Protesters urged to “maintain the rage” against Gillard’s carbon tax

Photo by Melissa Hang-Le.

Emotions were on display in Canberra yesterday as thousands gathered to oppose the Federal Government’s carbon tax, calling for an end to “the most incompetent Government in living memory.”

Held on the one year anniversary of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s infamous pledge – “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead,” – demonstrators were urged to “deny the lie” of climate change and “maintain the rage” against the government.

Tensions flew early on when a protester was asked by organisers to lower his “Ditch The Witch” sign. The man, who did not wish to be named, vehemently opposed claims he was misrepresenting the event by disrespecting the office of Prime Minister. The Australian Federal Police was forced to intervene when an organiser attempted to remove the sign.

Despite criticism for his appearance at a rally earlier in the year, opposition leader Tony Abbott appeared to cheers of “Tony, Tony, Tony.” Mr Abbott was unsuspectingly photographed in front of signs demeaning Prime Minister Gillard at a previous event.

“I can see a lot of signs. Some signs I agree with; some signs I don’t necessarily agree with,” the opposition leader told the crowd, “But I’ve got to say this, there are two things we all want to say today: we want to say, first, we don’t want a carbon tax and, second, we do want an election.”

Mr Abbott also denounced the government’s insulation and education revolution schemes before asking, “Would you trust this government with a new tax?”

Unconfirmed estimates by the AFP placed the number of protesters between 5000 to 6000 whilst organisers claimed there were over 10,000.

Photo by Melissa Hang-Le

Adriana Simonetta, 37, from Narellan in southwest Sydney, said she came to the rally because she feared for the future of her four children. “I wanted to stand up and be counted, I feel voiceless. I believe a lot of people are hurting,” the stay-at-home mum said.

“I’m worried about my children’s futures – the cost of living will be unaffordable and it [the tax] wont make one iota of difference.”

Philip Gatenby, a retired town planner from Sydney’s northern beaches said, “I want Julia to change her mind on the tax. I won’t get any tax credits as I’m a self-funded retiree, and I think that’s really unfair.”

Under the proposed tax, self-funded retirees will not be eligible for government assistance.

Prime Minister Gillard later fielded questions about the tax from Mr Abbott during question time, being asked if she would apologise for lying to her constituents to win the election.

“I understand that that has caused disappointment amongst many and I accept that too. But you get elected to this position, you get elected to this position to make the tough decisions that are important for the nation’s future. You don’t get elected to this position to sit there and say no to everything.” Prime Minister Gillard responded.

The Great Gaga Lie

In 2008 Professor Adrian North of the Department of Applied Psychology at Heriot Watt University released a book titled ‘The Social and Applied Psychology of Music.’ What Professor North did was conduct a psychological study on 36,000 music lovers, rating their preferences of 104 music styles followed by a personality test. What he found was those who listen to pop or top 40 music, such as Lady Gaga (his example), are likely to have high self-esteem, lack creativity, be hardworking, outgoing and gentle but – and here’s the clincher – not at ease with themselves.

Music is a touchy subject, and  anyone who has ever criticized another’s music choices will  probably tell you, that their criticisms have been met with fierce defensiveness. Professor North speculated that we are defined by our music choices; our identity is composed of what we do, how we present ourselves and what we listen to. It’s cultural shorthand for identifying ourselves as part of a group. He went on to state that it’s profoundly connected to who we are as individuals, a reflection of our characters, and a correlation between our personality, lifestyle and emotional reactions to the world around us.

So how is any of that relevant to Lady Gaga? Well. Gaga has spun a web of false affection in naming her fans little monsters, which in turn has been tagged ‘cult-like’. Gaga’s monsters are highly dependent on their ‘inspirational leader’ for insight and guidance, and in line with the above ‘lack of ease’ they are likely to be disillusioned, dependent and harbor a desire to be a part of something greater. Not that these are bad things. Little Monsters, much like their creator, are culturally manufactured and commercially sponsored identities. Those who relate to the Monster identity are likely to have already experienced ostracism and/or social misidentification, making them more attuned to Gaga’s cultural scriptures.

