‘An American construction worker who was arrested with a 40-inch sword, a pistol and night-vision goggles in northwestern Pakistan told investigators Tuesday that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden to avenge the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Gary Brooks Faulkner, 50 years old, of Greeley, Colo., was caught by Pakistani police Monday in the remote Bumburat Valley near the border of Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, where he apparently hoped to find Mr. bin Laden.
Police quoted Mr. Faulkner as saying he wanted to avenge the victims of the attacks on New York and Washington. He was carrying Christian religious books, according to Mumtaz Ahmed Khan, a senior police officer in the northwestern town of Chitral. [..]
Dr. Faulkner said his brother also brought wire ties to use as handcuffs on Mr. bin Laden. He said that if Mr. Faulkner, who must undergo dialysis three times a week, killed or captured Mr. bin Laden, he planned to use his reward money to retire to Nicaragua, where he would help locals build houses.’
‘James Robinson is a retired Air National Guard brigadier general and a commercial pilot for a major airline who flies passenger planes around the country.
Eight-year-old James Robinson isn’t sure what “terrorist” means, but he’s on the government list, too.
He has even been certified by the Transportation Security Administration to carry a weapon into the cockpit as part of the government’s defense program should a terrorist try to commandeer a plane.
But there’s one problem: James Robinson, the pilot, has difficulty even getting to his plane because his name is on the government’s terrorist “watch list.”
That means he can’t use an airport kiosk to check in; he can’t do it online; he can’t do it curbside. Instead, like thousands of Americans whose names match a name or alias used by a suspected terrorist on the list, he must go to the ticket counter and have an agent verify that he is James Robinson, the pilot, and not James Robinson, the terrorist.
“Shocking’s a good word; frustrating,” Robinson — the pilot — said. “I’m carrying a weapon, flying a multimillion-dollar jet with passengers, but I’m still screened as, you know, on the terrorist watch list.”‘
‘A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation. [..]
Hamlin, 37, said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.
The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin’s chest, the Dallas-area resident said.
Hamlin said she told the woman she was wearing nipple piercings. The agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the jewelry, Hamlin said.
Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked whether she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out, she said.’
‘An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.
The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam’s regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.
The new study of the Iraqi regime’s archives found no documents indicating a “direct operational link” between Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report. [..]
Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed in September 2002 that the United States had “bulletproof” evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam’s secular dictatorship.’
‘For law enforcement, fear and the politics of fear have entwined to create a radical new paradigm. Even the term “law enforcement” has been rendered quaint by the Bush administration. These days, the term of art is “lawfare” — the confluence of police work and military tactics. With Joint Terrorism Task Forces set up across the country to coordinate the work of federal agencies and local cops, the FBI now devotes nearly two-thirds of its resources — some $4 billion — to waging war on terrorism. The approach today is not the traditional police work of investigating actual crimes but the far more slippery goal of preventing terrorist attacks before they occur.
To hear the Bush administration tell it, the JTTFs have been an unqualified success. [..]
But a closer inspection of the cases brought by JTTFs reveals that most of the prosecutions had one thing in common: The defendants posed little if any demonstrable threat to anyone or anything. According to a study by the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law, only ten percent of the 619 “terrorist” cases brought by the federal government have resulted in convictions on “terrorism-related” charges — a category so broad as to be meaningless. In the past year, none of the convictions involved jihadist terror plots targeting America. “The government releases selective figures,” says Karen Greenberg, director of the center. “They have never even defined ‘terrorism.’ They keep us in the dark over statistics.”‘
‘POLICE are stepping up the heat on potential terrorists by seeking access to “tens of thousands” of closed circuit television cameras.
Police will store every NSW camera location in a central database so that terrorists and other criminal activity can be speedily tracked.
Owners of large and small businesses who have installed CCTV cameras in customer areas or outside their premises will be asked to register them with police.
The information will be used to create a map of CCTV locations, allowing police to quickly source footage showing suspects and crimes.’
‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.
Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7″ and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.
Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.’
‘An Iraqi soldier has opened fire on American troops, killing two and wounding three others, US and Iraqi officials have said.
The incident happened during a joint patrol in the north on 26 December, but fuller details have only now emerged.
An Iraqi general said the patrol had come under fire from gunmen in the city of Mosul, but his soldier had “abused” the situation and shot the Americans. [..]
He said the Iraqi serviceman had been “an insurgent infiltrator”. He was arrested and is being questioned.’
‘Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.
The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.
The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.
A check of federal court records in California did not reveal any prosecutions developed from falafel trails.’
‘London’s police force was found guilty Thursday of endangering the public during a frantic manhunt for four failed suicide bombers that led to the killing of an innocent Brazilian man on a subway train [..]
The manhunt unfolded with the British capital already on edge after four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters two weeks earlier.
