anbar, climbed the ranks of an ISIS militia without being spotted by residents of a village he’d lived in since birth, murdered Ihsan Jasim, and then returned to the Turkish coast just in time to be resettled in the United States.Person Five’s accusations did not exist in a vacuum, however. The teenager, who suffered from a self-described “psychological condition,” which he discussed with FBI agents in Iraq, lived in the home of Colonel Abd al-Jabbar Barzan, a leader in a local militia who accepted payments in exchange for furnishing evidence against supposed terrorists—and whose family had feuded with Ameen’s for decades over an alleged dispute that led to Barzan’s family being expelled from the community.At the time of his arrest, Ameen had no idea how specious the evidence against him was—that his accusers were demonstrably crooked, vengeful or simply manipulated, and that credulous U.S. investigators had taken blatantly flawed evidence at face value. All he knew was that the supposed murder took place when he was two countries away.Ameen was so convinced that the charges were a mistake that he didn’t even kiss his family goodbye before being taken into custody.“He’s never been able to hug or kiss them since,” Barbour said.Ameen’s arrest made headlines around the world, with the help of Trump-era Department of Justice press releases that made him out to be a borderline supervillain brought down by the departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security. The notion of a wanted murderer and ISIS terrorist slipping through the cracks of the refugee admissions process added legitimacy to Trump’s long-held view that allowing refugees—particularly Muslims—into the United States amounted to welcoming a Trojan horse into the country.One month after Ameen’s arrest, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the government was slashing the cap on refugees allowed into the country by a third, to 30,000 people—a decision that Pompeo linked directly to Ameen’s arrest.“This year, we have seen evidence that the system previously in place was defective,” Pompeo said in September 2018. “It allowed a foreign national to slip through who was later discovered to be a member of ISIS, as well as other individuals with criminal backgrounds. The American people must have complete confidence that everyone granted resettlement in our country is thoroughly vetted. The security checks take time, but they’re critical.”It didn’t take much time for Ameen’s public defense team to do their own security checks, however. But despite the obvious holes in the case for Ameen’s extradition to Iraq—where Barzan had vowed to try him for murder himself—the standards for freeing him were higher than a typical criminal trial. It wouldn’t be enough to demonstrate reasonable doubt: Ameen’s legal team would have to legally obliterate (the actual legal term) the government’s case.“We had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not commit this crime,” Barbour said. “You have to obliterate probable cause, and almost no one has ever been found to obliterate probable cause. And we did.”It took more than two years—and aggressive press coverage of the supposed evidence behind his arrest, led by the New Yorker—but Ameen’s team was able to obtain cellphone records showing that he was in Turkey at the time of Jasim’s murder. In his order declining extradition, Judge Edmund F. Brennan, chief magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, called the defense’s evidence “decisive on the most salient point: Ameen was in Turkey, not Iraq, on the day of the murder.”“Unless there are pending domestic charges on which the government can justify Ameen’s continued detention, it is ordered that Omar Abdulsatar Ameen be immediately released from custody,” Brennan wrote on April 21. “At the time of writing, the court has not been made aware of any such pending charges.”But unbeknownst to Brennan, ICE had filed a “notice to appear” on the day that Ameen was arrested in 2018, charging him with visa fraud for “willfully misrepresenting a material fact” in his refugee application—namely, that he had never been affiliated with a terrorist group or committed a crime overseas. That case was effectively frozen during Ameen’s extradition proceedings, but was unfrozen when Brennan sought to release him.Now, Ameen must fight the same charges he just defeated, or be deported back to Iraq, where his legal team fears he faces almost certain death at the hands of Barzan and his affiliates.In a statement, ICE declared simply that Ameen was charged “based on misrepresentations on applications for admission,” and that he is “in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.”The burden of proof is now on the government, and Ameen’s legal team “will be vehemently contesting everything that has been submitted” by the Department of Homeland Security against him, as Siobhan Waldron, Ameen’s immigration attorney, told the immigration judge on Thursday.But immigration proceedings—“death penalty cases in a traffic court setting,” as the head of the immigration judges’ union once quipped—can take months. Ameen’s next hearing won’t be until late July, almost three years to the day since he was arrested on bogus charges.“It just feels like corruption, all the way down,” Barbour said, “and I’m sorry to say that because I was really hoping for more from this administration.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Business Insider
The "The View" co-host wrote that Marjorie Taylor Greene is "behaving like an animal" in her campaign against New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.