(CBS News) In one way, the renewed military trial of the acknowledged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and four others is a bit of Kabuki theater. Everyone knows the charges. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshib have admitted to, even reveled in, their roles as principal planners the attacks.
In another way, it is a bit of a high-wire act - the military commission system is one that hadn't been used since the 1940s to execute Nazi spies who came in from a German submarine off Montauk Point in New York. In the few cases from the post-9/11 battlefields, it has been clunky.
When I was with the FBI, I traveled to Guantanamo Bay and saw the military commission system at work. I was a witness at the trial of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's bodyguard and driver. After being held for seven years, Hamdan was convicted and sentenced to time served, plus six months. At the same time, back in the civilian federal court system, people who were being convicted of material support of terrorism charges far more benign than being on bin Laden's personal security detail were receiving longer sentences. In one case, two men convicted of sending blankets and backpacks to the Mujahedeen were being sentenced more than 10 years in federal prison.Continue »
(CBS News) UNITED NATIONS -- At the same time that new assaults are being launched against cities in Syria by the government, U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan tried to reassure the General Assembly that his peace plan was not functioning as a pretext for the Assad regime in Syria to buy time or to defeat the opposition. Many in the U.N. have come to see the Syrian conflict as an internationalized battle - a proxy war - between Russia and Iran on one side and the U.S. and the Gulf states on the other.
A still-divided U.N. Security Council adopted a non-enforceable Presidential Statement to bolster Annan just before he briefed the General Assembly.
With the deadline one week away for the cessation of all violence, at the U.N., diplomacy is decreasing and violence increasing ahead of the deadline. Despite the fact that Syria's Assad said that the government would begin to withdraw troops from population centers, the Syrian army shelled a suburb of Damascus and continued their assault on Homs.Continue »
(CBS News) The $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Pakistani extremist Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is essentially the first step in publicly recognizing that the militant group he founded, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is bigger, richer, more sophisticated and in many ways more dangerous than al Qaeda.
LeT is a group that has operated largely in the shadows. Its front organization, Jamaat ud Dawa, is well-funded, well-known and popular in Pakistan for its charitable endeavors - running hospitals, offering relief from earthquakes and floods and managing a network of schools. But large amounts of the millions raised for its charity work are believed to be funneled to LeT for terrorist operations.
At the same time, one of Pakistan's most prominent militants held a defiant news conference, a day after the U.S. slapped a $10 million bounty on him.
"I am here, I am visible. America should give that reward money to me," Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the 61-year-old founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, told reporters Wednesday.Continue »
(CBS News) BEIJING - The Chinese government is a voyeur. At least that's what Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is trying to prove.
Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the day police locked Ai up for 81 days. To commemorate his arrest, the renowned artist and designer of the 2008 Bird's Nest Olympic stadium installed four cameras in his home so that anyone on the web can monitor his movements, 24-hours a day.
The project symbolizes his time in detention, Ai tells CBS News. The artist remains heavily monitored after being charged for tax evasion linked to Fake Cultural Development, a company owned by his wife.Continue »
Drones have become the favorite weapon system of the Obama administration, currently in use in several countries around the world by both intelligence services and the military. Be it for spying or killing, drones keep pilots safe thousands of miles away as they spend sometimes days in the air. Now imagine if drones could spend months in the air.
Just as nuclear energy is used to keep submarines and ships at sea for months on end, plans have been drawn up to give drones a similar capability in the skies, the Guardian reports. Sandia National Laboratories and Northrup Grumman developed blueprints that would not just give drones an incredible extended range, but also more power for onboard surveillance, communications, and weapons.
Despite years of development, the project has been shelved for now, according to Wired's Danger Room blog.Continue »
The alert comes in advance of Egypt's first round of presidential elections May 23 and 24, with a possible second round in mid June. Egypt's next president is scheduled to take office by June 30, at the latest.
The warning says "political rallies and demonstrations are likely to occur in the period leading up to and following the elections and during the drafting of a new constitution."Continue »
(CBS News) Rest in peace, Cockney rhyming slang. Apparently Britons no longer know the "dickie birds" (words).
