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May 16th, 2003, 05:27 AM
May 16, 2003

Paths of Glory


The central dogma of American politics right now is that George W. Bush, whatever his other failings, has been an effective leader in the fight against terrorism. But the more you know about the state of the world, the less you believe that dogma. The Iraq war, in particular, did nothing to make America safer — in fact, it did the terrorists a favor.

How is the war on terror going? You know about the Riyadh bombings. But something else happened this week: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, a respected British think tank with no discernible anti-Bush animus, declared that Al Qaeda is "more insidious and just as dangerous" as it was before Sept. 11. So much for claims that we had terrorists on the run.

Still, isn't the Bush administration doing its best to fight terrorism? No.

The administration's antiterror campaign makes me think of the way television studios really look. The fancy set usually sits in the middle of a shabby room, full of cardboard and duct tape. Networks take great care with what viewers see on their TV screens; they spend as little as possible on anything off camera.

And so it has been with the campaign against terrorism. Mr. Bush strikes heroic poses on TV, but his administration neglects anything that isn't photogenic.

I've written before about the Bush administration's amazing refusal to pay for even minimal measures to protect the nation against future attacks — measures that would secure ports, chemical plants, nuclear facilities and so on. (But the Department of Homeland Security isn't completely ineffectual: this week it helped Texas Republicans track down their Democratic colleagues, who had staged a walkout.)

The neglect of homeland security is mirrored by the Bush administration's failure to follow through on overseas efforts once the TV-friendly part of the operation has come to an end. The overthrow of the Taliban was a real victory — arguably our only important victory against terrorism. But as soon as Kabul fell, the administration lost interest. Now most of Afghanistan is under the control of warlords, the Karzai government is barely hanging on, and the Taliban are making a comeback.

Senator Bob Graham has made an even stronger charge: that Al Qaeda was "on the ropes" a year ago, but was able to recover because the administration diverted military and intelligence resources to Iraq. As former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he's in a position to know. And before you dismiss him as a partisan Democrat, bear in mind that when he began raising this alarm last fall his Republican colleagues supported him: "He's absolutely right to be concerned," said Senator Richard Shelby, who has seen the same information.

Senator Graham also claims that a classified Congressional report reveals that "the lessons of Sept. 11 are not being applied today," and accuses the administration of a cover-up.

Still, we defeated Saddam. Doesn't that make us safer? Well, no.

Saddam wasn't a threat to America — he had no important links to terrorism, and the main U.S. team searching for weapons of mass destruction has packed up and gone home. Meanwhile, true to form, the Bush team lost focus as soon as the TV coverage slackened off. The first result was an orgy of looting — including looting of nuclear waste dumps that, incredibly, we failed to secure. Dirty bombs, anyone? Now, according to an article in The New Republic, armed Iraqi factions are preparing for civil war.

That leaves us facing exactly the dilemma war skeptics feared. If we leave Iraq quickly it may well turn into a bigger, more dangerous version of Afghanistan. But if we stay for an extended period we risk becoming, as one commentator put it, "an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land" — just the recruiting tool Al Qaeda needs. Who said that? President George H. W. Bush, explaining his decision not to go on to Baghdad back in 1991.

Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish leader, isn't afraid to use the "Q" word, worrying that because of America's failure to follow up, "this wonderful victory we have achieved will turn into a quagmire."

The truth is that the pursuit of televised glory — which led the Bush administration to turn its attention away from Al Qaeda, and to pick a fight with a regime that, however nasty, posed no threat — has made us much less safe than we should be.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

May 16th, 2003, 12:16 PM
This says it all. Why isn't this headline news? If we could only see this story on prime-time television......but I guess it would never hold it's own against "The Bachelor".

May 16th, 2003, 03:23 PM
Get ready to throw up.

For President Bush's address on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House went the extra mile. Three barges of giant Musco lights — the sort used to illuminate rock concerts — were positioned at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The glowing statue provided the ultimate patriotic backdrop to Mr. Bush, speaking from Ellis Island.


May 16th, 2003, 03:54 PM
Don't even get me started on this one - I read it on the train this morning.

They have more pictures in today's Times with this story - during a speech, his head being adjacent to the faces on Mt. Rushmore. Dupe the people, George, that's your best tactic.

May 16th, 2003, 04:04 PM

By Jim Shella
News 8 Political Reporter
Some Audience Members Told Not to Wear Ties for Bush Speech

President Bush came to Indianapolis to send the message that his tax cut plan will help everyone and not just the wealthy. That's why all those people sitting behind him were instructed on what to wear.

When it comes to Bush’s public appearances, it seems very little is left to chance. The president has been criticized for the effort and expense that it took to create photo opportunities when he flew onto the USS Abraham Lincoln earlier this month. The same sort of image-making was a part of his Indianapolis speech.

George W. Bush came to Indianapolis for the picture. And in that picture, the White House wanted ordinary people.

“These are V.I.P.'s right, ordinary people aren't up on stage behind the president of the United States when he's speaking but the trick is to make V.I.P.'s look like they're ordinary people,” said Bill Bloomquist, political scientist.

That's why everyone sitting behind the president wearing a necktie was instructed to take it off.

Exhibit A is Brian Bosma. He appeared onstage in a necktie, prior to the president's arrival. When the president got there the Indiana House minority leader had an open collar. In a News 8 interview immediately following the speech, the tie was back on.
* * * *
Former state Republican chairman Mike McDaniel helped organize the event. “They wanted them to be themselves and that's what we were trying to get out of those shots and it worked for the most part,” he said.

"They" are the White House staff, and they had other instructions, too. Bush fan Ann McDaniel was told not to flash her camera. Her companion, Wilma Hart, had this to say to the White House staffer: “I said, ‘Do we look like we just crawled out from under a rock someplace?’”

“When you see somebody who is in coat an tie, then not in coat and tie, then in coat and tie, it sort of reveals that this is about stagecraft rather than statecraft,” said Bloomquist.

Peyton Manning was apparently allowed to keep his tie on. But then, everybody knows he's not ordinary.

There were some other neckties in the crowd but most of them belonged to Secret Service agents. Representative Bosma told News 8, “When the guy from the White House tells you to take your tie off, you don't ask why.” But he also removed his pocket square.

While there’s nothing wrong with image-making, viewers should be aware when it’s taking place.


Representative Brian Bosma before Bush's speech: Note the tie

Rep. Bosma greets Bush without his tie.

May 18th, 2003, 03:43 PM
Sometimes I suspect that Bush's handlers are almost as astonished as I am that people actually swallow this stuff. *They're really breaking new ground.

June 17th, 2003, 08:13 AM
June 17, 2003

Dereliction of Duty


Last Thursday a House subcommittee met to finalize next year's homeland security appropriation. The ranking Democrat announced that he would introduce an amendment adding roughly $1 billion for areas like port security and border security that, according to just about every expert, have been severely neglected since Sept. 11. He proposed to pay for the additions by slightly scaling back tax cuts for people making more than $1 million per year.

The subcommittee's chairman promptly closed the meeting to the public, citing national security — though no classified material was under discussion. And the bill that emerged from the closed meeting did not contain the extra funding.

It was a perfect symbol of the reality of the Bush administration's "war on terror." Behind the rhetoric — and behind the veil of secrecy, invoked in the name of national security but actually used to prevent public scrutiny — lies a pattern of neglect, of refusal to take crucial actions to protect us from terrorists. Actual counterterrorism, it seems, doesn't fit the administration's agenda.

Yesterday The Washington Post printed an interview with Rand Beers, a top White House counterterrorism adviser who resigned in March. "They're making us less secure, not more secure," he said of the Bush administration. "As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done." Among the problem areas he cited were homeland security, where he says the administration has "only a rhetorical policy"; failure to press Saudi Arabia (the home of most of the Sept. 11 terrorists) to take action; and, of course, the way we allowed Afghanistan to relapse into chaos.

Some of this pattern of neglect involves penny-pinching. Back in February, even George W. Bush in effect admitted that not enough money had been allocated to domestic security — though (to the fury of Republican legislators) he blamed Congress. Yet according to Fred Kaplan in Slate, the administration's latest budget proposal for homeland security actually contains less money than was spent last year. Meanwhile, urgent priorities remain unmet. For example, port security, identified as a top concern from the very beginning, has so far received only one-tenth as much money as the Coast Guard says is needed.

But it's not just a matter of money. For one thing, it's hard to claim now that the Bush administration is trying to hold down domestic spending to make room for tax cuts. With the budget deficit projected at more than $400 billion this year, a few billion more for homeland security wouldn't make much difference to the tax-cutting agenda. Moreover, Congress isn't pinching pennies across the board: last week the Senate voted to provide $15 billion in loan guarantees for the construction of nuclear power plants.

Furthermore, even on the military front the administration has been weirdly reluctant to come to grips with terrorism. It refused to provide Afghanistan's new government with an adequate security umbrella, with the predictable result that warlords are running rampant and the Taliban are making a comeback. The squandered victory in Afghanistan was one reason people like myself had a bad feeling about the invasion of Iraq — and sure enough, the administration was bizarrely lackadaisical about providing postwar security. Even nuclear waste dumps were left unguarded for weeks.

So what's the explanation? The answer, one suspects, is that key figures — above all, Donald Rumsfeld — just didn't feel like dealing with the real problem. Real counterterrorism mainly involves police work and precautionary measures; it doesn't look impressive on TV, and it doesn't provide many occasions for victory celebrations.

A conventional war, on the other hand, is a lot more fun: you get stirring pictures of tanks rolling across the desert, and you get to do a victory landing on an aircraft carrier. And more and more it seems that that was what the war was all about. After all, the supposed reasons for fighting that war have turned out to be false — there were no links to Al Qaeda, there wasn't a big arsenal of W.M.D.'s.

But never mind — we won, didn't we? Maybe not. About half of the U.S. Army's combat strength is now tied down in Iraq, facing what looks increasingly like a guerrilla war — and like a perfect recruiting device for Al Qaeda. Meanwhile, the real war on terror has been neglected, and we've antagonized the allies we need to fight that war. One of these days we'll end up paying the price.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

June 17th, 2003, 11:04 AM
Nothing has really been acomplished yet in the war against terrorism.

June 17th, 2003, 09:09 PM
Worst of all, as the horrors of the Iraq bombings, the crippling sanctions which were lifted after thirteen years, the still-prevalent chaos, and the dilapidated state of the economy sinks in, we may see many Iraqis close ranks with Al Qaeda. :sad:

June 17th, 2003, 09:42 PM
Let's not forget Afganistan. There is no governmental control outside of Kabul. The rest of the country belongs to warlords and rouge political leaders not willing to comply with Pres. Hamid Karzai.

June 17th, 2003, 10:42 PM
Quote: from DominicanoNYC on 9:42 pm on June 17, 2003
...rouge political leaders...

So those goshdarn Reds are back, ehh?? I knew it! ;)

Seriously though, wasn't something just a little off when Wyoming got 7 times as much security funding as New York did?

August 6th, 2003, 12:53 AM
August 6, 2003

Shortchanging Security

The Associated Press headline picked up by newspapers across the country last week said it all: "Air Marshal Program Could Be Cut, Despite Hijacking Threat." That was not exactly welcome news to millions of Americans at the height of the summer travel season, and the ensuing uproar helped kill the proposed spending cuts. Yet sadly enough, the story line was all too familiar. The Bush administration and Congressional leaders in Washington have been too reluctant to devote enough resources to protect the nation against terrorism.

A sense of complacency at this time would be inexcusable under any circumstances, but it is reckless when intelligence points to the likelihood of more terrorist attacks on aviation. President Bush called it a "real threat" at his press conference last week. The government is so concerned, it now requires travelers who need a visa to visit the United States to obtain one when merely changing planes here, say, en route to Paris from Rio.

Federal airport screeners and airlines have also been put on notice that Al Qaeda terrorists may be adapting cameras or other electronic devices into weapons. Aviation security has been substantially upgraded since the Sept. 11 attacks, but airliners remain the most alluring terrorist target all the same.

That is why it would be so wrong to roll back the air marshal program now. As the mounting threats were disclosed, a leaked memo from an official with the federal air marshal service cited budgetary concerns in urging regional offices to drop flights requiring overnight stays. The war on terror, apparently, must be waged on a day trip.

On Sunday, appearing on the NBC News program "Meet the Press," Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Secretary, conceded that the juxtaposition of proposed spending cuts and new threats amounted to an "unusual sequence of events." We'll say. He then reassured viewers that there would be no curtailment in the air marshal program that puts thousands of undercover law-enforcement agents on an undisclosed number of flights.

Mr. Ridge did not address the budgetary constraints faced by the Transportation Security Administration, the agency within his department established in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The agency has received nearly $1 billion less than it has sought from Congress, forcing layoffs and the postponement of air marshal training.

Inadequate resources have also been devoted to the securing of airport perimeters and cargo facilities, not to mention ports and energy plants. These needs must be addressed.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Freedom Tower
August 6th, 2003, 07:48 PM
DHS: No Plan to Cut Number of Air Marshals
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

WASHINGTON — Reports of any changes in staffing of federal air marshals aboard U.S. airlines are flat-out wrong, a Department of Homeland Security (search) spokesman told Fox News Wednesday.

Spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said no current plan exists, nor has any plan been discussed, to lower the number of air marshals.

News of possible cuts began circulating Wednesday after the Transportation Security Administration (search) reported that it wants Congress to cut $104 million from the air marshal program to help offset a $900 million budget shortfall. It was unclear how the possible cuts could affect air marshal jobs.

"When we are faced with more priorities than we have funding to support, we have to go through a process of trying to address the most urgent needs," TSA spokesman Robert Johnson said.

But a Homeland Security official told Fox News that no cuts to the air marshal program have been approved by either Asa Hutchinson, the undersecretary in charge of that department, or by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

Added Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security: "The Federal Air Marshal program is absolutely critical to fighting terrorism and keeping the flying public safe. Given new warnings from DHS about possible hijacking attempts, it is foolish to even consider cutting back the number of air marshals on commercial flights.

In fact, the official said, DHS will expand the air marshal program in the face of the latest threat information about Al Qaeda (search) and the possibility the terror group may be planning another Sept. 11-like attack by the end of the summer.

A warning issued by DHS earlier this week alerting the airline industry to possible Al Qaeda threats says: "The extremists may plan to identify flights that transited the target country, so that the hijackers would not need visas for those countries."

The terror plot could involve the use of five-man teams, each of which would attempt to seize control of a commercial aircraft either shortly after takeoff or shortly before landing at a chosen airport, the advisory said. DHS stressed that airlines are responsible for abiding by strong security procedures at airports, particularly for those traveling without a visa.

The Sept. 11 attacks were carried out by three five-man teams and a four-man squad of hijackers, U.S. officials believe.

DHS is canvassing for individuals with previous air marshal experience to sub into the program, the official said. Air marshal assignments will be made based on the current threat information, the official added, including the possibility of hijackings and increasing screening of certain overseas passengers.

A TSA official said the agency sent a directive to U.S. airlines on Monday telling them to immediately begin more intensive screening of travelers flying out of a foreign airport into the United States, then connecting to another foreign destination.

Those affected are non-U.S. citizens who do not have U.S. visas. They previously have been allowed to stay in secure areas while passing through U.S. airports but have not been subjected to more intensive screening because they aren't staying in the country.

President Bush noted the hijacking warning during a White House news conference Wednesday and said U.S. officials are talking to foreign governments about it.

"There are still Al Qaeda remnants that have designs on America. The threat is a real threat," he said. "We obviously don't have specific data. We don't know when, where, what. ... I'm confident that we will thwart their attempts."

Officials said the credibility of the threat was still being evaluated. But they noted there was no precise information on when or where such an attack could take place.

The national terrorist threat level remained at yellow, signifying an elevated risk of attacks. The five-level, color-coded system was last raised to orange, or high risk, for 11 days in May. Officials said they did not plan to raise it to reflect the possibility of suicide hijackings.

DHS placed a statement on its Web site saying the advisory was transmitted after U.S. intelligence-gatherers "received information that Al Qaeda continues to be interested in using the commercial aviation system in the United States and abroad to further their cause."

In response to the advisory, the State Department on Tuesday revised an existing caution for American travelers to reflect the perceived hijacking threat.

"Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, hijackings, bombings or kidnappings. These may also involve commercial aircraft," the revised statement said.

Fox News' Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Freedom Tower
August 6th, 2003, 07:55 PM
That whole story was Democratic propoganda meant to scare people into thinking Bush isn't do a good job. The fact is the air marshal program has been greatly expanded under Bush's presidency. BTW, domincano, how can you say the war on terror hasn't accomplished anything. I agree it has a long way to go... but much has been accomplished. Just to name a few:

1. More air marshals
2. Reinforced Cock-pit doors
3. Arrests of Ramzi Binalshib, Richard Reid, and many more...
4. Destruction of terrorist training camps in afghanistan...
5. Terrorists caught in Iraq.... don't forget the terrorist they caught there who hijacked the Achille Lauro(Yes, Clinton did sign something promising not to persue him)
6. Creation of Homeland Security Department... we actually have people to look over the information we gather now.
7. Threat color levels - while they may confuse some of us, they help law enforcement know what precautions to take.

I just named those off the top of my head, there is progress it is just slow.

August 6th, 2003, 08:28 PM
Interesting that numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 have nothing to do with the war in Iraq, where most of our attention and resources are now.

Of course, once Dubya runs the economy completely into the ground, we'll have even less money for hotel rooms for air marshalls.

Freedom Tower
August 7th, 2003, 08:58 AM
One of the problems with a pre-emptive war is that if it is successful we will probably never know about it. For example, lets just say Saddam was aiding al qaida, maybe in 5 years they'd attack again, with Saddam gone that wont happen. But you'd never know if it was to happen or not. Unless they actually find plans for an attack we'll never know if we stopped an attack or not. I dont doubt Saddams WMD or connections to terrorists, however, i do doubt that we'll find the proof. Just West of Baghdad a few days ago they found buried airplanes. It took them this long to find HUGE buried fighter jets, many of them bought from France btw.(another reason they didnt want this war was their profit from Iraq purchasing their weapons) Anyway, back to the main point, if there are documents somewhere proving an attack or Saddams weapons or terror connections or whatever, they have probably been destroyed by now, and if not we probably will never find them. If fighter jets can be concealed in the desert then think of how easy it'd be to hide a few barrels of nerve gas.

August 7th, 2003, 01:40 PM
With that logic then why don't we attack all the countries who deal with terrorists, create and trade weapons, or have ruthless dictators?

And how convenient that there is no way to prove the success or failure of this Iraq War.

August 7th, 2003, 02:26 PM
For a gun to smoke, it needs to have been fired. The Bush doctrine is that we don't wait for another catastrophe.

no gun = no smoking gun

Bush has been, and will continue to be criticized for not acting on sketchy intelligence leading up to 9/11. *Now when he acts on intelligence, he is criticized for this.

I am fearful that preemptive war will become a cornerstone of foreign policy, as peacekeeping missions have. *Defense of national security should be the only reason for war, not liberation. *

The fight against terror has been used to broadly back millitary incursion into nations that we believe threaten the stability of the middle east and therefore our interests. *National security? *That is a stretch unless corrupt instability is viewed as a breeding ground for terrror groups.

I am against Americans dying, soldier and civilian alike, but I don't wish failure for the President or our brave forces. *I want the US to have a successful exit from Iraq, not for Bush's political gain but for our national gain. *

I am concerned that some Bush administration detractors hope the war in Iraq goes south to make the President look bad. *If this is how little they value the lives of Americans, I have pity for their repugnant partisan souls.

If they want a smoking gun, I hope they get it.

Freedom Tower
August 7th, 2003, 03:12 PM
The weapons may still be there. NYatNight, you are forgetting some basic facts.

Saddam had chemical and biological weapons in 1991, we are 100% sure of this because we actually gave him smallpox when he was fighting Iran because we weren't friendly with Iran. There is no doubt he has or at least at one point HAD the weapons. From then to now he has shown no proof of their destruction. Resolution 1441 which the UN agreed upon says that Saddam must prove the weapons are destroyed, or show them to the inspectors to be destroyed. He didnt do either, he just let the inspectors drive around looking. Obviously smallpox doesnt just dissapear from its container and vanish. The fact is Saddam showed no proof of destruction. He had to comply with weapons insspectors meaning actually show them the weapons or show proof of there being no weapons. It wasn't meant that we'd have thousands of inspectors searching every inch of the country. As you can see now, it's hard to find this stuff.

So, NYatNight, what would stop Saddam from hiding it and just claiming it doesn't exist? Nothing... because that is exactly what he did. And if we didn't go in there can you say 100% that he would have not given it to terrorists who would use it on us? Then you'd be complaining Bush didn't stop Saddam when he had the chance.

Freedom Tower
August 7th, 2003, 03:15 PM
Oh, and I forgot to answer one of your questions NYatNight. We did that to the only country that we know deals with terrorists, has WMD or had WMD(I think its still there in Iraq somewhere), has a ruthless dictator, and has used the WMD before. THey used it against the Kurds.

September 2nd, 2003, 12:25 PM
The only country? Hmmmm, I think you're the one who *may be forgetting some basic facts. However, I'm not going to get into that here, it seems like a futile discussion. No offense, but since all you do is regurgitate the latest White House press release then I can as easily flip on Fox News to hear what W would have us believe.

September 2nd, 2003, 01:40 PM
It's difficult to argue against removing an asshole from the world stage, but the resources could have been put to better use. We spend $4 billion a month and worry about hotel bills for air marshalls.

Fighting terrorism involves persistent and often boring intelligence gathering, but that doesn't give a president the opportunity to land on an aircraft carrier and proclaim that hostilities are over.

If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Will Rogers

Freedom Tower
September 2nd, 2003, 02:47 PM
NYatKnight, I was referring to the only country to have done ALL of the things I've stated. However, I'm not going to post much here because I've been getting into trouble for it.

Freedom Tower
September 22nd, 2003, 05:13 PM
Sources: Muslim chaplain's arrest prompts U.S. probe
U.S. official: Captain had classified Guantanamo Bay documents
Monday, September 22, 2003 Posted: 1:35 PM EDT (1735 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A military and intelligence investigation into possible security breaches at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is under way following the arrest of a U.S. Army Islamic chaplain, Bush administration sources said.

Capt. James Yee, who has not been charged, is being held in the brig in Charleston, South Carolina, on suspicion of espionage and treason.

Sources said the investigation is looking at whether other U.S. military personnel may have been involved.

U.S. military authorities took Yee into custody September 10 at the Jacksonville, Florida, Naval Air Station while in possession of classified documents "that a chaplain shouldn't have," said an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The official said the documents included "diagrams of the cells and the facilities at Guantanamo," where the military is holding about 600 suspected al Qaeda and other so-called enemy combatants.

Yee also allegedly was carrying lists of the detainees as well as their interrogators, the official said.

In addition, Yee is suspected of having ties to radical Muslims in the United States that are now under investigation, the official said, adding that he couldn't elaborate.

Yee, who was assigned a military defense lawyer, can be held for 120 days before the military charges him with any offense, officials said.

He appeared September 15 before a military magistrate, who ruled there was sufficient reason to hold him in pretrial confinement.

Army officials with the U.S. Southern Command, which controls the Guantanamo Bay facility, said that they could not comment on the status of the investigation.

However, they confirmed Yee is a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. They said he became an air-defense artillery officer and left the Army some time later. Yee also served in the Persian Gulf War.

Yee then moved to Syria, where he lived for four years studying Islam and was married, apparently to a Syrian woman, according to U.S. government sources.

A U.S. State Department document available on the Internet confirms Yee's time in Syria, saying he "spent four years studying Arabic and Islam in Damascus."

The same document quotes Yee as saying, "An act of terrorism, the taking of innocent civilian lives, is prohibited by Islam, and whoever has done this needs to be brought to justice, whether he is Muslim or not."

A Southern Command official said Yee returned to the Army as a Muslim chaplain after his conversion to Islam and was assigned in November to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Yee is one of about a dozen Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military, according to officials.

CNN correspondents Barbara Starr and Chris Plante contributed to this report.

Freedom Tower
September 22nd, 2003, 05:16 PM
Hambali's Brother Arrested in Pakistan

Monday , September 22, 2003

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The younger brother of Hambali (search), Al Qaeda's suspected point man for Southeast Asia, has been arrested on immigration charges in Pakistan along with several other people, two senior Pakistani Interior Ministry officials said Monday.

The man, Rusman Gunawan, was one of 17 people from Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar arrested Saturday in raids on three Islamic schools in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi (search), said one official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The official is closely involved in Pakistan's campaign against terrorists.

Officials said the men would be questioned to see if they were suspected of any crimes other than visa violations.

An Indonesia-based terrorism expert said Gunawan was believed to be in charge of the Pakistan branch of Jemaah Islamiyah, the terror network his brother is accused of helping found. Gunawan is believed to have arranged trips for Hambali to Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the expert, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Gunawan's capture came amid a series of arrests of suspected terrorists in Pakistan as President Gen. Pervez Musharraf (search) prepares to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday about his country's role in fighting terrorism.

Musharraf, in an interview with The New York Times, said his country needs more helicopters and other assistance from the United States to fight Al Qaeda and Taliban in the remote and rugged northwest region along the border with Afghanistan.

Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, was Southeast Asia's most wanted man until he was arrested Aug. 11 in Thailand by Thai police and the CIA. U.S. authorities then flew him to an undisclosed location. Many Indonesians only use their given names, so family members often don't share a surname.

Southeast Asian security officials accuse Hambali of planning last year's Bali nightclub bombings (search), which killed 202 people, and the Aug. 5 bombing of a hotel in Jakarta, in which 12 died.

Gunawan's arrest was confirmed by another Interior Ministry official, and by an Indonesian consular official in Karachi who was quoted by the Indonesian news agency Antara.

"We want access to (Gunawan and another student) so we can prepare consular and legal advice if they need it," the consular official, Temu Alam, was quoted as saying.

In the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, police said they also had no evidence of wrongdoing against Gunawan and would not seek his extradition, said Zainuri Lubis, a police spokesman.

Indonesia's SCTV reported Gunawan came to Pakistan in 1999 to study at Karachi's Abu Bakar University on a scholarship given by the Pakistani government. Before that, he sold vegetables at a village market.

Most of the other people arrested in Karachi were students who had overstayed their visas.

It was not clear what authorities planned to do with Gunawan, or whether he is wanted by the United States. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

Terrorism suspects arrested in Pakistan include Al Qaeda's alleged No. 3 leader, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was captured during a raid near Islamabad in March. In September, 2002, a suspected planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, Ramzi Binalshibh (search), was captured after a gun battle in the southern city of Karachi. In March, 2002, Usama bin Laden's top lieutenant, Abu Zubaydah, was arrested in Faisalabad.

Freedom Tower
September 22nd, 2003, 05:18 PM
Terror Mastermind Reveals Bigger 9/11 Plot

Monday , September 22, 2003

WASHINGTON — The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were supposed to cause twice as much destruction as they did and involved using 10 planes for suicide hijackings, Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (search) told U.S. investigators.

Mohammed said that when he first began plotting the attacks with terrorist leader Usama bin Laden (search) in 1996, the original scheme involved the hijacking of five commercial airliners on each U.S. coast, 10 planes in total.

After examining interrogation reports, The Associated Press learned that Mohammed said the that, in its final stages, the hijacking plan called for as many as 22 terrorists and four planes in a first wave. A second wave of suicide hijackings was to follow that were to be aided possibly by Al Qaeda allies in southeast Asia, U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News.

The interrogation reports make clear that Mohammed and Al Qaeda were still actively looking to strike U.S., Western and Israeli targets across the world as of this year.

Mohammed was captured in a March 1 raid by Pakistani forces and CIA operatives (search) in Rawalpindi. He is being interrogated by the CIA at an undisclosed location.

Mohammed's interrogations have revealed the planning and training of operatives was extraordinarily meticulous, including how to blend into American society, read telephone yellow pages, and research airline schedules.

Over time, bin Laden scrapped various parts of the Sept. 11 plan, including attacks on both coasts and hijacking or bombing some planes in East Asia, Mohammed said that shed new light on the origins and evolution of the plot of Sept. 11, 2001.

Addressing one of the questions raised by congressional investigators in their Sept. 11 review, Mohammed said he never heard of a Saudi man named Omar al-Bayoumi who provided some rent money and assistance to two hijackers when they arrived in California.

Congressional investigators have suggested Bayoumi could have aided the hijackers or been a Saudi intelligence agent, charges the Saudi government vehemently deny. The FBI has also cast doubt on the theory.

How Much He Aided the Hijackers

Mohammed claims he did not arrange for anyone on U.S. soil to assist hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. He said there "were no Al Qaeda operatives or facilitators in the United States to help al-Mihdhar or al-Hazmi settle in the United States," one of the reports state.

Al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi were on the plane that was flown into the Pentagon.

Mohammed portrays those two hijackers as central to the plot, and even more important than Mohammed Atta, initially thought to be the ringleader. Mohammed said he communicated with al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar while they were in the United States by using Internet chat software.

Mohammed said al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were among the four original operatives bin Laden assigned to him for the plot; those were the only two hijackers whom U.S. authorities were frantically seeking for terrorist ties in the final days before Sept. 11.

Terrorism experts say the facts emerging from the interrogation report are quite revealing and give a clearer picture of how Al Qaeda operates.

"This news coming out that the plot was shrunk down is probably from an operational standpoint, they were afraid of the word getting out, leaking out," said Fox News military analyst Ret. Navy Capt. Chuck Nash. "The more people you have involved, the more chance you have of being discovered."

Officials believe Mohammed knows the locations of many of the remaining Al Qaeda leaders. They also say he was active in Al Qaeda's attempts to acquire chemical and biological weapons.

Peter Brookes, a former CIA special operations officer and now a fellow for national security affairs at The Heritage Foundation, cautioned that Mohammed's information may now be stale so far as it helps current terrorism investigations.

"The downside is this is all six months old now. They're [ Al Qaeda's] trade craft is changing significantly," Brookes told Fox News on Monday. "We need to be very careful in looking toward the future seeing how A Qaeda and other groups are changing their tactics."

Brookes noted that Al Qaeda may be looking to recruit people who wouldn't fit the traditional description of a terrorism -- looking, for example, for recruits from a variety of ethnic groups and countries that aren't known to be anti-American.

"Al Qaeda is changing their tactics so that they can continue to be as lethal as they have bee in the past," Brookes said.

U.S. authorities continue to investigate the many statements Mohammed made. They have been able to corroborate with other captives and evidence much of his account.

Recruiting the Hijackers

Mohammed said the hijacking teams were originally made up of members from different countries where Al Qaeda had recruited, but that later bin Laden chose to use a large group of young Saudi men.

Mohammed learned "there was a large group of Saudi operatives that would be available to participate as the muscle in the plot to hijack planes in the United States."

Saudi Arabia was bin Laden's home, though it revoked his citizenship in the 1990s. Saudis have suggested that bin Laden has been trying to drive a wedge between the United States and their kingdom.

U.S. intelligence has suggested that Saudis were chosen because there were large numbers willing to follow bin Laden and they could more easily get into the United States because of the countries' friendly relations.

Mohammed said some of the original operatives has trouble getting into the United States.

He described other terror plots that were being planned or had been temporarily disrupted when he was captured, including one planned for Singapore.

Mohammed said he had worked in 1994 and 1995 in the Philippines with Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad and Wali Khan Amin Shah on the foiled Bojinka plot to blow up 12 Western airliners simultaneously in Asia.

After Yousef and Murad were captured, Mohammed began to devise a new plot that focused on hijackings on U.S. soil.

In 1996, he went to meet bin Laden to persuade the Al Qaeda leader "to give him money and operatives so he could hijack 10 planes in the United States and fly them into targets," one of the interrogation reports state.

Mohammed wanted to pick five targets on each coast, but bin Laden didn’t think that was practical.

Mohammed said bin Laden offered him four operatives -- al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi as well as two Yemenis, Walid Muhammed bin Attash and Abu Bara al-Yemeni.

"All four operatives only knew that they had volunteered for a martyrdom operation involving planes," one report stated.

The first major change to the plans occurred in 1999 when the two Yemeni operatives could not get U.S. visas. Bin Laden offered additional operatives, including a member of his personal security detail. The original two Yemenis were instructed to focus on hijacking planes in East Asia.

Mohammed considered using a scaled-down version of the Bojinka plan that would have bombed commercial airliners, and that he even considered using shoe bombs.

The plot, he said, eventually evolved into hijacking a small number of planes in the United States and East Asia and either having them explode or crash into targets simultaneously.

By 1999, the four original operatives picked for the plot traveled to Afghanistan to train at one of bin Laden's camps. The focus was on specialized commando training, not piloting jets.

The Plot Thickens

A key event in the plot, Mohammed said, was a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 2000, that included al-Mihdhar, al-Hazmi and other Al Qaeda operatives. The CIA had the meeting monitored by Malaysian security, but it did not realize the significance of the two eventual hijackers until just before the attacks.

In spring 2000, bin Laden canceled the idea for hijackings in East Asia because he thought "it would be too difficult to synchronize" attacks in the United States and Asia.

Mohammed reached out to an Al Qaeda linked group in southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiyah. He began "recruiting JI operatives for inclusion in the hijacking plot as part of his second wave of hijacking attacks to occur after Sept. 11," one report summary said.

An operative of Jemaah Islamiyah's operations chief, Riduan Isamuddin Hambali, later began training possible recruits for the second wave of attacks.

One of those who received training in Malaysia before coming to the United States was Zacarias Moussaoui, the Frenchman accused of conspiring with the Sept. 11 attacks. Moussaoui has denied being part of the Sept. 11 plot, and U.S. and foreign intelligence officials have said he could have been set for hijacking a plane in later attacks.

Fox News' Kelly Wright and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Freedom Tower
September 23rd, 2003, 04:24 PM
Airman charged with espionage at Guantanamo
Possible link to detained Muslim chaplain sought
From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau
Tuesday, September 23, 2003 Posted: 4:14 PM EDT (2014 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Air Force airman who was a translator at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been charged with espionage and aiding the enemy, Pentagon officials told CNN on Tuesday.

Officials said Senior Airman Ahmad al Halabi was arrested July 23 because he allegedly had classified information about suspected al Qaeda detainees and facilities at the Guantanamo Bay base on his laptop computer.

He is being held at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Al Halabi was charged with 11 counts of failing to obey a lawful general order or regulation, three counts of aiding the enemy, four counts of espionage, nine counts of making a false statement and five counts that include violations of the Federal Espionage Act.

He is also being charged with a single count of bank fraud.

Al Halabi's home base was Travis Air Force Base in California, but he had served nine months at Guantanamo Bay as a translator between the detainees and investigators.

His arrest occurred about six weeks before Army Islamic chaplain Capt. James Yee was taken into custody on similar suspicions.

Officials said that when Al Halabi was questioned he had no reasonable explanation for possessing the classified material.

The investigation now centers on whether there was a connection between the two detained men. Officials said they have no proof of a connection.

Officials also told CNN that additional arrests of other members of the U.S. military are possible shortly.

Yee, who has not been charged, is being held in the brig in Charleston, South Carolina, on suspicion of espionage and treason.

Military authorities took him into custody September 10 at the naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida, while he was in possession of classified documents "that a chaplain shouldn't have," said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the documents included "diagrams of the cells and the facilities at Guantanamo," where the military is holding about 600 suspected al Qaeda members and others termed enemy combatants.

Yee also allegedly was carrying lists of the detainees as well as their interrogators, the official said.

In addition, Yee is suspected of having ties to radical Muslims in the United States who are under investigation, the official said, adding that he couldn't elaborate.

He appeared September 15 before a military magistrate, who ruled there was sufficient reason to hold him in pretrial confinement.

Army officials with the U.S. Southern Command, which controls the Guantanamo Bay facility, said that they could not comment on the status of the investigation.

Freedom Tower
September 23rd, 2003, 04:32 PM
After all of that liberal whining and propoganda that the detainees at Guantanomo Bay were being mistreated, it is evident that none of it is true. Not only is it not true, but the detainees may have had a better time in there then we thought. Besides the 3 meals a day, medical services, translators, and prayer time that the terrorists do not deserve, they also had people on the inside sympathetic to their cause. TWO, not one but TWO people that were assigned to deal with the detainees, may have had their own al qaeda ties. Now this brings the question "Did all of that complaining about their treatment actually cause this security breach?". The answer to that is yes. By giving them a prayer time and muslim counselours to talk to, they actually were given an al qaeda connection to the outside world. Hopefully the damage this caused will be minimal, or even better non existant. However, given the facts that the two suspected terrorists had constant contact with the detainees. This means some of them still could have been coordinating attacks and/or communicating with al qaeda elsewhere. Well, for all of you who complained about their treatment, here is a question. Do you feel better now? Now that you realize all of this "Give terrorists civil-liberties" actually may have helped them plot attacks? Well I'm sure in his next video bin laden will thank everyone who supported the terrorists in Guantanamo because you may have helped contribute to the next attack. So do the world a favor, and stop giving imprisoned terrorists links to the outside :x

September 23rd, 2003, 05:11 PM
Two members of the U.S. military are arrested on suspicion of espionage, and instead of finding that fact troubling in itself, you focus on how that rationalizes the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo.

Was there no screening process for people who had contact with the detainees? Oh wait, there's no money for that - need it for Iraq.

I hope you are not implying that any member of this forum is supporting terrorism.

Freedom Tower
September 24th, 2003, 05:18 PM
Zippy, it is so obviously troubling I didn't think I needed to mention it. The article alone explains how troubling it is that there is no screening process. And enough whining. The war in Iraq isn't why the military doesn't screen people better, they just don't. If they wanted to screen all the people in the military with lie detector tests 2 months ago, you and the rest of the liberals would be screaming it is a civil rights violation. Stop being a hypocrite. Not to mention, if they ever screened a muslim it would cause amazing backlash, and the two jerks arrested both had Middle Eastern and Muslim ties, but that didn't make them suspicious because it would just be racist. I am implying that people everywhere have taken a lighter stance on terrorism, which is nearly as bad as supporting them. Wouldn't you agree sitting back and letting the Nazis kill Jews would be nearly as bad as supporting the Nazis? Not confronting the issue of terrorism, and especially the critical talk about our President while he tries to protect us, supports terrorists. If they turn on an American news channel and hear about President Bush being bashed by democrats that improves their morale. I am implying, Zippy, that anyone speaking out against the war on terror, is supporting terrorists. From that definition of what my implications are I hope you can figure the rest out yourself.

September 24th, 2003, 05:23 PM
I am implying, Zippy, that anyone speaking out against the war on terror, is supporting terrorists
That's un-American

September 24th, 2003, 05:32 PM
Definitely. It's also illogical, narrow-minded, and VERY offensive.

Freedom Tower
September 24th, 2003, 05:48 PM
I also agree completely. Why would anyone speak out against a war that is to protect our country and stop mass murderers from killing us? They must be un-American and illogical. If someone spoke out against the court convicting another person of a crime(and he did it), you are supporting that criminal. If you don't support a war on terrorism then you support terrorism. Are you ignorant? There is no middle ground. You either support civilians being murdered or not. Thus, you either want to stop terrorists or not.

Freedom Tower
September 24th, 2003, 05:54 PM
You consider my anti-terrorist remarks un-American. And you consider remarks such as "Give more freedom to mass murdering terrorists" to be American. Well I obviously don't know your definition of American. It must not be the same as mine. Yes, we have freedom, but not the freedom to murder, or kill, or support those who do. We are not free to be or support a terrorist. See this is what liberals have wrong. You consider something I said against terrorists to be more un-American than those who don't want the terrorists to be stopped. Justice is also part of being an American. Justice must be done to these madmen. Again, I point out the hypocrisy in all of this. Democrats love freedom of speech until a conservative opens his or her mouth. When someone talks about giving more rights to a terrorist, that is considered protected by you liberals under the constitution. However, when a conservative talks out against people supporting terrorists then it is bad speech, must be banned. He must stop speaking, he is un-American. That is all nonsense.

September 24th, 2003, 06:00 PM
Look, I'm going to give you one last piece of advice.

Issues are not black and white, on or off. Maybe some people don't like the MANNER in which the war on terrorism is being conducted. Maybe some think it doesn't go far enough.

The point is - Opinions vary, they are not 50-50. That goes for other topics. And stop getting indignant when people disagree with you. You're not the moral authority here.

Don't answer this post. I have no inclination to explain further. The delete button is much easier.

September 26th, 2003, 08:58 PM
I am implying, Zippy, that anyone speaking out against the war on terror, is supporting terrorists

Does that mean that if I think my Muslims friends are being unlawfully treated and interogatted for up to 3 months without being formally charged with a terrorist crime makes me a supporter of terrorism? Does that mean that if I stand up to the rights of my fellow muslims I am supporting terrorism? This is one of the reasons my family choose to move to Canada. Here at least you aren't branded a traitor for simply speaking out for your fellow human beings.

Freedom Tower
September 26th, 2003, 09:55 PM
So you moved to Canada because you were unhappy over how the US treated people suspected of plotting against us. You were said they couldn't be released right out into the public and possibly be a danger. You thought it was better to release those we are unsure of so they can do an attack, and we can find out later. Hmm, it says enough. So in your opinion anyone who was arrested because of strong evidence pointing to their terrorist connection should be released immediately. Interesting. I'm not sure if you are suicidal or just mad. And you say "My Muslim friends". How many muslim friends of yours have been detained? This leads me to think you have some connections that may be bad. I happen to be friends with a few Muslim people and I am acquantinces a few more. None of them were ever arrested. If more than one of your muslims friends have been arrested I think there may be a reason for that. And what about the rights of your fellow man not to get blown up by terrorists? That means nothing right? What about the right to live? Do you think safety is a joke? If they released one of these terrorists and then he attacked us what do you think would happen? There'd be not only major problems and lots of fatalities but there'd be confusion over why we let out a terrorist. After something major like 9/11 we ought to be afraid of arresting muslims because it is mean? And you say "Your fellow Muslims". That is part of the problem. You make it seem like it is you vs. the world. Am I just an infidel? Is it OK if I'm inprisoned for a long time? You care so much about each other, but obviously you care nothing for this country since you moved out of it. What about "Your fellow humans". I forgot only Muslims existed in this world. Please excuse me, I'm going to purchase a koran so I can keep in touch with the latest fad.

And I should've known why you had such biased views against the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You are showing your solidarity for muslims and arabs once again. This is a standard example of how you hold other muslims or arabs in higher regard to any other human being. Just because Palestinians are arabs gives them a right to blow up innocent people? You have to think of everyone as equal, you can't be prejudice of non-arabs and non-muslims. That is what caused this problem in the first place. And don't give me that Gulf War troops in Saudi Arabia bullcrap. Terrorism against non-muslims existed before 1991. In addition, the same US troops that stopped kuwait, possibly saudi arabia and mecca from being overrun by Iraqi troops were hated by muslims. Why? Because they were non muslims in a muslim land. This is the problem. We don't declare North America a "Non-Muslim Land" However, the whole middle east is being strictly forced to practice islam, etc. Your intolerance is what led to this. Then you dare say it is intolerant to arrest potential terrorists. You just don't see them as terrorists because you are biased.

September 26th, 2003, 10:20 PM
So in your opinion anyone who was arrested because of strong evidence pointing to their terrorist connection should be released immediately.
Cite the statement made that led you to this conclusion. Size doesn't matter here, so please be brief. Your long rants are tedious.

Your intolerance is what led to this.
No need for me to comment on that little gem.

Freedom Tower
September 26th, 2003, 10:29 PM
The intolerance of non-muslims by fundamentalists is what caused it. No doubt about it. It's not a little gem, it's a fact. This is a quote about which my first comment was about is "interogatted for up to 3 months without being formally charged with a terrorist crime ". If there was enough evidence leading to them to be taken into custody then they shouldn't have been released right away. They could've been a terrorist. Would you rather be safe or sorry? Or would you rather be politically incorrect and safe or politically correct and sorry? Don't complain that suspicious people were arrested, its nonsense. If there are suspected terrorists by all means interrogate them. And just because no charges were placed doesn't make them good people. They may have just released them after finding out information about someone more important.

September 26th, 2003, 10:35 PM
If you don't have the time, then just shut up. No one is forcing you to answer.

September 26th, 2003, 11:21 PM
Not confronting the issue of terrorism, and especially the critical talk about our President while he tries to protect us, supports terrorists. If they turn on an American news channel and hear about President Bush being bashed by democrats that improves their morale.

President Bush really isn't that great of a president, he just thinks that he is. His cowboy attitude towards the rest of the world, and the non-elites in this country only contributes towards more anti-americanism abroad and a "liberal" backlash here at home. Your blind faith and trust in this guy (with no questions asked) has the familiar ring of several syndicated talk radio shows. They are grating on the nerves to say the least, while being wholly one-sided, misrepresentative, nonfactual at times, and misleading about the true facts most of the time. I tend to discount your argument because it is so in step with this format, which is consistently noninclusive of others' views and opinions.

Freedom Tower
September 27th, 2003, 08:23 AM
Amigo you are wrong. I turned on CNN yesterday and they had a picture of President Bush's face. It was all distorted to make him look bad. There was no purpose to it, just pure making fun of him. Instead of blindly following him, people are blindly rebelling. You turn on the TV, and turn on a liberal media network (CNN, MSNBC) and of course they are going to criticize him. Then without knowing much about the situation yourself you just go with the flow and criticize him. You can't criticize someone until you understand what is going on. And you don't understand, obviously.

September 27th, 2003, 05:36 PM
It's me vs the world?? Can't you see from the messages in this thread that it's You vs the forum? And where did you get that the middle east is forced to practice Islam? And notice that in all of my replies I attack yout ideas not you yourself personally. You on the other hand accuse me of being racist, ignorant and a supporter of terrorism. Bravo. Also when were my views about the palestinian crisis biased? In all my posts I clearly stated that both sides were to blame. In your posts you never blamed the Isralies an inch and took it all to the Palestinians. You also made an autounding outright lie saying that the majority of palestinians supported terrorism. And you called me biased.

Freedom Tower
September 28th, 2003, 08:27 PM
LF22, in Saudi Arabia even female US soldiers must wear Islamic dress. Not to mention the stricter standards held on local women. In Saudi Arabia you have to practice Islam. In the USA however you can do whatever you wish. You can practice any religion. So don't say there is a USA war against Islam. If anything there is an Islamic war against all other religions, it is called 'jihad'. Remember that? That they consider us infidels? That is the FUNDAMENTALIST Islamic war against religions other than its own. I didn't say all of islam is like that though, only fundamentalist islam. There is no war against islam, only fundamentalist islam. Hopefully there really is a difference.

September 28th, 2003, 08:40 PM
If you two wish to conduct a personal dialogue, PM each other. Any further
off-topic posts will be deleted.

Freedom Tower
September 29th, 2003, 04:48 PM
Here is someting on topic.

U.S. Arrests Muslim Activist in Terror Financing Probe
Monday , September 29, 2003

WASHINGTON — A Muslim activist whose Virginia home was searched as part of a federal investigation of terrorist financing was arrested shortly after arriving back in the United States, law enforcement officials said.

Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi (search) was taken into custody at Dulles International Airport on Sunday after a flight from London, officials said. The charges against al-Amoudi were expected to be unsealed following an initial court appearance Monday.

Al-Amoudi's home in Falls Church, Va., was among those searched in March 2002 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (search) agents as part of a federal probe into financing of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Michael A. Mason, chief of the FBI's Washington field office, said authorities had developed a significant amount of information about al-Amoudi's activities and that the initial charges brought in the case might be only the beginning.

"He has been under investigation for some time," Mason said.

Al-Amoudi is a director of the American Muslim Council (search), an Islamic advocacy group, and is co-founder of the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council.

The latter group helps the U.S. military select Muslim chaplains for the armed forces, a system that has recently drawn criticism from Congress following the arrests of a Muslim chaplain on suspicion of spying.

Capt. Yousef Yee (search) is being held without charge in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., amid an investigation into possible security breaches at the terrorist prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mason said he knew of no connection between al-Amoudi and Yee "at this time," but he said the investigation is continuing.

Al-Amoudi has made frequent public statements, including appearances on television news programs, about treatment of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He also was active in politics.

Like I said, it is odd someone care so much more about Muslims than anyone else. Part of the fundamentalist ideaology is that they are better than all non-muslims. This guy arrested was someone who complained about prejudice against muslims after 911. Instead of complaining about terrorism, or the killing of inoccent people, he concluded the biggest problem was anti-muslim feelings, not the anti-american feelings that many muslims have. He turned out to be a terrorist himself. It makes you think... this is what I've been saying all along and now here is some proof.

Freedom Tower
September 30th, 2003, 04:35 PM
BAGHDAD — A newspaper boy hawking the day's headlines on a Baghdad (search) street corner is just one example of the freedom-of-speech explosion that has recently taken place in Iraq.

Post-Saddam Hussein (search), roughly 160 newspapers have sprung up in the country — 60 of them in Baghdad alone.

"The Iraqis are very eager to read and express themselves," said one printer, Slah Hassan. "It's very good for Iraqis to have more than one newspaper to express what they want to say."

During the former dictator's regime, there were only five newspapers — all published by either Saddam's Baath Party (search) or one of his sons and all toeing the official party line.

Iraqis knew the news they had access to was censored and slanted, but no one dared to publicly challenge it.

Though many applaud the newfound freedom of the press, some are concerned that the news is already running amok, with certain publications running baseless, rumor-driven stories that upset citizens.

Freedom Tower
October 2nd, 2003, 03:41 PM
There is some great news in the war on terror. Pakistan is finally going to try and get rid of the al qaeda in their Northern border with Afghanistan. This is where many people believe Usama Bin Laden is hiding and al qaida is undoubtedly there. So far they have killed 12 al qaeda and captured 12. The battle is ongoing. This is a very important step in the war on terror because many terrorists have found refuge in this region, believing tribal fighters would protect them. When I heard the al qaeda there would not be persued because of political reasons I became skeptical about if the war on terror can be won leaving all these terrorists to do whatever they want. Well it's about time that these terrorists are being pursued wherever they go. Anyway, here is the article:

12 dead in Pakistan al Qaeda hunt
Thursday, October 2, 2003 Posted: 7:20 AM EDT (1120 GMT)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 12 people have been killed as Pakistani troops, backed by helicopter gunships, launched an offensive against suspected al Qaeda operatives along the country's northern border.

Thursday's operations, close to the border with Afghanistan, also led to the capture of another dozen suspected al Qaeda members, security officials say.

The army said the casualties and those detained were foreign nationals, but did not provide their identities or further details.

The operation is taking place in an area of the country's mountainous South Waziristan region known as Vana, officials said.

The area is thought by Western intelligence officials to be a possible hiding place for al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, although Pakistani authorities deny he is on Pakistani soil.

A witness in the region told CNN he had seen more than a dozen helicopter gunships in the sky, coming after a night of extensive troop and equipment movements.

Currently, there is right heavy fighting in three different compounds, which the army has surrounded.

Maulana Abdul Malik, a member of the National Assembly in that area, criticized the government, saying the raid is "unfair."

Condemning the military operations he said that the army was "being used against Pakistani people."

While the army claims that only Pakistani troops are conducting the raids, Malik contends that U.S. troops are participating.

The operation was announced as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca were to arrive in Pakistan for talks on the war on terrorism,

Through October 8, the U.S. diplomats are on a tour of South and Central Asia that includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.

They will also visit the United Kingdom on their way back to Washington.

At the same time, Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali is in the United States to meet with senior officials.

-- CNN Producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this story

October 2nd, 2003, 04:27 PM
How many people are even in this stupid terrorist group al qaeda? And what does the name mean?

TLOZ Link5
October 2nd, 2003, 08:03 PM
Estimates range from several thousand to tens of thousands. "Al Qaeda" is Arabic for "The Base," meaning that the group is the base of jihad.

October 28th, 2003, 05:42 AM
October 28, 2003

A Willful Ignorance


According to The New York Times, President Bush was genuinely surprised to learn from moderate Islamic leaders that they had become deeply distrustful of American intentions. The report on the "perception gap" suggests that the leader of the war on terror has no idea how badly that war — which must, ultimately, be a war for hearts and minds — is going.

Mr. Bush's ignorance may reflect his lack of curiosity: "The best way to get the news," he says, "is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff." Two words: emperor, clothes.

But there's something broader going on: a sort of willful ignorance, supposedly driven by moral concerns but actually reflecting domestic politics. Surely it's important to understand how others see us, but a new, post 9/11 version of political correctness has made it difficult even to discuss their points of view. Any American who tries to go beyond "America good, terrorists evil," who tries to understand — not condone — the growing world backlash against the United States, faces furious attacks delivered in a tone of high moral indignation. The attackers claim to be standing up for moral clarity, and some of them may even believe it. But they are really being used in a domestic political struggle.

Last week I found myself caught up in that struggle. I wrote about why Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's prime minister — a clever if loathsome man who adjusts the volume of his anti-Semitism depending on circumstances — chose to include an anti-Jewish diatribe in his speech to an Islamic conference. Sure enough, I was accused in various places not just of "tolerance for anti-Semitism" (yes, I'm Jewish) but of being in Mr. Mahathir's pay. Smear tactics aside, the thrust of the attacks was that because anti-Semitism is evil, anyone who tries to understand why politicians foment anti-Semitism — and looks for ways other than military force to combat the disease — is an apologist for anti-Semitism and is complicit in evil.

Yet that moral punctiliousness is curiously selective. Last year the Bush administration, in return for a military base in Uzbekistan, gave $500 million to a government that, according to the State Department, uses torture "as a routine investigation technique," and whose president has killed opponents with boiling water. The moral clarity police were notably quiet.

Why is aiding a brutal dictator O.K., while trying to understand why others don't trust us — and doing something to create that trust — isn't? Why won't the administration mollify Muslims by firing Lt. Gen. William Boykin, whose anti-Islamic remarks have created vast ill will, from his counterterrorism position? Why won't it give moderate Muslims a better argument against the radicals by opposing Ariel Sharon's settlement policy, when a majority of Israelis think that some settlements should be abandoned, and even Israeli military officers have become bitterly critical of Mr. Sharon?

The answer is that in these cases politics takes priority over the war on terror. Moderate Muslims would have more faith in America's good intentions if there were at least the appearance of a distinction between the U.S. and the Sharon government — but the administration seeks votes from those who think that supporting Israel means supporting whatever Mr. Sharon does. It's sheer folly to keep General Boykin in his present position, but as Howard Fineman writes in a Newsweek Web-exclusive column, the administration doesn't want "to make a martyr of a man who depicts himself as a Christian Soldier, marching off to war."

Muslims are completely wrong to think that the U.S. is engaged in a war against Islam. But that misperception flourishes in part because the domestic political strategy of the Bush administration — no longer able to claim the Iraq war was a triumph, and with little but red ink to show for its economic plans — looks more and more like a crusade. "Election Boils Down to a Culture War" was the title of Mr. Fineman's column. But the analysis was all about abortion and euthanasia, and now we hear that opposition to gay marriage will be a major campaign theme. This isn't a culture war — it's a religious war.

Which brings me back to my starting point: we'll lose the fight against terror if we don't make an effort to understand how others think. Yet because of a domestic political struggle that seems ever more centered on religion, such attempts at understanding are shouted down.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Freedom Tower
October 28th, 2003, 05:15 PM
It's not so much the leaders of Islamic countries that should fear our policies, it is us who should fear their policies of supporting terrorism. I don't care how "moderate" they are. There is evidence Saudi Arabia pre-9/11 helped fund some of the terrorists, I heard they even helped send money to bin laden. Syria, Iran, and Lebanon are all Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad supporters. Yemen had in the past if not supported at least was tolerant of terrorists, like the ones that attacked the USS Cole. The Phillipines isn't doing all it can to battle Abuy Sayyaf. The are doing some fighting, but just the bare minimum they can do to please us. Abu Sayyaf rarely attacks the Phillipinos themselves, mostly westerners, which is why the Phillipines generally doesn't care so much. Indonesia was doing diddly squat about terrorists until the Bali bombing. It wasn't bad enough that terorrists are terrorists, but they had to wait for an economic reason to fight terrorists. They shouldn't even complain about the US policies until they take a good look at their own.

October 28th, 2003, 08:20 PM
I still think that the US is failing though. I have realized that the terrorist have totally thrown off the search for Saddam and I haven't heard a thing about his search.

January 5th, 2004, 11:09 PM
January 6, 2004

U.S. Begins Screening Program for Monitoring Foreign Visitors


MIAMI, Jan. 5 — United States immigration officers began fingerprinting and photographing tens of thousands of foreign visitors required to have visas on Monday, in what federal authorities described as a sophisticated new security measure to monitor who enters the country and how long they stay.

A total of 115 airports with international flights, including several in Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean with United States customs booths, introduced the extra layer of screening on Monday, along with cruise ship terminals at 14 major seaports. Though the travel industry had feared significant delays as the program got under way, the Department of Homeland Security, which is administering it, said that the problems were minimal and that the procedure added perhaps a minute at most to immigration processing.

The screening program began as American officials remained acutely concerned about potential terrorist threats on foreign airliners, particularly those from Britain. Since Christmas Eve about a dozen flights have been grounded or delayed over fears that terrorists had plotted to commandeer jetliners.

Officials said Monday that they were concentrating on flights between London and Washington as possible targets for terrorists, but that they had concluded that a critical danger period on United States-bound flights from France and Mexico had now passed.

Intelligence leads have pointed to potential attacks "around New Year's and beyond" on British Airways flights between London and Dulles International Airport outside Washington, an administration official said. Those flights were canceled for two straight days last week because of security concerns, and were delayed for a third day on Monday.

An American official said part of the concern over the London-Dulles flights was driven by intercepted communications that contained phrases believed to refer to British Airways Flight 223, the London-Dulles flight that has been the focus of the heaviest American and British security. Last Wednesday, Flight 223 was escorted to Dulles by American fighter planes, and flights on Thursday and Friday were canceled.

Officials said delays and possibly cancellations on the London-Washington route were likely to continue indefinitely.

In contrast, concern has lessened over international flights into Los Angeles from Paris and Mexico City. Those routes, like the London-Washington flights, were the subject of intense concern for much of the last two weeks, but officials said intelligence developed through electronic eavesdropping and other means narrowed the prospect of attacks to the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

American officials said that they believed the fingerprinting program would strengthen border protection over the long haul, but that they did not expect it to have any immediate impact on the recent efforts to deter another terrorist attack since the country went to high alert.

At airports around the country Monday, some international visitors said the additional screening procedures were slowing down customs lines, as inspectors struggled with new digital fingerprint scanners and cameras on tripods.

Citizens of 27 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and most European nations, are exempted from the program if they are visiting as tourists for fewer than 90 days.

