All Articles Tagged "terrorism"
(AJC) — Bags, yes. Pockets, sure. Shoes, OK. But afros? Hairstylist Isis Brantley of Dallas said she can’t believe she was chased down this week at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport so that her afro-styled hair could be checked for weapons. The 53-year-old woman told KXAS-TV in Texas that she was halfway to her gate to catch an American Airlines flight to Dallas when she started hearing shouts.
Several videos have emerged depicting several members of Nigerian extremist group, Boko Haram preparing for suicide attacks. The videos are startling, particularly those of a Mohammed Abul Barra, the young man who is believed to be responsible for the August 26th bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.
The videos obtained come as concern intensifies over whether links have formed between Haram and al-Qaeda’s North African branch. Both videos include speeches that last approximately 25 minutes from the alleged UN bomber. However, the videos have yet to be verified. Although, the group has been targeting symbols of Nigerian importance, the videos show a more international touch, with interviews being given in both Arabic and the native Nigerian Hausa language.
Another faction of the sect, Mamman Nur, allegedly responsible for Saturday’s killing of Babakura Fugu (who was related to a killed Boko Haram leader), who was shot after meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Many believe that Fugu’s killing was a sacrifice for the peace process.
General Carter F. Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command has warned of the possible threat of pan-African al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network that is capable of endangering Western interests across the continent.
It is has also been suggested that al-Qaeda affiliate in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM may be supplying personnel, weapons and training to Boko Haram. Nigerian intelligence experts were tipped off about a possible partnership when Boko Haram’s operations became more aggressive and sophisticated, alluding to the groups recent turn to car suicide bombings. In the capital, the group bombed a crowded market on New Year’s Eve followed by an attack on a beer garden in May. Hundreds of civilians have been killed this year in more than 70 attacks, the vast majority of them occurring in the northern region.
“At this point we have so little evidence of a link between Boko Haram and AQIM. I think we have to be really careful about how we talk about this new phase from Boko Haram. Obviously it’s a worrying sign, but I’d want to see evidence before I was convinced of cooperation,” Andrew Lebovich, an expert on AQIM at the New America Foundation stated.
However, there is no concrete evidence, so experts can’t identify if Haram’s recent antics are solely al-Qaeda influenced. Although, the assumption is not that farfetched with al-Qaeda’s presence being felt in Algeria, Mali, Niger and Mauritania.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.
(Afro) — A commemorative event to honor the District’s victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, evolved into a peace movement, as well as an effort to ensure that the slain are never forgotten. Betty Carter, grandmother of Leckie Elementary School student Bernard Brown, was seeking an official recognition of her grandson and one of his teachers. “We have petitions being circulated to change the name of Leckie Elementary School to the Bernard Brown and Hilda Taylor Elementary School,” Carter said. Bernard and Taylor were on a flight headed to California, part of an award Bernard had received from the National Geographic Society.
(New York Times) — The Central Intelligence Agency has opened an internal inquiry into whether its close cooperation with the New York Police Department in the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks has broken any laws prohibiting the agency from collecting intelligence in the United States. During his first Congressional testimony as the C.I.A. director, David H. Petraeus said Tuesday that the agency’s inspector general had begun to investigate its work with the Police Department “to make sure we are doing the right thing.” Mr. Petraeus said the inquiry began last month, but gave few details about its scope.
(Washington Examiner) — Local security officials remained on high alert Sunday during the 10th anniversary of 9/11, with all 3,800 D.C. police on the streets for the weekend and police in surrounding counties patrolling Metro stops and ceremonies. Police hunted for two stolen vans around D.C., worried that they might be the vehicles chosen to deliver the “credible, specific threat” that federal officials warned of Thursday. The two U-Haul vans were stolen in Prince George’s County; authorities said three more trucks were missing in New York City. But Prince George’s County police found one of the vans about 9:40 p.m. Saturday night, abandoned near the 900 block of Marcy Ave in Oxon Hill. Police said they’re still investigating who stole the vans and why.
(Chicago News Cooperative) – As the city prepares to host two international summits next year, and with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaching, the Chicago Police Department is creating a counterterrorism unit, which will bolster security and incorporate lessons from academic research and from New York City’s counterterrorism tactics. The threat of terrorism is a real concern for Chicago officials, with world leaders expected at both the Group of Eight and NATO summits here next year. The city has been home to violent extremists and the target of terrorist plots: David C. Headley of Chicago helped to plan the deadly November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, and documents taken from Osama bin Laden’s compound in May included plans to attack the city.
(Wall Street Journal) — Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan is battling to limit political fallout from last month’s suicide bombing of a United Nations building in his nation’s capital, as fears about security threaten to overshadow new policies aimed at spurring growth in Africa’s second-largest economy. In recent days, Mr. Jonathan has intensified a crackdown on Boko Haram, the Islamic militant group believed to be behind the Aug. 26 bombing. The attack in the capital, Abuja—one of the deadliest against the U.N.—killed 23 people and wounded 81. Mr. Jonathan has come under fire from critics for the government’s failure to thwart the U.N. suicide bombing, or make much progress dismantling a militant network blamed for a spate of others that killed dozens of police and civilians. Even the president’s allies say the ferocity of the attack on a foreign target caught them by surprise. Nigerian security forces were “caught unawares by the scale of terrorism” manifest in the U.N. attack, Mr. Jonathan’s chief spokesman, Reuben Abati, said Wednesday. Mr. Jonathan dismissed his counterterrorism adviser on Monday, Mr. Abati said, and is convinced that “security arrangements in the country will need to be strengthened, will need to be overhauled.”
