[Toronto Star, Canada]



Nachrichten, Switzerland

Terror in the Sky: Christmas Just Isn't What it Used to Be


"Relief that the attack failed is fully justified. But the nightmare of Christmas in Detroit has brought even more loathing, fear and distrust into the world … things that we already had more than enough of."


By Patrik Etschmayer


Translated By Patrik Etschmayer


December 29, 2009


Nachrichten - Switzerland - Original Article (German)

Troubled Youth: Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab has been charged by the United States with attempting to blow up an aircraft which was enroute from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Nigeria Minister of Information and Communications 'embarrassed' by suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Dec. 30, 00:01:01RealVideo

Somehow, Christmas no longer wants to unfold with peace, love and joy. This year, we can blame it on Umar Faruk Abdul Muttalab, the Detroit BBQ-Bomber who, luckily, only managed to set himself and not his fellow passengers - alight. As a result, from now on, passengers checked into a flight to the United States will be frisked even more thoroughly and will not be permitted to go to the toilet for an hour before landing because that seems to be the best-suited place for preparing to ignite bombs worn on the body. 



Let's just be happy that this al-Qaeda-fanboy-idiot didn't get the idea of igniting the bomb in the toilet itself: no Dutchman would have plunged to keep him from igniting the blast. And as a consequence, aircraft toilet visits will be possible only with a sky marshal escort.


The explosive consisted of 80 grams of Pentaerythritol tetranitrate [PETN], a strong plastic-explosive in the same family as nitroglycerine, which is used to produce dynamite. The same stuff was used by the infamous shoe-bomber Richard Reid, who hid 50 grams of PETN in his shoes. That attempted attack failed as well. And just like then, it was mostly luck that prevented catastrophe: This time it was supposedly the detonator, which didn't have sufficient contact with the explosives hidden in Abdul Muttalab's underwear.


The alleged underwear of Umar Faruk Abdul Muttalab.



After the initial shock, all that remains is a mixture of helpless anger and cynicism ... sentiments that one shouldn't be feeling this time of year. It's increasingly clear, however, that bad news doesn’t spare the holidays. Yes, there's logic behind the careful selection of this date for an attack by religious fanatics: an Islamic fundamentalist attack on a plane during the most popular Christian holiday would certainly have been a huge hit an all of the Internet's Islamist fan sites.


But the attack was unsuccessful - and there will certainly be many who attribute that to divine intervention. But stupidity - both in the attempt and the bungling of it - is an unlimited resource. Divine intervention is hardly necessary.   



What's left is a scorched terrorist, a shocked public and further restrictions on our freedom to move, travel or even empty our bladders in a aircraft toilet according to our own schedule.



Daily Independent, Nigeria: After Terror Scare, Nigerians 'Unduly Stigmatized'

Le Figaro, France: Al-Qaeda: Obama Must Walk in the Footsteps of Bush

NRC Handelsblad, Netherlands: Terror and the Illusion of Complete Safety

The Daily Sun, Nigeria: Christmas Bomb Suspect's Family Issues Statement

Elaph, United Kingdom: America Should 'Hire Private Jets for Muslims'


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Looking at the final two points, Abdul Muttalab scored a modest success despite himself: Terror always seeks to disconcert the public. The victims are considered merely tools for increasing fear and insecurity in the society under attack. Likewise it's also important harden the battle lines further, increase hatred and aversion and heighten the walls of separation.


Relief that the attack failed is fully justified. But the nightmare of Christmas in Detroit has brought even more loathing, fear and distrust into the world … things that we already had more than enough of.  


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Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Dec. 31, 3:06pm


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