But if citizens of those countries are traveling here on work or student visas, or for more than 90 days, they are subject to the new procedures. They, along with all residents of other countries — about 24 million travelers a year, including some repeat visitors, the Department of Homeland Security said — must be fingerprinted and photographed under the new rules.

Between 5:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, 27,420 foreigners were fingerprinted and photographed under the new program, department officials said.

"So far it's going well," Robert C. Bonner, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said of the program, which the government calls the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology. "We are going to monitor wait times very closely just to make sure there aren't any extraordinary horrid delays."

The new procedures allow customs officials to immediately verify visitors' identities, check their criminal backgrounds and determine if they are on watch lists of suspected terrorists and other criminals. The photographs of most visitors and fingerprints of some will already be on file from when they applied for visas in their home countries. Eventually, every foreigner subject to the new rules will be electronically fingerprinted before traveling here, said Bill Strassberger, a department spokesman.

In a news conference at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Tom Ridge, the homeland security secretary, said 21 foreigners were found to be on watch lists in a two-month pilot of the program. Some were using false documents and were wanted for crimes like rape, he said.

On Monday, customs inspectors had found three visitors to be on watch lists as of 6 p.m. But Dennis Murphy, director of communications for the Department of Homeland Security, said that upon further investigation, all three were cleared of suspicion.

In interviews, several dozen visitors arriving at airports around the nation said the new procedures were generally swift. Some, though, including a group of Korean high school students arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, said the new technology made their wait much longer.

"The people that were doing this were confused themselves," said Jae-Yong Kim, 16, who was on his way to the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass.

Mr. Bonner said the fingerprinting and photographing were supposed to take an extra 10 to 15 seconds, the average time the procedures added in the trial run at Hartsfield International. All customs officials have been trained to use the scanners and cameras, Mr. Strassberger said, and new inspectors are gradually being added to help with the procedures and other new security measures.

Some travelers interviewed said they did not mind and even welcomed the added measures, while others denounced them as an invasion of privacy. Julio Mendoza, a 25-year-old student who was arriving at Miami International Airport from Buenos Aires, said he resented the new procedures, especially after waiting hours to clear security at the airport in Argentina.

"As an international student coming to the United States to better my education, I don't appreciate having my fingerprints recorded and my photograph taken," Mr. Mendoza said as he left customs. "I am not a criminal. I am not a terrorist. I feel like I am being treated as one."

But Holder Kunst, who arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston from Frankfurt, was unfazed.

"It doesn't bother me at all," said Mr. Kunst, 32, a German who runs a marketing company in Boston. He said the digital imaging was surprisingly fast, adding, "It would have bothered me a lot more if it was the old-fashioned fingerprinting, using ink."

The American Civil Liberties Union said Monday that the new procedures would only increase confusion among immigrants who have been bewildered by the many security requirements adopted after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The new program is "a large privacy violation waiting to happen, with records garnered under the program likely retained even after you've become a citizen," said Timothy Edgar, a legislative counsel for the A.C.L.U.

The Department of Homeland Security said the fingerprints and photographs would be stored in government databases and be available to customs, immigration and law enforcement officials, "only for official business and on a need-to-know basis."

Another new measure, meant to ensure foreigners do not stay longer than their visas allow, will require them to check out at automated airport kiosks, scanning their travel documents and repeating the fingerprint process. The kiosks are to be in place by year's end. A similar program is to be in place at the nation's 156 land-border crossings by the end of 2005.

American homeland security officials plan to continue extra security measures on Air France and Aeromexico flights in question, but officials said they expected the flights to operate without interruption. Numerous Air France and Aeromexico flights to Los Angeles were canceled or delayed after the United States raised its risk alert on Dec. 21.

With the New Year's holiday having passed without incident, "things are a little more tempered," an F.B.I. official said. "The anxiety's not as high as it was. The intelligence we're receiving is not as strong as it was before the holiday."

But counterterrorism officials remain concerned that operatives from Al Qaeda or related groups may seek to use means of attack other than airliners or pick a time other than the holiday period.

While some travelers bemoaned the new rules, just as many said they were thankful.

"Any measures America feels it has to take in order to prevent any future terrorist attacks are worth losing a few minutes over," said Gerardo Molina, 54, a lawyer arriving in Miami from Santiago, Chile. "Hopefully the rest of the world will catch on and do the same."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

January 6th, 2004, 09:16 PM

Companies to Design U.S. Airline Antimissile Options

Jan 06, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Tuesday selected three companies to design options for protecting U.S. commercial airliners from the threat of shoulder-fired missiles.

The Homeland Security Department said it was prepared to negotiate preliminary contracts worth $2 million each with teams led by Northrop Grumman Corp., bankrupt United Airlines and the U.S. unit of Britain's BAE Systems Plc .

The companies will be asked to refine complex concepts for adapting technology used by the U.S. military to the commercial fleet and submit cost proposals for development, deployment and maintenance.

While the agency has committed $122 million to research and development, it plans to re-evaluate progress over the next six months to determine if the government will proceed to a second phase. Even if the Homeland Security Department moves forward, it could be years before commercial planes carry antimissile systems.

Senior homeland security officials stressed in a conference call the program is based on the possible threat of shoulder-fired missiles to airlines and not specific intelligence about actual threats.

Concerns about these weapons and other surface-to-air missiles surged after a November 2002 attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner as it took off from Kenya. More recently, there have been attempts in Iraq to down U.S. military aircraft and a cargo jet.

Cost and who would pay for the enhanced security have emerged as an important question. Some aviation and security experts estimate a multibillion-dollar price tag but homeland security officials are not committing to a figure.

The companies selected all have cost targets that vary based on the number of aircraft to be outfitted and the technology used. Estimates have basically fallen below $1 million per plane, but the costs do not include maintenance. There are nearly 6,000 planes in the U.S. commercial fleet but many of those are small and would not likely be part of the program.

Security officials say bigger, slower jetliners would be most vulnerable, especially at takeoff

United, which is not spending any of its own money, is working with Avisys Inc., a privately held Texas-based technology firm and several other subcontractors. Their system would deploy low-intensity decoys to fool a missile. Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are working on laser-based countermeasures to jam missile systems. Both defenses are currently used on military aircraft.

February 22nd, 2004, 08:42 AM
New York Observer http://www.observer.com/index_go.html

Feb 22, 2004

Bush Bilks New York

On Sept. 11, 2001, hundreds of New York City firefighters—the best-trained Fire Department in the world—learned to their horror that their radios didn’t work. As they attempted to save thousands of people trapped in those two mortally wounded towers, firefighters couldn’t communicate with each other. High-ranking officers in the north tower command post frantically tried to relay orders to companies in the stairwells, only to hear silence in reply.

In the meantime, police officers in helicopters tried to warn their firefighter colleagues that the towers seemed in imminent danger of collapse. Their warnings went unheard—the police and fire communication systems were not coordinated.

After the horror of 9/11, the city vowed to improve the Fire Department’s communications system. In fact, that promise was a long time coming—Fire Department personnel who were at the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 had complained about the faulty radio system, to no avail.

The federal government recently undermined this urgent task by cutting a $54 million appropriation designed to improve emergency communications around the country. About $6 million was earmarked for New York.

As 9/11 demonstrated, local emergency workers are on the front line of the war on terror. But the Bush administration apparently has little appreciation for the task assigned to firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel. George W. Bush’s Department of Homeland Security—run by a rather undistinguished minion, Tom Ridge—cut the money designated for improved communications in an absurd exercise in cost-cutting.

At a time of record budget deficits, the Bush administration is looking to save a few dollars by denying local governments the money they need to further enhance their ability to respond to terrorism. What could these people be thinking? The federal government is running a half-trillion dollar deficit; $6 million would be a drop in the bucket. Mr. Bush would not shortchange our troops in Iraq, but he is doing just that here at home.

Luckily for New York, the Fire Department already has ironed out some of its communications problems. But that $6 million would have paid for even better communications systems and coordination.

Senator Charles Schumer rightly denounced the White House’s priorities, saying that the federal government has "pulled the rug out from under our cops and firefighters."

After 9/11, we know the importance of well-trained emergency workers. We cannot send these men and women into battle, however, without the best equipment. How unfortunate that the White House continues to underfund New York City to a mind-boggling degree.

February 28th, 2004, 11:37 PM
World - AP Asia

U.S. Hunt for Bin Laden Gathers Steam
1 hour, 30 minutes ago


WASHINGTON - The United States is rounding up and questioning the relatives of fugitive al-Qaida leaders to generate information on the possible whereabouts of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) and his top deputies. This tactic helped lead to Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s capture.

On Saturday, Pentagon (news - web sites) and Pakistani officials denied an Iranian state radio report that bin Laden had been captured "a long time ago" in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan (news - web sites).

But some U.S. officials do say they have been able to extract useful information from Afghan and Pakistani relatives and friends of al-Qaida fugitives, providing hints on the possible whereabouts of the organization's leaders.

So far, the information the U.S. has received is unconfirmed and does not mean the terrorist leader's location has been pinned down or his capture is imminent. U.S. officials caution that rumors of significant progress are overstated.

With the weather improving in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has sent troops and technology to the country to aid the search and to give forces on the ground more opportunity to track down bin Laden. He is the United States' most wanted terrorist for his leadership in planning the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Rounding up relatives for questioning helped bring about the Dec. 13 capture of Saddam, the former Iraqi leader. U.S. officials hope the tactic could lead to information on the whereabouts of bin Laden and his top deputies, especially when combined with information from spy satellites, communication intercepts and prisoner interrogations.

U.S. military officials have said they are planning a spring offensive in Afghanistan in the hopes of capturing bin Laden, former Taliban leader Mullah Omar and their associates.

Meanwhile, American commanders in Afghanistan have expressed new optimism about finding bin Laden. Late last month, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said the military believes it could seize bin Laden this year, perhaps within months.

Other U.S. officials try to temper such optimism.

In a sign of an increased focus on the Afghan-Pakistani border, Pakistani rapid reaction forces have been deployed to selected areas in the region, a mountainous landscape that runs 2,000 miles from the Himalayas in Pakistan's northern territories to the desert of southwestern Baluchistan.

Pakistani officials told The Associated Press on Friday that satellite telephone intercepts from last year indicated al-Qaida members were hiding near the border. Two intelligence officials said participants discussed a man called "Shaikh" — a code name for bin Laden.

"Some people who were speaking in Arabic have been heard saying Shaikh is in good health," one of the intelligence officials said.

A U.S. defense official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Pakistani forces have killed or captured more al-Qaida members than any other U.S. ally. "We continue to aggressively pursue the remnants of al-Qaida and the Taliban," the official said.

Associated Press writers John Solomon in Washington and Stephen Graham in Afghanistan contributed to this report.

April 3rd, 2004, 09:34 PM
April 4, 2004

Tracking Terrorist Bankrolls

As the world gropes to fight terrorism, it's hardly reassuring to discover that the White House spurned a request for 80 more investigators to track and disrupt the global financial networks of terrorist groups. Some of the most important breakthroughs against terrorism have been scored by financial sleuths, including those of the Treasury Department. The need to expand the present staff of 160 investigators was expressed in a budget request from the Internal Revenue Service, but cut from the final numbers submitted to Congress.

This was a $12 million item whose value seems beyond dispute, particularly when measured against the hundreds of millions in domestic pork spending that now preoccupies Congressional budgeteers. The administration maintains that a planned 16 percent increase in the Treasury budget should be enough to adequately fight terrorism and criminal abuses of the tax law at home. But a panel of outside experts concludes that the I.R.S. will be underbudgeted across the board.

The spurned request was disclosed almost by accident at a House subcommittee hearing. Republicans were openly annoyed when the I.R.S. Oversight Board properly disclosed the original budget request in response to a lawmaker's question. The board, a bipartisan group created by Congress, endorsed the need for more terrorism investigators. It was curtly informed by Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, that antiterrorism was not part of its duties. Then whose duty is it? Congress's?

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 25th, 2004, 10:39 AM
April 25, 2004


The Wrong Debate on Terrorism


The last month has seen a remarkable series of events that focused the public and news media on America's shortcomings in dealing with terrorism from radical Islamists. This catharsis, which is not yet over, is necessary for our national psyche. If we learn the right lessons, it may also prove to be an essential part of our future victory over those who now threaten us.

But how do we select the right lessons to learn? I tried to suggest some in my recent book, and many have attempted to do so in the 9/11 hearings, but such efforts have been largely eclipsed by partisan reaction.

One lesson is that even though we are the world's only remaining superpower — as we were before Sept. 11, 2001 — we are seriously threatened by an ideological war within Islam. It is a civil war in which a radical Islamist faction is striking out at the West and at moderate Muslims. Once we recognize that the struggle within Islam — not a "clash of civilizations" between East and West — is the phenomenon with which we must grapple, we can begin to develop a strategy and tactics for doing so. It is a battle not only of bombs and bullets, but chiefly of ideas. It is a war that we are losing, as more and more of the Islamic world develops antipathy toward the United States and some even develop a respect for the jihadist movement.

I do not pretend to know the formula for winning that ideological war. But I do know that we cannot win it without significant help from our Muslim friends, and that many of our recent actions (chiefly the invasion of Iraq) have made it far more difficult to obtain that cooperation and to achieve credibility.

What we have tried in the war of ideas has also fallen short. It is clear that United States government versions of MTV or CNN in Arabic will not put a dent in the popularity of the anti-American jihad. Nor will calls from Washington for democratization in the Arab world help if such calls originate from a leader who is trying to impose democracy on an Arab country at the point of an American bayonet. The Bush administration's much-vaunted Middle East democracy initiative, therefore, was dead on arrival.

We must also be careful, while advocating democracy in the region, that we do not undermine the existing regimes without having a game plan for what should follow them and how to get there. The lesson of President Jimmy Carter's abandonment of the shah of Iran in 1979 should be a warning. So, too, should we be chastened by the costs of eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein, almost 25 years after the shah, also without a detailed plan for what would follow.

Other parts of the war of ideas include making real progress on the Israel-Palestinian issue, while safe-guarding Israeli security, and finding ideological and religious counter-weights to Osama bin Laden and the radical imams. Fashioning a comprehensive strategy to win the battle of ideas should be given as much attention as any other aspect of the war on terrorists, or else we will fight this war for the foreseeable future. For even when Osama bin Laden is dead, his ideas will carry on. Even as Al Qaeda has had its leadership attacked, it has morphed into a hydra, carrying out more major attacks in the 30 months since 9/11 than it did in the three years before.

The second major lesson of the last month of controversy is that the organizations entrusted with law enforcement and intelligence in the United States had not fully accepted the gravity of the threat prior to 9/11. Because this is now so clear, there will be a tendency to overemphasize organizational fixes. The 9/11 commission and President Bush seem to be in a race to propose creating a "director of national intelligence," who would be given control over all American intelligence agencies. The commission may also recommend a domestic security intelligence service, probably modeled on Britain's MI-5.

While some structural changes are necessary, they are a small part of the solution. And there is a risk that concentrating on chain-of-authority diagrams of federal agencies will further divert our attention from more important parts of the agenda. This new director of national intelligence would be able to make only marginal changes to agency budgets and interactions. The more important task is improving the quality of the analysts, agents and managers at the lead foreign intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency.

In addition, no new domestic security intelligence service could leap full grown from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. Indeed, creating another new organization while we are in a key phase in the war on terrorism would ignore the lesson that we should have learned from the creation of Homeland Security. Many observers, including some in the new department, now agree that the forced integration and reorganization of 22 agencies diverted attention from the missions of several agencies that were needed to go after the terrorists and to reduce our vulnerabilities at home.

We do not need another new agency right now. We do, however, need to create within the F.B.I. a strong organization that is vastly different from the federal police agency that was unable to notice the Al Qaeda presence in America before 9/11. For now, any American version of MI-5 must be a branch within the F.B.I. — one with a higher quality of analysts, agents and managers.

Rather than creating new organizations, we need to give the C.I.A. and F.B.I. makeovers. They cannot continue to be dominated by careerists who have carefully managed their promotions and ensured their retirement benefits by avoiding risk and innovation for decades. The agencies need regular infusions throughout their supervisory ranks of managers and thinkers from other, more creative organizational cultures.

In the new F.B.I., marksmanship, arrests and skill on the physical training obstacle course should no longer be prerequisites for recruitment and retention. Similarly, within the C.I.A. we should quash the belief that — as George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, told the 9/11 commission — those who have never worked in the directorate of operations cannot understand it and are unqualified to criticize it.

Finally, we must try to achieve a level of public discourse on these issues that is simultaneously energetic and mutually respectful. I hoped, through my book and testimony, to make criticism of the conduct of the war on terrorism and the separate war in Iraq more active and legitimate. We need public debate if we are to succeed. We should not dismiss critics through character assassination, nor should we besmirch advocates of the Patriot Act as fascists.

We all want to defeat the jihadists. To do that, we need to encourage an active, critical and analytical debate in America about how that will best be done. And if there is another major terrorist attack in this country, we must not panic or stifle debate as we did for too long after 9/11.

Richard A. Clarke, former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, is the author of "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 2nd, 2004, 08:04 AM
May 2, 2004

Lesser Evils


Since 9/11, National Guard and police patrols have become part of the commute at Grand Central Terminal. Security was increased further after the Madrid bombings.

I. The Fire Next Time

It has taken nearly three years, but the 9/11 commission and the Supreme Court hearings on enemy combatants have given us our first serious public discussion about how to balance civil liberties and national security in a war on terror. Even so, we have not begun to ask the really hard questions. The hardest one is, Could we actually lose the war on terror?

Consider the consequences of a second major attack on the mainland United States -- the detonation of a radiological or dirty bomb, perhaps, or a low-yield nuclear device or a chemical strike in a subway. Any of these events could cause death, devastation and panic on a scale that would make 9/11 seem like a pale prelude. After such an attack, a pall of mourning, melancholy, anger and fear would hang over our public life for a generation.

An attack of this sort is already in the realm of possibility. The recipes for making ultimate weapons are on the Internet, and the materiel required is available for the right price. Democracies live by free markets, but a free market in everything -- enriched uranium, ricin, anthrax -- will mean the death of democracy. Armageddon is being privatized, and unless we shut down these markets, doomsday will be for sale. Sept. 11, for all its horror, was a conventional attack. We have the best of reasons to fear the fire next time.

A democracy can allow its leaders one fatal mistake -- and that's what 9/11 looks like to many observers -- but Americans will not forgive a second one. A succession of large-scale attacks would pull at the already-fragile tissue of trust that binds us to our leadership and destroy the trust we have in one another. Once the zones of devastation were cordoned off and the bodies buried, we might find ourselves, in short order, living in a national-security state on continuous alert, with sealed borders, constant identity checks and permanent detention camps for dissidents and aliens. Our constitutional rights might disappear from our courts, while torture might reappear in our interrogation cells. The worst of it is that government would not have to impose tyranny on a cowed populace. We would demand it for our own protection. And if the institutions of our democracy were unable to protect us from our enemies, we might go even further, taking the law into our own hands. We have a history of lynching in this country, and by the time fear and paranoia settled deep in our bones, we might repeat the worst episodes from our past, killing our former neighbors, our onetime friends.

That is what defeat in a war on terror looks like. We would survive, but we would no longer recognize ourselves. We would endure, but we would lose our identity as free peoples.

Alarmist? Consider where we stand after two years of a war on terror. We are told that Al Qaeda's top leadership has been decimated by detention and assassination. True enough, but as recently as last month bin Laden was still sending the Europeans quaint invitations to surrender. Even if Al Qaeda no longer has command and control of its terrorist network, that may not hinder its cause. After 9/11, Islamic terrorism may have metastasized into a cancer of independent terrorist cells that, while claiming inspiration from Al Qaeda, no longer require its direction, finance or advice. These cells have given us Madrid. Before that, they gave us Istanbul, and before that, Bali. There is no shortage of safe places in which they can grow. Where terrorists need covert support, there are Muslim communities, in the diasporas of Europe and North America, that will turn a blind eye to their presence. If they need raw recruits, the Arab rage that makes for martyrs is still incandescent. Palestine is in a state of permanent insurrection. Iraq is in a state of barely subdued civil war. Some of the Bush administration's policies, like telling Ariel Sharon he can keep settlements on the West Bank, may only be fanning the flames.

So anyone who says ''Relax, more people are killed in road accidents than are killed in terrorist attacks'' is playing games. The conspiracy theorists who claim the government is manufacturing the threat in order to foist secret government upon us ought to wise up. Anyone who doesn't take seriously a second major attack on the United States just isn't being serious. In the Spanish elections in March, we may have had a portent of what's ahead: a terrorist gang trying to intimidate voters into altering the result of a democratic election. We can confidently expect that terrorists will attempt to tamper with our election in November. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said in a recent television interview that the Bush administration is concerned that terrorists will see the approaching presidential election as ''too good to pass up.''

Thinking the worst is not defeatist. It is the best way to avoid defeat. Nor is it defeatist to concede that terror can never be entirely vanquished. Terrorists will continue to threaten democratic politics wherever oppressed or marginalized groups believe their cause justifies violence. But we can certainly deny them victory. We can continue to live without fear inside free institutions. To do so, however, we need to change the way we think, to step outside the confines of our cozy conservative and liberal boxes.

II. The Necessity of Lesser Evils

When democracies fight terrorism, they are defending the proposition that their political life should be free of violence. But defeating terror requires violence. It may also require coercion, secrecy, deception, even violation of rights. How can democracies resort to these means without destroying the values for which they stand? How can they resort to the lesser evil without succumbing to the greater?

Putting the problem this way is not popular. Civil libertarians don't want to think about lesser evils. Security is as much a right as liberty, but civil libertarians haven't wanted to ask which freedoms we might have to trade in order to keep secure. Some conservative thinkers, like those at the libertarian Cato Institute, come down the same way but for different reasons: for them, the greater evil is big government, and they oppose measures that give the executive branch more power. Other conservatives, like Attorney General John Ashcroft, simply refuse to believe that any step taken to defend the United States can be called an evil at all.

But thinking about lesser evils is unavoidable. Sticking too firmly to the rule of law simply allows terrorists too much leeway to exploit our freedoms. Abandoning the rule of law altogether betrays our most valued institutions. To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war. These are evils because each strays from national and international law and because they kill people or deprive them of freedom without due process. They can be justified only because they prevent the greater evil. The question is not whether we should be trafficking in lesser evils but whether we can keep lesser evils under the control of free institutions. If we can't, any victories we gain in the war on terror will be Pyrrhic ones.

III. How to Think About Civil Liberties

Civil liberties are not a set of pesky side constraints, pettifogging legalisms tying democracy's hands behind its back. Ask what the American way of life is, and soon we are talking about trial by jury, a free press, habeas corpus and democratic institutions. Soon we are talking about that freedom and that confident sense of an entitlement to happiness that the Europeans find so strange in this country. Civil liberties are what America is.

Civil liberties may define us, but we have a bad record of jettisoning them when we get scared. We have the A.C.L.U. today because patriotic liberals after World War I were ashamed that the Russian Revolution of 1917 had terrified us into the Red Scare, the Palmer Raids and the needless roundup, arrest and deportation of mostly Eastern European immigrants, whose worst offense was that they had socialist, anarchist or communist illusions. We learned from the Red Scare that we need a civil liberties lobby because frightened majorities do reprehensible things. Between 1917 and 1920, we did ourselves plenty of harm. A congressman, Victor Berger, was denied his seat in the House after being convicted of espionage for writing an antiwar article, and a presidential candidate, Eugene V. Debs, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for delivering an antiwar speech. Aliens were harassed and deported. Legal strikes were smashed, and trade-union leaders were jailed. Indeed, by comparison with the Red Scare or later shameful episodes like Roosevelt's detention of Japanese during World War II, there have been no mass detention camps in the United States since Sept. 11 and no imprisonments for dissent. Not yet anyway.

Even so, after 9/11 we were frightened, and Congress and the government weren't always thinking straight. After the attack, it may have made sense to detain more than 700 aliens on one immigration pretext or another until we could figure out whether there were other sleeper cells at work. But it made a lot less sense to hold them for months (80 days on average) and to deny them lawyers and public due process before we tossed most of them out of the country. It was shameful, as a Justice Department report found, that many Arab and Muslim detainees were abused and harassed in confinement. Civil libertarians like Prof. David Cole of Georgetown nobly stood up and denounced such detainments as the abuses that they were.

But being absolutely right on this issue doesn't make a civil liberties position right on every other issue. Consider the question of a national ID system. Instead of crying ''1984,'' the civil liberties lobby should be taking an honest look at the leaky sieve of the existing driving license ID system and admit how easy it was for the hijackers to talk their way into the ID's that got them onto the planes. Instead of defending a failed ID system, civil libertarians should be trying to think of a better one. One possibility is for Congress to establish minimum national standards for identification, using the latest biometric identifiers. Any legislation should build in a Freedom of Information requirement demanding that the government divulge the data it holds on citizens and purge data that is unsound.

President Bush has been trying to use civil liberties as a wedge issue, campaigning for the swift renewal of the Patriot Act in an effort to portray his rival as soft on the war on terror. The civil liberties lobby has taken the bait, leading the charge against the Patriot Act and its renewal. But partisan politics and civil liberties ideology are making it hard to take an unbiased look at what Bush has actually done. While some aspects of the Patriot Act were vexatious and ill conceived -- for example, giving federal agents the power to force librarians and bookstores to divulge what their customers are reading -- other parts of the act (and the antiterrorism measures in general) are right-minded. Giving the F.B.I. the same powers to wiretap terrorist suspects that they already use against the Mafia and drug traffickers seems reasonable, particularly because the taps are controlled by court order. Requiring banks and security brokers to file suspicious-activity reports to prevent money-laundering by terrorists sounds like an overdue reform. Enhancing the ability of the C.I.A. and F.B.I. to pool and share information seems like a good idea. As the staff reports of the 9/11 commission have shown, neither agency regularly shared its list of Al Qaeda suspects before Sept. 11 or passed the list to the airlines.

Our vulnerability to attack on 9/11 was not a result just of bureaucratic bungling, dysfunctional Beltway turf wars and plain inertia. The disaster also was a result in part of the unintended consequences of well-meaning measures taken by civil libertarians in the past. Erecting fire walls between domestic intelligence gathering and law enforcement seemed like a positive development in the wake of the abuses of J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I. These same good intentions led Congress in 1978 to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This law created a special federal court that meets in secret to rule on requests by counterintelligence officers to put espionage and terrorist suspects under surveillance. These warrants could be issued on lower standards of evidence than those required under the Fourth Amendment rules that regulate warrants issued in standard criminal cases. In order to guarantee that law enforcement would not exploit these lower standards, a legal ''wall'' was installed between intelligence gathering and criminal investigations. The court could grant F.B.I. intelligence agents a domestic surveillance warrant only if the primary purpose of their surveillance was foreign intelligence, not criminal prosecution.

Richard Clarke, the former terrorism czar, has wisely proposed lowering the wall between domestic law enforcement and intelligence functions. This would allow us to pull all our domestic antiterrorism capabilities into a version of Britain's MI5, an agency charged with domestic intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism but without law enforcement responsibilities.

A second victory for civil liberties -- the taming of the C.I.A. after its excesses during the Vietnam War era -- may have also weakened our human intelligence capacities before 9/11. In the wake of disclosures that the C.I.A. had tried to assassinate foreign leaders as well as thousands of Communist political cadres in South Vietnam, Senator Frank Church's Congressional investigation persuaded the Ford administration to rein in the C.I.A. and ban covert assassination activity. At the time, this seemed like a victory for civilian control of intelligence. But C.I.A. veterans like Robert Baer, a former operative in the Middle East, charge that the post-Church controls on the C.I.A. inadvertently created a culture in which agents preferred to sit behind Washington desks, reading reports, rather than risking their lives running informants and agents in the alleyways and tenements of Arab cities. This aversion to risk led the C.I.A. to cease investing in human intelligence and to rely too heavily on satellite and signals intelligence. The United States appears, for example, to have had almost no one on the ground in Iraq after 1998, hence the catastrophic misjudgment by U.S. intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

But the problems began much earlier. We know now that the war being waged by Islamic fundamentalists against the United States began in 1983 with the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and escalated through the African embassy bombings and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. As the enemy steadily escalated the fight, the C.I.A. needed to have operatives in the bazaars, teahouses and mosques of the Arab world, bribing, importuning and, if necessary, eliminating our enemies. Who doesn't wish we had killed Osama bin Laden in the late 1990's? But the rules on assassination were drawn to outlaw it in so-called peacetime. They were at war with us, and we convinced ourselves that we were not at war with them. Post-Church, we may have betrayed a fatal preference for clean hands in a dark world of terror in which only dirty hands can get the job done.

But dirty hands need not be lawless. If we need a tough counterintelligence service, we do not want it out of control, bribing, suborning, bugging and assassinating anyone it sees fit. To paraphrase Cofer Black, the former C.I.A. counterterrorism chief, we may want to put terrorist heads in boxes, but we need presidents, not C.I.A. operatives or their for-hire hitmen, to decide whose heads we are targeting. There have to be rules, presidential directives controlling the resort to assassination. Congress should weigh in here and call for new legislation. Three rules for targeted assassination seem relatively obvious: only as a last resort, only when capture is impossible without undue risk to American lives and only where death or damage to innocent civilians can be avoided. We need to make sure that assassinations don't do more harm than good. As the Israelis have discovered through their own assassination policy, killing Sheik Yassin of Hamas and his successor may only strengthen Hamas control of Gaza. A war on terror that succeeds tactically -- taking out this potential terrorist, breaking up that potential cell -- while failing strategically, further enraging the Arab populace, is not a success. So we need rules in a war on terror, first of all to keep free institutions intact and second so that we don't fail in our strategic objective, which is to make America some friends instead of numberless new enemies.

IV. Striking a Balance

Civil libertarians may tie our hands unduly, while the gung-ho ''anything goes'' brigade might bring us tactical victories at the price of strategic disaster. Either extreme won't work, so where is the balance to be found?

Let's not pretend it's going to be easy to agree about this. Abiding disagreement about the trade-off between liberty and security is a permanent characteristic of any free society. The founding fathers designed the Constitution to enable our institutions to adjudicate such fundamental disagreements of principle. The key innovation of American government was the system of checks and balances. The founders required the executive branch to justify coercive measures before Congress, and later Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison established the principle of judicial review. This system of ''adversarial justification'' is what keeps us free. Presidents are just like the rest of us: they can justify anything if they have to justify it to only themselves. Our system of government, like trial by jury, puts all coercive measures to the test of hostile, questioning review. Our system is supposed to challenge the president every step of the way. Show me, prove it to me, give me the facts -- this is supposed to be the American way.

A war on terror puts this system under real strain. Checks and balances work slowly -- Congress must deliberate; the courts must review -- and meanwhile, the crisis calls out for decisive action. This is why terrorism's chief impact on democracy -- not just in the United States but also in every other free society and especially in Spain and Britain -- has been to strengthen the power of presidents and prime ministers at the expense of legislatures and the courts and to increase the exercise of secret government. Much of the war against terror has to be fought in secret, and the killing, interrogating and bribing are done in the shadows. This is democracy's dark secret -- the men and women who defend us with a bodyguard of lies and an armory of deadly weapons -- and because it is our dark secret, it can also be democracy's nemesis.

The key question is whether free institutions -- Congress, courts and the press -- are strong enough to keep this secret army under control. Its budget is offline, and its operations are below the Congressional radar. Despite the 9/11 commission's remarkable exercise in public education, the government is still trying to make the war on terror ever more secret. The administration has fought attempts by the A.C.L.U. to force the Justice Department to disclose how often it has used its expanded authority under the Patriot Act. It has successfully resisted attempts to require disclosure of the names of those detained in investigations after Sept. 11, and an executive order of the president has clamped down on the release of public information relating to critical infrastructure. Obviously it's a good idea to keep recipes for ricin off government-financed research Web sites, and it's not a good idea to have target detail on critical infrastructure available for download. But adversarial review, as intended by the founding fathers, can't work if ordinary citizens are denied the information they need.

Keeping the war on terror under control also requires judges who are unafraid to challenge presidential power. For nearly two years, the courts deferred to the president's powers as commander in chief, refusing to deny him authority to designate American citizens as ''enemy combatants'' and allowing him to imprison foreign combatants at Guantanamo beyond the reach of American courts. The president created military tribunals to try foreign combatants, but kept these tribunals free from review by federal courts and free of the due process safeguards that apply in U.S. military courts-martial. To their credit, a group of military defense lawyers assigned to these tribunals has gone public to question whether their defendants stand a chance of a fair trial.

The courts have watched these developments with growing alarm. The judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, even when refusing to grant habeas corpus review to Yaser Esam Hamdi, one of the American enemy combatants currently held in a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., sounded troubled by the president's powers. The government, they wrote, seems to be ''embracing a sweeping proposition -- namely that with no meaningful judicial review, any American citizen alleged to be an enemy combatant could be detained indefinitely without charges or counsel on the government's say-so.'' Now, at last, the Supreme Court is reviewing these presidential powers, and to judge from questioning at the Guantanamo hearings, many justices are troubled by them. As Justice Stephen Breyer said during oral arguments, ''It seems rather contrary to an idea of a Constitution with three branches that the executive would be free to do whatever they want, whatever they want without a check.'' Just as no justice wants to second-guess a president's decision to commit U.S. forces, so no court can afford to defer to the president on the fundamental civil rights of American citizens. The Supreme Court will have to determine whether it was ever in the intentions of the founders to give the president the power to imprison a citizen at pleasure and to hold him beyond the reach of the law, and if these were not their intentions, whether emergency or wartime situations could ever justify such a departure from constitutional safeguards.

Whatever the court decides, Congress may eventually have to decide how much emergency power the president should wield. Bruce Ackerman, a liberal law professor at Yale, has recently proposed a wholesale revision of the president's current power to declare a national emergency, suggesting that if terrorists strike again, the president should be given the authority to act unilaterally for a week and to arrest anyone he sees fit. After a week, Congress would have to vote to renew his powers for a period of 60 days. Thereafter, an overwhelming majority would be required to extend the term further. Better to formalize and control emergency power, Ackerman argues, than to allow the president to slowly accumulate the power of tyranny.

Yet Congress, with rare exceptions -- like the joint Congressional inquiry of 2002 into Sept. 11 and the powerful Senate dissents of Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy -- has become as reluctant as the judiciary to subject the president's powers to proper scrutiny. The first Patriot Act was large, cumbersome and poorly drafted, and it passed both the Senate and the House so quickly that it is doubtful Congress really knew what was in it. As the sunset provisions of the act come up for renewal in 2005, Congress has an opportunity to redeem itself.

Thus far, it has not been Congress but the bipartisan commission on 9/11 whose public hearings have focused national debate on civil liberties. It was not Congress that uncovered evidence that the United States has been handing terrorist suspects over to foreign governments like Morocco, Egypt and Jordan for possible torture but diligent reporters like Barton Gellman and Dana Priest of The Washington Post.

Only if our institutions work properly -- if Congress reviews legislation in detail and tosses out measures that jeopardize liberty at no gain to security, if the courts keep executive power under constitutional control and if the press refuses to allow itself to become ''embedded'' with the government -- can the moral and constitutional hazards of lesser evils be managed.

V. The Detention Archipelago

Even if our institutions do their jobs, the hazards they must manage are considerable. Consider the issue of preventive detention of terrorist suspects. All the major countries on the front line of the war on terror are currently detaining such suspects, often for indefinite periods of time. It is hard to see how a successful counterterrorism campaign can succeed unless the police can arrest and detain suspects on standards of evidence lower than those required for proof of guilt in a criminal trial. Waiting until police have met the Fourth Amendment's exacting standards for search, seizure and arrest would expose innocent civilians to unnecessary risk of terrorist attack. Who doesn't wish the 9/11 hijacker who was pulled over for speeding in the weeks before the attack had been detained until police could check his ID against C.I.A. and F.B.I. watch lists?

Currently, terrorism suspects in the United States can be detained as enemy combatants, held as material witnesses or detained for immigration violations. We do not even know how many suspects are being held under these categories. If we were to add up all the suspects, citizens and noncitizens held in U.S. institutions, together with those in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Diego Garcia and U.S. brigs and stockades in between, the number might run into the thousands. No one knows how many detainees there are, and that is the crux of the problem: the United States may be operating a global archipelago of detention beyond the law and ken of its citizens. Clearly, there need to be rules to govern detention, and the key rule -- one that defines democracy itself -- is that no one, citizen or otherwise, should be held without access to public review of his detention by independent judicial authorities. Where they are held, whether offshore or at home, should be immaterial. If they are detained by Americans, they are America's responsibility, and basic due process standards should apply.

Philip Heymann of Harvard Law School has argued that we have to stop holding American citizens indefinitely without charge. We should try them or let them go. If a suspect cannot be brought to trial without revealing evidence that would endanger key informants, then a federal judge could order further detention, but only for a maximum period of two years. After that, the person would have to be brought to trial or released.

Overseas, in Guantanamo, Iraq and elsewhere, where combatant or terrorist detainees are held, the government should create military tribunals that offer detainees the right to challenge the basis of their detention with the assistance of counsel. Of course, this is costly, and of course, some bad characters may talk their way out of America's clutches. Release upon detention, though, does not preclude surveillance upon release. These are hard choices, but we would be better advised to let a few bad characters go than to continue to run a global network of detention facilities that, right now, are an open invitation to abuse.

VI. Torture

The abuse we need to talk about is torture. Torture, our founding fathers said, was the vice of tyrannies and its absolute exclusion the mark of free government. At the same time, keeping torture, or at least what used to be called ''the third degree,'' from creeping back into our police squad rooms at home has required constant vigilance by D.A.'s and honest cops. Now it may be creeping into our war on terror. There is some evidence that the United States has handed key suspects over to Middle Eastern governments for torture. In the metal containers stacked up behind rings of razor wire on Bagram air base in Afghanistan, beatings are reportedly routine, and at least two suspects have died during secret interrogations. It is possible that similar physical methods have been used against detainees from the Hussein regime at Baghdad airport.

Some observers believe such physical methods are inevitable if we hope to break terrorists who are willing to die in attacking us. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School supports an outright ban on torture, but argues that if the United States is going to rely on it, Congress should regulate it by law. Interrogators would at least be required to apply to a court for a ''torture warrant,'' which would set limits to the practice. The evidence extracted by torture would remain inadmissible in court, but it could be used to prevent impending attacks.

Dershowitz's ideas suggest that it is possible to bring the rule of law into the interrogation room, but as an exercise in the lesser evil, it is likely to lead to the greater. Once you allow warrants for genuine ''ticking bomb'' cases -- situations in which torture can prevent an imminent calamity from occuring -- little by little, torture may be used when there is no immediate danger. There has never been any certainty, moreover, that information extracted by torture is more reliable than information coaxed out of a suspect by persuasive means. Why should we suppose that pain produces truth? And how can we forget what everyone who has ever been tortured always tells us: those who are tortured stay tortured forever. If you want to create terrorists, torture is a pretty sure way to do so.

Israel has thought hardest about torture in terrorist cases. After watching how interrogation degenerated into torture when the Landau Commission of 1987 allowed physical force in questioning, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that shaking suspects and confining them in chairs tipped forward in painful positions for long periods were violations of Israel's national and international commitments against torture.

Yet the Israeli Supreme Court also conceded that physical force against suspects sometimes prizes out information that saves lives in ticking-bomb cases. So it allowed interrogators a justifying excuse. Torture was banned absolutely, but interrogators charged with torture could enter evidence that they were seeking to save lives in order to plead to reduced sentences for breaking the rules. An outright ban on torture, rather than an attempt to regulate it, seems the only way a democracy can keep true to its ideal of respecting the dignity even of its enemies. For that is what the rule of law commits us to: to show respect even to those who show no respect for us.

To keep faith with this commitment, we need a presidential order or Congressional legislation that defines exactly what constitutes acceptable degrees of coercive interrogation. Here we are deep into lesser-evil territory. Permissible duress might include forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisoners in hoods) that would produce stress. What crosses the line into the impermissible would be any physical coercion or abuse, any involuntary use of drugs or serums, any withholding of necessary medicines or basic food, water and essential rest.

Fine idea, you say, but who is to enforce these safeguards? It ought to be the rule that no detainee of the United States should be permanently deprived of access to counsel and judicial process, whether it be civilian federal court or military tribunal. Torture will thrive wherever detainees are held in secret. Conduct disgracing the United States is inevitable if suspects are detained beyond the reach of the law.

VII. Controlling the President

So far, the basic rules for regulating a war on terror look relatively simple: first, make sure all measures are subjected to review by Congress and the judiciary; second, make sure the law keeps watch over detainees and suspects. In a word, we need to ensure that we wage a war for the rule of law and not a war against it and that we wage it by means of democratic consent rather than by presidential decree. We have enough of an imperial presidency as it is.

Keeping the president under democratic control is not going to be easy. The dilemmas here are best illustrated by looking closely at pre-emptive war. It is a lesser evil because, according to our traditional understanding of war, the only justified resort to war is a response to actual aggression. But those standards are outdated. They were conceived for wars against states and their armies, not for wars against terrorists and suicide bombers. Against this kind of enemy, everyone can see that instead of waiting for terrorists to hit us, it makes sense to get our retaliation in first. The problem with pre-emption is keeping the president's war power under democratic control.

The president's power to make war is supposed to be balanced by Congress's power to declare it, but in practice, since Vietnam, Congress has not been able to rein in a president bent on the use of force overseas. A war on terror, declared against a global enemy, with no clear end in sight, raises the prospect of an out-of-control presidency. As we learned in the run-up to the war in Iraq, the case for a pre-emptive war is always bound to be speculative, based on doubtful intelligence that will be hard for either an electorate or its representatives, let alone the bureaucracy, to assess for credibility. In the pre-emptive wars of the future -- Iraq will not be our last exercise in this moral hazard -- our leaders will try to secure our consent by alternately threatening and reassuring us with the phrase ''If you only knew what we know.''

But as we have found to our cost, this is not nearly good enough. The facts may not be as clear before the event as they are likely to be afterward, but voters must be told what we need to know, before government commits to war in our name. Over Iraq, our name was taken in vain.

We need national and international rules to control such wars. This may require both Congressional legislation and United Nations resolutions. Pre-emptive war can be justified only when the danger that must be pre-empted is imminent, when peaceful means of averting the danger have been tried and have failed and when democratic institutions ratify the decision to do so. If these are the minimum tests pre-emptive war has to meet, the Iraq war failed to meet all three.

Even those -- like me -- who supported the Iraq war because it might bring freedom and democracy to people who had been gassed, tortured and killed for 30 years had better admit that if our grounds for war had been squarely put to the American people, they probably would have voted to stay home. Worse still, Congress failed to put the president's case for war to adversarial scrutiny and debate. The news media allowed itself to be managed and browbeaten. The war may or may not bring democracy to Iraq eventually, but it hasn't done democracy any good at home.

VIII. A Warrior's Honor

Regulating a war on terror with ethical rules and democratic oversight is much harder than regulating traditional wars. In traditional wars, there are rules, codes of warriors' honor that are supposed to limit the barbarity of the conflict, to protect civilians from targeting, to keep the use of force proportional and to keep it confined to military objectives. The difference between us and terrorists is supposed to be that we play by these rules, even if they don't. No, I haven't forgotten Hiroshima and My Lai. The American way of war has often been brutal, but at least our warriors are supposed to fight with honor and can be punished if they don't. There is no warrior's honor among terrorists.

The real moral hazard in a war on terror emerges precisely here, in the fact that no moral contract, no expectation of reciprocity, binds us to our enemy. Indeed, the whole logic of terrorism is to exploit the rules, to turn them to their own advantage. If we hesitate to strike a mosque because the rules of war designate it as a protected place, then the smart thing for a terrorist to do is to store weapons and suicide belts there. If our forces start from the presumption that civilian women should be treated as noncombatants, then terrorists will train women to be suicide bombers. If all existing codes of warriors' honor forbid the desecration of bodies, then it is not just mindless brutality but actually a sound terrorist tactic to drag contractors from a car in Falluja, set them alight and display their severed and burned limbs from a bridge. Such provocations are intended to drag us down to their level.

This is the deepest reason why it is difficult to maintain self-control, let alone democratic control, in a war on terror. We are constantly being tempted to descend to the logic of terror itself. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, but unsaintly men and women, seeing their loved ones maimed and butchered, may begin to believe vengeance is theirs by right.

The siren song in any war on terror is ''let slip the dogs of war.'' Let them hunt. Let them kill. Already, we have dogs salivating at the prospect. A liberal society cannot be defended by herbivores. We need carnivores to save us, but we had better make sure the meat-eaters hunt only on our orders.

Taunting us until we let the dogs slip is any canny terrorist's best hope of success. The Algerian terrorists who fought the French colonial occupation in the 1950's had no hope of defeating the armies of France in pitched battle. Their only chance of victory lay in provoking the French into a downward spiral of reprisals, indiscriminate killings and torture so that the Algerian masses would rise in hatred and the French metropolitan population would throw up its hands in disgust. The tactic worked. Terror won in Algeria because France lost its nerve and lost its control of counterterror.

In Iraq, we had better remember the French lesson: we cannot hope to win a war of occupation with harshness alone. We need a political strategy that undermines the terrorist claim that they are fighting a just war against military occupation. We need to turn the place back to Iraqis quickly or we will just have created another losing front in the war on terror.

On all fronts, keeping a war on terror under democratic scrutiny is critical to its operational success. A lesser-evil approach permits preventive detention, where subject to judicial review; coercive interrogation, where subject to executive control; pre-emptive strikes and assassination, where these serve publicly defensible strategic goals. But everything has to be subject to critical review by a free people: free debate, public discussion, Congressional review, in camera if need be, judicial review as a last resort. The war needs to be less secretive, not more. We need to know more about it, not less, even if what we learn is hard. If it comes to it, we need to know, every time we fly, that in case of a hijacking, the president has authorized our pilots to shoot us down if a crash risks killing still more people. In a war on terror, painful truth is far better than lies and illusions.

Above all, we need to keep faith with freedom. When terrorists strike against constitutional democracies, one of their intentions is to persuade electorates and elites that the strengths of these societies -- public debate, mutual trust, open borders and constitutional restraints on executive power- are weaknesses. When strengths are seen as weaknesses, it is easy to abandon them. If this is the logic of terror, then democratic societies must find a way to renew their belief that their apparent vulnerabilities are actually a form of strength. This does not require anything new or special. It simply means that those who have charge of democratic institutions need to do their jobs. We want C.I.A. men and women who understand that the dogs of war are needed, but that they need to be on a leash. We want judges who understand that national security is not a carte blanche for the abrogation of individual rights; a free press that keeps asking, Where are the detainees and what are you doing with them? We want a Congress that will not allow national security to prevent it from subjecting executive power to adversarial review. This, after all, is only what our Constitution intends. Our institutions were designed to regulate evil means and control potentially evil people.

The chief ethical challenge of a war on terror is relatively simple -- to discharge duties to those who have violated their duties to us. Even terrorists, unfortunately, have human rights. We have to respect these because we are fighting a war whose essential prize is preserving the identity of democratic society and preventing it from becoming what terrorists believe it to be. Terrorists seek to provoke us into stripping off the mask of law in order to reveal the black heart of coercion that they believe lurks behind our promises of freedom. We have to show ourselves and the populations whose loyalties we seek that the rule of law is not a mask or an illusion. It is our true nature.

Michael Ignatieff, a contributing writer for the magazine, is director of the Carr Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His most recent book, ''The Lesser Evil,'' on which this article is based, will be published by Princeton later this month.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 18th, 2004, 09:08 PM
There was a long and debated 9-11 inquiry held in New York on May 18, focusing on the emergency responses of the NYPD and FDNY on 9-11. Some shortcomings were revealed, although they don't fully detract from the bravery that our firemen and police officers showed that day. If you want audio voices or transcripts of these hearings, feel free to look up http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/28147

May 25th, 2004, 07:51 PM
From the International Institute for Strategic Studies

Report: al-Qaida Ranks Swelling Worldwide

By BARRY RENFREW, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - Far from being crippled by the U.S.-led war on terror, al-Qaida has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq (news - web sites) is swelling its ranks, a report said Tuesday.

Al-Qaida is probably working on plans for major attacks on the United States and Europe, and it may be seeking weapons of mass destruction in its desire to inflict as many casualties as possible, the International Institute of Strategic Studies said in its annual survey of world affairs.

Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s network appears to be operating in more than 60 nations, often in concert with local allies, the study by the independent think tank said.

Although about half of al-Qaida's top 30 leaders have been killed or captured, it has an effective leadership, with bin Laden apparently still playing a key role, it said.

"Al-Qaida must be expected to keep trying to develop more promising plans for terrorist operations in North America and Europe, potentially involving weapons of mass destruction," IISS director Dr. John Chipman told a press conference releasing "Strategic Survey 2003/4."

At the same time it will likely continue attacking "soft targets encompassing Americans, Europeans and Israelis, and aiding the insurgency in Iraq," he added.

The report suggested that the two military centerpieces of the U.S.-led war on terror — the wars in Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Iraq — may have boosted al-Qaida.

Driving the terror network out of Afghanistan in late 2001 appears to have benefited the group, which dispersed to many countries, making it almost invisible and hard to combat, the story said.

And the Iraq conflict "has arguably focused the energies and resources of al-Qaida and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition that appeared so formidable" after the Afghan intervention, the survey said.

The U.S. occupation of Iraq brought al-Qaida recruits from across Islamic nations, the study said. Up to 1,000 foreign Islamic fighters have infiltrated Iraqi territory, where they are cooperating with Iraqi insurgents, the survey said.

Efforts to defeat al-Qaida will take time and might accelerate only if there are political developments that now seem elusive, such as the democratization of Iraq and the resolution of conflict in Israel, it said.

It could take up to 500,000 U.S. and allied troops to effectively police Iraq and restore political stability, IISS researcher Christopher Langton told the news conference.

Such a figure appeared impossible to meet, given political disquiet in the United States and Britain and the unwillingness of other nations to send troops, he said.

The United States is al-Qaida's prime target in a war it sees as a death struggle between civilizations, the report said. An al-Qaida leader has said 4 million Americans will have to be killed "as a prerequisite to any Islamic victory," the survey said.

"Al-Qaida's complaints have been transformed into religious absolutes and cannot be satisfied through political compromise," the study said.

The London-based institute is considered the most important security think tank outside the United States. Its findings on al-Qaida's expanding structure and growing support by allied terrorist networks around the world track with similar assessments from governments and other experts.

The IISS said its estimate of 18,000 al-Qaida fighters was based on intelligence estimates that the group trained at least 20,000 fighters in its camps in Afghanistan before the United States and its allies ousted the Taliban regime. In the ensuing war on terror, some 2,000 al-Qaida fighters have been killed or captured, the survey said.

Al-Qaida appears to have successfully reconstituted its operations by dispersing its forces into small groups and through working with local allies, such as the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front in Turkey, the report said.

"Al-Qaida is the common ideological and logistical hub for disparate local affiliates, and bin Laden's charisma, presumed survival and elusiveness enhance the organization's iconic drawing power," it said.

Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press.

May 25th, 2004, 10:06 PM
May 25, 2004

Sources: Major terror attack possible this summer

From Kelli Arena
CNN Washington Bureau

Several U.S. officials said Tuesday that unnamed terrorists, possibly al Qaeda operatives, are in the United States and planning a "major attack" on U.S. soil this summer.

Officials said the attacks might take place before the November presidential election in an attempt to affect the outcome, similar to the way the Madrid train bombings influenced Spanish elections.

The FBI is likely to issue several alerts for several individuals the bureau would like to locate in the coming days, two counterterrorism sources told CNN.

The sources would not describe who those persons are and why they are wanted now. One source said the bureau would be re-issuing alerts for some people already wanted.

Although there is no specific target, time or date for the possible attack, the information on the threat is the culmination of intelligence that has been known and gathered over a period of time -- and it is the assessment that is new, the sources said.
Despite the possible threat of attack, CNN has learned there is no plan to raise the terror threat level, which is at yellow, or elevated.

The FBI is expected to give guidance to its 18,000 state and local law enforcement partners in the regular weekly FBI bulletin Wednesday.

FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft will hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss their commitment to disrupting potential plots, CNN has learned.

For weeks, security officials have expressed concern about several upcoming high-profile events, including Saturday's dedication of the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Other potential targets include the G8 economic summit on Sea Island, Georgia, Fourth of July celebrations, the Democratic convention in Boston, the Republican convention in New York, and the Olympics in Greece.

Officials said security will be unprecedented for World War II Memorial dedication. More than 140,000 people, many of them elderly, are expected for the event. (Full story)

More than 35 federal, state and local agencies have been involved in planning for the event for a year now.

Some 1,000 law enforcement officers are expected to be on hand in addition to special support and response teams. The U.S. Park Police is spearheading the security effort.

The national terror threat alert level was raised to orange, or high, over the Christmas and New Year holidays last December and January. It has been at yellow since January 9.

Before that, the United States last raised the domestic terrorism threat level to orange May 20, 2003, after suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco that were blamed on al Qaeda. That alert lasted 10 days before the threat level was returned to yellow.

Other orange alerts were raised in 2002 around the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks and in February 2003, on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March.

Copyright 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

May 25th, 2004, 10:36 PM
Im getting scared :( :( :(

May 27th, 2004, 01:54 AM
Im getting scared :( :( :(

that's the point. remember, there are terrorists everywhere and they want nothing more than to kill you. you could die a horrible death at any moment. only your government and the defense corporations can keep you safe.

May 27th, 2004, 02:12 PM
New York Daily News
May 26, 2004


To the terrorists, the U.S. is New York

For all the cautious nonspecificity, the announcement still hits like a hammer: There is "credible evidence" from "multiple sources" that Al Qaeda intends to unleash mayhem in the U.S. in the "next few months." Not that this is a bolt out of the blue: It has been an article of faith that Al Qaeda means further harm. All the same, Attorney General John Ashcroft's warning was as sobering as things get. There's a big hit brewing. Here it comes. Soon.

Where? When? Who knows? Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly fast reported that they have no information that New York is on any immediate hit list. But Ashcroft spoke in general of "especially attractive targets," which include this summer's Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden, as well as the Democratic soiree in Boston, next month's G-8 summit in Georgia and this weekend's World War II memorial ceremony in Washington.

Those events will come and go, but New York will remain the globe's "especially attractive" target. To radical Islamic fundamentalists, New York is America itself. Indeed, here is where World War III began: Historians may someday regard Feb. 26, 1993, the date of the first World Trade Center attack, as the official beginning of this war. Unless it was the night 2-1/2 years earlier when radical Rabbi Meir Kahane was shot dead in midtown.

The enemy succeeded in bringing down the towers after all. And then he went after the Brooklyn Bridge, his plot to cut the suspension cables disrupted by too much police presence. And only blind luck prevented the murderous bombing of a busy Brooklyn subway station. We would be fools to think Al Qaeda has no further plans for New York. Consider the dire contents of an NYPD document prepared five months ago:

- "It is clear that Al Qaeda and other related terrorist groups are planning to utilize WMD devices to attack New York City."

- "Terrorists have been directed to acquire commercial driver's licenses and to obtain employment driving tanker trucks carrying hazardous materials."

- "Terrorists have been directed to use household utilities as a WMD by renting several strategically selected apartments within a residential building and then simultaneously igniting the gas lines..."

Which, once again, raises the matter of all those federal homeland-security dollars we are losing to various states. Now that the feds have "credible evidence" from "multiple sources" that an attack is imminent, they should start reflecting that "especially attractive targets" do not include Cheyenne.

Meanwhile, Ashcroft launches the War on Terror's version of "America's Most Wanted," impressing Americans into dutiful public service, asking all to be on vigilant lookout for seven identified plotters who might well be living right next door this very minute.

Admittedly, the government's track record when it comes to naming names has been imperfect. Army Capt. James Yee of Guantanamo fast went from being an accused spy to being an accused adulterer. Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield was linked to the Madrid train bombings until it turned out that, whoops, he wasn't involved at all.

Depending where you are on civil liberties, Ashcroft is summoning either snitches who'll turn in their neighbors or dedicated Americans like those who sat on rooftops night after night through World War II, scanning the skies. We'll go with the latter. These seven names, they're the intel of the moment. And if Joe Citizen is so alerted to spot someone resembling Aafia Siddiqui down at the deli and report her, we're good with that.

You can e-mail the Daily News editors at voicers@edit.nydailynews.com. Please include your full name, address and phone number. The Daily News reserves the right to edit letters. The shorter the letter, the better the chance it will be used.

Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

May 27th, 2004, 06:18 PM
Im getting scared :( :( :(

that's the point. remember, there are terrorists everywhere and they want nothing more than to kill you. you could die a horrible death at any moment. only your government and the defense corporations can keep you safe.

Ahhhh, I hope I sense sarcasm in that comment.

Sarcasm or a connection to defense contractors. I would, of course prefer sarcasm.

Either those, or you are just plain nuts.

N - V - T - S nuts!

May 27th, 2004, 06:44 PM
:evil: Why New York City? Why don't they attack somewhere in Texas where Bush will feel it the most!

Bush has no connection to NYC at all! Get that in your heads!!!

Ok nevermind...

May 28th, 2004, 12:45 PM
That's why our defense, intelligence, and all those billions of dollars should have been directed toward taking down Al Qaeda (the bastards who attacked us) for the past two years instead of Iraq. With our attention elsewhere, we've allowed the terrorists to regerminate in other forms at home and abroad, spawned new hatred for America, and squandered generations of good will among our allies and the rest of the world.

And we in New York will most likely pay for it.

May 28th, 2004, 02:36 PM
We NYers will probably see more attacks, that is true. People overseas who don't really know the US see NY as its all-encompasing symbol. While people who have visited know that NY has little in common with the majority of this country.

May 28th, 2004, 02:50 PM
:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: Pisses me off so much! WHy cant the stupid government do something right! GET BUSH OUT OF OFFICE! Stop killing people in Iraq! It WILL come back on us! STUPID PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

June 3rd, 2004, 09:39 PM
June 3, 2004

New York Doormen Train To Aid War On Terrorism


Doormen in New York City are training to help the war on terrorism.

About 20 employees gathered Wednesday to learn how to spot suspicious activity as part of New York Safe and Secure, an anti-terrorism program sponsored by the building workers’ union. Police instructed the doormen on how to identify certain characteristics of people and cars in order to give accurate descriptions later.

“Were asking people to really hone in on their observation skills,” said Linda Nelson of the union, SEIU Local 32BJ, “and really make sure they are registering those types of things – irregular events in the city, vehicles that are parked in places that they shouldn’t be, people casing the building that may be doing anything from stalking a resident to being a terrorist.”

