2 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads
As the outbreak of the mysterious new coronavirus rapidly spreads, the Chinese authorities said that the official count of known cases jumped again overnight, with the death toll now exceeding 400. According to the National Health Commission, the number of confirmed cases increased to over 20,000 but a shortage of test kits has led experts to warn that the real number may be higher.
Officials also announced that after repeated offers of assistance, Chinese authorities agreed to allow in teams of international experts, coordinated by the World Health Organization, to help with research and containment. Government scientists as well as those working at Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Therapeutics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals are all working quickly to develop a vaccine. Hundreds of Americans have been evacuated from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, but some of their family members without U.S. visas have been left behind. British Airways has suspended all flights in and out of China.
The U.S. government declared a public health emergency last week and barred foreign nationals from entering the country within two weeks of visiting China, unless they are immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The State Department has warned Americans against all travel to China, and is planning more evacuation flights to bring Americans home from the country this week. Those flights will land at four U.S. military bases, and similar to the evacuation flight that landed in California last week, passengers will be placed under federal quarantine for 2 weeks. The planes will be loaded with medical supplies and humanitarian goods, which the U.S. hopes to deliver to Wuhan on the first leg of the journey.
The head of the World Health Organization Ghebreyesus said some nations are lagging in the global fight against the deadly new coronavirus outbreak. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused some governments of wealthy countries of being “well behind” in sharing data on virus cases. “While 99 percent of cases are in China, in the rest of the world we only have 176 cases,” Tedros said in a technical briefing to the WHO’s Executive Board in Geneva. “That doesn’t mean that it won’t get worse. But for sure we have a window of opportunity to act… Let’s not miss this window of opportunity.”
3 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Five Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus In The US
The deadly coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China less than a month ago, has spread to 13 other countries. It has spread to Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam. The US now has five confirmed cases of a deadly coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, less than a month ago. The confirmed cases in the US are in Washington, Illinois, California and Arizona. Four of the US patients had recently traveled to Wuhan and one was a Wuhan resident traveling through California.
The outbreak has killed 81 people and infected more than 2,800 in mainland China. Authorities have sealed off the city of Wudan, the epicenter of the outbreak. All of Wuhan’s public transportation — including buses, ferries, and trains have been shut down. Trains and airplanes coming in and out of the city were halted and roadblocks were installed to keep taxis and private cars from exiting the city.
The World Health Organization called the lockdown of the city of 11 million people unprecedented. In an effort to contain the outbreak, two smaller Chinese cities, Huanggang and Ezhou, travel restrictions were also imposed. Authorities then expanded the number of cities on lockdown to 10. The lockdown is affecting some 33 million people, as medical workers struggle to slow the spread of a novel strain of coronavirus.
The coronavirus family is a large group of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract. Coronaviruses can lead to illnesses such as the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which resulted in 8,000 cases and 774 deaths in China from November 2002 to July 2003. Patients with the new coronavirus — known as 2019-nCoV — have reported symptoms like fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Those who have died were elderly or otherwise unwell, according to Chinese officials. No deaths have been reported outside China.
Initially, authorities suspected that the coronavirus — which likely originated at a wholesale seafood market — could spread to humans only from animals but it was later determined that humans could transmit the virus to one another. The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan is. They also recommend that people traveling to China avoid contact with sick people, particularly those with cold symptoms like coughs or runny noses. Travelers are advised to wash their hands frequently with soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. They should refrain from touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Elderly travelers and anyone with preexisting health conditions should consult a doctor before traveling to China.
The CDC said the risk in the United States is still low but they are advising precautions and monitoring the situations. All of the US patients who have tested positive for the virus have been isolated and are recovering. The CDC said 32 people who had contact with the US cases have tested negative for the virus and the agency plans to test more people in the coming days.
2 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Saudi Government Sentences Five To Death in Khashoggi Murder
Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death for the killing of prominent journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Three additional people were sentenced to prison over the brutal October 2018 murder carried out inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, which sparked international outrage. Saudi Arabia has not announced who has been sentenced to death or imprisoned. The CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, but the prince remains a close ally to the U.S. government.
