A diary that was on the rec list for several hours today right now claims that a North Carolina teen is being held without the usual legal rights in a bomb threat case. According to this story in Wired, the arrest did happen, but the claims of the boy being charged under the Patriot Act are false. Follow after the jump for details.
The arrest of the teenager is real enough. FBI agents investigating a February 15 bomb hoax that evacuated the mechanical engineering building at Purdue University traced the phone call to the juvenile’s Oxford, North Carolina home, served his mother with a search warrant and arrested the teen. They issued a press release about it, omitting the suspect’s name. That was on March 5, and he’s been held without bail in Indiana ever since.
The claim that the boy is a victim of USA PATRIOT, though, appears to have been cut from whole cloth. While there’s plenty to criticize in that post-9/11 law, it doesn’t contain any provision that abrogates a defendant’s right to a trial. It’s also not responsible for making it illegal to phone in a bomb threat. That’s been a federal crime since 1939.
The boy’s mother, Annette Lundeby, has even acknowledged in interviews that her son has been formally charged, has a court-appointed attorney, and has already made appearances in front of a judge. No military tribunals here. On Alex Jones, Lundeby seemed to more-or-less admit that the USA PATRIOT connection was something she dreamed up on her own.
The boy may have indeed been framed, as his mother claims, and it seems like overkill to have put him in prison several states away (!) for an alleged bomb threat, but the USA Patriot Act isn't the issue.
I hate the USA Patriot Act as much as anyone, but it isn't a factor in this case.
UPDATE 1: Thanks for putting this on the rec list.
UPDATE 2: A commenter posted this link to a Wired article that sheds light on somewhat compelling reasons why this boy has been denied bail.
The case came to a head the night of March 5, when Tyrone [the accused boy's internet handle] made a series of rapid-fire bomb threats against five different schools around the United States. Bennett recorded the calls.
"This is a warning to every staff, student and anybody else who may be in the school tomorrow afternoon at 11:00 a.m.," the caller is heard saying in a voicemail message for Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas.
"There are twelve bombs located throughout the entire campus at the school," the caller continues (.mp3). "They are in random lockers throughout the school — I will not tell you which lockers they are located in. There are also two in the bathroom and there is one in the gym. You have exactly one hour after 11:00 a.m. to find and disarm the bombs. That is all I have to say. All will be cleansed."
After leaving similar threats with four other schools, Tyrone gives listeners his e-mail address and asks for PayPal donations. Then he promises more calls in the morning. "I’m going to go to bed so I can fucking wake up at 6:00 in the morning and I’m going to cancel about eight or nine schools maybe," he says. "You guys have fun missing school tomorrow."