L. K. Smith of the ‘Psychology of Monsters’ blog wrote an entry about the role of the Monster identity in defining Gaga’s adherents as displaying elements of cult-like fanaticsm. Although Smith’s account is supportive of Gaga’s ideologies, its credit is held by the valid points raised – a clarification of ‘cult’ and the ‘cult’s relevance to Gaga’s discipleship. What she found was that, although conforming to constituents of  ‘cult’ behaviour – charismatic leader, motivational teaching, group trust, shared language etc – Monsters were not exactly a cult because they mean well, they have intention to do good deeds and are free to engage with other ideas at any time.

In the aforementioned blog, Smith quotes a psychologist, Michael Langone, as defining dependency, disillusionment and desire as the reasons for joining a cult. Individuals with a propensity to join cults are those who lack self-confidence, feel a need to belong and yearn for inclusion. Smith then admits that Little Monsters are dependent and do, in fact, suffer a lack of self-confidence, hence their reliance on Lady Gaga to guide them.

This is where we trip into a grey area. I hope you don’t mind the big quote – “She is a strong woman and she inspires Little Monsters to abandon their insecurities and hold onto the person who they truly are. Many Little Monsters depend on Lady Gaga in order to stay strong and look to her for advice and strength. They feed their dependency cravings on her message. Although this dependency can sometimes for some be extreme I think that most Little Monsters identify the limit of positive dependency and are not at any risk of psychological harm.”

I am not arguing any risk of psychological harm given the facts, but it seems likely that, should Gaga fade into cultural oblivion , most would simply move on to the next musical luminary. Most Gaga fans I’ve met however are fiercely defensive of their idol, to the point of irrationality and extreme displays of emotion. Whether this is harmful or not, I don’t know.

Smith goes on with “Another trait that Langone identifies is disillusionment. He suggests that individuals who feel detached from one’s own culture and do not agree with the status quo, desire change, and more often than not cults meet this desire.”

Apparently, all of this is a good thing for the Monsters! Smith claims it’s important to meet people, who believe what we believe, who are our kindred spirits! If this occurs, we can reach a  perfect social dynamic and if we remain positive, nothing bad can happen. Balance is key.

This is naïve, and perfect cult-like behaviour that she has just told us is acceptable. There is a difference between a devoted fan base and an army of followers who consume everything without critical and independent thought.

This is what I think: a vast majority of devoted Gaga fans would never entertain the idea that their Mother Monster fails at being an strong inspiring figure who adores her monstrous progeny. Any implication that casts Lady Gaga off as a commercial icon, constructed and managed to the last detail, whose adoration and commitment stems mainly from the immense amount of money she is making from her fans,  is met with impassioned and wholehearted resistance. Often in the form of extreme, co-ordinated abuse to the poor soul who dared mutter the above words.

Rob Fusari, Lady Gaga’s ex-boyfriend and  Producer/co-writer of her first album The Fame spoke of the young Italian ‘guidette’ that first arrived on his doorstep – an image dislocated from the one we know of now. Taking a look at the many Stefani Germanotta performances on YouTube, you get  the impression that the young soulful girl we see could be anything but the eccentric Gaga that is now so synonymous with pop culture. Gaga wouldn’t be the first and certainly won’t be the last person to re-invent their personality for mainstream success, and even looking at her development over the past 3 years in the public eye has seen an evolution of her identity. The playful blonde girl we saw in Just Dance bears so little resemblance to the bondage-clad woman of Edge of Glory, an individual who shocks and provokes at every opportunity with little to no rational explanation for doing so other than to showboat.

The point here is not that there’s something wrong with re-invention, but in order to champion for the rights of the minorities, the misfits and the eccentrics in the world, to tell them to accept who you are, that you were ‘born this way’, one must practices what they preach. As Alex Knepper of ‘lady gaga is a fraud’ says “the hypocrisy reeks to high heavens: Lady Gaga has cast herself as the champion of misfits, eccentrics, and weirdos, telling them to embrace their identity, no matter what the costs; no matter what others might say to them. But she is particularly ill-equipped for such a role, given that she herself compromised her identity to win stardom!” This is so evident if throw back to even four years ago, when Gaga maintained the quaint, almost dorky appearance of Stefani. Gaga’s constant evolution along these eccentric lines, stumbling further and further away from any coherent meaning, has created an iconic identity that towers over any musical or artistic production she releases.

