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Times Square Bomber says he acted alone
May 4, 2010 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Faisal Shazad has been arrested in connection with the Times Square bombing as he attempted to leave the country. The suspect was allegedly trained in Pakistan, though he claims he acted alone.
posted by misha (252 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm X about Y but I'd A with B.
posted by chunking express at 8:22 AM on May 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


Congressional Republicans want to know whether the Pakistani-born American arrested in the Times Square car bombing plot was read his Miranda rights, with Sen. John McCain saying it would be a “serious mistake” if the suspect was reminded of his right to remain silent.

If they believe they got enough from him, how much more should they get? Did they Mirandize him? I know he’s an American citizen but still,” Rep. Peter King told POLITICO.


Republicans who use the phrase "rule of law" ought to be slapped.
posted by EarBucket at 8:22 AM on May 4, 2010 [54 favorites]


I liked how the one time the whole no-fly list thing would have actually served its purpose they didn't add the dude's name to the list. At least the TSA has detained a bunch of babies, I guess.
posted by chunking express at 8:25 AM on May 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


I know he’s an American citizen but still

Wow, that scares me way more than the thought of getting blown up.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:25 AM on May 4, 2010 [105 favorites]


It's weird how no-one who'se "scared of terrorists" ever backs down from seeing them as these weird demons who should be treated as beneath having rights due to their inhuman wickedness, even when they're continually revealed to be the gooniest nerds to walk the planet.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 8:26 AM on May 4, 2010 [12 favorites]



Maverick's Maverick John "The Maverick" McCain has taken the maverick stance that mirandizing this Muslim Terrorist was a mistake, and not something he would have done. And this is also Obama's Katrina.

I don't really get the anti-miranda fetish. But, as a rich white guy, I don't really get most of what comes out of McCain's mouth.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:26 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


please be white please be white please be whi--awwww fuck here we go.
posted by applemeat at 8:27 AM on May 4, 2010 [49 favorites]


"No Fly" list fails again. When are they going to get that shit together?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:28 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, that scares me way more than the thought of getting blown up.

Maybe not way more, but I catch your drift.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:30 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's no way all of these failed attempts can be from actual terrrrists.
posted by amethysts at 8:31 AM on May 4, 2010


Anyone want to wager he was being watched and followed all the way on to the plane, both to provide a convenient weapon-screened and enclosed arrest location, and to ensure the capture provided the proper sense of drama to make most people completely lose their minds with 24-style ticking bomb wank fantasies?
posted by rusty at 8:33 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


What a douchebag. It really seems like he was acting alone for the most part, though. Perhaps he received some suggestions and/or encouragement from others, but it just seems so amateurish.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 AM on May 4, 2010


"I know he’s an American citizen but still,”

Isn't this the part where he gets labeled an "Enemy Combatant" and loses all rights?

And then 20 minutes later the Republicans turn around and say Obama is shredding the Constitution and Bill of Rights?

People who constantly demand to have it both ways - just like children.
posted by yeloson at 8:34 AM on May 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


I am really sick of reading that he lived in a "mixed-race" lower-class neighborhood. WTF.
posted by theredpen at 8:34 AM on May 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


please be white please be white please be whi--awwww fuck here we go.

I'd rather beg for him to be a monkey. No less threatening, but far more amusing to have a band of monkey-terrorists bent on destroying the modern world.

Or elephants. I hear they're fighting back these days. In Africa, they're afraid of elephant terrorists snatching them out of their huts at night!

I apologize. I don't know where I'm going with this. TERRORIST! news just tells me someone is going to get their rights violated, and a majority of the time may not be guilty.
posted by Malice at 8:34 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


please be white please be white please be whi--awwww fuck here we go.
posted by applemeat at 11:27 AM on May 4 [2 favorites +] [!]


Really? Someone's going to drag out that particular paranoid fantasy after the arrest?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:35 AM on May 4, 2010


So now patriotic Americans are against reading suspects their rights? Do they understand what "suspect" means? Do they understand what the "legal system" is? What a "trial" is? Man, fuck you up the ass, John McCain. I have a funny/foreign last name, but I don't think of myself as an "American citizen, but..." There's no fucking "but" about it. I am so fucking tired of this ridiculous shit.

Thanks for promoting discrimination and hatred, John! Thanks for sucking Sarah's dick, you incompetent coward.
posted by Mister_A at 8:36 AM on May 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


At least the TSA has detained a bunch of babies, I guess.

Well, they could have done the safe thing, and instead remote detonated the possible explosive devices in a concrete blast container.

That'll teach those terrorists to not hide explosives in American babies.
posted by yeloson at 8:37 AM on May 4, 2010


Anyone want to wager he was being watched and followed all the way on to the plane,

Uh, no.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:38 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


it just seems so amateurish

That's what I immediately thought when I saw the list of items that made up the "bomb." I know more about blowing stuff up from watching Mythbusters than these guys do apparently.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:38 AM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


For being such staunch opponents of due process and the rule of law, some of those Congressional Republicans sure are whiny about the upcoming Islamo-Socialist putsch.
posted by Bromius at 8:39 AM on May 4, 2010


Why are we supposed to be scared of these douchebags again? Criminal masterminds my ass. Arrest his ass, mirandize him and throw him in jail. He's not worth treating like anything but the common, incompetent criminal he is.
posted by Skorgu at 8:40 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I SAY THIS TO YOU, SALIM: I WILL TAKE DOWN AMERIKA BY KILLING GERMAN TOURISTS AND CARICATURISTS. PRAISE BE TO ALLAH
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:40 AM on May 4, 2010 [19 favorites]


Mister_A: "So now patriotic Americans are against reading suspects their rights? Do they understand what "suspect" means? Do they understand what the "legal system" is? What a "trial" is? Man, fuck you up the ass, John McCain. I have a funny/foreign last name, but I don't think of myself as an "American citizen, but..." There's no fucking "but" about it. I am so fucking tired of this ridiculous shit."

Not to mention the implication that the Constitution only protects citizens.
posted by brundlefly at 8:42 AM on May 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


"The M&M store will fall before my impotent might!!!! My reign of terror over eastern european tourists will be brutal!!!" - Mr. Shitty Dickfuck Who I Hope Gets A Fair Trial & Then Sent To A Secret Torture Prison In Hell For The Rest Of His Life
posted by Damn That Television at 8:43 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone want to wager he was being watched and followed all the way on to the plane, both to provide a convenient weapon-screened and enclosed arrest location, and to ensure the capture provided the proper sense of drama to make most people completely lose their minds with 24-style ticking bomb wank fantasies?

eh, I think if they wanted to amp the terrorist fear up to "lose your mind" the president would have acted more like Bush and been on the the TV moments after the sizzling SUV with all manner of hyperbole.

As time goes on it begins to look like the 9/11 jackasses where either the cream of the crop, or just lucky. And seriously, when all it would have taken to foil that attack was actual in-air resistance...

can't light a shoe on fire, can't get a whole vehicle full of explosive material to actually ignite, we seem to be in the Culley Larry and Moe tier of terrorists right now.
posted by edgeways at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone want to wager he was being watched and followed all the way on to the plane, both to provide a convenient weapon-screened and enclosed arrest location,

Law enforcement official was asked this on one of the morning Noooze shows. His response: "OMG Noes!!!!" The last thing we want is another incident ON a plane."
posted by beelzbubba at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2010


Mister_A He doesn't need to be read his rights. He's a Middle Easterner who tried to kill us!* What are you, soft on terrorism?
* By us, of course, I mean "real" Americans, i.e., white folks

Sadly, I actually know people who feel that way. And I am spending an entire freaking weekend in 4 days with them in the heart of conservative America. It's gonna be a loooong weekend.
posted by pointystick at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2010


Mister_A et al: In the fevered, diseased minds of the leaders of the American right wing, the "war on terror" is a literal war, just like the ones they murdered civilians in (or fantasized about murdering civilians in while hanging out at the yacht club with a deferral from Senator Daddy) during the golden days of their youth. Therefore anyone who is a "suspect" is automatically a "combatant," and has no rights except the right to be tortured, disappeared, tortured some more, used for propaganda purposes, forced to sign any sort of confession that's needed, and ultimately killed when they are no longer useful.

That is, it's not a criminal justice issue for them, which is how they manage to square "...but still" with what they think is a sincere respect for American values and the rule of law. War knows no laws, and those who worship war know that perfectly well. Geneva is just a city in Switzerland.

Whenever a person with state power declared war on something, we should all be very afraid. It means there are no rules.
posted by rusty at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


HuffPo says Glenn Beck argued in favor of reading dude his rights. I am more upset about agreeing with Beck than anything else.
posted by theredpen at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


Why are we supposed to be scared of these douchebags again?

Because of this.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:46 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


theredpen: "HuffPo says Glenn Beck argued in favor of reading dude his rights. I am more upset about agreeing with Beck than anything else."

Yeah, I saw that. If it makes you feel any better, he was arguing that he should only be read his rights because he's a citizen.
posted by brundlefly at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2010


it would be a “serious mistake” if the suspect was reminded of his right to remain silent

Because that would mean they could put him on trial properly?
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


"allegedly trained in Pakistan"? As an outsourced telephone help desk operator, or terrorist? You could do more damage with a gas-soaked rag. Oh wait, that's a FOX link.
posted by Kirk Grim at 8:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The M&M store will fall before my impotent might!!!!

I find this hilarious because I have a good friend, very involved in politics, who has this irrational hatred of the M&M store. She'd be so torn if a terrorist actually managed to destroy it.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the first link:
Law enforcement officials initially tracked Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, by recovering his number from the cell phone of the woman who sold him a Pathfinder SUV just weeks before Saturday night's failed bomb attempt.

"They were able to basically get one phone number and by running it through a number of databases, figure out who they thought the guy was," a senior FBI official told Politico.com.


Couple of points;

1. This reads as strictly amateur hour for a terrorist. Using your real name to get a phone, WTH?

2. The ability to track the guy via a single phone number gives further weight to the government tracking more stuff and connecting more databases.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:48 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anyone want to wager he was being watched and followed all the way on to the plane, both to provide a convenient weapon-screened and enclosed arrest location.

I was on my way to Latin America one time and the gate was WAAAAAAAAAY down this long corridore on a concourse that no signs pointed to. My GF and I had to ask airport staff and they directed us in the direction. After reaching the end of the hall, we were directed to fill out a card with our full personal information including addresses of our homes, offices, and - get this - next of kin. Then we were "delayed" and delayed and delayed. We could see the plane out the window and no ground crew doing anything to it. There was no explanation. Finally, we were lined up by rows and they began boarding, one row at a time. About halfway down the ramp was a sharp turn towards the plane, as we rounded the corner we could see that the ramp was lined with a gauntlet of federal law enforcement of various agencies, INS, Customs (pre-DHS), FBI, DEA, etc. We passed the agents and just as I passed the last one, the agents stepped behind me to block the way and they ALL pounced on the man directly behind me. Nothing was ever said, the crew buttoned up and away we went.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:49 AM on May 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


Really? Someone's going to drag out that particular paranoid fantasy after the arrest?

