(TMU) — While the world anxiously watches the situation in Iraq unfold, it’s important to understand domestic byproducts of the ongoing military conflict between the United States and Iran.
Specifically, the tensions between the two nations have lead to an increase in the questioning of travelers of Iranian descent who attempt to cross U.S. borders. There have also been reports of police departments exploiting the hysteria to increase surveillance and security measures.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a statement noting their opposition to any “targeting of people for digital surveillance based on their race, religion, or nationality, at our border and in our interior.” As the Mind Unleashed previously reported, on January 4 more than 60 people of Iranian descent, including U.S. citizens, were held at the border between Canada and Washington state for many hours and questioned. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denied that it detained or refused entry to Iranians based on their national origin despite multiple reports from travelers. According to a Buzzfeed report, a CBP officer coerced at least one U.S. citizen into providing the password to his smartphone before taking the phone away for two hours.
“EFF has long argued, including in Alasaad v. McAleenan, that travelers have significant privacy interests in their digital data and that the U.S. Constitution protects such interests at the border,” EFF writes. “We’ve also argued that these rights are not suspended if an international traveler happens to be of a particular race, religion, or nationality. Indeed, digital surveillance at the border, if predicated on these factors, is both unconstitutional and a moral outrage.”
Following Donald Trump’s decision to launch a missile strike into Iraq and kill Iranian General Soleimani, the New York City Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department announced a boost in security of New York City and Los Angeles. EFF warns that there is reason to be concerned this security boosting could lead to an increase of police surveillance of Iranian communities.
EFF notes that in 2012 both the NYPD and the Newark Police Department settled legal claims brought by civil liberties groups opposing police surveillance and infiltration of Muslims in their cities. The surveillance included shops, restaurants, mosques, and schools. EFF also reminds Americans that in the build up to the Iraq war, the FBI targeted Iraqi Americans for surveillance.
The potential targeting of Iraqis and Iranians is reminiscent of the weeks following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, when the U.S. government rounded up several hundred individuals suspected of ties to terrorism. The arrests were allegedly based on tips received through a hotline.
In total, 762 people were detained around the country. Some individuals were even deported after being found to have no ties to terrorism. Detainees were held between three to eight months in facilities in New York and New Jersey. Many of the detainees were subject to solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and faced punishment from authorities, including slamming them into walls, bending or twisting their arms, hands, wrists and fingers, stepping on their leg restraints, leaving them handcuffed or shackled in their cells, insulting their religion, and making humiliating sexual comments during strip searches. Since that time, not one U.S. government official has been held accountable.
A lawsuit filed in federal court in April 2002 sought to hold former top U.S. officials accountable, including then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Unfortunately, in June 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that officials cannot be held accountable for the actions of the post 9/11 kidnappings. The court stated that “high officers who face personal liability for damages might refrain from taking urgent and lawful action in a time of crisis.”
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the one dissenting opinion, stating, “History warns of the risk to liberty in times of national crisis.” Breyer mentioned the imprisonment of dissenters during World War I, and the “unnecessary internment during World War II of 70,000 American citizens of Japanese origin,” as examples of mistakes the U.S. government ought not repeat.
It’s important that the American public not stay silent during times of turmoil and tension between political leaders. If we stand by silently while power hungry warmongers attempt to take advantage of a crisis, we risk becoming a guilty party in gross violations of basic civil liberties and human rights.
“Murder Hornet” Nest Was Found and Destroyed That Had Almost 200 Queens
Scientists in Washington, at Washington State University, discovered and exterminated dozens of Asian giant murder hornets among them, they found around 500 live specimens in various stages of development in their first known nest, officials communicated.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture issued a virtual press conference to explain the situation. Scientists made the discovery in late October, inside a tree on a private residence in Whatcom County.
The agency placed traps in the area in early October after a homeowner reported a specimen, Spichiger said. Four live hornets were caught in the traps which then entomologists attached radio trackers to three of them, and one led them to the nest on October 22nd.
Inside the nest researchers found:
- 190 total larvae that developed from eggs.
- 108 pupae, the next stage after larvae. They were nearly all queens.
- 112 workers, which included 85 workers previously vacuumed out of the nest.
- 76 queens, nearly all of them new virgin queens. New queens emerge from the nest, mate and then leave to find a place to spend winter and later start a new colony.
In total that’s more than 500 murder hornets that the team found in the nest which was about 14 inches long and up to 9 inches wide, CBS News reported.
Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist, leading the fight to kill the hornets said: “We got there just in the nick of time.” Spichiger added that the nest of massive potentially deadly hornets in Washington state likely isn’t the only one in the U.S. “We do believe there are additional nests,” he said at the virtual conference on Tuesday.