I could write for weeks about the disconnect between what Lady Gaga says about herself and her music, and the actual meaning and interpretation of what she has done. She is presented, adored and held up as an icon, a champion – someone who speaks passionately for worthy causes, who reappropriates artistic influences into her music and videos.

Gaga told Ryan Seacrest on May 26 “It’s funny, when ‘Born This Way’ went to number one, it went to number one in like 90 minutes on iTunes, I said to myself, “Aww f*** yeah!’ Then a huge roach crawled on me. And then I was thinking to myself, this is exactly what I want. I did not get into this business for the money. I don’t care about the material things. I don’t do this because I want tons of attention. I did it because it was my destiny to be a performer and to be part of mobilizing the voice of my generation.”

I wouldn’t know where to start on this. I guess I’ll bite with the most obvious; I’m not entirely sure about how Gaga’s music represents my voice, or even those of most of my peers – and I am from the same generation as Gaga. I cannot relate to her music in any way whatsoever, and I can’t see how anyone else could either, beyond it being a catchy melody.  When we analyse the pop arena not one other musician who sings about such meaningless tripe passes off their music to be so representative of a generation, of a struggle or as political commentary. Gaga produces mindless pop music which deserves to be treated as such, and Alex Knepper again put it so eloquently with “Gaga and her fans present her as an avant-garde, politically-conscious revolutionary, single-handedly bringing art, style, and sensibility back to the pop arena.”

She is not.

So how the hell has Gaga gotten herself into this position? Probably from her frequent cryptic and relatable comments, her insistence that her fans are her everything and the success she has made from such a committed use of social networking. There is no doubt that Gaga is a very smart person. I just don’t think her fans are.

The Little Monsters didn’t invent the phrase; it didn’t develop at concerts from discussions among fellow fans. It wasn’t created by a devoted lover of her music – the whole illusion of a communal identity was fostered by one person – guess who?  The Little Monster ideology was created by Gaga. For me, this is the most troubling part of hearing the Little Monsters tell me how included and involved they are in their little clique. They didn’t make it. None of them did. They just picked it up.

This race to adopt a commercially written and promoted identity speaks volumes about those who adopt it. Remember the ‘lack of ease’ of Top 40/pop listeners? The dependence on someone else to tell them what to do, how to act, what to believe in and the desire to be a part of a group that is greater than themselves? Here it is, manifested in real people.

Australian radio station 2DayFM is currently running a promotion to “Show how monster you are” to win tickets to an upcoming performance. One fan told me that what constitutes your “inner monster” is “anything and everything, being yourself and being proud for it” – cripplingly vague direction but one which could be construed any number of ways. This is the key to Gaga’s widespread appeal, and the insistence that she represents everyone. Because she doesn’t represent anything. This makes it infinitely easy for her to be representative of something or someone because without a concrete ideology, she is a fluid being who can adapt to anything.

So, if Lady Gaga helps you through a struggle or to better define who you are, then that’s great. But at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, she is a person who merely distracts from existential problems and assists to build an unsustainable identity around fandom.

Edited by Milo Peña.

Egypt: Where to from here?

At the risk of using already tired metaphors, the past nine days in Egypt have been unprecedented – for the people of Egypt, and it’s Government. The usually docile citizen body has hit back against worsening poverty, rising unemployment, rampant corruption and out of control inflation. Meanwhile, the US government has shown a reluctance to intervene in a complex conflict where many different groups have a lot to lose. No matter what the outcome, there is one certainty – this cannot last, and the impact upon already strained Middle Eastern relations and global trade cannot be ignored.

