Following are a few stories that received insufficient attention this week.
The President has ordered Napolitano and Brennan to travel together to the Mexican border in advance of his official visit to Mexico City. The DHS Secretary and HS advisor working in tandem is a promising signal.
The Heritage Foundation has come out for integrating the HSC and NSC, but curtailing tendency to operationalize decisions in the White House. Nice distinction.
Violence steming from the Mexican drug war seemed to quiet a bit the last two weeks. But the fundamental challenge continues and a long-term solution be complicated by the tactics deployed in recent weeks. The shut-off of water to five million Mexico City residents – unrelated to the drug war – underlines the range of problems facing our southern neighbor.
Eleven Pakistani nationals in Britain on student visas were arrested earlier than planned when a senior police official forgot about the paparazzi. Early reports suggest those arrested were planning attacks on shopping centers and nightclubs.
There are reports of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces relocating into Pakistan’s urban centers to avoid US drone attacks. The ceasefire in Pakistan’s Swat Valley is in danger of falling apart, while Taliban forces are reported moving into a new region.
Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of an eleven member al-Qaeda cell. In a potentially related move, this morning Yemen announced the arrest of an uspecified number of terrorists. Al-Qaeda operations have been increasing in Saudi’s southern neighbor.
There has been another death in Egypt due to Avian Flu. Of 63 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 23 have been fatal. There has also been another confirmed Avian Flu fatality in Vietnam. There 55 of 110 confirmed diagnoses have resulted in death.
Another dangerous flood crest is being predicted next week for Fargo. The National Weather Service has forecast a, “high probability (75 percent chance) of reaching or exceeding 41 feet and a 25 percent chance of reaching or exceeding 42.8 feet.” Farther north the Red River is cresting in Winnipeg and the flood threat has reached a critical stage.
A West Virginia chemical plant with an especially troubled history of toxic releases has failed in an effort to keep some of its records out of the public record. The company claimed that release of the information would violate a federal anti-terrorism statute protecting “sensitive security information.”
The eruption of the Mount Redoubt Volcano has required a nearby oil refinery to suspend operations.
Thursday over 50,000 residents of Central California lost all telecommunications connections due to sabotage.
Police found “28 pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and other devices” in the home of a Virginia teenager after a friend warned of a planned attack on their school.
The DOJ’s assertion of the state secrets doctrine is generating increasing complaints. Dan Froomkin provides a helpful overview in his WAPO blog.
The British government has announced it will enforce an EU directive requiring Internet Service Providers, “to retain information on email traffic, visits to web sites and telephone calls made over the internet, for 12 months.”
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has de-bunked the Internet myth of FEMA concentration camps, a myth that Beck did a great deal to spread. The two-part debunking concludes, “there is a huge difference between skepticism and cynicism. And a lot of people say they are being skeptical are really just deeply, deeply cynical. Skepticism means asking questions, listening to the answers, approaching the facts with good faith. And when you find a fact that doesn’t support your world view, maybe you’d better change your world view. Conspiracy theorists tend to come in with a world view that is fixed. And then when they find facts that don’t work, they just ignore those facts.”