The union hopes to train all 28,000 of its members in the next year.

“There are a lot of things I didn’t know,” said Abraham Viven, one of the doorman who took the class. “It’s awareness. You definitely have to know what’s going on.”

Copyright 2004 NY1 News

June 4th, 2004, 09:14 PM
June 4, 2004

Rumsfeld: We would have stopped 9/11


The United States would have stopped 9/11 if intelligence had gotten inside information, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says.

Rumsfeld told this to sailors and Marines aboard the USS Essex warship near Singapore Friday. Without directly assigning blame to the CIA, whose director, George Tenet, resigned on Thursday, Rumsfeld told a Marine who asked if Rumsfeld thought there had been enough intelligence information to prevent the attacks that the congressionally chartered 9/11 commission investigating the matter has not finished its work.

"We lacked the intelligence that might have prevented it," Rumsfeld said, citing testimony given to the commission. "That is to say, we did not have a source inside the group of people that had planned and executed those attacks. ... Had we had a source inside there, we undoubtedly would have been able to stop it. We did not. It would have been terrific if we had."

Rumsfeld did not mention Tenet. He credited American intelligence with having collected enough intelligence to stop other terrorist attacks, and he said it would have been a "big order" for the intelligence agencies to penetrate every conceivable hostile group before Sept. 11, 2001.

Rumsfeld was in Singapore to attend an international security conference that opened Friday.

Later, Rumsfeld said any government hoping to "make a separate peace" with terrorists would be mistaken, but he denied the United States was pressuring anybody to join its war on terror.

Also Friday, James Pavitt, the dapper, white-haired spymaster who told a skeptical 9/11 commission that the CIA "did all we knew how to do" yet still failed to prevent the terror attacks, announced Friday he is retiring this summer.

The CIA said that Pavitt's decision to step down after a 31-year career — the last five as deputy director for operations, also known as the clandestine service — is unrelated to Tenet's resignation.

Pavitt's appearance before the commission on April 14 marked the first time that a head of that service had testified publicly.

"We did all we knew how to do," Pavitt testified. "We failed to stop the attacks."

Sources said he will be criticized in the commission report. "He is not someone who was highly thought of within the clandestine service," said Melvin Goodman, a retired CIA analyst and frequent critic.

Knut Royce in the Washington bureau contributed to this story.

Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

June 7th, 2004, 12:04 AM
June 6, 2004

State's Emergency Rooms Upgraded To Handle Terror Attacks

The states' emergency trauma centers are not taking any chances. Emergency rooms at New York hospitals reportedly feature new and improved facilities that would be used in the event of another terrorist strike.

According to the Daily News, the changes were quietly made in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Some doomsday features include ambulance bays equipped with showers to wash down patients doused in toxins; operating rooms that open directly to a helipad; and triage rooms with inward air flow so poisonous fumes or deadly germs will not spread in the hospital.

Back in November, NYU Downtown Hospital broke ground on a $25 million state-of-the-art emergency room. It will include a decontamination unit where victims can be cleaned off.

Downtown Hospital, located just one block from the World Trade Center site, treated 1,400 people after the World Trade Center attack.

Copyright 2004 NY1 News

June 7th, 2004, 12:57 AM
^Stories like that gives me the creeps. :(

June 7th, 2004, 06:39 PM
There's only so much people can do against an international terrorist group like AL Qaeda with the genocidal mentality of the Third Reich.

June 16th, 2004, 09:09 PM
June 15, 2004

Penn Station cans are latest in anti-terror

Staff Writer

To protect Penn Station from a terrorist's bomb, Amtrak has installed blast-resistant trash cans throughout the sprawling terminal, officials said.

The cans, which each cost up to $2,000 and are credited with saving lives in Jerusalem, are also scattered throughout the city's subway stations.

"Any blast set off from these trash receptacles are directed up, and not out," said Dan Stessel, an Amtrak spokesman.

Amtrak began installing the cans about five years ago, and NJ Transit has recently put some in place. MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said the bins also have been installed in Long Island Rail Road and subway stations. "We've been putting them in as we get them," he said.

Their presence takes on new importance as Republican delegates travel to Madison Square Garden, above the terminal, for this summer's GOP convention.

Eyal Banai, whose Bethesda, Md.-based company, Mistral Security Inc., designed the cans, said each container has three layers that are built to withstand up to about 10 pounds of explosives.

The innermost is a simple thin bin to collect trash. The middle layer is made of a patented material that is designed to absorb the blast and direct it upward.

The outermost layer, made of stainless steel or regular steel, expands in a blast and has one weak point. In the event that a blast gets past the inner layers, the weak point will direct the explosion in one direction.

Terrorists can easily place grenades or bombs inside trash cans, prompting some cities to remove cans altogether.

"The reason for that is they can be used as receptacles for hiding improvised explosive devices," said Jeffrey Schlanger, managing director of the security firm Kroll Associates, who has provided counter-terrorism consulting for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Banai said trash builds up if cans are removed, allowing terrorists to place bombs amid the rubbish.

"That also is dangerous," he said.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

June 19th, 2004, 12:16 PM
June 18, 2004

NY apartment buildings ready anti-terror tactics

Associated Press Writer

In his 13 years in the Army, Frank Zapata learned to spot suspicious characters.

"They trained me to look a person up and down. I was told to look and pay attention," he said.

Today, Zapata is a superintendent at a 16-story apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side _ and an unlikely sentry on the nation's terrorism watch.

Last week, the former drill sergeant was polishing his old skills along with 16 other superintendents taking anti-terrorism training. The citywide effort addresses concerns that residential buildings may be in the sights of terrorists.

Zapata watched attentively for four hours as Michael Lollo, an off-duty police academy instructor, explained how to differentiate between signs of chemical and biological terrorist attacks. He reviewed when to respond and how to coordinate with police and government agencies.

"You don't want people winging it if something happens," said Zapata.

The training was initiated by building owners and the union that represents New York's "supers," doormen and others. Plans call for the training of 28,000 workers in the next 18 months _ a goal police hope will increase the city's vigilance for signs of terrorist activity.

"My mother in Queens knows everything that goes on in her neighborhood in Queens. It's like she has four eyes," said Lollo, who is among a dozen police instructors teaching the course. "We want 56,000 more eyes."

While the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks all too vividly illustrated the vulnerabilities of office high-rises and government buildings, public safety analysts have more recently raised concerns about large residential buildings.

The Department of Homeland Security has disseminated intelligence information about terrorist threats to the Real Estate Roundtable, an industry group, which publishes daily briefings on its Web site. The memos have occasionally highlighted threats to residential buildings, according to one New York manager.

And on June 1, the Justice Department said publicly that Jose Padilla, a suspected American al-Qaida operative in U.S. custody since May 2002, had plotted with top lieutenants of Osama bin Laden to blow up residential high-rises. Padilla, according to the government, planned to rent multiple apartments, turn on gas stoves and cause simultaneous explosions in numerous buildings sparked by timed detonators.

Since then, security analysts have cast doubt that Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, would have cleared the necessary background checks to rent multiple apartments. They also said that the smell of leaking gas likely would have given the plot away, and that resulting explosions and fires would not bring down sturdy buildings.

Still, the Padilla revelations offer a sobering glimpse at al-Qaida strategies, according to Matthew Levitt, a former FBI anti-terrorism analyst and now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy.

"They may be moving from high visibility targets like the Pentagon," Levitt said. "Twenty simultaneous attacks on apartment buildings would still be a big deal."

In response, some building managers have hired high-paid security consultants to look at safety.

Anti-terrorism experts at Kroll Inc., a risk consultant company, have been evaluating building security and offering private training for employees and residents.

According to Kroll's analysts, the gas lines supposedly targeted by Padilla are not the only potential vulnerabilities.

Street-level air intakes for heating and air-conditioning systems leave many older buildings vulnerable to chemical attacks, said William Vorlicek, a Kroll analyst and retired U.S. Army Colonel with a background in terrorism and disaster response. Kroll is also looking at water supplies, elevator security and parking lots. "The biggest threat is still vehicle bombs," he said.

Kroll says it has dozens of residential building companies as clients, not only in New York but also in Chicago, Boston, and other cities.

But experts say New York building owners are on the highest state of alert.

"If someone wants to attack America, this is the target. So we want to be as professional and as calm and prepared as possible," said Richard Grant director of Midboro Management, which is hosting some of the employee training courses.

City officials are also on alert. "We're taking any threat seriously," said New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne. "We want to cast a broader security net around the city, and that includes educating people who can be our eyes and ears, like doormen."


On the Net:

Real Estate Roundtable: www.rer.org/partners/buildingsecurityissues.cfm

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov/

Copyright © Newsday, Inc

June 25th, 2004, 01:03 AM
June 25, 2004


Errors on Terror


"Tonight, I am instructing the leaders of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location. Our government must have the very best information possible." Thus spoke President Bush in the 2003 State of the Union address. A White House fact sheet called the center "the next phase in the dramatic enhancement of the government's counterterrorism effort."

Among other things, the center took over the job of preparing the government's annual report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism." The latest report, released in April, claimed to document a sharp fall in terrorism. "You will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage declared. But this week the government admitted making major errors. In fact, in 2003 the number of significant terrorist attacks reached a 20-year peak.

How could they get it so wrong? The answer tells you a lot about the state of the "war on terror."

Credit for uncovering the report's errors goes to Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist, and David Laitin, a Stanford political scientist, who are studying patterns of terrorism. Mr. Krueger tells me that as soon as they looked at the latest report, they knew something was wrong.

All of the supposed decline in terrorism, they quickly saw, resulted from a fall in the number of "nonsignificant" events, which Mr. Krueger and Mr. Laitin say "are counted with a squishy definition." Even the original report showed significant attacks — a much less squishy category — rising to a 20-year high. And the list of significant attacks ended on Nov. 11, 2003, but there were several major terrorist incidents after that date. Sure enough, including these and other omitted attacks more than doubled the estimated 2003 death toll.

Was the report's squishy math politically motivated? Well, the Bush administration has cooked the books in many areas, including budget projections, tax policy, environmental policy and stem cell research. Why wouldn't it do the same on terrorism?

The erroneous good news on terrorism also came at a very convenient moment. The White House was still reeling from the revelations of the former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, who finally gave public voice to the view of many intelligence insiders that the Bush administration is doing a terrible job of fighting Al Qaeda. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush was on a "Winning the War on Terror" campaign bus tour in the Midwest.

Mr. Krueger, a forgiving soul, believes that the report was botched through simple incompetence. Maybe — though we can be sure that if the statistics had told the administration something it didn't want to hear, they would have been carefully checked. By the way, while the report's tables and charts have been fixed, the revised summary still gives little hint of how bad the data really are.

In any case, the incompetence explanation is hardly comforting. In a press conference announcing the release of the revised report, the counterterrorism coordinator Cofer Black attributed the errors to "inattention, personnel shortages and [a] database that is awkward and antiquated." Remember: we're talking about the government's central clearinghouse for terrorism information, whose creation was touted as part of a "dramatic enhancement" of counterterrorism efforts more than a year before this report was produced. And it still can't input data into its own computers? (It should be no surprise, in this age of Halliburton, that the job of data input was given to — and botched by — private contractors.)

Think of it as just one more indication that Mr. Bush isn't really serious about this terrorism thing. He talks about terror a lot, and invokes it to justify unrelated wars he feels like fighting. But when it comes to devoting resources to the unglamorous work of protecting the nation from attack — well, never mind.

Speaking of numbers: in 1980, middle-income families with children paid 8.7 percent of their income in income taxes, not 8.2 percent, as I reported on June 8. But it's still true that their combined income and payroll taxes rose under Ronald Reagan.

E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

July 13th, 2004, 04:14 PM
Congressional report criticizes government terror warnings

July 13, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. government terror warnings to local police and citizens fail to give the specific information many authorities say is needed to protect the public, a congressional report said Monday.

The report follows a series of official warnings about possible attacks -- most recently voiced last week by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge -- which lacked new intelligence or details on the threat and how to respond.

The report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, was based on survey of 28 agencies and 56 states and territories. Those responding "generally indicated that they did not receive specific threat information and guidance, which they believe hindered their ability to determine and implement protective measures," the report said.

Some critics have accused President Bush's administration of using terrorism warnings as a political tool. Bush has made the fight against global terrorism a major theme of his campaign for reelection.

The administration denies playing politics with terror threats, but a GAO official said the warning system's credibility could be undermined by vague announcements.

"When the government gives warnings without more information about why they're giving them ... that inevitably leads to people questioning whether the timing is a diversion, or politically motivated." Randall Yim, the head of GAO's homeland security division, told Reuters.

The report urged the Department of Homeland Security to give "specific information about the nature, location and timing of the threat, and guidance on action to take."

A failure to deliver specific information in terror warnings can leave agencies unable to gauge risk or develop an effective response, it said.

It recommended that the department publicize threats quickly and through multiple channels, and said many authorities reported they had first learned about threat warnings from media sources.

Government officials have said that the nature of terrorist threats and the classified information on which they are often based make it difficult to give more detailed information.

But Yim said recent warnings may be counterproductive. "They didn't say what was new and they didn't suggest any additional measures to be taken other than please be a little bit more vigilant and please go about your shopping. I think that that really attacks the credibility of the government warning system."

Copyright 2004 Reuters.

July 13th, 2004, 04:22 PM
Some critics have accused President Bush's administration of using terrorism warnings as a political tool. Bush has made the fight against global terrorism a major theme of his campaign for reelection.

How typical of the Bush Government...There is no surprice for me on this terror warnings. This guys all they do is bring fear to Americans. People buy into it so they believe that this governments is doing a good job in protecting them. Use terror warnings and God in their speeches and the majority of people fall on their mercy.

Wake up America! It is time to leave this nightmare and into a better good night sleep.

Lets not focus too much on foreing problems and more on our own.

July 14th, 2004, 08:49 AM
I am not sure if he is using it directly, but I do get the feeling he is not letting this "opportunity" just pass him by.

I think he can more likely be blamed for rushing reports so that they come out at key times rather than get the full story.

Warning that "something bad" may hapen "sometime soon" "somewhere" in the US is too much of a "wolf!" cry for me.

If they want to raise the warning level, fine (Kind of like a Forest Fire warning). But do not start making all these official announcements when they have nothing to go on.

July 19th, 2004, 09:52 PM
USA Today
July 19, 2004


Q&A with 'Anonymous'


What if the United States has the important questions about Osama bin Laden wrong? Why he's fighting the West, why he's trying to undermine Arab rulers, why he's embraced by millions of Muslims.

That's exactly what has happened, argues a CIA terrorism expert who, at the insistence of the agency, writes under the name "Anonymous." And that mistake dooms the U.S. to endless wars, says the 23-year intelligence veteran, who directed research into bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, in his most recent book, Imperial Hubris.

While the White House says radical Islamists hate the United States for its values and our freedoms, the reality is very different, Anonymous says. Islamists despise our policies in the Middle East. That misunderstanding lures the United States into strategies that benefit al-Qaeda more than the U.S., he says.

Question: You say that we're losing the war on terror. Why?

Answer: We've missed the nature of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden. Presidents Clinton and Bush were both insistent that Osama bin Laden was attacking us because of who we are and what we do. That's about as far from the truth as you can possibly get. My bottom line is that we're never going to win this war if we don't realize what motivates our opponent and try to address it across a spectrum of policies instead of just the military policy, which is basically our only option at the moment.

Q: Is it really that clear cut?

A: Since 1996, bin Laden has been explicit in what he is up to. He is focused on a very limited number of U.S. policies and the way they are perceived in the Middle East.

Q: Why focus on the U.S.? He started out focused on the leadership of his own country, Saudi Arabia.

A: Part of his genius is his focus on the United States. One of the last remnants of European colonialism in the Arab world was a tradition of resistance against national governments. These tyrannies (today's governments) in the Arab world are too strong. There is no way (bin Laden) can ever beat them one at a time. It is too costly in terms of money, lives and families.

He argues that the U.S. is weaker because it's a democracy, because it doesn't like to lose people, because it's so hypersensitive to any kind of opinion around the world that is critical, that if they can drive the Americans out of the region, the rest of it falls like fruit from a tree. The tyrannies in all of the countries go.

Q: What do we know about al-Qaeda?

A: To this day, we don't have a grasp of the size of his organization. We claim that we've killed two-thirds of al-Qaeda's leadership. But what we've done is kill two-thirds of the leadership we knew of on 9/11. We have a body count; we don't have a measure of progress.

Again, we have a semantic problem. Al-Qaeda is not a terrorist group; it's an insurgency that is extraordinarily well structured in terms of succession for leadership. Al-Qaeda loses somebody and within hours, someone who has been an understudy is named to take his place.

Until you have defined what al-Qaeda looks like in terms of organization and have an order of battle, you don't have a gauge against which to measure progress.

Q: So how should we attack it?

A: It's not a choice between war and peace, it's a choice between war and endless war. The goal should be to undercut the potential of bin Ladenism to grow, and the only way to do that is to address those polices which have been identified in the Muslim world as anti-Muslim or anti-Islamic. Looking out 10, 20, 30 years, it's only going to get worse if these policies stay in place.

Q: You say war is unavoidable — just the length and form are in question. How should the war be waged?

A: When we have the opportunity to hit someone, we have to be willing to do it without evidence that could be presented in court. One of the tragedies of the 1990s was the forced injection of the law enforcement community into intelligence work, because we stopped talking about intelligence and we started talking about evidence. You get to the point where you paralyze yourself. It also gives those people in the intelligence community who prefer to protect their career rather than taking risks an opportunity to beat their chests and say, "I wanted their heads on stakes but the lawyers said I couldn't do it." So you have to be ready to act.

Q: What impact has that had?

A: We lost in Afghanistan on the first day. The argument we staged between ourselves of whether or not it was bin Laden who attacked New York delayed our assault on Afghanistan for a month. By that time, everyone had dispersed.

So if there is another attack, it's simply a matter of our military being much more active on the ground. You are going to have to be able to go after two or three or four people at a time. Because that's what the target is. And we are not doing that.

Q: Is it inevitable that there will be a nuclear attack?

A: It's inevitable that they will use a weapon if they have one. And that's a terrible answer. But he has never made any bones about it. He doesn't see a weapon of mass destruction as a deterrent. He sees it in Cold-War terms as a first-strike weapon. If he has it, he will use it.

Q: In a recent report, the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously criticized the quality of intelligence that led to the decision to attack Iraq. What might fix that problem?

A: The president should have the opportunity to talk to a substantive expert. And that is not the case. I came into the agency under directors William Casey and Robert Gates (in the 1980s). They constantly pushed the expert forward. But there has been a marked retreat from providing the experts. The American intelligence community has a contempt for expertise, for the most part. An expert is a nerd. A generalist is what you want to be. So you have lots of people who know a little bit about a lot of things. But we also have some expertise that is world class.

Q: What are our chances of finding bin Laden?

A: They are very poor. Afghanistan is the size of Texas .... He's going to zig when we zag. He's not in hostile territory. The image of bin Laden going from cave to cave is one that is appealing but false.

Q: The Intelligence Committee report also said that there had not been a credible human source on the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program since 1998.

A: But that doesn't mean we're not trying. The one thing people don't understand is you're asking a person to commit treason. We got ragged consistently for not having a penetration of al-Qaeda at the highest level. No Arab intelligence service on earth has that.

One of the big shifts in the recruitment of human agents between the Cold War and now is that, in the Soviet system, the most ideological fervor and dedication to Bolshevism and communism was found in the outer ring, the youth group. The further people went into the party, the more they realized it was corrupt, and so they became disillusioned. The closer someone got to the center, the more access he got to the information you needed, and the more he became less enchanted with his own society.

Q: And now?

A: The new paradigm is we want to recruit somebody who sits next to bin Laden. The most corrupt, unIslamic, less pious ring is the outside ring. If you get him there, as he goes into the center he finds these people are who they say they are. And so, in a sense, the further he gets into the system, the less willing he is to work with you.

Q: If we kill bin Laden, what happens then?

A: It makes a big difference for al-Qaeda in the short term. Al-Qaeda has virtually every nationality on earth. It's an organization which is well run in the modern sense. It has tensions. But as a whole, he keeps it together and it moves forward.

Q: What are our chances of finding him?

A: They are very poor. Afghanistan is the size of Texas, with a bit more tacked on because the border area with Pakistan is really the same country. It's got the largest mountains in the world. It's got a population that is either neutral or pro-bin Laden. What's the tooth-to-tail ratio? He's going to zig when we zag. He's not in hostile territory. The image of bin Laden going from cave to cave is one that is appealing, but false.

Q: Why has bin Laden waited so long for his next attack?

A: Because everything has gone his way since the attack on 9/11. We lived up to our reputation of being unwilling to be a ruthless military power. We let al-Qaeda escape. We let the Taliban escape. We had him cornered in the Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan, but we sent in surrogates rather than U.S. soldiers and he got away. We've reinforced all of the negative aspects of our military policy since 1991.

Also, the development of Palestine as an international issue has helped him. Frankly, I don't know what else the Israelis can do than what they are doing, but the perception in the Muslim world is that we are no longer playing any kind of moderating role there. Certainly the Europeans have backed away from the war on terror. Things have developed in a way that he just doesn't have to take any action until he's ready to do it.

Q: Is it possible that bin Laden does not see it in his self-interest to attack the United States?

A: He's enough of a strategist to see that there is no hurry to attack us. We've tied ourselves in knots now because of this supposed pre-election terrorist threat. There is a lot of threatening information out there, but there's a lot of hubris involved, too. But in the history of Islamic terrorism, we've never known them to attack on an anniversary or an event of any kind. I think he has his own plan, his own tempo and he sees it in his interest to attack us again. It's just that the timing will be his, not ours.

Q: Is it inevitable that there will be a nuclear attack?

A: It's inevitable that they will use a weapon if they have one. And that's a terrible answer. But he has never made any bones about it. He doesn't see a weapon of mass destruction as a deterrent. He sees it in Cold-War terms as a first-strike weapon. If he has it, he will use it.

My own view is he probably wants to use a weapon that is limited in its geographic scope. He is more likely to use something like a dirty bomb or a nuclear bomb, than biological or chemical weapons that might flow outside the borders of the United States and somehow hurt a Muslim community. But that's all speculation.

Q: When you talk about the mind-set of the country on the war on terror, where do you think the misconceptions come from? The media, politicians?

A: It's trite to say, but the idea of political correctness is very, very important in terms of the performance of the intelligence community. How many times has USA TODAY, or The New York Times or The Washington Post discussed the role of Islam as a motivating factor in bin Laden's appeal in the Muslim world? I can't remember it very frequently. The director of intelligence and the president say al-Qaeda represents the lunatic fringe of the Muslim world, which, on the face of it, is absurd. But there is no one talking about Islam as a motivating factor for war.

There were times when our ancestors went to war to defend their faith. So, the debate is very constricted, not only in America but certainly within the intelligence community. We do a lot of analysis by assertion rather than by reality. Somehow the argument that someone is fighting for his faith is seen as a negative. So we assert that only gangsters do that. We make bin Laden into a gangster. But it doesn't get you anywhere.

Q: Where can this all end?

A: I don't know. But it's going to end in disaster if there is not some kind of discussion of whether we want to remain in the status quo of our policies.


U.S. policy targets

Six U.S. policies enable Osama bin Laden to rally his followers against the U.S., Anonymous says:

- Support for Israel that allows the Israelis to dominate the Palestinians.
- U.S., Western troops on the Arabian Peninsula.
- Occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Support for Russia, India and China against the Muslim militants there.
- Pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low.
- U.S. support for corrupt Muslim governments.

Source: Imperial Hubris

© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY

July 20th, 2004, 09:09 AM
Is it just me or does he repeat himself in this several times.

The Texas comment and the usage of the nuclear weapon. I don't know if he is just staying consistant with his position, or if he has all these answers memorized....

I do believe we need to do more behind the scenes IF we want to WIN this, but the problem becomes, do we have the right to force democracy on people? Should we be going to war against nations? How do we make these "attacks without hesitation" without getting most of the world to hate us?

this guys makes a lot of sense on how all this needs to be handled to finish it. Unfortunately, a lot of his solutions are not possible in the world theater today....

July 21st, 2004, 10:04 AM

July 21, 2004

High-tech surveillance cameras have been installed aboard the city's fleet of Staten Island Ferry boats and at its two terminals in an effort to keep an eye on passengers and potentially avert a terror attack, The Post has learned.

The seven vessels were retrofitted with the cameras last month in order to comply with new anti-terrorism federal regulations that aim to tighten security aboard commuter boats.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard outlined a plan last year that called for vessels to be equipped with closed-circuit TV cameras.

Large passenger ferries received the highest risk assessment from the feds among 80 maritime terror scenarios.

The assessment showed that an attack on a passenger ferryboat was tied for first with terrorists targeting a ship carrying hazardous materials near a large city.

The cameras, which are constantly being monitored, have also been installed at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan and the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

The city Department of Transportation installed the cameras last month in order to comply with the July 1 deadline.

"While we cannot outline specific security measures, numerous security measures are in place on our boats and in our terminals, and our customers appreciate it," said DOT spokesman Tom Cocola.

The DOT received $2.76 million last year from the feds for port security out of a pool of $92.3 million the U.S. Department of Transportation gave to 51 agencies across the country.

Cocola would not comment on how much the agency spent on the cameras.

There have been many security improvements on the Staten Island Ferry over the past three years.

The city banned cars from boarding the boats and the NYPD has stationed uniformed cops with bomb-sniffing dogs and undercover officers to do security sweeps on the vessels and at the two terminals.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

July 21st, 2004, 12:07 PM
Most worried about terror attacks during GOP convention
Survey sez they're uptight in Boston, too

Originally published on July 21, 2004

ALBANY — Two-thirds of voters across America are concerned about possible terrorist attacks in Boston and New York City during the Democratic and Republican national conventions, a nationwide poll reported Wednesday.

For the Republican convention that opens Aug. 30 in New York City, 21 percent of voters surveyed by Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion said they were “very concerned” about terrorism there while 45 percent expressed “concern” about such attacks.

Twenty percent of voters said they were “very concerned” about possible terrorist attacks during the four-day Democratic convention that opens in Boston on Monday. Another 45 percent said they were “concerned” about such attacks.

About one-quarter of voters said they were not too concerned about terrorism attacks during either convention.

Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said intelligence indicated the possibility of attacks aimed at disrupting the election process in the United States. Ridge said the government had no information about specific targets.

Security preparations have been extensive for both conventions.

The poll found an equal number of voters expressing concern about terrorist attacks just before the November elections.

“That’s the new environment,” said pollster Lee Miringoff, head of the Marist Institute located in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “Certainly, there’s been a good deal of attention focused on security measures. With heightened awareness also comes heightened concern.”

The Marist poll also found that American voters are taking a real interest in the presidential election this year. Sixty percent said they were “very interested” in the race.

Three-quarters of voters said they had talked at least once in the past week to someone about the presidential campaign. Thirty-two percent of voters said they had done that five times or more in the past week. One in five voters said they planned to watch a great deal of convention coverage.

“Four years ago we were at peace and there was relative prosperity. That’s a very different issue climate than there is today,” Miringoff said. “People think there’s a lot at stake so they’re talking politics.” Marist’s telephone poll of 938 registered voters was conducted July 12-15 and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.

July 21st, 2004, 01:02 PM
Article 1:

Problem is, oncethese guys are on the boat, it is already too late. they are not going to use the boat to hit something else, it is too slow and easily stopped (if reported). the ammount that would be hurt in it ramming a dock would probably be less than the ammount that would be killed, or drowned, if they managed to blow someone up on it in the middle of the river.....

Article 2:

Yeah everyone is nervous about the conventions, but what else is new. maybe they should be held in Nebraska. It would warrant the money we gave them to fight terrorisim.

As for people being more concientious about it, I think more are just getting fed up. The only ones on Bush's side are the ones that voted for him last time and don't want to feel like they did something wrong. Evidence to this is how they will defend him in ALL matters, even ones that have been openly proven to be incorrectly handled, lied about or otherwise mistakenly done. People who are comfortable with their decisions are usually comfortable with admitting any mistake they had in their original assumptions or beliefs. Those that are not, defend it regardless.

July 21st, 2004, 02:11 PM
July 20, 2004


The Arabian Candidate


In the original version of "The Manchurian Candidate," Senator John Iselin, whom Chinese agents are plotting to put in the White House, is a right-wing demagogue modeled on Senator Joseph McCarthy. As Roger Ebert wrote, the plan is to "use anticommunist hysteria as a cover for a communist takeover."

The movie doesn't say what Iselin would have done if the plot had succeeded. Presumably, however, he wouldn't have openly turned traitor. Instead, he would have used his position to undermine national security, while posing as America's staunchest defender against communist evil.

So let's imagine an update - not the remake with Denzel Washington, which I haven't seen, but my own version. This time the enemies would be Islamic fanatics, who install as their puppet president a demagogue who poses as the nation's defender against terrorist evildoers.

The Arabian candidate wouldn't openly help terrorists. Instead, he would serve their cause while pretending to be their enemy.

After an attack, he would strike back at the terrorist base, a necessary action to preserve his image of toughness, but botch the follow-up, allowing the terrorist leaders to escape. Once the public's attention shifted, he would systematically squander the military victory: committing too few soldiers, reneging on promises of economic aid. Soon, warlords would once again rule most of the country, the heroin trade would be booming, and terrorist allies would make a comeback.

Meanwhile, he would lead America into a war against a country that posed no imminent threat. He would insinuate, without saying anything literally false, that it was somehow responsible for the terrorist attack. This unnecessary war would alienate our allies and tie down a large part of our military. At the same time, the Arabian candidate would neglect the pursuit of those who attacked us, and do nothing about regimes that really shelter anti-American terrorists and really are building nuclear weapons.

Again, he would take care to squander a military victory. The Arabian candidate and his co-conspirators would block all planning for the war's aftermath; they would arrange for our army to allow looters to destroy much of the country's infrastructure. Then they would disband the defeated regime's army, turning hundreds of thousands of trained soldiers into disgruntled potential insurgents.

After this it would be easy to sabotage the occupied country's reconstruction, simply by failing to spend aid funds or rein in cronyism and corruption. Power outages, overflowing sewage and unemployment would swell the ranks of our enemies.

Who knows? The Arabian candidate might even be able to deprive America of the moral high ground, no mean trick when our enemies are mass murderers, by creating a climate in which U.S. guards torture, humiliate and starve prisoners, most of them innocent or guilty of only petty crimes.

At home, the Arabian candidate would leave the nation vulnerable, doing almost nothing to secure ports, chemical plants and other potential targets. He would stonewall investigations into why the initial terrorist attack succeeded. And by repeatedly issuing vague terror warnings obviously timed to drown out unfavorable political news, his officials would ensure public indifference if and when a real threat is announced.

Last but not least, by blatantly exploiting the terrorist threat for personal political gain, he would undermine the nation's unity in the face of its enemies, sowing suspicion about the government's motives.

O.K., end of conceit. President Bush isn't actually an Al Qaeda mole, with Dick Cheney his controller. Mr. Bush's "war on terror" has, however, played with eerie perfection into Osama bin Laden's hands - while Mr. Bush's supporters, impressed by his tough talk, see him as America's champion against the evildoers.

Last week, Republican officials in Kentucky applauded bumper stickers distributed at G.O.P. offices that read, "Kerry is bin Laden's man/Bush is mine." Administration officials haven't gone that far, but when Tom Ridge offered a specifics-free warning about a terrorist attack timed to "disrupt our democratic process," many people thought he was implying that Al Qaeda wants George Bush to lose. In reality, all infidels probably look alike to the terrorists, but if they do have a preference, nothing in Mr. Bush's record would make them unhappy at the prospect of four more years.

E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

July 21st, 2004, 06:01 PM
Anti-terrorism legislation is approved

July 21, 2004

Gov. George Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced that they have reached an agreement on a comprehensive anti-terrorism bill that has been in the works since November 2001.

The new legislation calls for harsher punishments for terrorist acts and expands the government's surveillance rights. The possession and use of chemical or biological weapons would be punishment by a life sentence without parole; alarmists who threaten others with substances designed to look hazardous will get seven years in prison without parole.

The bill eliminates the statute of limitations for terrorist acts that could conceivably cause death or serious physical harm; dramatically lowers the threshold for felonious money laundering to $1,000 transactions; expands state wiretapping and eavesdropping laws to include terrorism crimes; and requires all those convicted of a terrorism crime to submit a DNA sample to the state.

In addition, a new state Office of Homeland Security would replace the current Office of Public Security; the director of the office would have the authority to review security measures at chemical plants and storage facilities.

General aviation airports would be required to submit written security procedures to the Department of Transportation. Private and public general aviation airports will have to take additional steps, including locking all hangars which are not in use.

The bill will also create an advisory council to help the state develop its previously announced statewide wireless network.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

July 22nd, 2004, 10:16 AM
Looks hazardous?

July 22nd, 2004, 11:44 AM
^If you think that sounds crazy then look at what brokers are suppose to do or they get the slam.

Fighting terror with brokers


Many of them don't realize it - but commercial real estate brokers have joined the city's first line of defense against terrorism. Ridiculous as it sounds, they're personally responsible for making sure prospective tenants aren't terrorists.

"One doubts that nonprofessional FBI or CIA personnel can do much about this," said Norman Sturner, a principal at commercial brokerage Murray Hill Properties/TCN.

Sturner doesn't think their efforts will be very productive - but no matter. He has directed his brokers to comply with an executive order that President Bush signed shortly after Sept. 11, but has gone largely unnoticed.

The order requires brokers, landlords and real estate lawyers to check a Treasury Department list of terrorists and their organizations - which is more than 100 pages long.

The list can be found on the Treasury Department's Web site, at www.treas.gov/offices/eotffc/ofac/sdn/index.html. It's so complicated to sort through that real estate lawyers recommend getting a special software program to help.

The order saddles brokers with a big burden most feel they simply aren't equipped to handle.

"Our job is supposed to be connecting tenants with space," said Elaine Kleinberg, the general counsel at commercial brokerage Newmark. "Now we have to be sure none of the money tenants use comes from terrorism."

Newmark is already in the process of hiring a firm to screen building employees and tenants to comply with the Patriot Act, another government anti-terrorist measure.

That firm will probably be used to help Newmark brokers comply with Bush's order as well.

Real estate people are suddenly finding out about Executive Order 13224 at this late date, thanks to an article just published in the newsletter Commercial Lease Law Insider. One of Murray Hill's lawyers sent Sturner a copy of the article.

The regulation came as a surprise even to the head of the Real Estate Board of New York, Steven Spinola.

Executives at several firms contacted yesterday also sounded surprised to hear about the order - which carries civil and criminal penalties for those who don't comply.

The city's largest commercial brokerage, CB Richard Ellis, was a rare exception. Its brokers have been told about the rule and are required to comply with it, a spokeswoman said.

"It's a great burden on real estate people," said Commercial Lease Law Insider's Wendy Star, the writer of the article that's causing the stir. "They have to educate themselves."

Originally published on July 21, 2004

All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.

July 26th, 2004, 06:47 AM
July 25, 2004

To fight terror, U.S. must combat bureaucracy

Perhaps the most far-reaching finding of the 600-page report by the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was that the most important failure was "one of imagination." It was a failure that ran from top to bottom.

"We do not believe leaders understood the gravity of the threat," the report said. They didn't understand it because they could not conceive it, and neither could their aides and advisers, nor the analysts and agents in the nation's intelligence community. That poverty of imaginative, creative thinking was fatal to those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. 9/11 was a jolt. But unless the nation's leaders - and their staffs - can wean themselves from persisting preconceptions about the nature of threats this nation faces, another attack, perhaps more catastrophic than 9/11, is likely to succeed.

The conclusion of the 9/11 commission's report is that the U.S. government must go through a profound reorientation of its intelligence and security systems, to detect, meet and counter current and future threats of global terrorism. That's clear and necessary. But it will take much more than the predictable - and highly debatable - reshuffling proposed for the agencies and departments charged with preventing another attack.

What would make a difference is a sea change in attitudes and thinking - one that's antithetical to the culture of any bureaucracy: a willingness to think the unthinkable, however improbable, and prepare for it; to encourage risk-taking at a conceptual level; even to make a fool of oneself in the process - an almost unnatural act in Washington's career-obsessed corridors of power.

An attack using airliners as guided missiles was not exactly unthinkable. The popular novelist Tom Clancy used it in a novel well before 9/11, as the plot of a terror attack against the White House. Yet no such scenario was used to devise contingencies to avert a strike by a hijacked airliner or deal with it effectively in the air. (A requirement for reinforced cockpit doors might have foiled the hijackers, for instance, blocking their plan to take over flight controls.) But proposing such a far-fetched possibility could have branded an ambitious staffer at the CIA or the FBI as unsound and stunted a promising career.

The result was that the possibility of an attack on U.S. soil by a shadowy Islamist terror group never became part of the national conversation until 9/11. As the report points out, terrorism was not an issue in the 2000 presidential campaign. In the entire race, there was only a single question posed to the candidates about terrorism. As the commission's chairman, Thomas Kean, put it, "That means the press didn't get it either."

Now, of course, terrorism is a front-burner issue in the current presidential race. But there is a nagging question that should bother us all: However successful the effort to restructure the intelligence community may be, will we fail once again to think the unthinkable and plan for it? Are the intelligence and security communities so fearful of another spectacular failure - so set on preparing for the predictable - that they won't take the bold steps needed to ensure a spectacular success against terrorism?

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

August 1st, 2004, 10:52 AM
N.Y. Police Issue Terror-Threat Warning

Aug 01, 2004
21 minutes ago

NEW YORK - New intelligence that the al-Qaida terrorist network plans to attack financial or international institutions in New York City has prompted police to urge extra security precautions at various city buildings.

The warning, announced Saturday night, didn't say how the attacks might be carried out or when they would occur.

But ABC News, citing anonymous sources, reported Saturday night that al-Qaida planned to send terrorists across the Mexican border into the United States, and that suicide attacks were being planned in the city, possibly using trucks.

The network said attacks may be planned between now and Election Day. The Republican convention begins in New York on Aug. 30.

A woman with a South African passport was arrested near the U.S.-Mexico border last week when she tried to board a flight to New York with about $7,000 in cash. Officials told The Associated Press they were investigating whether Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, 48, had ties to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.

The city's alert level remained at "orange," the second-highest point on the five-step terror alert program set up after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The city has stayed at that level since the attacks.

According to court documents, Ahmed, 48, provided a South African passport that was missing four pages. ABC reported that she was of Pakistani origin.

According to flight itineraries, Ahmed traveled from Johannesburg through Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to London and on to Mexico City. Authorities said she later told them she was smuggled into the United States from Mexico by crossing the Rio Grande.

Kyle Welch, Ahmed's court-appointed attorney, said his client is not charged with any terrorist activity and does not have a criminal record. She was denied bond on Tuesday.

Rep. Solomon Ortiz, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, said "very credible" people told him Ahmed has traveled within the United States more than 250 times.

The Associated Press reported last week that authorities believed crime syndicates operating within the South African government were believed to be selling illegal passports for as little as $77 apiece.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told The New York Times for Sunday editions that the warning to bolster security came after talks Friday night and Saturday between Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Pasquale Damuro, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York office.

Police had no additional comment when contacted by The Associated Press on Sunday.

The warning gave tips on general business security measures, such as checking employee identification cards and updating emergency plans.

It also gave some things to look out for, including unanticipated deliveries or maintenance work, people taking unusual video or photographs, and visitors claiming to be lost or looking disoriented. The warning also said bomb threats may be used to evaluate emergency response time.

Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

August 6th, 2004, 02:26 AM
Don't mess with these guys:


August 6th, 2004, 02:11 PM
Is it just me, or can you see that boat spinning around if they tried to fire those guns.....

August 6th, 2004, 11:41 PM
Pakistan: U.S. blew undercover operation

Al-Qaida suspect was secretly cooperating with counterrorist sting

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 7:18 p.m. ET Aug. 6, 2004

U.S. officials confirmed the name of captured al Qaeda suspect Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan while he was still cooperating with Pakistani authorities, a Pakistani intelligence source has told Reuters.

U.S. officials said the secret agent was the source of information that led to security alerts in New York, where police patrolled outside the New York Stock Exchange, New Jersey and Washington.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The al-Qaida suspect named by U.S. officials as the source of information that led to this week’s terrorist alerts was working undercover, Pakistani intelligence sources said Friday, putting an end to the sting operation and forcing Pakistan to hide the man in a secret location.

Under pressure to justify the alerts in three Northeastern cities, U.S. officials confirmed a report by The New York Times that the man, Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, was the source of the intelligence that led to the decision.

A Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters on Friday that Khan, who was arrested in Lahore secretly last month, had been actively cooperating with intelligence agents to help catch al-Qaida operatives when his name appeared in U.S. newspapers.

Monday evening, after Khan’s name appeared, Pakistani officials moved him to a secret location.

“After his capture [in July], he admitted being an al-Qaida member and agreed to send e-mails to his contacts,” a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters. “He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He’s a great hacker, and even the U.S. agents said he was a computer whiz.”

The Times published a story Monday saying U.S. officials had disclosed that a man arrested in Pakistan was the source of the bulk of information leading to the security alerts. The Times identified him as Khan, although it did not say how it had learned his name.

U.S. officials subsequently confirmed the name to other news organizations Monday morning. None of the reports mentioned that Khan was working under cover at the time, helping to catch al-Qaida suspects.

British swoop

In addition to ending the Pakistani sting, the premature disclosure of Khan’s identity may have affected a major British operation in which 12 suspects were arrested in raids this week, one of whom U.S. officials said was a senior al-Qaida figure. One of the men was released Friday.

British police told Reuters on Friday that they had been forced to carry out the raids more hastily than planned, a day after Khan’s name appeared in the Times.

Such raids are usually carried out late at night or in the early morning, when suspects might be at home and less likely to resist. But showing clear signs of haste, British police pounced in daylight. Some suspects were taken in shops; others were caught in a high-speed car chase.

A British anti-terrorism police source would not comment on the reason for their quick action, but he confirmed the raids were carried out faster than planned: “It would be a fair assessment to say there was an urgency. Something can happen that prompts us to take action faster than we would,” he told Reuters.

U.S. officials told NBC News this week that one of the 12 British detainees, known as Abu Eisa al-Hindi, was a key al-Qaida operative in Britain.

‘Genius student’

Britain’s Press Association, quoting his father and one of his professors, described Khan as an unusually gifted computer expert in his mid-20s from Karachi, Pakistan.

The PA said Khan, who was arrested in Lahore on July 13, led authorities to another major al-Qaida figure, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian with a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed more than 200 people.

Zafar Qasim, a computer science professor at Nadir Eduljee Dinshaw Engineering University, where Khan graduated in 2001, told the PA that Khan was a “genius student” who finished near the top of his class. He said Khan never appeared interested in any militant activity and never missed a class.

A senior intelligence official said Khan's wife was the sister of a “top ranking” leader of the Taliban, the former rulers of Afghanistan. The official said Khan had been to Britain four times, always on reduced-price tickets he got through his father, a flight attendant with Pakistan International Airlines, the PA reported.

Experts taken by surprise

Intelligence and security experts said they were surprised that Washington would reveal information that could expose the name of a source during an ongoing law enforcement operation.

“If it’s true that the Americans have unintentionally revealed the identity of another nation’s intelligence agent, who appears to be working in the good of all of us, that is not only a fundamental intelligence flaw. It’s also a monumental foreign relations blunder,” security expert Paul Beaver, a former publisher of Jane’s Defense Weekly, told Reuters.

Kevin Rosser, a security expert at the London-based consultancy Control Risks Group, said such a disclosure was a risk that came with staging public alerts but that authorities were supposed to take special care not to ruin ongoing operations.

“When these public announcements are made, they have to be supported with some evidence, and in addition to creating public anxiety and fatigue, you can risk revealing sources and methods of sensitive operations,” he said.

MSNBC.com’s Alex Johnson and Reuters contributed to this report.

August 8th, 2004, 10:45 PM
New York Times
August 9, 2004


Tourist Copters in New York City a Terror Target


WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 - Pakistan has given American officials what they regard as credible and specific information indicating that Al Qaeda has considered using tourist helicopters in terror attacks in New York City, domestic security officials said Sunday.

As a result, the officials said, security measures for helicopter operators will be stepped up in a new directive as early as this week. Among the new measures under review is a requirement to screen passengers for suspicious items, said an official with the Department of Homeland Security who had been briefed on the plan. So far, no groundings of helicopter operators are planned.

Personnel at several Manhattan helicopter charter companies said Sunday that although they had already conducted varying degrees of passenger screening themselves, they had heard of no specific safety concerns in recent days from the federal government.

Separately, a senior American intelligence official said that more than 1,000 computer disks had been seized by British authorities during arrests last week of 12 suspected operatives for Al Qaeda in England.

The seized files are now being subjected to intensive analysis by British and American intelligence, but they appear to contain evidence of previously unknown terrorist planning activities in the United States, the official said. As a result, Bush administration officials are preparing for the possibility of expanded public and private threat alerts. The senior official, who has been briefed on the information from Britain and Pakistan, would not discuss specific operations that were emerging from the new computer data, saying that the evaluation of the material was still under way.

The Bush administration raised the country's terror alert level on Aug. 1, after computer information turned over by authorities in Pakistan about possible reconnaissance gathering by operatives of Al Qaeda led American officials to tighten security at five financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington.

The senior intelligence official and security advisers to President Bush have said they increasingly see the intelligence about the financial institutions and about possible plans by Al Qaeda to stage an attack in the United States this year as part of a unified terror plot to disrupt the elections in the fall.

The reconnaissance missions appear to have been conducted three or four years ago, but officials said they considered the information about Al Qaeda's possible interest in things like helicopters and financial institutions to be critical in understanding how or where terrorists might strike, if not when.

"Current intelligence streams, concurrent with our own threat analysis, is leading us in this direction," the homeland security official said of the threat to chartered helicopters.

Still, intelligence officials have long pointed out that Al Qaeda has planned for possible attacks over several years only to abandon many of them. It was still unknown whether the group's top leaders had decided whether to carry out any specific plot against the financial companies or tourist helicopters.

An article in the Aug. 8 issue of Time magazine said that after conducting surveillance of the Prudential building in Newark, operatives of Al Qaeda wrote a report suggesting that a limousine carrying enough explosives to destroy the building might be able to enter the parking lot more easily than trucks or vans. A law enforcement official who has received regular briefings on counterterrorism matters in the region confirmed the report on Sunday.

The computer information found last month in Pakistan and last week in Britain continues to yield new details about who carried out the reconnaissance operations at the five financial institutions in 2000 and 2001, the official said.

The authorities now believe that one of the men who conducted the surveillance at the New York Stock Exchange was Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, who was born in Saudi Arabia, has relatives in Florida and on May 26 was the subject of a bulletin issued by the F.B.I. seeking information about seven men with suspected ties to terrorists.

Some intelligence officials believe that Mr. Shukrijumah is a close associate of Abu Issa al-Hindi, a suspected operative of Al Qaeda who was one of the men arrested last week in Britain and who was believed to have traveled to the United States at the direction of senior terrorist leaders to supervise and take part in the surveillance of the financial institutions.

There are no charges in the United States against Mr. Shukrijumah, but officials said investigators had been seeking him since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks because he is believed to have taken flight training and is fluent in English.

The F.B.I. said in its bulletin that Mr. Shukrijumah carried a Guyanese passport but might try to enter the United States with a Saudi, Canadian or Trinidadian passport. One law enforcement official said recent sightings had suggested that he has been in Mexico and Honduras, but those have not been confirmed.

In London, one Western official said that in coming days there will be a focus on the legal process, with American and British officials working to see if, under British law, there is enough information to hold the 11 men arrested with Mr. Hindi.

An article in The Washington Post on Sunday said that Mazen Mokhtar, from New Brunswick, N.J., was under investigation because of suspected ties to Babar Ahmad, a computer specialist who was among the men arrested in London last week. Citing an affidavit released Friday by the United States attorney's office in Connecticut, the report said Mr. Mokhtar operated a Web site identical to one used by Mr. Ahmad to solicit money for terrorist groups.

Reached at his home on Sunday, Mr. Mokhtar said, "I am not interested in giving any interview, at least until I better understand what is going on."

On Sunday, President Bush's security advisers said some of the surveillance activity and possible plots might be part of an effort by Al Qaeda to disrupt the November elections. They said they believed that the arrests may have interfered with at least some of the group's plans.

"I certainly think that by our actions now that we have disrupted it," said Frances Fragos Townsend, Mr. Bush's domestic security adviser, on the television program "Fox News Sunday." "The question is, have we disrupted all of it or a part of it? And we're working through an investigation to uncover that."

Democrats have expressed skepticism about the timing of the administration's reports about possible terrorist plots, and they have specifically accused the White House of playing politics when it recently stepped up the terror alert based on possible actions by Al Qaeda that happened more than three years ago.

In an appearance on the NBC News program "Meet the Press," Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, dismissed such complaints of political motivation.

"The idea that you would somehow play politics with the security of the American people, that you not go out and warn if you have casing reports on buildings that are highly specific - are you really supposed to not tell?" she said.

Intelligence officials were continuing to analyze new material from Pakistan on Sunday. While no specific timing for any potential attack has been established, "we've seen that Al Qaeda appears determined to attack again in the near term,'' a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Sunday.

Officials say they are particularly concerned about the possibility of an attack before the November election, perhaps similar to the commuter train bombings in Madrid in March, but they say there is still no evidence that indicates Al Qaeda moved from the planning to actual preparations to launch such an attack.

In New York, tourist helicopters operate out of three main heliports and are considered "an area of identified risk based on specific and credible intelligence that United States intelligence officials have recently received," the domestic security official said. "This is restricted to New York right now," the official said.

Counterterrorism officials have been concerned that terrorists might seek to use a wide range of vehicles and other instruments for attacks, from crop-duster planes and hazardous-material trucks to underwater bombs carried by scuba divers because they are generally subjected to less rigorous security measures than other industries.

The possible use of chartered helicopters in a terrorist attack has also attracted fresh scrutiny from the F.B.I., officials said. Helicopters "are on the list with everything else - it's another one of the areas we're concerned about," a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Sunday.

Helicopter tour operators in Manhattan offer a quick and popular way for tourists, usually up to seven at a time, to get an aerial view of landmarks. Tours can be as quick as five to seven minutes.At the West Side heliport overlooking the Hudson River, the city last week posted two police officers near the gate where some 600 to 700 helicopter flights take off and land each week, said Edward Miletich, who works for Air Pegasus, which operates the heliport and Rich Curry, a pilot for New York Helicopter, a tour and charter company. But the move appeared to be a response to the news about Al Qaeda's reconnaissance of nearby financial companies rather than specific information from the federal government.

Reporting for this article was contributed by Patrick E. Tyler in London, Jason George in New Brunswick, N.J., and Michelle O'Donnellin New York.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 9th, 2004, 10:39 PM
Terror alert puts squeeze on local firms
A costly week, with more to come

By Lisa Fickenscher
Published on August 09, 2004

The worst of the gridlock caused by the terrorist alert last week may be over. But local businesses, which absorbed thousands of dollars in overtime pay, among other extra expenses, are resigned to the fact that they will be facing disruptions like this again and again.

The economic impact of increasing security at the New York Stock Exchange and the Citigroup Center, as well as choking traffic coming into Manhattan for three days, is not only taking out a chunk from the city's budget--about $5 million a week--but it also has left holes in smaller budgets, too, from trucking firms' to the hospitality industry's. The alert served as a potent reminder that New York City is still vulnerable to another terrorist attack.

"It increased our delivery costs by 20%," says Marc Agger, whose Brooklyn-based company, Pierless Fish Corp., delivers fish to restaurants in Manhattan.

The latest scare began on Aug. 1, when Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge raised the threat level for financial institutions in the city, northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C., because of new information pointing to a terrorism plot. The news prompted officials to create fortresses around several sensitive areas here.

The hardest-hit businesses, those that deliver goods and services via trucks, are tallying their extra costs. Companies in Brooklyn felt the pain most sharply, since the borough's two main arteries, the Williamsburg Bridge and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, were closed to trucks for three days.

Delays caused overtime to soar, ratcheted up the number of parking tickets, as trucks arrived in Manhattan after most parking regulations kick in, and in some cases resulted in temporary new hires.

Hired help

CitiStorage, for one, hired 12 extra drivers and rented vehicles for them, because its 120 drivers were unable to make their usual two or three trips back and forth into Manhattan.

Norm Brodsky, owner of the $20 million firm, which stores documents for hospitals, law firms and others, plans to keep the new hires through the Republican National Convention because he's convinced that traffic will continue to be a problem. The cost? At least $40,000 for the month of August.

Even CitiStorage's office workers and managers were pressed into duty, hopping into their cars and onto mass transit to deliver smaller packages that were urgently needed. These employees then returned to Brooklyn to finish their regular work, which kept them at the office later. "I haven't seen the overtime bills yet," says Mr. Brodsky.

Stuart Berkowitz, whose Brooklyn company Burke Supply Co. delivers janitorial supplies and food packaging, says that overtime cost him $1,500 each of the three days. "It's a huge extra expense for us," he says. "And it's not like I can pass on this expense to our customers."

Most frustrating for these delivery companies is their inability to plan for such interruptions. They don't begrudge the extra security, but they believe that the city ought to have sustainable measures in place all the time.

Surprisingly, the hospitality industry--a sector usually crippled by these alerts--appears to have escaped a major backlash by tourists this time. Hotels reported only a small number of cancellations early last week. At The Muse in Times Square, just a handful of cancellations came in on Monday.

Still, Francesca Giessmann, director of sales and marketing, noticed on Wednesday that bookings for the weekend were not as strong as usual, only 80% versus nearly sold out. "Probably when the news came, some people decided to wait for things to calm down," she says.

Bad sports

Perhaps the same thinking was at play with people deciding whether to buy tickets to a sporting event in the city. TicketMagic, which sells about $3 million worth of tickets to the U.S. Open, reports that sales were off by about 30% after the terror alert was announced. Jonathan Allen, chief executive of the Milford, Conn.-based company, says that a lot of his business for the tennis tournament is from visitors from outside New York and overseas. "Those are the sales that are off," he says.

For financial institutions like the NYSE and Citigroup, extra security costs are a given. While a memo Citigroup sent to its employees on Aug. 1 stated that extra security measures were being implemented at Citigroup Center, a company spokeswoman declined to comment on the cost to the financial services giant. The building's owner, Boston Properties, also declined to comment on the expense.

Economists say that if these alerts continue to occur, there will be a long-term impact on the city's fiscal health. "Firms will say, `It's more costly to do business here,' and may go elsewhere," says Howard Chernick, a professor of economics at Hunter College and at the City University Graduate Center.

Mr. Agger of Pierless Fish worries that his company's reputation could be harmed because late deliveries put him at odds with his customers. "They told us that we should have left earlier," he says, but points out that there is no one at the restaurants to receive earlier deliveries.

In the meantime, businesses are bracing for the RNC at the end of the month. That's when they expect to be trapped in huge traffic snarls again.

The New York Police Department says its costs could actually go up in the near term, even though it has reopened the Williamsburg Bridge and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to trucks. "It could mean that we need additional officers to check trucks," says an NYPD spokesman.

Though the city may return to some semblance of normalcy after the RNC, most business leaders expect these alerts to be woven into the permanent fabric of life. But knowing this helps people neither to prepare for these disruptions nor to accept them as routine. "It could go on forever," says Mr. Agger, "unless the world becomes a safer place."

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

August 10th, 2004, 07:50 AM
August 10, 2004

U.S. Security Officers Will Take Over Passenger Screening on Helicopter Tours


Liberty Helicopters offers a 15-to-17-minute tour from the West Side that includes a swing across Manhattan over Central Park.

Federal security officers will take over the screening of all passengers on helicopter tours in New York City, after officials found that suspected Qaeda operatives in Pakistan had photographs, a brochure and other information about the tours.

A security directive issued by the Transportation Security Administration orders federal screeners to begin doing passenger inspections in the city's three heliports, a job now done by private security contractors, Mark Hatfield, a spokesman for the agency, said yesterday. Passengers will be subject to the same types of searches for weapons, explosives and suspicious items as are now in place at airports.

The helicopter tour operators will also be required to provide the names of passengers to the federal government to run against federal "no fly'' lists of terrorist suspects and to provide names and data on their own employees for federal background checks. The operators will also have to name a security coordinator, to be available 24 hours a day to respond to federal inquiries.

While federal officials have imposed broad safety measures on the aviation and rail industries since the Sept. 11 attacks, the move to tighten security at New York's heliports marks the first time that they have imposed these types of stepped-up measures at specific sites because of a perceived threat.

Officials said they planned to redeploy federal screeners from other sites to the New York heliports by the end of the week.

As it stands, almost no regulations regarding security procedures exist for the operators of tourist and charter helicopters in New York City, several industry officials said yesterday. "It's basically kind of voluntary right now," said Michael Renz, the owner and chief executive officer of the Analar Corporation, a corporate charter company in Princeton, N.J. "There's no guidelines for us at the moment."

There are three major helicopter companies in New York City catering to tourists: Liberty Helicopters, the largest operator; Helicopter Flight Services; and New York Helicopter, a charter company that only recently entered the business. They use two out of the city's three heliports, one on 30th Street and 12th Avenue and the other off Pier 6 in Lower Manhattan. The city's third heliport, on East 34th Street and Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, does not allow tourism operators.

One law enforcement official said that the security for tourism-oriented operators, especially, clearly could use improvement.

"They're making a business decision - they don't want to slow down what's going on there," the official said about tour operators. "I would say that's the bottom line."

"They want to get as many of those minitours" into the air as they can, the official said.

Many helicopter companies adopted certain measures on their own after Sept. 11, Mr. Renz said. Although his company does not make passengers go through a metal detector, employees now check passengers' luggage before they board and will sometimes call up a special hot line linked with the Newark office of the F.B.I. to check passengers' names against terror watch lists, he said.

"If someone's calling us out of the blue, and they want to see Manhattan, and they have some funny-looking name, we check it out," he said.

On Sunday, Mr. Renz's company flew a group of 14 Muslims, dressed in white robes and skullcaps, from East Brunswick, N.J., to Manhattan and then on to Philadelphia. They were members of Dawoodi Bohras, a Mumbai-based Shiite group with a branch in Queens. It was a "very unusual request," Mr. Renz said, so employees checked the passengers' names with the F.B.I.

Usually, charter companies are dealing with the same companies and passengers over and over, Mr. Renz said, so they are not so vulnerable as the companies that cater mainly to tourists.