Worsening Violence in Cairo
Protests in Egypt reached perhaps their worst point yet in the past day, with approximately 20,000 Mubarek loyalists breaking through army lines around Tahrir Square on camels and horses. A tense stand-off ensued for around 30 minutes, with verbal insults exchanged among opposing sides before descending into all out violence. Scenes that followed were representative of a war zone – with projectiles ranging from apples, to stones, concrete blocks, garbage bins all the way to Molotov cocktails raining down on the gathered masses.  Some reported hearing gunshots, though by who is unclear. Projectiles would be thrown, the injured retrieved and pulled back and it would commence again – whilst the military looked idly on. John Lyons in The Australian this morning speculated that protesters had “miscalculated” – taking comfort in the Army’s presence, but forgetting it never promised to protect them. Some protesters believed the Army let Mubarek’s supporters into the Square on purpose. Regardless, the day of fighting left 4 dead and over 829 wounded in the Egyptian capital – although Al-Jazeera is reporting there is now a “tense calm” in the city. Many believe the Mubarek supporters were in fact paid thugs and the police, whom had mysteriously abandoned their posts days earlier which would explain both their reluctance to continue fighting in the face of defeat and their inability to mobilize themselves in any sort of strategic manner, instead advancing in a mob and retreating under fire. In contrast, Al-Jazeera reported that anti-Mubarek protesters were able to organize themselves to take strategic positions and high grounds, such as a highway overpass, and constructing barriers and fortified positions to fend off attack. There is still no end in sight for the protests, but a “Day of Departure” has been submitted to Mubarek by protesters – leave office by Friday, though the consequences if he should choose not to remain unclear.

Media Oppression
Journalists reporting inside the country have also spoken of increasing anti-media sentiment by the government, with both local and foreign journalists becoming the target of government-supported protestors.  The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) maintains a list here of journalists attacked or oppressed, although this is by no means comprehensive or up to date given the rapid timeline of attacks in the capital. Journalists are reporting being beaten, intimidated, interrogated, kidnapped and had both cameras and tapes taken, destroyed or damaged by protestors, police and security details. CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported being punched up to ten times in the head, and Peter Stefanovic of the Australian Nine Network reported hotel security confiscating a camera. He also tweeted today that Mubarek’s supporters were searching hotels for foreign journalists. Reports also emerged yesterday that scouts were searching hotel balconies with binoculars for news crews and dispatching security details to confiscate equipment. Attitudes towards journalists remain extremely hostile both by Police, security and protestors – with many reporting being searched and interviewed whilst moving about town. Many barricaded themselves into hotels during violence yesterday after mobs were reportedly searching hotels for foreign news crews. Two Al-Jazeera reporters went missing amongst the chaos for over 6 hours, though later emerged safe but beaten.

The United States’ Response
The United States’ response to the ongoing crisis in Egypt has been weak and ambiguous, with the Obama administration tangling itself in meaningless calls for ‘orderly transitions’ and ‘democratic changes’. Although executing an obviously cautious plan, the message coming from the US is inconsistent with reports emerging that many policy makers wish for Mubarek to step down immediately. Obama, however, is reluctant to publicly state this  – instead toeing a line where, as the Washington Post reported, they are “not going to go all the way, but not let him off the hook,” Although dispatching prominent diplomat Frank Wisner to personally deliver the message that an “orderly transition… must begin now” Mubarek has so far remained steadfast in his refusal to immediately leave office. It is becoming increasingly clear that the United States does not know what it wants, ignoring the fact that extracting Mubarek from power and installing his self-appointed Vice President will not change the political archetype of Egypt in the slightest. The Obama administration has had little luck in Middle Eastern affairs since taking office, taking a significantly weaker standpoint on affairs in the region than his predecessor, George Bush, who actively pushed for democratic election in Palestine (though boycotting the elected Hamas government). Instead, Obama has resorted to pleading with officials in Israel on Palestinian affairs – which mas been met with unwavering refusal – and delivering incoherent messages with no ultimatum or warning. Of course, the United States should not be pig-headed in their dealings with foreign states but should they wish to play a role in the Middle East, and notably the ‘new’ Egypt, a clear direction needs to be established and followed by all levels of government – including the President.

Egypt’s Role in Global Trade and the Middle East
Egypt’s role in global trade and throughout the Middle East is often understated, although not being a massive consumer or producer, it is – as Bloomberg’s Mohamed El-Erian puts it – an ‘enabler’ of economies. This can be attributed to Egyptian control of the Suez canal, a major shipping thoroughfare that prevents detours around Cape Horn, and the long period of stable government in a region prone to unsteady governance and security. If the United States wishes to become a player in the Middle East, now is the time – it is integral that a position is taken immediately, or as soon as possible, given that as each day passes it becomes increasingly evident that the unrest will continue until Mubarek is ejected. ABC’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Mubarek yesterday, where he told her that he “would like to leave office now, but cannot… for fear that the country would sink into chaos” Many would argue the country is already in chaos. The United States should see this as an opportunity to intervene, by removing him, taking steps to ensure the nation returns to stability and ensuring a government satisfactory to the people is installed. The past nine days of violence have proven that the protestors are unrelenting in their push for this outcome.

