Patterico's Pontifications


UK Times: Abdulmutallab is a 9/11 Defender (Updated)

Filed under: Air Security,Terrorism — DRJ @ 8:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Northwest Flight #253 terrorist suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — the son of a Yemeni mother and one of the richest men in Africa — is a 9/11 Defender.


UPDATE — From The Sun: Is Abdulmutallab the first of many?

“COPS fear that 25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners.

The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen.

It was there London-educated Umar Abdulmutallab, 23, prepared for his Christmas Day bid to blow up a US jet.

The British extremists in Yemen are in their early 20s and from Bradford, Luton and Leytonstone, East London.

They are due to return to the UK early in 2010 and will then await internet instructions from al-Qaeda on when to strike.

A Scotland Yard source said: “The great fear is Abdulmutallab is the first of many ready to attack planes and kill tens of thousands.”

Fortunately the UK is monitoring them. Unfortunately the US probably isn’t, so will we stop them from getting US visas like Abdulmutallab?

What a Difference a Day Makes

Filed under: Air Security,Obama — DRJ @ 8:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As a Presidential candidate and as America’s newly elected President, Barack Obama’s agenda for airline security was clear and consistent:

Improve Airline Security: Barack Obama believes we must redouble our efforts to determine if the measures implemented since 9/11 are adequately addressing the threats our nation continues to face from airplane-based terrorism. Airline passengers are still not screened against a comprehensive terrorist watch list. Such a list must be developed and used in a way that safeguards passengers’ privacy while ensuring the safety of air travel.”

Look what happened to Obama’s airline security goals sometime after Inauguration Day:

Improve Airline Security: Redouble our efforts to adequately address the threats our nation continues to face from airplane-based terrorism.”

Hope and Change is so much easier when you don’t have to actually implement your platform.


Iranian Protests Turn Violent (Updated)

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 6:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The LA Times reports renewed protests in Iran may have resulted in 9 deaths, including the nephew of opposition leader Mir-Hussein Mousavi:

“Opposition websites reported as many as nine people killed in Tehran and the western city of Tabriz on Sunday during Ashura, a commemoration of the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad. Officials put the death toll at five.

Among those allegedly shot dead by government security forces or allied militias was Ali Habibi-Mousavi, described by websites as the nephew of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi.”

Officials denied shooting protesters and instead blamed the violence on “mysterious” forces. A photo at the link shows a protester facing government forces. It is eerily reminiscent of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest photos.

Opposition cleric Mehdi Karoubi, who came in fourth in recent elections, condemned “this religious system that it orders the killing of innocent people during the holy day of Ashura.” And just yesterday in a Der Spiegel article, Iranian Ayatollah Mohsen Kadivar — currently a visiting professor at Duke University — said the recent death of opposition leader Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri would strengthen his followers’ resolve:

SPIEGEL: Montazeri succeeded in recent months in uniting the religious and secular wings of the opposition. Has his death weakened the dissident movement?

Kadivar: The exact opposite is true. The mourning will actually strengthen the opposition’s determination. The Shiite Ashura (a religious holiday to take place on Sunday), which is symbolically about justice, will provide a further boost for the protest. The authorities are not able to ban this ceremony, which coincides with the seventh day after Montazeri’s death.

Today’s news supports Kadivar’s analysis. While Kadivar does not rule out a “peaceful reform” of the Iranian state, he says the next step is “open rebellion” and he is “convinced the regime will collapse.” I’ll conclude with Kadivar’s advice to Western nations:

SPIEGEL: Can the West do anything to support a democratic reform process?

Kadivar: The tightening of sanctions is not the right path ahead. They affect the people more than the government. A military attack is something I categorically reject. Perhaps Western countries should stop treating Ahmadinejad’s government as the legitimate government of Iran. Otherwise, I think the reforms must be pushed forward from inside the country.”


UPDATE: Two days after it started, President Obama finally responded to the Iranian uprising — but only as an afterthought during his Hawaii press conference on the Northwest Flight 253 terrorist attack. Charles Krauthammer says This is a moment in history, and he’s missing it.“

DNC Vandal Gets Probation

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Colorado Democratic Party headquarters was vandalized — 11 windows were broken with a hammer — during last August’s Democratic National Convention in Denver. The vandals, who tried to make it look like conservatives were responsible by leaving an anti-Obamacare poster at the scene, had the back luck of getting caught in the act. He was subsequently ID’d as Maurice Schwenkler aka Ariel Attack, a 24-year-old transgender anarchist and member of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross.