Well, it would have let us use the word "teahadist".
posted by Artw at 8:50 AM on May 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


The thing that scares me the most is that in spite of all the measures our government takes at the expense of civil liberties, the only that actually keeps a terrorist from killing people is their own incompetence.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 8:50 AM on May 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


and they ALL pounced on the incredibly stupid man who was too dumb to know they were on to him directly behind me.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:53 AM on May 4, 2010


The guy was supposedly (according to the news reports this morning) a naturalized U.S. citizen. He'll get a trial, and McCain's comments were in retrospect pretty dumb.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:53 AM on May 4, 2010


ANyone find it a little iffy how the media as been giving this guy repeated hints on how he could have made his bomb better over the last couple of days?

"Hey buddy! You needed to have opened the gas canisters!"
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah they did a piece on the daily show last night about it.
posted by cashman at 8:54 AM on May 4, 2010


And of course, here's a screen grab of his Facebook page, at least what's publicly viewable. Dengar from reddit.com notes "All I'm saying is, he plays Farmville..."
posted by smitt at 8:55 AM on May 4, 2010 [18 favorites]


Huh, the Enemies of the State need to be both hilariously incompetent and ineffective and dangerously omnipresent and powerful. Funny that.
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


McCain's comments were in retrospect pretty dumb

They were dumb even not in retrospect.
posted by ook at 8:59 AM on May 4, 2010 [30 favorites]


As a resident of New York who travels through midtown every day, I would like to take this opportunity to say to the rest of the country: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:59 AM on May 4, 2010 [34 favorites]


Yeah, I saw that. If it makes you feel any better, he was arguing that he should only be read his rights because he's a citizen.

Phew, thanks, brundlefly -- you're right. I do feel better. He also seems to be laying it on pretty heavily, now that you mention it . . . he says "citizen" a ton of times in that discussion.

These guys have no shame whatsoever.
posted by theredpen at 8:59 AM on May 4, 2010


MSNBC: The network recently aired an episode of the animated show "South Park" that the group Revolution Muslim had complained insulted the Prophet Muhammad by depicting him in a bear costume.

[T]he group Revolution Muslim had complained insulted the Prophet Muhammad by depicting him in a bear costume.

FTFYMSNBC
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:00 AM on May 4, 2010


"All I'm saying is, he plays Farmville..."

Execute him already. hamburger?
posted by joe lisboa at 9:01 AM on May 4, 2010


Bomb suspect lost Conn. home to foreclosure. So he's maybe just pissed at the banks like the rest of us? Chase is probably going to put a martial law clause in their loan agreements because of this.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:05 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


We need to protect against nutjobs whether they have boxcutters or M80s, not much point being afraid of them that I see.
posted by Skorgu at 9:10 AM on May 4, 2010


Is it just me or is there something photshoppy about the picture in front of the cathedral linked in the first link? Where did they get that, facebook?
posted by edbles at 9:14 AM on May 4, 2010


allegedly trained in Pakistan

Either he went to a really low-tier terrorism school or he slept through all of his classes.
posted by octothorpe at 9:15 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Living in CT can get a person pretty disgruntled, I tell you what. no HAMBURGAR at all, actually
posted by jtron at 9:15 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did they Mirandize him? I know he’s an American citizen but still,” King told POLITICO.

When that bus ran over Peter King, did anyone try to offer any kind of medical aid? I mean, I know he's a US Representative, but still...
posted by quin at 9:18 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing that scares me the most...

The thing that cheers me up the most is that despite how easy it is to build a car bomb and detonate it in a crowded area, almost nobody in the USA does so.

Just look both ways before crossing the street, eat more salad, and get some exercise. You'll be much safer.
posted by anthill at 9:19 AM on May 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


Aw, Jeeze, not this again. [I edited my post before posting. OK? Happy?]
posted by Drasher at 9:27 AM on May 4, 2010


Bomb suspect lost Conn. home to foreclosure. So he's maybe just pissed at the banks like the rest of us?

If this guy turns out to be both a Pakistani-American Muslim AND a member of the tea party, we may finally have discovered something that makes Glen Beck's head explode.
posted by jefficator at 9:28 AM on May 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


and they ALL pounced on the incredibly stupid man who was too dumb to know they were on to him directly behind me.

Once you were in the narrow jetway, there was really no where to go and you couldn't see the cops until you turned the corner. It was quite the bushwhack. I'm sure if he'd turned to run he would have found some nice men to help him find his way. On top of that, as I said the gate was WAAAAAAAAAAAY down at the end of a log hallway, which I'm sure had some cops ready to taze him like a teenaged phillies fan.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:28 AM on May 4, 2010


Every time another of these guys fucks up, the more convinced I am that the soon-to-be-released Four Lions is actually a documentary. Unfortunately, those of the perma-rage brigade seem to view it as proof that 24 is a documentary.
posted by Jakey at 9:29 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


dollars to doughnuts he gets treated worse in the press than the whitey who crashed his plane in the IRS building and actually... you know... killed someone.
posted by edgeways at 9:30 AM on May 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


@Malice Elephants? More dangerous than you think...

@edgeways That's the thing about being a good suicide bomber, you can only succeed once. It's only logical that Wile E Coyote and Snidley Whiplash would be left in the labor pool.
posted by The Power Nap at 9:32 AM on May 4, 2010


urgh cannot restrain myself excuse me while I get my rage on for a moment

"Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about" says McCain. In fifteen words he's managed to perfectly sum up everything I loathed about the Bush years; everything that I fear about whatever it is the Republican party appears to have turned into. He honestly believes, and baldly states, that we should withhold his rights until after we've decided whether he's guilty or not. It's as though he's never taken a civics class; it's like he has no understanding of what a free and open society even is, of why we have rights in the first place.

This is how we end up with military tribunals replacing fair trials. It's how we end up torturing and murdering prisoners. It's when we decide that the bad guys are so bad, so terribly scary, that it's worth abandoning the principles that make America America -- innocent before proven guilty, the right to a fair trial -- just arbitrarily rearrange centuries worth of carefully negotiated and battle-tested law because...

...because...

...and here is where I simply go off the rails. I literally cannot comprehend what McCain or the rest of these... these Republicans... thinks we have to gain from denying this guy his rights. This isn't the proverbial Jack Bauer fantasy ticking time bomb situation. This isn't a criminal mastermind. There's nothing to be gained by denying this guy his miranda rights. Nothing. Nothing. We should do it because we can, I guess is the theory. Because our societal principles are meaningless. Because the rule of law is meaningless. Because he's a "terrorist," and that trumps everything. For some reason. He's a terrorist, so therefore we should respond to his pathetic minuscule failure of an action by flailing around in as terrified a manner as possible. Yes, that's exactly what we should do.

Okay I am now going to turn off the computer go for a walk in the sunshine and pretend this isn't happening to my nation.
posted by ook at 9:35 AM on May 4, 2010 [88 favorites]


I'm just glad I can go back to changing my clothes in public places.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


heh, all in all you gotta thank John McCain for reminding people just why he would have been an absolute ass-fuck of a president.
posted by edgeways at 9:40 AM on May 4, 2010 [17 favorites]


I thought "Revolution Muslim" was a hoax site set up by an American citizen for teh lolz.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 AM on May 4, 2010


it's like he has no understanding of what a free and open society even is, of why we have rights in the first place

I've said it before and I'll say it again: many (hopefully not most) Americans do not believe in human rights, i.e. rights you have by benefit of being human. They think rights are for citizens, or citizens in good standing, or white Christian citizens, or whatever freaking thing they believe.

I believe I am now going to go take a walk in the sunshine as well.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:51 AM on May 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


He honestly believes

I don't know if McCain honestly believes anything anymore. He used to be someone who, though I disagreed with most of the time, I respected and admired for his integrity, moral courage, and thoughtfulness. He made a conscious decision to betray his principles for the pursuit of power, and ever since then has lost almost no opportunity to loudly state his support for everything the far right stands for.

On the campaign trail, you could tell that, deep down, he understood what a terrible, weak decision he had made, and the old McCain shown through every now and then--when he admonished the woman at one of his rallies (surely now a Tea Partier somewhere) who called Obama an 'Arab', and again in his concession speech after the election. I especially thought that after that speech, he was going to do the honorable thing, and admit that he had been seduced by the siren song of the presidency into betraying his ideals, and that the state of his party was appalling, and that's not who he was, and start making amends. That would have been humiliating and taken a huge amount of courage, but I thought if any politician could do it, McCain could--actually, sincerely apologize and show remorse, and truly commit to restoring his reputation. But instead, that last flicker of conviction and moral courage died, and this is what McCain is now--I just imagine a completely empty, blackened soul, whose only true idea is that he must do whatever he can to avoid being primaried by some Tea Party talk show lunatic.

After losing the presidency, McCain could have been a tragic hero. Now he's just a bitter, sad old man who has lost even the chance to reclaim any reputation or respectability he once had. I pity him more than anything else.
posted by notswedish at 9:52 AM on May 4, 2010 [37 favorites]


At least the TSA has detained a bunch of babies, I guess
If the TSA didn't search babies and small children, the terrorists would have a guaranteed way to sneak bombs, or whatever else they wanted onto planes. It's kind of amazing how many people don't seem to understand this.
ANyone find it a little iffy how the media as been giving this guy repeated hints on how he could have made his bomb better over the last couple of days?
Uh, no. All of that information is available on Google. Presumably competent bombers would have looked it up beforehand. Besides if they try to buy a lot of some of the stuff they are recommending, like Fuel Oil or Ammonium Nitrate are actually monitored, so if a terrorist tried to buy that stuff, they would increase their chances of getting caught earlier.
posted by delmoi at 9:56 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


as someone whose daily commute takes him through times square, not just on a subway, but actually travelling by foot directly underneath the area the car was found, I feel like I should mention that if this bomb had been capable of exploding and had gone off I could very possibly have been killed. It's obviously an understatement that I'm tremendously relieved this guy didn't know what he was doing.

Now that doesn't mean a whole lot on the national scale. It's basically a very personal thing for me that someone tried to kill me and people like me, and that I'm alive because he's a fuckup.