It has been called our generation’s Pearl Harbor. A series of four coordinated suicide attacks against targets in New York and Washington, D.C. would forever mark the beginning of a brave new world. Collectively we all watched as hijackers intentionally crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93 would crash into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, preventing it from reaching its intended target in Washington, D.C. And at the end of the traumatic day, we mourned the lost of nearly 3,000 people.
Ten years later, the images of that day are forever seared into our minds. Even if we weren’t in New York, D.C. and Shanksville at the time, many of us saw the event in surreal fashion play out on television. For the thousands of family members and friends, who still think often of their lost ones, it will be a day they will never forget.
With the 10-year anniversary of 9-11 quickly approaching, it is very likely that television will replay, multiple times, the same videos of the mass death and destruction that we witnessed that horrific day in 2001. And already, many networks have scheduled a series of special programming centered on the tragedy, much of which has acted as a grand-buildup to the actual anniversary. For instance, the National Geographic Channel kicks off a week of 9/11 prime-time programming in late August with the special, George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview, a revealing account of the day’s horrors through the eyes of the former president. Following suite, the Smithsonian Channel will air “9/11: Day That Changed the World,” featuring stories from former Bush administration figures package Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and First Lady Laura Bush. On Sept. 10, Paul McCartney will reflect on 9/11 in the Showtime special called “The Love You Make.” Tomorrow, MSNBC will air a three-hour documentary hosted by Richard Engel and Rachel Maddow, examining how the country has changed over the past decade. And on Sept. 11, MSNBC again will repeat the “Today” episode, which caught the attacks happen in real time. And this is just a small sampling of programming we can look forward to.
The problem isn’t that we shouldn’t be thinking or remembering what happened. September 11th probably was the biggest event in American history in the last 50 years. Those events of that day served as a catalyst of major changes in how we view and live in this world. Because of the terrorist attacks, we saw the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which was the largest restructuring of the U.S. government in contemporary history. From that we got the US patriot act, heightened airport security and increased incidents of hate crimes and xenophobia against Middle-Easterns. We also saw a U.S.-led coalition begin the second-biggest operation of the U.S. Global War on Terrorism including two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention the serious blows to the economy. Through the sharing of stories of this event comes the ability to heal and reflect on both the tragedies and the aftermath.
But we should also take note of how the networks, being businesses first, are in competition with one another. And as such, seek to capitalize most feverishly off the anniversary in order to attract viewers, even if it means recreating and replaying over and over again the graphic, painful images of plane crashes, fireballs, bodies falling from windows and buildings collapsing into smoldering heaps of rubble.
According to the New York Times, at least 10,000 firefighters, police officers and civilians exposed to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have been found to have post-traumatic stress disorder, from which many of them have yet to recover . Likewise, the article points to a recent hospital survey, which suggest that in New York City alone, at least 10,000 patients have met the criteria of PTSD, depression and anxiety.
“They cannot sleep. They replay the disaster in their minds, or in their nightmares. They have trouble concentrating. They are jittery and overreact to alarms or loud noises. They feel helpless, hopeless, guilty and cut off from the people who are close to them. They avoid anything that reminds them of that terrible day.”
Yet as this anniversary approaches, we have to wonder how the incessant spectacle of 9/11-related television programming might compound the grief and add to the stress of those still suffering from the loss of security, safety and loved ones, who died violently during the tragedy.
Which is why I have chosen not to watch any of the programming this week. Not because I want to forget. The reality is that 9/11 was the most extraordinary event to happen in my short-lived lifetime. So even if I want to, I, along with many of us, won’t and can’t just put it behind us. However, 9/11-themed scripted television shows and the newly-released, never before seen footage of the crashes and explosions, which have also been making the rounds this week, add nothing more to the conversation nor does it help us make sense of the unimaginable or honor those, whose lives had been lost. Instead, the constant rehashing of these grim events only seems to keep us in a perpetual state of distress and trauma.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
A deadly terrorist attack has hit a UN building in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja. A car bomb blasted the section of the building that houses Unicef. Witnesses say that they saw a man driving a sedan, pummeling through UN gates and barging into the main reception area of the building. The total number of casualties is still unknown but at least 16 have been found dead at last count.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Nigeria has been grappling with an Islamic militancy at home, and there has been speculation that these fighters may also be seeking links with foreign terror groups.” It is suspected that the Islamist group Boko Haram, aka “western education is sinful,” is behind the bombing. The group opposes Western education and modern science and is seeking to implement Shariah law in the North, which is the home to Nigeria’s large Hausa and Muslim population.
Nigeria has suffered other attacks at the hands of local radical groups but only a few have garnered international attention. The United Nations target sent a clear message to foreign powers that the West African country is to be watched.
The last high profile terrorism incident came at the hands of a young Nigerian man, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to ignite explosives hiding in his underwear on a Northwest airlines flight to Detroit in 2009. Although of Nigerian origin, Abdulmuttallab said he was trained by al Qaeda forces outside of his home country.