The Denver Post has an update on Schwenkler:

“Activist Maurice Joseph Schwenkler, 24, pleaded guilty today [12/21/2009] to a second-degree misdemeanor for smashing windows at the Colorado Democratic Party headquarters last summer.

He received one year of probation and was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution for the Aug. 25 incident at the party headquarters at 8th Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, according to the Denver District Attorney’s office.

Schwenkler and an accomplice, who was never identified, took a hammer to 11 plate-glass windows. Police caught them in the act and Schwenkler was arrested.”

Anarchists and the gay, lesbian and transgender protest group ‘Denver Bash Back’ supported Schwenkler and raised money for his bail and defense. I’m not sure what the Colorado Democratic Party’s position was on the vandalism or sentence. CDP Chairwoman Pat Waak was quick to blame conservatives when it occurred … until Schwenkler’s name came up on lists of Obama contributors and Democratic get-out-the-vote workers. However, I couldn’t find any reference at the CDP website when I searched “Schwenkler,” “Schewenkler” or “Ariel.”


Obama On Airline Security (Updated x2)

Filed under: Air Security,Obama — DRJ @ 2:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to protect Americans by improving airline security:

Improve Airline Security:

Barack Obama believes we must redouble our efforts to determine if the measures implemented since 9/11 are adequately addressing the threats our nation continues to face from airplane-based terrorism. Airline passengers are still not screened against a comprehensive terrorist watch list. Such a list must be developed and used in a way that safeguards passengers’ privacy while ensuring the safety of air travel.”

It looks to me like nothing has changed in the 11 months President Obama has been in office, despite the fact that he said the watch list was a problem before the election. If it’s Bush’s fault that he didn’t foresee 9/11, why isn’t it Obama’s fault that apparently little or nothing has been done to correct the watch list Obama said was a problem even before he was elected?

This isn’t a partisan issue. People from every nation and of every political persuasion travel on American airlines. When it comes to national security issues like this, I expect the Obama Administration to follow through on the promises that got Obama elected.

I also expect Obama to talk to the American people about a terrorist event that occurred over American soil. Talk is the one thing Obama is good at and I don’t care if he’s on vacation. Why isn’t he talking about one of the biggest, and potentially most deadly, terrorist events to occur on his watch?


UPDATE: ABC News says Obama is “likely” to talk about Flight 253 “in the next few days” but he is hesitant:

There is a sense in the administration that the President needs to walk a fine line in his response. Responding immediately could perhaps increase the value of such attacks – even those that are unsuccessful – and encourage other would-be terrorists.

Asked about the President’s mood during what was supposed a “news-free” vacations, an aide said Mr. Obama is doing is best to “recharge his batteries” but stressed that the President is very concerned about what is going on in the world and is actively engaged at all levels.”

Surely Obama doesn’t really believe that terrorism was all-about-Bush and the attacks would stop once he took office? This sounds like he could believe that, but there are no magic words that will make terrorism go away.

UPDATE 2: The New York Times reports:

“President Obama ordered a review of the two major planks of the aviation security system—the creation of watch lists and the use of detection equipment at airport checkpoints.”

As set forth above, candidate Obama’s complete airline security platform was to develop and implement an improved terrorist watch list. Why does it take a terrorist event for Obama to act on his one and only aviation security proposal?

Northwest bomb plot: Better to keep Obama quiet?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:36 am

[Posted by Karl]

NRO’s Jim Geraghty faults Pres. Obama’s silence in the wake of the thwarted attempted terror bombing of Northwest flight 253 over Detroit:

At some point, a strategy insisting that unsuccessful attacks are not worth presidential comment starts looking like whistling past the graveyard, or pretending that the incidents aren’t a big deal when they are.

Geraghty linked The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, who suggested the silence is a strategy designed to avoid giving Fahrenheit 9/11-esque fodder to his critics.

Ambinder may have a point. Had the entire administration been able to remain silent, its supporters would have found (as non-supporter Patrick Ruffini did) that Pres. George W. Bush did not make a statement after Richard Reid’s thwarted shoe-bombing in 2001. Indeed, lefties could have reverted to blaming the Bush administration for not plugging known security holes in the system.

But the entire Obama administration did not have the luxury of remaining silent. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s comment that “the system worked” not only blunts any attempt to blame the Bush administration, but is so at variance with the facts that it will promote the idea that the administration’s terrorism policy is based on magical thinking.

Indeed, as Erick Erickson points out, the failed attack on Northwest flight 253 was attempted by a man of wealth, privilege and education — directly contrary to Pres. Obama’s rhetoric that terrorism is spawned by poverty and ignorance. That is as good a reason as any for Obama to stay mum about the failed attack. As Mark Twain once observed, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”


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