Two news items

Glen Greenwald has been following the progress of an investigation into the origin of two bombs intercepted in England and Dubai–bombs that had been mailed to the U.S.  He castigates U.S. government sources for not being accurate enough in identifying the senders of the bombs. First, “officials said evidence was mounting that the top leadership of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki”, a man who is on the list of people the government is trying to assassinate, then today it became “officials still have little hard evidence about who was involved”.  I appreciate Greenswald’s political stance–we need more like him, and yes it could be a case of, as the Red Queen would say, “sentence first, verdict later”.  Or the information could have come from intelligence that can’t be revealed–always convenient, that.

The rhetoric was ratcheted up a few notches when radical Iman Anjem Choudary stated on an interview program,

“When you send bombs over there, what do you expect them to send back to you? What did you expect to find in a package? You know, chocolates? Of course you’re going to find bombs. They’re going to give you a taste of your own medicine”.

But, um, weren’t we over there in the first place because we had bombs, not chocolates, arrive on our own shores? And because various Middle Eastern governments are either unable or unwilling to stop them?

Buried in the fine print is the information that the bombs were mailed to a synagogue in Chicago. Let me repeat that.

The bombs were mailed to a synagogue in Chicago.

Hey! That’s where I live!

I can’t believe this imam is getting a free pass on the idea that Jewish civilians in Chicago are somehow responsible for White House policy and it’s okay to send bombs to them in “retaliation”.  If Greenwald is going to talk about unchecked pronouncements, lack of evidence, and mindless subservience to a political line, he needs to add this Iman Anjem Choudary character to his list.

[This may also explain why a large plastic envelope I received from the Middle East a few weeks ago was very efficiently slashed open, then retaped with clear packing tape.]

[via the Confluence]


Since that was pretty depressing, and since today is election day, here is a more upbeat story.

Washington DC was testing a new voting system that would allow people to cast absentee ballots online, and invited the public to find any bugs in the program.  (Are you listening, Diebold?)  Within 36 hours the program had been hacked by University of Michigan students, who obtained passwords, changed votes, and programmed the system to play the Michigan fight song after each ballot was cast.  Here’s my favorite part:

And they changed all the votes to write-ins for famous robots and computers such as Johnny 5 (from the movie “Short Circuit”), HAL 9000 (from “2001: A Space Odyssey”), and Deep Thought (from “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”).

[via Organizations and Markets]

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