Ricin attacks and an arrest

Letters laced with the deadly poison ricin were sent to President Obama and a Republican senator.  The letters were intercepted and an arrest has been made (one Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, someone who doesn’t sound Muslim).   Authorities don’t think these terrorist attacks are related to the one in Boston. [Read more...]

Explosions at the Boston Marathon

It looks like a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, killing two and injuring 100.  A Saudi national has been arrested.  [I posted an update this morning, but it didn't go through, for some reason!  Yes, the last I saw, the casualty count is now 3 dead and 170 injured.  I also said that the Saudi national referred to in earlier accounts is not being mentioned much.  He is in custody, but not arrested, though police have searched his home.  It is true that we don't know who did this right now and shouldn't be jumping to conclusions.]

Two huge explosions rocked the Boston Marathon finish line at Copley Square just before 3 p.m. today, killing two and causing scores of casualties, including several traumatic amputations on streets crowded with runners, spectators and post-race partiers.

The number injured has soared to 100 — including three children suffering from lower leg injuries, hospital officials tell the Herald. [Read more...]

Whether a criminal converts to Islam or Christianity

James Holmes, who dressed up like the Joker and killed 12 people at the Batman movie (and who faces the death penalty if he is convicted), has converted to Islam.  Robert Spencer explores what that means as opposed to a conversion to Christianity:

The debate over James Holmes’s sanity has raged hotly ever since he murdered twelve people and wounded 58 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012. But now the controversy can be laid to rest: Holmes is sane. The clearest indication of his sanity came last week, when the Daily Mail reported that he had converted to Islam.

The Mail reported that Holmes is apparently quite devout: he has grown a lavish beard, eats only halal food, prays the obligatory five daily prayers, and studies the Qur’an for hours every day.

Holmes’s conversion reveals that instead of being unaware of what he did, or utterly remorseless, as one might expect of a psychotic or a sociopath, the murders must trouble him a great deal. For it is souls that are troubled — intellectually, morally, spiritually, psychologically — who cast about for some solution to what troubles them, and often find it in religious conversion.

But it is what Holmes converted to that is significant. [Read more...]

The drone filibuster

Attorney General Eric Holder said that drones could be used against American citizens on American soil.  So libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) staged a 13-hour filibuster–a real one, in which the Senator actually occupies for the floor rather than just threatening to–in protest.  Eventually, Holder said that drones would not be used against unarmed Americans, just terrorists in an emergency.

Some Republicans were annoyed with Paul’s “stunt,” as Sen. John McCain called it, and defend an aggressive use of drones.  Some of them were lunching with President Obama when Paul was filibustering, sparking some observers to see a changing of the Republican guard (to borrow an Iranian phrase), with a new generation of Republicans challenging the traditional GOP practice of giving a blank check to anything military and championing instead civil liberties.

What do you think? [Read more...]

How to dodge a drone

Al-Qaeda is circulating a list of 22 techniques to thwart drone attacks–ones experts say are effective–showing how terrorists keep adapting to efforts to counter them.  I give the list after the jump. [Read more...]

Assassination courts?

Is this back to the Star Chamber approach to justice, with secret courts, no indictments, no witnesses, and no appeals, all in service to the monarch?

U.S. senators are now floating the idea of an assassination court as a way to rein in the ever-expanding drone program — a secretive operation that, as it is, sounds like thriller fiction, but isn’t. [Read more...]


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