The officers watching the building trailed Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, out of the apartments, suspecting he was one of the bombers. They followed him onto two buses, into a subway station and finally into a train. There, officers, believing he was a bomber, shot him seven times at close range in front of morning commuters.
On Thursday, a jury found police guilty of breaking health and safety laws. Judge Richard Henriques ordered the Metropolitan Police to pay a total of $2.1 million for breakdowns in the operation.’
‘Researchers who launched an experimental cyber attack caused a generator to self-destruct, alarming the government and electrical industry about what might happen if such an attack were carried out on a larger scale, CNN has learned. [..]
Sources familiar with the experiment said the same attack scenario could be used against huge generators that produce the country’s electric power.
Some experts fear bigger, coordinated attacks could cause widespread damage to electric infrastructure that could take months to fix. [..]
In a previously classified video of the test CNN obtained, the generator shakes and smokes, and then stops.
DHS acknowledged the experiment involved controlled hacking into a replica of a power plant’s control system. Sources familiar with the test said researchers changed the operating cycle of the generator, sending it out of control.’
‘About a hundred times a day, from anywhere in the world, a phone call comes in that sounds something like this: I think I’ve got a terrorist suspect here, can you check it out?
Answering those calls are dozens of operations specialists in a highly secure center in a classified location in northern Virginia. With access to the government’s secret terror watch list, their job is to make sure nobody on the list falls through the cracks.
CNN got a firsthand look inside the Terrorist Screening Center recently — but not until a security officer who accompanied the TV crew at all times bellowed to the hub of the center’s operation, “Unsecure!” to make sure any classified information was protected from view.
For the first time publicly, officials told CNN the consolidated watch list has 300,000 names.’
‘Toilet paper dust caused a Southwest Airlines flight to make an unexpected landing in New Orleans on Friday. According to spokeswoman Mary Lee, a passenger noticed the white substance in the bathroom of a flight from Tampa to Las Vegas.
The pilot thought the threat was enough to land the plane as soon as possible; New Orleans’ Armstrong International Airport happened to be closest.
All passengers were taken off the plane, and inspectors determined that the substance was just dust from toilet paper. ‘
‘Australian comedians from the tv show “The Chasers War on Everthing” make a mockery of APEC security when they are able to drive right through all the checkpoints and get Osama to George W Bush’s Hotel using a fake Canada motorcade.’
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‘Six years after the September 11 attacks on the United States and the subsequent “war on terror”, more than nine out of 10 Americans believe they will be attacked again on US soil.
And 81 per cent of Americans considered the plane hijackings that killed about 3000 people the most significant historical event of their lives, according to a poll released today.
Ninety per cent of people on the east coast – had this view compared to 75 per cent on the west coast.’
‘Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many Americans have believed that the events of that horrible day changed the United States forever. Each year that has gone by has seen an increase in the number who believe those changes have not been good for the nation.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans now believe that the events of six years ago changed America for the worse. That’s an increase from 54% a year ago. Just 21% believe that the nation has changed for the better because of that tragedy.’
Maybe it’s Osama who needs a big “Mission Accomplished” banner.
‘Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers sued NASA and the California Institute of Technology on Thursday, challenging extensive new background checks that the space exploration center and other federal agencies began requiring in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The lawsuit says NASA is violating the Constitution by calling on employees – everyone from janitors to visiting professors – to permit investigators to delve into medical, financial and past employment records, and to question friends and acquaintances about everything from their finances to sex lives. Those who refuse could lose their jobs, the suit says.
“They don’t tell you what they’re looking for, they don’t tell you when they’re looking for it, they won’t tell us what they’re doing with the data,” said plaintiff Susan Foster, a technical writer and editor at JPL for nearly 40 years.’
‘The Americans were getting close. It was early in the winter of 2004-05, and Osama bin Laden and his entourage were holed up in a mountain hideaway along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Suddenly, a sentry, posted several kilometers away, spotted a patrol of U.S. soldiers who seemed to be heading straight for bin Laden’s redoubt. The sentry radioed an alert, and word quickly passed among the Qaeda leader’s 40-odd bodyguards to prepare to remove “the Sheik,” as bin Laden is known to his followers, to a fallback position. As Sheik Said, a senior Egyptian Qaeda operative, later told the story, the anxiety level was so high that the bodyguards were close to using the code word to kill bin Laden and commit suicide. According to Said, bin Laden had decreed that he would never be captured. “If there’s a 99 percent risk of the Sheik’s being captured, he told his men that they should all die and martyr him as well,” Said told Omar Farooqi, a Taliban liaison officer to Al Qaeda who spoke to a NEWSWEEK reporter in Afghanistan.’
‘Taliban fanatics terrorised the wife of an RAF officer by phoning her and saying: “You’ll never see your husband alive — we have just killed him.”
Rebels in Afghanistan are targeting British forces’ families with hate calls after tapping into Our Boys’ mobile phones.