Saudi Arabia has cleared a former top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. There was no evidence against Saud al-Qahtani, Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor Shaalan al-Shaalan announced in a televised press conference. A court also dismissed charges against Ahmed al-Assiri, a former deputy intelligence chief, and Mohammed al-Otaibi, Saudi’s consul general in Istanbul when the murder took place. Al-Qahtani and al-Otaibi were sanctioned a year ago by the US Treasury for their alleged involvement in the murder. Both were part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s inner circle and were relieved of their duties in the immediate aftermath of Khashoggi’s killing.
The Saudi government investigation concluded that the murder was not premeditated and that the perpetrators agreed to kill the journalist when they found it would be too hard to move him to another location. They determined that “there was no prior intention to kill him at the beginning of the mission and the death happened on the spot.” Prosecutors investigated 31 people in relation to the murder of Khashoggi, 21 of whom were arrested. Eleven of the 21 were charged and tried in total secrecy.
UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard called the court rulings “anything but justice” in a series of posts on her official Twitter account. The UN expert previously found “sufficient credible evidence” that called for the Saudi Crown Prince to be investigated. Callamard criticized the court’s conclusion that the killing was not premeditated, citing “the presence of a forensic doctor,” how the “defendants had repeatedly stated they were obeying orders” and how the consul general “took all necessary precautions to ensure there will be no eye witness present. Bottom line: the hit-men are guilty, sentenced to death. The masterminds not only walk free. They have barely been touched by the investigation and the trial. That is the antithesis of Justice. It is a mockery.”
Khashoggi’s son eldest son Salah, who handles the family’s relations with the government, described the ruling as “fair” on Twitter. “A fair judiciary is based on 2 principles: justice and quick proceedings. Today’s judiciary was fair to us, the sons of Jamal Khashoggi. We affirm our confidence in Saudi judiciary on all its levels as it ruled in our favor and achieved justice.” Earlier this year, Salah denied that a settlement had been reached between his family and the Saudi government after a source claimed that Khashoggi’s family have received millions of US dollars in cash and assets as compensation for the killing.
3 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Three Baltimore Men Freed After 36 Years in Prison
Three Baltimore men who spent 36 years in prison were released after authorities say they were falsely convicted of a 1983 murder. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were granted a writ of innocence after being convicted of first-degree murder of a middle school student, DeWitt Duckett. According to police, Duckett, 14, was shot and killed for his coveted Georgetown University basketball jacket in November 1983.
Chestnut has maintained his innocence since his arrest and the parole board denied his early release in part because he refused to admit responsibility for the shooting, the state’s attorney said. After he filed an information request this past spring, he discovered new evidence that was kept from his attorneys during trial. He reached out to Baltimore’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which was reviewing old convictions.
Chestnut and Watkins were 16 at the time of their arrest and Stewart was 17. The three teenagers had been skipping high school classes to visit former teachers at Harlem Park Junior High. Their teachers said they were being “silly,” but not threatening. School security escorted them off campus about half an hour before the murder occurred, according to a joint petition filed by the men and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Watkins lawyer said the three teenagers were each arrested Thanksgiving morning, waking up with police with guns drawn on them. They were convicted based on witness testimony and what prosecutors at the time said was a crucial piece of evidence — a Georgetown jacket found in Chestnut’s bedroom. Chestnut’s jacket had no blood or gunshot residue and his mother was able to produce a receipt. A store clerk also testified that she had purchased it recently, the joint petition said.
Lawyers involved in the case said they were “horrified” to see the amount of exculpatory evidence that was hidden from the defense team and jury. Both the suspects and trial witnesses, all minors, were interrogated by police without their parents. Potential witnesses were interviewed in a group and told to “get their story together,” according to Chestnut’s lawyers. Anonymous calls identifying another shooter were kept from the defense, Mosby said. That teenager was seen after the shooting wearing what appeared to be Duckett’s jacket and confessing to the murder, she said. That suspect has since died and all trial witnesses have since recanted. “We have intentional concealment and misrepresentation of the exculpatory evidence, evidence that would have showed that it was someone else other than these defendants,” Mosby said.
