And speaking of abstract danger, some here now speculate that the failed suitcase bombing attack in Cologne last summer was not merely an individual response to the Mohammed caricature controversy, but an initiation test for al Qaeda recruitment in Iraq instead. Two Lebanese students connected with the failed attack go on trail in Lebanon today, although one of these suspects is still being held in Germany and will be tried in absentia, wherever that is.

It appears that emails written by one of the accused to his brother in Sweden indicate the two’s plans to travel to Iraq once they “have passed the initiation test.” And intensive research on my part has indicated that the initiation test the two students are referring to here has nothing whatsoever to do with those bizarre initiation rituals carried out by the Phi Delta Phi or any of those other strange college fraternities out there.

Unfortunately, Germany and Lebanon have no treaty covering police cooperation and certain “issues” have strained the relations between the two countries’ police services over the investigation. There seems to be a lot going on behind the scene, in other words. At the end of March, a German court extended one suspect’s pre-trial detention but dropped charges accusing him of membership in a terrorist organization. And this is probably just the initiation of things to come, too.

I would never join a fraternity that would have someone like me as a member.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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