Al-Qaida's New Terrorism Directive: 'Do it Yourself'

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Friday, May 13, 2011

A Pakistani soldier stands guard at the site of a suicide and bomb attack outside the Frontier Constabulary main training center in Shabqadar town on May 13, 2011 (A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty)

80 killed in suicide bombing in Pakistan; a new story in The New York Times details what we've learned about al-Qaida leadership since bin Laden's death, and the organization's changing directives; a story of Taliban recruitment from rural Afghanistan; how the movie "Bridesmaids" might be a step forward for female comedy; Robert Mueller and 10 years of the F.B.I.; the NYPD nabs two terror suspects; the dramatic increase of Alabama's homeless population; and asking the question: should a 91-year-old accused Nazi guard be allowed to appeal for a reprieve?  

Top of the Hour: Suicide Bombs Kill 80 in Pakistan, Morning Headlines

Two suicide bombers attacked recruits leaving a military training center in Pakistan, killing eighty and wounding more than a hundred. This was the first major terrorist attack since bin Laden's death. Ismail Khan, bureau chief for The Dawn reports from Peshawar, Pakistan.


Without New Leader, Future of Al-Qaida in Limbo

With the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida is now calling on all its followers to prepare do-it-yourself plans of attack against America. And it’s a sharp contrast to the strategy taken on by bin Laden, which focused on long-term planning for one big attack on U.S. soil. This message from the terror network’s online presence is just among the first signs that a change in leadership will also mean a change in strategy. And it seems that without a prominent candidate, the future of the organization is in limbo. We talk with Scott Shane, national security reporter for The New York Times who broke this story for the paper.


Afghanistan's Child Recruits Tell Their Story

BBC correspondent Paul Wood visited children in Afghanistan who were tricked into becoming suicide bombers, before they were arrested by coalition authorities. Children as young as eight say that they were told that they wouldn't die if they carried out an attack. We hear their voices.


Two Explosions Rock Police Training Center in Pakistan, Killing 80

A coordinated bombing in Shabquadar Fort, north of Peshawar Pakistan has killed at least 80 people. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a revenge killing for Osama bin Laden's death. However, the government denies that this attack was linked to Osama bin Laden. Declan Walsh, Pakistan correspondent for The Guardian describes the scene, saying "he entire town has become a ghost town." BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet says that it almost doesn't matter if the bombing was in retaliation for bin Laden's death as Pakistanis know they are "living in a volatile and increasingly violent country."


Washington: Debt Limit Debate, John Ensign's Ethics Troubles

Will Congress come to an agreement on raising the debt limit? Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich says there has been some affirmative movement this week with top level meetings between the President and lawmakers. Sen. Mitch McConnell said deep cuts in spending were needed for him to agree to raising the debt limit, targeting entitlement reform and health care. However, this is at direct odds with Democrats. Elsewhere on the Capitol, the Senate Ethics committee issued a report on former senator John Ensign, who may face criminal prosecution for violating ethics laws and election laws.


'Bridesmaids': A Great Step Forward for Feminism?

This weekend, movie goers are talking about one movie: "Bridesmaids." A new raunchy ensemble comedy, it features a cast that's almost entirely female. "Bridesmaids" stars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, of "Saturday Night Live" fame, as well as Ellie Kemper from "The Office" and Wendi McLendon-Covey from "Reno 911." Crass to the point of being shocking, some cultural critics are arguing that this could be a watershed moment for women in film and comedy. 


Top of the Hour: Keeping Robert Mueller as FBI Chief, Morning Headlines

F.B.I director Robert Mueller's term is set to end this summer, yet President Obama has asked Congress to extend his term for two more years. Appointed by George W. Bush, Robert Mueller has brought change to the F.B.I, focusing both on national security and anti-terrorism efforts.


In Decade Since 9/11, FBI Head Leaves Mark on Bureau

President Barack Obama is asking Congress to extend the term of Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Robert S. Mueller III for two years. Mueller was sworn in as the head of the F.B.I. just seven days before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011 — an event that marked the greatest challenge ever for the nation and the bureau's 93-year history. Mueller has led the FBI in preventing attacks like the Christmas Day shoe-bomber and stopping al-Qaida operative Najibullah Zazi who was headed for New York City in 2009 to blow himself up. For more on how Mueller changed the FBI and who might be qualified to replace him, we talk with Barton Gellman, contributing editor at large for Time Magazine, a research fellow at NYU's Center on Law and Security, and author of Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency.” He wrote an article on Mueller and the future of the FBI for this week's Time Magazine.


NYPD Nab Terror Suspects in Plot

Two men have been caught conspiring to bomb synagogues in Manhattan in an undercover sting. The New York Police Department, who led the operation, say Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh purchased weapons and an inert hand grenade from undercover officers, after saying that they were planning a terror attack. There is no indication the two are affiliated with a terrorist organization. Joining The Takeaway is Robert Hennelly, senior reporter for our flagship station, WNYC.


Alabama Tornado Spikes Homeless Population

Federal and state emergency officials in Alabama believe that the deadly tornadoes two weeks ago left as many as 10,000 residents homeless. In Tuscaloosa, the urban area hit hardest, people are scrambling for the few remaining apartments — and for low-income residents, affordable housing is almost impossible to find. Officials are concerned that many of the poor, working class and elderly residents could be homeless for good.

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Sports: NBA Playoffs Heat Up, Golf Update

The Chicago Bulls will face the Miami Heat in the eastern conference finals and both teams have something to prove, says Takeaway sports contributor, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin. Tiger Woods withdrew from the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida tournament after suffering a knee injury. It's becoming apparent that Woods is getting older.


Was Justice Served in Nazi Prison Guard Trial?

Former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was found guilty of nearly 30,000 counts of accessory to murder in a German prison. At age 91, Demjanjuk was sentenced to five years in prison, but will be released pending a possible appeal. Demjanjuk is accused of being a prison guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi occupied Poland in 1943. Does he deserve an appeal? David Cesarani,  professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London, joins us for more on the story. 

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Facebook vs. Google in PR Bashup

One of the biggest PR firms in the world, Burson-Marsteller, was hired by Facebook to smear Google, essentially briefing reporters about a feature of Google's social networking service called Social Circle. And the most shocking issue might  just be the clumsiness of the PR firm, which blatantly tried to get bloggers to write an Op-Ed bashing Google. While Social Circle "is kind of creepy," says Dan Lyons, Newsweek editor who wrote the story for The Daily Beast, but what really got Facebook angry wasn't the privacy issue, but the fact that Google is also mining Facebook for their new feature. "Facebook is scared that Google might beat them at their own game," says Lyons.