Trips with two of the helicopter companies yesterday demonstrated that security procedures vary considerably. At the heliport on the West Side, used by Liberty Helicopters, a police officer and security guard were posted outside, asking for photo identification. Once passengers got inside, they were told to stow all their belongings, except for cameras, in lockers.

Even pens were prohibited, although a reporter got one aboard on a 1:30 p.m. flight because it failed to trigger the metal detector that passengers must walk through. If a passenger tripped the metal detector, an employee stood ready to scan him or her with a hand-held wand.

But at the heliport in Lower Manhattan, operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, passengers for New York Helicopter only had to open their bags for an employee to peek inside and were screened with a hand-held wand.

A reporter who did not identify herself but flew on a 2 p.m. tour had to open her bag and show her photo ID but was not asked to open her makeup bag, wallet or planner.

For a person hovering a thousand feet over the city, it was not difficult to imagine the potential for the helicopters to be used as weapons. Flight routes vary, depending on how much the passengers pay, but all fly by the city's major landmarks. And unlike airplane pilots, those in a helicopter sit shoulder to shoulder with passengers, who often crowd in seven at a time.

On the flight with New York Helicopter, the pilot warned a passenger to "watch out for the pedals," less than six inches from her feet.

For $101 a person, New York Helicopters yesterday offered a 10-minute tour up the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan to Midtown and back. The pilot used his microphone to point out major sights, including ground zero and the Empire State Building. He also made a special mention of the Citicorp Building on the East Side, cited last week as a potential terror target.

For $162, Liberty Helicopters offered a 15-to-17-minute tour yesterday that included a swing across Manhattan over Central Park. Usually, the tour includes a sweep over Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, but flight restrictions related to a game yesterday afternoon prevented the pilot from heading that way.

Any helicopter that flies over Manhattan is required to get in touch with air traffic controllers, said Paul M. Smith, director of safety for Helicopters Inc., based in Linden, N.J. In congested areas - basically all of Manhattan - pilots usually cannot fly below 1,000 feet of the highest building that is within 2,000 feet away. Usually, helicopter pilots, along with those in small planes, do not have to file flight plans, unless they are flying under instrument conditions.

The concerns that prompted the T.S.A. order yesterday grew out of information recovered from a computer discs recently seized from a suspected Qaeda operative in Pakistan - the same batch of information that led federal authorities to raise the threat level back to orange for some financial sectors.

The computer data included written references to some or all of the city's three heliports, photographs and at least one brochure for a helicopter tour operators, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Officials said they were still uncertain when the material was collected.

But in response to the new intelligence, officials put out an alert to law enforcement agencies around the country on Friday.

Jennifer Medina contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 11th, 2004, 07:25 PM
TLC U-turns on limo laws


City officials vowed yesterday to explore tighter controls over the licensing of limousione drivers amid concerns that terrorists could turn cars into powerful bombs.

In response to a Daily News front-page story about holes in the city's screening system, the Taxi and Limousine Commission was considering ways to conduct more thorough background checks on drivers.

"The TLC has consistently sought to obtain more information about its applicants and will continue to work with [the state Division of Criminal Justice Services] and others to explore options to increase the scope of information available," the agency said in a statement.

The TLC's stance appeared to be a reversal from its position a day earlier, when the commission said it was comfortable with its current checks.

The News revealed yesterday that while the TLC completes state background checks on would-be drivers, it does not cross-reference the drivers' names with FBI watch lists.

State officials have the authority to conduct federal background checks, and applicants for civil service jobs in the city and for jobs with the city Education Department already undergo the added level of scrutiny.

But the TLC's security checks do not dig as deep - making it possible for those who are on federal watch lists and have committed crimes in other states to escape detection.

Broadening the TLC screening would require approval from the state Legislature and possibly Congress. The TLC discussed the matter yesterday with state officials.

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg insisted the agency was not back-pedaling.

"More information is always better than less information," he said. "What we have is adequate to the task. But anything can be improved upon."

State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) said The News story was prompting him to draft legislation that would require the more comprehensive background checks.

Gov. Pataki and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) both were reviewing the matter and City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens) pledged yesterday to hold hearings on the TLC security checks.

The FBI warned police late last week that limos could be especially useful to terrorists because they are larger than regular cars and might draw less suspicion than trucks.

The warning grew out of intelligence that terrorists had discussed using limos to bomb the Prudential building in Newark, a law-enforcement source said.

With Greg Gittrich, Joe Mahoney and Michele McPhee
Originally published on August 11, 2004

All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.

December 3rd, 2004, 10:15 AM
December 3, 2004

Bush Set to Name Ex-Chief of Police for Top Security Post


WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 - Bernard B. Kerik, the street-savvy former New York City police commissioner, has been selected by President Bush to replace Tom Ridge as secretary of homeland security, a senior administration official and associates of Mr. Kerik said Thursday.

Mr. Kerik has been offered the job, created after the Sept. 11 attacks that hit New York and the Pentagon and took a significant toll on the city's fire department and his police force, and has accepted, the associates said. The senior administration official said the formal announcement would be made Friday.

Word of his selection came on another busy day of comings and goings in the administration as Mr. Bush remakes his team for a second term. The president nominated Mike Johanns, the governor of Nebraska, to be agriculture secretary, replacing Ann M. Veneman, who resigned last month.

John C. Danforth, the United States delegate to the United Nations, disclosed that he would step down after only six months in the job, citing personal reasons.

In addition, a Republican with ties to the White House said he expected Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, to announce his resignation within days, with Mr. Thompson most likely to be replaced by Mark B. McClellan, the administrator of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Mr. Thompson would be the eighth cabinet secretary to leave since Election Day, part of what has become a wholesale reshaping of the administration and an effort by Mr. Bush to rejuvenate its ranks for policy and political battles in the next four years.

Assuming he is confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Kerik would take on the job of running the Department of Homeland Security, established by Congress two years ago out of 22 existing agencies to bolster domestic defenses against terrorism.

Mr. Ridge, who announced Tuesday that he intended to step down by Feb. 1, was widely credited with getting the department up and running and beginning to focus its 180,000 employees more intently on improving security.

But many Democrats and some outside analysts said Mr. Ridge had not done enough to fight for bigger budgets or to secure chemical and nuclear plants and ports. During Mr. Ridge's tenure, the administration frequently came under criticism from the New York Congressional delegation and elected officials from other parts of the country for not allocating money for security projects where it was needed most. Mr. Kerik's selection was welcomed by elected officials from New York.

Mr. Kerik, 49, is a sharp departure from the usual button-downed mold of Bush appointees.

He dropped out of high school, enlisted in the Army and worked as a private security guard in Saudi Arabia and a jail warden in Passaic County, N.J. In 1985, he joined the New York City Police Department, becoming an undercover narcotics officer who sported a ponytail and diamond earrings when he worked the streets. He went on to run the New York City Correction Department, where he established a reputation as an energetic reformer, before taking over as police commissioner in 2000.

After helping to oversee the city's response to the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, he left office a few months later, at the end of Rudolph W. Giuliani's second term as mayor, and went to Iraq last year at the behest of the White House to help the Iraqis set up a security force.

Now a partner in Mr. Giuliani's consulting firm, Mr. Kerik campaigned this year for Mr. Bush. A spokeswoman for the firm said Mr. Kerik was not available for comment.

In an autobiography published in 2001, Mr. Kerik recounted being abandoned by his mother as a young boy and learning much later that she had been a prostitute who died in an apparent homicide. In recent months he has toyed with the idea of running for governor of his native New Jersey, an idea he had to abandon because he did not meet the seven-year residency requirement. More recently he has been promoted by some Republicans as a candidate for the United States Senate from New Jersey.

The senior administration official said that Mr. Bush found Mr. Kerik to be an attractive choice because of his professional experience and that the president also admired him as a self-made man and liked his forthright style.

"The president has gotten to know him very well over the past few years and has great trust in him," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because Mr. Bush has yet to make his decision public. "He's overseen a large law enforcement organization and transformed it. He has first-hand experience with first responders and their needs, and that will be invaluable in working with state and local governments."

Members of New York's Congressional delegation praised Mr. Kerik's selection.

"If there were ever a state that deserved to have one of its citizens appointed head of homeland security it's New York," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat, who spoke with Mr. Kerik on Thursday night to congratulate him. "New York should always be the focal point of homeland security activities, and Bernie Kerik is a tried and true New Yorker who understands our city, our state, our problems and our needs. We look forward to working with him to bring greater help in terms of dollars and security for New York."

Mr. Kerik also spoke Thursday night to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who issued a statement saying he knew the needs of New York and other areas at most risk of terrorist attack and could "ensure that homeland security funds be allocated based on threat, risk and other factors recommended by the 9/11 Commission."

Mr. Kerik is likely to confront turnover in the top ranks of the department. A Republican official said Asa Hutchinson, the undersecretary for border and transportation security and a former Republican member of Congress, had decided to return to politics, to run for governor in Arkansas, his home state, in 2006.

In selecting Mr. Johann as agriculture secretary, Mr. Bush chose a conservative farm state governor who will probably win easy confirmation in the Senate.

Mr. Johanns, 54, grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa, was a Democrat until 1988 and supports the administration's push for lower taxes and freer trade in farm products.

"He will bring to this position a lifetime of involvement in agriculture and a long record of a faithful friend to America's farmers and ranchers," Mr. Bush said in announcing his choice Thursday morning in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

Mr. Johanns got the job only after Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's senior adviser, first dangled it before Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, a Democrat who has voted with the administration on many issues in the past.

People familiar with the episode said Mr. Rove had called Mr. Nelson in mid-November and asked if he would be interested in the job. The following week, Mr. Nelson, who at that point seemed to face a challenge for his seat in 2006 from Mr. Johanns, told Mr. Rove he was not interested.

The White House is counting on moderate Democrats like Mr. Nelson to help Mr. Bush on issues like tax cuts, overhauling Social Security and making appointments to the Supreme Court. And in wooing Mr. Nelson for the agriculture job, and then ridding him of his main Republican challenger, the administration may have bound itself even closer to the Democratic senator.

Mr. Johanns is likely to face an array of challenges in his new job. Among the first, Congressional aides said, is pressing Japan and other Asian nations to drop a ban on American beef imposed after an isolated case of mad cow disease last year. More broadly, Mr. Johanns will have to manage farm policy at a time when the United States has agreed in principle with other nations to reduce subsidies paid by developed nations to their farmers as part of a proposed global trade pact that would open up new markets for agricultural products from both rich and poor nations.

"I do feel that those years on that dairy farm did much to define who I am as a person," Mr. Johanns said after being introduced by Mr. Bush.

Environmental and consumer groups called on Mr. Johanns to protect the interests of constituencies beyond big farmers.

The Consumer Federation of America urged him to concentrate on food safety and child nutrition programs. The Center for Science in the Public Interest asked him to focus on improving the healthiness and nutritional value of school lunches, to encourage access to fruits and vegetables through programs for low-income people and to tighten food safety standards.

Richard W. Stevenson reported from Washington for this article, and Christopher Drew from New York. Jim Dwyer and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York, and Eric Lichtblau from Washington.

December 3, 2004

A Street Cop's Rise From High School Dropout to Cabinet Nominee


This article was reported by Kevin Flynn, William K. Rashbaum, Eric Lipton and Christopher Drew and written by Mr. Drew.

When the second jet crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Bernard B. Kerik, the New York City police commissioner, was standing a block away, shouting evacuation orders through the torrent of debris. For the man in charge of protecting New York, he wrote later, that moment "was unimaginable."

So was Mr. Kerik's personal trajectory. The high school dropout and onetime street cop and undercover narcotics detective was serving as the third police commissioner of a lame-duck mayor that morning. But in the aftermath of the attack, Mr. Kerik, like Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, was thrust squarely into the national spotlight.

He caught the attention of President Bush, who sent Mr. Kerik to Iraq to create a police force after the invasion, gave him a speaking role at the Republican National Convention and is expected to nominate him today as the next secretary of homeland security.

Mr. Kerik's rise from a harsh upbringing to likely Cabinet nominee has much to do with his powerful patron, Mr. Giuliani, whom he first served as a bodyguard. Along the way, Mr. Kerik has developed a reputation as a tough-talking, sometimes coarse law enforcer who rarely stands on ceremony. He is known as a relentless boss who likes to shake up the status quo and toss out subordinates he considers slackers.

When Mr. Kerik was appointed to a top job in the New York City Department of Correction in the mid-1990's, one official told the department's commissioner: "Congratulations. You've just hired Rambo."

His style is likely to contrast with that of Tom Ridge, the first head of the department, who was widely seen as diligent, but who critics said was not hard-charging enough to cut through the turf battles that hamper the effort to meld 22 agencies into one domestic security department.

But running Homeland Security - the largest federal department created since the Defense Department in 1949 - also goes far beyond anything Mr. Kerik has done. If confirmed, he will oversee security of the nation's borders, ports and airports and will be in charge of the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, customs and much of the immigration service, and there are bound to be questions about how he can handle such an immense job.

Mr. Kerik, who declared bankruptcy as a young police officer, also could face questions about how he made millions of dollars since leaving city government, mainly through his partnership in a consulting firm led by Mr. Giuliani. Most recently, he sold $5.8 million of stock in a company that makes stun guns used by many police forces.

As police commissioner, he had less than friendly relations with the F.B.I., and occasionally was criticized for his use of power. In writing his memoirs, which touched on 9/11 and detailed his abandonment by his mother, who was a prostitute, he used police officers to conduct research, a move that earned him a $2,500 fine from the city's Conflicts of Interest Board. He was also once accused of dispatching homicide investigators to question and fingerprint several Fox News employees whom his publisher, Judith Regan, apparently suspected of stealing her cellphone and necklace.

In the last few years, Mr. Kerik, 49, has spoken broadly about the lessons of Sept. 11 and the kind of response that terrorism requires.

In an interview earlier this year, he said that one of his most important experiences in Iraq was "to see the hatred for the United States and what certain elements out there thought of the U.S. and how dangerous it could be."

He added that many "say that we have to sort of put 9/11 behind us, move on."

"You can't put it behind us," he said, "and you can't forget about it. Because if and when you do, they're going to come back."

Mr. Kerik, whose wife, Hala, was born in Syria, also spent time in the Middle East in the early 1980's, when he was security chief for the royal family's hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

That was just one of many stops in Mr. Kerik's journey, which began in rough-and-tumble neighborhoods in Newark, Paterson and in Ohio, where his mother abandoned the family when he was 2 years old.

In his autobiography, "The Lost Son," Mr. Kerik wrote that he learned only in researching the book in 2001 that his mother had been a prostitute and that she died from a severe blow to the head, possibly murdered by her pimp.

He also wrote that as he got older, he had a "flair for truancy" and dropped out of high school to join the Army, where he became a military policeman and martial arts specialist, and finished work on his general equivalency diploma. He also wrote that when he was stationed in Korea, he fathered a child out of wedlock. By his early 30's, he was making $50,000 a year as a jail warden in Passaic County, N.J., but he gave that up to pursue a long-time dream: a chance to become a New York street cop, at just over half that pay.

He later became a highly decorated undercover narcotics detective and then, after befriending Mr. Giuliani during a mayoral campaign, he was appointed to a series of jobs at the city's Correction Department.

At that department, where he was commissioner from 1998 to 2000, he and other officials used an array of tools and tactics, including a huge SWAT team and electric stun shields, to reduce slashings and stabbings among inmates by more than 90 percent.

Mr. Kerik then served as Mr. Giuliani's police commissioner for 16 months, a tenure largely dominated by the attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

During the last 12 months of his term, violent crime in New York City registered its biggest drop in five years, a decline that came as the rates of violent crime in many other cities started to increase and when many thought the city's crime rate could go no lower. Across the city, both violent crime and overall crime fell by more than 12 percent.

Mr. Kerik took over a department that was viewed with increasing hostility in the city's minority neighborhoods. He quickly began visiting church and other community leaders and worked to mend the frayed ties.

Mr. Kerik also liked to talk about the management principles he picked up through his reading, but his style as a police executive was largely influenced by his affinity for personal loyalty, his straight-ahead manner and a taste for instinctive decisions.

"I'm not big on doing things that are a waste of time," Mr. Kerik said in an interview in 2001. "'If it's a waste of time, get rid of it. If it's a bad manager, get rid of them."

With his massive neck and bodyguard's physique, Mr. Kerik never looked much like a paper pusher, even on days when he would open his briefcase to show off the papers he was writing for his mail-order bachelor's degree, which he finally earned from Empire State College in New York in 2002.

Before the Sept. 11 attacks and in the days afterward, Mr. Kerik was critical of the level of sharing of intelligence by federal agencies, particularly the F.B.I., and his comments presaged the sort of intelligence critique later leveled by the 9/11 Commission. That kind of criticism made him few friends, however, among some federal law enforcement officials, including some with whom he will have to work if he is confirmed.

After the attacks, he appeared before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee and said, "Local police forces are on the front line, and are uniquely situated to gather information which, when coupled with federal intelligence, can not only solve cases but, much more important, prevent attacks from occurring."

The Police Department lost 23 officers on Sept. 11, the most ever in a single day. Mr. Kerik slept in his office for weeks afterward, supervising patrols and coordinating with federal and state agencies. The department also found itself facing an entirely new mission, with a need to help pioneer bioterror and other defenses.

In 2002, after Mr. Giuliani's term as mayor ended, Mr. Kerik joined him in forming Giuliani Partners, a business consulting firm.

Part of Mr. Kerik's job was as one of the firm's very public faces, speaking at events around the United States on topics ranging from how real estate executives can better protect their office buildings to disaster readiness tips for local government officials in suburban New York.

In the presentations, Mr. Kerik typically focused on New York City's response to the terrorist attack, or on its efforts to reduce crime. But his appearances were often sponsored by companies that were selling just the kinds of products that the former police commissioner was indirectly promoting, like Nextel, the cellular phone company that many police and fire departments use.

After the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mr. Kerik took a four-month leave from the lucrative firm to go to Baghdad at President Bush's request and help set up Iraq's new national police force. He left just as the insurgency was expanding there and bombings were becoming common.

Mr. Kerik has also served on the board of directors of Taser, a company that makes stun guns used by police departments. Critics claim that at least 50 people have died since 2001 after being shocked, though the company says there is scant evidence for that claim.

Nonetheless, its stock has soared as the use of the devices has spread. And company filings show that Mr. Kerik recently exercised options he had received as a director and sold $5.8 million of its stock.

When news of Mr. Kerik's appointment began spreading yesterday, former city officials predicted he would take on the sprawling homeland security bureaucracy with his customary energy and directness.

"He liked getting up at 2 a.m. and making a surprise visit at one of the jails," said Michael P. Jacobson, a former correction commissioner whom Mr. Kerik served as a deputy for several years.

"He won't have any problem knocking heads with federal bureaucrats, and some of that is for the good," said John F. Timoney, chief of the Miami Police Department, who served in New York City.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

December 5th, 2004, 08:40 AM
December 5, 2004

For Kerik, a Blunt New Yorker, a Complex Washington Task


This article was reported and written by Kevin Flynn, Christopher Drew and William K. Rashbaum.

Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik looked out at the commanders assembled in his office. He had heard enough. New York City lawmakers were complaining that it was taking too long, 12 minutes, for patrol cars to respond to reported crimes. Mr. Kerik ordered the commanders to deliver a blunt message to the rest of the force: Every crime scene had to be reached within eight minutes, or he wanted an explanation from the precinct commander.

Within a few weeks of that warning in 2001, the average police response time fell by more than a minute, and Mr. Kerik saw it as another reason to trust the simple management principles that he had long relied on.

Accountability counts. Time is not to be wasted. "What gets measured, gets done," Mr. Kerik said in an interview that year.

Those principles guided Mr. Kerik as a municipal manager in New York, where he ran a jail system in which violence plunged and a police force that curbed crime.

But as he approaches the job of federal Homeland Security secretary, the task before him is exceedingly more complex. The department he has been nominated to lead was created by a shotgun marriage of 22 government agencies in the wake of 9/11 and has nearly four times as many employees as the New York Police Department. It has an evolving mission, a budget nearly the size of that of the entire City of New York and a bureaucracy rife with infighting. Already, some are questioning whether that unwieldy structure can be tamed by a man who operated most comfortably within the ordered world of paramilitary organizations.

"He has some great challenges," said Thomas Reppetto, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, a group that monitors police policies in New York. Mr. Reppetto said Mr. Kerik has shown an ability to meet challenges, but as he noted, "Homeland Security is not the N.Y.P.D. Washington is not New York. The N.Y.P.D. is a 160-year-old agency with great traditions. Its members have a common identity. Homeland Security is two years old. There are 180,000 people in 22 separate agencies and they have completely diverse tasks, from screening airport passengers to guarding the president of the United States."

Experts say it will take creativity to meld the department's disparate fiefs. Mr. Kerik, a former street cop and undercover drug detective, was able to establish a bond with police and correction officers under his command by showing up on the beat or at jails without fanfare. In his new role, that background may give him common ground with local law enforcement officers who have complained about lack of cooperation with Washington, but he may have a more difficult time rallying some of the department's employees whose resistance to change has often thwarted the departing Homeland Security secretary, Tom Ridge.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Kerik's patron in government and business, said people have long underestimated the one-time street cop. "He was always doing better than even I thought he would do," Mr. Giuliani said.

If any stretch of Mr. Kerik's career resembles the uncharted management challenge he now faces, it is the three and a half months he spent in Iraq in 2003, at President Bush's request, trying to build a police force. He had hoped to use his familiar statistical measures and tactics, associates said, but he found the situation too chaotic and violent.

He won praise for rebuilding police offices, inspiring recruits and visiting dangerous areas. But others criticize Mr. Kerik for seeming to focus more on seeking publicity than meeting goals like expanding training programs for new Iraqi police officers.

"He was terrific about inspiring people and creating a goal, but he was often not very good about following up and getting it done," said one former American official who spent time in Baghdad and asked not to be identified because he still had dealings with the administration. Mr. Kerik left to return to the United States just one day before insurgents blew up the Iraqi Police Academy, at a time he had been scheduled to speak.

Mr. Bush, in nominating Mr. Kerik for the Homeland Security post, called him "one of the most accomplished and effective leaders of law enforcement in America" and read a list of Mr. Kerik's jobs, omitting his stint in Iraq. Mr. Kerik's law enforcement career contrasts with the political background of Mr. Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania.

"I don't think we really know what the qualifications are for the chief of Homeland Security," said Jerome H. Skolnick, a New York University law professor who is an expert on police practices. "Certainly the administration first thought being a governor gave you the qualifications. This time we have somebody who's been the lead executive of what is probably the chief police department in the western world. My own sense is that it is a better qualification than being a governor. But it all depends on the person and the personality."

In the 1990's, Mr. Kerik thrived on the hard-nosed management style that pervaded the Giuliani administration. As correction commissioner he ordered subordinates to meetings on short notice where he grilled them on their operations. Mr. Kerik hurled the questions while sitting on a raised platform. Several managers who failed to supply the correct answers were swiftly replaced.

He was also credited with cutting violence on Rikers Island, partly by using simple innovations like clamping some inmates' hands in footlong protective tubes to keep them from wielding razor blades.

Mr. Kerik's 16-month tenure at the Police Department, which included Sept. 11, was marked by declining crime, improved community relations and a rise in morale that had been sapped by pay disputes, and the lingering cloud from the police torture of Abner Louima and the police shooting of Amadou Diallo, which occurred before he took office.

Mr. Kerik's steely resolve in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center earned him respect, but there has also been considerable criticism of the lack of coordination between the police and firefighters that day. Mr. Kerik has defended the efforts as the best that could have been done under the circumstances.

Overall, it remains unclear how much of Mr. Kerik's success as a crime-fighter stemmed from his skill and how much from policies set up by Mr. Giuliani and his previous police commissioners.

"Most of the crime strategies had been developed by Bratton and Giuliani," Mr. Skolnick said, referring to Mr. Giuliani's first police commissioner, William Bratton. "So he did not have that much to do with that. But his greatest success was to realize that the department's relations with minority groups had been hurt by the Louima and Diallo affairs, and he went out of his way to develop positive relationships with those communities."

Mr. Kerik's allies point out that he revamped the police Intelligence Division, dropping barriers to the sharing of information, fashioned a new program to bolster community relations and ordered renovations to decrepit police stations.

Among those officials Mr. Kerik dismissed when he became commissioner was the department's budget director, who Mr. Kerik said had not moved quickly enough to rectify problems he wanted solved. The man was quickly rehired by Mr. Kerik's successor, Raymond W. Kelly, when he took over the department in 2002.

In his autobiography, "The Lost Son," Mr. Kerik recounts the time he told his first deputy, Joseph Dunne, that he "was sending someone to interview for the job of management and budget."

"Joe asked if I was going to get rid of the guy in that job. 'I already did,' I said."

The move typified Mr. Kerik's management style, described as decisive by some and impulsive by others.

Mr. Kerik's supporters say it is a mistake to view him as a person who makes snap decisions. In fact, Mr. Kerik has often expressed confidence in his skills as a management analyst. He often refers to lessons he learned from management guidebooks, and is a devotee of performance indicators, which he used to gauge everything from sick time to progress in community relations.

Among some police executives who have come to believe that advanced degrees are prerequisites to promotion into the upper tiers of law enforcement, Mr. Kerik's rise to a cabinet position with a general equivalency high school diploma and a mail-order college degree seems startling.

One law enforcement official who worked with Mr. Kerik in the past and declined to be identified because he may do so again, said he could point to no evidence that Mr. Kerik ever had any large vision for the Police Department. "I never saw it," he said.

But others saw Mr. Kerik's high energy and considerable bluster as charismatic. He would show up at a jail in the middle of the night or visit with a police detail in Times Square to see how things were going. The rank and file often spoke of Mr. Kerik as one of their own, and he would hug officers or whisper in their ears as they passed by him on stage during promotion ceremonies.

While Mr. Kerik often said he promoted employees based on performance, several current and former police officials say that Mr. Kerik, who has advanced in part because of his fierce personal loyalty to Mr. Giuliani, was more likely than his predecessors to reward friends and those he knew.

Norman Siegel, a civil rights lawyer, said Mr. Kerik threatened to retaliate against employees who he believed were disloyal. Mr. Siegel, who sued the Correction Department on their behalf, said loyalty trumped merit in the department. "The United States Senate must take a hard look at Bernard Kerik's past management and leadership," he said.

Mr. Kerik's toughest management challenge began in May 2003 when he took a leave from the management consulting firm where he is a partner with Mr. Giuliani and went to Baghdad to re-establish the Iraqi police force. People involved in the effort said most policemen had abandoned their posts, and nearly all the police stations had been burned or looted.

Mr. Kerik and a small team of advisers were supposed to recruit and equip a new force and run other parts of the interior ministry, like customs and immigration services, until Iraqi officials could appoint a new interior minister.

Some critics wonder whether he agreed to go to Iraq partly to gain favor with the Bush administration. But James Steele, a retired Army colonel who advised the Iraqi police, said Mr. Kerik worked hard "to show that the police had some capability and to get them out in the streets."

Thousands of police officers were recruited during his time in Iraq, and Colonel Steele said he and Mr. Kerik assembled a 25-man SWAT team to go after kidnappers and insurgents.

Mr. Kerik tangled at times with American military leaders, associates said. He vetoed a military officer's recommendation to give the nation's top police job to an Iraqi who had once been filmed taking a blood-oath to Saddam Hussein, said Ahmed Ibrahim, who later became chief of Iraq's national police force.

Mr. Kerik has said that a shortage of American aid limited the training that could be done then. He left Iraq in September 2003, when Iraqi officials named a new interior minister.

Colonel Steele said despite Mr. Kerik's accomplishments, the rise of the insurgency after Mr. Kerik left Iraq "went beyond what any police force could handle."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

February 17th, 2005, 12:28 AM

War Helps Recruit Terrorists, Hill Told

Intelligence Officials Talk Of Growing Insurgency

By Dana Priest and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, February 17, 2005

The insurgency in Iraq continues to baffle the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top U.S. national security officials told Congress yesterday.

"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism," he said. "They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries."

On a day when the top half-dozen U.S. national security and intelligence officials went to Capitol Hill to talk about the continued determination of terrorists to strike the United States, their statements underscored the unintended consequences of the war in Iraq.

"The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists," Goss said in his first public testimony since taking over the CIA. Goss said Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist who has joined al Qaeda since the U.S. invasion, "hopes to establish a safe haven in Iraq" from which he could operate against Western nations and moderate Muslim governments.

"Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment," Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate panel. "Overwhelming majorities in Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia believe the U.S. has a negative policy toward the Arab world."

Jacoby said the Iraq insurgency has grown "in size and complexity over the past year" and is now mounting an average of 60 attacks per day, up from 25 last year. Attacks on Iraq's election day last month reached 300, he said, double the previous one-day high of 150, even though transportation was virtually locked down.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee that he has trouble believing any of the estimates of the number of insurgents because it is so difficult to track them.

Rumsfeld said that the CIA and DIA had differing assessments at different times but that U.S. intelligence estimates of the insurgency are "considerably lower" than a recent Iraqi intelligence report of 40,000 hard-core insurgents and 200,000 part-time fighters. Rumsfeld told Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), the committee's ranking Democrat, that he had copies of the CIA and DIA estimates but declined to disclose them in a public session because they are classified.

"My job in the government is not to be the principal intelligence officer and try to rationalize differences between the Iraqis, the CIA and the DIA," Rumsfeld testified. "I see these reports. Frankly, I don't have a lot of confidence in any of them."

After the hearing, Rumsfeld told reporters that he did not mean to be "dismissive" of the intelligence reports.

"People are doing the best that can be done, and the fact is that people disagree," he said. ". . . It's not clear to me that the number is the overriding important thing."

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House panel that the extremists associated with al Qaeda and Zarqawi represent "a fairly small percentage of the total number of insurgents."

Sunni Arabs, dominated by former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, "comprise the core of the insurgency" and continue to provide "funds and guidance across family, tribal, religious and peer-group lines," Jacoby said.

Foreign fighters "are a small component of the insurgency," and Syrian, Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian and Iranian nationals make up the majority of foreign fighters, he said.

On terrorism, Goss, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and the acting deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security reiterated their belief that al Qaeda and other jihadist groups intend to strike the United States but offered no new information about the threat.

"It may be only a matter of time before al Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons," Goss said.

Tom Fingar, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, submitted a written statement that said: "We have seen no persuasive evidence that al-Qaida has obtained fissile material or ever has had a serious and sustained program to do so. At worst, the group possesses small amounts of radiological material that could be used to fabricate a radiological dispersion device," or dirty bomb.

Mueller, whose bureau has the lead in finding and apprehending terrorists in the United States, said his top concern is "the threat from covert operatives who may be inside the U.S." and said finding them is the FBI's top priority. But he said they have been unable to do so.

"I remain very concerned about what we are not seeing," Mueller said.

"Whether we are talking about a true sleeper operative who has been in place for years, waiting to be activated to conduct an attack, or a recently deployed operative that has entered the U.S. to facilitate or conduct an attack, we are continuously adapting our methods to reflect newly received intelligence and to ensure we are as proactive and as targeted as we can be in detecting their presence," he said.

Mueller said transportation systems and nuclear power plants remain key al Qaeda targets.

James Loy, acting deputy secretary of homeland security, agreed. In a written statement, he said that despite the efforts of the U.S. intelligence community and his department, and advances in information sharing, technology and organization, "any attack of any kind could occur at any time."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

February 17th, 2005, 08:47 AM
Yet another reason for why going into Iraq was a mistake.

February 17th, 2005, 09:46 AM
Only politicians can spin old and obvious information into a revelation.

February 19th, 2005, 11:43 PM
February 20, 2005


Our Unnecessary Insecurity

http://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/qs.gifept. 11 changed everything," the saying goes. It is striking, however, how much has not changed in the three and a half years since nearly 3,000 people were killed on American soil. The nation's chemical plants are still a horrific accident waiting to happen. Nuclear material that could be made into a "dirty bomb," or even a nuclear device, and set off in an American city remains too accessible to terrorists. Critical tasks, from inspecting shipping containers to upgrading defenses against biological weapons, are being done poorly or not at all.

Costly as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were in lives, the death toll from a chemical, biological or nuclear attack could be far, far greater. A nation as open and complex as ours can never be totally safe from such dangers. But there is a great deal that can be done, without compromising our basic liberties, to eliminate obvious openings for terrorist attacks.

The biggest obstacles to making the nation safer have been lack of political will and failure to carry out the most effective policies. The Bush administration and Congress have been reluctant to provide the necessary money - even while they are furiously reducing revenue with tax cuts. The funds that are available are often misdirected. And Washington has caved to pressure from interest groups, like the chemical industry, that have fought increased security measures.

Most of all, the government has failed to lay out a broad strategy for making the nation more secure. Among the most troubling vulnerabilities that have yet to be seriously addressed:

Chemical Plants After Sept. 11, the Environmental Protection Agency identified 123 chemical plants that could, in a worst-case attack, endanger one million or more people. There is an urgent need for greater action to protect them. But the chemical industry, a major Bush-Cheney campaign contributor, has bitterly fought needed safeguards. In her recent book "It's My Party Too," the former administrator of the E.P.A., Christie Whitman, said that chemical industry lobbyists thwarted the reasonable safety rules that she and the Department of Homeland Security tried to impose.

Nuclear Materials A nuclear attack in an American city is the ultimate nightmare. The desire, on the part of the terrorists, is there: Osama bin Laden has declared acquisition of nuclear weapons to be a religious duty. Fortunately, there are considerable logistical and technological hurdles to terrorists' setting off a nuclear device. But it is far from impossible, and a so-called dirty bomb, which disperses radioactive material without a nuclear explosion, could be less of a challenge to make. The key to prevention is identifying and securing nuclear weapons and materials, especially in the former Soviet Union.

Nuclear Power Plants There are more than 100 nuclear reactors producing energy in the United States. Many of them are in heavily populated areas. Some may be vulnerable to a suicide attack from the air, particularly if a plane managed to crack the wall around the pool of spent fuel, causing a fire that would send clouds of toxic gas into the atmosphere. Setting off a truck bomb could also have a devastating effect. While the plants are protected by armed guards, not all of those teams are of the highest quality. If the government can federalize airport luggage checkers, it should be able to provide the same consistency to security around nuclear power plants.

Port Security One of the greatest threats to national security is the possibility that a weapon of mass destruction could be smuggled in on one of the millions of shipping containers that arrive from overseas every year. The government is doing more than it once did to inspect these containers, but there is still far too little money and manpower devoted to this crucial task.

Hazardous Waste Transport Millions of tons of highly toxic chemicals and nuclear waste are shipped by railroad and truck, much of it through or near densely populated areas. The District of Columbia Council recently adopted a temporary ban on such shipments after a Naval Research Laboratory scientist warned that if a 90-ton tanker car carrying chlorine crashed during a Fourth of July celebration at the National Mall, it could kill 100,000 people in 30 minutes. But it makes no sense that one municipality is protecting itself against a worst-case situation while in other parts of the country, regulation of the transport of hazardous materials remains woefully inadequate.

Bioterrorism The anthrax attacks of the fall of 2001 only began to suggest the devastating power of biological weapons. While officials are all too aware of the mortality rate that would follow an attack with weapons-grade anthrax, smallpox or plague, controls are still spotty. Lethal pathogens are too often stored in insecure laboratories.

Given these serious gaps, it is disturbing to see limited resources used as inefficiently as they have been. Fighting the last war, the Bush administration is devoting far too great a proportion of domestic security spending to preventing the hijacking of commercial aircraft. For a long time, it engaged in a draconian crackdown on academic visas, while the nation's borders - the likeliest entry points for future terrorists - remained as porous as ever. And with the stakes literally life or death, the pork-barrel politics that have controlled domestic security funds - giving Wyoming more per capita than New Jersey - are simply unconscionable.

While the administration does too little on one hand, it overreacts on the other, and seems oblivious to how its excesses are actually making America less safe. The abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the refusal to abide by either international law or basic constitutional principles do little to protect the nation, but make it harder for us to enlist much-needed allies, and provide powerful talking points for terrorist recruiting drives.

Many Americans have a false sense of security because there has not been a terrorist assault in the United States since the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon were attacked. But that may have less to do with terrorists' intents than their timeline. Eight years went by between the 1993 attack that failed to bring down the World Trade Center and the one that finally did.

Looking back, we feel a natural frustration at all the warning signs that were ignored before Sept. 11. There is now a wide array of government reports, private studies and even best-selling books alerting us to remaining vulnerabilities. If the United States is hit by another attack at one of those points, we will have only ourselves to blame.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

March 14th, 2005, 07:00 PM
March 14, 2005

Government Report on U.S. Aviation Warns of Security Holes

By ERIC LICHTBLAU (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=ERIC LICHTBLAU&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=ERIC LICHTBLAU&inline=nyt-per)
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/w.gifASHINGTON, March 13 - Despite a huge investment in security, the American aviation system remains vulnerable to attack by Al Qaeda and other jihadist terrorist groups, with noncommercial planes and helicopters offering terrorists particularly tempting targets, a confidential government report concludes.

Intelligence indicates that Al Qaeda may have discussed plans to hijack chartered planes, helicopters and other general aviation aircraft for attacks because they are less well-guarded than commercial airliners, according to a previously undisclosed 24-page special assessment on aviation security by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security two weeks ago.

But commercial airliners are also "likely to remain a target and a platform for terrorists," the report says, and members of Al Qaeda appear determined to study and test new American security measures to "uncover weaknesses."

The assessment comes as the Bush administration, with a new intelligence structure and many new counterterrorism leaders in place, is taking stock of terrorists' capabilities and of the country's ability to defend itself.

While Homeland Security and the F.B.I. routinely put out advisories on aviation issues, the special joint assessment is an effort to give a broader picture of the state of knowledge of all issues affecting aviation security, officials said.

The analysis appears to rely on intelligence gathered from sources overseas and elsewhere about Al Qaeda and other jihadist and Islamic-based terrorist groups.

A separate report issued last month by Homeland Security concluded that developing a clear framework for prioritizing possible targets - a task many Democrats say has lagged - is critical because "it is impossible to protect all of the infrastructure sectors equally across the entire United States."

The aviation sector has received the majority of domestic security investments since the Sept. 11 attacks, with more than $12 billion spent on upgrades like devices to detect explosives, armored cockpit doors, federalized air screeners and additional air marshals.

Indeed, some members of Congress and security experts now consider airplanes to be so well fortified that they say it is time to shift resources to other vulnerable sectors, like ports and power plants.

In the area of rail safety, for instance, Democrats are pushing a $1.1 billion plan to plug what they see as glaring vulnerabilities. "This is a disaster waiting to happen," Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, said last week at a Senate hearing marking the one-year anniversary of the deadly train bombings in Madrid.

Still, the new aviation assessment, examining dozens of airline incidents both before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, makes clear that counterterrorism officials still consider the aviation industry to be perhaps the prime target for another major attack because of the spectacular nature of such strikes.

The assessment, which showed that the F.B.I. handled more than 500 criminal investigations involving aircraft in 2003, will likely serve as a guide for considering further security restrictions in general aviation and other areas considered particularly vulnerable, the officials said.

The report, dated Feb. 25, was distributed internally to federal and state counterterrorism and aviation officials, and a copy was obtained by The Times. It warns that security upgrades since the Sept. 11 attacks have "reduced, but not eliminated" the prospect of similar attacks.

"Spectacular terrorist attacks can generate an outpouring of support for the perpetrators from sympathizers and terrorism sponsors with similar agendas," the report said. "The public fear resulting from a terrorist hijacking or aircraft bombing also serves as a powerful motivator for groups seeking to further their causes."

The report detailed particular vulnerabilities in what it called "the largely unregulated" area of general aviation, which includes corporate jets, private planes and other unscheduled aircraft.

"As security measures improve at large commercial airports, terrorists may choose to rent or steal general aviation aircraft housed at small airports with little or no security," the report said.

The report also said that Al Qaeda "has apparently considered the use of helicopters as an alternative to recruiting operatives for fixed-wing aircraft operations." The maneuverability and "nonthreatening appearance" of helicopters, even when flying at low altitudes above urban areas, make them attractive targets for terrorists to conduct suicide attacks on landmarks or to spray toxins below, the report said.

The assessment does not identify who might be in a position to carry out such domestic attacks.

While law enforcement officials have spoken repeatedly about their concerns over so-called sleeper cells operating within the United States, a separate F.B.I. report first disclosed last week by ABC News indicated that evidence pointing to the existence of such cells was inconclusive.

The question of how well the government is protecting airline travelers surfaced again last month after the disclosure in a Sept. 11 commission investigation that in the months leading up to the attack, federal officials received 52 warnings about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, some warning specifically about hijackings and suicide operations.

Federal officials now say they have taken a number of steps to tighten security for helicopters, chartered flights and the like in response to perceived threats, as they did last August in temporarily ordering federal security guards and tougher screening for helicopter tours in the New York City area.

Rear Adm. David M. Stone, an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security who oversees the Transportation Security Administration, said that "the report validates T.S.A.'s sense of urgency in our daily efforts to secure aviation, and that same sense of urgency can be found in our work securing every other mode of transportation."

The report also sought to codify the various responsibilities for aviation security in the increasingly complex labyrinth of federal agencies, and it examined 33 terrorist plots against airplanes inside and out of the United States over the years.

Of the more than 500 criminal cases involving aircraft handled by the F.B.I. in 2003, two were hijackings in the United States involving flights from Cuba that landed in Florida. More than 300 episodes involved undeclared weapons or other problems at screening and security checkpoints, while 175 cases were triggered by on-board interference or threats against crew members, often involving alcohol.

In one case, a passenger sprayed perfume at a flight attendant "in a hostile manner," the report said.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

March 16th, 2005, 07:29 AM
March 16, 2005

U.S. Report Lists Possibilities for Terrorist Attacks and Likely Toll

By ERIC LIPTON (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=ERIC LIPTON&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=ERIC LIPTON&inline=nyt-per)
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/w.gifASHINGTON, March 15 - The Department of Homeland Security, trying to focus antiterrorism spending better nationwide, has identified a dozen possible strikes it views as most plausible or devastating, including detonation of a nuclear device in a major city, release of sarin nerve agent in office buildings and a truck bombing of a sports arena.

The document, known simply as the National Planning Scenarios, reads more like a doomsday plan, offering estimates of the probable deaths and economic damage caused by each type of attack.

They include blowing up a chlorine tank, killing 17,500 people and injuring more than 100,000; spreading pneumonic plague in the bathrooms of an airport, sports arena and train station, killing 2,500 and sickening 8,000 worldwide; and infecting cattle with foot-and-mouth disease at several sites, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Specific locations are not named because the events could unfold in many major metropolitan or rural areas, the document says.

The agency's objective is not to scare the public, officials said, and they have no credible intelligence that such attacks are planned. The department did not intend to release the document publicly, but a draft of it was inadvertently posted on a Hawaii state government Web site.

By identifying possible attacks and specifying what government agencies should do to prevent, respond to and recover from them, Homeland Security is trying for the first time to define what "prepared" means, officials said.

That will help decide how billions of federal dollars are distributed in the future. Cities like New York that have targets with economic and symbolic value, or places with hazardous facilities like chemical plants could get a bigger share of agency money than before, while less vulnerable communities could receive less.

"We live in a world of finite resources, whether they be personnel or funding," said Matt A. Mayer, acting executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness at the Homeland Security Department, which is in charge of the effort.

President Bush requested the list of priorities 15 months ago to address a widespread criticism of Homeland Security from members of Congress and antiterrorism experts that it was wasting money by spreading it out instead of focusing on areas or targets at greatest risk. Critics also have faulted the agency for not having a detailed plan on how to eliminate or reduce vulnerabilities.

Michael Chertoff, the new secretary of homeland security, has made it clear that this risk-based planning will be a central theme of his tenure, saying that the nation must do a better job of identifying the greatest threats and then move aggressively to deal with them.

"There's risk everywhere; risk is a part of life," Mr. Chertoff said in testimony before the Senate last week. "I think one thing I've tried to be clear in saying is we will not eliminate every risk."

The goal of the document's planners was not to identify every type of possible terrorist attack. It does not include an airplane hijacking, for example, because "there are well developed and tested response plans" for such an incident. Planners included the threats they considered the most plausible or devastating, and that represented a range of the calamities that communities might need to prepare for, said Marc Short, a department spokesman. "Each scenario generally reflects suspected terrorist capabilities and known tradecraft," the document says.

To ensure that emergency planning is adequate for most possible hazards, three catastrophic natural events are included: an influenza pandemic, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in a major city and a slow-moving Category 5 hurricane hitting a major East Coast city.

The strike possibilities were used to create a comprehensive list of the capabilities and actions necessary to prevent attacks or handle incidents once they happen, like searching for the injured, treating the surge of victims at hospitals, distributing mass quantities of medicine and collecting the dead.

Once the White House approves the plan, which could happen within the next month, state and local governments will be asked to identify gaps in fulfilling the demands placed upon them by the possible strikes, officials said.

No terrorist groups are identified in the documents. Instead, those responsible for the various hypothetical attacks are called Universal Adversary.

The most devastating of the possible attacks - as measured by loss of life and economic impact - would be a nuclear bomb, the explosion of a liquid chlorine tank and an aerosol anthrax attack.

The anthrax attack involves terrorists filling a truck with an aerosolized version of anthrax and driving through five cities over two weeks spraying it into the air. Public health officials, the report predicts, would probably not know of the initial attack until a day or two after it started. By the time it was over, an estimated 350,000 people would be exposed, and about 13,200 would die, the report predicts.

The emphasis on casualty predictions is a critical part of the process, because Homeland Security officials want to establish what kinds of demands these incidents would place upon the public health and emergency response system.

"The public will want to know very quickly if it is safe to remain in the affected city and surrounding regions," the anthrax attack summary says. "Many persons will flee regardless of the public health guidance that is provided."

Even in some cases where the expected casualties are relatively small, the document lays out extraordinary economic consequences, as with a radiological dispersal device, known as a "dirty bomb." The planning document predicts 540 initial deaths, but within 20 minutes, a radioactive plume would spread across 36 blocks, contaminating businesses, schools, shopping areas and homes, as well as transit systems and a sewage treatment plant.

The authors of the reports have tried to make each possible attack as realistic as possible, providing details on how terrorists would obtain deadly chemicals, for example, and what equipment they would be likely to use to distribute it. But the document makes clear that "the Federal Bureau of Investigation is unaware of any credible intelligence that indicates that such an attack is being planned."

Even so, local and state governments nationwide will soon be required to collaboratively plan their responses to these possible catastrophes. Starting perhaps as early as 2006, most communities would be expected to share specially trained personnel to handle certain hazardous materials, for example, instead of each city or town having its own unit.

To prioritize spending nationwide, communities or regions will be ranked by population, population density and an inventory of critical infrastructure in the region.

The communities in the first tier, the largest jurisdictions with the highest-value targets, will be expected to prepare more comprehensively than other communities, so they would be eligible for more federal money.

"We can't spend equal amounts of money everywhere," said Mr. Mayer, of the Homeland Security Department.

To some, the extraordinarily detailed planning documents in this effort - like a list of more than 1,500 distinct tasks that might need to be performed in these calamities - are an example of a Washington bureaucracy gone wild.

"The goal has to be to get things down to a manageable checklist," said Gary C. Scott, chief of the Campbell County Fire Department in Gillette, Wyo., who has served on one of the many advisory committees helping create the reports. "This is not a document you can decipher when you are on a scene. It scared the living daylights out of people." But federal officials and some domestic security experts say they are convinced that this is a threshold event in the national process of responding to the 2001 attacks.

"Our country is at risk of spending ourselves to death without knowing the end site of what it takes to be prepared," said David Heyman, director of the homeland security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based research organization. "We have a great sense of vulnerability, but no sense of what it takes to be prepared. These scenarios provide us with an opportunity to address that."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)


March 16th, 2005, 01:16 PM

Why are we doing all the studying and research for the terrorists?

I mean, it's getting to the point where they can almost order their attack online and not have to pay Sales Tax!!!!

(The S+H would be a BEAST though!)

March 16th, 2005, 01:57 PM
Releasing such information to the public is nonsense. All it does it frighten them. Another tactic from the Bush Administration just as he says he has no plans to leave Iraq.

March 16th, 2005, 02:56 PM
^...not to mention letting terrorists know where we're most vulnerable. Let's not forget that the bastards who attacked us are still out there - but clearly that's not priority.

May 9th, 2005, 07:35 AM
May 9, 2005
Row of Loosely Guarded Targets Lies Just Outside New York City

By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI&inline=nyt-per)

KEARNY, N.J., May 7 - It is the deadliest target in a swath of industrial northern New Jersey that terrorism experts call the most dangerous two miles in America: a chemical plant that processes chlorine gas, so close to Manhattan that the Empire State Building seems to rise up behind its storage tanks.

According to federal Environmental Protection Agency records, the plant poses a potentially lethal threat to 12 million people who live within a 14-mile radius.

Yet on a recent Friday afternoon, it remained loosely guarded and accessible. Dozens of trucks and cars drove by within 100 feet of the tanks. A reporter and photographer drove back and forth for five minutes, snapping photos with a camera the size of a large sidearm, then left without being approached.

That chemical plant is just one of dozens of vulnerable sites between Newark Liberty International Airport and Port Elizabeth, which extends two miles to the east. A Congressional study in 2000 by a former Coast Guard commander deemed it the nation's most enticing environment for terrorists, providing a convenient way to cripple the economy by disrupting major portions of the country's rail lines, oil storage tanks and refineries, pipelines, air traffic, communications networks and highway system.

Since 9/11, those concerns have only been magnified. Law enforcement officials have warned of the need to prepare for an assault on one of the four major chemical plants in the area or an attempt to ship nuclear or biological weapons through its two port complexes.

Trying to safeguard more than 100 potential terrorist targets in two miles surrounded by residential communities, industrial areas and commuter corridors has proved a daunting challenge. Federal, state and local officials have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to install gates, roadblocks and security cameras and to provide additional patrols, surveillance and intelligence operations.

But even those in charge of the effort say the job is incomplete, bogged down by obstacles that are a microcosm of the nation's struggle against potential terrorist threats.

After distributing tens of billions to state and local governments since 9/11, the federal Department of Homeland Security cut New Jersey's financing this year to about $60 million from $99 million last year. Many security experts have complained that the formula - which provides Montana with three times as much money per capita as New Jersey - is guided more by politics than by the likelihood of an attack.

Meanwhile, security at Newark Airport, while more rigorous and time-consuming for passengers, has been marred by embarrassing breakdowns, as screeners have repeatedly failed to prevent federal officials from sneaking weapons and fake bombs onto planes.

The time and expense of screening shipping containers has slowed attempts to tighten security at Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, where customs officials say their radiation screening devices are ineffective and need replacement.

The private companies that own 80 percent of the most dangerous targets have given varying degrees of cooperation, officials said, and the chemical industry has effectively blocked attempts in Washington to mandate stricter regulations.

As a result, many of the most crucial security tasks are left to local police departments, some of which say they are too understaffed and poorly equipped to mount a proper counterterrorism effort.

"They tell us to patrol, do this, do that, but don't give us the money or equipment," said Sgt. Michael Cinardo of the Kearny Police Department, one of several law enforcement agencies responsible for patrolling around the chlorine plant.

He said the department requires patrol officers to stop by the plant at least five times each shift.

Security against terrorism is a particularly sensitive issue in New Jersey. More than 700 people killed on 9/11 lived there. And, in October 2001, the first major bioterrorism attack on United States soil was launched from a New Jersey post office when a series of anthrax-laced letters were mailed to members of Congress and the news media. The State Health Department's muddled response came to symbolize the nation's need to prepare itself to face new threats.

Since then, New Jersey officials have spent more than $350 million in state tax money on counterterrorism, building an apparatus that is run by seasoned law enforcement experts and is generally well regarded.

New Jersey's Homeland Security Department, established in 2002, has helped to train, coordinate and increase staffing at local law enforcement and emergency medical agencies; assembled a 1,000-person task force to focus on urban areas; and purchased boats, decontamination suits, radio systems and a computerized intelligence network so federal agents and the New Jersey State Police can share information with all 566 municipalities.

In the most dangerous two miles, they have erected concrete barriers outside hospitals and office buildings and put fences along elevated highways that pass chemical plants. The State Police patrol the skies, highways and coastal waters, and federal officials have used various surveillance techniques. On the New Jersey Turnpike, troopers try to check any vehicle that stops for as little as five minutes.

But given the sheer number of vulnerable sites - three major oil and natural gas pipelines, heavily traveled rail lines and more than a dozen chemical plants - many security experts acknowledge that the response is inadequate.

In the months after 9/11, government officials routinely refused to discuss the most mundane aspects of security, saying that they did not want to offer inside information to potential enemies. Now, said Sidney J. Caspersen, the director of the state's Office of Counterterrorism, there is more risk in remaining silent.

"The terrorists already know what's out here," Mr. Caspersen said. "They have been found with blueprints of our buildings, and a lot of the information is available over the Internet or at a public library. The only question is whether we will find a way to protect these targets before they find a way to attack them."

The answer to that question will depend largely on the ability to operate with limited money and a tangle of bureaucracies.

In several instances, counterterrorism money sent to the state has been used for questionable purposes: the city of Newark spent $300,000 on two air-conditioned garbage trucks, and New Jersey Transit has proposed using $36 million in security money to overhaul the Hoboken Ferry terminal. Even groups like Taxpayers for Common Sense say that places like New Jersey, Houston and Long Beach, Calif., deserve more federal dollars.

As for the ports, the federal Homeland Security Department's inspector general's office recently criticized the agency for directing much of its $517 million in port security money to relatively low-risk sites in places like Kentucky and Tennessee, and not giving enough to busy, vulnerable facilities like Port Newark. Although the Port of New York and New Jersey recently received an additional $42 million for counterterrorism efforts, Port Newark lacks the up-to-date equipment now used to search cargo at ports like Hong Kong.

"We put more resources into securing the average large bank in Manhattan than we do for the entire security of Port Newark," said Stephen Flynn, a former Coast Guard commander who is now a security analyst for the Council on Foreign Relations and who conducted the study that first identified this part of North Jersey as the nation's most terror-prone two miles. "That's just irresponsible."

Some New Jersey officials have hoped that the newly appointed secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, will be sympathetic to the state's situation because he is a native of Elizabeth. But when he visited New Jersey during a terror drill last month, Mr. Chertoff was noncommital about restoring cuts.

"Frankly, it's not a matter of spending a great lot of money," he said. "It's a matter of taking resources we have and having a plan in place so we use them effectively."

New Jersey officials say that the cuts will force them to reduce surveillance of possible targets, cancel training sessions for first responders and counterterrorism experts, and forestall the purchase of equipment to detect chemical, nuclear or biological agents. The state has said it will also have to scale back plans to fortify storage facilities and rail lines near the Pulaski Skyway, an area known as "chemical alley."

Even if New Jersey were to receive more money, however, its counterterrorism effort would still face other difficulties.

At Newark Airport, which handles 32 million passengers a year, the federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have spent tens of millions of dollars on high-tech baggage screening equipment, more guards and other security improvements. But Transportation Security Administration employees failed to detect weapons or fake bombs in about a quarter of the 81 tests conducted between last June and September. In December, when a machine detected a simulated explosive, baggage screeners lost track of it and it was loaded onto a flight to Holland.

Meanwhile, even less has been done to secure the nation's greatest vulnerability to terror attacks, its 15,000 chemical plants, 123 of which pose a threat to at least 1 million people, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A spokeswoman for the Chemistry Council, an industry group representing 150 of the nation's largest chemical plants, said its members had already invested $2 billion in improved security and were working with Congress to establish federal safety guidelines.

"We want to work with the Department of Homeland Security and Congress to make these plants safer in a way that works for everyone," Kate McGloon, the spokeswoman, said.

Michelle Petrovich, a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, said agency officials had visited more than half the nation's 300 most dangerous plants and urged the companies to enhance perimeter security and switch to less hazardous chemicals and processes. As a result, Ms. Petrovich said, she believes North Jersey is "one of the safer areas because it has received the most attention in terms of protective measures."

But Richard A. Falkenrath, a former deputy homeland security adviser to the White House, said that effort has done little to make the public safer. "Saying that you're doing something doesn't mean you're actually making a difference," said Mr. Falkenrath, who recently testified before Congress, urging tighter regulation of the chemical industry.

Since 2001, at least two major efforts to bolster chemical plant security have been stalled, in part by industry lobbyists.

The latest proposal to tighten security at chemical plants, which appears to be gaining support in Congress, would establish safety guidelines. But Senator Jon S. Corzine said that it is only a half measure because it would not mandate that plants in densely populated areas stop using highly dangerous chemicals like chlorine gas and switch to more benign alternatives, like sodium hypochlorite. The plants use such chemicals to make antiseptics for water purification plants.

For those who live in the shadow of these plants, there is little expectation that the federal government will mount a more vigorous security response.

Carolyn M. Chapluske of Kearny, who has lived in North Jersey all her life, said, "People pay taxes and deserve to be protected. But they probably won't. It's just the way things work."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

July 10th, 2005, 05:35 AM
July 10, 2005
Who Bears the Risks of Terror?


IF nothing else, the synchronized bombings and bloodshed in London on Thursday will stifle any creeping complacency about the risks of terrorist attacks.

The London bombings dovetail with a major political battle, just starting in Washington, about how to deal with that risk. Specifically, should the federal government continue to be the main provider of terrorism risk insurance?

At issue is the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which was enacted in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and is set to expire at the end of this year.

The law obligates the government to reimburse insurance companies for most of their insured losses - up to $100 billion a year - that arise from terrorism.

The issue is crucial to New York City, which bore the brunt of the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as to other major cities like Los Angeles and Chicago that offer high-visibility targets.

Insurance companies, commercial real estate developers, construction companies and virtually all of New York's political and business leadership are lobbying hard for a renewal.

But the Bush administration and Congressional Republican leaders are opposed to extending the legislation. In a report on June 30, the Treasury Department declared that private insurers were ready to shoulder the task and that the government should get out of the way.

Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader, immediately endorsed that conclusion, saying that "any solution must depend on the ingenuity of private insurance markets." And the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, said that the need for federal help had "run its course."

Part of the political battle now is between urban and Democratic-leaning states, like New York and California, and Republican-leaning states in the Midwest and South that may have fewer high-profile targets.

But the battle also poses fundamental economic questions about who should bear risks against catastrophic events.

Insurance companies offer protection against losses from hurricanes and earthquakes. What is so different about terrorism? And if taxpayers foot the bill for terrorism losses, will companies that face such threats have less incentive to bolster their security in advance?