But now I feel a little more directly addressed when people like McCain or Peter King talk about denying this United States citizen his miranda rights. I feel like they're trying to pretend that it's for my benefit, as someone who was in some way threatened - however feebly - by this guy's intentions. And I need to say, "No. This is not for my benefit. I don't want you denying him his miranda rights. I don't want you denying anyone their miranda rights. I don't care what rationale you want to dream up for doing that, but don't bother if you're trying to help me out. I don't want it. That's not the America I want to see built around me. I want our criminals prosecuted with their rights intact and fully recognized. I want the spirit of the law to be honored, and that spirit is based in the inalienable rights of man. Whoever you think will appreciate being defended by finding convenient excuses for denying people their rights, it's not the people who have actually been threatened by acts like this one. Let anyone who gets terrified of foreign terrorists after hearing about something like this fucking deal. Because if I can recognize that my daily commute puts me in danger and still respect the rights accorded our citizens by the Constitution, then so can anyone. I can respect the sense of vulnerability that reading about something like this gives someone, believe me I can. But it does not justify violating anyone's rights, and I say that as someone who feels that vulnerability more poignantly than any chest-thumping apologist for fascism and tyranny. Do not pretend to speak for me when you talk about denying someone their rights. You do not speak for me. I do not want what you're selling."

I hope this helps provide a little perspective as the Right Wing continues to talk about our security, and its alleged opposition to the rights of our citizens.
posted by shmegegge at 10:12 AM on May 4, 2010 [62 favorites]


Just marginally more competent than the Seas of David.
posted by electroboy at 10:15 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congressional Republicans want to know whether the Pakistani-born American arrested in the Times Square car bombing plot was read his Miranda rights, with Sen. John McCain saying it would be a 'serious mistake' if the suspect was reminded of his right to remain silent.

The Miranda warning is a result of Miranda v. Arizona. McCain's from Arizona. Maybe they just don't like rights there.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:16 AM on May 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


airport security here we come oy vey
posted by infini at 10:18 AM on May 4, 2010


1. This reads as strictly amateur hour for a terrorist. Using your real name to get a phone, WTH?

But did he use his own voice?
posted by homunculus at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2010


Well, as we learned from the Joe Stack incident, this guy can't possibly be a terrorist, since he acted alone. Right?
posted by Legomancer at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


When my Northeast Regional Amtrak train passed through NYC, they had a NYPD officer with a bomb-sniffing dog walk through the train.

The doggie looked like it was having fun.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:29 AM on May 4, 2010


And I need to say, "No. This is not for my benefit. I don't want you denying him his miranda rights.

Shmeg, would you mind dashing that off in a letter to Sen. McCain? Could you also CC the Times and/or the WaPo?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


[A few comments removed. HTuttle, you've done this random-driveby-shitbomb thing a few times lately, it needs to stop pronto.]
posted by cortex at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


The amount of hypothesizing and conjecture at this point is terrifying. Do we know anything about this guy? Apart from his ethnic origin, do we even know that he's Muslim?

There's virtually no part of this story that makes any sense.
posted by schmod at 10:46 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


MSNBC: The network recently aired an episode of the animated show "South Park" that the group Revolution Muslim had complained insulted the Prophet Muhammad by depicting him in a bear costume.

BTW, you can see episode 201 here.
posted by homunculus at 10:52 AM on May 4, 2010


The thing that scares me the most is that in spite of all the measures our government takes at the expense of civil liberties, the only that actually keeps a terrorist from killing people is their own incompetence.

The thing that reassures me most about my ability to maintain some sort of liberty is my government's incompetence at, among other things, monitoring me.

And I think the best path for all of us to defeat terrorists or any other sort of criminal is both to adhere at all costs to the rule of law . . . including following the requirements set forth in Supreme Court rulings like Miranda v. Arizona, and to stay strong. Fear is the terrorists' weapon, and only our unwillingness to give in to it will blunt it.
posted by bearwife at 10:57 AM on May 4, 2010


I know more about blowing stuff up from watching Mythbusters than these guys do apparently.

Indeed. Is it really necessary to travel halfway around the globe to learn to put together a "bomb" that seems to have been assembled from components that he got from a sixty-second run through Home Depot, grabbing things at random?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:00 AM on May 4, 2010


There's virtually no part of this story that makes any sense.

Really? That seems like a very odd thing to say. Could you elaborate?

Yes, we do know he apparently purchased the SUV used in the attack, that he's admitted under questioning to carrying out the attack, and (in what may or may not be relevant to the question of his motivations) that he recently returned from a trip to Pakistan (where a Taliban group recently tried to take credit for the attack, another detail that may or may not prove to be relevant in time).

How does that not all basically make sense? I mean, obviously, it's early yet, but nothing in the account of things rings any alarm bells or seems particularly far-fetched to me (and I tend to skew paranoiac).

And to what "hypothesizing and conjecture" are you referring? Could you please be more specific? If you mean, about the guy's religious identity, I find only 7 uses of the term "Muslim" in the thread, variously in reference to a recent South Park episode, in a joke about the possibility of Glenn Beck's head exploding if the accused turned out to be both Muslim and a Tea Party activist, and finally, when it crops up in your comment. So what gives?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:02 AM on May 4, 2010


Fear is the terrorists' weapon, and only our unwillingness to give in to it will blunt it.

I agree. I work in the Viacom building in Times Square, and my office looks directly out onto the corner where the truck was parked, so this is all maybe a little too real for me right now. But I do hope the government treats any and all suspects in a fair and just manner, mostly because I need to believe that it's our commitment to the rule of law that ultimately separates us from such desperate crazy lunatics, rather than the fact that our bombs are bigger and always go off when they're supposed to.

That said, I'll probably think a little differently about the police presence in Times Square from now on. I used to see them as basically a useless annoyance (and what's the deal with the goddamn horses?), but now I can see how reassuring it is to have them around. Maybe it's all just for show, like the rest of Times Square, but it's a pretty good show in times like these. The way people are walking around outside taking their standard pictures of each other in front of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, you'd almost think nothing had happened.
posted by albrecht at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apart from his ethnic origin, do we even know that he's Muslim?

Look, if this line of reasoning doesn't work on the Teabagger sites with regard to Obama, it ain't gonna work here!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:05 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I literally cannot comprehend what McCain or the rest of these... these Republicans... thinks we have to gain from denying this guy his rights.

Replace "we" with "their chances of re-election" and it'll start to make sense.
posted by nicwolff at 11:06 AM on May 4, 2010


Apparently the suspect was questioned before being Mirandized under some sort of "public safety" exception, so the conservatives' latest wharrgarrble isn't even relevant.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:10 AM on May 4, 2010



There's virtually no part of this story that makes any sense.

Really? That seems like a very odd thing to say. Could you elaborate?


Sure.

An engineer with a graduate degree couldn't manage to make a car full of explosives go boom, makes no attempts to cover up his tracks, and then attempts to flee the country several days later. He also doesn't seem to fit into any profile that would make him an obvious terrorist or violent criminal -- particularly the part where he has a wife (and possibly kids?)

He later says he was working alone, which is immediately followed by the arrest of several co-conspirators in Pakistan.

Also, still no indication of a motive.

I'm no conspiracy theorist. However, the currently-known facts don't seem add up. Could he have been acting under duress?
posted by schmod at 11:18 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Speaking of terrorists, the Heritage Foundation booed Eric Cantor this morning for saying that the President of the United States is not a "domestic enemy."
posted by EarBucket at 11:18 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's pretty crazy of South Park to depict the Prophet Muhammad as a bear. There isn't even any historical evidence that he was gay.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:21 AM on May 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Miranda warnings do not need to be administered when there is an imminent threat to public safety. For example, if an arrestee hid a handgun in a supermarket just before being arrested, it is not necessary that the police Mirandize the suspect before asking where the gun is. This is consistent with the point that Miranda rights only apply to criminal trials (not to police intervention; anything a person says, self-incriminating or not, can be used by the police to prevent or interrupt further crimes or violations of the law where it is within the authority of the police to intervene, whether or not this violates the interest of the person from whom the police obtained the information necessary for them to intervene.)"

So they were allowed to ask him if there was another bomb first, but whatever he said in response before being Mirandized can't be used against him in court. Sounds reasonable.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:23 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


You only skip the Miranda warnings and go straight to Gitmo when you have a Jack Bauer situation. There was none here. By doing so you give up the ability to use any evidence gained in the questioning, which might mean giving up a conviction. John McCain would have us give up on convicting this guy just so some of our boys can torture him for a few years? I guess in his world you give up on the trial also and just hold him forever as an enemy combatant. The inadmissibility of evidence doesn't matter that way, life sentence, without a trial. That's the American way, right John?.
posted by caddis at 11:23 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if the "unidentified white man" (on surveillance footage, who appeared to be in his 40s, and was walking away from the area as he looked over his shoulder and removed a layer of clothing) was ever identified?
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:29 AM on May 4, 2010


I was in NY and close to where the evaculation took place. It happened the evening before we checked into our hotel. When the later report came in on CNN and the suspect was from Connecticut, i told my wife I would not be surprised if the guy was not from the University of Bridgeport, where for many years I had taught, a school now owned by the Unification Church (moonies), and filled with students from all over. And this is what the news is not seemingly telling us:
http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/FBI-searches-home-of-suspected-bomber-473341.php
the guy has two degrees!
Now one comment says he might be pissed because he defaulted. But the bomb was in NY and not Conn and why the hell was he given mortgages on so many (4 ) homes with no visible income--what job had he?
posted by Postroad at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2010


I'm no conspiracy theorist. However, the currently-known facts don't seem add up. Could he have been acting under duress?

That's an interesting suggestion, but seems pretty speculative at this point.

All we really know are the facts that have been reported at this point. It's probably premature to think we could get a definite fix on motive just by talking through what's been revealed so far, although, there was some information about his having recently been foreclosed upon, so maybe he was angry at Wall Street. On the other hand, maybe he had family in Pakistan that was being threatened. But all that's exactly the kind of speculation and conjecture you correctly point out should be avoided.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2010


There's virtually no part of this story that makes any sense.

That is a funny sentence to read and contemplate.
posted by edgeways at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2010


Oh, and with the imminent threat exception, they even get to use the statements he makes in response. If they ask are there any more bombs and where and then he responds, in such ans such abandoned house. That statement about the house should be admissible on the grounds of public danger in having an abandoned house with dangerous bombs etc.
posted by caddis at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2010


He also doesn't seem to fit into any profile that would make him an obvious terrorist or violent criminal -- particularly the part where he has a wife

Interestingly, even suicide bombers are sometimes married. More often than I'd thought, anyway. At least one of the 9/11 hijackers was and many of those who have blown themselves up in Iraq and Afghanistan were.
Not that this guy was going to martyr himself. But I don't see much difference between blowing yourself up and abandoning your wife, and fleeing and abandoning your wife.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:36 AM on May 4, 2010


Hmm. So coming back to America, I was lengthily interrogated by Homeland Security. Whatever, they wanted to know I hadn't gone terrorist while living in an "Islamic Republic." The guy was a total asshole, but I figured that was part of the job.