Mosby apologized to the men “I don’t think that today is a victory, it’s a tragedy. And we need to own up to our responsibility for it,” Mosby said. “There’s no way we can repair the damage to these men, when 36 years of their life were stolen from them. You were all arrested on Thanksgiving 1983. Now you are free to spend the holidays with your loved ones for the first time in 36 years,” Mosby said in a press conference. The men are now in their early fifties preparing to enter adulthood on the outside for the first time and at least two have never driven a car before. Now, late in life, they will experience a world very different from the one they were barred from since their teens.
6 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on First Death Linked To Vaping Reported in Illinois
A patient in Illinois is believed to be the first death linked to vaping. Health officials said the patient died after contracting a severe respiratory illness, but did not give details about what the patient was vaping or which device was used. They did not provide details about the patient’s identity, saying only that the person was an adult who had vaped recently and then succumbed to a severe respiratory illness.
This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified nearly 200 possible cases of lung disease linked to vaping in at least 22 states, including 22 cases in Illinois. The Illinois patients range in age from 17 to 38. Illinois state officials are working with local health departments to investigate another 12 individuals. Officials said earlier this week that many patients, most of whom were adolescents or young adults, had described difficulty breathing, chest pain, vomiting and fatigue. The most seriously ill patients have had extensive lung damage that required treatment with oxygen and days on a ventilator. Some are expected to have permanent lung damage.
Many patients have acknowledged vaping of tetrahydrocannabinol, or (T.H.C.), the high-inducing chemical in marijuana, according to statements from federal and state health agencies. Officials still don’t know whether the ailments have been caused by marijuana-type products, e-cigarettes, or some type of street concoction that was vaped, or whether a contaminant or defective device may have been involved.
The F.D.A. does not regulate what ingredients are used in vaping devices. The e-cigarette market has broadened to counterfeiters and a range of devices that can be packed with different substances, including marijuana, but also various flavors and concoctions that may be mixed inexpertly. Some speculate that people are emptying out commercial nicotine pods and filling them up with a combination of T.H.C. oil and other chemicals. Cannabis liquids and oils have become more widely available online and in many stores. The ingredients may not be disclosed at all so unsuspecting consumers may be exposed to a cocktail of hazardous chemicals.
State health departments are handling most investigations into the respiratory illnesses. So far, public health officials have declined to say if they are seeing a pattern that would make clear whether the problematic products are made by mass-market companies or counterfeiters, or whether the inhalants involved are standard to many vaping products or made or mixed by consumers themselves. Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear whether all these cases have a common cause or whether they are different diseases with similar symptoms.
Dozens of young people with an unidentified lung illness have been hospitalized around the country in recent weeks. It’s unclear if the condition is linked to the vaping devices or what the patients were smoking before they became sick. A recent study says that e-cigarettes impact people’s blood vessels after a single use. Officials said they don’t know why a surge of illnesses is surfacing now since various forms of the battery-powered e-cigarette devices have existed for more than a decade. E-cigarettes have grown in popularity over the past decade despite little research on their long-term effects. Millions of Americans use e-cigarettes, with the greatest use among young adults. Lat year, more than 3.6 million U.S. middle and high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, according to the CDC.
8 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Passes A Day After Jon Stewart’s Testimony
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill which would permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the day after comedian Jon Stewart gave impassioned testimony in support of the bill. The bill will now go to the floor for a full vote in the House of Representatives, where it is likely to pass. Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010 and the act was reauthorized in 2015 for 90 years. But a portion of the law — the Victim Compensation Fund — was only funded for five years, through the end of 2020.
The fund aimed to provide necessary financial support for the thousands who suffered serious medical issues, including a spate of cancer diagnoses, after the 2001 attacks. New York City health officials say the number of people who have been diagnosed with 9/11-linked cancers has tripled. Thousands of first responders rushed to the scene of the attacks and in doing so, exposed themselves to toxic debris in the air, including asbestos, lead, and pulverized concrete, which causes silicosis.
