Bill Weinberg

9-11 Commish FAA revelations: more fodder for conspiranoia mill

A newly declassified report from the 9-11 Commission--released five months late and heavily censored, with several passges blotted out by thick black ink lines--reviews Federal Aviation Administration daily intelligence briefings to airport administrators in the months leading up to the attacks.

Pro-nuke rally in Tehran

At a massive Tehran rally marking Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution Feb. 10, President Mohammad Khatami pledged that no Iranian government would abandon the country's program to devlop peaceful nuclear technology. (AP, Feb. 10) He promised a "burning hell" for any aggressor, to chants of "Death to Ameirca!" and "Death to Israel!" (CNN, Feb. 10)

North Korea: dialogue or "destabilization"?

Now isn't this interesting? A front-page headline in the Feb. 11 NY Times reads: "North Koreans Say They Hold Nuclear Arms; Assert They'll Refuse to Rejoin Negotiations." The article states this stance could "bolster" those in the US administration who favor "destabilizing the government of President Kim Jong Il."

Young music stars defy mullahs in Pakistan's Tribal Areas

The BBC reported a glimmer of hope Jan. 27 from Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, where Taliban-inspired movements have won local political control over the semi-autonomous Tribal Areas. Two local kids, Tariq Hussain Bacha and Zeeshan Khan (respectively 12 and 11), have formed a musical duo and are defying the ruling mullahs' ban by performing in public. They initially played secret gigs in back rooms, but since their album Joora Guloona ("two flowers" in the Pashtun language) has become a success they have become bolder. Stocked at first by a few shops in Peshawar's famous Choor Bazar (Thieves Bazaar), copies started flying off the shelves and soon there were orders from the US, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.

ETA militants arrested after Madrid blast

The Basque separatist group ETA reportedly claimed responsibility for a car bomb that exploded outside a Madrid convention center Feb. 9, injuring at least 40. The blast went off hours before Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were to arrive there to preside over the opening of an arts fair with Mexico's visiting President Vicente Fox. In the aftermath of the blast, police arrested 14 suspected ETA militants in coordinated raids across Spain. (Electric New Paper, Singapore, Feb. 11)

Saudi dissidents freed on eve of election

A front-page story in the Feb. 10 NY Times notes that Saudi Arabia is holding its first national election that day--albeit with an "asterisk": women are barred from the vote, and even men only get to elect half the members of municipal councils. The other half will remain appointees, and no national leaders will be elected.

Anarchist scare: feds probe arson attacks

The FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force is investigating twin vandal attacks on Army recruiting centers in New York City--one in Manhattan's Flatiron section, the other in the Parkchester district of the Bronx. David Seigel, 19, of Litchfield, CT, was arrested for throwing a burning rag at the Parkchester facility, causing minor damage, and news reports have said that he is an "anarchist." In the Manhattan incident, a rock was thrown at the recruiting center, cracking the door, and graffiti left --including a slogan against the Iraq war an an anarchist symbol. (NY Post, Feb. 1)

Indonesian justice: firing squad for pot possession

More ironic timing for Washington's push to restore military ties with Indonesia. With Condi Rice on the stump claiming Jakarta is cleaning up its nasty human rights situation, the DC-based Marijuana Policy Project sends us the following chilling story:

In Indonesia, a 27-year-old Australian woman is facing death by firing squad for allegedly bringing marijuana into the country.