Then, I get stopped by the police again the other night while standing around outside a gallery, where everyone's got open containers and such. I tell them, "Look, I don't even drink, I'm a Muslim," as I hand him my passport. To which the cop responds to his partner, deadpan -- "He says he's a Muslim, run immigration." Nevermind that it was an American passport; chances are they had never seen one.
posted by iamck at 11:37 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it really necessary to travel halfway around the globe to learn to put together a "bomb" that seems to have been assembled from components that he got from a sixty-second run through Home Depot, grabbing things at random?

I don't think these guys go to remote places in Pakistan and Afghanistan for the great technical bomb-making seminars. They go there for the ideological reinforcement, to shore up their possibly flagging resolve to go through with a wacky plan that if successful will possibly or probably get them killed, and if it doesn't get them killed, will get them imprisoned, tortured, and eventually executed.
posted by aught at 11:44 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Glad they caught this guy!

"He later says he was working alone, which is immediately followed by the arrest of several co-conspirators in Pakistan."

I would imagine the authorities are at the "arrest anyone who knew the suspect within a recent timeframe" mode right now, especially in Pakistan where they have no idea yet who else may have been involved. There's probably some people in cells right now who only had minimal contact with Shazad - but hopefully they'll be released when more definite facts are known, like the two other people who were taken off the airplane with him.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:47 AM on May 4, 2010


Innocent until proven guilty.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:50 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see much difference between blowing yourself up and abandoning your wife, and fleeing and abandoning your wife.

You've never met my wife.
posted by Floydd at 11:55 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


when more definite facts are known

And the identity of the suspicious white man at the crime scene authorities were originally seeking is one such fact I would like to know: was it Shazad, or someone else? And if someone else, who?
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:57 AM on May 4, 2010


> Speaking of terrorists, the Heritage Foundation booed Eric Cantor this morning for saying that the President of the United States is not a "domestic enemy."

What a bunch of whiny bedwetting crybaby wimps.

> QUESTION: My question is – and this is something I personally don’t understand – if it’s a naïve question then I apologize: in light of what Obama has done to leave us vulnerable, to cut defense spending...

I forgot "idiots." Obama has actually raised defense spending, although I suppose this dude could be referring to pulling troops out of Iraq and Afganistan (which will magically make the U.S. "less safe" somehow) or "expensive weapons systems" (which, to be fair, might have come in handy in this situation; they could have called in a B-2 Spirit bomber to take Shazad out).
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:05 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't the guy on the video is Shazad. It's pretty fuzzy, but you can see that he has a bald spot on top of his head. He may be involved, but you never know. A lot of weird stuff (or stuff that may seem weird later on) probably happens in front of every surveillance camera in New York on any given night of the week.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:06 PM on May 4, 2010


A lot of weird stuff (or stuff that may seem weird later on) probably happens in front of every surveillance camera in New York on any given night of the week.

True, but given the unnatural head turn (towards the car) at the end of the footage, and the place where he changed his shirt, his body language suggests he was casing the car. Plus this is the footage the authorities released, so I'm not sure why he would cease being a potential suspect or accomplice now.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 12:16 PM on May 4, 2010


I have a two-liter of Coca Cola and a sack of Mentos.
I'm Osama Bin Laden to his Larry, Moe and Curley.
posted by Kskomsvold at 12:17 PM on May 4, 2010


Oh no, I'm not saying he isn't a suspect. They should definitely find the guy and question him. At this early stage of the investigation every lead needs to be followed up on.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:19 PM on May 4, 2010


was it Shazad, or someone else?

The video that was all over the news, of the man changing his shirt and hoisting a small backpack, was not of Shazad. The guy in the video looks older and is noticeably balding.
posted by aught at 12:19 PM on May 4, 2010


Keep calm and carry on, or as they say in New York: "Fuhgedaboudit."
posted by whuppy at 12:36 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Show's over, folks, just some incompetent goofball here. Like the guy who tried to take down the WTC back in the 90s.
posted by mattholomew at 12:44 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like the guy who tried to take down the WTC back in the 90s.

Yeah, what a moron, he only managed to kill six people. Amateur.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:51 PM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, what a moron, he only managed to kill six people. Amateur.

That was essentially the popular reaction at the time.
posted by mattholomew at 12:55 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I smell a Reality Show!
posted by Kskomsvold at 1:03 PM on May 4, 2010


He later says he was working alone, which is immediately followed by the arrest of several co-conspirators in Pakistan.

He could have been lying, no?
posted by mattholomew at 1:03 PM on May 4, 2010


That was essentially the popular reaction at the time.

Well it was the peak of the "crack epidemic" so:

"Six? some shmuck in the Bronx got 8 last night!"
posted by Pollomacho at 1:07 PM on May 4, 2010


And of course, here's a screen grab of his Facebook page, at least what's publicly viewable. Dengar from reddit.com notes "All I'm saying is, he plays Farmville..."

I know they're both brown, but are you sure that's the same guy? Because they don't look alike to me.
posted by anniecat at 1:08 PM on May 4, 2010


“…the only that actually keeps a terrorist from killing people is their own incompetence.”

That’s sort of by design. The civil liberties thing aside (which is more political asshats wanting to put their two cents in to look hard and come up with pulp fiction solutions like torture) you can’t really stop the ½ ass lone wolf. On the plus side, the well funded, well educated, well run organizationally supported guys have the odds of their success linked to the level of their exposure. So they’re more likely to get caught before the fact.
So this is sort of a good thing.
I’ve always been of the opinion that civil liberties and self-determination protect us more from terrorism far more than authoritarian centralized command and lack of transparency.

“many (hopefully not most) Americans do not believe in human rights, i.e. rights you have by benefit of being human”

Seems like most humans don’t believe in human rights. For Americans at least it runs contrary to founding principles. Which, really, mores the pity.
But most people have no understanding of the practical realities of using force of any kind. As it is, King in particular strikes me as someone enamored with it and who harbors some fantasies in contrast to, perhaps his father who was a cop or the troops who served in Vietnam while he was in the guard (and naturally he’s all about homeland security now). What makes his statements all the more ironic is that he was pro-IRA. Terrorism is terrorism no matter the cause.

“Apparently the suspect was questioned before being Mirandized under some sort of "public safety" exception, so the conservatives' latest wharrgarrble isn't even relevant.”
Y’know, I’d like to be charitable and think they know about the clear and present danger clause under Miranda (in case there were other bombs, etc)
But damn, McCain has just become a crazy, crazy old man. I'm regularly surprised to see his pants aren't around his ankle and his bib/tie isn't smeared with oatmeal. But most of those other goofs never had a conception of reality in the first place.

“ ‘There's virtually no part of this story that makes any sense.’

‘Really? That seems like a very odd thing to say. Could you elaborate?’ “
This part makes no sense. But a financial guy with a computer science degree should be a bomb making expert? The 2007 London car bombs didn’t go off either, and that guy was a doctor.

This guy had enough material to have a pyrotechnic ignition and make it go boom. The real problem in firebombs tho (if you’ve seen in science class, say, a flour ignition) is dispersion.
Firecrackers or any kind of non aren't going to do that enough to maximize casualties.
That and with most explosives what’s important is the detonator.

And The Base has disseminated this info (using flammable gas containers and liquid fuel) as an ersatz fuel air bomb. It’s not. It’s basically cargo culting. But that's not really important.

What Abu Issa al-Hindi had in mind when he (allegedly) wrote the book on that for AQ was alluding or insinuating damage and havoc. He was saying you paint the canisters yellow or put radiation symbols on the side, etc. to scare people when the haz-mat team shows up. It’s not really necessary that they go off.

I speculate that the arrest might have been part of the plan. Perhaps premature before delivering a statement saying there’s a poison gas bomb in times square (as it is there are reports of a 911 call saying the times square 'bomb' was only a diversion). So it was a psyop. Maybe.
Either way, blowed stuff up good is only a secondary goal in terrorism, the first is publicity, panic, chaos – terror.
The facts don’t add up. All the facts aren’t in, and some of the elements were prevented. Not just due to incompetence. Which again – it’s not so relevant to ‘splode as it is to get the word out that something might ‘splode. Which is something that should be prevented in some respects. NYPD counterterrorism seems to have handled this pretty well.
But it's important not to confuse the OMFG PANIC! information with the stuff the public needs to know, like what it is your government is legitimately doing. Not the "hey, we're just so bad ass you can't know this stuff" some politicians seem to equate with the stuff that is purposefully inflammatory to scare people that terrorists want disseminated.
On the other hand American politics are full of 'Scary Boo!' right now, so that's kind of what actually does help terrorists.
So, yeah.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:14 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Smedleyman, man, I love your posts but I wish you would italicize quotes from other members here so I could parse them easier.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on May 4, 2010


Terror group taking credit for N.Y. plot

I can understand taking credit for a successful one, but why are they taking credit for one that so abjectly failed? If I were a terrorist looking for somewhere to train in bomb-making, this would be one group I'd not even bother getting a prospectus from.

I suppose if they try often and hard enough they might get one to go off properly, but that's a fairly large if.
posted by WalterMitty at 1:30 PM on May 4, 2010


I speculate that the arrest might have been part of the plan. Perhaps premature before delivering a statement saying there’s a poison gas bomb in times square (as it is there are reports of a 911 call saying the times square 'bomb' was only a diversion). So it was a psyop. Maybe.
Either way, blowed stuff up good is only a secondary goal in terrorism, the first is publicity, panic, chaos – terror.


Oh. Never mind my question then. Carry on.
posted by WalterMitty at 1:32 PM on May 4, 2010


Does anyone know if the "unidentified white man" (on surveillance footage, who appeared to be in his 40s, and was walking away from the area as he looked over his shoulder and removed a layer of clothing) was ever identified?

NPR had a news blip about this yesterday, saying authorities had ruled this person out as a suspect, presumably after identifying and questioning him.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 1:40 PM on May 4, 2010


I think what's being overlooked is the fact that in most of the pictures I've seen of him, he's wearing a Bluetooth earpiece, which means not only is he a suspected terrorist but also a complete douche.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:49 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


he's wearing a Bluetooth earpiece, which means not only is he a suspected terrorist but also a complete douche.

Well, not complete. He did get his layer of clothing off without dislodging his earpiece. Which is more than I , utter klutz, could ever accomplish.
posted by bearwife at 2:02 PM on May 4, 2010


If the TSA Were Running New York
posted by homunculus at 2:04 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's virtually no part of this story that makes any sense.

Actually it makes perfect sense. We had Bush, and al-Qaeda has this guy.
posted by storybored at 2:06 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman chimes in:

I think it’s time for us to look at whether we want to amend that law to apply it to American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, whether they should not also be deprived automatically of their citizenship, and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with a terrorist act.

Yep. It's so simple: just automatically strip people of their citizenship when they are accused of a particular kind of crime. That's well thought through, Joe.
posted by ook at 2:18 PM on May 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


You know what? This is the first terrorist incident foiled by the spread of BAD AMERICAN MOVIES.

