Sunday, May 8, 2011
Continental spokeswoman Julie King says Flight No. 546 landed Sunday around 1:30 p.m. at Lambert St. Louis-International and was grounded about an hour before leaving for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford confirms an "unruly" passenger tried to open the door.
FBI and airport police in St. Louis are questioning the passenger. Lambert spokesman Jeff Lea says the 34-year-old Illinois man got up 20 minutes after takeoff and said he had to get off the plane. No charges have been filed.
Aviation experts say it's impossible to open a door during flight because of pressurized air in the cabin.
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CHAK SHAH MOHAMMAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani security officials reacted with scepticism on Sunday to a U.S. assertion that Osama bin Laden was actively engaged in directing his far-flung network from his compound in Abbottabad where he was killed on May 2.
Washington said on Saturday that, based on a trove of documents and computer equipment seized in the raid, bin Laden's hideout north of Islamabad was an "active command and control centre" for al Qaeda where he was involved in plotting future attacks on the United States.
"It sounds ridiculous," said a senior intelligence official. "It doesn't sound like he was running a terror network."
Pakistan, heavily dependent on billions of dollars in U.S. aid, is under intense pressure to explain how the al Qaeda leader could have spent so many years undetected just a few hours' drive from its intelligence headquarters in the capital.
Suspicion has deepened that Pakistan's pervasive Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, which has a long history of contacts with militant groups, may have had ties with bin Laden -- or that at least some of its agents did. The agency has been described as a state within a state.
Pakistan has dismissed such suggestions and says it has paid the highest price in human life and money supporting the U.S. war on militancy launched after bin Laden's followers staged the September 11, 2001, attacks on America.
The Obama administration has seen no evidence Pakistan's government knew bin Laden was living in that country before his killing, the U.S. national security adviser said on Sunday.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is scheduled to "take the nation into confidence" in parliament on Monday, his first statement to the people more than a week after the incident embarrassed the country.
Pakistani officials said the fact that there was no internet connection or even phone line in
May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. said “heads will roll” after his country finishes its investigation into how Osama bin Laden managed to hide out near the capital city of Islamabad in the compound where he was killed by U.S. forces.
Once the investigation is complete, “if those heads are rolled on account of incompetence, we will share that information,” Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “And if, God forbid, somebody’s complicity is discovered, there will be zero tolerance for that.”
Haqqani told CNN he didn’t know whether the al-Qaeda leader had help from his country’s government or military to stay concealed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said today that he hasn’t seen any evidence that Pakistani leaders knew about Bin Laden.
“What we need now is for Pakistan’s elected leaders to exercise the leadership and get to the bottom of the matter,” Haqqani said, during an interview on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program.
The U.S. is in the midst of assessing its relationship with Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan. U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed bin Laden on May 2 in the Abbottabad complex where he had been hiding out. Bin Laden “had an operational and strategic role” in running al-Qaeda, Donilon said on CNN’s “State of the Union” today.
The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved all 1,506 government requests to electronically monitor suspected “agents” of a foreign power or terrorists on U.S. soil last year, according to a Justice Department report released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The two-page report, which shows about a 13 percent increase in the number of applications for electronic surveillance between 2009 and 2010, was obtained by the Federation of American Scientists and published Friday.
“The FISC did not deny any applications in whole, or in part,” according to the April 19 report to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).
The 11-member court denied two of 1,329 applications for domestic-intelligence surveillance in 2009. The FBI is the primary agency making those requests.
Whether the FISA court, whose business is conducted behind closed doors, is rubber-stamping the requests is a matter of debate.
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But the former Republican vice president also continued to lament Obama-era restrictions on interrogation techniques, saying the program that he and George W. Bush put together produced information that led to bin Laden's capture.
Some of those techniques -- including sleep deprivation and the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding -- were lawful and helped break up terrorist plots, Cheney said.
"I am still concerned about the fact that, I think a lot of the techniques that we had used to keep the country safe for more than seven years are no longer available," he said. "That they've been sort of taken off the table, if you will."
Cheney also called on Obama to close down a Justice Department investigation into officials who may have used allegedly unlawful interrogation techniques during the Bush years.
"I think it is an outrage that we would go after the people who deserve the credit for keeping us safe," Cheney said.
The former vice president also expressed concern that, with bin Laden dead, there will be "a rush to get out of Afghanistan."