Nearly 5,500 first responders and local residents have now been diagnosed with cancers linked to the toxic smoke and dust of 9/11. As of September 2018, 2,000 deaths were attributed to 9/11 related illnesses. By the end of last year, many estimate that more people will have died from toxic exposures than were actually killed in the attack.
The spike in claims has left the VCF at risk of a massive funding shortfall. As a result, future payouts to 9/11 victims and their families may be cut by as much as 70%. The bill that passed the judiciary committee on Wednesday aims to make the VCF permanent and grant additional funding to the bill. A specific amount has not yet been allocated.
At an emotional congressional hearing, Stewart, who has been a longtime advocate for the fund, blasted lawmakers for their inaction ahead of a vote on renewing healthcare funding for 9/11 responders. During his testimony, Stewart became upset several times as he appealed to Congress. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country, and it is a stain on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves, for those that aren’t here. But you won’t be, because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”
Stewart made several points during his passionate speech. “The official FDNY response time to 9/11 was five seconds. Five seconds. That’s how long it took for FDNY, for NYPD, for Port Authority, EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public. Five seconds. Hundreds died in an instant. Thousands more poured in to continue to fight for their brothers and sisters.” He went on to point out that as lawmakers had at first, denied the health issues were caused by the debri left behind the attack and when they no longer could deny it then then said it was a New York issue. “More of these men and women are going to get sick and they are going to die. And I am awfully tired of hearing that it’s a 9/11 New York issue. Al Qaeda didn’t shout “Death to Tribeca.” They attacked America and these men and women and their response to it is what brought our country back. It’s what gave a reeling nation a solid foundation to stand back upon. To remind us of why this country is great, of why this country is worth fighting for. And you are ignoring them.”
11 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on R Kelly Arrested Hours After Tense Interview With Gayle King
R&B singer R. Kelly’s legal troubles seem far from over with Chicago police charging him with failure to pay more than $161,000 in child support owed to his ex-wife Andrea-for their three children. The arrest came just two weeks after he was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault against four women and girls—three of whom were under the age of consent at the time. Prosecutors say three of Kelly’s victims were underage girls and that Kelly abused them over a span of about a dozen years. Kelly was once again released from custody after someone paid his bail three days after his arrest.
His second arrest came just hours after an interview with Gayle King where he became visibly upset and was screaming and cursing. During the interview, which broadcast on ”CBS This Morning,” Kelly again denied the allegations that have followed him for years as well as the more recent allegations that he is holding several young women in what has been described as a sex cult. The 52 year old singer went from tears to yelling throughout the interview as he claims that the accusations are lies. During the tense interview, at times, Kelly jumped from his seat, standing over King as he yelled and pounded on his chest.
- Kelly: “I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me! I’m fighting for my [bleep] life! Y’all are killing me with this [bleep]! I gave y’all 30 years of my [bleep] career!”
Gayle King: “Robert.”
- Kelly: “Thirty years of my career, and y’all are trying to kill me!”
During the interview, when asked about whether he pays child support to his ex-wife, he claimed to only have about $350,000 left in his bank account.
Kelly has faced scrutiny for more than a decade, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at his record sales over the years. He is notably known for his music as much as the allegations involving underage girls. It’s been well-known that Kelly settled four cases involving underage girls before his 2002 indictment. During the six years it took that case to go to trial, Kelly churned out hits like “I Believe I Can Fly,” “I Wish” and “Fiesta”. He was eventually found not guilty and though the allegations were well known, they faded from the publics’ mind as his record sales soared.
Attention to the allegations were reignited in January after the six-part Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” aired. It featured interviews with seven accusers and former members of his inner circle. They all said Kelly preys on vulnerable women and young girls. All of the girls were willing involved with him but were underage at the time. They claim that at the time, they loved him and began their relationships believing they had a special connection but began to realize that he had a sickness.
Gayle King also asked King about the two women that currently live with Kelly, whose parents both claim he has isolated them- abusing and brainwashing their daughters. Aspiring singer Jocelyn Savage, 23, met Kelly when she was just 17 years old and has been living with Kelly since she was 19. She broke off contact with her parents soon after she began living with him. Another aspiring singer, Azriel Clary, 20, also met Kelly when she was 17 years old and she broke off contact soon after moving in with him. In an interview with Gayle King, Clary and Jocelyn defended R. Kelly saying, that their parents are just after money and that they were happy being his girlfriends and living with him. R.Kelly was in the room during the interview.