1. He used a bunch of gasoline cans and some fireworks in the SUV because everyone knows cars are made of explodium .

2. He ran to the airport to get away, because that's what the hero does at the end.
posted by storybored at 2:25 PM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with a terrorist act.

Wait, I thought it was a truth self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights - not just all US citizens.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:28 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep calm and carry on, or as they say in New York: 'Fuhgedaboudit.'

What's 'fuhgedaboudit'? What is that?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:58 PM on May 4, 2010


By the way, the Miranda warning is just a reminder of the rights people have under the Fifth and Sixth amendments. The Fifth Amendment says, "No person... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" (emphasis added). The Sixth Amendment says, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to... have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." Neither amendment requires the accused to be a citizen.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:08 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is cinematic and creepy at the same time:

"In the end, it was secret Army intelligence planes that did him in. Armed with his cell phone number, they circled the skies over the New York area, intercepting a call to Emirates Airlines reservations, before scrambling to catch him at John F. Kennedy International Airport."
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:12 PM on May 4, 2010


We don't know that he registered the cellphone in his own name. Given that the police spokesperson said "databases" rather than just the one, they may have been matching where that cellphone had been against where others had been at the same time. If you carry two cellphones around, then they can (at least in theory) be linked by looking at the geolocation aspect of their cell usage, even if they're on different networks. So if one is unregistered or in a false name, then the other can provide more information about who's carrying them.

If you want to run a hygienic phone, never turn it on at the same time as any other in the area that can be linked to you. Ideally, leave the other one turned on at home or in the office and get somewhere a decent way away (ideally, different each time) before turning on the clean one. And it goes without saying, never call one from the other, or let anyone get both numbers. You have to be two people who don't know each other and have never met.

At least, that's how I'd do it. Not sure if I'm being paranoid or just careful...
posted by Devonian at 3:24 PM on May 4, 2010


presumably after identifying and questioning him

I doubt it. ID-ing the suspect in the surveillance footage would be next to impossible to begin with, but assuming police found this person they would have had to done so, and then questioned him, in an incredibly short period of time.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:26 PM on May 4, 2010


So was the wiretap that supposedly caught him executed under warrant?
posted by mattholomew at 3:27 PM on May 4, 2010


I, too, am trying to make this all make sense in my head. If this is, indeed, the guy, then personally I have no reason to believe he acted alone. Maybe he did, sure, but such total failure at getting the thing to go off (to the point where the story in the media had mostly been "haha this terrorist is a moron here's what he should have done") means to me that if you're caught, and you are working with others, you probably don't roll over on them then.

Or ever, really. Wait for them to decide whether they want to take credit, since you're fucked either way.

I'm both amused and frightened of how much of history is littered with this sort of thing, rogue attacks by small groups or individuals which don't work out right, for the most part. The Gunpowder Plot, obviously. Also, the Franz Ferdinand Assassination, which was botched initially and then only successful due to an incredible stroke of "luck" for the Black Hand. Two assassination attempts on Ford and one on Reagan. One on TR. Booth managed to kill Lincoln (although he used absolutely the wrong sort of gun for the thing) but of his co-conspirators, one got cold feet about killing Johnson and the other stabbed basically everyone in Seward's house, including the bed-ridden Seward himself, without causing a single fatality. And god knows how many other plots go unnoticed because of simple incompetence or people changing their minds at the last minute.

Maybe this guy knew what he was doing after all. Maybe he agreed with the message but not the medium, was willing to get himself arrested and scare the shit out of people for his cause, but wasn't actually okay with having the deaths on his soul and psyche. Who knows?

Nobody, and certainly not King or McCain, who find themselves in that enviable position of being sure enough to tell who's guilty before the cops and the courts are through looking at it themselves.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:43 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


For a brief history of assassination in America, botched and otherwise, I can highly recommend Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation.
posted by Artw at 3:46 PM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, Artw, that's where a lot of my information there came from.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:47 PM on May 4, 2010


I said this on Reddit, too, but I strongly suspect that a lot of people don't believe a suspect has the rights made clear by Miranda until those magic words are spoken. There is no logic to this or anything, but the two have been conflated since Bush.
posted by frecklefaerie at 3:57 PM on May 4, 2010


Apart from his ethnic origin, do we even know that he's Muslim?

anyone studied or even stumbled over Pakistan's history and why it even exists?
posted by infini at 4:08 PM on May 4, 2010


Navelgazer - heh. That would be why I was reminded of it then.

Interesting taking away point for would be assassins and blowers-up-of-things: Your actions are highly likely to be completely counterproductive to whatever cause you have.
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on May 4, 2010


The Miranda Rights rule is basically that you cannot use in a court of law anything said by a person under arrest until the Miranda Rights have been read.

Now then, you don't necessarily have to read someone their Miranda Rights, as noted by saulgoodman. In fact, this probably happens quite often, both intentionally and unintentionally. The effect is that any information obtained (and the fruits thereof) cannot be used against that person in court.

Your actual rights, under the 4th, 5th & 6th Amendments, are not stripped from you by a failure to be read your Miranda Rights, as noted by kirkaracha. You always have them. If a person is never told his Miranda Rights, the only way those rights could be stripped by them is if some nutty judge allowed his self-incriminating statements made to the police (and the fruits thereof) to be used against him during his criminal proceedings.

I'm not sure it's fair to judge McCain & King that harshly, because they have not advocated an unconstitutional position. Unless we can establish that their position is that they want to wholly strip away his right against self-incrimination and his right to be represented by counsel, then simply not giving a person his Miranda warning isn't really that Constutionally controversial.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:14 PM on May 4, 2010


Kirk Grim wrote: "You could do more damage with a gas-soaked rag. Oh wait, that's a FOX link."

Yes, the worst case scenario with this thing was a Pathfinder on fire in Times Square, possibly somewhat later followed by a couple of propane tanks popping off, if the fellow had the foresight to disable the pressure relief valves on them. Otherwise, they would have just vented flame for a while until they were empty. (the rapid release of pressure rapidly cools the cylinder, making it unlikely to actually explode even in a car fire)

It's comical enough that if there was any evidence of it, I'd say someone was pulling our legs.

Maybe I'm not worked up about it because I've seen quite a few car fires in my time. Just the other day I saw somebody's truck catch on fire. Didn't really hurt anything except the environment and the owner's pocketbook.
posted by wierdo at 4:17 PM on May 4, 2010


jabberjaw wrote: The Miranda Rights rule is basically that you cannot use in a court of law anything said by a person under arrest until the Miranda Rights have been read.

On not-preview: I thought the rule was that the police couldn't use anything the suspect said in response to questioning, while if they just up and decided to start blabbering on about their criminal activity without any suggestion from the police that such statements could be used in court.
posted by wierdo at 4:20 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure it's fair to judge McCain & King that harshly, because they have not advocated an unconstitutional position. Unless we can establish that their position is that they want to wholly strip away his right against self-incrimination and his right to be represented by counsel, then simply not giving a person his Miranda warning isn't really that Constutionally controversial.

Wait, wait, wait… so they are NOT advocating that this person be whisked off to a Bush-style legal no-mans land for torture and incarceration without trial? Instead they just want to throw away anything he says from a legal point of view because of…?
posted by Artw at 4:24 PM on May 4, 2010


Conservative blowhards like to say that terrorists attack us because they hate our freedoms, but the blowhards act like they hate them, too. It's profoundly un-American to complain about reading this guy his rights. Someone that loved America should say, "Goddamn right we're reading him his rights. We're the greatest country on Earth, with the best legal system in the world, and what makes our system great is that we protect the right of anyone to a fair trial." [add HAMBURGER to taste] Why are they so afraid of our legal system? It's like they're ashamed of it. It reminds me of Selma Hayek's line in Dogma: "I have issues with anyone who treats faith as a burden instead of a blessing. You people don't celebrate your faith; you mourn it."
posted by kirkaracha at 4:28 PM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Nobody, and certainly not King or McCain, who find themselves in that enviable position of being sure enough to tell who's guilty before the cops and the courts are through looking at it themselves.

Always the problem with demagogues. They cast rights as touchy feely addendums and conveniently forget the whole "actual guilty guy running around free, getting away/maybe doing more" practical end of the equation. (Steven Hatfill comes to mind. That's nice work with the bagzooka, Lou.) They're genuinely making the problem worse.
Plug myopia and circumstantial evidence into that and justice becomes a pointless circus. What's odd is how many people think they're going to be ringmaster.
Ironically they're already clowns.
Seriously, try to say "Joe Lieberman" with a straight face. You can't do it. Listen to him talk for a few minutes - about anything - and say his name without cracking up. Can't be done.

He's like an actor pretending to be a pro-athlete or another non-actor who's pretending to be acting as a politician. Call someone right now, say "Joe Lieberman" and see if they don't just start cracking up.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:31 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fuck Joe Lieberman. What in the hell are people doing still listening to him?
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought the rule was that the police couldn't use anything the suspect said in response to questioning, while if they just up and decided to start blabbering on about their criminal activity without any suggestion from the police that such statements could be used in court.

Nope. Anything you say without being read your rights is inadmissible in court. (Although the police could use the information in other ways.) Anything you say after being read your rights, regardless of whether or not it's in response to a question, can be used in court.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:35 PM on May 4, 2010


Maybe we should get out the "what if the suspect has a nuclear bomb" hypothetcals, since this guy very clearly might have a nuclear bomb. Made of a bag of Cheetos and half a housebrick or something.
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on May 4, 2010


If terrorists who threaten us hate our freedom, then wouldn't it be logical that politicians who threaten our freedom hate us?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:59 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


The "bright side" of this is that the Obama admin can make the Republicans look like the idiots they are if the DOJ successfully prosecutes the guy (assuming they don't fuck it up somehow) -- proving that our justice system is perfectly adequate for putting away terrorists with no need to take away their Constitutional rights.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:14 PM on May 4, 2010


Times Square Bombing Suspect Worked at Apollo-Controlled Firm -- Affinion Group Holdings Inc.
posted by ericb at 5:14 PM on May 4, 2010


kirkaracha wrote: "
Nope. Anything you say without being read your rights is inadmissible in court. (Although the police could use the information in other ways.) Anything you say after being read your rights, regardless of whether or not it's in response to a question, can be used in court.
"

I don't think that's quite accurate. For example, the "excited utterance" rule. I'm pretty sure there are other exceptions that have been recognized in courts both state and federal.

It is true that statements made without being mirandized in direct response to a question an officer asks you (unless said question is "what is your name" and you reply "I killed Joe"..which incidentally has happened before) are not admissible in court, generally speaking. I seem to recall the test relying mainly on the spontaneous nature of the utterance, but that part may be my foggy mind making things up.
posted by wierdo at 5:23 PM on May 4, 2010


I thought the rule was that the police couldn't use anything the suspect said in response to questioning, while if they just up and decided to start blabbering on about their criminal activity without any suggestion from the police that such statements could be used in court.

