In America: Law may be named after al-Qa'ida 'whistle-blower'

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Good news. It's a year since The Independent told the story of whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who detailed evidence proving intelligence officials knew before 9/11 that al-Qa'ida was planning to attack the US with planes.

Good news. It's a year since The Independent told the story of whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who detailed evidence proving intelligence officials knew before 9/11 that al-Qa'ida was planning to attack the US with planes.

The Bush administration took great efforts to silence her. Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, told the 9/11 Commission any intelligence about al-Qa'ida's plans was purely "historical".

Thanks to the recent publication of an additional appendix of the commission's report which the administration also tried to suppress, there is proof Mrs Edmonds was telling the truth.

Pandora is thus delighted that she may be honoured with legislation named after her. New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney plans to introduce a Bill challenging unnecessary security classifications by the federal government.

She spoke after Edmonds testified before Congress about the Justice Department's legal efforts to prevent her speaking out about shoddy translations and even a possible security breach inside the FBI. Edmonds is due to return to court to challenge the government in April.

Maloney told her: "Just let me know when you're going into court, and I'll see how many women leaders I can get to come stand with you."

* THERE WAS some shooting and shouting outside a New York radio station last week - apparently the result of a dispute between the tough guy rapper 50 Cent and his hard-edged protégé, The Game.

Fans are apparently concerned the quarrel might escalate into a rap war like the one that left Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls dead.

Pandora couldn't care less about these rappers, but he is concerned an innocent bystander is going to get killed by all this shooting, which often seems little more than a publicity stunt.

Even 50 Cent admitted as much at the weekend when he told the Black Entertainment channel: "A lot of things you hear out there is being said for shock value. Hip hop has always been competitive and they should look forward to us getting back and forth with words."

* REMEMBER CBS's problems with its story about President Bush's National Guard service? Several staff were forced to resign and anchor Dan Rather announced his early retirement after the network admitted it could not prove the documents on which its report was based were genuine.

Now the producer who obtained the documents, has written an account of what happened. Mary Mapes argues the four memos supposedly typed by Bush's squadron commander, in which he said he had given Dubya special treatment, are genuine.

This is welcome. The real story surrounding the "scandal" was that it distracted from valid investigation into Bush's military record while Republicans were smearing the record of John Kerry - who actually showed up for duty.

* I WENT to see a wonderful production of Martin McDonagh's play The Lonesome West put on by the Scena Theatre and directed by that veteran of Washington theatre, Robert McNamara, at the weekend.

It's a fast-paced black comedy set in the west of Ireland that focuses on the relationship between two f-ing and blinding brothers whose aggression and anger towards each other is only outweighed by their mutual affection. Rightly so, the Irish embassy and the Irish Arts Council are among the sponsors of the production.

I knew it was going to be good fun when I received a flyer containing one of the play's more memorable lines: "Now, who's the virgin fecking gayboy, eh?"

* Gandhi was in town last week. Honest. The great man's grandson, Arun Gandhi, an adviser to the UN, was on something of a peace mission himself.

He told a lunch in Georgetown: "We all contribute to violence every day in our lives. Consciously and unconsciously."

The 71-year-old has lived in the US for the past 18 years, but said the famous family name still produced odd reactions from time to time - especially at airports. "It doesn't help very much. They still frisk me," he said.

He also revealed that he loved the film, Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley, even though he now had a problem seeing the actor in any other role. "It's ironic how you stereotype people."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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