1 year ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Investigation Reveals 20 Years of Sexual Abuse in Southern Baptist Church
An investigation led by Robert Downen, a Houston Chronicle reporter, reveals 20 years of sexual abuse allegations within the Southern Baptist Church (SBC). The joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News- includes over 700 victims, including many children—some as young as 3 years old. With about 15 million members, the SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the country and the shocking report has prompted calls for investigations into the church and their role in covering up and enabling the abuse.
Three hundred eighty Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers have been accused of rape, abuse and various forms of sexual misconduct. Around 220 of those have been convicted of sex crimes or were given plea deals. Of those 220, 90 remain in prison and 100 are registered sex offenders. The report also found that members of the church pressured some women to get abortions after becoming pregnant as a result of assault, or threatened to shun them from the church.
The investigation comes as other religious bodies, including the Catholic Church, face accusations of widespread sexual abuse of its members, especially children, over decades. The investigation of the SBC began because of Debbie Vasquez, who was 14 years old when she was first molested by the pastor of her church and at 18 she became pregnant with the pastor’s child. In 2008, she and others started asking SBC leadership to track sexual predators and take action against congregations that harbored or concealed abusers but the church’s leaders resisted such reforms. As a result, Lise Olsen, deputy investigations editor at the Chronicle, says the newspaper created its own database of abusers.
Olsen says it was easier for the abuse to stay a secret because of the church’s culture which does not allow women in leadership positions or condone same-sex relationships. She says many of the victims are either young women who are told it’s a sin to have sex before marriage, even if you’re forced to by your pastor or they’re young men who are being forced into homosexual acts with pastors and other leaders, and then are stigmatized. These “purity teachings” leave victims feeling un-empowered to come forward, with some victims losing their faith and even becoming suicidal.
Abusers in religious organizations often don’t just groom victims, they groom communities, preparing them to rise up and protect them. Those who speak out about sexual abuse in authoritarian religious communities are often shamed in an attempt to quiet them with accusations seeking attention or of trying to bring down a godly man. They may be told they’re selfish — indulging in their own pain when they should be paying attention to the pain they are causing others, including the people who will turn away from the church and spend an eternity in hell because of the poor light they’ve portrayed the church in.
Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, who was elected last June, responded to the newspapers’ investigation with a series of tweets: “The abuses described in this @HoustonChron article are pure evil.”
“There can simply be no ambiguity about the church’s responsibility to protect the abused and be a safe place for the vulnerable. The safety of the victims matters more than the reputation of Southern Baptists. As a denomination, now is a time to mourn and repent. Changes are coming. They must. We cannot just promise to ‘do better’ and expect that to be enough. “It’s time for pervasive change, God demands it. Survivors deserve it. We must change how we prepare before abuse (prevention), respond during disclosure (full cooperation with legal authorities), and act after instances of abuse (holistic care).”
1 year ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter Charged With 11 More Crimes
A federal grand jury has filed 19 new charges, including 11 counts of hate crimes resulting in death and two counts of hate crimes involving attempted murder, as well as several others. Robert Bowers, the accused gunman in last year’s mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, now faces 63 criminal counts. The indictment against Bowers cited his online attacks on the Jewish charity HIAS, including posts from the day of the shooting.
On October 27, 2018, eleven Jewish worshipers were shot and killed in what has been described as the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. Bowers, 46, allegedly opened fire on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people and injuring 7 others. He had made anti-Semitic comments on the extremist-friendly social network Gab shortly before the attack. The Tree of Life synagogue housed three congregations and approximately 75 people were inside the building at the time.
As morning services were underway, just before entering, Bowers posted a final message to Gab, once again referencing the conspiracy theory. “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people,” he wrote. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” Bowers entered the synagogue at 9:50am and opened fire. By 9:54am police began receiving multiple calls from people barricaded in the building reporting the attack. Survivors say Bowers was shooting for around 20 minutes and at one point yelled “All Jews must die!”