Sorry, kirkaracha, but this is largely correct. Read Rhode Island v. Innis for a half-decent explanation, but the Miranda line of cases is extremely long, complex, and surprisingly non-instructive as far as what can be let in or not.

The broad, general rule is statements made in response to "express questioning." Innis carved out an inclusion for situations which are "the functional equivalent of direct questioning," in that case where the cops had the suspect in the back of the squad car and were loudly and clearly discussing between themselves how much it would suck if some kids found the murder weapon, leading to the suspect telling them where the weapon was so that no kids would find it accidentally.

I don't know enough about the "Public Emergency" rule or whatever that's called to comment upon it. I can tell you, however, that in DC almost no suspects are ever Mirandized. The DC Superior Court just usually doesn't see it as necessary unless it was a statement made at the station (questions of what constitutes "custody" play a big part in this as well) but in general, statements made before "express questioning" came into play are admissible.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:31 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


weirdo: "excited utterance" is an exception to the hearsay rule, but it's pretty close to what we're talking about.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:32 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, the Franz Ferdinand Assassination, which was botched initially and then only successful due to an incredible stroke of "luck" for the Black Hand.

If it can be phrased in this manner... my "favorite" bit of trivial from the Ferdinand assassination was that Gavrilo Princip, the assassin, was he the guy who no one really wanted along on the mission, and not only did he abandon his assigned role in the attempt, but he in effect spent the night in a park in a failed attempt to "get lucky" with his girlfriend, so he wanders out frustrated and moody and whoa there's the Archduke in his car fleeing an already botched attempt at his life. *Bang* Chance succeeded where planning failed.
posted by edgeways at 7:28 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


So if his girlfriend had just put out, WW1 might've been averted & millions of men would've avoided death & disfigurement from horrific trench trench warfare...?

Take note, ladies!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:41 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


there were two trenches there, just to emphasise exactly how trenchy that trench warfare really was.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:43 PM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


CunningLinguist: "In the end, it was secret Army intelligence planes that did him in. Armed with his cell phone number, they circled the skies over the New York area, intercepting a call to Emirates Airlines reservations, before scrambling to catch him at John F. Kennedy International Airport.""

This "secret army planes" story seems to have disappeared from the WCBST website, as noted here. It is also contrary to the New York Times version, here, which has the Feds unaware that Shahzad was getting on the plane until he was on the plane:

As is routine, when boarding was completed for the flight, Emirates Flight EK202, the final passenger manifest was sent to the National Targeting Center, operated in Virginia by Customs and Border Protection. There, at about 11 p.m., analysts discovered that Mr. Shahzad was on the no-fly list and had just boarded a plane.

I tend to believe the NYT version, for a couple of reasons: (1) I just plain don't believe that even the NSA could vacuum up all cellular transmissions over New York Freaking City from a secret plane and analyze them in real-time; (2) if they did intercept the call, why did they let him board the plane (which appears to have happened several hours after the call).
posted by Mid at 8:02 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mid wrote: "I just plain don't believe that even the NSA could vacuum up all cellular transmissions over New York Freaking City from a secret plane and analyze them in real-time"

I'm not saying they are, but it would be trivial with the amount of computing power they have to decrypt it all. The encryption algorithms are deliberately relatively easy to perform once the secret key is known, and breaking the secret key has proven doable even by people without the NSA's amassed big iron, so quickly breaking it even for thousands of different phones seems possible, although having a number, they would only have to listen for one specific phone and break its encryption.

If there was interception, it was more likely at the switch rather than over the air. Much easier to do; no decryption required.
posted by wierdo at 8:16 PM on May 4, 2010


This Gawker post discusses the "scrubbed" army plane story.
posted by Mid at 8:16 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weirdo - I was less thinking about the encryption than just the sheer volume of traffic. I agree with you - if they know what phone they are looking for, it seems like there are better ways of tracking (including through the carrier's own computers) than with an airplane. If they don't know what phone they are looking for, it seems to me implausible that they could analyze all wireless calls in real-time (even forgetting about encryption) and zero-in on some random person making an airline reservation.
posted by Mid at 8:22 PM on May 4, 2010


there were two trenches there, just to emphasise exactly how trenchy that trench warfare really was.

Relive the desperate, horrific excitement in the upcoming Activision/BEMANI step-fighting collaboration, Call of Duty: Trench Trench Revolution.

posted by cortex at 8:28 PM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Mid wrote: "it seems to me implausible that they could analyze all wireless calls in real-time (even forgetting about encryption) and zero-in on some random person making an airline reservation."

With not-so-recent-now advancements in beamforming and signal processing, it doesn't strike me as at all implausible, at least for a radius of 25 miles or less or so. All you really have to do is listen to the control channels of all the sites you can hear. It is probably mildly more difficult now that CDMA air interfaces pretty much rule the roost. (the mechanics of frequency reuse in TDMA-based networks would have made it dastardly simple)

Even if they can't hear the phone itself, they would be able to hear the site talking to the phone in the case that the base station's antenna was pointed in the plane's general direction. That gets you half the conversation, which is often enough.

I'm not at all saying that this sort of technology is behind the apprehension of the bombing suspect, I'm just saying it passes the sniff test at the very least.
posted by wierdo at 9:05 PM on May 4, 2010


Nope. Anything you say without being read your rights is inadmissible in court.

Not correct. Wikipedia has a good summary:

The Miranda rule applies to the use of testimonial evidence in criminal proceedings that is the product of custodial police interrogation.[7] Therefore, for Miranda to apply six factors must be present:
evidence must have been gathered
the evidence must be testimonial[8]
the evidence must have been obtained while the suspect was in custody[9]
the evidence must have been the product of interrogation[10]
the interrogation must have been conducted by state-agents[11] and
the evidence must be offered by the state during a criminal prosecution.[12]
posted by caddis at 9:05 PM on May 4, 2010


link
posted by caddis at 9:06 PM on May 4, 2010


I should have added that if you expect someone to be fleeing the area, there's a reasonably finite set of destination numbers you'd be interested in (ticketing numbers for bus lines, airlines, rail, etc.), so it wouldn't be an insurmountable problem to cut the amount of traffic to be analyzed to a reasonable volume.

The articles I've read thus far imply that the suspect's cell number was known, however.
posted by wierdo at 9:08 PM on May 4, 2010


I think what's being overlooked is the fact that in most of the pictures I've seen of him, he's wearing a Bluetooth earpiece, which means not only is he a suspected terrorist but also a complete douche.

Stephen Colbert stole your joke!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:23 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would think every call made to every airline reservation line is recorded for posterity. Or if you think the law prevents them from recording the call as a digital voice record, how about if its transcribed using speech recognition? Either way it would be easy to track down his call after-the-fact.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:25 PM on May 4, 2010


Stephen Colbert stole your joke!

It would be nice if TDS and TCR came clean about where they get at least half their material from. I'm sure Metafilter is on the list of websites that staffers monitor.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 PM on May 4, 2010


The comedy writers would follow him around & use his jewels for TV prime time.

Of this, he was convinced.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:33 PM on May 4, 2010


Sounds like Hitler, huh?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:34 PM on May 4, 2010


They scan the thread, for the well of inspiration.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 PM on May 4, 2010


I suspect they're just if if if...
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 PM on May 4, 2010


Young and old dicks make TV
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 PM on May 4, 2010


wow, that sure shut them up.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:37 AM on May 5, 2010


It looks as if they're getting short of guys willing to commit suicide. You've got to think that a well-planned operation would just have a button that the driver could press. Instead it's clear that they can get guys who can put together a bomb, and guys who will kill themselves, but nobody who can be relied upon to do both. And it's not even as if the bomb designer were very capable - as someone here said, they blow up better things on Mythbusters. Contrast this to the 9-11 plot which relied upon having multiple guys who could learn how to fly a jet and who were willing to kill themselves. It looks as if those days are over - everybody left is thick, cowardly, or both.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:26 AM on May 5, 2010


Apart from his ethnic origin, do we even know that he's Muslim?

anyone studied or even stumbled over Pakistan's history and why it even exists?
posted by infini


You do know that there are millions of Hindus and Christians in Pakistan right? And while we're on the subject since when is "Pakistani" an ethnicity?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:03 AM on May 5, 2010


He does seem to be somewhat of an idiot. The latest from the NYT (sorry, on blackberry) says that he left his own house key on the keyring in the ignition of the truck! He used the pre-paid cell phone to make a bunch of other calls. And he waited until after the bomb to buy his escape plane ticket. (If he had bought the ticket in advance he'd probably be in Waziristan now.)

The Feds are so far not explaining how they traced the phone, but I bet it is simply that he used it to call a pattern of numbers that somehow identified him, maybe because the same pattern matched another phone in his possession.
posted by Mid at 5:10 AM on May 5, 2010


Steve Coll, who is very smart and well-informed about Pakistan and Afghanistan, suggests that the Shahzad case shows that a green U.S. citizen who goes over to Pakistan to "volunteer" for terrorism is sent back with minimal training and guidance -- the jihadis assume he's a spy and don't make much of an investment.
posted by Mid at 6:30 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm curious about the fertilizer. Did he fill a footlocker full of Miracle Gro, hoping that it would explode?
posted by electroboy at 7:34 AM on May 5, 2010


Steve Coll, who is very smart and well-informed about Pakistan and Afghanistan, suggests that the Shahzad case shows that a green U.S. citizen who goes over to Pakistan to "volunteer" for terrorism is sent back with minimal training and guidance -- the jihadis assume he's a spy and don't make much of an investment.

I'm wondering if this is something like that or perhaps Shahzad sabotaged his own car bomb knowingly. He's been pretty loose lipped to the Feds so far, so it may not be out of bounds to think that he was coerced to partake in this but was trying to minimize any damage. That's extending him a lot of credit, though. Mainly I just can't fathom how obtusely incompetent the whole thing was.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:39 AM on May 5, 2010


It's worth considering that there might be less here than meets the eye. The arrests in Pakistan may be meaningless PR moves to ingratiate the regime with Washington and not mean a thing. The cluelessness of the bomb looks more like childish magical thinking than the result of "training" of any kind whatsoever.

Terrorism is hard to define and it can have some very fuzzy edges. It may just be this guy was acting out for personal and idiosyncratic motives. So he decided to pretend to be a terrorist as a way of dealing with his situation - which by several accounts was a very unhappy one.

It does seem that there was an intent to be perceived as dangerous, but the underlying motive is not at all clear.

The parallel to the Hutaree is striking. Not much there either.

Doubtless the hyperventilating and making stuff up will continue in the echo chamber of the media.
posted by warbaby at 7:44 AM on May 5, 2010


Dan Fanelli, who's running against Alan Grayson in Florida, has a new TV ad that explains that it's easy to identify terrorists. Because they're brown.
posted by EarBucket at 7:58 AM on May 5, 2010


wow holy fuck earbucket that ad actually literally turned my stomach.