Obama has said he will begin a U.S. withdrawal process from Afghanistan in July; the U.S. and its allies plan to turn over all security to the Afghans themselves by 2014.
Still, Cheney said Obama deserved credit for sending a Navy SEAL team into bin Laden's compound in Pakistan a week ago today.
"Well, I think you've got to give him a lot of credit for making the decision to have the SEAL team 6 conduct the raid that got bin Laden," Cheney told Fox News Sunday. "It's no question that was his responsibility and I think he handled it well."
DUBLIN | Sun May 8, 2011 10:03am EDT
(Reuters) - Ireland's government is watching to see what concessions it can win on its EU-IMF bailout ifGreece is given a new deal to resolve its worsening debt crisis, a senior government minister said on Sunday.
"The thing I am interested in is whether there are positive implications forIreland about dealing with the situation the Greek government now confronts," Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte told state broadcaster RTE.
Matt Wade, Abbottabad, Pakistan
May 8, 2011
PAKISTANI authorities are reported to be considering demolishing Osama bin Laden’s hideout in the garrison town of Abbottabad to prevent it becoming a rallying point for extremists.
The walled compound where bin Laden was killed when US forces raided in the early hours of Monday has been transformed from mysterious hideaway to tourist attraction.
“The crowds have been getting bigger every day,” said Hasnat Ahmed, a 22-year-old engineering graduate who can see bin Laden’s compound from his rooftop. “We are not sure about international tourism yet, but I think we will be getting plenty of people from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.”
While al-Qaeda has finally admitted bin Laden’s death, many Pakistanis are sceptical about claims the al-Qaeda chief was killed in the raid and question the White House’s decision not to release photos of his body.
The US disposed of bin Laden’s body at sea so his grave wouldn’t become a shrine for extremists. But if the past few days are any guide, the al-Qaeda chief’s house has pulling power.
Sources have told The Sunday Age that demolition of the concrete buildings and high perimeter wall is being considered to stop it becoming a shrine. No date has been announced for any demolition.
Extra security personnel have been deployed around the compound in recent days to tighten security and help with crowd control.
“Everyone is interested in this,” said telco worker Shah Zaib Khan, who walked from his home more than an hour away to take a look at the walled compound. “Is it drama or is it a reality?”
Rashid-ul-Haq Qazi, a lawyer who visited the compound, had another suggestion: charge people to look inside. “It would be wiser to print some tickets and charge an entry fee,” he said.
Bin Laden’s fifth wife, detained after the raid on Abbottabad, has told Pakistani investigators that he lived in another town in northern Pakistan before moving to the neighbourhood where he was killed, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Amal Ahmed al-Sadah reportedly told investigators that bin Laden lived on the outskirts of Haripur, about 25 kilometres south of Abbottabad, from 2003 until late 2005.
This testimony suggests the world’s most wanted man was living in urban settlements for nearly eight years before he was killed.
Meanwhile The New York Times reported that the US government has demanded Pakistan provide the identities of some of its top intelligence operatives, as the US tries to determine whether any of them had contact with bin Laden or his agents in the years before he was killed.
The paper said there had been a tense discussion between Pakistani officials and a US envoy sent to Pakistan last week, amid growing suspicion among US intelligence and diplomatic officials that someone in Pakistan’s secret intelligence agency knew of bin Laden’s location and helped shield him.
At least 11 inmates and four police officers have died in a mutiny at a counter-terrorism prison in Baghdad.
Al-Qaeda leader Huthaifa al-Batawi, accused of masterminding the deadly siege of a Baghdad church last October, reportedly led the revolt.
He grabbed an officer's gun while being led to an interrogation and shot four policemen dead, including two high-ranking officers, officials say.
Five other officers were wounded in crossfire before Batawi was killed.
An interior ministry official told AFP news agency that Batawi was being taken to be interrogated about possible al-Qaeda plots in Iraq to avenge the death of Osama Bin Laden when he seized an officer's gun.
He managed to free a group of other inmates before they attempted to break out of the prison in the Iraqi capital's central Karrada district in the early hours of Sunday morning, said the official.
But the would-be escapees were killed by security reinforcements.
Batawi was among 12 people arrested last November in connection with the siege of a Catholic Church in Baghdad's Karrada district on 31 October.
More than 100 people were attending mass at the time, and were taken hostage. At least half of them were killed when Iraqi security forces moved in to try to free them.