Supporters of the current law contend that the potential losses are so big and so unpredictable that private insurance would either become prohibitively expensive or dry up. If that happened, they warn, commercial development in major cities would slow to a crawl, businesses would relocate and jobs would disappear.

The attacks of 9/11 did set new records for a catastrophe. Total insured losses, including property, life and liability claims, are expected to total $31.7 billion, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That would far eclipse the $20 billion in property losses that stemmed from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Indeed, one vocal supporter of extending the federal law is R. Glenn Hubbard, a former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers who is now dean of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.

A report (http://www.insureagainstterrorism.org/TRIAReport.pdf) last year by Mr. Hubbard and Bruce Deal, a principal of the Analysis Group consultancy, warned that "the extreme and unpredictable losses associated with catastrophic terrorism cannot be borne by the private sector alone." The report was financed by the insurance industry.

Failure to renew the law, Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Deal said, would cost the overall economy about $53 billion in lost economic activity and lead to 326,000 fewer jobs.

But the actual evidence is less clear. Despite the breathtaking losses that property and casualty insurers shouldered in 2001, the losses were hardly off the charts, and their overall financial position is as strong today as it was before the attacks.

THE "combined ratio" - the ratio of insured losses to income from premiums for property and casualty insurers - soared to 115 percent in 2001. But that was no higher than after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and lower than in two other years.

To be sure, one effect of Hurricane Andrew was that insurance companies significantly scaled back the coverage they offered. That could happen in the case of terrorism insurance. Indeed, the Treasury Department predicted in its report that the short-term effect of ending the federal terrorism insurance program would be less insurance provided, and at higher prices. In the long term, it added, "we expect that the private market will develop additional terrorism insurance capacity."

Since 2001, property and casualty companies have bounced back very well. Income from premiums has climbed, investment returns have increased and the industry's net worth reached a new high in 2004 of $369 billion - $50 billion higher than it was in 2000, the year before the 9/11 attacks, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

One of the leading critics of terrorism risk insurance is Kent Smetters, now an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who helped design the original program while at the Treasury Department.

"The fact is that insurers were coming back into the market, and they are being driven out because of the law," he said in an interview.

At a conference on Friday sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research organization here, Mr. Smetters noted that insurance losses from product liability claims have been many times higher than those from terrorism, yet insurance companies still offer product liability insurance.

Mr. Smetters added that the uncertainty surrounding terrorist attacks is not necessarily that much higher than that surrounding earthquakes and hurricanes.

But the biggest question is this: If the government essentially offers free terrorism insurance, is the nation as a whole deluding itself about the potential costs? If the insurance is free, would companies be tempted to cut corners on security because they didn't have to worry about higher premiums or deductibles?

And there is the issue for taxpayers: Unlike an insurance company, Congress is not about to set aside tens of billions of dollars to cover potential losses in the future. If there were a repeat of Sept. 11, the cost would all be borne in the form of future budget deficits.


Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)
Further reading:

August 11th, 2005, 08:06 AM

Funk-Ridden D.C. Is as Stripped, Arid As Crawford, Tex.

By Chris Lehmann

“Two thousand and three was the worst year for significant terror attacks since 1982,” said Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc., and the forthcoming The Osama bin Laden I Know. “In 2004, that number tripled. Donald Rumsfeld asks: ‘What are the metrics for winning the War on Terror?’ Well, I’d offer terrorism figures as a pretty good metric.”

There are precious few metrics tilting in the Bush administration’s favor these days. For one, there’s a better-armed Iraqi insurgency, growing in its strength to disrupt reconstruction efforts and its ability to destroy U.S. military targets. And closer to home, there’s an increasingly disenchanted mood among the D.C. intelligence hands who closely monitor the war’s progress.

George W. Bush’s policy retinue will return from the August vacation to an early Washington autumn in which their credibility—and the war effort they’ve staked it on—are the objects of greater and greater public suspicion.

The Bush team, like many global adventurers in administrations past, is ill equipped for the moments when facts on the ground stray from the diagrams in the ideological playbook. Even as they affix their thumbprints in far-off corners of the world, Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz et al. hold at deliberate arm’s length the simple truth that faraway lands and human events don’t admit themselves to easy control, no matter how messianic or stoically determined that bid for control may be.

They lack, in other words, a sense of historical tragedy.

“The word ‘tragedy’ in American political discourse is often interpreted as ‘bad for our side,’” said American University communications professor Christopher Simpson, a specialist on wartime propaganda. “What you see happening is the President and his advisors telling everyone else, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going to work out.’ And frankly, that’s what I think they’ve been telling themselves. We’ve seen this behavior before in the precedent of Vietnam. Bob McNamara was Secretary of Defense, the second-most-powerful man in the United States—arguably the second-most-powerful man in the world, certainly the second-most-powerful man in the United States government. Yet we now know from the guy’s memoir that he could not tell the President what he knew to be true: that the Vietnam War could not be won. And why couldn’t he tell the President? Because saying something like that is seen as an act of betrayal.”

The Bush White House has managed one successful pullout: the traditional flight from Washington and its notoriously liquefying August heat to the dusty refuge of Crawford, Tex. Along the way, all the winter’s giddy talk of the freedom-loving mini-sized U.S.-style civil societies emerging from watershed events like the Iraqi elections and Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution has melted.

The most graphic of the post-vacation challenges will likely be a fresh crop of Abu Ghraib documents and photos, whose release has been provisionally delayed by a sealed government motion filed in Manhattan’s U.S. District Court. These images and reports are said to depict detainee abuse at least as brutal as that seen in the first round of disclosures in April 2004. And the ongoing news from Baghdad won’t help, either. As Jason Vest notes in this month’s Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, bad occupation planning still has a majority of Iraq’s population with no reliable electrical supply; in central Baghdad, some neighborhoods are living amid raw sewage.

This backward-spooling departure from the pre-approved administration script is a reflection of the go-it-alone mentality that has colored the Iraqi engagement all along—and the effort, so vividly brought to the fore in the lingering Valerie Plame scandal, to force America’s imperial errand in Iraq to march in lockstep with the War on Terror. Few D.C. insiders have noted this dynamic with greater clarity, and greater exasperation, than the professional intelligence community.

What’s more, career intelligence analysts and the advice they’ve delivered to Bush policymakers have been shunted aside throughout the course of the war and occupation.

“One of the things you learn early on in strategic intelligence,” said retired Col. W. Patrick Lang, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Middle Eastern division, “is that nothing you tell decision makers will change their minds once a decision has been made. You end up trying to influence them before the decision-making.”

And now the funk that has long gripped the Washington intelligence community seems to be spreading to the country at large. Even amid better-than-expected economic news for July, only 42 percent of Americans approve of the President’s performance in office. (That number matches his previous all-time low.) Some 61 percent—an all-time high—say the Iraq war is going badly, according to a Newsweek poll released this week. Last month, a Wall Street Journal–NBC poll showed for the first time a plurality of Americans were not buying the President as “being honest and straightforward.”

Those figures have to be at least as worrisome to Bush’s crack team of pols as the more grimly predictable body counts in Baghdad. Support for the war is unexpectedly shaky in traditional Bush strongholds: the Midwestern and Sun Belt exurbs where Mr. Bush planted the flag convincingly in the 2004 election. Indeed, Mr. Bush owes the allegiance of these all-important burghers of the outlying interstates largely to his feverishly touted reputation as a teller of hard truths—as opposed to that double-talking, French-looking preppy Senator from Massachusetts.

So where can the administration turn for a bracing, mind-cure style dose of confidence? D.C. cynics might expect a new ramping-up of summer terror alerts, much like those the Department of Homeland Security issued last year. Yet it’s unlikely that the War on Terror—recently rechristened, in another acknowledgment of the unwieldy shape of new political realities, as the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism—will be putting the war planners back in the pink anytime soon.

Indeed, as veteran intelligence hands now note, the Iraq conflict is nearly a free-fire zone for international jihadists. “I was looking at an insurgents’ video just after the killing of one of the Marines last week,” said Larry C. Johnson, who did insurgency work in the State Department and the C.I.A. In it, “the insurgents are moving around the [Marine’s] body very deliberately, not as though they’re fearing ‘we have to get out of here now or we’re going to get caught.’ They laid out the equipment and gear they had captured—the sniper rifles.

“The essence of counterinsurgency,” Mr. Johnson said, “is control of the battlefield, and you can’t control the battlefield without sufficient troops—which we don’t have. The other option is to use coalition forces, but of course the coalition we had in Iraq is now largely going the other way.”

According to Mr. Johnson, who works with the D.C.-based consultants’ group BERG Associates, these conditions make little impression on the dominant mindset of policymakers in the Bush White House, which he describes as “religious.” Raising points of dissent, or suggesting that invasion and occupation may be something less than the quickest path to democratic self-rule in the region, “is like arguing the Virgin Birth. This is something these people believe in their soul of souls,” Mr. Johnson said.

From the early days of the Bush administration, Mr. Johnson recalled, “you had this war with the intelligence community. The neocons insist that the intelligence community missed all these things, be it 9/11 or nuclear-weapons capabilities, that it was a simple matter of Bush and his advisors coming on board and fighting the good fight. When you run across this mindset, it’s frightening how bizarre it is.”

As a more practical matter, Mr. Johnson said, the ideological fervor of the administration’s senior neocons has placed the country “in a Catch-22: As long as we’re in Iraq, the occupation will continue to serve as a draw and incentive for foreign jihadists to go to Iraq to fight the infidel. We’re going to be feeding recruits to the jihadi movement, just like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the early 80’s did. We are equipping the next generation of jihadi.”

This is less a matter of tragedy, intelligence experts say, than irony—an outcome of the occupation’s blind drive to westernize the Iraqi government in far-from-propitious conditions. “The Bush administration is trying to build a new state in Iraq,” said Colonel Lang. “And its structure is entirely Western.”

In promoting a one-person, one-vote political structure, U.S. policymakers are “bringing into being a Shia-dominated, religiously oriented government that will enshrine its values in its constitution. I certainly support that we should not want to see that happen. And that’s why you had the [U.S.] ambassador, [Zalmay] Khalilzad, telling the Iraqis, ‘No, you will not do that.’ I think that guy’s got the hardest job on Earth.”

Mr. Johnson agreed: He cautioned that the Shia-dominated clerical government of Iran is poised to reap the greatest benefit, and that it will soon loom large the region’s major power. What’s more, Mr. Johnson claimed, contingency plans for a military operation in Iran are already in the works.

“A friend directly involved in these conversations says there’s enormous pressure coming from the DoD,” he said. “They’re saying the moderates in Iran will be greeting us with open arms. They absolutely have not learned anything.”

Chris Lehmann is an editor at CQ Weekly. http://www.observer.com/images/skinnyblueline.gif

You may reach Chris Lehmann via email at: clehmann@observer.com (clehmann@observer.com) .

August 11th, 2005, 08:50 AM
W's renaissance



This weekend I took to reading a few pages of Oscar Wilde. It’s a habit to which more people should aspire, for Oscar helps keep a man focused. There’s nothing like a dose of “Dorian Gray” to put you in the mood for cocktail. Or a whiff of “The Importance of Being Earnest” to remind you that cigarette smoking is a serious vocation you’ve ignored for too long.

Broadening the reader’s perspective is Wilde’s great gift, and thanks to it I’ve come to realize just how shallowly I’ve judged George W. Bush over the past few months. On finishing the Irish rogue’s short treatise “The Decay of Lying” I quickly discerned that our President was hardly the sniggering and inept buffoon I had thought him to be, but was actually an artist of staggering proportions, who thankfully was granted another four years to complete his masterwork.
Before picking up Wilde, I had long forgotten Plato’s musings on the proximity of poetry and duplicity, about how the artist and the liar are inseparable lovers. It’s something that we’re all aware of when growing up and full of piss and vinegar, i.e. daring imagination, but then we get suckered in by the fact mongers, and before you know it, the world’s got posers like Damien Hirst passing off dismembered calves in formaldehyde as high art. Wilde presaged the crass inevitability this way:

“Many a young man starts in life with a natural gift for exaggeration which, if nurtured in congenial and sympathetic surroundings, or by the imitation of the best models, might grow into something great and wonderful. But as a rule, he comes to nothing. He either falls into careless habits of accuracy, or takes to frequenting the society of the aged and the well informed…if something cannot be done to check, or at least modify, our monstrous worship of facts, Art will become sterile, and Beauty will pass away from the land.”

And fly away she did, until the Artist known as W cooed her back to the garden. No devotee of exactitude, W has never been one to auction his noble birthright to a hideous mess of facts. We’ve got the Skull and Bones fraternity and Poppy’s tutelage to thank for that. Unlike dreary politicians who never soar above the level of misrepresentation (and actually condescend to argue, prove, and discuss), W flaunts the temper of a true liar, with his frank, fearless statements, his superb irresponsibility, his healthy, natural disdain for proof of any kind…Weapons of Mass Destruction? Who cares! Osama Bin Laden? Not my concern, anymore! Budget Deficits? No big deal! New York Times Report? Don’t read newspapers! Protect the Borders? Manana, Manana!

How damn refreshing! Only artistic genius like W could have realized how unhealthy a thing like thinking is to the average “red” blooded American, who eschews prickly thoughts as the bulwark of their happiness. Yet at the same time he also understood that we wretches longed to be inspired, lifted up upon the cloudy mounts of Olympus, or (failing that) the Father’s mansion with many rooms. Not one to be suckered in by that bogus dictum about Art imitating Life, W took the rough material of life and refashioned it to his fancy. Absolutely indifferent to nettlesome facts, he and his Arts administration invented, dreamed, and imagined. The ancient sandscape of Iraq was their canvas and parchment, her flesh and blood their pigments and ink.

As a masterpiece in progress, it was a no-brainer. Life has always followed W’s whims, not the other way a round. And he knew why (thanks to the pillow talk of his personal librarian, Laura). Undoubtedly it was bookish First Lady who taught W that Art doesn’t copy Life but anticipates it, molds it to its purpose. And just as Goethe’s Werther, a figment of an artist’s imagination, inspired young men of the 19th century to commit suicide, W’s fans could be relied on to play their part, to follow his war fiction to their own final 21st century curtain. Meanwhile the audience at home would be wooed by the Romance of it all, by the alleged fight for Freedom and Liberty that our brave soldiers were, like Jesus, martyring themselves for. If we could play some Wagner now the women would surely weep, and in weeping find their joy.

But unfortunately some lesser artists, like Michael Moore, are still caught up with all that old factual nonsense. They just don’t get it. Mike should bury the idea about filming a Fahrenheit sequel because when compared to the wildly exaggerated and fantastic works of W, his truth telling is unbearably tedious. And Americans are fed up with it. That’s why W’s Arts ministers are so hell-bent on shutting down those reality peddlers Al-Jazeera, who annoyingly insist on showing civilian casualties on their broadcasts. Nobody wants to see women and kids with their arms and legs blown off. That isn’t Art. That isn’t going to bring on the new Renaissance. After all, the smell of Napalm in the morning is only intoxicating at a distance.

August 28th, 2005, 02:34 PM
So good to see our tax money being used so well by the un-parallelled TSA:

"Training Bomb" Is Reportedly To Blame For Evacuation Of JFK Terminals

August 28, 2005

A fake training bomb is reportedly being blamed for shutting down two American Airlines terminals at Kennedy Airport on Saturday.

The terminals were evacuated shortly after the device was discovered at around 11 a.m. Saturday, stranding dozens of weekend travelers outside the building.

Sources tell the New York Post that a suspicious package found in the confiscated items area between terminals 8 and 9 was actually a training device.

According to sources, the fake bomb may have been misplaced when the federal Transportation Security Administration moved offices.

Several planes had to be backed away from the terminal during the security scare, and dozens of passengers were left outside the terminal after being evacuated.

"As I was parking the car, my mother called me franticly and said that that everyone was running for their lives," said one woman who was stuck outside while the terminal was being secured.

"Everything is closed," said another man in his car. "It's frustrating. You don't know where to go, then you ask the police and they tell you 'It's closed, you have to go.'"

Passengers was re-admitted to the terminal and flights resumed after the package was found to be harmless and was removed by authorities.

August 28th, 2005, 05:26 PM
We want the public to know that government agencies are working very hard to keep you safe. There is no need to panic. Trust us.

August 28th, 2005, 06:30 PM
OK. Whew. Feel better already.

August 31st, 2005, 11:52 AM
The relationship of the CCP and the Terrorist War

I suggest those who care about the Terrorist war read this link, it shows the relationship of the CCP and the Terrorist War:

August 31st, 2005, 12:50 PM
Juna: I am not going to allow you to spam your philosophy onto other threads.

You have been give a thread in which to discuss "The Evils of the CCP". If you wish to show a relationship to terrorism, or any other link...do it there.

Disregard this warning, and I will close the other thread, and you can take your discussion elsewhere.

You can show the relationship between the evil CCP and the mean moderator.

August 31st, 2005, 01:41 PM
It is all a conpiracy!!!!!

September 14th, 2005, 10:21 PM
Afghan official says commanders let Osama escape

14 Sep 2005 15:04:37 GMT
Source: Reuters


By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden was provided safe passage to Pakistan in 2001 by Afghan commanders paid by al Qaeda and sympathetic to its cause, a senior Afghan official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Lutfullah Mashal, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman, said commanders helped the al Qaeda leader escape from the Tora Bora mountains as U.S. warplanes and Afghan forces attacked his hideout near the Pakistan border in late 2001.

"The help was provided because of monetary aid availed by al Qaeda and also partly because of ideological issues," Mashal said.

"Osama along with other al Qaeda people managed to go to Parachinar (in Pakistan) at the time and then Pakistani forces battled the al Qaeda runaways, killing around 70 of them," Mashal added, referring to an area in Pakistan's Kurram tribal agency.

He said commanders loyal to Maulvi Yunus Khalis had helped the al Qaeda leader escape. The whereabouts of Khalis, a top mujahideen leader from the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, is unknown.

Mashal told private Pakistani television channel Geo on Tuesday that U.S. forces made a mistake in entrusting the capture of bin Laden to Afghan commanders.

Mashal said he was present in the Tora Bora mountains during the December 2001 operation, and that while U.S. forces were not there in uniform, green berets in plain clothes, some disguised in Uzbek style dress were present.

He said that while 800 or 900 Arabs fled Tora Bora for Pakistan's Khyber tribal agency, senior al Qaeda leaders trekked across to Parachinar on foot, mule and horseback with the help of some Sulemankheil tribal elders.

Mashal said bin Laden later re-crossed the border to Khost where Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani gave him refuge, before returning to Pakistan, this time heading for Miranshah, the main town in another tribal agency, North Waziristan.

Mashal said he had gone to Pakistan himself, searching for bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri in camps of al Qaeda militants at Parachinar, Shawal, Daddakheil and Miranshah.

"I visited all the camps, where there were Chechens, Uzbeks, but I was not able to find clues about the whereabouts of Osama or al-Zawahri," he told Geo.

Mashal suspected the al Qaeda leader was still moving around Pakistan's tribal lands, guarded by Taliban and Arab fighters.

"His exact location is not clear for he changes his location and is on the move ... He is guarded by Haqqani's men and Yemenis."

U.S. officials have repeatedly said bin Laden, who has evaded a U.S.-led manhunt since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is probably still hiding in the rugged mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The United States invaded Afghanistan after the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden, blamed for the attacks on U.S. cities, and overthrew the Taliban in late 2001.

The U.S. military in Afghanistan denied on Wednesday that one of its officers had told reporters that bin Laden was seeking medical attention.

The London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, citing U.S. Colonel Don McGraw in a briefing with reporters in Kabul, had reported earlier in the day that the world's most wanted man was in poor health and was trying to obtain medical attention.

But a U.S. military spokeswoman in Kabul said McGraw had not said that, and had presented the reporters with no new report about the fugitive al Qaeda leader.


AlertNet (http://www.alertnet.org/) news is provided by http://www.alertnet.org/images/reuterslog.gif (http://www.alertnet.org/redir.htm?URL=http://www.reuters.com/)

September 15th, 2005, 12:18 AM
Iran military says Katrina showed U.S. could be turned into “war zone”

Iran Focus
Sun. September 11, 2005

http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3667 (http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3667)

Tehran, Iran, Sep. 11 – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been following closely the way the United States government has been handling Hurricane Katrina, and drawing strategic conclusions from it.

In remarks that appeared on Ansar-e Hezbollah website on Sunday, a top official of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said the devastating hurricane had exposed America’s vulnerabilities.

“The mismanagement and the mishandling of the acute psychological problems brought about by Hurricane Katrina clearly showed that others can, at any given time, create a devastated war-zone in any part of the U.S.”, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, the official spokesman of the IRGC, said.

“If the U.S. attacks Iran, each of America’s states will face a crisis the size of Katrina”, he said, referring to the massive hurricane which hit the southern coast of the United States. “The smallest mistake by America in this regard will result in every single state in that country turning into a disaster zone”.

“How could the White House, which is impotent in the face of a storm and a natural disaster, enter a military conflict with the powerful Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly with the precious experience that we gained in the eight-year war with Iraq?” he said.

Jazayeri said the hurricane havoc showed that “contrary to public perception, the strength of America’s leadership is like a balloon, which can easily burst”.

The Revolutionary Guards spokesman said the U.S. administration’s inability to end the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan showed the “weakness of America’s defence and state departments, as well as its intelligence and security apparatus”.

In a defiant tone that mirrored recent remarks by top officials of the Islamic Republic, the IRGC spokesman said, “Precise information from inside America shows a lack of coordination among military, security, and political agencies in that country and brings to light the fact that others can cause many times the amount of damage compared to the blows they may receive”.

Jazayeri said predictions “that the U.S. would soon disintegrate into smaller independent states are completely feasible from a scientific, logical, and political point of view”.

Turning his attention to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Jazayeri said, “Now is the time to tell the world public opinion about those events and the weaknesses of the White House’s response”.

“Don’t forget one thing about that day; the U.S. President and all the American leaders ran away and hid themselves”, he said.

September 15th, 2005, 10:58 PM
I wish they would stop going after innocent Americans and focus their wrath on the companies and politicians who deserve it.

September 20th, 2005, 10:16 AM
Maybe someone could give them a clue?

*cough*Enron Execs*cough*

September 24th, 2005, 07:39 PM
Today in DC: Commandos in the Streets?

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
September 24, 2005

Today, somewhere in the DC metropolitan area, the military is conducting a highly classified Granite Shadow "demonstration."

Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented operation related to the military’s extra-legal powers regarding weapons of mass destruction. It allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control.

A spokesman at the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region (JFHQ-NCR) confirmed the existence of Granite Shadow to me yesterday, but all he would say is that Granite Shadow is the unclassified name for a classified plan.

That classified plan, I believe, after extensive research and after making a couple of assumptions, is CONPLAN 0400, formally titled Counter-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 0400 is a long-standing contingency plan of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) that serves as the umbrella for military efforts to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It has extensively been updated and revised since 9/11.

The CJCS plan lays out national policy and priorities for dealing with WMD threats in peacetime and crisis -- from far away offensive strikes and special operations against foreign WMD infrastructure and capabilities, to missile defenses and "consequence management" at home if offensive efforts fail.

All of the military planning incorporates the technical capabilities of the intelligence agencies and non-military organizations such as the national laboratories of the Department of Energy. And finally, CONPLAN 0400 directs regional combatant commanders to customize counter-proliferation plans for each of their own areas of operations.

When that "area of operations" is the United States, things become particularly sensitive.

That's where Granite Shadow comes in. U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the military's new homeland security command, is preparing its draft version of CONPLAN 0400 for military operations in the United States, and the resulting Granite Shadow plan has been classified above Top Secret by adding a Special Category (SPECAT) compartment restricting access.

The sensitivities, according to military sources, include deployment of "special mission units" (the so-called Delta Force, SEAL teams, Rangers, and other special units of Joint Special Operations Command) in Washington, DC and other domestic hot spots. NORTHCOM has worked closely with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), as well as the secret branches of non-military agencies and departments to enforce "unity of command" over any post 9/11 efforts.

Further, Granite Shadow posits domestic military operations, including intelligence collection and surveillance, unique rules of engagement regarding the use of lethal force, the use of experimental non-lethal weapons, and federal and military control of incident locations that are highly controversial and might border on the illegal.

Granite Shadow is the twin to Power Geyser, a programI first revealed to The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/national/nationalspecial3/23code.html?ex=1127361600&en=c0e523cc5e24a7a3&ei=5070&ei=5065&en=da865789fda33413&ex=1107061200&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print&position=) in January. The JFHQ spokesman confirms that Granite Shadow and Power Geyser are two different unclassified names for two different classified plans.

In the case of Power Geyser, the classified plan is CJCS CONPLAN 0300, whose entire title is classified. According the military documents, the unclassified title is "Counter-Terrorism Special Operations Support to Civil Agencies in the event of a domestic incident." It is another Top Secret/SPECAT plan directing the same special mission units to provide weapons of mass destruction recovery and "render safe" in either a terrorist incident or in the case of a stolen (or lost) nuclear weapon. Render safe refers to the ability of explosive ordnance disposal experts to isolate and disarm any type of biological, chemical, nuclear or radiological weapon.

The obvious question is why there is a need for two plans. My guess is that Power Geyser and CONPLAN 0300 refers to operations in support of a civil agency "lead" (most likely the Attorney General for a WMD attack) while Granite Shadow and CONPLAN 0400 lays out contingencies where the military is in the lead. I'll wait to be corrected by someone in the know.

Both plans seem to live behind a veil of extraordinary secrecy because military forces operating under them have already been given a series of ''special authorities'' by the President and the secretary of defense. These special authorities include, presumably, military roles in civilian law enforcement and abrogation of State's powers in a declared or perceived emergency.

In January, when The New York Times reported on the Power Geyser name from my Code Names (http://www.codenames.org/) website, the Pentagon argued that "It would be irresponsible … to comment on any classified program that may or may not exist."

I can't see how the Defense Department can continue this line of argument post-Katrina. We see the human cost of a system of contingency planning done in complete secret, with a lack of any debate as to what should be the federal government's priorities, emphasis, and rules.

As the Granite Shadow commandos and their federal brethren go through their paces today, some inside the system will lament that I have "compromised" their work. But the very fact that nothing in my writing damages the Granite Shadow effort should demonstrate that we can have a discussion of contingency planning priorities in the United States, and debate extraordinary special authorities granted to those in uniform, without compromising the details of the plans themselves.

There's still time. The full-scale exercise of Granite Shadow's capabilities and procedures doesn’t start until April 2006.

September 25th, 2005, 11:18 PM
FAMILY DEMANDS THE TRUTH (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/25/MNGD7ETMNM1.DTL)

New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman’s death

Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer (rcollier@sfchronicle.com)
Sunday, September 25, 2005

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/25/MNGD7ETMNM1.DTL (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/25/MNGD7ETMNM1.DTL)

The battle between a grieving family and the U.S. military justice system is on display in thousands of pages of documents strewn across Mary Tillman’s dining room table in suburban San Jose.

As she pores through testimony from three previous Army investigations into the killing of her son, former football star Pat Tillman, by his fellow Army Rangers last year in Afghanistan, she hopes that a new inquiry launched in August by the Pentagon’s inspector general finally will answer the family’s questions:

Were witnesses allowed to change their testimony on key details, as alleged by one investigator? Why did internal documents on the case, such as the initial casualty report, include false information? When did top Pentagon officials know that Tillman’s death was caused by friendly fire, and why did they delay for five weeks before informing his family?

“There have been so many discrepancies so far that it’s hard to know what to believe,” Mary Tillman said. “There are too many murky details.” The files the family received from the Army in March are heavily censored, with nearly every page containing blacked-out sections; most names have been deleted. (Names for this story were provided by sources close to the investigation.) At least one volume was withheld altogether from the family, and even an Army press release given to the media has deletions. On her copies, Mary Tillman has added competing marks and scrawls — countless color-coded tabs and angry notes such as “Contradiction!” “Wrong!” and “????”


"It's hard to know what to believe." That's the lament of Mary Tillman, a teacher of special
education in a San Jose public school. She has long pressed the Army to reopen its
investigation into the friendly-fire killing of her son, Pat Tillman, in a canyon in Afghanistan
on April 22. The persistence of Mary Tillman and her former husband, Patrick Tillman,
was rewarded when the Pentagon's inspector general opened a new inquiry in August,
the fourth such probe. Mary Tillman says she hopes questions created by discrepancies
in past testimony will finally be answered.
Chronicle photo by Christina Koci-Hernandez

A Chronicle review of more than 2,000 pages of testimony, as well as interviews with Pat Tillman’s family members and soldiers who served with him, found contradictions, inaccuracies and what appears to be the military’s attempt at self-protection.

For example, the documents contain testimony of the first investigating officer alleging that Army officials allowed witnesses to change key details in their sworn statements so his finding that certain soldiers committed “gross negligence” could be softened.

Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author.


Pat Tillman, who gave up a career in the NFL that would have
made him a millionaire so he could instead fight terrorism as
an Army Ranger, died from friendly fire in Afghanistan.
Photo courtesy of Photography Plus
via Williamson Stealth Media Solutions

Unlike Cindy Sheehan — who has protested against President Bush because of the death of her son Casey in combat in Baghdad — Mary Tillman, 49, who teaches learning-disabled students in a San Jose public junior high school, and her ex-husband, Patrick Tillman, 50, a San Jose lawyer, have avoided association with the anti-war movement. Their main public allies are Sen. John McCain, RAriz., and Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, who have lobbied on their behalf. Yet the case has high stakes because of Pat Tillman’s status as an all-American hero.

A football star at Leland High School in San Jose and at Arizona State University, Tillman was chosen Pac-10 defensive player of the year in 1997 and selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL draft the following spring.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arizona State and graduated summa cum laude in 3 1/2 years with a 3.84 grade point average. Ever the student, Tillman not only memorized the playbook by the time he reported for the Cardinals’ rookie camp but pointed out errors in it. He then worked on a master’s degree in history while playing professional football.

His 224 tackles in a single season (2000) are a team record, and because of team loyalty he rejected a five year, $9 million offer from the St. Louis Rams for a one-year, $512,000 contract to stay with Arizona the next year.

Moved in part by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Tillman decided to give up his career, saying he wanted to fight al Qaeda and help find Osama bin Laden. He spurned the Cardinals’ offer of a three year, $3.6 million contract extension and joined the Army in June 2002 along with his brother Kevin, who was playing minor-league baseball for the Cleveland Indians organization.

Pat Tillman’s enlistment grabbed the attention of the nation — and the highest levels of the Bush administration. A personal letter from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, thanking him for serving his country, now resides in a storage box, put away by Pat’s widow, Marie.

Instead of going to Afghanistan, as the brothers expected, their Ranger battalion was sent to participate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Tillmans saw combat several times on their way to Baghdad. In early 2004, they finally were assigned to Afghanistan.

Although the Rangers are an elite combat group, the investigative documents reveal that the conduct of the Tillmans’ detachment — A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment — appeared to be anything but expert as it advanced through a remote canyon in eastern Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, on a mission to search for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in a village called Manah.

According to the files, when one of the humvees became disabled, thus stalling the mission, commanding officers split Tillman’s platoon in two so one half could move on and the other could arrange transport for the disabled vehicle. Platoon leader Lt. David Uthlaut protested the move as dangerous, but he was overruled. The first group was ordered out in the late afternoon, with Pat Tillman in the forward unit. Kevin’s unit followed 15 to 20 minutes later, hauling the humvee on an Afghan-owned flatbed truck. Both groups temporarily lost radio and visual contact with each other in the deep canyon, and the second group came under attack from suspected Taliban fighters on the surrounding ridges.

Pat Tillman, according to testimony, climbed a hill with another soldier and an Afghan militiaman, intending to attack the enemy. He offered to remove his 28-pound body armor so he could move more quickly, but was ordered not to. Meanwhile, the lead vehicle in the platoon’s second group arrived near Tillman’s position about 65 meters away and mistook the group as enemy. The Afghan stood and fired above the second group at the suspected enemy on the opposite ridge. Although the driver of the second group’s lead vehicle, according to his testimony, recognized Tillman’s group as “friendlies” and tried to signal others in his vehicle not to shoot, they directed fire toward the Afghan and began shooting wildly, without first identifying their target, and also shot at a village on the ridgeline.

The Afghan was killed. According to testimony, Tillman, who along with others on the hill waved his arms and yelled “cease fire,” set off a smoke grenade to identify his group as fellow soldiers. There was a momentary lull in the firing, and he and the soldier next to him, thinking themselves safe, relaxed, stood up and started talking. But the shooting resumed. Tillman was hit in the wrist with shrapnel and in his body armor with numerous bullets.

The soldier next to him testified: “I could hear the pain in his voice as he called out, ‘Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat f—ing Tillman, dammit.” He said this over and over until he stopped,” having been hit by three bullets in the forehead, killing him.

The soldier continued, “I then looked over at my side to see a river of blood coming down from where he was … I saw his head was gone.” Two other Rangers elsewhere on the mountainside were injured by shrapnel.

Kevin was unaware that his brother had been killed until nearly an hour later when he asked if anyone had seen Pat and a fellow soldier told him.


Pat Tillman (left) and his brother Kevin stood in front of a Chinook helicopter in
Saudi Arabia before their tour of duty as Army Rangers in Iraq in 2003.
Photo courtesy of the Tillman family

Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration — just a week before the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.”

His killing was widely reported by the media, including conservative commentators such as Ann Coulter, who called him “an American original — virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.” His May 3, 2004, memorial in San Jose drew 3,500 people and was nationally televised.

Not until five weeks later, as Tillman’s battalion was returning home, did officials inform the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by his fellow soldiers.

According to testimony, the first investigation was initiated less than 24 hours after Tillman’s death by an officer in the same Ranger battalion. His report, delivered May 4, 2004, determined that soldiers involved in the incident had committed “gross negligence” and should be appropriately disciplined. The officer became a key witness in the subsequent investigation. For reasons that are not clear, the officer’s investigation was taken over by a higher ranking commander. That officer’s findings, delivered the next month, called for less severe discipline.

The parents, protesting that many questions were left unanswered, found a sympathetic ear in McCain, who Mary Tillman later said was greatly admired by her son. Tillman was well known in Arizona because of his success there as a college and pro football player. McCain began to press the Pentagon on the family’s behalf, and a third probe finally was authorized. Its report was delivered in January.

The military is saying little publicly about the Tillman case. Most Army personnel who were involved in the Tillman incident or the investigations declined to comment publicly when contacted by The Chronicle. The inspector general’s press office also declined to comment, saying only that the new probe is openended.

Over the coming weeks, Pentagon investigators are scheduled to carry out new interviews with many of the soldiers, officers and others involved in the incident. As they carry out their reassessment, potentially controversial points include:

-- Conflicting testimony.

In his Nov. 14, 2004, interrogation, the first investigator expressed frustration with “watching some of these guys getting off, what I thought … was a lesser of a punishment than what they should’ve received. And I will tell you, over a period of time … the stories have changed. They have changed to, I think, help some individuals.”

The investigator testified that after he submitted his report on May 3, higher-ranking officers permitted soldiers to change key details of their testimony in order to prevent any individual from being singled out for punishment.

“They had the entire chain of command (inaudible) that were involved, the [deleted], all sticking up for [deleted] … And the reason the [deleted] called me in … because the [deleted] … changed their story in how things occurred and the timing and the distance in an attempt to stick up for their counterpart, implied, insinuated that the report wasn’t as accurate as I submitted it …” the first investigator testified.

In another section of his testimony, he said witnesses changed details regarding “the distance, the time, the location and the positioning” in Tillman’s killing.

Another disputed detail was whether the soldiers were firing while speeding down the canyon or whether they stopped, got out and continued shooting. In testimony in the third investigation, the soldiers said they did not stop. However, the medical examiner’s report said Tillman was killed by three bullets closely spaced in his forehead — a pattern that would have been unlikely if the shooter were moving fast. Spc. Russell Baer, a soldier pinned down by gunfire on the hillside near Tillman, said in an interview with The Chronicle that at least two soldiers had gotten out of the humvee to fire uphill. One other soldier confirmed this account to a Tillman family member.

One soldier dismissed by the Rangers for his actions in the incident submitted a statement in the third investigation that suggests the probe was incomplete: “The investigation does not truly set to rest the events of the evening of 22 April 2004. There is critical information not included or misinterpreted in it that could shed some light on who is really at fault for this,” he wrote.


-- Commanders’ accountability.

According to the documents and interviews, Capt. William Saunders, to whom platoon leader Uthlaut had protested splitting his troops, was allowed to change his testimony over a crucial detail — whether he had reported Uthlaut’s dissent to a higher ranking commander. In initial questioning, Saunders said he had done so, but when that apparently was contradicted by that commander’s testimony, Saunders was threatened with perjury charges. He was given immunity and allowed to change his prior testimony.

The regiment’s commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bailey, was promoted to colonel two months after the incident, and Saunders, who a source said received a reprimand, later was given authority to determine the punishment of those below him. He gave administrative reprimands to six soldiers, including Uthlaut, who had been seriously wounded in the face by shrapnel in the incident. Uthlaut — who was first caption of his senior class at West Point, the academy’s highest honor — was dismissed from the Rangers and re-entered the regular Army.

“It seems grossly inappropriate that Saunders would determine punishment for the others when he shares responsibility for the debacle,” Mary Tillman said.

Baer told The Chronicle that commanding officers were to blame for the friendly fire because they split the platoon and ordered it to leave a secure location in favor of a region known as a Taliban stronghold.

“It was dumb to send us out during daylight,” said Baer, who was honorably discharged from the Rangers earlier this year and lives in the East Bay.

“It’s a well-known military doctrine that privates first learn going through basic training — if you are in enemy territory and you are stopped for a prolonged period of time, the best thing to do is to wait until nightfall. Why they thought that moving us out in broad daylight from our position, dragging a busted humvee slowly through a known hotspot after we had been stranded there all day was a good idea will forever elude me. Who made that decision? Bailey? Saunders? That’s what I want to know.”

-- Inaccurate information.

While the military code gives clear guidance for informing family members upon a soldier’s death when cases are suspected of being a result of friendly fire, that procedure was not followed in the Tillman case. After Tillman’s death, the Army gave conflicting and incorrect descriptions of the events.

On April 22, the family was told that Tillman was hit with enemy fire getting out of a vehicle and died an hour later at a field hospital.

Although there was ample testimony that Tillman died immediately, an Army report — dated April 22, 2004, from the field hospital in Salerno, Afghanistan, where his body was taken — suggested otherwise. While it stated that he had no blood pressure or pulse “on arrival,” it stated that cardio pulmonary resuscitation had been conducted and that he was transferred to the intensive care unit for further CPR.

On April 23, all top Ranger commanders were told of the suspected fratricide. That same day, an Army press release said he was killed “when his patrol vehicle came under attack.”

On April 29, four days before Tillman’s memorial, Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, and other top commanders were told of the fratricide. It is not known if Abizaid reported the news to Washington. Mary Tillman believes that with her son’s high profile, and the fact that Rumsfeld sent him a personal letter, the word quickly reached the defense secretary. “If Pat was on Rumsfeld’s radar, it’s pretty likely that he would have been informed right away after he was killed,” she said. White House, Pentagon and Army spokesmen all said they had no information on when Bush or Rumsfeld were informed.

On April 30, the Army awarded Tillman a Silver Star medal for bravery, saying that “through the firing Tillman’s voice was heard issuing fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground.”

On May 2, the acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee was told of the fratricide.

On May 7, the Army’s official casualty report stated incorrectly that Tillman was killed by “enemy forces” and “died in a medical treatment facility.”

On May 28, the Army finally admitted to Tillman’s family that he had been killed by friendly fire.

“The administration clearly was using this case for its own political reasons,” said the father, Patrick Tillman. “This cover-up started within minutes of Pat’s death, and it started at high levels. This is not something that (lower-ranking) people in the field do,” he said.

The files show that many of the soldiers questioned in the inquiry said it was common knowledge that the incident involved friendly fire.

A soldier who on April 23 burned Tillman’s bullet riddled body armor — which would have been evidence in a friendly-fire investigation — testified that he did so because there was no doubt it was friendly fire that killed Tillman. Two days later, Tillman’s uniform and vest also were burned because they were soaked in blood and considered a biohazard. Tillman’s uniform also was burned.

The officer who led the first investigation testified that when he was given responsibility for the probe the morning after Tillman’s death, he was informed that the cause was “potential fratricide.’’

After they received the friendly-fire notification May 28, the Tillmans began a public campaign seeking more information. But it was only when the Tillmans began angrily accusing the Pentagon of a coverup, in June 2005, that the Army apologized for the delay, issuing a statement blaming “procedural misjudgments and mistakes.”

-- Legal liability.

In testimony on Nov. 14, the officer who conducted the first investigation said that he thought some Rangers could have been charged with “criminal intent,” and that some Rangers committed “gross negligence.” The legal difference between the two terms is roughly similar to the distinction between murder and involuntary manslaughter.

The Tillmans demand that all avenues of inquiry remain open.

“I want to know what kind of criminal intent there was,” Mary Tillman said. “There’s so much in the reports that is (deleted) that it’s hard to tell what we’re not seeing.”

In Congress, pressure is building for a full public disclosure of what happened. “I am committed to continuing my work with the Tillman family to ensure that their concerns are being addressed,” said Rep. Honda. He added that he expects the investigation to do the following:

1) provide all factual evidence about the events of April 22, 2004;

2) identify the command decisions that contributed to Pat Tillman’s death;

3) explain why the Army took so long to reveal fratricide as the cause of Pat Tillman’s death; and

4) offer all necessary recommendations for improved procedures relating to such incidents.”

Patrick Tillman drily called the new Army probe “the latest, greatest investigation.” He added, “In Washington, I don’t think any of them want it investigated. They (politicians and Army officials) just don’t want to see it ended with them, landing on their desk so they get blamed for the cover-up.” The January 2005 investigation concluded that there was no coverup.

Throughout the controversy, the Tillman family has been reluctant to cause a media stir. Mary noted that Pat shunned publicity, refusing all public comment when he enlisted and asking the Army to reject all media requests for interviews while he was in service. Pat’s widow, Marie, and his brother Kevin have not become publicly involved in the case, and they declined to comment for this article.

Yet other Tillman family members are less reluctant to show Tillman’s unique character, which was more complex than the public image of a gung-ho patriotic warrior. He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.) Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan — a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, “Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.”

Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.

“I can see it like a movie screen,” Baer said. “We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush.”

Another soldier in the platoon, who asked not to be identified, said Pat urged him to vote for Bush’s Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Stephen White — a Navy SEAL who served with Pat and Kevin for four months in Iraq and was the only military member to speak at Tillman’s memorial — said Pat “wasn’t very fired up about being in Iraq” and instead wanted to go fight al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He said both Pat and Kevin (who has a degree in philosophy) “were amazingly well-read individuals … very firm in some of their beliefs, their political and religious or not so religious beliefs.”

Baer recalled that Tillman encouraged him in his ambitions as an amateur poet. “I would read him my poems, and we would talk about them,” Baer said. “He helped me grow as an individual.”

Tillman subscribed to the Economist magazine, and a fellow soldier said Tillman created a makeshift base library of classic novels so his platoon mates would have literature to read in their down time. He even brought gourmet coffee to brew for his platoon in the field in Afghanistan.

Baer said Tillman was popular among his fellow soldiers and had no enemies. “The guys who killed Pat were his biggest fans,” he said. “They were really wrecked afterward.” He called Tillman “this amazing positive force who really brought our whole platoon together.

He had this great energy. Everybody loved him.” His former comrades and family recall Tillman as a born leader yet remarkably humble. White, the Navy SEAL, recalls one day when “some 19-year-old Ranger came and ordered him to cut an acre of grass.

And Pat just did it, he cut that grass, he didn’t complain. He could have taken millions of dollars playing football, but instead he was just taking orders like that.”

Mary Tillman says that’s how Pat would have wanted to be remembered, as an individual, not as a stock figure or political prop. But she also believes “Pat was a real hero, not what they used him as.” For the moment, all that is left are the memories and the thick binders spread across Mary Tillman’s dining room table in San Jose. As she waits for the Pentagon investigators to finish their new probe, she wonders whether they will ask the hard questions. Like other family members, “I just want accountability,” she said. “I want answers.”

©2005 San Francisco Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/info/copyright/)

September 27th, 2005, 09:42 AM
Coming Soon: The ‘Voice of the Caliphate' Radio

By Stephen Ulph (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/analysts.php?authorid=130)


A September 11 posting on the jihadi forums further demonstrates the mujahideen's vulnerability and sensitivity to negative media coverage. Issued by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), the posting detailed the imminent appearance of its latest project, the "first of its kind in the media world"—the Sawt al-Khilafa (Voice of the Caliphate) radio broadcast. The initiative is billed as "a transparent vision with an Islamic view" and a "voice of Truth in a time of Evil." The GIMF announcement was accompanied by a fanfare of media flashes for forum readers to download and distribute among their colleagues. The stated aim of the new initiative is to confront the "media obfuscation carried out by the collaborationist media channels and the frantic media war directed against our mujahid brothers all over the world, which spares no effort to blacken the image of the mujahideen and conceal their victories." [http://soutgimf.s5.com]


A banner from the soon-to-be-released Sawt al-Khlifah radio

The announcement of the new broadcast service comes at a time of increasing frustration for the mujahideen at their weakening profile in the international media. Symptomatic of this was a report by AFP of a new warning issued on September 8 to the Arabic satellite TV channel al-Arabiya—and intended for all Arabic language channels—from an unknown group calling itself Jama'at Jund al-Islam al-Jihadiyya (Group of the Jihadi Soldiers of Islam) to cease their "slander" and contribution "to the distortion of jihad and the mujahideen all over the world… and their description of it as terrorism." As an example of the media distortion, it cited the labeling by these channels of martyrdom operations as ‘suicide attacks.' It reminded the al-Arabiya channel of the earlier car bombing of its offices in Baghdad by the Jihadist Martyrs Brigades in Iraq in October of last year that resulted in seven fatalities. It added that "our arms are long and able to reach all the traitors and collaborators in this nation."

The present posting dedicates its efforts to Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Emir Mulla Omar and Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, "and to the Islamic armies in Chechnya, Kashmir and the Land of the Two Shrines [Saudi Arabia], and in every place." It repeats earlier announcements as to the GIMF's purpose—"The Front does not belong to anyone. It is the property of all zealous Muslims and knows no geographical boundaries." On August 22 it signaled an acceleration of activity with an audio "call to zealous Muslims" to add their efforts to the jihad by joining in with the work of the group. The GIMF's recent productions include a so-called "Top Ten" video production of attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, carried out by the Islamic Army in Iraq and al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda Organization in the Land of Two Rivers, and a film entitled "Bloody Comedy" stitching together more footage of U.S. casualties to a soundtrack of laughter. [www.al-farouq.com]

These developments testify to the new emphasis placed by the mujahideen on the media war. Pointedly, the warning against al-Arabiyah noted that "our war with the American tyrant and his collaborators is now not confined to the military war, but extends to the information war which our mujahideen brothers are waging in Iraq with success."

Purported al Qaeda Newscast Debuts on Internet

Masked Anchorman Lauds Gaza Pullout, Iraq Attacks, Hurricane Katrina

By Daniel Williams
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, September 27, 2005; A16


ROME, Sept. 26 -- An Internet video newscast called the Voice of the Caliphate was broadcast for the first time on Monday, purporting to be a production of al Qaeda and featuring an anchorman who wore a black ski mask and an ammunition belt.
The anchorman, who said the report would appear once a week, presented news about the Gaza Strip and Iraq and expressed happiness about recent hurricanes in the United States. A copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, was placed by his right hand and a rifle affixed to a tripod was pointed at the camera.

The origins of the broadcast could not be immediately verified. If the program was indeed an al Qaeda production, it would mark a change in how the group uses the Internet to spread its messages and propaganda. Direct dissemination would avoid editing or censorship by television networks, many of which usually air only excerpts of the group's statements and avoid showing gruesome images of killings.

The broadcast was first reported by the Italian Adnkonos news agency from Dubai. The 16-minute production was available on Italian newspaper Web sites.

The lead segment recounted Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which the narrator proclaimed as a "great victory," while showing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia walking and talking among celebrating compatriots.

That was followed by a repeat of a pledge on Sept. 14 by Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, to wage all-out war on Iraq's Shiite Muslims. An image of Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Sunni Muslim, remained on the screen for about half the broadcast.

The masked announcer also reported that a group called the Islamic Army in Iraq claimed to have launched chemical-armed rockets at American forces in Baghdad. A video clip showed five rockets fired in succession from behind a sand berm as an off-screen voice yelled "God is great" in Arabic. The Islamic Army asserted responsibility last year for the killing of Enzo Baldoni, an Italian journalist who had been kidnapped in Iraq.

A commercial break of sorts followed, which previewed a movie, "Total Jihad," directed by Mousslim Mouwaheed. The ad was in English, suggesting that the target audience might be Muslims living in Britain and the United States.

The final segment was about Hurricane Katrina. "The whole Muslim world was filled with joy" at the disaster, the anchorman said. He went on to say that President Bush was "completely humiliated by his obvious incapacity to face the wrath of God, who battered New Orleans, city of homosexuals." Hurricane Ophelia's brush with North Carolina was also mentioned.

The name of the broadcast refers to the Islamic empire that emerged following the death of the prophet Muhammad in the 7th century, eventually stretching from Turkey to Spain and creating an era of Islamic influence that bin Laden has said Muslims should reestablish. According to credits following the broadcast, it was produced by the Global Islamic Media Front.

Numerous radical Islamic organizations, some claiming affiliation with al Qaeda, spread information, including photos and videos, by the Internet. Some evade ongoing efforts to shut them down by disguising their presence within innocuous Web sites.

[i]© 2005 The Washington Post Company

September 30th, 2005, 02:36 PM
American security contractor allegedly shoots dead his Afghan interpreter

Date posted online: Friday, September 30, 2005


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- An American supervisor for a U.S. security firm allegedly shot to death his Afghan interpreter after a quarrel this week, Afghan officials said Friday.

Noor Ahmad, 37, was shot in the head late Tuesday at a compound of his employer, U.S. Protection and Investigations, at Tut village in Farah province's Gulistan district in western Afghanistan, the officials said.

The American reportedly worked as the local supervisor for USPI, a Houston-based company that provides security for foreign contract workers in Afghanistan, including on construction of a U.S.-funded road between the cities of Herat and Kandahar.
"An American guy shot his translator. Next morning, a helicopter came and took the foreigner to Kabul," provincial police chief Allah Udin Noorzai told The Associated Press. Noorzai had no details about who had taken him away, although other officials in the province claimed they were Americans.

The Interior Ministry in Kabul confirmed that a foreigner allegedly had shot an Afghan working for USPI and had been brought to Kabul, but gave no further details, including whether he was in custody or still in the country.

Noorzai said he had sent a criminal investigation team to the USPI compound after the shooting, but his men were blocked from entering by its security guards.

Bill Dupre, USPI's country operations manager in Kabul, said: "USPI does not want to release any statement on this incident at all."

The U.S. Embassy said it was looking into media reports about the case. The American military said it had no information.

Ahmad's relatives claimed the American had shot the Afghan during a late-night party because of a personal grievance against him.

"We want our government to avenge my brother," said Fazel Ahmad, 45, a bank worker in the western city of Herat.

"They shouldn't let him (the American) escape. Americans and all other foreigners are here to help us, not to kill us," he told AP.

Syedo Jan Agha, a local militia commander who is paid by USPI to help provide security for the Herat-Kandahar road with his 250 forces, claimed Ahmad had a reputation for aggressive behavior and drunkenness.

"We had previously complained to USPI about Noor Ahmad. All the time he was drinking. He disturbed bus drivers on the road and even fired his gun," Agha said.

Recounting the incident, Agha said he heard three shots about midnight Tuesday and knocked on the door of the USPI compound but was told to come back the next morning as the presence of troops would only make the situation worse. When he returned the next morning, he said he saw Ahmad's body.

Another foreign USPI employee told him that Ahmad, drunk and armed, had walked into the room of the American while he was sleeping and that there had been an exchange of fire in which the American shot Ahmad.

Foreigners working on civilian projects are generally subject to Afghan law, but the legal status of security contractors is a gray area. U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan come under American military jurisdiction.

September 30th, 2005, 02:53 PM
I smell BS.

he came in, drunk, and was shot in the head in self defense?

This was the SECRUITY FORCE BUILDING! You don't think there would have been someone watching the halls at night?

My theory, they got into a fight (who is right who is wrong it does not matter) and he got shot. There are other theories such as infiltration, payoffs and whatnot, but those will be hard to come by.

September 30th, 2005, 04:39 PM
^ We're in the Rumsfeld / Ashcroft / Bush "grey zone" with this one.

Basically something that should be treated as a criminal investigation by the local authorities has been taken over by who knows who.

Chances are the guy with the gun has been secreted away and will never have to face up to this.

September 30th, 2005, 09:11 PM
uh, that's putting it mildly. read on...

Army in Worst Recruiting Slump in Decades

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Fri Sept. 30, 2005

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050930/ap_on_re_us/army_recruiting_slump&printer=1;_ylt=AjXcybhfMLscdwGAc0R99eJH2ocA;_ylu=X 3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

The Army is closing the books on one of the leanest recruiting years since it became an all-volunteer service three decades ago, missing its enlistment target by the largest margin since 1979 and raising questions about its plans for growth.

Many in Congress believe the Army needs to get bigger — perhaps by 50,000 soldiers over its current 1 million — in order to meet its many overseas commitments, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army already is on a path to add 30,000 soldiers, but even that will be hard to achieve if recruiters cannot persuade more to join the service.

Officials insist the slump is not a crisis.

Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution think tank, said the recruiting shortfall this year does not matter greatly — for now.

"The bad news is that any shortfall shows how hard it would be to increase the Army's size by 50,000 or more as many of us think appropriate," O'Hanlon said. "We appear to have waited too long to try."

The Army has not published official figures yet, but it apparently finished the 12-month counting period that ends Friday with about 73,000 recruits. Its goal was 80,000. A gap of 7,000 enlistees would be the largest — in absolute number as well as in percentage terms — since 1979, according to Army records.

The Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, which are smaller than the regular Army, had even worse results.

The active-duty Army had not missed its target since 1999, when it was 6,290 recruits short; in 1998 it fell short by 801, and in 1995 it was off by 33. Prior to that the last shortfall was in 1979 when the Army missed by 17,054 during a period when the Army was much bigger and its recruiting goals were double today's.

Army officials knew at the outset that 2005 would be a tough year to snag new recruits. By May it was obvious that after four consecutive months of coming up short there was little chance of meeting the full-year goal.

A summertime surge of signups offered some hope the slump may be ending. An Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, said that despite the difficulties, recruiters were going full speed as the end of fiscal year 2005, Sept. 30, arrived.

"We have met the active Army's monthly recruiting goals since June, and we expect to meet it for September, which sends us into fiscal year 2006 on a winning streak," Hilferty said. He also noted that the Army has managed to meet its re-enlistment goals, even among units that have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But there are compelling reasons to think that Army recruiters are heading into a second consecutive year of recruiting shortfalls.

The outlook is dimmed by several key factors, including:

• The daily reports of American deaths in Iraq and the uncertain nature of the struggle against the insurgency have put a damper on young people's enthusiasm for joining the military, according to opinion surveys.

• The Army has a smaller-then-usual reservoir of enlistees as it begins the new recruiting year on Saturday. This pool comes from what the Army calls its delayed-entry program in which recruits commit to join the Army on condition that they ship to boot camp some months later.

Normally that pool is large enough at the start of the recruiting year to fill one-quarter of the Army's full-year need. But it has dwindled so low that the Army is starting its new recruiting year with perhaps only 5 percent "in the bank." The official figure on delayed entry recruits has not been released publicly, although Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, has said it is the smallest in history.

The factors working against the Army, Hilferty said, are a strong national economy that offers young people other choices, and "continued negative news from the Middle East." To offset that the Army has vastly increased the number of recruiters on the street, offered bigger signup bonuses and boosted advertising.

Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., said in an interview that the Army would attract more recruits if it could offer shorter enlistments than the current three-year norm.

As it stands, the Army faces a tough challenge for the foreseeable future.

"The future looks even grimmer. Recruiting is going to get harder and harder," Moskos said.

On the Net:

Army Recruiting Command at http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq.html

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press

October 1st, 2005, 12:18 PM
They're gonna have to start beating around the Bush's for recruits.

October 2nd, 2005, 10:10 AM
Bali Bombing Suspects Linked to al-Qaida

Associated Press Writer
October 2, 2005

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051002/ap_on_re_as/indonesia_bali_bombings&printer=1;_ylt=AjN.aHqaDzeKd25O2GlG8e_9xg8F;_ylu=X 3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

Indonesia said Sunday it suspected two fugitives linked to al-Qaida had masterminded the suicide bombings of crowded restaurants in tourist resorts on the Indonesian island of Bali which killed at least 26 people and injured more than 100.

Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai, a top Indonesian anti-terror official, identified the two suspected masterminds as Malaysians alleged to be key members of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group. They are also accused of orchestrating the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, as well as two other attacks in the Indonesian capital in 2003 and 2004. The nightclub bombings, which also struck venues crowded with tourists on a Saturday night, killed 202 people, most of them foreigners.

In the latest attacks, three suicide bombers wearing explosive vests set off near-simultaneous explosions that devastated three restaurants crowded with diners on Saturday night.

"The modus operandi of Saturday's attacks is the same as the earlier ones," said Mbai, who identified the two suspected masterminds as Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top.

He said the two were not believed to be among the three suicide attackers. The assailants' remains were found at the bombing scenes but they have not yet been identified, he said.

"I have seen them. All that is left is their head and feet," he told The Associated Press. "By the evidence we can conclude the bombers were carrying the explosives around their waists."

Video footage of one of the blasts showed groups of tourists, many of them apparently Westerners, seated at candlelit tables talking and sipping drinks in the seconds before the explosion. The footage, obtained by Associated Press Television News, then shows a bright flash accompanied by a loud bang and gusts of black smoke.

It was not immediately clear whether the three suicide bombers were included in the death toll which climbed to 26 on Sunday, according to Sanglah Hospital spokesman Putu Putra Wisada. Six Americans were among the injured.

Long lines formed at checkout counters at Bali's international airport with a steady stream of taxis dropping off passengers.

"We were up all night trying to change our ticket," said Veli-Matti Enqvist, 51, who had been scheduled to leave Bali with his wife on Wednesday. The couple was walking on the beach when they heard the blasts. "We finally found something ... we're going."

After the 2002 bombings, there was an immediate and massive evacuation of foreign visitors which devastated the island's tourist industry.

The latest bombings struck two seafood cafes in the Jimbaran beach resort and a three-story noodle and steakhouse in downtown Kuta. Kuta is the bustling tourist center of Bali where the two nightclubs were bombed three years ago.

