Friday, December 25, 2009

Danger: Nigerian On Board

MSNBC - A Nigerian man claiming ties to al-Qaida tried to light a powder aboard a commercial jetliner before it landed Friday in Detroit in what senior U.S. officials called an attempted act of terrorism.

“He appears to have had some kind of incendiary device he tried to ignite,” a senior U.S. official told NBC News. Other officials said the explosive device was a mixture of powder and liquid, which failed when the passenger tried to detonate it during the plane’s descent into Detroit International Airport.

Two people noticed the attempted attack, and a third person jumped on the man and subdued him, an airline official told NBC News. The man was being treated at the burn unit of the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, officials said.

Federal officials identified the man as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, of Nigeria, who was traveling one way, without a return ticket.

Rep. Peter King of New York, the senior Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, who was briefed on the incident, said Abdulmutallab was known in federal counterterrorism files and may have been on the government’s list of suspicious passengers banned from flying in the United States.

King said the incident raised troubling questions about airline security. “It must be looked into” how Mudallad was able to sneak a “somewhat sophisticated device” on board, he said.

Abdulmutallab told investigators that he wanted to set off a bomb over the United States and claimed to be connected to al-Qaida, the terrorism network responsible for the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, counterterrorism officials said.

A counterterrorism official said Abdulmutallab, who was subdued by the crew of Northwest Air Lines Flight 253 from Amsterdam, left Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday and boarded the flight in Amsterdam on Friday.

The timing of the attempted attack could be significant. It was eight years ago this week that a similar attempted attack was launched by a British member of al-Qaida who tried to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami by igniting explosives in his shoes. And the attempted attack comes on the same day that the Taliban released a video of a U.S. soldier it is holding captive in Afghanistan.

News organizations, including, initially reported that the government had raised the terrorism alert for flights after the incident. Those reports were inaccurate; the flight alert had been at orange before the incident.

Out Of My Way Hebrew

Jerusalem Post - dispute is rumbling between Israel and the US Consulate in Jerusalem after a US diplomatic car allegedly tried running over a Defense Ministry security guard recently at an IDF checkpoint in the West Bank. The car had been stopped after the occupants refused to present identification papers.

Israel is also furious that one of the consulate cars was found to have transported a Palestinian without permits between Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The identification of American diplomats from the consulate at IDF checkpoints has been a major sticking point for several years.

In January 2008, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria filed complaints with the Foreign Ministry after both US Security Coordinator Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton and then-consul-general Jacob Walles refused to roll down their windows or open their car doors and show identification papers at a checkpoint.

However, Israel's ire reached a new level after an incident on November 13 in which a five-car convoy of consulate vehicles with diplomatic plates arrived at the Gilboa crossing.

According to a detailed official Israel Police description of the incident obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post, the drivers refused to identify themselves or open a window or door. The drivers, according to the report, purposely blocked the crossing, tried running over one of the Israeli security guards stationed there and made indecent gestures at female guards.

The entire incident was documented by cameras at the crossing.

Following the incident, the head of the police's Security Department, Lt.-Cmdr. Meir Ben-Yishai, convened a meeting on November 18 at police headquarters in Jerusalem with the regional security officer at the consulate, Tim Laas. Also present were officials from the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, and the regional security officer at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Dan Power.

According to a protocol of the meeting, obtained by the Post, Ben-Yishai said he assumed the drivers of the consulate vehicles had received permission to act the way they had. He said that in the future, if a diplomatic car did not stop and identify its passengers "immediately," it would not be allowed to pass the checkpoint.

Ben-Yishai described additional violations by consulate workers, and referred to at least one case in which a female Palestinian without appropriate documentation was found in a diplomatic car. Defense officials told the Post that there had been other similar cases in the past.

"We view this as an attempt to illegally transfer someone," Ben-Yishai said, according to the official police protocol.

Ben-Yishai also said the drivers of the cars, from east Jerusalem, hid their Israeli identity cards and put stickers over their names on their consulate-issued identity cards, since, as they claimed, "they are in a diplomatic vehicle and cannot be touched."

He added that police had filed a complaint with the Foreign Ministry and were conducting their own investigation to identify the driver who had tried running over the Israeli security guard.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Welcome To Primeval Screams

Find yourself a chair, kick back, and let out your best Primeval Scream.