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“Extremely Troubling”: Iranian-Americans Illegally Detained and Questioned at US Border

Over 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans were detained, questioned at the US border. Others were refused entry.

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(TMU) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations of Washington state (CAIR-WA) is reporting that more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans were detained and questioned by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington. Others were refused entry into the United States.

According to CAIR-WA, an Iranian pop concert took place just across the northern border with Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia. As a result, numerous Iranian-Americans have been attempting to return to their homes in the United States.

Those detained were questioned about their “political views and allegiances” and reported having their passports confiscated.

Masih Fouladi, Executive Director of CAIR Washington calls the reports “extremely troubling,” saying they “potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens.”

Tensions have been steadily increasing between the U.S. and Iran after a series of tit-for-tat events led up to U.S. President Donald Trump ordering the assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani.

CAIR claims that, according to an anonymous source from CBP, “the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a national order to CBP to ‘report’ and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed potentially suspicious or ‘adversarial,’ regardless of citizenship status.”

According to a press release, a 24-year-old American citizen identified as Crystal “was detained and interrogated for more than 10 hours with her family.”

Crystal is quoted as saying:

“The vast majority of people being held last night were American citizens. We kept asking why we were being detained and asked questions that had nothing to do with our reason for traveling and was told ‘I’m sorry this is just the wrong time for
you guys.’”

Hoda Katebi, Iranian-American writer and activist, is quoted in the release as saying:

“This clear, gross violation of US law acts only as a further escalation of continued violence and aggression toward Iran and Iranian people that have only escalated with Trump’s Travel Ban on Iranian nationals, the withdrawal from the JCPOA/Iran Nuclear Deal despite Iran’s compliance, the addition of crippling US sanctions on Iran which have taken a deep toll on the lives of everyday Iranians, and most recently the reckless assasination of Iranian top military general Qasem Soleimani.”

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal from Washington is “deeply disturbed” by the reports.

Fouladi said:

“We are working to verify reports of a broad nationwide directive to detain Iranian-Americans at ports of entry so that we can provide community members with accurate travel guidance.”

The National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) is “working to independently verify, coordinating with lawmakers and allies.”

The press release can be read in full below:

***

UPDATE (1/6/20) —

In a tweet on Sunday, Customs and Border Patrol denied the above accusations.

However, Abed Ayoub, Legal and Policy Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, claims to have a paper trail proving otherwise.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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