Lollapalooza Locked Down Over al Qaeda Fears
Chicago police increased numbers of undercover cops at last weekend’s Lollapalooza festival and increased bag searches of revellers attending the festival, NME reported this week, following the US global travel alert warning of imminent terrorist attacks.
“Even though [authorities] feel it’s focused on embassies abroad, with Lollapalooza here we had to take some extra steps,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters, speaking at a press conference. He also revealed that bomb sniffer dogs were also used. (NME: http://bit.ly/15WQyCG )
The US state department’s blood-curdling threat alert reminded US citizens ‘of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure’, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa though was simultaneously notably vague.
“Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” the alert warned.
“Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests.” (State Department: http://1.usa.gov/13HUZuu )
Civil liberties champion Glenn Greenwald, meanwhile, challenged the integrity of the alert suggesting it was delivered as a propaganda tool, designed to diminish concerns over revelations about the NSA’s global spying network.
“Here we are in the midst of one of the most intense debates and sustained debates that we’ve had in a very long time in this country over the dangers of excess surveillance, and suddenly, an administration that has spent two years claiming that it has decimated al-Qaeda decides that there is this massive threat that involves the closing of embassies and consulates around the world,” he told Democracy Now Amy Goodman.
“The controversy is over the fact that they are sweeping up billions and billions of emails and telephone calls every single day from people around the world and in the United States who have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.”
“If this agency (NSA) really were devoted and if these surveillance programs were really devoted to finding terrorism, they would be much more directed and discriminating, but they’re not,” he pointed out.
(DemocracyNow: http://bit.ly/15zzAu3 )
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff