flareneld's oven: October 2010

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Faisal Shahzad. Image: AP/Orkut.com At a previous court apprearance, Faisal Shahzad said he considered himself "a Muslim soldier"
The man convicted of an attempted car bomb attack in New York's Times Square is due to be sentenced at a court in Manhattan.
Faisal Shahzad faces a mandatory life sentence after pleading guilty in June to 10 weapons and terrorism charges.
Prosecutors say the Pakistani-born US citizen has not shown any remorse for his actions.
Explosives packed into the vehicle on 1 May failed to detonate and Shahzad was arrested two days later.
"Had the bombing played out as Shahzad had so carefully planned, the lives of numerous residents and visitors of the city would have been lost and countless others would have been forever traumatised," prosecutors wrote in court papers ahead of the sentencing at Manhattan Federal Court.
Experts say the petrol and fertiliser-fueled bomb fizzled and failed to go off because the wiring was faulty and it contained the wrong ingredients.
A street vendor in Times Square - which was packed with visitors - alerted police after seeing smoke coming from the Nissan Pathfinder vehicle.
However, a videotaped FBI reconstruction of an identical bomb showed it producing a fireball that ripped the vehicle in two, destroyed others around it, and sent debris hundreds of feet in all directions.
Correspondents say the film has become a key piece of evidence against Shahzad.
'Second bomb'
"While it is impossible to calculate precisely the impact of Shahzad's bomb had it detonated, the controlled detonation... demonstrated that those effects would have been devastating to the surrounding area," prosecutors wrote.
The prosecution also alleges that Shahzad had planned to detonate a second bomb two weeks later.
At his court appearance in June, Shahzad said he wanted "to plead guilty and 100 times more".
He said he wanted the US to know that if it did not leave Iraq and Afghanistan, "we will be attacking US".
"One has to understand where I'm coming from. I consider myself... a Muslim soldier," he said.
Shahzad was arrested as he tried to take a flight to Dubai from New York's John F Kennedy airport.
Under interrogation, the financial analyst said he had gone to Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region in December 2009 for bomb training with militants linked to the Pakistani Taliban, his indictment read.
He is also said to have received about $5,000 in cash from a co-conspirator in Pakistan, who he understood worked for the Taliban.

Nigeria's Babangida aide arrest condemned

BBC News

Fire-fighters after the Abuja blasts At least 12 people were killed in Friday's car-bombing
A spokesman for Nigeria's former military ruler Gen Ibrahim Babangida has condemned the arrest of one of his aides over Friday's Abuja car bombings.
The detention of media mogul Raymond Dokpesi was "frivolous", Kassim Afegbua told the BBC.
Gen Babangida is running against President Goodluck Jonathan to be the governing party's presidential candidate in polls next year.
Officials say Mr Dokpesi had exchanged text messages with a key bomb suspect.
Messages from Henry Okah were found on Mr Dokpesi's phone, according to sources in the presidency.
Mr Okah has been charged in South Africa with terrorism in connection with the blasts, which killed at least 12 people, as Nigeria was marking 50 years of independence from the UK.
Mr Dokpesi is one of nine people arrested by Nigeria's security services over the attack.
The BBC's Caroline Duffield in Lagos says people in Abuja were stunned over his detention.
He owns the Africa Independent Television network and recently became Gen Babangida's chief of staff.
Mr Afegbua told the AFP news agency the arrest was a "political witch-hunt".

Mend oil militants

Map of Nigeria
  • Formed out of previous militant groups in 2006
  • Send regular e-mails to media
  • Split into several factions
  • Most leaders accepted amnesty
  • 1 October attack first in Abuja
  • Based in creeks of Niger Delta
  • Want oil wealth to remain in Delta
He was released without charge but is expected to be questioned again later on Tuesday.
Mr Okah has denied any links to the blasts
But an e-mail purportedly sent by the militant group he once headed has said it had carried out the attacks.
If confirmed, this would be the first time Nigeria's oil militants have struck in the capital.
Nigeria's intelligence agency says it foiled an attempt to stage attacks in Abuja earlier last week.
South African prosecutors have described Mr Okah as the mastermind of the attack.
Mr Okah, who now lives in South Africa, is believed to lead a militant faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), opposed to a government amnesty for the oil-producing Niger Delta.
Most Mend commanders have joined the amnesty, set up to end years of unrest in the region which cut Nigeria's oil output by up to 20%.
Mend says it is fighting so that more of Nigeria's massive oil wealth is used to benefit the Niger Delta area which produces the oil.
But many criminal gangs also operate in the region, stealing oil and kidnapping people for ransom.