Good Reads: Model-Plane Bomber, Mass Graves in Kashmir, and Occupy Wall Street

Today's best stories are a close look at the world's disaffected, from a radicalized Boston youth, to the families of disappeared young men in Indian-held Kashmir, to the protesters marching on Wall Street.

U.S. Department of Justice/AP
This undated photo released Wednesday by the US Department of Justice shows a large remote controlled aircraft similar to what the department says suspect Rezwan Ferdaus plotted to fill with C-4 plastic explosives to use in an attack of the Pentagon and US Capital. Ferdaus of Ashland, Mass., was arrested in a federal sting operation Wednesday, in Framingham, Mass.

Good Reads highlights the best reporting and analysis available on the top international stories of the day – and other key topics you shouldn't miss.

This week brought us news of another terror threat spoiled by American law-enforcement, and this time the threat appears to be a local boy from the Boston suburb of Ashland. Rezwan Ferdaus, a US citizen and graduate of Northeastern University, planned to use small model airplanes packed with explosives to launch attacks against the Pentagon and the US Capitol Building.

As the Monitor’s Brad Knickerbocker reports, the arrest of Mr. Ferdaus is seen as “a textbook case in what to look for and how to respond to “lone-wolf” jihadis intent on doing their fellow Americans harm.” It is underscores the need, Mr. Knickerbocker quotes Rep. Peter King as saying, that “to continue efforts to combat domestic radicalization and the evolving threat of ‘lone wolf’ extremists.”

But as other nations with long struggles with radicalized insurgencies have shown, there is a danger when governments give their security forces full freedom to pursue counterinsurgency efforts without limits. In Foreign Policy, Kashmiri journalist Basharat Peer visits the Indian-held portion of Kashmir – that mountainous paradise drenched with 20 years of insurgency – and looks into the mounting evidence of human rights violations committed by Indian security forces.

Just as in the “dirty wars” of Argentina and Chile, in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, and apparently in the Sudanese province of South Kordofan today, thousands of young men (militants and otherwise) have disappeared without a trace. With the recent discovery of mass graves, there is now evidence that the Indian government may have been behind the disappearances. As Mr. Peer writes, there is a powerful affirmation that comes to families when they see evidence to back up their worst fears.

But, as Mr. Peer writes…

Unearthing the mass graves is one thing; punishing the murderers another. But India cannot rightly claim to be a democratic society that cherishes the rule of law unless it's willing to shine a harsh light on its military's conduct. It's always easy to blame Pakistan. Indeed, an India confident of its economic and political standing in the world might choose to callously ignore the crimes committed in its name in Kashmir, but the embers of dark memories continue to burn, fanning a desire for freedom from Indian rule in Kashmir.

Finally, in this week’s New Yorker, John Cassidy pays a visit to the protesters of “Occupy Wall Street.” The protests began about a month ago, inspired by the mass-occupation strategies of the Arab Spring, and the target of their rage was the class of financiers in America who, they believe, had taken control of decisionmaking in Washington, who had wrecked the American economy during the 2007 economic collapse, and who still enjoy some of the best tax benefits that (lobbying) money can buy.

The protesters appeared to be a motley assortment of slackers, students, environmentalists, socialists, feminists, and hippies. It is easy to lampoon such folks, just as it easy to poke fun at the retirees, gun lovers, and pro-lifers that man the Tea Party information booths. But like the conservative enragés that have taken over parts of the Republican Party, these protesters have a serious issue that motivates them: the purported takeover of the political system by the richest one per cent of the population, as symbolized by Wall Street. “The one thing we all have in common,” says the protesters’ site, “is that We are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.