Ode to Umar Farouk, the alleged Al-Qaeda ‘wannabe’?

28 12 2009


Spirits of the Free
Flow like calm waters
They fly like free birds
Tides, winds, weather season ’em

Elements of nature they fear not
Only Mother Nature could tame ’em
Or bend ’em into temptations of the soul
A free-spirited soul then emerges

The emergence of the unexpected
The unpredictability of the mind-game
The end-goals of a greater meaningful life
The destruction of a soulless spirit tested

Tests, trials and tribulations in life
Start when all else succeed to fail
Failure is not an option but a position
That must be taken by a spiritual soul

A free-spirited soul tempted by angst
Succumbs to the success of failures
In life, worldly freedom wins…
In death, divine eternity rules!


N.B. Background story of the alleged terrorist from Nigeria below:

“Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (allegedly) tries to blow up a plane

* Dec 26th 2009, 16:04 by The Economist | WASHINGTON DC

IN WHAT American officials are calling “an attempted act of terrorism,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man who claims ties to al-Qaeda, allegedly tried to bring down a plane on Friday using an improvised explosive device strapped to his leg. Northwest Airlines flight 253 was headed from Amsterdam to Detroit, and Mr Abdulmutallab apparently tried to detonate the device as the plane began to land.

Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott, who has had a rough couple of days, told ABC News that Mr Abdulmutallab was “subdued immediately.” (Northwest is a subsidiary of Delta.)

The Detroit Free Press has what is probably the best collection of passenger accounts of the attack, but details are still pretty hazy. (They’re so hazy, in fact, that different media outlets rendered the alleged bomber’s name in different ways. I’ve gone with the New York Times’ version from their latest article.*) Although there is lots of information going around about Mr Abdulmutallab’s claims of ties to al-Qaeda, it’s still unclear whether his claims will hold up under scrutiny. The attacker could have been “inspired but not specifically trained or ordered by terror groups,” law enforcement officials told the Associated Press. (Update, late Saturday: He’s been charged. The Times has the story.)

Passengers told the Free Press that they saw a man filming the incident, so we’ll at least know more about exactly what happened on the plane if and when that amateur video is released to the media.

At least one Republican was quick to hint that the attempted bombing might speak to President Barack Obama’s failures on the national security front. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, spoke to the Free Press before he had even been briefed on the incident. “People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration,” Hoekstra said. On twitter, he criticized the administration for calling the incident an “attempted” attack.

Democrats also moved to address the incident. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the House homeland security committee, promised an oversight hearing on the subject in January, as did Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the chair of the Senate commerce committee.

While elected Democrats’ statements on the incident were generally cautious, on the blogs, the fight over how to interpret the attack has already begun. Criticizing Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) for saying the attack “could have been devastating,” Matt Yglesias argues that the incident “shows to me is how little punch our dread terrorist adversaries really pack”:

Ultimately, it does no favors to anyone to blow this sort of thing out of proportion. The United States could not, of course, be “devastated” by anything resembling this scheme. We ought to be clear on that fact. We want to send the message around the world that this sort of vile attempt to slaughter innocent people is not, at the end of the day, anything resembling a serious challenge to American power. It’s attempted murder, it’s wrong, we should try to stop it, but it’s really not much more than that.

Mr Yglesias makes a controversial point. Is it a valid one? What do you think?

A few more links: Another blogger, Spencer Ackerman, echoes Mr Yglesias’ argument and asks “What does this say about al-Qaeda?” The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder has a good roundup of what the Obama administration might be thinking right now. The New York Times offers a detailed followup to Friday evening’s stories, with more details about the airlines’ reactions and the steps the government is taking. The Times also has a Q&A about how new security restrictions might affect your travel plans. CNN notes that the attempted attack fell eight years—almost to the day—after “shoe bomber” Richard Reid tried to blow up a plane using explosives in his sneakers. And the Free Press has a roundup of the latest updates from wire services.”




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