"Why is it white people are being searched! We all know how to spot a raghead!"


I need to lie down.
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on May 5, 2010


and further cementing my Never. Go. To. Florida. Ever. rule
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do they let any jackass run for government? (Don't answer, that's more or less a rhetorical question.) Holy shit. Does that dude have any chance of winning? Can you win on a "Let's not hide the racism" platform in Florida. I guess we'll find out.

Wasn't the last dude to fly a plane into a building in the US a crazy old White guy.
posted by chunking express at 8:24 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You do know that there are millions of Hindus and Christians in Pakistan right?

I know about the Christian, the Parsis and other religions in Pakistan but did not know there were Hindus who remained behind, given the bloody history and rationale for the existence of the nation.

Citation or reference on this please.
posted by infini at 8:37 AM on May 5, 2010


Citation or reference on this please.

Sure.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:45 AM on May 5, 2010


India also has a ton of Muslims. Shocking.
posted by chunking express at 9:42 AM on May 5, 2010


...proving that our justice system is perfectly adequate for putting away terrorists with no need to take away their Constitutional rights.

We did that with the 1993 WTC bombing, investigated, charged, tried and convicted (those VINs kick your ass, man). It’s seems to keep re-escaping notice whenever convenient for certain people.
I thought that Fanelli thing was a joke. WTF. He gets a guy who looks like Marshall Applewhite to be Mr. Inconspicuous.

Michael Reynolds. Robert Cottage and David Jackson? I don't know about good looking but Jackson was a retired dentist. I don't know if it gets more humdrum than that. At least on paper.
I mean, yeah, there is Islamic extremism which can be connected to terrorism and that's something to look for, but to purposefully develop a blind spot?

Good looking ripped guy? Jesus that's f'ing delusional. I don't know what it is, some folks succeed in some area, get some achievement, and suddenly they're experts on everything. Bad enough. But you get a complete disconnect with reality combined with this egotism (ha, ha, I'm joking that I'm good looking and ripped - but maybe not)

People blow stuff up. Last year around this time someone blew up a Starbucks in NY. The year before there was a recruiting station.
This stuff does happen all the time. The key is (obviously try to stop it in the first place) if it happens, take the hit and keep going. The panic and chaos is more dangerous than the damage.
Indeed, given the context of the oil spill, it's almost trite. We can do appalling damage to ourselves, and nature can eradicate us at just about any moment (from volcano to meteor to other global catastrophes).
We live less than 5 and a half miles from certain death everywhere on earth (top of the livable atmosphere - if you could drive your car straight up for an hour you'd be in space) the fangs have been at our necks throughout most of human history whether through starvation or disease, it's only the last 10,000 years we've managed to at least stave off some hunger and random death. And we haven't been able to stabilize that yet without polluting the hell out of some parts of the planet and possibly killing us all. Hell, there's a mass extinction going on right now.

But this guy with his fireworks and propane tanks, yeah, he's going to change the world by killing a few people randomly. And the freaking pundits, oh, he's wrong, it's that you have to kill the right people, if you know what I mean. But, uh, not me, I'll stay here and keep an eye on things.
If we had any sense of perspective at all there would be no war or terrorism and flameouts on metafilter would be as harsh and violent as we got to each other.

People do know their lives eventually end right? You, all your shit, everything you and everyone you know care about, that's going to be meaningless at a far enough point in the future. The whole Ozymandias thing. So damn pointless you almost question the effort to stop them.
Almost.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:40 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Media Ignore The Fact That Man Who Alerted Police To Failed Times Square Bombing Is A Muslim Immigrant
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I see

Pakistan
Main article: Hinduism in Pakistan

There are a number of instances of persecution of Hindus in Pakistan. In 1951, Hindus constituted 22 percentage of the Pakistani population;[74][75] by 1998 the share of Hindus were down to around 1.7 percentage[76]. This huge drop is due to wide forcible conversion and murder of those who resisted it, a situation that is recorded to have continued till date. Minority members of the Pakistan National Assembly have alleged that Hindus were being hounded and humiliated to force them to leave Pakistan.[77]

posted by infini at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2010


and further cementing my Never. Go. To. Florida. Ever. rule

The_Whelk, I'm really sorry to hear this. There's lots of decent Floridians, honest. And some of us are even Mefites.
posted by misha at 1:32 PM on May 5, 2010


the share of Hindus were down to around 1.7 percentage

Just FYI - 1.7 percent of the Pakistani population is still roughly 3 million people. Also, this is still more than the Christian population.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:03 PM on May 5, 2010


yes pollamacho you are absolutely right, that pakistani could have been a hindu, why don't you just drop a nuke on kashmir and start a bloody war again or is that what you're hoping for ?
posted by infini at 2:22 PM on May 5, 2010


Great. Just when the west had enough on its hands with Islamic terrorism, now we seem to have a second wave, of hardcore Hindus. And those fundamentalist Kali devotees are a bunch of fanatical thugs.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:28 PM on May 5, 2010


If only there were roving bands of Thuggee terrorists in Times Square, ripping out the hearts of tourists.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:30 PM on May 5, 2010


Inbanana Jones and the Temple of the Goons, rah rah Kaliflower
posted by infini at 2:46 PM on May 5, 2010


Well, here's the deal with the phone numbers:

But after the police found the vehicle number on a hidden part of the engine, they tracked down the Connecticut woman who had sold it. While she did not remember the buyer’s name and had no paperwork from the sale, she did have the number of the phone he had used to contact her. That number led to a prepaid cellphone with no registered owner.

Authorities have said that phone received four calls from Pakistan in the hours before he bought the 17-year-old sports utility vehicle for $1,300. When they ran all the numbers tied to that phone through government databases, the only “hit” they found was the number Mr. Shahzad had given when he returned to the United States on Feb. 3 on an Emirates flight.


Not exactly CSI material here. He took a call on his pre-paid phone from a number that he had given the government when he returned from a trip from Pakistan.
posted by Mid at 2:53 PM on May 5, 2010


Media Ignore The Fact That Man Who Alerted Police To Failed Times Square Bombing Is A Muslim Immigrant
So does Niasse get Shahzad’s citizenship now? Is she promoted to Christian or do they take the little "D" off the crawl under her name? I'm not sure how that works out.

I grew up Muslim in this country, with Muslim friends and non-Muslim friends, and there was very little difference between the two groups. We were all American.

Man, I'd so much really, really, really, rather have someone like this in congress on t.v. "speaking for the U.S." right now.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:01 PM on May 5, 2010


Miranda Worked! The bizarre criticism of the Faisal Shahzad interrogation.
posted by homunculus at 4:56 PM on May 5, 2010


North Waziristan: Terrorism's new hub?
posted by homunculus at 5:32 PM on May 5, 2010


yes pollamacho you are absolutely right, that pakistani could have been a hindu, why don't you just drop a nuke on kashmir and start a bloody war again or is that what you're hoping for ?

The fuck are you on about there? That's a rude assertion to make to a fellow who was just providing you with some information.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:43 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm assuming the Laphroaig is to blame.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:05 PM on May 5, 2010


LEAVE LAPHROAIG ALONE! that glorious scotch has done nothing wrong.
posted by shmegegge at 7:37 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hah, we put Laphroaig on the terrorist watch list so there. It will be even worse than that year that Johnny Walker monopolized their supply and there was none for the rest of us.
posted by caddis at 8:18 PM on May 5, 2010


The fuck are you on about there? That's a rude assertion to make to a fellow who was just providing you with some information.

Seriously. What the heck, Infini? You seem to be unloading some baggage here -- the dude just pointed out that Pakistani doesn't necessarily mean Muslim.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:52 PM on May 5, 2010


Why Did CBS Scrub A Story About Army Spy Planes Capturing the Times Square Bomber?
posted by homunculus at 11:20 PM on May 5, 2010


not baggage adn I apologize if I was rude. that was not my intent, sorry pollomacho.

i don't know if I can articulate it or put it into words, from the context/perspective of being an indian passport holder and having lived there from 1984 to 1997 - no, this isn't bigotry, I grew up in Malaysia, a nation with a predominantly muslim population

its just that pakistan was torn out of india to be a homeland for the muslims. it left behind bloodshed and massacres in its wake. my parents generation (much less my grandparents) have never forgotten this - this is not the made up current day political "indian/muslim" divide within the country but the context of Jinnah's political maneuvring, Gandhi's sorrow and subsequent assasination by hindu nationalists for "allowing" this split to happen. i mean my grandmother and her brothers were proud marchers in the Quit India movement and received their "freedom fighter" pensions until they passed away. this stuff ..sigh..

if this kind of thing, even accidently gets about, all the current efforts at peace between these two warring nations would go downhill. I can't think of a similar analogy of the cognitive dissonance of even questioning if a pakistani could be anything other than a muslim

and his name is not a hindu name, names from the subcontinent identify your religion, your caste, your mother tongue, your cultural and social history to anyone else

its a frustration with the lack of understanding and knowledge (not you pollomacho) about the people, the region, the history and everything

aaargh

I apologize again for the GRAR to a friend on the blue but the frustration with the conceptual situation remains...
posted by infini at 11:22 PM on May 5, 2010


As it happens, news reports say that he and his family were not religious, but that he took up Islam whilst living in the US.

Times Square bomb suspect the perfect recruit - The Pakistani-American accused of trying to explode a bomb in New York's Times Square was able to move easily between the two countries and came from a family of wealth and privilege — a near-perfect background for an international terrorist group wanting to steal into the United States and launch an attack.

Near-perfect, as long as you ignore his complete & total incompetence.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:57 PM on May 5, 2010



Internet Hindus and Madrasa Muslims
posted by infini at 3:47 AM on May 6, 2010


Near-perfect, as long as you ignore his complete & total incompetence.

What incompetence. It doesn't matter if the bomb works so long as it gets media coverage and Capitol Hill in an uproar. This guy scored a direct hit with this one and he didn't even have to kill anyone.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:27 AM on May 6, 2010


I'm still wondering why the dude is blabbing to the Feds. Is he suddenly wetting himself with visions of Gitmo or perhaps trying to cut a deal because there really is more going on?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:37 AM on May 6, 2010


What incompetence. It doesn't matter if the bomb works so long as it gets media coverage and Capitol Hill in an uproar. This guy scored a direct hit with this one and he didn't even have to kill anyone.

I like the idea of terrorist organizations switching to making fake bombs and allowing themselves to be caught by the police, just so they can get TV coverage and upset politicians. Maybe next time they can kidnap some people using fake guns and then pretend to fall asleep so they can escape. Personally though I think a more plausible explanation is that this particular guy is an idiot.