The latest attacks came a month after Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned of possible terrorist attacks. On Saturday, he blamed terrorists and warned that more attacks were possible. The president was in Bali on Sunday to see the devastation firsthand.

"We will hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice," he said.

Western and Indonesian intelligence agencies have warned repeatedly that Jemaah Islamiyah was plotting more attacks in the world's most populous Muslim country. Last month, Yudhoyono said he was especially worried the extremist network was about to strike.

"I received information at the time that terrorists were planning an action in Jakarta and that explosives were ready," he said Saturday.

Dozens of people, most of them Indonesian, waited in tears outside the morgue in Sanglah Hospital, near the island's capital Denpasar, for news of friends and relatives missing since the attacks.

One Australian and a Japanese citizen were among those killed, along with 12 Indonesians. Hospital officials were trying to identify the other victims.

The 101 wounded included 49 Indonesians, 17 Australians, six Americans, six Koreans, four Japanese, officials said.

The White House condemned the "attack aimed at innocent people taking their evening meal."

"We also express our solidarity with the government of Indonesia and convey our readiness to assist in any way," spokeswoman Erin Healy said.

The bombers struck at about 8 p.m. as thousands of diners flocked to restaurants in tourist areas on the bustling, mostly Hindu island, which was just starting to recover from the 2002 blasts.

The head waiter at the Menega Cafe said the bomb went off at his beachside restaurant between the tables of two large dinner parties, who were sitting in the sand. Most of the 120 diners at the restaurant were Indonesian, he said.

"Everyone started screaming "Allah, Allah, help!" said Wayan Subagia, 23, who escaped with injuries to his leg. "One woman rushed to pick up her child but the little girl was already dead."

Minutes later he heard another blast at the Nyoman seafood restaurant, about 50 yards away.

At almost the same time about 18 miles away in Kuta, a bomb exploded at the three-story Raja restaurant in a bustling outdoor shopping center. The area includes a KFC fast-food restaurant, clothing stores and a tourist information center.

Smoke poured from the badly damaged building.

The bomb apparently went off on the restaurant's second floor, and an Associated Press reporter saw at least three bodies and five wounded people there.

Before the 2002 bombings, Bali enjoyed a reputation for peace and tranquility, an exception in a country wracked for years by ethnic and separatist violence.

Courts on Bali have convicted dozens of militants for the blasts, and three suspects were sentenced to death.

Since the 2002 attacks, Jemaah Islamiyah has been tied to at least two other bombings in Indonesia, both in Jakarta. Those blasts, one outside the Australian Embassy in 2004 and the other at the J.W. Marriott hotel in 2003, killed at least 23. The group's alleged spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, who has been jailed for conspiracy in the 2002 attacks, through a spokesman denied any personal connection to the weekend explosions. There was no statement from the group, which wants to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia.

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press

October 2nd, 2005, 06:47 PM
Everything "terrorist" is linked to Al Queda. It's the easiest way to try to keep us fearful of this b.s.

October 3rd, 2005, 09:50 AM
I like how they call it "linked".

What, is there some club they all belong to? Maybe a country club out in Pakistan where they all go golfing on Sunday after a successful suicide attack?

"Achmal! Good job on that bombing in the plaza, Oh cramalan! I sliced!".

October 5th, 2005, 10:36 PM
^ Now I'm worried.

I'll kill any m-f'er who takes my coffee!! :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

October 5th, 2005, 11:06 PM
Hmmm. The coffee crisis. In the long run, would it make for sleepless nights or sleepy workdays?

'It's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, it's al-Qaeda, ...'

'The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over'

- Nazi Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels

October 6th, 2005, 10:15 PM
George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq'

President told Palestinians God also talked to him about Middle East peace

Ewen MacAskill
Friday October 7, 2005
The Guardian

George Bush believes he is on a mission from God, according to the politician Nabil Shaath. Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP

George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.
Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did." Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."

Mr Bush, who became a born-again Christian at 40, is one of the most overtly religious leaders to occupy the White House, a fact which brings him much support in middle America.

Soon after, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz carried a Palestinian transcript of the meeting, containing a version of Mr Bush's remarks. But the Palestinian delegation was reluctant publicly to acknowledge its authenticity.

The BBC persuaded Mr Shaath to go on the record for the first time for a three-part series on Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy: Elusive Peace, which begins on Monday.

Religion also surfaced as an issue when Mr Bush and Tony Blair were reported to have prayed together in 2002 at his ranch at Crawford, Texas - the summit at which the invasion of Iraq was agreed in principle. Mr Blair has consistently refused to admit or deny the claim.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, who was also part of the delegation at Sharm el-Sheikh, told the BBC programme that Mr Bush had said: "I have a moral and religious obligation. I must get you a Palestinian state. And I will."

Mr Shaath's comments came as Mr Bush delivered a speech yesterday aimed at bolstering US support for the Iraq war.

He revealed that the US and its partners had disrupted at least 10 serious al-Qaida plots since September 11, including three planned attacks in the US. "Because of this steady progress, the enemy is wounded - but the enemy is still capable of global operations," he said. He added that Islamic radicals had used a series of excuses to justify their attacks, from conflict with the Israelis to the Crusades 1,000 years ago.

"We're facing a radical ideology with unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world," he said.

He conceded that al-Qaida, led in Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and other insurgents had gained ground in Iraq but the US would not leave until security had been established. "Some observers also claim that America would be better off by cutting our losses and leaving Iraq now. This is a dangerous illusion, refuted with a simple question: Would the United States and other free nations be more safe, or less safe, with Zarqawi and Bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people, and its resources?" Mr Bush asked.

October 6th, 2005, 10:49 PM
^ That God is a chatty fellow, ain't he?

October 7th, 2005, 06:06 PM
I wouldn't know.

I've never heard a word from the guy.

October 7th, 2005, 10:24 PM
When David Berkowitz heard voices telling him what to do, he was called the Son of Sam. He's now inJail.

When John Hinckley heard voices, he claimed it was Jodie Foster telling him to kill Reagan. He's now in a mental instiution.

When George Bush hears voices, it can only be God and God wants him to go out and kill Iraqis and Americans for oil. Oh, and God's wants a "Palestinian State."

Boy is George stupid. I just talked to God and he said that what he told George was, I want a "salad and a steak."

October 12th, 2005, 01:57 AM
A Letter from Al-Qaeda (click the link at bottom for the full letter) :


Letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi

October 11, 2005

ODNI News Release No. 2-05

Today the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a letter between two senior al Qa'ida leaders, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, that was obtained during counterterrorism operations in Iraq. This lengthy document provides a comprehensive view of al Qa'ida's strategy in Iraq and globally.

The letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi is dated July 9, 2005. The contents were released only after assurances that no ongoing intelligence or military operations would be affected by making this document public.

The document has not been edited in any way and is released in its entirety in both the Arabic (http://www.dni.gov/letter_in_arabic.pdf) and English (http://www.dni.gov/letter_in_english.doc) translated forms. The United States Government has the highest confidence in the letter's authenticity.

Al-Zawahiri's letter offers a strategic vision for al Qa'ida's direction for Iraq and beyond, and portrays al Qa'ida's senior leadership's isolation and dependence.

Among the letter's highlights are discussions indicating:

The centrality of the war in Iraq for the global jihad.
From al Qa'ida's point of view, the war does not end with an American departure.
An acknowledgment of the appeal of democracy to the Iraqis.
The strategic vision of inevitable conflict, with a tacit recognition of current political dynamics in Iraq; with a call by al-Zawahiri for political action equal to military action.
The need to maintain popular support at least until jihadist rule has been established.
Admission that more than half the struggle is taking place "in the battlefield of the media."

Letter in Arabic (http://www.dni.gov/letter_in_arabic.pdf) Letter in English (http://www.dni.gov/letter_in_english.doc)

October 12th, 2005, 10:10 AM
The United States Government has the highest confidence in the letter's authenticity.

Then it must be true.

October 12th, 2005, 10:20 AM
^ It was faked by the same folks who issue counterfeit satellite photos to convince us the world is round.

October 12th, 2005, 11:03 AM
^Unlike those satellites that gave us irrefutable evidence of WMDs in Iraq.

October 12th, 2005, 11:11 AM
They just gave us free HBO until they started scrambling the damn thing.

October 12th, 2005, 11:17 AM
^Unlike those satellites that gave us irrefutable evidence of WMDs in Iraq.

What's the current black-helicopter situation in New York?

October 12th, 2005, 01:32 PM

‘Out of the Loop’ On Iraq, Almighty Says

Days after the BBC reported that President George W. Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, the Almighty held a rare press conference today to say that He was “totally out of the loop” on the March 2003 invasion.

Reporters packed a meeting room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. to hear the angry denial of the Supreme Being, who had not held a press conference in over half a year.

Dressed in a white robe and sporting his trademark long, flowing beard, God told a reporter that the president’s version of events was “bogus,” adding, “Dude, I don’t even know the guy.”

The King of the Universe then showed reporters detailed phone logs from March 2003 revealing that He had no conversations with President Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, or anyone else involved in the decision to invade Iraq.

While the logs showed no conversation with the president, they did indicate that on March 24 of that year God placed a call to actress Nicole Kidman to congratulate her on winning the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in “The Hours.”

In what some saw as a particularly sarcastic rebuke of the president, God offered this possible explanation of Mr. Bush’s claim that He had told him to invade Iraq: “Maybe he has me confused with Dick Cheney.”

Elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security said that the recent terror threat to New York City was “specific but non-credible,” and that so was the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

2005 The Borowitz Report

October 12th, 2005, 01:36 PM
^ Lol!!!

October 12th, 2005, 01:38 PM
My sources are impeccable.

October 12th, 2005, 05:58 PM
My sources are impeccable.

You don't allow birds near them?

October 12th, 2005, 08:04 PM
I saw a little sticker on the E train today - "Stop errorism." - Gotta love that -

October 12th, 2005, 08:32 PM

‘Out of the Loop’ On Iraq, Almighty Says


October 12th, 2005, 10:44 PM
L M A O ! ! !

:D :D :D :D :D :D

October 19th, 2005, 11:57 AM
Film rolls as troops burn dead

By Tom Allard
October 19, 2005


US soldiers in Afghanistan burnt the bodies of dead Taliban and taunted their opponents about the corpses, in an act deeply offensive to Muslims and in breach of the Geneva conventions.

An investigation by SBS's Dateline program, to be aired tonight, filmed the burning of the bodies.

It also filmed a US Army psychological operations unit broadcasting a message boasting of the burnt corpses into a village believed to be harbouring Taliban.

According to an SBS translation of the message, delivered in the local language, the soldiers accused Taliban fighters near Kandahar of being "cowardly dogs". "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be," the message reportedly said.

"You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."

The burning of a body is a deep insult to Muslims. Islam requires burial within 24 hours.

Under the Geneva conventions the burial of war dead "should be honourable, and, if possible, according to the rites of the religion to which the deceased belonged".

US soldiers said they burnt the bodies for hygiene reasons but two reporters, Stephen Dupont and John Martinkus, said the explanation was unbelievable, given they were in an isolated area.

SBS said Australian special forces in Afghanistan were operating from the same base as the US soldiers involved in the incident, although no Australians took part in the action.

The incident is reminiscent of the psychological techniques used in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

October 19th, 2005, 02:21 PM
They are trying to spur an attack before it is planned out. Sort of a rabble-rousing.

UNFORTUNATELY, doing something like that in an area that is comprised PRIMARILY OF THE SAME ETHNIC BACKGROUND OF THE PEOPLE TEHY ARE TRYING TO ETHNICALLY INSULT is incredibly stupid.

It is one thing to talk smack to your foe. It is another to make references to his mom while standing in front of a bunch of others that had nothing to do with him.

TLOZ Link5
October 19th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Sorry to be jingoistic, but I can't say that I disagree with this practice.

In any case, if it defies Islamic law, then these fighters are de facto denied entry into Paradise. It could serve to be a powerful deterrent.

If I recall correctly, Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines in the early 1900s who were executed by American firing squads were shot with bullets that were first soaked in pig blood. Has anyone heard of a Muslim guerrilla movement in the Philippines in the time between then and the Abu Sayyaf movement of today?

And how can parallels be drawn to Abu Ghraib? That involved the cruel and indiscriminate torture of LIVING human beings to extract information that the inmates often didn't have, or just for the amusement of their guards. It was reprehensible, but this is different. Was the footage of dead U.S. soldiers being dragged naked through the streets of Mogadishu not also psychological warfare in violation of the Geneva Convention? Were the recorded beheadings of innocent hostages in Iraq, many of them aid workers and/or opponents of the war to begin with, not acts of psychological warfare in violation of the Geneva Convention? Their bodies were just thrown in the nearest roadside ditch and their heads were often never found. Is that respectful treatment of a corpse? What about the various tapes released by Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri superimposed over images from the 9/11 attacks, or Bin Laden's children playing with the wreckage of a crashed U.S. helicopter?

If extremist groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda are content to record the butchery of innocents for all the world to see amidst anti-Western taunts, then I see nothing wrong with the cremation of an enemy soldier's body as a deterrent amid anti-Taliban taunts. The anti-war moralist in me just does not have any qualms; the two cases do NOT measure up.

War is always dirty, and sometimes it has to involve stooping to the enemy's level.

Maybe next time, however, they should try the pig's blood thing instead of cremation.

October 19th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Um..... not valid T....

Sorry for the analogy here, but the Nazi's gassing the Jews never gave us the right to do the same to their soldiers (POW).

Just because the enemy does something morally repugnant, it does not give us the right to retaliate in a likewise manner. Although I do agree that this is less serious than Abu, going into neighborhoods and doing a public burning is not the best way to make friends.

It is a good way to instill fear and hatred.

October 19th, 2005, 03:34 PM
They could have "cremated" those bodies against muslim "laws" (which seem to be arbitrarily applied in most Islamic countries) and simply claimed it was a public health issue.

October 19th, 2005, 04:02 PM
War is always dirty,
That just about sums it up.

October 19th, 2005, 06:10 PM
War is always dirty, and sometimes it has to involve stooping to the enemy's level.

Certain military types -- such as John McCain -- would disagree with you about that, as it can easily lead to further atrocities being committed against those on our side.

Or should we just toss the Geneva Convention out the window altogether?

October 19th, 2005, 06:30 PM
In wars where the battlefield and the combatants are not well defined, the Geneva Convention is out the window, especially the articles that address treatment of civilians.

Just one example:

The Geneva Convention forbids the taking of hostages.

TLOZ Link5
October 19th, 2005, 10:44 PM
Um..... not valid T....

Sorry for the analogy here, but the Nazi's gassing the Jews never gave us the right to do the same to their soldiers (POW).

The part where we deliberately gassed the Taliban fighters in death camps seems to have eluded me. In any case, the Nazi war criminals convicted in the Nuremburg tribunal were often cremated in the very same ovens that they had condemned many Jews to.

Just because the enemy does something morally repugnant, it does not give us the right to retaliate in a likewise manner.

Considering the recent atrocities committed by the foe that we are up against, however, I would consider this relatively minor in comparison.

Although I do agree that this is less serious than Abu, going into neighborhoods and doing a public burning is not the best way to make friends.

It is a good way to instill fear and hatred.

Well, what sort of kinder, gentler way of disposing of one's enemies would you propose? Fear and hatred can be considered instilled amongst much of Afghanistan's general populace by default, particularly in a village believed to be harboring Taliban. Perhaps the Australian press should ask the familes who lost relatives in the Bali bombings if they think that their murderers' bodies should be treated with the utmost respect as per the Geneva Convention. Or, perhaps journalist Tom Allard should inquire amongst the people of Afghanistan who are opposed to the Taliban and ask them their opinion on the cremation of their enemies.

October 19th, 2005, 11:23 PM
^ OK you win ... no rules ... Total War ... bring on the napalm and nukes

October 20th, 2005, 12:21 AM
It really is something that we sit here and presume to know what motivates and goes through the mind of an Afghanistani. Here we are in our SUV, get-ur-freak on, macked up crib, Oprah's Angel Network land talking about what "they" ought to think, know and do.

We ought to get the hell out of there and stop contributing to their suffering, before we offer them advice on how to live a happy life.

October 20th, 2005, 09:03 AM
The part where we deliberately gassed the Taliban fighters in death camps seems to have eluded me. In any case, the Nazi war criminals convicted in the Nuremburg tribunal were often cremated in the very same ovens that they had condemned many Jews to.

I did not say that. You are saying "Well they did this, so we have a right to do whatever we want, even if it goes against the same rule set that we say they violated and is a reason to attack them".

You are saying it is OK to torture them, against the Geneva convention, because they did worse.

So if they use Biological warfare and rape puppies in front of children it will be OK if we just beat the crap out of them for jaywalking?

Considering the recent atrocities committed by the foe that we are up against, however, I would consider this relatively minor in comparison.

But it is still outside the rules. Just because someone commits murder, it does not give us the right to steal. It is MUCH less serious, but it is still a crime by OUR OWN LAWS!!!!

Well, what sort of kinder, gentler way of disposing of one's enemies would you propose?

Understanding wherethey are coming from and diffusing the motivating force. You do not see that TERRORISIM and GUERRILLA WARFARE are usually used by small groups of people that both hate and fear a larger entity?

We are just providing them with recruitment propoganda.

Fear and hatred can be considered instilled amongst much of Afghanistan's general populace by default, particularly in a village believed to be harboring Taliban.

Um, what?

Perhaps the Australian press should ask the familes who lost relatives in the Bali bombings if they think that their murderers' bodies should be treated with the utmost respect as per the Geneva Convention.

That is why victims are not the ones to decide anothers fate. Logic seems to have a hard time winning over raw emotion. Bringing up Bali has NOTHING to do with this. Why don't you just bring up Guatemala or something while you are at it.

Or how about the Battle of Troy?

Or, perhaps journalist Tom Allard should inquire amongst the people of Afghanistan who are opposed to the Taliban and ask them their opinion on the cremation of their enemies.

Maybe they should see if something like this, taken strait for what it is worth, is something that they approve of.

The whole concept of "less wrong" is not a concept to fight a war on.

October 20th, 2005, 09:04 AM
It really is something that we sit here and presume to know what motivates and goes through the mind of an Afghanistani. Here we are in our SUV, get-ur-freak on, macked up crib, Oprah's Angel Network land talking about what "they" ought to think, know and do.

We ought to get the hell out of there and stop contributing to their suffering, before we offer them advice on how to live a happy life.

I think we should get the hell IN there in regards to Afghanistan and finish the job we started.

We had enough resources to help them back on their feet, but we were just using them as a stopping point for Iraq.

Pure BS.

October 20th, 2005, 10:09 AM
It's Aghanistan. We didn't need to bomb them back to the "stone age", because they were already there. We are not engaged in war there. We are acting as a police force, not so much to enforce THE law, as much as to enforce policies and shore up governments that will allow the Unocal pipeline to proceed.

The relief comes with all the facts being revealed about the White House war cabal. It is focused on Iraq, but Afghanistan is the same thing. Manufactured evidence for war.

October 20th, 2005, 10:25 AM
Nah. We were legit in Afghanistan.

They were harboring people, basically because they could not really say no.

So now we come in, flush some of them out and try to restore some order.

But before we get so far as to decomission livestock from the community board, Bush pulls our main forces out of Afganistan and walks them over to Iraq where they were planning on attacking since before he was even elected.

Nobody in the world, aside from the guys we were attacking, objected us to going into Afghanistan. But we just did not devote anything into the afterward. The nation CONSTRUCTION (since there was really nothing to RE-Construct in the first place) was never planned on. We figured it was not important. Small potatoes, and moved onto the cash cow that we put in in the first place.

So whatever.

I think one of the reasons that noone objected to us going into Afghanistan was simply because everyone knew what a dump it was in the first place!


TLOZ Link5
October 20th, 2005, 02:23 PM
^ OK you win ... no rules ... Total War ... bring on the napalm and nukes

Now you're putting words in my mouth. Errr, on...my...keyboard.

TLOZ Link5
October 20th, 2005, 02:36 PM
I did not say that. You are saying "Well they did this, so we have a right to do whatever we want, even if it goes against the same rule set that we say they violated and is a reason to attack them".

You are saying it is OK to torture them, against the Geneva convention, because they did worse.

I never said anything about torture. You're also putting words in my mouth. These were enemy soldiers who were already deceased. There was no living human left to torture. I already established that I was against Abu Ghraib; like you even said, this is an entirely different animal.

So if they use Biological warfare and rape puppies in front of children it will be OK if we just beat the crap out of them for jaywalking?

Still a poor analogy. They were dead.

But it is still outside the rules. Just because someone commits murder, it does not give us the right to steal. It is MUCH less serious, but it is still a crime by OUR OWN LAWS!!!!

I will have to grant that.

Understanding wherethey are coming from and diffusing the motivating force. You do not see that TERRORISIM and GUERRILLA WARFARE are usually used by small groups of people that both hate and fear a larger entity?

We are just providing them with recruitment propoganda.

Depends. One of the soldiers in the tape provided a disclaimer in saying that the Taliban were a mockery of Islam. See below for more.

Um, what?

If the village in which the incident took place was truly harboring Taliban fighters, then I doubt that any amount of persuasion could have convinced them to have a more favorable view of the U.S.

That is why victims are not the ones to decide anothers fate. Logic seems to have a hard time winning over raw emotion. Bringing up Bali has NOTHING to do with this. Why don't you just bring up Guatemala or something while you are at it.

Or how about the Battle of Troy?

Frankly, many people who suffered in Guatemala in the late '70s/early '80s have yet to see justice. And in any case, the Trojans won in the end; I'm sure that you've read the Aeneid. The Greeks eventually got theirs because the survivors of Troy eventually founded Rome. Or so Virgil tells us.

Maybe they should see if something like this, taken strait for what it is worth, is something that they approve of.

The whole concept of "less wrong" is not a concept to fight a war on.

War in general is wrong; both sides do immoral things regardless of the context, time, place, or protagonists/antagonists. If I had my druthers, there wouldn't be war/crime/racism/homophobia/etc., the percentage of people in this country who are fat and stupid and uncultured would be next to zero, our freedoms wouldn't have been limited by the Patriot Act, there'd be cures for AIDS and cancer, and BrooklynRider would be President. But that's not the world that we live in. Perhaps both sides are equally immoral. Perhaps one is less immoral than the other. But in any case, regardless of what you maintain, this incident is indeed "less wrong" than most incidents — on both sides — that have been witnessed in the past four years.

But I really do not want to make this a nine-page argument when the focus on the thread is something else. Agree to disagree?

October 20th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Agree to disagree?

Nope! ;)

TLOZ Link5
October 20th, 2005, 07:11 PM
Nope! ;)

Then that shall be your epitaph. En Garde! :D

October 21st, 2005, 08:50 AM
En Garde! :D


October 21st, 2005, 11:21 AM
FACTS are such pesky things ...

Goodwill Envoy Hughes Claims Saddam Hussein Gassed 'hundreds of Thousands' of Iraqis

By Chris Brummitt Associated Press Writer
Published: Oct 21, 2005


JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - U.S. envoy Karen Hughes on Friday defended Washington's decision to go to war against Iraq in front of a skeptical audience, saying Saddam Hussein had gassed to death "hundreds of thousands" of his own people. A State Department official later said she misspoke about the number.

Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, made the comment before a group of Indonesian students who repeatedly attacked her about Washington's original rationale for the war, Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. No such arms were ever discovered.

"The consensus of the world intelligence community was that Saddam was a very dangerous threat," Hughes said days after the ousted dictator went on trial in Baghdad on charges of murder and torture in a 1982 massacre of 148 Shiites in the town of Dujail.

"After all, he had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people," she told a small auditorium with around 100 students. "He had murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people using poison gas."

Although at least 300,000 Iraqis are said to have been killed during Saddam's decades-long rule - only about 5,000 are believed to have been gassed to death in a 1988 attack in the Kurdish north.

Hughes twice repeated the statement after being challenged by journalists. A State Department official later called The Associated Press to say she misspoke. The official, who was traveling with Hughes, spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to talk publicly to the media.

Hughes, a longtime adviser to President Bush, was visiting the world's most populous Muslim nation as part of Washington's effort to enhance the U.S. image abroad.

Students from Indonesia's oldest Muslim university pounded her with questions on U.S. foreign policy, in particular the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and Washington's support of Israel.

One said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks should be taken as a warning to America for interfering in the affairs of other countries.

"Your policies are creating hostilities among Muslims," a female student, Lailatul Qadar, told Hughes. "It's Bush in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and maybe it's going to be in Indonesia, I don't know. Who's the terrorist? Bush or us Muslims?"

Hughes, who has also faced tough questions in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey since taking up her post two months ago, said she was not surprised by the level of hostility.

"I understand that there are a lot of young people around the world, and a lot of people in our own country, who don't agree with what we did in Iraq," she told reporters. "We have to engage in the debate. That is what America is all about."

Hughes also said the video of alleged desecration of the bodies of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan by U.S. soldiers was "abhorrent."

"The important thing that the world needs to know is that it is a violation of our policy," she said.

There has been no public reaction so far in Indonesia to the video, broadcast by Australia's SBS television network, but clerics in other Islamic nations expressed outrage and warned of a possible violent anti-American backlash.

Indonesia is a moderate Islamic country with significant Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities. It has a long tradition of secularism. Many of the 16 students selected to debate with Hughes on stage were women, all in brightly colored headscarves and some in tight jeans.

Anti-American sentiments have risen sharply in Indonesia - seen by Washington as a close ally in the war on terror - since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The two countries have had close ties since the mid-1960s when a pro-U.S. military dictatorship seized power in Jakarta. This was replaced by a democratic government in 1999.

Hughes wraps up her three-day visit Saturday with a visit to the tsunami-wracked province of Aceh.

AP-ES-10-21-05 0948EDT

October 21st, 2005, 02:30 PM
US, UK teams search quake rubble
for Osama Bin Laden

* MI6/SAS team joins US Special Forces sifting through Balakot


PESHAWAR: An MI6/SAS team has joined US Special Forces in earthquake-devastated Balakot to search for Osama Bin Laden among thousands of victims still buried, British newspaper the Sunday Express reports.

US President George W Bush approved a full-scale surveillance operation along the remote Afghan-Pakistan border where extremists have training camps. The team, flown in from a high-security base in Afghanistan, is equipped with imagery and eavesdropping technology, high-tech weapons systems and MI6 linguists to try to locate the most wanted “terrorist” in the world.

Bin Laden has a $20 million bounty on his head. Security officers in London and Washington are anxious not to discuss whether Bin Laden is dead or has escaped the devastation from the 7.6-magnitude earthquake. But days before it struck, an American satellite had spotted an Al Qaeda training camp in a remote area and obtained high-resolution close-ups.

A senior intelligence officer in Washington told the Sunday Express: “One of those photos bore a remarkable resemblance to Bin Laden. His face looked thinner, which is in keeping with our reports that his kidney condition has worsened.”

( In case anyone forgot
what OBL looked like )

In recent weeks, both MI6 and the CIA have established that Bin Laden has received a portable kidney dialysis machine from China but it requires electricity to power it. Drones, unmanned aircraft that US Special Forces launched from Afghanistan last week, have reported that the area along the border has lost all power supplies. President Bush, who has said he wants Bin Laden ‘dead or alive’, is closely monitoring the operation.

While American aid – Black Hawk helicopters and heavy lifting equipment – has been flown into Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf has agreed to keep the other rescue teams working to locate survivors away from the border area where the search for Bin Laden is concentrated.

One Washington terrorism expert, Bruce Hoffman at the Rand Corporation, said that if Bin Laden had managed to escape the earthquake, he might have made his way to the disputed Kashmir region. There is also the possibility that he could have made his way back to the Toba Kakar Range in Afghanistan.

But veteran CIA officer Milt Bearden said: “If Bin Laden is dead, the world will never know. We just have to wait until somebody drags out his body and says: This is Bin Laden. My bet is that won’t happen.”

October 31st, 2005, 09:31 AM
Keystone Kops?

Blunder may free 'terror envoy'

The Home Office has missed a three-year deadline to deport an alleged al-Qaeda ringleader to Italy

The Times
October 31, 2005
By Daniel McGrory


http://images.thetimes.co.uk/images/trans.gifAN EXTRAORDINARY legal blunder by Whitehall officials may allow a suspected terror ringleader being held in Britain to go free.

Italian officials claim that Britain has taken so long to extradite Farj Hassan Faraj that a three-year deadline has passed and he can no longer face trial in Milan for plotting bomb attacks in Europe.

The mix-up over Mr Faraj has caused a serious rift with legal authorities in Italy who complain that they handed over one of the alleged July 21 London bombers within two months of his arrest in Rome.

Mr Faraj, 24, has been described as the “European envoy” for the Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is blamed for car bomb attacks on US and British troops and the murder of Western hostages, including Kenneth Bigley, the Liverpool engineer.

Italian intelligence chiefs claim that Mr Faraj was in direct contact with al-Zarqawi, for whose capture the US is offering a $25 million (£14 million) bounty. They also allege that Mr Faraj was one of the first al-Qaeda-trained operatives sent to Europe.

Whitehall is blaming Rome, saying that Italian prosecutors had not told them that the deadline was imminent. Officials in Rome insisted last night that Britain should have known the rules and that despite promises to fast-track the handover of terror suspects, Mr Faraj had been held since May 2002.

Britain, embarrassed by missing the deadline, is now considering what to do with the Libyan-born suspect, who Italian police claim was linked with a plot to attack an underground network in Europe.

Italian prosecutors are bitter at the failure to deport Mr Faraj after a British judge finally approved his extradition last December. But the case stalled while Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, allowed Mr Faraj’s solicitors time to make final representations despite also urging European allies to step up their co-operation in dealing with terror suspects.

Indignant officials in Rome say that they recently rushed through the extradition to the UK of Hussain Osman, who is alleged to have been one of the July 21 bombers in London.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed last night that the extradition warrant for Mr Faraj had been withdrawn.

The Special Operations Group of Italian carabinieri say they were tracking a gang allegedly led by Mr Faraj and claim to have intercepted calls from al-Zarqawi.

One of the group was reportedly heard discussing a plan “which might find 400 people dead in a subway”. Six of the gang were arrested but Mr Faraj travelled to London on a fake passport and applied for asylum. He was arrested after a tip-off from the Italian police.

Mr Faraj was allegedly trained at a camp in Herat, in Afghanistan, run by al-Zarqawi. He was reportedly sent to Europe to recruit a cell soon after the September 11 attacks.

Under EU rules he should be deported to Italy, where he had first applied for asylum. The alternative is to hold him until Britain can sign a hoped-for deal with Libya to take citizens deported from Britain.

His lawyers oppose this, claiming that he would be tortured if he returned to Libya.

Britain has long been criticised for the slow pace of its extradition. Home Office officials say that Mr Faraj was being held under old extradition procedures that have now been speeded up under a 2003 Act.

The policing bill for the July bomb attacks in London and subsequent security measures stands at £77 million, it has been reported.The Police Review magazine also said that one of the suicide bombers who attacked London on July 7 was filmed arguing with a cashier hours before the bombings. A counter-terrorism expert told a seminar that Shehzad Tanweer was seen arguing in a petrol station as he drove to Luton railway station on the day of the attacks.

November 12th, 2005, 01:27 PM
Action Star All-Talk, No Action on $1M Reward??

Willis passionate about Iraq war

Actor says he will pay for the capture of bin Laden, al-Zarqawi

Nov. 11, 2005


Getting stories out of Iraq isn't easy. Actor Bruce Willis found that out first hand when he went over to visit U.S. Troops serving in the Armed Forces.

Last night, Willis told MSNBC-TV's Rita Cosby that he does not understand why the really good things he saw happening inside Iraq are not being reported by the media.

Willis publicly announced he would offer $1 million reward to a civilian if they turned in Zawahiri, bin Laden, or al-Zarqawi. But, he also offered the same $1 million reward in 2003 for the capture of Saddam. But will Willis pay up?

RITA COSBY, LIVE AND DIRECT HOST: You know, Bruce, in 2003, you admirably offered $1 million for the capture of Saddam. I have to ask you, because just last night we had on our show so many of those pictures, those horrific pictures of what happened in Jordan.

And right now, we've got three thorns in our side. We've got Zawahiri, of course, who is Osama bin Laden's right-hand guy. You've got Osama bin Laden himself. And then you've got al-Zarqawi, the Iraqi who every believes is behind the mastermind of the attack, just those horrible attacks on three hotels just the other night.

Are you prepared even right now to maybe offer $1 million for one of them?

BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: Well, that was a conversation I was having with members of the military. I've since been told that military men and women cannot accept any reward for the job that they're doing. It was more about my passion for trying to stop Saddam Hussein.

COSBY: Would you offer that if somebody else, let's say a civilian, is willing to turn one of them in and finally put this to an end?

WILLIS: Yes, I would. Yes, I would.

I want to live in a world, and so do the Iraqi people want to live in a world, where they can move from their homes to the market and not have to fear being killed. And, I mean, doesn't everybody want that? Who doesn't want that?

© 2005 MSNBC Interactive

November 12th, 2005, 05:32 PM
Meanwhile the GOP seems to have a plan of their own ...

GOP memo touts new terror attack as way to reverse party's decline

Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
Nov 10, 2005


A confidential memo circulating among senior Republican leaders suggests that a new attack by terrorists on U.S. soil could reverse the sagging fortunes of President George W. Bush as well as the GOP and "restore his image as a leader of the American people."

The closely-guarded memo lays out a list of scenarios to bring the Republican party back from the political brink, including a devastating attack by terrorists that could “validate” the President’s war on terror and allow Bush to “unite the country” in a “time of national shock and sorrow.”

The memo says such a reversal in the President's fortunes could keep the party from losing control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections.

GOP insiders who have seen the memo admit it’s a risky strategy and point out that such scenarios are “blue sky thinking” that often occurs in political planning sessions.

“The President’s popularity was at an all-time high following the 9/11 attacks,” admits one aide. “Americans band together at a time of crisis.”

Other Republicans, however, worry that such a scenario carries high risk, pointing out that an attack might suggest the President has not done enough to protect the country.

“We also have to face the fact that many Americans no longer trust the President,” says a longtime GOP strategist. “That makes it harder for him to become a rallying point.”

The memo outlines other scenarios, including:
--Capture of Osama bin Laden (or proof that he is dead);

--A drastic turnaround in the economy;

--A "successful resolution" of the Iraq war.

GOP memos no longer talk of “victory” in Iraq but use the term “successful resolution.”

“A successful resolution would be us getting out intact and civil war not breaking out until after the midterm elections,” says one insider.

The memo circulates as Tuesday’s disastrous election defeats have left an already dysfunctional White House in chaos, West Wing insiders say, with shouting matches commonplace and the blame game escalating into open warfare.

“This place is like a high-school football locker room after the team lost the big game,” grumbles one Bush administration aide. “Everybody’s pissed and pointing the finger at blame at everybody else.”

Republican gubernatorial losses in Virginia and New Jersey deepened rifts between the Bush administration and Republicans who find the President radioactive. Arguments over whether or not the President should make a last-minute appearance in Virginia to try and help the sagging campaign fortunes of GOP candidate Jerry Kilgore raged until the minute Bush arrived at the rally in Richmond Monday night.

“Cooler heads tried to prevail,” one aide says. “Most knew an appearance by the President would hurt Kilgore rather than help him but (Karl) Rove rammed it through, convincing Bush that he had enough popularity left to make a difference.”

Bush didn’t have any popularity left. Overnight tracking polls showed Kilgore dropped three percentage points after the President’s appearance and Democrat Tim Kaine won on Tuesday.

Conservative Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum told radio talk show host Don Imus Wednesday that he does not want the President's help and will stay away from a Bush rally in his state on Friday.

The losses in Virginia and New Jersey, coupled with a resounding defeat of ballot initiatives backed by GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California have set off alarm klaxons throughout the demoralized Republican party. Pollsters privately tell GOP leaders that unless they stop the slide they could easily lose control of the House in the 2006 midterm elections and may lose the Senate as well.

“In 30 years of sampling public opinion, I’ve never seen such a freefall in public support,” admits one GOP pollster.

Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin says the usual tricks tried by Republicans no longer work.

"None of their old tricks worked," he says.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) admits the GOP is a party mired in its rural base in a country that's becoming less and less rural.

"You play to your rural base, you pay a price," he says. "Our issues blew up in our face."

As Republican political strategists scramble to find a message – any message – that will ring true with voters, GOP leaders in Congress admit privately that control of their party by right-wing extremists makes their recovery all but impossible.

“We’ve made our bed with these people,” admits an aide to House Speaker Denny Hastert. “Now it’s the morning after and the hangover hurts like hell.”

© Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue

November 13th, 2005, 04:08 PM
^ Especially when he doesn't pay up, as he apparently failed to do after Saddam was caught.

November 13th, 2005, 04:42 PM

Overheard at the Club ...


November 14th, 2005, 09:21 AM
I have also heard of the selective usage of phraseology.

Whenever Iraq is mentioned, even though people have been saying that it has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE 9-11 ATTACKS, they are still quick to say "It became apparent after the 9-11 attacks that we needed to protect our 'women and children' against the threat of terrorism".

Nice, eh? Still no direct statement saying that Iraq was responsible, but still putting the two in the same sentance. I seriously want to smack some of these guys whet they say stuff like that.

Maybe a pie in the face.

November 14th, 2005, 10:31 AM
I seriously want to smack some of these guys whet they say stuff like that.

Maybe a pie in the face.
Beware ;)

Protesters arrested at GOP fundraiser

Arlington: 2 accused of throwing hard candy; they deny the charges

Sunday, November 13, 2005
The Dallas Morning News


Two war protesters were arrested at a Republican fundraiser in Arlington on Friday night, accused of throwing candy at partygoers. The candy came attached to a message: "Don't be a sucker for the GOP."

The women denied the charges.

Police cited Hillary Timmers and an unidentified woman with provocative contact assault, a Class C misdemeanor. The two, and a third woman, were also charged with criminal trespassing.

The incident started when a Fort Worth woman, Beatriz Saldivar, objected to a pro-war speech at the fundraiser, at the Wyndham Arlington.

Ms. Saldivar's nephew, Sgt. Daniel Torres, was killed in the Iraq war in February. She said she was a registered Republican who bought a $50 ticket to the event, where Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, was scheduled to speak. She said she held up pictures of Sgt. Torres' mother and infant daughter.

"All these Republicans jumped at me and assaulted me," Ms. Saldivar said.
"They grabbed my purse, grabbed my phone. They looked for my ID. I kept holding my pictures. They kept saying I'm not a Republican, but I said, 'I'm a Republican, and I'm against this war.' "

An Arlington police officer took Ms. Saldivar outside the hotel ballroom, where three of her friends were protesting. Those three women then entered the fundraiser, waited through a singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," and started chanting, "We don't want your dirty war machine."

Police and the protesters disagree about what happened next. Arlington police Lt. Will Johnson said two of the three women began throwing hard candy.

Ms. Timmers of Fort Worth said the candy fell out of another woman's purse when partygoers tried to grab them.

No injuries were reported, and police released the women without taking them to jail.

November 27th, 2005, 11:05 AM
CBS, NY Times, USA Today parroted Gonzales's claim that Padilla case is moot, omitted contrary argument

Media Matters
Wednesday November 23, 2005


In their coverage of the indictment of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla, CBS News and The New York Times reported as fact Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's disputed assertion that the indictment renders moot Padilla's legal challenge of his detention as an enemy combatant.

Neither CBS nor the Times informed readers that attorneys and legal experts disagree with that assertion. In addition, USA Today reported that the Justice Department "said it regarded Padilla's pending Supreme Court challenge as 'moot' " but failed to note alternative views. In fact, Padilla's lawyers and some legal scholars argue that Padilla's challenge to the president's power to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists without a criminal charge remains valid and relevant despite the indictment.

Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was arrested in Chicago in May 2002. President Bush designated him an enemy combatant in June 2002; until the November 22 indictment, he was detained by the Defense Department without charges. In February, a federal district judge in South Carolina ruled (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/28/terror/main677099.shtml) that Padilla could not be indefinitely detained and ordered the United States to either charge or release him. After the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090900772.html) the lower court in September, Padilla appealed (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-padilla28oct28,1,1111006.story) to the Supreme Court. In a November 22 press conference (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=57111) announcing the Padilla indictment, Gonzales argued that Padilla's appeal should be denied. Gonzales told reporters that "since he has now been charged in a grand jury in Florida, we believe that the petition is moot and that the petition should not be granted."

As The Washington Post reported (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/22/AR2005112200689_pf.html) on November 23, "Jennifer Martinez (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.law.stanford.edu/faculty/martinez/), a law professor at Stanford University who is helping defend Padilla, said the appeal remains valid -- in part because his status remains unclear and because other U.S. citizens could still be declared enemy combatants." The Post also quoted University of Maryland law professor and former Justice Department official I. Michael Greenberger (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.law.umaryland.edu/faculty_profile.asp?facultynum=059), who raised doubts about whether the Supreme Court would agree that Padilla's case is moot:
The Bush administration hopes that the indictment will effectively derail the possibility of an adverse ruling from the Supreme Court in the Padilla case, which could decide to limit the government's ability to detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants.

But Padilla's lawyers said they will continue to pursue their legal challenge with the high court, and legal experts said the outcome is far from clear.

"The indictment is doubtless a strategy by the Bush administration to avoid a Supreme Court ruling that would likely hold that U.S. citizens cannot be detained incommunicado as enemy combatants if they are detained on U.S. soil," said I. Michael Greenberger, a former Justice Department official who teaches law at the University of Maryland. "There is also some respectable chance that the Supreme Court will not bite on this strategy."

On the November 22 broadcast of ABC's World News Tonight, correspondent Pierre Thomas (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=127693) played footage of Gonzales's claim that Padilla's indictment made his lawsuit "moot," adding, "But Padilla's attorney says the Supreme Court should rule on the limits of the presidential power." ABC then played footage of Padilla attorney Donna Newman saying, "It is important for all of us to have a determination on the extent the president may use his authority to arrest an American citizen and then just hold them without charges." ABC also showed footage of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.law.gwu.edu/Faculty/profile.aspx?id=1738), who, Thomas said, agreed with Newman's argument: "The Padilla case represents pretty extreme arguments of presidential power being put forward by this administration. It's ready to be resolved."

But the November 22 broadcast of the CBS Evening News simply echoed Gonzales's assertion that the Padilla indictment rendered moot Padilla's challenge to the president's power to detain enemy combatants indefinitely as though it were indisputable. In fact, as the Washington Post and ABC reports indicate, it is very much in dispute. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/11/20/ftn/main530179.shtml) told viewers, "The Bush administration decided today to have him [Padilla] indicted, avoiding a Supreme Court showdown over the handling of so-called enemy combatants." Without referencing the competing arguments put forth by Padilla's attorneys and legal scholars, CBS News correspondent Bob Orr (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/10/09/eveningnews/main524918.shtml) echoed Schieffer's statement:
ORR: The transfer of Padilla to the criminal justice system likely means the Bush administration won't have to immediately defend its enemy combatant policy before the U.S. Supreme Court. Padilla has challenged his open-ended detention, arguing the government must either charge him or release him.

ANDREW COHEN (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/opinion/courtwatch/main15515.shtml) (CBS News legal analyst): I think what the government is trying to do here is to get out of this case and to ratchet down the dispute before it loses. I think the U.S. Supreme Court would have taken this Padilla case and said, "You know what, government? You can't hold these U.S. citizens like this for this long."

ORR: By reversing course on Padilla, the administration at a minimum buys itself a little more time for its policy. But legal experts warn that the next court challenge would come very quickly if and when another American is ever held as an enemy combatant. Bob.

Similarly, in a November 23 New York Times article (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/23/politics/23terror.html?ei=5090&en=797249ca76bd9891&ex=1290402000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print), reporter Eric Lichtblau asserted that the indictment "averts what had threatened to be a constitutional showdown," again, asserting as true what is very much an open question:

The decision to remove Mr. Padilla from military custody and charge him in the civilian system averts what had threatened to be a constitutional showdown over the president's authority to detain him and other American citizens as enemy combatants without formal charges.

The administration had faced a deadline next Monday to file its legal arguments with the Supreme Court in the Padilla case, which the Justice Department said it now considers "moot."

In addition, the Times quoted University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://law.richmond.edu/faculty/tobias.htm): "Tactically, the decision to move him into the criminal courts is very advantageous for the government because it eliminates the uncertainty that the Fourth Circuit could be reversed." But the Times included no indication that any lawyers dispute the claim that Padilla's challenge to his detention is now moot. While the Times did quote Padilla attorney Newman on other matters related to the indictment, the Times did not explain why it did not include the view articulated by Newman herself -- as stated on World News Tonight -- that the Supreme Court should still rule "on the extent the president may use his authority to arrest an American citizen, and then, just hold them without charges."

Similarly, a November 23 USA Today article (http://mediamatters.org/rd?http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-11-22-padilla-indictment_x.htm) by Kevin Johnson reported Gonzales's assertion that Padilla's Supreme Court challenge is now moot but presented no indication that alternative views exist. Like the Times, USA Today quoted Newman on other issues. Also like the Times, USA Today did not explain why it did not include Newman's argument that the Supreme Court should still hear Padilla's case:
The Justice Department said Tuesday that Padilla was being returned to the civilian criminal justice system. The department said it regarded Padilla's pending Supreme Court challenge as "moot."

"I'm thrilled with the indictment," said Donna Newman, one of Padilla's attorneys. In his court petition, Padilla argued that he should be charged or released.

"Timing is everything, I guess," Newman said, suggesting that the government sought the criminal charges because it didn't want to risk an adverse ruling from the Supreme Court.

Newman described the indictment as "flimsy." "After 3 1/2 years, with a person being held in solitary confinement and (the government) comes back with something like this?" she said.

The Justice Department said the indictment and its timing had nothing to do with Padilla's Supreme Court challenge.

December 3rd, 2005, 04:23 PM
Report Finds Cover-Up in an F.B.I. Terror Case

By ERIC LICHTBLAU (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=ERIC LICHTBLAU&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=ERIC LICHTBLAU&inline=nyt-per)
December 4, 2005


WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 - Officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation mishandled a Florida terror investigation, falsified documents in the case in an effort to cover repeated missteps and retaliated against an agent who first complained about the problems, Justice Department investigators have concluded.

In one instance, someone altered dates on three F.B.I. forms using correction fluid to conceal an apparent violation of federal wiretap law, according to a draft report of an investigation by the Justice Department inspector general's office obtained by The New York Times. But investigators were unable to determine who altered the documents.

The agent who first alerted the F.B.I. to problems in the case, a veteran undercover operative named Mike German, was "retaliated against" by his boss, who was angered by the agent's complaints and stopped using him for prestigious assignments in training new undercover agents, the draft report concluded.

Mr. German's case first became public last year, as he emerged as the latest in a string of whistle-blowers at the bureau who said they had been punished and effectively silenced for voicing concerns about the handling of terror investigations and other matters since Sept. 11, 2001.

The inspector general's draft report, dated Nov. 15 and awaiting final review, validated most of Mr. German's central accusations in the case. But the former agent, who left the bureau last year after he said his career had been derailed by the Florida episode, said he felt more disappointment than vindication.

"More than anything else, I'm saddened by all this," Mr. German said in an interview. "I still love the F.B.I., and I know that there are good, honest, hard-working agents out there trying to do the right thing, and this hurts all of them."

Robert S. Mueller III (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/robert_s_iii_mueller/index.html?inline=nyt-per), director of the F.B.I., has emphasized repeatedly, both publicly and in private messages to his staff, that employees are encouraged to come forward with reports of wrongdoing and that he will not tolerate retaliation against whistle-blowers.

Senator Charles E. Grassley (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/charles_e_grassley/index.html?inline=nyt-per), an Iowa Republican who has been a frequent critic of the bureau, said of Mr. German: "Unfortunately, this is just another case in a long line of F.B.I. whistle-blowers who have had their careers derailed because the F.B.I. couldn't tolerate criticism."

Michael Kortan, an F.B.I. spokesman, said the bureau had not been briefed on the findings. But Mr. Kortan said that when the F.B.I. received the report, "if either misconduct or other wrongdoing is found, we will take appropriate action."

Ann Beeson, associate legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the inspector general's findings, coming just days after the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from an earlier F.B.I. whistle-blower, pointed to the need for tougher measures to protect those who report abuse. "With courts reluctant to protect whistle-blowers, it is crucial that Congress pass additional protections," Ms. Beeson said.

Mr. German's case dates to 2002, when the F.B.I. division in Tampa opened a terror investigation into a lead that laundered proceeds, possibly connected to a drug outfit, might be used to finance terrorists overseas. The F.B.I. was considering initiating an undercover operation to follow the lead, and Mr. German, who had extensive experience infiltrating militias, skinheads and other groups, was asked to take part.

But in the coming months, Mr. German would alert F.B.I. officials that the Orlando agent handling the case had "so seriously mishandled" the investigation that a prime opportunity to expose a terrorist financing plot had been wasted. He said agents had not adequately pursued leads, had failed to document important meetings with informants, and had tolerated violations of rules and federal law on the handling of wiretaps.

The report, in one of its few dissents from Mr. German's accusations, said it could not confirm that the F.B.I. had missed an important chance to expose terrorism. Rather, it cited two findings by the bureau that the prime informant had misled agents about the terrorism angle in the case and that "there was no viable terrorism case."

Nonetheless, the inspector general found that the F.B.I. had "mishandled and mismanaged" the investigation, partly through the failure to document important developments for months at a time. The report also found that supervisors were aware of problems in the case but did not take prompt action to correct them.

Moreover, after Mr. German raised concerns about the lack of documentation, an unnamed agent in Orlando "improperly added inaccurate dates to the investigative reports in order to make it appear as though the reports were prepared earlier," the inspector general found.

In addition, someone used correction fluid to backdate by two months a set of forms that the main informant had signed as part of a bugging operation, in which he agreed that he had to be present for all undercover taping.

The backdating was significant, the inspector general said, because the informant had taped a 2002 meeting with several suspects but had left the recording device unattended while he went to use the restroom - a violation of federal law.

Mr. German became increasingly vocal within the F.B.I. about what he saw as the bureau's failure to correct missteps, taking his concerns directly to Mr. Mueller in a 2003 e-mail message. His complaints, the inspector general found, led agents in Florida, Washington and Oregon to distance themselves from him.

In the most serious instance, the head of the F.B.I. undercover unit, Jorge Martinez, froze Mr. German out of teaching assignments in undercover training and told one agent that Mr. German would "never work another undercover case," the report said.

Mr. Martinez told investigators that he did not remember making the statements but that if he had, it was a "knee-jerk reaction but did not mean to indicate I was retaliating against him," the report said.

The inspector general disagreed. It said in the report that Mr. Martinez's treatment of Mr. German amounted to improper retaliation and "discrimination that could have a chilling effect on whistle-blowing."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

December 6th, 2005, 03:30 PM
Winning Hearts & Minds?

Pakistan deletes 'pro-Bush' poem

BBC News


Pakistan's government is to remove a poem from a school textbook after it emerged the first letters of each line spelt out "President George W Bush".

The anonymous poem, called The Leader, appeared in a recent English-language course book for 16 year-olds.

Critics say it praises Mr Bush. Its rhyming couplets describe someone "solid as steel, strong in his faith".

Officials cannot explain how the poem entered the curriculum. Pupils are being told to ignore it.

The textbook is due to be reprinted next year.

'Not deliberate'

The BBC's Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad says it is a bizarre episode which has left education officials short of explanations.

THE LEADER by anonymous

P atient and steady with all he must bear,
R eady to meet every challenge with care,
E asy in manner, yet solid as steel,
S trong in his faith, refreshingly real.
I sn't afraid to propose what is bold,
D oesn't conform to the usual mould,
E yes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do,
N ever backs down when he sees what is true,
T ells it all straight, and means it all too.
G oing forward and knowing he's right,
E ven when doubted for why he would fight,
O ver and over he makes his case clear,
R eaching to touch the ones who won't hear.
G rowing in strength he won't be unnerved,
E ver assuring he'll stand by his word.
W anting the world to join his firm stand,
B racing for war, but praying for peace,
U sing his power so evil will cease,
S o much a leader and worthy of trust,
H ere stands a man who will do what he must.

At first they put the poem's appearance in the grade 11 textbook down to a coincidence.

Then on Monday they said it may have been downloaded from the internet by a textbook writer, and later approved for publication by the curriculum committee.

An education ministry spokesman argued that the poem was a good description of a true leader - which might explain how it got through the vetting process.

But the poem has prompted criticism in local media in Pakistan, where there is opposition to President Pervez Musharraf's support for the US-led "war on terror".

Some opposition members say the poem shows the government has gone over the top in its support for the US.

Pakistan's government has denied any deliberate attempt to promote the US president.
The education ministry said it would remove the poem from the textbook and discipline the person responsible for including it.


December 6th, 2005, 05:20 PM
A million monkeys on a million typewriters in a million CIA offices...

Oop.... Said too much.......:eek:

December 8th, 2005, 07:36 AM
December 8, 2005

Air Marshals Shoot and Kill Passenger in Bomb Threat

By ABBY GOODNOUGH (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=ABBY GOODNOUGH&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=ABBY GOODNOUGH&inline=nyt-per)
and MATTHEW L. WALD (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=MATTHEW L. WALD&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=MATTHEW L. WALD&inline=nyt-per)

MIAMI, Dec. 7 - Federal air marshals shot and killed a passenger at Miami International Airport on Wednesday after the man claimed he had a bomb in his backpack and ran from an aircraft, officials said.

The incident - the first case of an air marshal opening fire since marshals became a common presence on flights after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 - prompted dozens of heavily armed police officers to surround the plane.

Luggage from the flight was laid out on the runway, and at least two bags were exploded by a bomb squad.

But the man, Rigoberto Alpizar, an American citizen from Maitland, Fla., was found to have no bomb. One passenger on the flight told a local television station that Mr. Alpizar's wife had tried to follow her husband as he ran off the plane, saying he was mentally ill and had not taken his medication.

Law enforcement officials refused to answer questions about Mr. Alpizar's mental state or his wife.

At a news conference, James Bauer, the special agent in charge of federal air marshals in Miami, said other federal air marshals had been deployed at airports throughout the country "in a surveillance mode to see if in fact other events are unfolding back to this isolated event."

But he added, there was no sign of any problem. "There is no reason to believe right now that there is any nexus to terrorism," he said, "or indeed that any other events are associated with this one."

Mr. Bauer defended the decision to shoot Mr. Alpizar, saying the air marshals were following protocol and had been trained to shoot when they perceived a serious threat.

"All of that will be parsed out," he said, refusing to comment further.
Mr. Alpizar had arrived in Miami around noon on an American Airlines flight from Quito, Ecuador, said Rick Thomas, the federal security director at the airport.

Mr. Alpizar and his wife, Anne Buechner, had boarded American Airlines Flight 924 to Orlando around 2 p.m. and the plane was waiting to taxi when Mr. Alpizar, 44, "uttered threatening words that included a sentence to the effect that he had a bomb," Mr. Bauer said.

Two air marshals aboard the flight confronted Mr. Alpizar, who then ran from the Boeing 757 and onto the jetway connecting it to the airport concourse. The marshals followed and ordered him to the ground, said Brian Doyle, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

"He then appeared to be reaching into a carry-on bag, and the air marshals proceeded consistent with their training," Mr. Doyle said.

"Shots were fired as the team attempted to subdue the individual."

Mr. Bauer said that members of the Miami-Dade Police Department's bomb squad detonated Mr. Alpizar's luggage on the tarmac and that it had contained no explosives. Dogs sniffed luggage that had been loaded onto the plane but found nothing.

One passenger on the flight, Mary Gardner, told a local television station that Mr. Alpizar's wife had said he was bipolar and had not taken his medication. Ms. Gardner told WTVJ-TV in Miami that Mr. Alpizar had suddenly run down the aisle from the back of the plane toward first class and that his wife had followed.

"She ran after him, and all of a sudden there were four or five shots," Ms. Gardner said. She added that the police boarded the plane afterward and told the passengers to put their hands on their heads.

Ms. Gardner also told WTVJ that just before the incident, Mr. Alpizar's wife had gotten a phone call and briefly left the plane acting "frantic."
Jamie Clifford, who was preparing to board a flight to San Francisco when the incident occurred near her departure gate, said the shooting sounded like "a bunch of soda cans falling on the floor." The flight, which had originated in Medellín, Colombia, was canceled. The concourse, one of eight at Miami International, was shut down for about half an hour.

The last of the passengers were allowed to leave the Miami airport about 11 p.m.

An F.B.I. spokeswoman, Judy Orihuelah, said, "Obviously we would have to go through all of the passengers and say, 'Did you see anything?' " Ms. Orihuelah added that anyone who responded that they had seen something was interviewed more extensively.

"None of the other 113 passengers onboard were affected or were ever in any danger," American Airlines said in a statement. "This was an isolated incident."

While there were only about 30 federal air marshals at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, their numbers grew sharply afterward under sweeping new antiterrorism measures. One air marshal hired after Sept. 11, who asked not to be named because he said marshals are forbidden to talk to reporters, said their rules for use of force were "basically same as any other law enforcement officer."

"When something threatens passenger, crew or safety of the airplane, you take whatever steps are necessary to protect yourself," he said. "If they were telling the guy not to reach in the bag, as soon as the guy reached in the bag, that's a situation that necessitates the use of deadly force."

An analysis this year by the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit group in Virginia, found that mentally ill people were four times more likely than members of the general public to be killed by the police.

Natalia Cayon, 16, was on the plane and continued her trip to Orlando. Ms. Cayon, who was traveling from Colombia, said everybody got down on the floor after the shots were fired. She said she was crying, as were many of the other passengers.

After the shooting, Ms. Cayon said, the passengers stayed on the plane for about an hour. When they were allowed off, they went into the terminal through a private entrance.

In Maitland, a middle-class suburb of Orlando, neighbors of Mr. Alpizar described him as quiet and friendly and said he never acted erratically. The one-story home he shared with Ms. Buechner, was white brick with a red door and shutters and a Christmas wreath.

One neighbor, Louis Gunther, said that Ms. Buechner was a social worker and that Mr. Alpizar had worked at a Home Depot in Orlando. He said the couple had gone out of town to work with a church group. Ms. Buechner works for the Council on Quality and Leadership, a national advocacy group for the disabled and mentally ill, according to the group's Web site.

Janice Tweedie, a widow who knew the couple, said Mr. Alpizar used to help her in her yard and share electricity with her during hurricanes. She called the shooting "a huge mistake," but added, "I know how very careful we have to be."