Police arrived at 9:59 am and Bowers fired on police from the entryway, apparently on his way out of the building. Police returned fire, causing the gunman to retreat into the building. At 10:30 a.m., tactical teams entered the building and exchanged fire with Bowers. Bowers was wounded during the exchange and retreated to a room on the third floor of the synagogue. Two SWAT members were also wounded during the exchange. At 11:08 a.m., the Bowers crawled out of the room and surrendered. Bowers was allegedly armed with three handguns and an AR-15.
In his posts on his Gab profile, Bowers called Jewish people “the children of Satan” and in the days before the shooting, Bowers authored increasingly anti-Semitic posts. On October 10, he posted about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish charity that was hosting charity events for immigrants. One of the events was at the Dor Hadash congregation, which was housed at the Tree of Life synagogue. Bowers accused HIAS and its associated congregations of bringing “hostile invaders to dwell among us.” The claim is part of a white supremacist conspiracy theory that falsely claims Jewish people are trying to promote immigration to make countries less white. Bowers also posted anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi memes. He was charged in federal court that month with dozens of offenses including 11 murder charges. Bowers had previously pled not guilty to the charges against him in October. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.
1 year ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Four Charged With Plotting To Attack Islamic Community In NY
Three men and a teen were arrested for allegedly plotting to attack Islamberg, a small predominantly Muslim community near Binghamton, New York. Brian Colaneri, 20, Vincent Vetromile, 19, Andrew Crysel, 18, were arrested along with a 16-year-old in connection to the alleged plot. The suspects were said to be in possession of multiple improvised explosive devices and firearms, and were charged with criminal possession of a weapon and conspiracy.
Police uncovered the plot when the 16-year-old boy was reported to police in Greece, New York, for making a lunchroom comment. He allegedly showed another student a photo of a schoolmate who, he told others, looked “like the next school shooter.” While interviewing the boy about the comment he made investigators were told that he was allegedly working with three men to attack Islamberg. Greece Police Chief Patrick D. Phelan said “The initial investigation was about the comment made by the student and then our investigation took us to this plot that we had no idea about. I don’t know that there was a specific date. They had a plan in place,” Phelan said.
Phelan told reporters that three improvised explosive devices in the shape of mason jars wrapped in duct tape were found at the home of the juvenile. “They were homemade bombs with various items – black powder, BBs, nails, inside a container,” Phelan said. The bombs are currently being examined by the FBI to see if they would have been capable of detonating. Police searched five locations and seized 23 weapons and numerous electronic devices, including phones and computers. Some of the guns were owned by the suspects and others were owned by family members but the suspects had access to them.
Colaneri, Vetromile and Crysel are each charged with three counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree and one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree. Information about the 16 year old was not released by police due to his age. Phelan credited the students who reported the lunchroom comment with saving lives. “If they had carried out this plot, which every indication is that they were going to, people would have died,” the chief said. “I don’t know how many and who, but people would have died.”
Islamberg is a rural community in Delaware County that is operated by The Muslims of America, an indigenous American Muslim organization based in the U.S. It was settled by followers of Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarik Gilani in the 1970s to escape crime and crowding in New York City. It’s a gated community with dirt roads and several dozen small homes in New York’s Catskills Mountains. There are 200 or so members of the community, where children are home-schooled and residents worship at a mosque built on the 70-acre property. Police and analysts have dismissed accusations that the community is a terrorist training ground, but the claims have persisted for decades.
This is not the first time Islamberg has been the target of an alleged hate crime plot. In 2017, a Tennessee man was convicted on federal charges for what authorities called plans to burn down Islamberg’s mosque in 2015. Robert Doggart, now 67, is serving a 20 year sentence in federal prison. Doggart was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in April 2015 after saying in wiretapped telephone calls that he planned to recruit a militia and travel to Islamberg for an attack. While there, he intended to “carry out an armed attack” that included burning down a mosque or “blowing it up with a Molotov cocktail or other explosive device.” The wiretaps also recorded him saying “I don’t want to have to kill children, but there’s always collateral damage.”