The researchers say it’s impossible to know if any queens escaped before the first nest was destroyed. Vespa mandarinia or otherwise known as the giant Asian murder hornet is the world’s largest hornet species. Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) officials posted a video presenting the captured queens crawling inside vials. Most of the specimens were still alive when the nest was opened, WSDA said. The Department plans to continue trapping the hornets for at least three years to resolve the problem and determine whether or not the area is infested.
The hornets pose a serious threat to honeybee populations but are not deadly to most humans unless allergic. However, the hornets’ stinger is said to be extremely painful if stung, though rarely deadly it can spit venom.
You can watch the team examining the nest below.
Florida Man Drives Eight-Wheeled Chevy Monster Truck Across the Ocean
A Florida Man has decided to drive his eight-wheeled Chevy monster truck across the ocean. That’s right, you read that correctly: he drove his truck across the ocean. For the TikTok views. And yes, it worked.
The legendary “Florida Man” has long been a favorite for news readers and writers alike, offering an entertaining potpourri of the insane, the impressive, and the grotesque, with stories covering topics including drugs, violence, alligators, and unbelievable feats of human wackiness.
In the latest chapter of the ongoing saga, one brave Florida Man decided to do what no sane man had ever considered: rather than take his monster truck to the demolition derby, he took it to a South Florida bay and sailed it alongside the yachts instead.
WhistlinDiesel can best be described as the Johnny Knoxville of American truck culture, or as he describes himself, one who does “basically everything you’ve ever thought of doing with your truck but you’d never ACTUALLY do … simply because someone says it’s impossible.”
And just like Knoxville and the MTV Jackass gang pushed the concept of extreme, physical challenges beyond the limits of basic common sense, WhistlinDiesel is willing to do anything to go viral and catch some likes. It’s a winning formula, if a bit unsafe.
With that in mind, the social media madman took his two-axle Chevy Silverado, filled its eight tires with a ridiculous amount of air, and drove it straight into the Gulf of Mexico between Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach, Florida, without any sort of propeller.
It wasn’t long before authorities intervened to cut his ludicrous stunt short. WhistlinDiesel had just barely driven into the water and smashed the throttle over the bay before he was forced to haul it out of the drink with a boat while completely surrounded by the local sheriff’s department, the Coast Guard, and the Florida Department of Natural Resources – who were quite likely peeved that someone decided to plunge his diesel truck into a protected body of water.
“Still can’t believe how smoothly this went. I woke up at 4am after 2 hours of sleep that day thinking wtf am I doing? This could either end really good or really bad. Our original plan was to set up at night in the dark and drive miles offshore to watch the sun rise but looking back we got much better reactions from the public this way.”
And good reactions he did receive, as the maniac managed to get tons of press attention and social media clout. It still remains unclear whether he faced any charges for the stunt, so it’s safe to say: Mission accomplished!
Scientists: The Human Brain And the Entire Universe Have Odd Similarities
An astrophysicist at the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon at the University of Verona have claimed that the brain resembles the universe. The two Italian researchers came up with the galaxy-brain theory that is out of this world: The structures of the perceptible universe, they say, are astonishingly comparable to the neuronal networks of the human brain.
University of Bologna astrophysicist Franco Vazza and University of Verona neurosurgeon Alberto Feletti document the extraordinary similarities between the cosmic network of galaxies and the complex web of neurons in the human brain. The detailed study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physics showcasing the human brain has roughly 27 orders of magnitude separated in scale, while similarly, the composition of the cosmic web shows comparable levels of complexity and self-organization, according to the researchers.
The brain itself contains an estimated 69 billion neurons, while the visible universe is comprised of at least 100 billion galaxies, strung together like a mesh network. Even more intriguing both galaxies and neurons only account for about 30 percent of the total masses of the universe and brain. Further, both galaxies and neurons arrange themselves like pearls on a long string.
Beginning from the shared features of the two systems, the two researchers examined a simulation of the network of galaxies in comparison to sections of the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. Their purpose was to inspect how matter variations propagate.
In the case of galaxies, the remaining 70 percent of mass is dark energy. The equivalent in the human brain, the pair said was water.
“We calculated the spectral density of both systems,” Vazza said in a statement about the experiment. “This is a technique often employed in cosmology for studying the spatial distribution of galaxies. Our analysis showed that the distribution of the fluctuation within the cerebellum neuronal network on a scale from 1 micrometer to 0.1 millimeters follows the same progression of the distribution of matter in the cosmic web,” he added, “but, of course, on a larger scale that goes from 5 million to 500 million light-years.”
The amount of interwoven connections originating from each node also were strangely alike sparking further interest to the researchers.
“Once again, structural parameters have identified unexpected agreement levels,” Feletti said in the statement. “Probably, the connectivity within the two networks evolves following similar physical principles, despite the striking and obvious difference between the physical powers regulating galaxies and neurons.”
The team is anticipating that their preliminary research could lead to new analysis procedures advancing knowledge about both cosmology and neurosurgery. Which would enable scientists to better comprehend how these compositions have developed over time.
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