Abby Goodnough reported from Miami for this article, and Matthew L. Wald from Washington. Terry Aguayo and Andrea Zarate contributed reporting from Miami; Christine Blank from Maitland, Fla.; and Dennis Blank from Orlando, Fla.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

December 8th, 2005, 09:31 AM
I feel bad for him BUT

He runs around an airport saying he has a bomb (or threatens to blow something up) in front of armed marshals....

The thing is, I think with all their skill, they could have immobilized him w/o killing, but these guys are not trained for that.

I don't think any officer is. They are trained to shoot to kill. It is more certain to "mediate the situation"......

December 9th, 2005, 12:13 PM
Profile of a Killer

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the most wanted man in Iraq.
How did this high school dropout tie the United States down in its deadliest conflict since the Vietnam War?
From the slums of Jordan to the battle of Falluja, this is how it happened.

By Loretta Napoleoni
FP / Foreign Policy
November/December 2005 (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=220)


New face of terror:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is al Qaeda's top man in Iraq.

The world first heard of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Feb. 5, 2003. That was the day that then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations to make the case for the invasion of Iraq. “Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenants,” Powell told the U.N. Security Council. That information, we now know, was false. But it laid ground to one of the most powerful and enduring myths of the war on terror—the myth of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

That Zarqawi and bin Laden would be mentioned in the same breath—and from an official as senior as Powell—probably shocked no one more than Zarqawi. There are, after all, hundreds of men just like him throughout the Arab world, committed jihadists with some penchant for leading others. Although Zarqawi had demonstrated a zeal for his cause, there was little about him to suggest that he would catapult to the top ranks of the world’s deadliest terrorists. Uneducated and from a poor, working-class family, Zarqawi lacked the pedigree, connections, and financing that marked bin Laden and other senior leaders of al Qaeda.

But, of course, Zarqawi is no longer a mere foot soldier. From New York to London, from Paris to Tokyo, Zarqawi has become the new face of Islamic terror. He has replaced Saddam Hussein as the poster boy of evil in the Arab world. He commands a cadre of Iraqi insurgents that have purportedly carried out many of the barbarous terrorist attacks in that country since the ousting of Saddam. Now with a $25 million bounty on his head, this high school dropout from the slums of Jordan has tied the United States down in its deadliest conflict since the Vietnam War.

But how did myth become reality? Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. government had never heard the name Zarqawi. The first time U.S. officials learned of his existence was near the end of 2001, from the Kurdish secret service. The U.S. government knew little about the 35-year-old Jordanian, but they had much to gain from the creation of his myth. At the time, Saddam’s regime stood accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction and supporting terrorist outfits. Without hard proof of the former, Saddam’s support of terror was the only trump card the Bush administration had to convince the world that the Iraqi dictator had to go. To play it, the administration needed to demonstrate a link between Saddam and al Qaeda.

Their link was Zarqawi.

Full article: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3264

December 12th, 2005, 07:29 AM
December 12, 2005
French Police Arrest 20 in Terror Sweep

Filed at 5:54 a.m. ET

PARIS (AP) -- French counterterrorism agents dismantled an Islamic network suspected of preparing terror attacks, arresting about 20 people in raids early Monday, police said.

Anti-terrorism judges ordered the sweep in the Paris area and the Oise region north of the capital. The suspects were arrested in raids on homes and Internet cafes, national police said.

The alleged network included terror suspects already known to police and ''common criminals,'' a police statement said.

Investigations were under way to determine the group's precise objectives, it added.

December 14th, 2005, 07:19 AM
Jihad on Campus

New York Sun Staff Editorial
December 14, 2005
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/24407

At Columbia, the course catalog indicates that this spring the anthropology professor, Nicholas DeGenova, who called for "a million Mogadishus" and said "the only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military," will be teaching a graduate class on "The Metaphisics of Antiterrorism." At least he isn't teaching spelling. At the University of South Florida, our Josh Gerstein reports elsewhere on this page, there's talk of rehiring Sami Al-Arian, whose lawyers conceded during a recent trial that he had "an affiliation" with the people in Palestinian Islamic Jihad. That is a deadly terrorist group.

Meanwhile, Harvard and Georgetown universities announced this week that they had received $10 million each from a Saudi Arabian prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, to fund Islamic studies. Alwaleed, the so-called Saudi Warren Buffett, has also amassed sizable stakes in Citigroup and in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, owner of Fox News Channel and of the New York Post. The prince became notorious when Mayor Giuliani turned down a $10 million gift from him after September 11, 2001, because the gift came with a statement saying that America should tilt its foreign policy more in favor of the Palestinian Arabs.

Not all anti-Israel or anti-American professors receive funding from overseas, and not all professors who receive funding from overseas are anti-American or anti-Israel. That said, it will be illuminating to watch to see whom Harvard selects to fill the new chair that will be known as the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in Contemporary Islamic Thought and Life. Somehow we doubt it'll be a scholar who reckons that Mecca and Medina should be redistributed to the Hashemites and the oil rich Saudi eastern provinces to the Shiites or who criticizes the Saudis for funding the Hamas terrorist group and for distributing audiotapes in the West Bank describing the Jews as "the sons of monkeys and pigs." Somehow we doubt it will be a scholar who criticizes the Saudi kingdom for obstructing the American investigation into the 1996 Dhahran barracks bombing. It will be interesting to see how the scholar stands on the petition calling on Harvard to divest from Israel and from American companies that sell arms to Israel.

Harvard or Georgetown may - or may not - find a way to justify taking the money that Mayor Giuliani made New Yorkers proud by refusing. But it will be a scandal if they use the money to promote a Saudi agenda as opposed to a scholarly agenda or an American agenda. Harvard's president, Lawrence Summers, has an acute sense of a great American university's responsibility in wartime. Harvard met that test in World War II, when it turned its laboratories and scientists and even its president, James Conant, over to the war effort. Conant, with Vannevar Bush and Karl Compton of MIT, led the effort to develop the atomic bomb that won the war against Japan. Harvard laboratories were turned over to the war department for developing measures to counter Axis radar.

Today America faces an analogous threat to the one faced in World War II in the form of what President Bush has called Islamofascism. The Saudis play a unique dual role, both as an enemy of al Qaeda and an ally and funder and inspiritor of Islamic terrorism around the world. Not all Saudis are Islamofascists, and Prince Alwaleed hasn't made it clear openly where he stands on the matter of the war.

Yet we try to imagine Conant or Bush or Compton taking money from the Germans or the Japanese to fund German or Japanese studies in the middle of World War II, and we have a hard time doing it. Not that there wasn't a need for knowledge of German or Japanese language and culture at the time. And not that there weren't on our soil good Germans or good Japanese. And not that the money might not have been put to good use. But the leadership of our universities back then had a different sense of what might be called the "metaphysics" of the war than they have today, a fact that doubtless helped speed the allied victory.

December 14th, 2005, 07:32 AM
Shades of California circa 1969 (Reagan <> Angela Davis) ...

...it was not until 1969 that she came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA. In 1970 she was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List on false charges, and was the subject of an intense police search that drove her underground and culminated in one of the most famous trials in recent U.S. history. During her sixteen-month incarceration a massive international "Free Angela Davis" campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.

... Former California Governor Ronald Reagan once vowed that Angela Davis would never again teach in the University of California system. Today she is a tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1994, she received the distinguished honor of an appointment to the University of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies.


More here: http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id91/pg1/ree Angela Davis" campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.

December 14th, 2005, 09:59 AM
Big Brother is watching ...

Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?

Secret database obtained by NBC News tracks ‘suspicious’ domestic groups

By Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit
Dec. 13, 2005

Full Story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10454316/

WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.

“This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible,” says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project.

“This is incredible,” adds group member Rich Hersh. “It's an example of paranoia by our government,” he says. “We're not doing anything illegal.”

The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups.

“I think Americans should be concerned that the military, in fact, has reached too far,” says NBC News military analyst Bill Arkin.

The Department of Defense declined repeated requests by NBC News for an interview. A spokesman said that all domestic intelligence information is “properly collected” and involves “protection of Defense Department installations, interests and personnel.” The military has always had a legitimate “force protection” mission inside the U.S. to protect its personnel and facilities from potential violence. But the Pentagon now collects domestic intelligence that goes beyond legitimate concerns about terrorism or protecting U.S. military installations, say critics.

DOD Database of anti-War Protests (pdf): http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/DODAntiWarProtestDatabaseTracker.pdf

January 26th, 2006, 10:42 AM
Given the failure of the military to meet recruitment rates, the following is nothing less than ludicrous ...

Hundreds of military officers, health care professionals discharged under gay policy

http://www.wkyt.com/Global/story.asp?S=4408011&nav=4CAL (http://www.wkyt.com/Global/story.asp?S=4408011&nav=4CAL)

WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of officers and health care professionals have been discharged in the past 10 years under the Pentagon's policy on gays, a loss that while relatively small in numbers involves troops who are expensive for the military to educate and train.

The 350 or so affected are a tiny fraction of the 1.4 million members of the uniformed services and about 3.5 percent of the more than 10,000 people discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy since its inception in 1994.

But many were military school graduates or service members who went to medical school at the taxpayers' expense - troops not as easily replaced by a nation at war that is struggling to fill its enlistment quotas.

"You don't just go out on the street tomorrow and pluck someone from the general population who has an Air Force education, someone trained as a physician, someone who bleeds Air Force blue, who is willing to serve, and that you can put in Iraq tomorrow," said Beth Schissel, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1989 and went on to medical school.

Schissel was forced out of the military after she acknowledged that she was gay.

According to figures compiled by the Pentagon and released by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, Schissel is one of 244 medical and health professionals discharged from 1994 through 2003 under the policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve as long as they abstain from homosexual activity and do not disclose their sexual orientation. Congress approved the policy in 1993.

There were 137 officers discharged during that period. The database compiled by the Pentagon does not include names, but it appears that about 30 of the medical personnel who were discharged may also be included in the list of officers.

The center - a research unit of the Institute for Social, Behavioral and Economic Research of the University of California - promotes analysis of the issue of gays in the military.

"These discharges comprise a very small percentage of the total and should be viewed in that context," said Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman. She added that troops discharged under the law can continue to serve their country by becoming a private military contractor or working for other federal agencies.

Opponents of the policy on gays acknowledge that the number of those discharged is small. But they say the policy exacerbates a shortage of medical specialists in the military when they are needed the most.

Late last year Army officials acknowledged in a congressional hearing that they are seeing shortfalls in key medical specialties.

"What advantage is the military getting by firing brain surgeons at the very time our wounded soldiers aren't receiving the medical care they need?" said Aaron Belkin, associate professor of political science at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Overall, the number of discharges has gone down in recent years.

"When we're at war, commanders know that gay personnel are just as important as any other personnel," said Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the Center. He said that in some instances commanders knew someone in their unit was gay but ignored it.

The overall discharges peaked in 2000 and 2001, on the heels of the 1999 murder of Pfc. Barry Winchell, who was bludgeoned to death by a fellow soldier at Fort Campbell, Ky., who believed Winchell was gay. About one-sixth of the discharges in 2001 were at that base.

Officials did not provide estimates on the cost of a military education or one for medical personnel. However, according to the private American Medical Student Association, average annual tuition and fees at public and private U.S. medical schools in 2002 were $14,577 and $30,960, respectively.

Early last year the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, estimated it cost the Pentagon nearly $200 million to recruit and train replacements for the nearly 9,500 troops that had to leave the military because of the policy. The losses included hundreds of highly skilled troops, including translators, between 1994 through 2003.

Opponents of the policy are backing legislation in the House sponsored by Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., that would repeal the law. But that bill _ with 107 co-sponsors _ is considered a longshot in the Republican-controlled House.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press.

February 5th, 2006, 07:58 PM
Cole Attack Planner Escapes Yemen Prison

Associated Press Writer
Feb. 5, 2006

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060205/ap_on_re_mi_ea/interpol_yemen_escape&printer=1;_ylt=Aj0tMTXlSsMRvNqw6u0ALOgUewgF;_ylu=X 3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

An al-Qaida operative sentenced to death for plotting the USS Cole bombing that killed 17 sailors in 2000 was among a group of convicts who escaped from a Yemen prison last week, Interpol said Sunday in issuing a global security alert.

Officials set up checkpoints around the capital of San'a, where the prison was located, to try to catch the escapees before they could flee to the protection of mountain tribes, according to a Yemeni security official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

Some mountainous tribal areas are essentially outside the control of Yemen's central government, raising fears the fugitives could hide there before escaping the country.

The Yemeni government made no official comment Sunday.

Yemeni officials said Jamal al-Badawi — a man convicted of plotting, preparing and helping carry out the Cole bombing — was among the fugitives, Interpol said. Al-Badawi was among those sentenced to death in September 2004 for plotting the attack, in which two suicide bombers blew up an explosives-laden boat next to the destroyer as it refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000.

A Yemeni security official announced the escape of convicted al-Qaida members Friday but did not provide any details or names. The official said only that the escapees had all had been sentenced last year on terrorism-related charges.

Interpol said in a statement that at least 13 of the 23 escapees were convicted al-Qaida fighters.

The convicts escaped via a 140-yard-long tunnel "dug by the prisoners and coconspirators outside," Interpol said. The Yemeni official said the prison was at the central headquarters of the country's military intelligence services in a building in the center of the capital.

Another of the 23 escapees was identified as Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeiee, considered by Interpol to be one of those responsible for a 2002 attack on the French tanker Limburg off Yemen's coast. That attack killed a Bulgarian crew member and spilled 90,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Aden.

Al-Rabeiee also was convicted for an attack on a helicopter carrying Hunt Oil Co. employees a month later and the detonation of explosions at a civil aviation authority building.

"We are closely monitoring the situation at this time and we will work with our domestic and international partners to actively pursue these dangerous terrorists," FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said in Washington.

Interpol's urgent global security alert, known as an "orange notice," was issued "because the escape and unknown whereabouts of al-Qaida terrorists constituted a clear and present danger to all countries," the statement said.

Noble urged Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, to provide names, photographs, fingerprints and other information about the suspects.

He called on the agency's 184 member states "to take all relevant precautionary measures both at and inside their borders" and to help Yemen locate and capture the fugitives.

Noble also said that unless the fugitives were tracked down, they possibly "will be able to travel internationally, to elude detection and to engage in future terrorist activity."

The escape came a day before the expected start of a trial of 15 people charged with involvement in terror operations in Yemen, including Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal, another suspected plotter of the Cole and Limburg bombings.
The trial was postponed indefinitely.

Yemen was long a haven for Islamic militants. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the government aligned itself with the U.S.-led war on terrorism. But many diplomats and outside experts have raised questions about Yemen's cooperation and inability to control tribal areas.

Associated Press reporter Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report.

Copyright &#169; 2006 The Associated Press.

February 5th, 2006, 08:16 PM
The man in question ...

Bryant MacDougall/Associated Press
Jamal al-Badawi was among those
sentenced to death in September 2004
for plotting the U.S.S. Cole attack.


February 8th, 2006, 11:19 AM
Falsehoods About Guantanamo

By Stuart Taylor Jr. (staylor@nationaljournal.com),
National Journal
Monday, Feb. 6, 2006


"These are people picked up off the battlefield in Afghanistan. They weren't wearing uniforms ... but they were there to kill."
-- President Bush, June 20, 2005
"These detainees are dangerous enemy combatants....They were picked up on the battlefield, fighting American forces, trying to kill American forces."
-- White House press secretary Scott McClellan, June 21, 2005
"The people that are there are people we picked up on the battlefield, primarily in Afghanistan. They're terrorists. They're bomb makers. They're facilitators of terror. They're members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban....We've let go those that we've deemed not to be a continuing threat. But the 520-some that are there now are serious, deadly threats to the United States."
-- Vice President Cheney, June 23, 2005
"These are people, all of whom were captured on a battlefield. They're terrorists, trainers, bomb makers, recruiters, financiers, [Osama bin Laden's] bodyguards, would-be suicide bombers, probably the 20th 9/11 hijacker."
-- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, June 27, 2005
These quotes are representative of countless assertions by administration officials over the past four years that all -- or the vast majority -- of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are Qaeda terrorists or Taliban fighters captured on "the battlefield."

The assertions have been false. And those quoted above came long after the evidence of their falsity should have been manifest to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their subordinates.

This is not to deny that many of the 500-odd men now held at Guantanamo and some of the 256 others already released (including 76 to the custody of their home countries) were captured on Afghan battlefields or were terrorists, or both. Nor is it to deny the difficulty of knowing with confidence which detainees could safely be released. Indeed, several released detainees have ended up rejoining Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

But reporter Corine Hegland's exhaustively researched cover story (http://nationaljournal.com/njcover.htm) in this issue -- studded with probative details and human stories that every serious student of the war against terror should read -- provides powerful evidence confirming what many of us have suspected for years:

A high percentage, perhaps the majority, of the 500-odd men now held at Guantanamo were not captured on any battlefield, let alone on "the battlefield in Afghanistan" (as Bush asserted (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/20050620-19.html)) while "trying to kill American forces" (as McClellan claimed (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/20050621-4.html)).
Fewer than 20 percent of the Guantanamo detainees, the best available evidence suggests, have ever been Qaeda members.
Many scores, and perhaps hundreds, of the detainees were not even Taliban foot soldiers, let alone Qaeda terrorists. They were innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants with no intention of joining the Qaeda campaign to murder Americans.
The majority were not captured by U.S. forces but rather handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords and by villagers of highly doubtful reliability.These locals had strong incentives to tar as terrorists any and all Arabs they could get their hands on as the Arabs fled war-torn Afghanistan in late 2001 and 2002 -- including noncombatant teachers and humanitarian workers. And the Bush administration has apparently made very little effort to corroborate the plausible claims of innocence detailed by many of the men who were handed over.

The administration has also disclosed very little about who the Guantanamo detainees are, excepting 1) redacted transcripts of 314 detainees' hearings before Guantanamo's nonjudicial "Combatant Status Review Tribunals" or CSRTs; and 2) somewhat more-detailed responses to the federal court petitions filed by lawyers for 132 of these 314 men.

My estimates above are based largely on extrapolation from Hegland's analysis of these 132 federal court files. They appear to be reasonably representative of the men still at Guantanamo; certainly, the government has given no indication that its evidence is any weaker in these 132 cases than in the other 370 or so.

It is, therefore, quite remarkable to learn (from Hegland) that well over half (75) of the 132 are not even accused of fighting the United States or its allies on any battlefield in post-9/11 Afghanistan or anywhere else.

Indeed, only 35 percent of them (more precisely, of the 115 whose court files specify the locus of capture) were seized in Afghanistan; 55 percent were picked up by Pakistanis in Pakistan.

The government's case for continuing to detain most of these 75 nonbattlefield captives is that other people of doubtful reliability have said they were associated with the Taliban or Al Qaeda, often in very indirect ways.

The tribunal hearings, based largely on such guilt-by-association logic, have been travesties of unfairness. The detainees are presumed guilty unless they can prove their innocence -- without help from lawyers and without being permitted to know the details and sources of the evidence against them. This evidence is almost entirely hearsay from people without firsthand knowledge and statements from other detainees desperate to satisfy their brutally coercive interrogators. One file says, "Admitted to knowing Osama bin Laden," based on an interrogation in which the detainee -- while being pressed to "admit" this, despite his denials -- finally said in disgust, "OK, I knew him; whatever you want."

Hegland focuses on a self-described teacher of the Koran from Yemen who was arrested by Pakistanis at the age of 17 while fleeing the Afghan war and was later flown to Guantanamo. The only real evidence against him, wrote his nonlawyer "personal representative" (an Army lieutenant colonel), was a proven liar's claim to have seen the Yemeni -- long before 9/11 -- with an AK-47 at bin Laden's private airport in Kandahar.

This, plus something said by one Mohamed al-Kahtani while being driven mad by his tormenters (see below), was evidence enough for the tribunal to brand the Yemeni an enemy combatant.

It's difficult to know how many of the 750 men taken to Guantanamo were dangerous to Americans when they arrived, let alone how many of the innocent detainees among them may have acquired a lust for American blood from years of being jailed, humiliated, and brutalized by Americans. The administration's unspoken logic appears to be: Better to ruin the lives of 10 innocent men than to let one who might be a terrorist go free.

This logic would be understandable if the end of protecting American lives justified any and all means, including the wrecking of many more innocent non-American lives. So, too, would be the torture (or near-torture) in late 2002 of the above-mentioned al-Kahtani, after fingerprints had shown him to be the would-be "20th hijacker" turned away by a suspicious immigration agent a few weeks before 9/11.

Al-Kahtani was interrogated for 18 to 20 hours a day for 48 of 54 days; he had water dripped on his head and was blasted with cold air-conditioning and loud music to keep him awake; his beard and head were shaved; he was forced to wear a bra and panties and to dance with a male jailer; he was hooded; he was menaced with a dog, told to bark like one and led around on a leash; he was pumped full of intravenous fluids and forced to urinate on himself; he was straddled by a female interrogator and stripped naked; and more -- all under a list of interrogation methods personally approved by Rumsfeld.

Al-Kahtani may well have had valuable information. But it appears that many other detainees who had no information -- because they had no involvement in or knowledge of terrorism -- have been put through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions" in a systematic effort to break their wills that is "tantamount to torture," the International Committee of the Red Cross complained in a confidential report to the government, excerpts of which The New York Times obtained in November 2004.

The Pentagon responded then that Guantanamo was an oasis of "humane" treatment.

Last July, the Pentagon elaborated in a report of an investigation into complaints by FBI agents of abusive interrogation methods. Many of these methods -- such as shackling detainees to the floor for hours in painful positions, keeping them shivering cold during interrogations, grilling them for 16 hours nonstop, waking them up by moving them every few hours, using loud music and strobe lights -- had been officially approved as "humane," the Pentagon report explained.

Bush has also pledged that the Guantanamo detainees are treated "humanely." At the same time, he has stressed, "I know for certain ... that these are bad people" -- all of them, he has implied.

If the president believes either of these assertions, he is a fool. If he does not, choose your own word for him.

© National Journal Group Inc.

February 15th, 2006, 10:06 AM



From imdb.com

Feb. 15, 2006


February 14, 2006 -- Batman will use his extensive knowledge of caves to go after a new villain — Osama bin Laden.

DC Comics' famed Caped Crusader will turn his focus from clowns like the Joker to face off against chillingly real al Qaeda thugs in an upcoming graphic novel called "Holy Terror, Batman!"

"It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a piece of propaganda," legendary Batman writer Frank Miller said of his latest project. "Batman kicks al Qaeda's ass."

Miller called the comic "an explosion from my gut reaction of what's happening now" and "a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we're up against."

In the comic, the Dark Knight's hometown of Gotham City is attacked by terrorists, and Batman sets out to settle the score.

"It just seems silly to chase around the Riddler when you've got al Qaeda out there," he said, adding that there's plenty of historical precedent for comic-book icons taking on real-life villains.

"Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for," Miller said during a panel discussion at a comic-book convention in San Francisco last weekend.

His comments were posted on the Internet by the entertainment site IGN.com.

A spokesman for DC Comics declined to comment. The unfinished project does not yet have a scheduled publication date, and it is unlikely to see print this year.

An industry source said it could be even longer before the graphic novel sees the light of day, because of Miller's hectic schedule. Miller said he has finished 120 pages of the 200-page book, but he's currently writing a monthly Batman comic, and three of his previous comic-book projects are currently heading to the silver screen, including the sequel to his hit comic and movie "Sin City."

Miller's take on an aged Batman coming out of retirement in the "Dark Knight Returns" is widely credited with reinvigorating the comic-book industry in the 1980s, and parts of his story "Batman: Year One" were incorporated into the smash "Batman Begins."

Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

February 15th, 2006, 10:35 AM
Finally, we have a fictional hero going after a fictional terrorist. It will at least give us a storyline we can follow. And, NO ONE REALLY GETS HURT.

February 20th, 2006, 10:00 AM
'President's gone insane' – 9/11 dad

Monday, February 20th, 2006

New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com (http://www.nydailynews.com)

Peter Gadiel just doesn't get it.

How, asks Gadiel, whose son James died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, can a company owned by a terror-linked country get control of our nation's ports?

"I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane," said Gadiel, 58, who heads 9/11 Families for a Secure America.

Two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Dubai, the Arab emirate whose bid to run ports in New York, New Jersey and four other cities was okayed by the White House even though investigators have found signs that money used to finance terrorism flowed through Dubai banks.

"How the hell could this happen?" fumed Bill Doyle, 58, a retired Staten Island stockbroker whose son Joseph also died when the Trade Center fell.

"We're not securing our country in any way by selling our ports to foreigners," he said.

Gadiel and Doyle stood with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday at the harbor to express their outrage.

Bruse DeCell, 55, whose son-in-law died in the attacks, said that homeland security should be the highest concern when approving the activities of foreign business interests.

"This administration is putting the selling of our country on a fast track," he said. "There are a lot of loose ends that caused 9/11 to happen. I'm trying to close them."

Only 5% of the cargo containers entering U.S. ports are inspected, said Schumer, who has called for upgrades in port security for years.

All contents © 2006 Daily News, L.P.

February 20th, 2006, 10:45 AM
Background on the Ports deal from Daily Kos ( http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/19/19320/9920 ) :

Debating the Dubai Deal

by georgia10 (http://georgia10.dailykos.com/)
Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 05:32:00 PM PDT

The debate over the administration's decision to bless a $6.8 billion dollar port security bill intensified this morning, with Homeland Security Chief Chertoff defending the deal (http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID=2006-02-19T163257Z_01_N19219437_RTRIDST_0_SECURITY-PORTS.XML). I'd like first to provide some background on the deal which is receiving little attention from critics of the takeover. Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation, a U.K. company, currently controls the U.S. ports in question. Those ports are located in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. It's the fourth largest port company in the world. The shareholders of that company agreed to the deal, in which Dubai Ports World (DP World (http://www.dpiterminals.com/)) would pay $6.8 billion to take over that company. (DP world has since announced it will take out a loan (http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/afx/2006/02/19/afx2537798.html) to finance the cash deal). The Bush administration gave the green light to the deal. This deal makes DP World the third largest port operator in the world. Before the deal, it was the seventh largest.

Port security is the neglected middle child of our national security debate. Only some 5% of containers coming into the U.S. are inspected. According to 2004 figures, in the three years after 9/11, we spent about $500 million on port security. That's what we spend every 3 days in Iraq. The Coast Gaurd has estimated it needs about $5.6 billion to make our ports "minimally secure"--meaning having locks on gates, security cameras, basic access control, etc. The Bush administration has barely even begun to fund that. So when we finally get the chance to have a public debate on port security, we should make sure it's an informed one and one aimed at best securing the safety of the American people.

The DP World takeover of P&O wasn't a secret before the Bush administration gave it its stamp of approval. The bidding war between DP World and another company, PSA, were well-publicized. But the revelation that the Bush administration approved of the deal shocked both sides of the aisle. In response, some on both the left and the right go too far in their opposition (http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID=2006-02-19T163257Z_01_N19219437_RTRIDST_0_SECURITY-PORTS.XML):

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, said she would support legislation to block foreign companies from buying port facilities.

"I'm going to support legislation to say `No more, no way.' We have to have American companies running our own ports ... Our infrastructure is at risk," she said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Um, as much as I'd love to slap a "Made in America" label on our port security, Boxer's sweeping proposal simply does not reflect the reality of the maritime industry. In 2004, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime, met to discuss the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission for our maritime security (http://www.house.gov/transportation/cgmt/08-25-04/108-85.pdf) (pdf). One of the panelists was Stephen Flynn, former Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard:

Mr. FLYNN: Well, really, I want to very much echo the 9/11 Commission's message about reaching out to the private sector. This has been a particularly difficult issue in the maritime arena, because so much of the maritime industry is actually owned by foreign companies. You know, there is no major container line in the United States, outside of Matson Line, that does Jones Act kind of activity. The American Presidential Line is now owned by the Singaporans; Sealand is now owned by Maersk A.P. Mueller. So when you are talking about securedness, you cannot talk about it by just reaching out to domestic players.And in case you're wondering about who, in 2004, controlled U.S. ports:

There is Hutchison Port Holdings, which moved 41 million TUs last year. Next, PSA, Port of Singapore, International, which moved 19.5 million. Then you have PNO Ports, a British-based-- they moved about 16; and then you have AP Moller Ports, a Dane company, that moved 13.5 million. HPH is run by a Brit. So two Brits, a Singaporean and a Dane.Instead of employing a knee-jerk reaction akin to isolationism (not that I'm accusing Boxer of that, but that's one of the strongest reactions I've seen), opposition to the Dubai deal should reflect the realities of the situation. Senators Menedez and Clinton have the more practical proposal (http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=251709&&). Their legislation would ban companies owned or controlled by foreign governments to operate our ports.

Now, let me make it clear. The government of Singapore has an interest in PSA, Port of Singapore, which does operate various U.S. ports. Its interest is via Temasek Holdings (http://www.temasekholdings.com.sg/), a Singapore government investment agency. But I think it's one thing to have an investment interest in a company and quite another to have the foreign state controlling the company. One of main criticisms of the Dubai deal centers on sovereignty. The CEO of DP World is Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who works directly for the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (http://www.sheikhmohammed.co.ae/english/default.htm). For all the U.S. regulations DP World will have to follow, for all the safety it may be able to guarantee us, the fact remains a foreign government will hold our physical and economic safety in its hands.

Unlike Singapore, this is a government that formally recognized the Taliban. One of the emirates in the UAE was essentially the center for al-Qaeda's illegal financial dealings, with hundreds of thousands of dollars flowing from the UAE to the 9/11 hijackers. (For a comprehensive list of UAE-9/11 links, click here (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/entity.jsp?id=1521846767-531)). On the one hand, Bush never fails to remind us of the 9/11 hijackers, and on the other hand, he wants America to forget that some of those hijackers were UAE nationals. Of course, no one is implicating the government that controls DP World as having been aware or facilitating these connections. The truth is that since 9/11, that government has dramatically clamped down on terrorism and suspicious financial dealings within its borders.

But how can a President who so readily invokes 9/11 be so quick to forget its lessons? The review of DP World was incomplete, at least incomplete to satisfy the public uneasiness about having this foreign nation -- with so many ties to the darkest of days --s ecuring the lives of millions of Americans. The President has spent so much PR money and effort scaring Americans into thinking terrorists will strike again, that he has now boxed himself in when he desires to give DP World a stake in our national security. No matter how trustworthy that company is, Americans are simply not comfortable with having a Middle eastern country control our ports. It may be irrational, but that is a political reality the President must deal with.

The company itself may be adequately qualified for the job, but there are other considerations which must be wieghed. Just a couple years ago, our embassy in Abu Dhabi was shutdown (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/24/terror/main608340.shtml) to a terrorist threat. What happens if DP World, because of its new interest in the United States, becomes a target? What will occur if those 6 ports have to be shut down because of a terrorist threat? As Commander Flynn explained, even a two-week shutdown of U.S. ports "will collapse the global trade system." It's all speculation, of course, but these factors merit serious consideration and a robust public debate before we hand our security over to this company.

What is unquestionably one of the most important decisions about our national security was made by the same cabal that has long ago lost our trust on such matters. The decision was made in secret, without a full investigation and without the input of those who will be most affected by this deal. If this administration has the temerity to invoke 9/11 at every press conference and speech, then let it show us that why we can feel trust a foreign government to prevent another such attack.

February 21st, 2006, 10:48 AM
I am sure that it is all part of the master plan of the terrorists to BUY THE RIGHTS TO ALL THE PORTS IN NY/NJ IN ORDER TO BLOW THEM UP.

Come on! This is more political posturing. The fact that 2 men in a COUNTRY were responsible for an aggregious act should not remove the entire country from consideration.

I do think that there might be other things to be taken into consideration when looking at this issue, but the fact that the media has focused on one guy whose son died on 9-11 and was a former stockbroker being pissed because of a financial deal like this seems ludicrous.

Why is so much attension being given to him??

February 21st, 2006, 11:23 AM
I admit to be largely uninformed in this area of commerce, but how does our country "sell-off" the rights to our ports. How does anyone but our municipalities run our ports? "Privatization" of public property is nothing more than ripping offt he taxpayers. What if a NYC city Mayor wanted to "privatize" Queens? It would be a pretty outrageous proposition. So how does this happen to our ports?

And, Ninja, perhaps these "friendly Arabs" are not buying the ports with the intention of them blowing up, but how can Americans be subject to everything but a rectal exam to board an airplane and our ports can be bartered away to some foreign country. Our "good friends," the Saudis, bankroll more terrorist organizations and, if news reports are to be believed, all but three of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

This deal should be killed.

February 21st, 2006, 12:15 PM
BR, that is sort of what I am saying.

I am rallying against the idiotic comments being given by people saying that selling these rights will open the doors to rampant terrorism all over the nation.

The only other thing I am thinking, reading your post, is who are the ones that would be hurt the most by this deal? The people who have already bribed the officials in order to get sweet deals at the ports? The ones who ship in illegal substances due to the outstandingly sparse security these places have?

Or the guys from the Sopranos who do not have any place to let their "friends", um, "Vacation" for a bit?

February 21st, 2006, 12:25 PM
My objections are to the foreign control of American ports. We really have become a world where government is muh diminished and the corporation is king. I can't get too upset by it as it is exactly what I would expect from a fascist president who stole two elections with the help and financing of the corporate world. My idignation is all used up. My job isn't at stake - it is the jobs of all those assholes who voted for this guy.

We are now in an even more precarious situation: approve the deal and give up control of our ports to a company with a dubious background, or we can deny them and further fan the flames of mistrust and hate in the Arab world.

February 21st, 2006, 01:11 PM
My objections are to the foreign control of American ports. We really have become a world where government is muh diminished and the corporation is king. I can't get too upset by it as it is exactly what I would expect from a fascist president who stole two elections with the help and financing of the corporate world. My idignation is all used up. My job isn't at stake - it is the jobs of all those assholes who voted for this guy.

We are now in an even more precarious situation: approve the deal and give up control of our ports to a company with a dubious background, or we can deny them and further fan the flames of mistrust and hate in the Arab world.

I think the issue is not a foreign control of the ports. American companies actiovely participate in management of many ports around the world and if foreign company wants to invest in the firms that manage our ports - that is wonderful. After all, the current firm that manages NY port is a British company. The problem is that the new company is based in UAE. And the federal government certainly has a right to step in and evaluate the deal in light of the current situation. And the congress is already doing that. I don't think you can blame the president just yet. After all, these are just suspicions. This UAE firm is a large company that has a long history of managing various international facilities. There's no evidence that they wish any ill on us. But I agree that you want to be absolutely sure when it comes to security. But you're not looking reasonably at the matter.

February 21st, 2006, 04:26 PM
Of course no company that runs the ports / depends on the ports for their financial well being would have any interest in allowing a situation to occur where the ports would shut down (there goes their cash).

But for almost any corporation the bottom line rules.

So if the cost ratio analysis says to inspect only 4.8 % of incoming ships (rather than the measly ~ 6% that are inspected now) then chances are that the inspections will be downsized.

(Yet I've got to admit that I'm not even certain who does / will do inspection of ships / cargo.)

It's just rather amazing to me that there isn't an American corporation that is one of the powers in this field -- seems the top five contenders are from elsewhere. Where is the vision behind allowing that to occur?

February 21st, 2006, 07:42 PM
This is whole deal smells bad ...

W aides' biz ties to Arab firm

Feb. 21, 2006


Breaking news update: Bush shrugs off objections to port deal (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/P/PORTS_SECURITY?SITE=NYNYD&SECTION=NATIONAL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT)

WASHINGTON - The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The ties raised more concerns about the decision to give port control to a company owned by a nation linked to the 9/11 hijackers.

"The more you look at this deal, the more the deal is called into question," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said the deal was rubber-stamped in advance - even before DP World formally agreed to buy London's P&O port company.

Besides operations in New York and Jersey, Dubai would also run port facilities in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore and Miami.

The political fallout over the deal only grows.

"It's particularly troubling that the United States would turn over its port security not only to a foreign company, but a state-owned one," said western New York's Rep. Tom Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee. Reynolds is responsible for helping Republicans keep their majority in the House.

Snow's Treasury Department runs the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which includes 11 other agencies.

"It always raises flags" when administration officials have ties to a firm, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-S.I.) said, but insisted that stopping the deal was more important.

The Daily News has learned that lawmakers also want to know if a detailed 45-day probe should have been conducted instead of one that lasted no more than 25 days.

According to a 1993 congressional measure, the longer review is mandated when the company is owned by a foreign government and the purchase "could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in the U.S. that could affect the national security of the U.S."

Congressional sources said the President has until March 2 to trigger that harder look. "The most important thing is for someone to explain how this is consistent with our national security," Fossella said.

All contents © 2006 Daily News, L.P.

February 22nd, 2006, 08:43 AM
How cozy can these guys get?

Bush nominated executive from Dubai port company eyed for U.S. ports to Maritime post

RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/)
February 21, 2006

A senior executive from the company looking to manage several key U.S. ports was appointed by President Bush to a key transportation appointment reporting directly to Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/) has found.

The White House announcement of his appointment is available here (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/01/20060117-4.html). More discussion of the appointment can be found at Daily Kos (http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/2/21/17336/2076).

The following is a January Dubai Port World press release. (Original here (http://www.dpiterminals.com/fullnews.asp?NewsID=39)). DP World is the company that is seeking to manage U.S. ports.


Dubai, 24 January 2006: - Global ports operator DP World today welcomed news that one of its senior executives, Dave Sanborn, has been nominated by US President George W. Bush to serve as Maritime Administrator a key transportation appointment reporting directly to Norman Mineta the Secretary of Transportation and Cabinet Member.

The White House has issued a statement from Washington DC announcing the nomination. The confirmation process will begin in February.

Mr Sanborn currently holds the position of Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America for the Dubai-based company.

Mohammed Sharaf, CEO, DP World said: “While we are sorry to lose such an experienced and capable executive, it is exactly those qualities that will make Dave an effective administrator for MarAd. We are proud of Dave’s selection and pleased that the Bush Administration found such a capable executive. We wish him all the best in his new role.”

Ted Bilkey, Chief Operating Officer, DP World said: “Dave’s decades of experience in markets around the world, together with his passion for the industry and commitment to its development, will allow him to make a positive contribution to the work of the Maritime Administration. We wish him well for the future.”

Mr Sanborn, a graduate of The United States Merchant Maritime Academy, joined DP World in 2005. He previously held senior roles with shipping lines CMA-CGM (Americas), APL Ltd and Sea-Land and has been based, besides the US, in Brazil, Europe, Hong Kong and Dubai during his career. He has also served in the US Naval Reserve.

Mr Sanborn is due to take up his new role based in Washington DC later in 2006.

-- ENDS --

For further information please contact:

Bell Pottinger Communications
Dubai: Tom Mollo +9714 367 2256 +9715 0550 4203 tmollo@bell-pottinger.co.uk
London: Dan de Belder +44 207 861 3232 ddebelder@bell-pottinger.co.uk

Notes for the editor:

DP World is a leading global port operator with a portfolio of operations in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The company has 22 container terminals in 15 countries.

DP World is the result of the integration of Dubai Ports Authority (“DPA”) and DPI Terminals (“DPI”) in September 2005. This new entity continues the tremendous success of the DPA and DPI businesses, which have been at the forefront of Dubai's extraordinary transformation into one of the world's leading trade and commerce hubs.

DP World manages the commercial and operational aspects of the port network, formerly developed and managed by DPA and DPI.

In 2005, the terminals operated by DP World handled an estimated 13 million TEU which include ports on five continents from the Americas to Asia.

DP World's unique cross-sector expertise offers solutions in all aspects of port operations, ultimately driving efficiency and financial returns for port users. DP World will continue to provide the same high level of service that customers have come to expect. DP World continues to provide a superior level of service to shipping lines at its flagship domestic operations of Port Rashid and Jebel Ali which has been voted “Best Seaport in the Middle East” for 10 consecutive years. Dubai is ranked as the 10th largest port operation in the world and DP World is the 7th largest global operator.

There are a number of significant projects in the pipeline that will strengthen the DP World network, including developments in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In February 2005 an agreement with the Cochin Port Trust (CoPT) was signed to construct, develop and operate an international container transshipment terminal at Vallarpadam, Kochi, India. It is the largest single operator container terminal currently planned in India and the first in the country to operate in a special economic zone. The new terminal will make Kochi a key centre in the shipping world reducing India’s dependence on foreign ports to handle transshipment.

One cornerstone project, which underlines DP World’s position as a major player in Asia, is the development of Pusan Newport, South Korea. DP World has a 39.55% interest in and management contract for this 9-berth facility, which has a capacity of 5.5 million TEU. The first phase of this development was opened in January 2006.

In March 2005, DP World was awarded a 30 year concession to develop and operate the container terminal at the Port of Fujairah, in the UAE. This was followed in July 2005 by the awarding of a management contract for Mina Zayed Port, Abu Dhabi. These concessions will enable DP World to streamline operations at the major container facilities of the UAE, and further increase the choices available to its customers. In June 2005 DP World was short listed as preferred bidder to operate the container terminal at the Port of Aden.

In November 2005 DP World also announced agreements to develop new container terminals at Yarimca, Turkey and Qingdao, China.

On 29 November 2005, DP World announced the terms of a recommended cash offer to acquire all of the issued and to be issued Deferred Stock of the P&O Group. When completed, this deal will make DP World a top three global port operator.

DP World also has interests in logistics businesses in Hong Kong and China, notably ATL, the market leading logistics operator based at Kwai Chung, Hong Kong.

February 22nd, 2006, 06:14 PM
Do we still have at least a marginally functional executive branch?

Bush did not know of ports deal until after approval

By Tabassum Zakaria 41 minutes ago

President George W. Bush did not know about a deal to hand over operations at six major U.S. ports to an Arab company until after his administration approved it, the White House said on Wednesday.

Surprised by a backlash from Bush's own Republican Party, the White House acknowledged it had erred in not explaining to Congress the administration's recent approval of the sale of the British-based company that now manages the ports to Dubai Ports World, based in the United Arab Emirates.

Many Republican and Democratic lawmakers have decried the deal as a risk to America's national security.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush became aware of the deal through widespread media coverage and that there had been no objections during the review process that would have warranted it being brought to the president's attention.

When Bush found out about it, he checked with Cabinet secretaries to make sure they stood by the decision to allow state-controlled Dubai Ports World to manage the ports, McClellan said.

U.S. officials say the UAE is a staunch ally in the war against terrorism and has worked hard to close the loopholes that allowed September 11 conspirators to use the Gulf state as an important logistics hub and conduit for funds.

But the furor over whether the Dubai firm should be allowed to control the ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami has sparked a political firestorm as Bush is struggling to boost his sagging public approval ratings.

Bush held a rare news conference aboard Air Force One on Tuesday to say the deal should go forward despite lawmakers' concerns and threatened to veto legislation aimed at stopping it.


McClellan said rejecting the deal could have consequences.

"You have to take into account the broader foreign policy implications. We should be working to broaden our partnership in the broader war on terrorism," he said.

"And let me be very clear: One thing we will never do is outsource to anyone the control and security of our ports."

Shipping analysts and experts said U.S. security was not at risk from the deal, citing Dubai Port World's strong track record and international treaties that set stringent requirements.

The political tug-of-war spread to the White House nomination of David Sanborn, one of several Americans on Dubai Ports World's senior management team, to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. Sanborn is .

In his new job Sanborn would have oversight of his former employer, a possible conflict of interest, said Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record), who plans to block Sanborn's nomination until more hearings are held.

Treasury Secretary John Snow said he had no knowledge that the company he once headed, London-based CSX Corp., had sold its global port assets to Dubai Ports World for $1.15 billion in 2004 -- the year after Snow left to join the administration.

"I learned of this transaction probably the same way that members of the Senate did -- by reading about it in the newspapers," Snow told reporters in Connecticut.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), a Massachusetts Democrat, urged Bush to work with Congress rather than threaten it with a veto of any legislation to block the deal.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, a Virginia Republican, said his panel would hold an open briefing on Thursday on the national security implications of the pending acquisition.

The United States is in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement with the UAE -- its third largest trading partner in the Middle East after Israel and Saudi Arabia -- and hopes to complete the deal this year.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Drees, Steve Holland and Susan Cornwell and Glenn Somerville in Connecticut)

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

February 22nd, 2006, 06:35 PM
Do we still have at least a marginally functional executive branch?
The branch is functioning at full tilt (methinks the problem is with the bush).

February 23rd, 2006, 11:00 AM
Obscure US intelligence agency assessed ports deal

By David Morgan
Thu Feb 23, 2006


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A deal that allows an Arab-owned company in Dubai to manage six major U.S. ports was scrutinized for security risks by an obscure intelligence agency that has existed for only four months, American officials said on Wednesday.

The Intelligence Community Acquisition Risk Centre, or CARC, overseen by the office of intelligence chief John Negroponte, was asked by the government committee that vets foreign investments in the United States to look into the ports deal soon after it came to its attention in early November.

U.S. officials approved the sale of British-based P&O to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates on January 16, giving the Arab-owned firm a green light to take over port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami.

But the deal has since unleashed a political firestorm from both Republicans and Democrats, who see it as a potential risk to national security.

The White House sought to stem criticism on Wednesday by saying the port takeover had been reviewed by intelligence agencies, including counterterrorism experts.

"The intelligence community did assessments to make sure that there was no national security threat," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

But intelligence officials said CARC, which has little to do with counterterrorism activities, was formed just last October as the agency mandated to assess security risks posed by companies that do business with the intelligence community.

Only a small part of the center's resources are devoted to vetting commercial deals, officials said.

CARC's first director, William Dawson, was appointed in January, more than a month after the centre had been asked to begin work on the Dubai Ports World acquisition.

Dawson had been a senior information technology official for the intelligence community prior to his appointment.

A spokesman for Negroponte acknowledged the intelligence community provided an assessment but declined to discuss specifics.

Intelligence officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about CARC, said many of the center's functions were transferred to Negroponte's office from the CIA in 2005 as a result of congressionally mandated intelligence reforms.

(Additional reporting by Tabassam Zakaria and Mark Felsenthal)

&#169; Copyright Reuters 2006

February 24th, 2006, 12:58 PM
Do we still have at least a marginally functional executive branch?

After Paul O'Neill left the Treasury Department he said that he had never seen an Administration operate like the Bush Administration. It operated and made decisions purely from a "political gain" perspective.

February 26th, 2006, 10:34 AM
He's Welcome In Pakistan

By Ahmed Rashid
Sunday, February 26, 2006

LAHORE When President Bush lands in Islamabad later this week, it may be the closest he ever comes to being in the same neighborhood as Osama bin Laden. His nemesis is probably only a few hours drive away in Pakistan's Pashtun belt, now considered to be al Qaeda Central and one of the world's most dangerous regions.

During the past 12 months or so, CIA and Pentagon officials have quietly modified the line they employed for three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- that bin Laden was hiding out "in the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border." Now the same officials say with some confidence that he is "not based in Afghanistan." Whatever ambiguity there was in the past is gone: Bin Laden is in Pakistan.

What's left is the question: What are the United States and its ally, Pakistan, doing about it?

Not enough, according to high-ranking Afghan, Pakistani and Western officials I've spoken to here. Indeed, the disastrous policies of the United States and Pakistan, starting with the aftermath of the war in 2001, have only hastened the radicalization of northwest Pakistan and made it more hospitable to bin Laden and his Taliban allies. The region has become a haven for bin Laden and a base for Taliban raids across the border back into Afghanistan which they had fled.

Not that you'd be able to tell any of that from what Bush administration officials have been saying. Almost everything the administration claims about the al Qaeda leader is tinged with bravado and untruthfulness. "We are dealing with a figure who has been able to hide, but he's on the run," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier this month. Here in Pakistan, however, the view is different. Bin Laden is not considered to be on the run, but well protected by friends who are making his life as comfortable as possible.

After all, his number two, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri, appears to have a busy social calendar in Pakistan's Pashtun belt. U.S. missiles narrowly missed him at a dinner party held in his honor on Jan. 13.

This represents a change in venue for bin Laden and his lieutenants. Before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, bin Laden's zone of influence was among Pashtuns in Afghanistan, which was the center of the Taliban's power and its major recruiting base. The Pashtuns are Afghanistan's largest ethnic group and have ruled the country for the past 300 years. They were artificially divided by the British so that today millions of Pashtuns also live across the border in Pakistan, many of them in seven so-called tribal agencies where control by the government has been minimal.

It was in eastern Afghanistan that bin Laden made his last public appearance in Jalalabad on Nov. 10, 2001, just after the northern cities had begun to fall to the anti-Taliban alliance. He addressed an estimated 1,000 Pashtun notables and militants, urging them to continue resisting the American invaders, according to U.S. journalists working in the region at the time. He dished out wads of U.S. and Pakistani cash and then disappeared into the mountain fastness of Tora Bora, never to be seen again. (The CIA didn't learn of the meeting for several days.)

Few Afghan Pashtuns would have dared to betray him then. But times have changed in Afghanistan. The majority of Afghan Pashtuns now want the benefits of peace -- economic development, roads and schools.

Pakistan's Pashtuns, by contrast, have become more radicalized than they ever were before 9/11. And the bloody Taliban-al Qaeda resurgence now under way has relied on Pakistan's Pashtun belt for most of its recruitment, logistics, weapons and funding.

Bin Laden's new friendship zone stretches nearly 2,000 miles along Pakistan's Pashtun belt -- from Chitral in the Northern Areas near the Chinese border, south through the troubled tribal agencies including Waziristan, down to Zhob on the Balochistan border, then to the provincial capital Quetta and southwest to the Iranian border. The region includes every landscape from desert to snow-capped mountains. Sparsely populated, it provides bin Laden an ideal sanctuary.

Al Qaeda's money, inspiration and organizational abilities have helped turn Pakistan's Pashtun belt into the extremist base it is today, but U.S. and Pakistani policies have helped more. Although the Taliban and al Qaeda extremists were routed from Afghanistan by U.S. forces, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's refusal to put enough U.S. troops on the ground let the extremists escape and regroup in Pakistan's Pashtun belt. The Taliban settled in Balochistan where they had originated before 1994, while al Qaeda members hid in the tribal agencies they knew well. Bin Laden had built tunnels and caves there for the anti-Soviet mujaheddin in the 1980s.

What followed was a disaster: For 27 months after the fall of the Taliban regime, Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Washington's closest ally in the region, allowed the extremists free rein in the Pashtun tribal areas to re-establish training camps for militants who had escaped Afghanistan. These included Arabs, Central Asians, Chechens, Kashmiris, Africans, Uighurs and a smattering of East Asians. It was a mini-replay of the gathering in Afghanistan after bin Laden arrived there in 1996.

Musharraf did capture some Arab members of al Qaeda, but he avoided the Taliban because he was convinced that the U.S.-led coalition forces would not stay long in Afghanistan. He wanted to maintain the Taliban as a strategic option in case Afghanistan dissolved into civil war and chaos again. The army also protected extremist Kashmiri groups who had trained in Afghanistan before 9/11 and now had to be repositioned.

Indeed, in March 2002, just three months after the defeat of the Taliban, the United States began to withdraw its Special Forces, surveillance satellites and drones from Afghanistan to prepare for war in Iraq. Distracted by Baghdad, it did not notice what was happening in the tribal agencies. By the time the Pakistan army entered South Waziristan in March 2004, the extremists were so well entrenched that 250 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the first encounters.

Since then, with no consistent political strategy to woo the Pashtun population away from bin Laden, the army has steadily lost ground. The political agents, who ran the tribal agencies with a mixture of bribery and pressure, have been replaced by arrogant generals ignorant of local conditions. Today the extremists rule over North and South Waziristan and other tribal agencies, while the 70,000 Pakistani troops stationed there are boxed up in outposts, too frightened to patrol the mountains. More than 100 pro-government tribal elders have been assassinated by extremists for divulging information to the U.S. or Pakistani secret services.

Meanwhile down south, the Balochistan provincial government is controlled by a coalition of pro-Taliban fundamentalist parties, which came to power in elections in 2002. Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islami, the party that controls the key ministries, openly supports the Taliban.

This has created a new stronghold from which the Taliban can launch attacks back in Afghanistan. The 99 U.S. soldiers killed last year in Afghanistan were mostly targeted by the Taliban based in Balochistan. While Washington's principal aim has been to capture bin Laden and decapitate al Qaeda, whose members are believed to be in Waziristan, the United States has failed to pressure Pakistan to deal with the Taliban, despite protestations from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. On a visit to Islamabad this month, Karzai handed Musharraf intelligence dossiers detailing how suicide bombers are being trained in Pakistan. In the past few months, at least 30 attacks have killed nearly 100 people in Afghanistan, including NATO peacekeepers and a Canadian diplomat.

The dossiers listed the names and addresses of Pakistani recruiters and people who equip suicide bombers with explosives before sending them to Afghanistan. Much of the recruitment takes place at a radical Islamic bookshop, several mosques and some madrassas in the port city of Karachi, while the training is done at safe houses in Quetta and Chaman, in Balochistan province.

"We have provided President Musharraf with a lot of very detailed information on acts of terrorism . . . and we discussed in great detail what actions Pakistan could now take," Karzai told me on Feb. 17 in Islamabad. ''Americans are dying, a Canadian diplomat has been killed, our people are suffering. So it is time that action is taken to stop these acts of terrorism and interference in Afghanistan internal affairs," he said. "We expect results."

Getting those results won't be easy. Bin Laden has fighters and sympathizers down the length and breadth of Pakistan's Pashtun belt. No Pakistani Pashtun has reason to betray bin Laden, despite the $27 million reward for his head. Thanks to the drug trade in Afghanistan and the suitcases full of cash still arriving from backers in the Arabian Gulf, neither al Qaeda nor the local Pashtuns are short money. The Pakistani army's failure to offer Pashtuns a greater political role in the national framework has not inspired any loyalty among the tribesmen. And misguided U.S. interventions, such as the January missile strike that killed women and children, do the rest.

Washington's recent decison to start pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan this year has only reinforced al Qaeda's belief that it is winning. After nearly five years of avoiding capture or death, every single day that bin Laden stays alive is a day that inspires the extremists who protect him and join his ranks.

Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist, is the author of "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia" (Yale University Press) and "Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia" (Penguin Books).

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

February 28th, 2006, 03:39 PM
Man I love you guys.

Locked in Republikan land in Atlanta. Trying to move to NY/NJ!

February 28th, 2006, 04:32 PM
Would be nice to see more opinions rather than artcile reprints.

March 1st, 2006, 01:07 PM
Would be nice to see more opinions rather than artcile reprints.

Spice, if you have nothing nice to say......

READ the article and post your thoughts on the matter rather than biatching that noone else is.

As for the situation, it is really simple. we dispersed an enemy threat, but got distracted by a political goal that was there since before 9-11 and before Bush was even elected.

He was planning on moving into Baghdad since before day 1, and the troops already being IN Afghanistan (as well as the xenephobic unity that the US was in shortly after 9-11) made it too sweet a candy for him and his associates to pass up.

So we pull all of our guys out of the mountainous wasteland known as Afghanistan without properly establishing ANYTHING there, and lo and behold, all the bad guys get away.

They find >gasp< sympathetic people in the racially striated Pakistani border, and pretty much pay them to join up (Both $$ and emotion).

And now we have a situation that we do not have the manpower to do much of anything about because we decided to attack a country as large as Iraq without considering the fact that it was not as unified as our "intelligence" thought it was.

So whatever. Now Spice, quit your moaning and post something useful.

March 4th, 2006, 05:09 PM
FAMILY DEMANDS THE TRUTH (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/25/MNGD7ETMNM1.DTL)

New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman’s death


Army to open criminal probe of Tillman death

Friendly fire blamed in death of former NFL player in Afghanistan


Cpl. Pat Tillman, shown in 2003.

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau
March 4, 2006


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Defense Department inspector general has directed the Army to open a criminal investigation into the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman, CNN learned on Saturday.

Initial reports said Tillman, 27, was shot and killed by Taliban forces during an ambush on April 22, 2004. An investigation later revealed that fellow soldiers shot Tillman, thinking he was part of an enemy force firing at them.

Tillman's family demanded to know why his uniform and armor were burned a day after he was killed and why they were not immediately told he might have been killed by fellow soldiers.

A 2005 report from Brig. Gen. Gary Jones contained sworn statements from soldiers involved in the incident who said they burned the items because they had taken pictures of the scene, walked around and knew how Tillman had been killed.

Initially, Tillman's blood-covered uniform and armor were said to have been destroyed because they were considered a biohazard.

Jones' report said the soldiers reasoned "they knew in their heart of hearts what had happened, and we were not going to lie about it. So we weren't thinking about proof or anything."

Two years before his death, Tillman walked away from a $3.6 million contract with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals to serve in the military. He was posthumously awarded a Silver Star.

Tillman was a member of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Lewis, Washington. His brother, Kevin, trained with him and served in the same unit.

© 2006 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

March 5th, 2006, 12:40 AM
Would be nice to see more opinions rather than artcile reprints.

Finding it tough to argue with the facts?

The articles allow us some reference. I would be interesting in seeing some articles posted by you. It at least helps us to understand where your infomation comes from. I am sure you will agree that this is not a forum of idiots, but rather people genuinely interested in seeking out diverse news whereever they can find it.

I'd prefer to argue the point in an article you post than to continually read your comments on what others have posted, often dismissively. Give it a try. I know I'd certainly read it and discuss.

March 10th, 2006, 01:31 PM
This could add some fuel to the fire ...

Osama bin Laden's niece to star in reality TV show


By Claudia Parsons
Mar 10, 2006


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's niece, an aspiring singer who posed for a sexy photo shoot in a men's magazine last year, has signed up for a reality television show about her life and her as yet unfulfilled "quest for stardom."

Wafah Dufour Bin Ladin, whose mother was married to the al Qaeda leader's half brother, was born in California but lived in Saudi Arabia from the age of three to 10.

"I understand that when people hear my last name, they have preconceived notions, but I was born an American and I love my country," Dufour said in a statement from ReganMedia announcing the deal to develop a reality TV series.

Dufour has dropped the "Bin Ladin" -- a different spelling of the Arabic name from that used by Osama bin Laden -- and now goes by the name Wafah Dufour.

Based in New York, Dufour has been promoting herself as a musician and last December appeared in a sultry GQ photo spread, reclining on satin sheets wrapped in feathers and posing in a bubble bath wearing nothing but a necklace.

"Her story will bridge the gap that people feel exists between the cultures she has lived in," ReganMedia President Judith Regan said.

"She is also a young woman who falls in love, has her heart broken, worries about her looks, doesn't always listen to her mother, and hasn't spoken to her father in years," Regan said.

