New revelations about the failed Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 continue to emerge as does evidence of a systematic cover-up. With the White House in crisis mode since the attempted bombing, President Obama met for two hours January 5 with top security and intelligence officials. Obama said that secret state agencies "had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot ... but that intelligence officials had 'failed to connect those dots',"
The Underwear Bomber case indicates that whoever is behind these bomb scares is laughing at our gullibility. How realistic is it that al-Qaida, an organization that allegedly pulled off the most fantastic terror attack in world history, would in these days of heightened security choose for an attack on an airliner a person who is the most conspicuous of all? Umar Farouk Mutallab had a one-way ticket, no luggage, no passport, and his father, reportedly a CIA and Mossad asset, had reported him to the CIA and Mossad. Does anyone really believe that al-Qaida would choose as an airliner bomber a person waving every red flag imaginable? Obvious questions about the Underwear Bomber have escaped the US media, which is now little more than a marketing aid for full body scanning machines for airports.
A financial scandal has erupted that implicates Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in efforts to conceal the funneling of $62 billion in taxpayer funds to 16 large banks as part of the government bailout of the insurance giant American International Group (AIG).
Dozens of people have died in house fires in the southern US, a consequence of the severe cold weather of the past two weeks and the dilapidated and hazardous housing stock in the region. In the worst fire, nine people died, including six young children.
Post-9/11 arbitrariness and blind revenge by the USA lay behind acts of counter-vengeance by Al-Qaeda and likeminded groups, the latest of which was the attempt by a Nigerian man to bomb an American airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. ”What was the post-9/11 madness but blind revenge? What were the lockups at Guantanamo but revenge? What is joining Al-Qaeda but revenge? Is revenge a legitimate response to an attack on America? Why isn't it equally appropriate for those who have suffered sadistic American brutality?”
In the South Pacific, I found a case study in modern censorship, as Fiji’s three-year-old military government collides with a once free local press, an emerging blogging culture and an ambivalent international community. Some basic facts are contested, but it is clear that free expression in Fiji is under intense pressure, in a sharp departure from Fijian cultural and political tradition. I talked over email with journalist and media academic Shailendra Singh, based in capital of Suva, about the future of free expression in Fiji.
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