The tearful wife rang the RAF fearing the worst after receiving the midnight call — and was told her husband was safe and well.
But the Taliban calls are a sick new plot to destroy morale, and British forces in Afghanistan have now been BANNED from using mobiles.
Army chiefs believe extremists are using sophisticated eavesdropping equipment to trace home numbers when forces call their loved ones in Britain.’
‘President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.
Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy. [..]
The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.’
‘International terrorism and the threat to Britain from Al-Qaeda would probably be deemed by most as unlikely subject matter for a musical.
After all, suicide bombing, mass bloodshed and fundamental Islam do not exactly lend themselves to singing and dancing.
But Jihad the Musical by the Silk Circle Production company has forged on regardless and is already being performed on stage at the Edinburgh Festival.
The controversial satire about Islamic terrorism includes such classic tunes as “Building a bomb today, what does the manual say” and “I wanna be like Osama”.’
‘Ministers insisted that British secret agents would only be allowed to pass intelligence to the CIA to help it capture Osama bin Laden if the agency promised he would not be tortured, it has emerged.
MI6 believed it was close to finding the al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan in 1998, and again the next year. The plan was for MI6 to hand the CIA vital information about Bin Laden. Ministers including Robin Cook, the then foreign secretary, gave their approval on condition that the CIA gave assurances he would be treated humanely. The plot is revealed in a 75-page report by parliament’s intelligence and security committee on rendition, the practice of flying detainees to places where they may be tortured.
The report criticises the Bush administration’s approval of practices which would be illegal if carried out by British agents. It shows that in 1998, the year Bin Laden was indicted in the US, Britain insisted that the policy of treating prisoners humanely should include him. But the CIA never gave the assurances.’
‘A new bungle has emerged in the investigation of Mohamed Haneef as Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty yesterday dimissed reports that the Indian doctor was suspected of being involved in a plot to attack the Gold Coast’s tallest building.
The Australian can reveal that investigating AFP officers wrote the names of overseas terror suspects in Dr Haneef’s personal diary, only to later grill him during an interrogation over whether he had written the potentially incriminating notes. [..]
Sergeant Simms states: “Now, as I was alluding to, or as I was going to show you, before … police who have been looking through your diary have found some handwritten notes in the back of your diary. And one of these handwritten notes is details for Kafeel Ahmed. Telephone numbers and looks like an address. A couple of addresses. Now, that writing there, is that your writing?”
When Dr Haneef again denies it is his writing, Sergeant Simms leaves the room. He returns and says: “Thought that might have been the case. In fact, it’s not. This is what’s been written by police. So it’s not your handwriting at all.”‘
This woman is absolutely terrified of clowns. I s’pose it’s better than pickles.
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‘America’s first Muslim congressman has provoked outrage by apparently comparing President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler and hinting that he might have been responsible for the September 11 attacks.
Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler’s later seizure of emergency powers.
“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Mr Ellison said. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”‘
‘The nation’s top anti-drug official said people need to overcome their “reefer blindness” and see that illicit marijuana gardens are a terrorist threat to the public’s health and safety, as well as to the environment.
John P. Walters, President Bush’s drug czar, said the people who plant and tend the gardens are terrorists who wouldn’t hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties. Walters made the comments at a Thursday press conference that provided an update on the “Operation Alesia” marijuana-eradication effort. [..]
“These people are armed; they’re dangerous,” he said. He called them “violent criminal terrorists.”‘
‘Air travelers in Canada who make comments about bombs and guns will from now on only be arrested if it is clear they are making a serious threat, officials said on Wednesday.
The Canadian Air Transport Safety Authority, trying to clamp down on screeners who alert police every time they hear alarming words, has issued a bulletin urging staff to show more discretion. [..]
Brigitte Caron, a spokeswoman for the authority, compared the new system to handing out yellow warning cards in soccer. A player can receive one yellow card and still stay in the game.’
‘Metallica singer James Hetfield was investigated by UK airport officials who believed he was a terrorist this week, it has been claimed. The star was barred entry to Luton airport on Thursday and questioned by staff who were concerned about his appearance. Fears that Hetfield might be involved in terrorism were apparently founded on his “Taliban-like beard”, according to The Times. He was allowed to leave the airport after a brief interrogation, when he persuaded officials that he was a rock star. [..]‘
‘Federal inspectors were able to slip a fake bomb through a checkpoint at Albany International Airport during a test of the facility’s Transportation Security Administration screeners, according to individuals familiar with the incident.
The unannounced inspection by TSA officials took place early last week. The airport’s security measures failed in five of seven tests, most of the problems occurring at the passenger checkpoint, the sources said.
In one test, TSA inspectors hid the components of a fake bomb in carry-on luggage that also contained a bottle of water. Passengers are prohibited from carrying containers holding more than three ounces of liquids, gels or aerosols through airport checkpoints.’