The Economic Structure of Egypt
It is necessary to understand exactly what has led the Egyptian people to protest in order to understand what needs to be done to restore calm. The uprising and overthrow of the Tunisian government showed the Egyptian people that mobilization and uprising could help in a state where they are oppressed and many living in chronic poverty. Despite Egypt’s position of large monetary reserves with little debt, one in five Egyptian people live below the poverty line – and 40% of the 80,000,000 populace live on less than $2 each day. Additionally, 10% are unemployed and the current rate of inflation is at 12%. Mohamed Kamel, in an interview with Canada’s CTV, told of a rampantly corrupt nation with inadequate health and education facilities, where “You have to bribe people just to get your driver’s licence,” With a median age of 24, Egypt’s young population saw nothing but a future of poverty ahead of them. This led to protesting; not as a way of voicing their dissatisfaction, but out of necessity and yearning for a better standard of life in a greedy dictatorship.

What Can Be Done, and What’s Going to Happen?
‘Fixing’ Egypt, if I may use such a basic term, is not something that can happen overnight and it is certainly not something a new, Mubarek-sponsored Government will enable. What Egypt is in the throes of is a massive social uprising, a period of great change and a surge towards a more egalitarian system of government, security and provision of public services. A nation as prosperous as Egypt needs to adapt to sharing with its citizens, providing social services, removing corruption and allowing citizens a chance at upward social mobility. This is an idealistic scenario, no doubt, and putting the cards in play to achieve an outcome as positive as this will dubiously occur. If it does, who will be responsible and when it will happen remains to be seen, but the current state of unrest cannot continue forever, nor can Mubarek’s desperate cling to power.

UPDATE: CPJ has posted an updated version of journalists who have been attacked in Egypt, you can read it here.
UPDATE #2: ABC America has also constructed a list, which is located here.

Aunty, where are you?

For the past hour and a half, since Al-Jazeera English interrupted their Inside Story program in favour of rolling coverage of the Egyptian protests, ABC have existed – presumably blissfully – in their own little world. What happens to the ABC News24 staff on Friday nights? Do they all go out for drinks? Whilst Al-Jazeera English was providing live coverage from the Egypt through a variety of correspondents, ABC News24 was enlightening us with re-runs of Big Ideas.

Obviously, the ABC does not have the strength that Al-Jazeera does on the ground – especially within Egypt, where journalists are now being refused access, but surely they should have at least a content sharing agreement with a provider who would be able to offer rolling coverage, and if they don’t – why? What is the point of a national, rolling news channel if they cannot offer us rolling news – both of local and global events? ABC News24 is indicative of the chronic lack of resources that are available to our national broadcaster, and the stretch marks from launching the channel last year are beginning to become more and more evident in times of crisis.

I know the ABC is Australia’s national broadcaster. You may argue it should stick to Australian news. The BBC? Why, that offers more than adequate coverage of international news (this may be up for debate soon). PBS? That offers enough. Al-Jazeera is a state-owned network, but operates in a much different capacity to the ABC. But what happened to the much-hyped pre-launch fanfare of News24? “Drawing upon the ABC’s extensive worldwide resources”? I don’t see them anywhere. As each day passes, as more and more stories go uncovered and the ABC consistently arrives late to the party I am starting to think maybe the naysayers were right.

I can’t believe I cancelled my Foxtel subscription for this.

Call of Duty: Grooming Future Bin Laden’s?

On January 24th, a female suicide bomber and possibly her accomplice, killed 35 and injured countless more at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. No concrete motive has yet been identified, however Russia Today has already placed blame upon popular video game franchise ‘Call of Duty‘. This is due to a controversial mission titled “No Russian” in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 where the player acts as an accomplice to the Ultranationalist Party’s machine-gun rampage through a fictitious Moscow airport. Russia Today characterized the game as “becoming a shocking reality” describing how the game had previously seemed “too gruesome and tragic ever to come true”. Can one reasonably assign blame upon a video game for a tragedy that is still unfolding?

