Born into al-Qaida: Hamza bin Laden’s rise to prominence
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The boy is only 12 years old and looks even younger and smaller kneeling next to the wreckage of a helicopter, flanked by masked jihadis carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles with bandoliers strapped across their chests.
Hamza bin Laden, with a traditional Arab coffee pot to his right and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher to his left leaning against the debris, made his worldwide television debut reciting a poem in a propaganda video just weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks planned by his father Osama.
Years after the death of his father at the hands of a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan, it is now Hamza bin Laden who finds himself squarely in the crosshairs of world powers. In rapid succession in recent weeks, the U.S. put a bounty of up to a $1 million for him; the U.N. Security Council named him to a global sanctions list, sparking a new Interpol notice for his arrest; and his home country of Saudi Arabia revealed it had revoked his citizenship.
Those measures suggest that international officials believe the now 30-year-old militant is an increasingly serious threat. He is not the head of al-Qaida but he has risen in prominence within the terror network his father founded, and the group may be grooming him to stand as a leader for a young generation of militants.
“Hamza was destined to be in his father’s footsteps,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent focused on counterterrorism who investigated al-Qaida’s attack on the USS Cole. “He is poised to have a senior leadership role in al-Qaida.”
Puzzling number of men tied to Ferguson protests have died
FERGUSON, Mo. — Two young men were found dead inside torched cars. Three others died of apparent suicides. Another collapsed on a bus, his death ruled an overdose.
Six deaths, all involving men with connections to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, drew attention on social media and speculation in the activist community that something sinister was at play.
Police say there is no evidence the deaths have anything to do with the protests stemming from a white police officer’s fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, and that only two were homicides with no known link to the protests.
But some activists say their concerns about a possible connection arise out of a culture of fear that persists in Ferguson 4 ½ years after Brown’s death, citing threats — mostly anonymous — that protest leaders continue to receive.
Dick Dale, King of Surf Guitar, ‘Miserlou’ composer, is dead
LOS ANGELES — Dick Dale, whose pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals on songs like “Miserlou” and “Let’s Go Trippin’” earned him the title King of the Surf Guitar, has died at age 81.
His former bassist Sam Bolle says Dick Dale passed away Saturday night. No other details were available.
Dale liked to say it was he and not the Beach Boys who invented surf music — and some critics have said he was right.
An avid surfer, Dale started building a devoted Los Angeles fan base in the late 1950s with repeated appearances at Newport Beach’s old Rendezvous Ballroom. He played “Miserlou,” ”The Wedge,” ”Night Rider” and other compositions at wall-rattling volume on a custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar.
“Miserlou,” which would become his signature song, had been adapted from a Middle Eastern folk tune Dale heard as a child and later transformed into a thundering surf-rock instrumental.
Native Americans say movement to end ‘redface’ is slow
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — John Little can hardly go a week without a reminder that he and other Native Americans often are viewed as relics of the past: the Indian maiden on the butter container at the grocery store, the kids’ teepees sold at popular retailers and the sports fans with their faces painted doing tomahawk chops at games.
But he doesn’t hear widespread outrage over these images that many Native Americans find offensive, even as the country has spent most of the year coming to grips with blackface and racist imagery following the revelation of a racist photo on the Virginia governor’s college yearbook page. Since then, new examples have surfaced regularly, most recently a TV host who painted her face brown in a parody of Oscar-nominated Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio.
“These are everyday realities for Native people,” said Little, a Standing Rock Sioux tribal member.
From wire sources
Redface may get less attention because of ingrained misconceptions and feelings of entitlement to Native American culture and land, scholars say. Native Americans also are a relatively small group, making up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population. Blacks, by comparison, make up around 13 percent.
Convincing the masses that stereotyping Native Americans as savage, ignorant or humorless is insulting has been a slow movement, scholars say, and one they aren’t sure will gain steam.
Other 2020 Dems begin sharpening criticism of Beto O’Rourke
DUBUQUE, Iowa — Back when he was still just teasing a presidential run, Beto O’Rourke told Vanity Fair he was “born to be in” the race. Now that he’s campaigning to far greater media attention and much larger crowds than many Democrats who’ve been competing longer, they are taking offense at the former Texas congressman’s sense of entitlement.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar drew the sharpest such contrast on Sunday, saying “I wasn’t born to run. But I am running” while acknowledging, “Oh, that’s the Beto line.”
“No, I wasn’t born to run for office, just because growing up in the ’70s, in the middle of the country, I don’t think many people thought a girl could be president,” Klobuchar said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Asked about the same O’Rourke quote, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, was gentler, saying “I think I was born to make myself useful.”
“I’m not combating anybody,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” ”They are going to be competitors more than opponents, I think, among the Democrats.”
Veterans court may be collateral damage in immigration fight
EUGENE, Ore. — Three decades ago, Lori Ann Bourgeois was guarding fighter jets at an air base. After her discharge, she fell into drug addiction. She wound up living on the streets and was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.
But on a recent day, the former Air Force Security Police member walked into a Veterans Treatment Court after completing a 90-day residential drug treatment program. Two dozen fellow vets sitting on the courtroom benches applauded. A judge handed Bourgeois a special coin marking the occasion, inscribed with the words “Change Attitude, Change Thinking, Change Behavior.”
The program Bourgeois credits for pulling her out of the “black hole” of homelessness is among more than three dozen Oregon specialty courts caught in a standoff between the state and federal government over immigration enforcement.
The Trump administration in 2017 threatened to withhold law enforcement grants from 29 cities, counties or states it viewed as having “sanctuary” policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents. Today, all those jurisdictions have received or been cleared to get the money, except Oregon, which is battling for the funds in federal court.
The Veterans Treatment Court in Eugene and 40 other specialty courts, including mental health and civilian drug programs, risk losing all or part of their budgets, said Michael Schmidt, executive director of Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission, which administers the money.