According to a new poll, the whimsical dialect associated with London's working class is dying out - replaced by non-rhyming expressions inspired by youthful jargon and text message shorthand.Continue »
(CBS News) In the late 1970s, national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recalls a time when he was woken up in the middle of the night by a White House aide.
"I was informed we were under nuclear attack (by the Soviet Union)," he told CBSNews.com.
The report was quickly refuted. But Brzezinski tells the anecdote to underscore the dramatic difference between U.S.-Russia relations when he served under President Jimmy Carter compared to today, when such a nuclear war false alarm would be almost inconceivable.Continue »
That tolerance no longer seems to be there, and the main resistance to coup takeover bids is coming from a new place: African leaders themselves.
Last Thursday, mutinous soldiers in Mali upset over the government's apparently bumbling response to the festering Tuareg rebellion spontaneously rioted and seized control of the state television and radio stations, as well as the presidential palace. Leaders of the mutiny declared a coup, and the relatively popular (and democratically elected) president, Amadou Toumani Toure, has not been seen in public since.Continue »
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(CBS News) KABUL - A major terrorist plot targeting Afghan soldiers was uncovered Monday at the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Kabul, an official at the Ministry has confirmed to CBS News.
The official, who asked not to be identified because the Afghan government yet to acknowledge the plot, revealed that 11 suicide vests were found in three rooms in the area surrounding a parking lot at the Ministry.
The investigation is still in its early stages but it is known that 11 buses were scheduled to leave the parking lot carrying Afghan army personnel. The working theory among investigators so far is that a bomber was meant to get on each of those buses and stage a spectacular simultaneous attack.Continue »
According to Reuters, the threat was made by Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement, in which he told the wire service, "If the parliament decides to restore NATO supplies, we will attack parliamentarians and their overlords."
Two Pakistani officials dealing with security who spoke to CBS News confirmed the threat.
A Pakistani intelligence official in the northern city of Peshawar who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity called it "a very genuine threat. It is a major cause of concern for us."Continue »
(CBS News) I have never met an Afghan who knows the day when he or she was born. Very few Afghans know the year they were born. When asked their age they will say, for example, "I'm about 31 or 32."
If you ask a man how many children he has, he will generally only tell you the number of boys. If you know him well, you can push him and he will tell you - sheepishly - the number of daughters. But in the countryside, a man must never ask another man about daughters, or his wife. Never.
I have eaten in many Afghan villages over the years, and after dinner the men talk, and their sons listen, as they have for millenia. Their daughters, with modern haircuts and dresses and dirty faces, crowd in the doorway and stare at visitors.
Many men have told me over the years that a man is not a man unless he has at least 10 children, and by that he means 10 sons. Sons form a militia. Yet I recall vividly in the 1980s sitting around a campfire with the Mujahedeen north of Kandahar. As Soviet tanks in the distance sent flares up lighting the night, a lean, strong-looking man wearing a black turban sat next to me holding his daughter, less than a year old, closely to his chest.Continue »
And in the U.S., where women may be overtaking men in pay, Bachelet told CBS, "When women earn the money for the family, everyone in the family benefits. "We also know that when women have an income, everyone wins because women dedicate 90% of the income to health, education, to food security, to the children, to the family, or to the community, so when women have an income, everybody wins."Continue »
This story originally appeared on Global Post, and was written by Richard Orange
(Global Post) The trial of Anders Breivik, the anti-Islamic extremist who killed 77 people in a gun and bomb rampage last July in Oslo, Norway, is getting more and more paradoxical.
When Breivik goes to trial next month, he wants his defense lawyers to argue that he is sane, meaning he's likely to get 21 years in prison.
The prosecution, meanwhile, plans to treat him as insane, and argue instead for compulsory mental treatment.
"Most people in his situation want to be declared insane, because they want to escape," Breivik's lawyer, Odd Groen, admits. "The only thing that means anything to him now is that he's declared sane."Continue »