I'm still wondering why the dude is blabbing to the Feds. Is he suddenly wetting himself with visions of Gitmo or perhaps trying to cut a deal because there really is more going on?

It's also possible that he knows as much about conducting a strong legal defense as he does about constructing a working bomb.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:22 AM on May 6, 2010


Why Did CBS Scrub A Story About Army Spy Planes Capturing the Times Square Bomber?

I'm going to limit the reasons why to two (feel free to speculate about more...):

1. There is a vast conspiracy that shut down ALL news about the super secret military operations that is monitoring ALL phone chatter & is deucedly clever with its reliability, accuracy, and perceptive acumen, ferreting out minute information that can condemn any one of us to a life eating ramen at Gitmo, or

2. CBS got it wrong, went with the story b/c of the boost if they had been right and obviously, they were first.

I go with #2, because most military operations can't keep track of all of their ordnance, let alone pinpoint that phone chatter out of the thousands of possible calls, and while I know that other news organizations aren't necessarily going to come to CBS's rescue to say "hey we heard that, too, and dammit we were still checking it out when CBS ran with it", I still think that some news op, somewhere (if it were true) would have some corroborating piece of evidence.
posted by beelzbubba at 10:51 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going with 1. I lived in DC on and after 9/11 and we sometimes saw the white planes and heard lots of whispered stories about them.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2010


Personally though I think a more plausible explanation is that this particular guy is an idiot.
Last year a 19yo Jordanian was arrested for planting a fake bomb at Fountain Place in Dallas. There's the Mike Finton (Talib Islam) case around the same time where he had dummy explosives and his AQPOC was an FBI agent.
Calling in a bomb threat is illegal, because just the response to the call causes problems and potential panic.
There's a wide spectrum in tactics and countertactics that make these things sort of gray. I think this guy is an idiot, but for different reasons.

Consider: If I'm a terrorist cell commander, as far as I'm concerned his greatest asset is his mobility and his high profile. He's not a warrior really. He's an American citizen, he's in the fold.
So, does it matter if I send him out to create an incident whether the bomb (or whatever) goes off or not? Not really. Because terrorism isn't about one incident. Or even casualties.

It's not like the bomb making know how isn't out there. The Khobar Towers, the super ferry - people know how to do this. But why waste the resources? The objective isn't to kill people.
Goons like this guy (and no matter his standing in society if I'm the Joe Terrorist Outfit C.O. he's just low level, albeit perhaps specialized, cadre to me) are part of an overall strategy to maintain tension, force division, and destabilization.

You think there's completely no connection between what Joe Lieberman, Glen Beck and those other goofs say in public and the operational strategy of a number of co-interested, if not fraternal, terrorist organizations?
There are sympathizers with BILLIONS of dollars at their command. Granted they can't really bring that money to bear without exposure (Khalid bin Mahfouz f'rinstance), but it draws a lot of water and influence. (Bush removed the Saudi bases after 9/11)
With a billion dollars in the bank I could fuck up a small country like Suriname with a few insinuations, without getting out of my limo and without spending a dime.
That's even without a religion or abstract to exploit or fanatics already in place.

Most of the folks like this guy enjoy and boast about the fact that they're connected to an overarching concept (the misrepresented 'jihad') and draw meaning from that. Very very easy to exploit and are a very deniable and disposable asset.
And c'mon, we all knew what the pundits would say. So the idea that someone with that kind of money wouldn't have the resources to develop a sophisticated strategy anticipating political and social divides, and perhaps influencing them through proxies (Sami Al-Arian comes to mind as a clusterfuck example). A big hunk of this kind of conflict is political. The guys who are hard to nail down come out of nowhere and have no political front of any kind. But they're short-lived and rarely make any headway. People tend to forget that element of terrorism, guerrilla warfare, revolutions, all that (hence the 'but they have atomic bombs!' rhetoric).
This could be just another invitation to destroy ourselves. We seem to be getting along well with that. You want to let your enemy keep making mistakes. Maybe help him along a little by keeping tensions high and the pressure on.

So, yeah, this particular guy is an idiot. But one of a series.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:07 PM on May 6, 2010


Well, this is a pretty convincing denial that secret signals planes were used after all.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:20 PM on May 6, 2010


Interesting article, CunningLinguist. Thanks for posting that.

Personally, as long as there are strong protections in place to prevent the retention of communications made by anyone other than the target, I think there is a role that these planes have to play in response to "terrorist" activity. (I use the word "terrorist" despite its shittiness because I don't have a better one handy)

It's similar to how it would be OK with me if the air force scrambled some jets to intercept some Canadian bombers headed our way, even though I'm generally against the military conducting operations inside the US.

I am glad to see something of a return to the law enforcement model of pursuing terrorists, though. It worked well for us for many years; abandoning it in the first place was a big mistake, IMO.
posted by wierdo at 5:36 PM on May 6, 2010


What I understand about Faisal Shahzad: As a Muslim Pakistani, I can't tell you why he did it. But I know one violent nut can change how Americans see me
posted by homunculus at 8:04 PM on May 6, 2010


The curious case of Faisal Shahzad
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 PM on May 6, 2010


homunculus the salon link seems borked for me...
posted by infini at 1:07 AM on May 7, 2010


salon's down for now - undergoing maintenance while the americans are sleeping.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:13 AM on May 7, 2010


one day, columbus will discover the rest of the world (tm) ;p
posted by infini at 1:18 AM on May 7, 2010


fuck that. i have no desire to live in Vespuccia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:32 AM on May 7, 2010


infini, the link is working again, but just in case here's the guy's own blog: GOATMILK.
posted by homunculus at 8:38 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


grazie, senor
posted by infini at 8:59 AM on May 7, 2010


one brown-hued bucket

me likey blog
posted by infini at 9:03 AM on May 7, 2010


Interesting link Burhanistan. From that:
Right now, the best strategy for the government of Pakistan — and the institutions that come under it — would be to aid the investigation and help find any accomplices so that the rest of the world does not see even an iota of prevarication.

Longstanding problem there is that Pakistan is sort of struggling against itself. One can't treat Pakistan (or really any other entity past a certain level of complexity) as a monolith. The U.S. has politics playing a role, and the divisions are weighing heavier, but the authority is a bit more sure (albeit heavily influenced by elements like party politics, social expediency, lobbying, business, etc). Pakistan you have highly placed folks really trying hard to change the direction of the government and the society.

(as an aside - it's why I think Obama is allowing the pursuit of the 'Han Solo' (I prefer a straight fight to all this 'X') provocative strategy with the drones. Not how I would do it, but it looks that way from my thumbnail)

So the "institutions that come under it" would be one reason why this guy is a 'terrorist' and someone like T.J. Zajac is just a mad bomber (a surprising number of 40-50-ish white males are).
The lone wolf is ... well, not always a lesser threat in every case really, but not one you can do much about with leg work unless you're peeking in people's garages all the time.

Here you have a potential network (yeah, he's admitted it. I'd place less significance on how he barks at first than on what he reveals when he's not as hot though.)

What would be critical is to differentiate that - certain fanatic elements in Pakistan - from Joe Pakistani who just wants to go to work and play with his kids and maybe catch a movie on occasion like everyone else.

Which would be yet another reason the drone thing irritates me. Essentially the same damn tactics (that is - put tension on the man in the street to create the change you want to see - and reprehensible for the same human reasons) but with a big ticket price tag.
Granted our stuff blows up consistently, but that really makes indiscriminate targeting all the worse.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:22 AM on May 7, 2010


And now there is another snafu in Times Square (!?).
posted by misha at 11:05 AM on May 7, 2010


This can only lead to really strict littering laws!
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on May 7, 2010


Times Square evacuated over suspicious package

i once evacuated a man from my apartment for the same reasons
posted by infini at 11:11 AM on May 7, 2010


If the "small, white cooler" contains crabs or lobsters then the jokes will write themselves!
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on May 7, 2010


Times Square evacuated over suspicious package

Suspicious Package: TSA Worker Jailed After Junk Joke
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on May 7, 2010


Bah...

Investigators determined after an anxious hour or so that the suspicious package -- a green cooler -- contained only water bottles.

Where is the comedy potential? Where?
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on May 7, 2010


your white cooler turned out to be green? water is the natural habitat for crabs and lobsters?

*tries hard*
posted by infini at 2:49 PM on May 7, 2010


THIS JOKE IS FAILING TO WRITE ITSELF!
posted by Artw at 2:50 PM on May 7, 2010


NYC POLICE HAVE CRABS

"At this stage we don't know how they got there" a police spokesman said. "We aren't jumping to any conclusions, but we haven't ruled out Al Quaeda"
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:54 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


good show, Ubu
posted by infini at 3:02 PM on May 7, 2010


Thank you, thank you, you've been wonderful. Try the veal.

Or the veal-alike nutmeat. Pure veg, cooked in a separate kitchen...
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:06 PM on May 7, 2010


The influence of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki looms again as new evidence strengthens the notion that Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was inspired by a global extremist network stretching from Yemen to Pakistan.
posted by homunculus at 7:32 PM on May 7, 2010


So blow the fucker away with predator drones already!
posted by Artw at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2010


but what if they miss and blow away the wedding party on 52nd st?
posted by infini at 6:53 AM on May 8, 2010


Pakistani Taliban Behind Times Sq. Plot, Holder Says
posted by homunculus at 9:00 AM on May 9, 2010


If that's the kind of terrorist the Taliban are putting out these days, the next offensive should eradicate them for good.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:30 AM on May 9, 2010


Meet The Press: AG Eric Holder Says He Wants Congress To "Modify" Miranda
posted by homunculus at 10:55 AM on May 9, 2010


My guess is that it's nothing but a political trial balloon and not much will come of it. A lot of people don't understand what Miranda is all about. You can already be questioned by the authorities without being given a Miranda warning. Hell, you can be questioned by authorities without being Mirandized even after being arrested. It's just that any information elicited that way won't be usable in court.

So I don't understand the problem with current law. Either Republicans are stupid and don't understand Miranda or they're playing a political game, or both. And Holder is going along with it. It's not as though these guys are spilling their guts and then they shut up once you Mirandize them; generally if they are talkers they keep talking, and if they aren't talkers you haven't lost anything anyway.

Lastly, Congress can do whatever the fuck it wants. But the Miranda warning is a Constitutional right, not a statutory one. So unless they amend the Constitution they're SOL. I know Holder isn't stupid. He must know he can work with Congress as much as he wants and it doesn't matter so long as the Supreme Court doesn't decide to walk back Miranda. Now there are indeed a bunch of justices on the Court itching for a chance to do just that (stare decisis my butt, justice Roberts) but I don't believe there are currently 5 votes to do it. It's close, though.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 PM on May 9, 2010


Inside New York’s Spycam HQ

NYC's Bloomberg in London to view transit CCTV
posted by homunculus at 8:25 AM on May 11, 2010


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