The most troubling theme present both in Russia Today’s article and subsequent reports in the Sydney Morning Herald – is that video games serve not only to induce violence in their players, but that they are now being used in a nefarious capacity by terrorists to not only train, but also groom future extremists. Walid Phares, the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Russia Today: “Indeed it is a trouble to look at the game and reality. The issue is we need to know if terrorists or extremists are using these videos or DVDs or games to basically apply the model… I think those who have been radicalized already – that is supposed in this case jihadists, Al-Qaeda or other kind – they look at the games and say these games will serve them to train” What Phares is inferring is that video games are being actively used not only to scout for ideas in which to implement, but also to hone their skills. How plausible of a possibility is it that terrorists are grouped around dusty TV’s practicing their next attack on Call of Duty, notepad in hand, scouting for recreatable experiences?

Whilst no research has been done to conclude a link between video games, or the Call of Duty franchise, and terrorism, there has been extensive research into links between gamers and violent real-life behaviour. In 2008, Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl K. Olson released a book titled ‘Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Video Games and What Parents Can Do’ which researched the behaviour of young adolescents and how violent video games link to real-life violence. The research study acknowledged early on that children with violent tendencies would prefer violent games – known as cause-and-effect, wich is unmeasurable through a survey but a proven correlation between behaviour and activity. The study aimed to identify risk patterns in children who played video games, and what they found was that many children played violent games as an outlet to their anger, forget problems, relax and even to feel less lonely. They did find that teenage boys who played M-rated games were at a slightly higher risk of aggressive behaviour than those who played more innocuous games, but that those who didn’t play any video games in an average week shared this level of risk. In a 2008 interview with G4 TV’s ‘X-Play’ program Kutner described blaming violence on games as similar to after you see kids coming out of a movie making kung fu moves against one another, “But that doesn’t mean they’re going to do that against the sweet little old lady down the street”. Not the be all and end all of research in this field, of course, but the findings can be applied easily in this instance. Video games, such as Call of Duty in this case, are rarely – if ever – the cause of violent behaviour in their players. The only instance in which one can reasonably draw such a link would be an outcome of cause-and-effect, that an individual who had extremist, aggressive or violent behaviour patterns prior would latch onto games that provided them with an outlet that allowed them to engage in similar behaviour. Of course, we wouldn’t blame the game for this if they had demonstrated similar behaviour beforehand. So why would we blame a video game for the activities of terrorist groups or organisations when they have demonstrated prior their ability and intent to engage in such acts? Further to this, is it actually plausible to be blaming the level of a Call of Duty game for an actual terrorist attack, suspected to be by a group with known extremist tendencies?

Let’s examine the facts. We can reasonably assume that video games are not breeding a new generation of sleeper terrorists as Russia Today so nefariously infers, but rather that video games serve as a constructive outlet not only for children but also for adults, as an escapist outlet for emotion easily and readily available. As most recently as 2 days ago, Al-Jazeera reported that Russian security forces suspect the Black Widows of the North Caucasus region as being responsible for the Domodedovo bombings. The Muslim minority of Russia, who account for one-seventh of the population, are fighting for an autonomous state after being forced into the Russian empire during the 19th Century. Tensions have flared in recent times as Putin’s strategy of counterinsurgency in Chechnya has turned the conflict from a guerrilla war into nothing more than a series of indiscriminate suicide bombings. Richard Weitz of Yale University speculated last year that the 2010 attack was motivated by the Black Widow separatists attempt to mobilise their support base around the world, whilst demonstrating their resistance to “Moscow’s pacification attempts”. Weitz stated that the Kremlin should “avoid an overly harsh response that could have the counterproductive result of enhancing the militants’ appeal within the global Islamic community”. Where this leads us is a conclusion wherein Russia Today’s search for a scapegoat in the Domodedovo attacks has led to an indiscriminate attack upon the video game industry. This completely disregards the much deeper history of conflict, not only in Russia but around the world and wherein Call of Duty is more a case of art imitating life than life imitating art, and it would be irresponsible to blame a video game playing on pre-existing conflict in a region for an act that was most likely motivated by political means, not inspired by a first-person shooter.

Update: The ABC has posted an article titled “Russia links militant to Moscow bombing” speculating upon the possibility that Russian authorities have linked extremists from North Caucasus with the Domodedovo bombings, and are actively seeking individuals from the conflict-plagued region as suspects.