Dufour's mother Carmen bin Ladin wrote the 2004 bestseller "Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia," an account of her rocky marriage to Yeslama, Osama's half-brother, who amassed a fortune in the family's construction business and started his own investment firm.

Dufour, who earned a master's degree in law from Columbia University, was in Geneva with her mother at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. She had said in the past she has never met Osama bin Laden.

She cites U2, Depeche Mode, The Cure and The Cranberries among her musical influences.

Regan has published a string of celebrity authors including Michael Moore and porn star Jenna Jameson, and she was an executive producer on the reality show "Growing Up Gotti" about members of the family best known for its Mafia empire.

The statement did not say when the show would be aired or on what channel.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Foto: AP
Wafah Dufour ist die Nichte von Osama bin Laden.


March 10th, 2006, 01:44 PM
Back to the main course (distasteful as it is) ...

Cheney Quotes Racist Anti-Semite to Demonstrate ‘Progress’ In the Middle East

March 19, 2006


Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech this week (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/07/AR2006030700739.html) to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee:
Over the past four years, other free nations have risen in the broader Middle East. … Across that region, the political dialogue has been transformed — and politicians, scholars, students, and men and women from every walk of life are talking about freedom, equal rights, and accountable institutions of government. One leader in Lebanon said: “When I saw the Iraqi people voting, it was the start of a new Arab world…The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.”

The “leader in Lebanon” whose analysis Cheney apparently trusts is Walid Jumblatt, a racist anti-Semite who has celebrated the deaths of U.S. soldiers and referred to Condoleezza Rice as “oil-colored.”

A few of Jumblatt’s low lights:
– “We are all happy when U.S. soldiers are killed [in Iraq] week in and week out. The killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is legitimate and obligatory.” [Link (http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16367)]

– “The oil axis is present in most of the U.S. administration, beginning with its president, vice-president and top advisers, including (Condoleezza) Rice, who is oil-colored, while the axis of Jews is present with Paul Wolfowitz, the leading hawk who is inciting (America) to occupy and destroy Iraq.” [Link (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050321&s=ciezadlo032105)]

– “In November 2003, the United States revoked Jumblatt’s diplomatic visa for wishing out loud that Wolfowitz had been killed in a Baghdad rocket attack.” [Link (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w050228&s=ciezadlo030305)]

So why did Cheney quote Jumblatt?

Maybe because they’re the only two who believe that reform in Lebanon was inspired by the Iraq war: “‘I’ve never heard it from anybody except Walid Jumblatt (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050321&s=ciezadlo032105),’ laughs Jamil Mroue, editor-in-chief of Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper.”


March 10th, 2006, 02:02 PM
More from Cheney's new favorite, Walid Jumblatt ...


Viva La Lebanese Hatred

By Steven Stalinsky (http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/authors.asp?ID=1839)
December 20, 2004

... The Lebanese MP (Walid Jumblatt) is also known for espousing conspiracy theories against the U.S. On April 28, 2004, he gave an interview to United Arab Emirate-based Al Arabiyya TV, in which he detailed how the U.S. was really behind September 11: “Who invented Osama bin Laden?! The Americans, the CIA invented him so they could fight the Soviets in Afghanistan together with some of the Arab regimes. Osama bin Laden is like a ghost, popping up when needed. This is my opinion.”

Jumblatt was asked “Even 9/11?” and answered: “Even 9/11…Why didn’t the sirens go off when the four hijacked planes took off? … The U.S. always needs an enemy … According to this plan or ideology of the born-again Christians who formed an alliance with Zionism – Islam is the monster, Islam is the target.”

In addition to hating the U.S., Jumblatt has also spoke against the countries which have taken the lead in supporting the U.S. war on terror. Lebanon's Daily Star published a February 3, 2003 article quoting him as saying that the true axis of evil is actually one of "oil and Jews," calling President George W. Bush a "mad emperor," and insulting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar: “The oil axis is present in most of the U.S. administration, beginning with its president, vice-president, and top advisers, including [Condoleezza] Rice, who is oil-colored, while the axis of Jews is present with Paul Wolfowitz.”

In the interview, Jumblatt described U.S. President Bush as someone who “considers himself God's deputy on Earth, threatening and classifying the world [into different camps], and relying on his imperial power … How dangerous emperors are when they go mad … In the same axis we have the trustworthy servant, the imperial servant … pleased with himself and his idiotic laugh, his peacock appearance, none other than Tony Blair … Also joining this axis is the comprador Mussolini of the 21st century, the prime minister of Italy today, Silvio Berlusconi, who seems to want to renew the empire of the Caesars … To complete the picture, we have Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, the Spanish neo-rightist … Aznar and Blair spend a lot of time in front of the mirror every morning, it seems, so that their hair is parted perfectly … People who pay that much attention to their appearance are fascists by nature. Or they have psychological or sexual complexes.”

Walid Jumblatt


Walid Jumblatt leads Lebanon’s most powerful Druze community

http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/review/people_full_story.asp?service_id=7457 (http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/review/people_full_story.asp?service_id=7457)


http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/bakgrunn/4842626.html (http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/bakgrunn/4842626.html)

March 27th, 2006, 01:23 PM
Whether or not Moussaoui is telling the truth he certainly seems determined to set himself up as a martyr to the cause -- apparently with the intent to fan the flames and let his execution become a call to action ...

Moussaoui Says He Was to Hijack 5th Plane

Associated Press Writer
Mar 27 12:52 PM US/Eastern


ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui testified Monday that he and would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid were supposed to hijack a fifth airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, and fly it into the White House.

Moussaoui's testimony on his own behalf stunned the courtroom as he disclosed details he had never revealed before. It was in stark contrast to Moussaoui's previous statements in which he said the White House attack was to come later if the United States refused to release a radical Egyptian sheik imprisoned on earlier terrorist convictions.


Moussaoui testified Monday he lied to investigators when arrested in August 2001 because he wanted to let the attacks of Sept. 11 go forward.

"Yes, you can say that," Moussaoui said when the prosecution asked if that was why he misled them. The statement was key to the government's case that the attacks might have been averted if Moussaoui had been more cooperative following his arrest.

He told the court he knew the attacks were coming some time after August 2001 and bought a radio so he could hear them unfold.

Specifically, he said he knew the World Trade Center was going to be attacked, but asserted he was not part of the plot and didn't know the details.

Taking the stand in his own defense in his death-penalty trial, Moussaoui said he declined to become a suicide pilot in some future attack when asked by a senior al-Qaida official in 1999.

Nineteen men pulled off the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York in Washington in the worst act of terrorism ever on U.S. soil.

"I had knowledge that the Twin Towers would be hit," Moussaoui said. "I didn't know the details of this."

Asked by his lawyer why he signed his guilty plea in April as "the 20th hijacker," Moussaoui replied: "Because everybody used to refer to me as the 20th hijacker and it was a bit of fun."

Moussaoui testified calmly in his death penalty trial, but against his lawyers' wishes.

Before he took the stand, his lawyers made a last attempt to stop him from testifying, but failed. Defense attorney Gerald Zerkin argued that his client would not be a competent witness because he has contempt for the court, only recognizes Islamic law and therefore "the affirmation he undertakes would be meaningless."

Asked by Zerkin if he was supposed to be one of the men who would pilot a plane on 9/11, he said no, adding: "I'm sorry, I don't know about the number of planes but I was not the fifth (pilot) hijacker."

The 19 terrorists on Sept. 11 hijacked and crashed four airliners, killing nearly 3,000 people in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on the planes.

About his guilty plea, he said: "I took a pen. I signed it."

He said talked with an al-Qaida official in 1999 about why a 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center failed to bring the towers down. He said "was asked in the same period for the first time if I want to be a suicide pilot and I declined."

Yet, he said he was taking flight training for a separate attack on the White House, when he was arrested in August 2001 on immigration charges. He was vague on whether this attack was to have been after Sept. 11 or on it.

"I know it was something going on," he said in French-accented English. "We don't do single operation. We do multiple strikes."

He told the court it was "difficult to say" whether he was involved in the planning for 9/11. At some point, he said, he received training on what to do if at the controls of a hijacked plane if a fighter aircraft approached.

Just before Moussaoui took the stand, the court heard testimony that two months before the attacks that a CIA deputy chief waited in vain for permission to tell the FBI about a "very high interest" al-Qaida operative who became one of the hijackers.

The official, a senior figure in the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit, said he sought authorization on July 13, 2001, to send information to the FBI but got no response for 10 days, then asked again.

As it turned out, the information on Khalid al-Mihdhar did not reach the FBI until late August. At the time, CIA officers needed permission from a special unit before passing certain intelligence on to the FBI.

The official was identified only as John. His written testimony was read into the record.

"John's" testimony was part of the defense's case that federal authorities missed multiple opportunities to catch hijackers and perhaps thwart the 9/11 plot.

His testimony included an e-mail sent by FBI supervisor Michael Maltbie discussing Moussaoui but playing down his terrorist connections. Maltbie's e-mail said "there's no indication that (Moussaoui) had plans for any nefarious activity."

He sent that e-mail to the CIA even after receiving a lengthy memo from the FBI agent who arrested Moussaoui and suspected him of being a terrorist with plans to hijack aircraft.

Former FBI agent Erik Rigler, the first defense witness, was questioned about a Justice Department report that he said criticized the CIA for keeping intelligence about two known al-Qaida terrorist operatives in the United States from the FBI for more than a year.

Under cross-examination from the prosecution, he acknowledged the report did not link the pair specifically to a civil aviation plot. But he said the report's thrust was about their preparations for what turned out to be the 9/11 attacks, and their ability to elude federal agents.

"That's why they came here," he said. "They didn't come for Disney."

The two were among the 19 suicide hijackers on 9/11. The report said they had been placed on a watch list in Thailand in January 2000, but not on a U.S. list until August 2001.

Prosecutors argue that Moussaoui, a French citizen, thwarted a prime opportunity to track down the 9/11 hijackers and possibly unravel the plot when he was arrested in August 2001 on immigration violations and lied to the FBI about his al-Qaida membership and plans to hijack a plane.

Had Moussaoui confessed, the FBI could have pursued leads that would have led them to most of the hijackers, government witnesses have testified.

To win the death penalty, prosecutors must first prove that Moussaoui's actions _ specifically, his lies _ were directly responsible for at least one death on Sept. 11.

If they fail, Moussaoui would get life in prison.

Moussaoui pleaded guilty in April to conspiring with al-Qaida to hijack planes and other crimes, but he has denied any role in 9/11. He says he was training for a possible future attack on the White House.

Associated Press Writer Michael J. Sniffen contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

July 22nd, 2006, 04:27 PM
Afghanistan close to anarchy, warns general
&#183; Nato commander's view in stark contrast to ministers'
&#183; Forces short of equipment and 'running out of time'
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,1826479,00.html)
Richard Norton-Taylor
Saturday July 22, 2006

The most senior British military commander in Afghanistan yesterday described the situation in the country as "close to anarchy" with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption.

The stark warning came from Lieutenant General David Richards, head of Nato's international security force in Afghanistan, who warned that western forces there were short of equipment and were "running out of time" if they were going to meet the expectations of the Afghan people.

The assumption within Nato countries had been that the environment in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban in 2002 would be benign, Gen Richards said. "That is clearly not the case," he said yesterday. He referred to disputes between tribes crossing the border with Pakistan, and divisions between religious and secular factions cynically manipulated by "anarcho-warlords".

Corrupt local officials were fuelling the problem and Nato's provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan were sending out conflicting signals, Gen Richards told a conference at the Royal United Services Institute in London.
"The situation is close to anarchy," he said, referring in particular to what he called "the lack of unity between different agencies".

He described "poorly regulated private security companies" as unethical and "all too ready to discharge firearms". Nato forces in Afghanistan were short of equipment, notably aircraft, but also of medical evacuation systems and life-saving equipment.

Officials said later that France and Turkey had sent troops to Kabul but without any helicopters to support them.

Gen Richards will also take command of the 4,500-strong British brigade in Helmand province at the heart of the hostile, poppy-growing south of the country when it comes under Nato's overall authority. He said yesterday that Nato "could not afford not to succeed" in its attempt to bring long-term stability to Afghanistan and build up the country's national army and security forces. He described the mission as a watershed for Nato, taking on "land combat operations for the first time in its history".

The picture Gen Richards painted yesterday contrasted markedly with optimistic comments by ministers when they agreed earlier this month to send reinforcements to southern Afghanistan at the request of British commanders there. Many of those will be engineers with the task of appealing to Afghan "hearts and minds" by repairing the infrastructure, including irrigation systems.

Gen Richards said yesterday that was a priority. How to eradicate opium poppies - an issue repeatedly highlighted by ministers - was a problem that could only be tackled later.

General Sir Mike Jackson, the head of the British army, said recently: "To physically eradicate [opium poppies] before all the conditions are right seems to me to be counter-productive." The government admits that Helmand province is about to produce a bumper poppy crop and is now probably the biggest single source of heroin in the world. Ministers are concerned about criticism the government will face if planting over the next few months for next year's crop - in an area patrolled by British troops - is not significantly reduced.

Kim Howells, the Foreign Office minister responsible for Afghanistan, told the Guardian that the immediate target had to be the biggest poppy cultivators and dealers who control the &#163;1bn-plus Afghan drug trade.

The strategy should be: "Go for the fat cats, very wealthy farmers, the movers and shakers of the drug trade" and their laboratories, he said. Asked about the concern of British military commanders that by depriving farmers - and warlords - of a lucrative crop, poppy eradication would feed the insurgency, Mr Howells admitted: "It's a big problem for us."


Hamid Karzai was elected president of Afghanistan in October 2004 and a new constitution was signed and a parliament was inaugurated in December 2005. But he has not been able to exert much authority beyond the capital.

The Taliban have re-emerged as a fighting force and hundreds of people have died in clashes over the past year.

In June this year a US-led force of 11,000 launched the biggest anti-Taliban offensive in southern Afghanistan since 2001. The UK government has said the deployment of the 3,000-plus strong British brigade, based in Helmand province, would last for three years.

The following month it said an extra 850 soldiers would be deployed. Six British soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan in less than a month and 700 people have died over the past few weeks.

Afghanistan is now one of the poorest countries with an economy and infrastructure in ruins.

Guardian Unlimited &#169; Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

July 29th, 2006, 08:36 PM
As the war against terrorism widens ...

Lebanon oil slick 'worst environmental disaster' in Med


breitbart.com / AFP (http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/07/29/060729110246.0h0g1zoy.html)
Jul 29 7:03 AM US/Eastern

The Mediterranean is threatened by its worst ever environmental disaster after Israel's bombing of a power plant in Lebanon sent thousands of tonnes of fuel gushing into the sea, the environment minister charged.

"Up until now 10,000-15,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil have spilled out into the sea," after Israel's bombing of the power station in Jiyeh two weeks ago, Lebanese Environment Minister Yacub Sarraf told AFP Saturday.

"It's without doubt the biggest environmental catastrophe that the Mediterranean has known and it risks having terrible consequences not only for our country but for all the countries of the eastern Mediterranean."

Israeli forces bombed the tanks at the power station on July 14 and July 15, just days into their offensive on Lebanon which has seen blistering air strikes across the country and a bloody ground incursion in the south.

The leak from one of the tanks, which are located just 25 metres (80 feet) from the sea, has now stopped but another containing 25,000 tonnes of fuel oil is still on fire and is in danger of exploding. Between 8,000-10,000 tonnes of fuel are on the shore and 5,000 on the open water.

"Until now, the worst ecological disasters have taken place in the oceans and it's the first time that an oil spill has happened outside the open sea," said Sarraf. "We can have no illusions."

Sarraf said that the cost of cleaning up Lebanon's once golden beaches -- which until the bombardment were major attractions for locals and tourists -- will cost between 45-50 million dollars and would not be finished until next summer.

The spill is now affecting 70 kilometres (40 miles) of Lebanon's 220-kilometre-long (140 miles) coast, a third of its coastline. Beaches and rocks are covered in a black sludge which has reached the famous tourist town of Byblos, north of Beirut.

"If nothing is done, not only will currents flowing towards the north mean that one third of Lebanon's coastline be hit, but also Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Greece and even Israel," Sarraf said.

"The fauna and the Mediterranean ecosystem risk suffering badly and certain species are threatened with extinction," he warned.

Sarraf said that owing to the Israeli blockade of Lebanon's waters, it was impossible to send ships to clear up the pollution.

"I have appealed to Britain, Italy, Spain, the United States, all the countries which have already suffered oil slicks to ask for technical assistance as we cannot act on our own," he said.

Kuwait has sent 40 tonnes of material that would allow the petrol to thicken and also special carpets which absorb petroleum products.

A resident of Byblos, known worldwide for its seafood restaurants and historic harbour, said "for the last four days, fish, crustaceans and crabs have been coming in black, and they are dying as victims of this oil slick."

Fuad Hamdan, director of Friends of the Earth, Europe, and founder of Greenpeace Lebanon, agreed that "it is certainly the worst environmental disaster ever on the eastern Mediterranean coast."

Hamdan said the eastern Mediterranean coast from the Israeli port of Haifa until Syria's Lattakiya was already heavily polluted from Israeli industry, Lebanese sewage and industry from east Beirut and from Syria.

He advised people against eating fish from coastal areas. "Anyway it will smell bad and put people off."

Besides the oil slick, the fire from the oil tanks has caused atmospheric pollution which has already reached Beirut. "Now the toxic cloud is stretching over a 30 kilometre distance," said Sarraf.

Copyright AFP 2005

July 29th, 2006, 08:59 PM
Why are they destroying Lebanon? Why not just go after Hezbollah?

July 29th, 2006, 09:49 PM
In their minds Hezbollah's tentacles reach into almost every corner of Lebanon -- ergo the need to destroy anything that might feed that monster, including supply / distribution networks.

Seemingly something of a "scorched earth" policy -- although Israel would undoubtedly deny that saying something to the effect that if that's what they intended the bombs would be bigger and more devastating.

July 30th, 2006, 02:47 AM
Isreal better hope it doesn't have a Iraq on it's hands. Look at how much Iraq is causing problems in our county. Imagine if we had the problem to deal with to our north.

July 30th, 2006, 08:37 AM
Dozens Killed, Hurt in Israeli Airstrike

Mohamed Messara/European Pressphoto Agency
Rescue workers took an injured man for medical treatment.

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Lebanon-Israel.html?hp&ex=1154318400&en=707d939e71a89ea5&ei=5094&partner=homepage)
July 30, 2006
Filed at 7:27 a.m. ET

QANA, Lebanon (AP) -- An Israeli airstrike killed at least 50 people -- more than half children -- in a southern Lebanese village Sunday, the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Lebanon in a setback for diplomatic efforts to end hostilities.

Infuriated Lebanese officials said they had asked Rice to postpone the visit after Israel's missile strike. But Rice said she called Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to say she would postpone the trip, and that she had work to do in Jerusalem to end the fighting.

The missiles destroyed several homes in the village of Qana as people were sleeping. Rescue officials said at least 50 people were killed, and the bodies of 27 children were found in the rubble.

Israeli said it targeted Qana because it was a base for hundreds of rockets launched at Israeli, including 40 that injured five Israelis on Sunday. Israel said it had warned civilians several days before to leave the village.

''One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields,'' said Israeli Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir. ''The Israeli defense forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone.''

Rescuers aided by villagers dug through the rubble by hand. At least 20 bodies wrapped in white sheets were taken away, including 10 children. A row of houses lay in ruins, and an old woman was carried away on a plastic chair.

Nasser Nasser/Associated Press
Rescue workers covered the body of a woman found in the rubble of a collapsed building.

Villagers said many of the dead were from four families who had taken refuge in on the ground floor of a three-story building, believing they would be safe from bombings.

''We want this to stop!'' shouted Mohammed Ismail, a middle-aged man pulling away at the rubble in search for bodies, his brown pants covered in dust. ''May God have mercy on the children. They came here to escape the fighting.''

''They are hitting children to bring the fighters to their knees,'' he said.

Nasser Nasser/Associated Press
Red Cross paramedics carried the body of a Lebanese man recovered from
the rubble of a demolished building that was struck by Israeli missiles Sunday
in the southern Lebanon city of Qana.

Rice said she was ''deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life'' in Israel's attack. But she did not call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militias.

''We all recognize this kind of warfare is extremely difficult,'' Rice said, noting it comes in areas where civilians live. ''It unfortunately has awful consequences sometimes.''

''We want a cease-fire as soon as possible,'' she added.

The United States and Israel are pressing for a settlement that addresses enduring issues between Lebanon and Israel and disables Hezbollah -- not the quick truce favored by most world leaders.

Saniora said Lebanon would be open only to an immediate cease-fire.

''There is no place at this sad moment for any discussions other than an immediate and unconditional cease-fire as well as international investigation of the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now,'' he told reporters Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not rush into a cease-fire until it achieved its goal of decimating Hezbollah, whose July 12 capture of two Israel soldiers provoked the fighting.

More than 5,000 people protested in central Beirut, denouncing Israel and the United States, some chanting, ''Destroy Tel Aviv, destroy Tel Aviv.'' A few broke car windows and tried briefly to break into the main U.N. building until political leaders called for a halt to damage.


Ben Curtis/Associated Press
Hezbollah supporters scaled fences, shattered glass and burned U.S. flags at the main U.N. building in Beirut.

Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr questioned Israel's claim that Hezbollah fired rockets from the village. ''What do you expect Israel to say? Will it say that it killed 40 children and women?'' he told Al-Jazeera television.

Qana, in the hills east of the southern port city of Tyre, has a bloody history.
In 1996, Israeli artillery killed more than 100 civilians who had taken refuge at a U.N. base in the village. That attack sparked an international outcry that helped end an Israeli offensive.

The attack drew swift condemnation from several world leaders.

French President Jacques Chirac's office said ''France condemns this unjustifiable action, which shows more than ever the need to move toward an immediate cease-fire, without which other such dramas can only be repeated.''

Jordan's King Abdullah II condemned ''the ugly crime perpetrated by Israeli forces in Qana,'' calling it ''a blatant violation of the law and all international conventions.''

Lebanese civilians have suffered the most from the fighting. Before Sunday's attack, Lebanese officials said 458 Lebanese had been killed, most of them civilians. Thirty-three Israeli soldiers have died, and Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel have killed 19 civilians.

Fighting also broke out between guerrillas and Israeli soldiers in a zone called the Taibeh Project area, about 2 miles inside Lebanon. The Israeli army said one soldier was moderately wounded. Hezbollah's al-Manar TV claimed two Israeli soldiers were killed.

Heavy artillery rained down on the villages of Yuhmor and Arnoun, close to Taibeh. In northern Israel, rockets fell on Nahariya, Kiryat Shemona and an area close to Maalot, the army said.

Israel has said it would launch a series of limited ground incursions into Lebanon to push back guerrillas, rather than carry out a full-fledged invasion. Israeli troops pulled back Saturday from the town of Bint Jbail, suggesting the thrust, launched a week ago, had halted.

But Lebanese officials reported a massing of troops and 12 tanks near the Israeli town of Metulla further to the northeast, on the tip of the Galilee Panhandle near the Golan Heights, suggesting another incursion could begin soon.

''I think it needs to be clear that Israel is not in a hurry to have a cease-fire before we reach a situation in which we can say that we achieved the central goals that we set down for ourselves,'' Olmert said Sunday before his weekly Cabinet meeting.

France circulated a draft Security Council resolution on Saturday among the other 14 council members. It would call for an immediate halt to fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and seek a wide new buffer zone in south Lebanon monitored by international forces and the Lebanese army.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said strike on Qana was a ''tragedy for the people affected,'' especially so since negotiators had been close to reaching ''the basis for a cease-fire.''

She said the U.N. resolution was no longer on track to being reached by Monday or Tuesday. ''We need to go back and pick up the pieces,'' Beckett told Sky News.

But she stopped short of calling for a cease-fire. ''We have repeatedly called on the Israelis to act proportionately,'' Beckett said.

A peace package Rice brought to the region called for a U.N.-mandated multinational force that can help stabilize in the region, according to a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

It also proposes: disarming Hezbollah and integrating the guerrilla force into the Lebanese army; Hezbollah's return of Israeli prisoners; a buffer zone in southern Lebanon to put Hezbollah rockets out of range of Israel; a commitment to resolve the status of a piece of land held by Israel and claimed by Lebanon; and the creation of an international reconstruction plan for Lebanon.

The latter two provisions resembled parts of a proposal by Lebanon's government. But they fell short of Hezbollah's demands, including a prisoner swap to free Lebanese held for years in Israeli prisons and the disputed land, known as Chebaa farms, put under U.N. supervision until its status can be resolved.

Associated Press Writer Katherine Shrader in Jerusalem contributed to this story.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press

July 30th, 2006, 02:03 PM
See Bush Babble on YouTube ...

President Bush: "Managing the Calm"


July 28, 2006

From truthcommission (http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=truthcommission)
At his joint press conference with British PM Tony Blair today, President Bush gets challenged by MSNBC WH Correspondent David Gregory. How much longer will the President cling to his tired and debunked rhetoric?


Follow along with the transcript below (which unfortunately leaves out the many "umms" and "uhhs")

Bush Talks and Talks and Talks

tpmmuckraker (http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001231.php)
By Paul Kiel
July 28, 2006

Over at TPM, Josh referred (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/009218.php) to an answer by Bush during today's press conference that showed “in really frightening detail how President Bush seems to be basically brain dead” on the Middle East situation.

Here it is in all its glory:

Q: Mr. President, both of you, I'd like to ask you about the big picture that you're discussing.

Mr. President, three years ago, you argued that an invasion of Iraq would create a new stage of Arab-Israeli peace. And yet today there is an Iraqi prime minister who has been sharply critical of Israel.

Arab governments, despite your arguments, who first criticized Hezbollah, have now changed their tune. Now they're sharply critical of Israel.

And despite from both of you warnings to Syria and Iran to back off support from Hezbollah, effectively, Mr. President, your words are being ignored.

So what has happened to America's clout in this region that you've committed yourself to transform?

Bush: David, it's an interesting period because, instead of having foreign policies based upon trying to create a sense of stability, we have a foreign policy that addresses the root causes of violence and instability.

For a while, American foreign policy was just, Let's hope everything is calm - kind of, managed calm. But beneath the surface brewed a lot of resentment and anger that was manifested on September the 11th.

And so we have, we've taken a foreign policy that says: On the one hand, we will protect ourselves from further attack in the short run by being aggressive in chasing down the killers and bringing them to justice.

And make no mistake: They're still out there, and they would like to harm our respective peoples because of what we stand for.

In the long term, to defeat this ideology - and they're bound by an ideology - you defeat it with a more hopeful ideology called freedom.

And, look, I fully understand some people don't believe it's possible for freedom and democracy to overcome this ideology of hatred. I understand that. I just happen to believe it is possible.

And I believe it will happen.

And so what you're seeing is, you know, a clash of governing styles.

For example, you know, the notion of democracy beginning to emerge scares the ideologues, the totalitarians, those who want to impose their vision. It just frightens them.

And so they respond. They've always been violent.

You know, I hear this amazing kind of editorial thought that says, all of a sudden, Hezbollah's become violent because we're promoting democracy. They have been violent for a long period of time. Or Hamas?

One reason why the Palestinians still suffer is because there are militants who refuse to accept a Palestinian state based upon democratic principles.

And so what the world is seeing is a desire by this country and our allies to defeat the ideology of hate with an ideology that has worked and that brings hope.

And one of the challenges, of course, is to convince people that Muslims would like to be free, you know, that there's other people other than people in Britain and America that would like to be free in the world.

There's this kind of almost – you know, kind of a weird kind of elitism that says well maybe - maybe certain people in certain parts of the world shouldn't be free; maybe it's best just to let them sit in these tyrannical societies.

And our foreign policy rejects that concept. We don't accept it. And so we're working...........

August 5th, 2006, 11:15 AM
The Plot Against America

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/06/books/review/06filkins.html)
Sunday Book Review
August 6, 2006

Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

By Lawrence Wright.
Illustrated. 469 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.95.

When Mohamed Atta and his four Saudi confederates commandeered a Boeing 767 and steered it into the north tower of the World Trade Center, they began a story that still consumes us nearly five years on, and one that seems, on bad days, to promise war without end.

But the events of Sept. 11, 2001, were in many ways less the start of a tale than the end of one, or at least the climax of one, begun many years before in many different precincts: in the middle-class suburbs of Cairo, in the mosques of Hamburg, in Jidda, in Islamabad, in the quiet university town of Greeley, Colo.

In its simplest terms, this is the story of how a small group of men, with a frightening mix of delusion and calculation, rose from a tormented civilization to mount a catastrophic assault on the world’s mightiest power, and how another group of men and women, convinced that such an attack was on the way, tried desperately to stop it.

What a story it is. And what a riveting tale Lawrence Wright fashions in this marvelous book. “The Looming Tower” is not just a detailed, heart-stopping account of the events leading up to 9/11, written with style and verve, and carried along by villains and heroes that only a crime novelist could dream up.

It’s an education, too — though you’d never know it — a thoughtful examination of the world that produced the men who brought us 9/11, and of their progeny who bedevil us today. The portrait of John O’Neill, the driven, demon-ridden F.B.I. agent who worked so frantically to stop Osama bin Laden, only to perish in the attack on the World Trade Center, is worth the price of the book alone. “The Looming Tower” is a thriller. And it’s a tragedy, too.

In the nearly five years since the attacks, we’ve heard oceans of commentary on the whys and how-comes and what-it-means and what’s nexts. Wright, a staff writer for The New Yorker — where portions of this book have appeared — has put his boots on the ground in the hard places, conducted the interviews and done the sleuthing. Others talked, he listened.

And so he has unearthed an astonishing amount of detail about Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Muhammad Omar and all the rest of them.

They come alive.

Who knew, for instance, that bin Laden, far from being a warrior-stoic fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was actually a pathetic stick-in-the-mud who would fall ill before battle? That the combat-hardened Afghans, so tired of bin Laden’s behavior, declared him and his Arab associates “useless”? Or that he was a permissive father and indulgent husband? Or that he is only six feet tall?

More important, who knew — I sure didn’t — that bin Laden had left behind such a long trail of words? Wright has found them in books, on film, in audio recordings, in people’s notebooks and memories. This has allowed him to draw an in-depth portrait of bin Laden, and to chart his evolution from a self-conscious step-child growing up in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, to the visionary cave-dwelling madman who mimics the Holy Prophet in his most humdrum daily habits.

Wright takes the title of his book from the fourth sura of the Koran, which bin Laden repeated three times in a speech videotaped just as the hijackers were preparing to fly. The video was found later, on a computer in Hamburg.

“Wherever you are, death will find you, Even in the looming tower.”

There is poetry, too. Here is a particularly chilling bit, found on another videotape, which bin Laden had read aloud at the wedding of his 17-year-old son, Mohammed. The celebration took place not long after a pair of Qaeda suicide bombers, riding in a tiny boat filled with explosives, nearly sank the billion-dollar guided missile destroyer Cole. At least with regard to his abilities as an author, bin Laden was unusually modest: he let someone else write the words. “I am not, as most of our brothers know, a warrior of the word,” he said.

A destroyer, even the brave might fear,She inspires horror in the harbor and the open sea,
She goes into the waves flanked by arrogance, haughtiness and fake might,
To her doom she progresses slowly, clothed in a huge illusion,
Awaiting her is a dinghy, bobbing in the waves.

“The Looming Tower” is full of such surprising detail. Al Qaeda’s leaders had all but shelved the 9/11 plot when they realized they lacked foot soldiers who could pass convincingly as westernized Muslims in the United States. At just the right moment Atta appeared in Afghanistan, along with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ziad al-Jarrah and Marwan al-Shehhi, all Western-educated transplants, offering themselves up for slaughter. The game was on.

Just as dramatic as the portraits of bin Laden and Zawahiri is Wright’s account of the roots of Islamic militancy — the intellectual, spiritual and material world from which the plotters came. Wright draws a fascinating picture of Sayyid Qutb, the font of modern Islamic fundamentalism, a frail, middle-aged writer who found himself, as a visitor to the United States and a student at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley in the 1940’s, overwhelmed by the unbridled splendor and godlessness of modern America.

And by the sex: like so many others who followed him, Qutb seemed simultaneously drawn to and repelled by American women, so free and unselfconscious in their sexuality. The result is a kind of delirium:

“A girl looks at you, appearing as if she were an enchanting nymph or an escaped mermaid,” Qutb wrote, “but as she approaches, you sense only the screaming instinct inside her, and you can smell her burning body, not the scent of perfume, but flesh, only flesh. Tasty flesh, truly, but flesh nonetheless.”

It wasn’t much later that Qutb began writing elaborate rationalizations for killing non-Muslims and waging war against the West. Years later, Atta expressed a similar mix of obsession and disgust for women. Indeed, anyone who has spent time in the Middle East will recognize such tortured emotions.

WRIGHT shows, correctly, that at the root of Islamic militancy — its anger, its antimodernity, its justifications for murder — lies a feeling of intense humiliation. Islam plays a role in this, with its straitjacketed and all-encompassing worldview. But whether the militant hails from a middle-class family or an impoverished one, is intensely religious or a “theological amateur,” as Wright calls bin Laden and his cohort, he springs almost invariably from an ossified society with an autocratic government that is unable to provide any reason to believe in the future. Islam offers dignity, even in — especially in — death. Living in the West, Atta and the others felt these things more acutely, not less. As Wright notes:

“Their motivations varied, but they had in common a belief that Islam — pure and primitive, unmitigated by modernity and uncompromised by politics — would cure the wounds that socialism or Arab nationalism had failed to heal. They were angry but powerless in their own countries. They did not see themselves as terrorists but as revolutionaries who, like all such men throughout history, had been pushed into action by the simple human need for justice. Some had experienced brutal repression; some were simply drawn to bloody chaos. From the beginning of Al Qaeda, there were reformers and there were nihilists. The dynamic between them was irreconcilable and self-destructive, but events were moving so quickly that it was almost impossible to tell the philosophers from the sociopaths. They were glued together by the charismatic personality of Osama bin Laden, which contained both strands, idealism and nihilism, in a potent mix.”

In John O’Neill, bin Laden almost met his match. The supervisor of the F.B.I.’s New York office and of the team assigned to track Al Qaeda in the United States, O’Neill felt, as strongly as anyone in the government, that Al Qaeda was coming to America. He was a relentless investigator, a volcanic personality and sometimes his own worst enemy. In the end he broke himself on a government bureaucracy that could not — and would not — move as quickly as he did. O’Neill and others like him were in a race with Al Qaeda, and although we know how the race ended, it’s astonishing — and heartbreaking — to learn how close it was.

Some of the F.B.I.’s field agents, as we now know, had premonitions of what was coming. When the supervisor of the Minneapolis field office was admonished, in August 2001, for expressing fears that an Islamic radical attending flight school might be planning a suicide attack, he shot back defiantly that he was “trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing into the World Trade Center.”


The most gut-wrenching scenes are the ones that show F.B.I. agents trying, as 9/11 approached, to pry information from their rivals inside the United States government. The C.I.A., Wright says, knew that high-level Qaeda operatives had held a meeting in Malaysia in January 2000, and, later, that two of them had entered the United States. Both men turned out to be part of the team that hijacked the planes on Sept. 11. The C.I.A. failed to inform agencies like the F.B.I. — which might have been able to locate the men and break up the plot — until late in the summer of 2001.

The fateful struggle between the C.I.A. and F.B.I. in the months leading up to the attacks has been outlined before, but never in such detail. At meetings, C.I.A. analysts dangled photos of two of the eventual hijackers in front of F.B.I. agents, but wouldn’t tell them who they were. The F.B.I. agents could sense that the C.I.A. possessed crucial pieces of evidence about Islamic radicals they were investigating, but couldn’t tell what they were. The tension came to a head at a meeting in New York on June 11, exactly three months before the catastrophe, which ended with F.B.I. and C.I.A. agents shouting at each other across the room.

In one of the most remarkable scenes in the book, Ali Soufan, an F.B.I. agent assigned to Al Qaeda, was taken aside on Sept. 12 and finally shown the names and photos of the men the C.I.A. had known for more than a year and a half were in America. The planes had already struck. Soufan ran to the bathroom and retched.

Great stuff. I just wish Wright had given us something, even a chapter, on the hijackings themselves; as it is, he takes us right up to the moment, and then straight to the burning towers. Perhaps he felt that ground was too well-trodden. My other complaint is more substantive. Through the enormous amount of legwork he has done, tracking down people who worked with bin Laden and Zawahiri over the years, Wright has drawn up verbatim reconstructions of entire conversations, some of which took place more than a decade ago. Many of these conversations are riveting. Still, in some cases, it’s hard to believe that memories are that good.

“The Looming Tower” ends near the Pakistani border, where Zawahiri, or someone who looked like him, rode through a village on horseback and then disappeared into the mountains. It’s not a definitive ending; there is no closure. And that’s the point. For as amazing as the story of Al Qaeda and the road to 9/11 is, it’s not over yet.

Dexter Filkins is a Baghdad correspondent for The Times.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

August 6th, 2006, 01:36 PM
I began reading this book, but decided to put it down until after summer.

And by the sex: like so many others who followed him, Qutb seemed simultaneously drawn to and repelled by American women, so free and unselfconscious in their sexuality. The result is a kind of delirium:

“A girl looks at you, appearing as if she were an enchanting nymph or an escaped mermaid,” Qutb wrote, “but as she approaches, you sense only the screaming instinct inside her, and you can smell her burning body, not the scent of perfume, but flesh, only flesh. Tasty flesh, truly, but flesh nonetheless.”

It wasn’t much later that Qutb began writing elaborate rationalizations for killing non-Muslims and waging war against the West. Years later, Atta expressed a similar mix of obsession and disgust for women. Indeed, anyone who has spent time in the Middle East will recognize such tortured emotions.There is always an undercurrent of sex in human historical events.

It existed in the Gulf War in 1991. USAF personnel were operating from Suadi airfields, along with Saudi F16 pilots, who complained that female American officers were not only walking around in camo T-shirts, but issuing orders to males.

August 6th, 2006, 02:04 PM
In one of the most remarkable scenes in the book, Ali Soufan, an F.B.I. agent assigned to Al Qaeda, was taken aside on Sept. 12 and finally shown the names and photos of the men the C.I.A. had known for more than a year and a half were in America. The planes had already struck. Soufan ran to the bathroom and retched.
Makes me want to retch too.

CIA is beyond accountability.

August 12th, 2006, 09:26 AM
Counterterrorism, Homeland Security Make Up
Fifty Percent Of USCG's Work Load

NY1 (http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1&aid=61743)
Solana Pyne
August 11, 2006

In many respects, the Coast Guard is the first line of defense against terrorism in our ports. In New York, they've stepped up their vigilance and started boarding boats deemed to be security threats. As NY1's Solana Pyne explains in part two of her special report, old boats and limited manpower are making it harder for them to complete the mission

Before 2001, the Coast Guard mainly concerned itself with water safety and drug interdiction. Now counterterrorism and homeland security missions make up at least 50 percent of the guard's work load, but they're doing it without a 50 percent increase in resources.

"The ships it runs are some of the oldest anywhere in any naval fleet around the world including some third-world countries," says Stephen Flynn of the Council on Foreign Relations. "The aviation assets are 20, 30 years old."

"We have more resources than the Coast Guard has here in the Port of New York," says Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Limited resources can force officers to compromise security. The Coast Guard's security boarding teams try to board ships out at Ambrose Anchorage, some six miles from the nearest point of land. But when NY1 accompanied a team in late July, a small craft advisory meant they had to do the boarding in Gravesend Bay, in the shadow of the Verrazano bridge.

"Sometimes our boarding platform, the Coast Guard 41 footer, isn't able to handle the weather conditions that are out there. That forces us – unwillingly now, we don't want to do this – to bring boardings in to an inner anchorage such as Gravesend," says USCG Lt. Sean Valentine.

And while Valentine says they are boarding every ship that needs to be boarded, he says more could be done with an increase in personnel.

"As far as the Coast Guard goes, we're one of the bigger units that does what we do. But, do I think we're short staffed? Absolutely," says Valentine. "We could easily do with another 30 guys and keep them all busy."

But that's true with the Coast Guard in general. It's charged with protecting some 90,000 miles of coastline with a staff about the size of the NYPD, with some deployment in Iraq, and an increased role in border patrol as the national debate over immigration continues. And still, with the uniformed ranks around 40,000, that's an improvement from pre-9/11 numbers.

"The Coast Guard has done reasonably well, but against where it was in 2001. But in 2000, it was at it's lowest manpower since the 1960s," says Flynn.

The Coast Guard's efforts to buy new ships have been criticized by the Federal Government Accountability Office. They say it's going slower than necessary because of "deficiencies in management and oversight." Even working quickly, expanding their numbers and modernizing equipment will take years. A race against the clock they hope they'll win.

Copyright © 2006 NY1 News

August 12th, 2006, 12:29 PM
Bush Staff Wanted Bomb-Detect Cash Moved

rawstory / AP News (http://rawstory.com/showarticle.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fapnews.myway.com% 2Farticle%2F20060811%2FD8JEG1O01.html)
Aug 11, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) - While the British terror suspects were hatching their plot, the Bush administration was quietly seeking permission to divert $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new homeland explosives detection technology.

Congressional leaders rejected the idea, the latest in a series of steps by the Homeland Security Department that has left lawmakers and some of the department's own experts questioning the commitment to create better anti-terror technologies.

Homeland Security's research arm, called the Sciences & Technology Directorate, is a "rudderless ship without a clear way to get back on course," Republican and Democratic senators on the Appropriations Committee declared recently.

"The committee is extremely disappointed with the manner in which S&T is being managed within the Department of Homeland Security," the panel wrote June 29 in a bipartisan report accompanying the agency's 2007 budget.

Rep. Martin Sabo, D-Minn., who joined Republicans to block the administration's recent diversion of explosives detection money, said research and development is crucial to thwarting future attacks and there is bipartisan agreement that Homeland Security has fallen short.

"They clearly have been given lots of resources that they haven't been using," Sabo said.

Homeland Security said Friday its research arm has just gotten a new leader, former Navy research chief Rear Adm. Jay Cohen, and there is strong optimism for developing new detection technologies in the future.

"I don't have any criticisms of anyone," said Kip Hawley, the assistant secretary for transportation security. "I have great hope for the future.
There is tremendous intensity on this issue among the senior management of this department to make this area a strength."

Lawmakers and recently retired Homeland Security officials say they are concerned the department's research and development effort is bogged down by bureaucracy, lack of strategic planning and failure to use money wisely.

The department failed to spend $200 million in research and development money from past years, forcing lawmakers to rescind the money this summer.

The administration also was slow to start testing a new liquid explosives detector that the Japanese government provided to the United States earlier this year.

The British plot to blow up as many as 10 American airlines on trans-Atlantic flights was to involve liquid explosives.

Hawley said Homeland Security now is going to test the detector in six American airports. "It is very promising technology and we are extremely interested in it to help us operationally in the next several years," he said.

Japan has been using the liquid explosive detectors in its Narita International Airport in Tokyo and demonstrated the technology to U.S. officials at a conference in January, the Japanese Embassy in Washington said.

Homeland Security is spending a total of $732 million this year on various explosives deterrents and has tested several commercial liquid explosive detectors over the past few years but hasn't been satisfied enough with the results to deploy them.

Hawley said current liquid detectors that can scan only individual containers aren't suitable for wide deployment because they would bring security check lines to a crawl.

For more than four years, officials inside Homeland Security also have debated whether to deploy smaller trace explosive detectors - already in most American airports - to foreign airports to help stop any bomb chemicals or devices from making it onto U.S.-destined flights.

A 2002 Homeland report recommended "immediate deployment" of the trace units to key European airports, highlighting their low cost, $40,000 per unit, and their detection capabilities. The report said one such unit was able, 25 days later, to detect explosives residue inside the airplane where convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid was foiled in his attack in December 2001.

A 2005 report to Congress similarly urged that the trace detectors be used more aggressively, and strongly warned the continuing failure to distribute such detectors to foreign airports "may be an invitation to terrorist to ply their trade, using techniques that they have already used on a number of occasions."

Tony Fainberg, who formerly oversaw Homeland Security's explosive and radiation detection research with the national labs, said he strongly urged deployment of the detectors overseas but was rebuffed.

"It is not that expensive," said Fainberg, who retired recently. "There was no resistance from any country that I was aware of, and yet we didn't deploy it."

Fainberg said research efforts were often frustrated inside Homeland Security by "bureaucratic games," a lack of strategic goals and months-long delays in distributing money Congress had already approved.

"There has not been a focused and coherent strategic plan for defining what we need ... and then matching the research and development plans to that overall strategy," he said.

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, a senior Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, said he urged the administration three years ago to buy electron scanners, like the ones used at London's airport to detect plastics that might be hidden beneath passenger clothes.

"It's been an ongoing frustration about their resistance to purchase off-the-shelf, state-of-the-art equipment that can meet these threats," he said.

The administration's most recent budget request also mystified lawmakers. It asked to take $6 million from Homeland S&T's 2006 budget that was supposed to be used to develop explosives detection technology and instead divert it to cover a budget shortfall in the Federal Protective Service, which provides security around government buildings.

Sens. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the top two lawmakers for Senate homeland appropriations, rejected the idea shortly after it arrived late last month, Senate leadership officials said.

Their House counterparts, Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and Sabo, likewise rejected the request in recent days, Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Brost said. Homeland said Friday it won't divert the money.

Associated Press writer Leslie Miller contributed to this story.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press
© 2006 IAC Search & Media

August 26th, 2006, 06:42 PM
the only possible answer ...

http://www.rocketrecall.com/d2tPhotos/NewYork2002/Images/91.jpg (http://www.rocketrecall.com/d2tPhotos/NewYork2002/index_3.html#91.html)

August 26th, 2006, 09:31 PM
Army to open criminal probe of Tillman death

Friendly fire blamed in death of former NFL player in Afghanistan

Army Reviewing Casualty Reports

Army Reviewing Afghan and Iraq Casualty Reports
on Complaints of Not Always Being Accurate

AP Photo/Photography Plus
via Williamson Stealth Media Solutions
Cpl. Pat Tillman is seen in a 2003 file photo
provided by Photography Plus. Tillman,
the one-time NFL star from San Jose,
who quit football to join the U.S. Army Rangers
and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan
in April 2004. Tillman's family was originally
told he had been killed by enemy fire.
Five weeks later, they learned he was shot
dead by fellow Rangers after an ambush.

abcnews.com (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2354894)
The Associated Press
August 24, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO - The Army is reviewing casualty reports on American soldiers killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since 2001, a response to complaints that it has not always given families accurate information.

The review covers hundreds of casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom, the campaign in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, two senior military officials said. It also includes American soldiers killed in neighboring countries in support of the two operations.

In coming weeks, the Army will issue a directive formalizing the review, according to the military officials. One spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because officers at the highest levels of the Army are still making minor changes. The other described the initiative in memos obtained by The Associated Press.

"We are actively screening every Criminal Investigation Command report to ensure that there were no disconnects with the Casualty Reporting System. We are about half way through with that mission," one of the memos states.

The purpose of the forthcoming Army-wide order is to tell units in the field that they must tell the Army's headquarters of any change in investigative findings that differs from what a family was initially told, a third official said.

Brig. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo, who heads the Army's public affairs office, said the Army's move is not new but a continuing "rigorous and routine review of current casualty cases with outstanding issues."

Col. Dan Baggio, an Army spokesman, said that because of the constant turnover of units in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important to remind troops that the casualty reports must agree with the actual events that occurred when a soldier was killed.

"It's important to reinforce that the information we provide the families is accurate," he said.

The step follows high-profile mistakes in telling families the circumstances of soldiers' deaths.

The best-known is that of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the one-time NFL star from San Jose, Calif., who quit football to join the U.S. Army Rangers and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004.

Tillman's family was originally told he had been killed by enemy fire. Five weeks later, they learned he was shot dead by fellow Rangers after an ambush.

The military suspected it was a friendly fire death within hours, but failed to tell the Tillmans despite a regulation on the books directing it to do so, said the soldier's mother, Mary Tillman.

She called the move positive, but she said the Army must follow up and deliver any new information to surviving family members.

"People will be able to come to terms with the truth, but if you were lied to once, then you're always going to be distrustful," she said in a telephone interview.

Two months after Tillman died, Lt. Andre Tyson and Spc. Patrick McCaffrey, two California National Guardsmen, were killed by the Iraqi civil-defense soldiers they were training.

The Army initially told the families the two men were killed in a conventional ambush. It was two years before their survivors learned they were slain.

The Army is not reopening investigations into the deaths of all soldiers killed in action, but it is revisiting them to ensure family members were informed of the Army's most accurate and updated findings.

The review has been quietly under way for more than two months, but the directive has not yet been sent to units in the field.

It will order Army units down to the battalion level to dig up so-called 15-6 investigative reports routinely conducted after combat deaths. Battalions that have been or are in Iraq or Afghanistan are being directed to ship copies of the initial casualty reports to top Army officials.

The Army will compare the initial reports to the follow-up investigations, looking for discrepancies in conclusions, according to military officials.

If the Army finds such a discrepancy, it will reappoint a casualty notification team, prepare a new report for the surviving family members and revisit the family to make personal notifications, one official said.

Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Scott Fazekas said he was not aware of any similar review by the Marines.

A soldier's death may result in multiple investigations for a number of reasons. Follow-up inquiries are often launched when a first layer of military investigators concludes they need to probe more deeply. For instance, sometimes a crime is suspected but investigators in the field do not have access to resources such as ballistics testing.

Follow-up inquiries are commonly conducted by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, known as CID, and by the Combat Readiness Center.

The full scope of the effort was not clear Thursday. Officials who spoke said they did not know how many soldiers' deaths would be included, or the circumstances that would trigger review. But it will certainly include several hundred deaths, one official said. Another said the review will include all combat deaths in the two theaters.

That would mean the review would cover some 2,000 reports. Nearly 1,800 Army soldiers have died in Iraq since 2003. More than 230 have died in Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press tally.

Nadia McCaffrey, the mother of Patrick McCaffrey, welcomed the move but said she was cautious in her optimism because the Army has moved slowly to inform her in the past.

"So now again we have to see how long it takes for people to act on it," she said from her home in Tracy.

Associated Press reporter Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

August 29th, 2006, 05:03 PM
On YouTube, Charges of Security Flaws

Ex-Lockheed Worker Takes Concerns Over Coast Guard Ships to the Web

http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2006/08/29/PH2006082900350.jpg (http://javascript<b></b>:void(popitup('http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/postphotos/orb/sports/2006-08-29/index.html?imgId=PH2006082900358&imgUrl=/photo/2006/08/29/PH2006082900358.html',650,850)))
Michael De Kort's video on a
Coast Guard cutter project
had been viewed more than
8,000 times as of late yesterday.

Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/28/AR2006082801293.html)
By Griff Witte

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

See the YouTube video at RAW STORY (http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/VIDEO_Whistleblower_uses_YouTube_to_tell_0829.html )

Michael De Kort was frustrated.

The 41-year-old Lockheed Martin engineer had complained to his bosses. He had told his story to government investigators. He had called congressmen.

But when no one seemed to be stepping up to correct what he saw as critical security flaws in a fleet of refurbished Coast Guard patrol boats, De Kort did just about the only thing left he could think of to get action: He made a video and posted it on YouTube.com.

"What I am going to tell you is going to seem preposterous," De Kort solemnly tells viewers near the outset of the 10-minute clip. Posted three weeks ago, the video describes what De Kort says are blind spots in the ship's security cameras, equipment that malfunctions in cold weather and other problems.

"It may be very hard for you to believe that our government and the largest defense contractor in the world [are] capable of such alarming incompetence and can make ethical compromises as glaring as what I am going to describe." In response to De Kort's charges, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said the service has "taken the appropriate level of action." A spokeswoman for the contractors said the allegations were without merit.

A Web site normally reserved for goofy home-movie outtakes and Paris Hilton parodies may seem an odd place to blow the whistle on potential national security lapses that require complex technical explanations. But receiving millions of hits a day and carrying the intimacy of video, YouTube.com and other sites have become an alluring venue for insiders like De Kort who want to go directly to the public when they think no one within the system is listening.

"This is an excellent example of the democratization of the media, where everyone has access to the printing press of the 21st century," said Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip.tv, a site that hosts grass-roots television programming.

Kaplan, like others, was hard-pressed to think of another video like De Kort's.

"We have some people that come to mind that like to complain about government conspiracies," she said. "But in terms of something truly substantive and credible, nothing springs to mind."

De Kort knew his strategy for raising concerns about communications and surveillance systems on a 123-foot Coast Guard patrol boat was unorthodox. That was the point.

"My thought was, 'What could I do that would be novel enough that it draws attention to itself, and through drawing attention to itself, something gets done?' " De Kort said in an interview from his home in Colorado. He is unemployed after being laid off by Lockheed Martin days after he posted the video. Lockheed said that the video did not influence the decision to lay off De Kort and that he had had been notified earlier this year that he would be out of a job.

As of late yesterday, his video had been viewed more than 8,000 times. That is low by YouTube standards, where a 42-second clip of a cat on a wheel received more than 800,000 views. But it is higher than might be expected for a video that features nothing more than a bearded, middle-age engineer talking into a camera and periodically glancing down at his prepared text.

The video also has caught the eye of people in high places. De Kort's video has been covered by defense trade magazines, and yesterday, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, wrote a letter to the Coast Guard asking for an answer to De Kort's "extremely distressing" allegations.

"I want to make sure that the product we paid for is a product that does not jeopardize our men and women in service," Thompson said.

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general's office had launched an investigation into De Kort's allegations before the video was released, and spokeswoman Tamara Faulkner said that inquiry should be completed in the next few months. Although De Kort said he believed the Coast Guard was not cooperating, Faulkner said she did not know of any problems.

Both Lockheed Martin and the Coast Guard have said the ship is safe. Eight of the cutters are now in use, and all were converted from obsolete ships as part of the Coast Guard's $24 billion Deepwater program to rehabilitate ships.

"We've been aware of [De Kort's] concerns for some time," said Mary Elder, spokeswoman for the program. "In each case we've reviewed them and taken the appropriate level of action. The Coast Guard takes seriously any concerns related to safety and national security."

Margaret Mitchell-Jones, spokeswoman for the consortium between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman that runs Deepwater, said Lockheed Martin had investigated and "found the accusations to be without merit."

"Anybody with a webcam and something to say, regardless of whether it's true or not, can say it on YouTube," she said, adding that the company would not ask the site to take the video down.

Another Lockheed Martin spokeswoman confirmed that De Kort had worked for the company and had been an engineer on the Deepwater project.

De Kort said he realized within about a month of beginning work on the ship that the project had serious flaws. Among them, he said, was that the ship's surveillance system had blind spots that exposed crew members to the possibility of attack. He also said that the ship's supposedly secure communications system was susceptible to eavesdropping and that some of its equipment will not work in extreme cold despite a requirement that everything function at minus 40 degrees.

De Kort said he tried to alert the chain of command at the Coast Guard and at Lockheed about the problems but was rebuffed by supervisors who told him to keep quiet because the program was behind schedule and over budget. De Kort was eventually transferred off the project, and he was laid off earlier this month. A company spokeswoman said he was laid off for financial reasons, but De Kort insists it was in retaliation for his complaints.

"The formal systems that whistle-blowers are expected to use have failed. That's why you're seeing people be creative like this," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. "This is a tremendous way for someone brave enough to do it to say something directly and not have to go through a filter."

Other watchdog groups were less impressed.

Patrick Burns, spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, said suing for fraud is ultimately a lot more effective than being "the serious guy in a room full of clowns."

"I recommend buttoning up your lip, Xeroxing paper and filing a case," Burns said.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

August 30th, 2006, 08:55 AM
"I recommend buttoning up your lip, Xeroxing paper and filing a case," Burns said.

But THAT usually only gets you some money for it. It would not guarantee the fixing of the ships.

Amazing though how things like this can be so easily and deliberately overlooked. This guy was probably annoying as hell about it, but at the same time, no matter how annoying a guy is, you should still watch your step if he says "look out!"

August 30th, 2006, 06:41 PM
Bush to Launch Series of Speeches on War
Associated Press Writer
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- President Bush is kicking off another series of speeches to counter opposition to the war in Iraq, impatience with the rising U.S. death toll and anxiety about possible terrorist attacks.
Bush delivers the first speech Thursday to the annual American Legion convention in Salt Lake City. The appearances will continue through the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and culminate on Sept. 19 when Bush addresses the U.N. Security Council.

It is the third time in less than a year that Bush has made a series of speeches on Iraq and terrorism. They come two months before congressional elections and at a point when Bush's approval rate is at 33 percent in the August AP-Ipsos poll. His approval on handling of Iraq also was at 33 percent in the poll.
"They are not political speeches," Bush said outside a Little Rock restaurant where he made a campaign stop with Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman who is running for governor against Democrat Mike Beebe. "They're speeches about the future of this country and they're speeches to make it clear that if we retreat before the job is done, this nation will become even more in jeopardy.

"These are important times and I would seriously hope people wouldn't politicize these issues that I'm going to talk about," the president said. "We have a duty in this country to defeat terrorists. That's why we'll stay on the offensive to bring them to justice before they hurt us. And that's why we'll work to spread liberty in order to achieve the peace."

While Bush said Iraq and terrorism shouldn't be politicized, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, only a day earlier, attacked critics of the administration's war policies and suggested they suffered from "cynicism and moral confusion."
More than 2,630 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, said he believes Iraqi forces can take over security with little coalition support within a year to 18 months, providing an opportunity for a drawdown of U.S. forces.

Bush attended a closed-door fundraiser in Little Rock for Hutchinson that attracted some 800 people to the home of former pro basketball player Joe Kleine. It was expected to raise an estimated $400,000 for Hutchinson's campaign and the Republican Party in Arkansas.

Before arriving Wednesday evening in Salt Lake City, Bush was stopping in Nashville to attend a $2,100-a-plate fundraiser for Bob Corker's Senate campaign.
Associated Press writer Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock contributed to this report.
© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

August 31st, 2006, 08:48 AM
"They are not political speeches," Bush said outside a Little Rock restaurant where he made a campaign stop with Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman who is running for governor against Democrat Mike Beebe. "They're speeches about the future of this country and they're speeches to make it clear that if we retreat before the job is done, this nation will become even more in jeopardy.

"These are important times and I would seriously hope people wouldn't politicize these issues that I'm going to talk about," the president said. "We have a duty in this country to defeat terrorists. That's why we'll stay on the offensive to bring them to justice before they hurt us. And that's why we'll work to spread liberty in order to achieve the peace."

Uh huh. Not political. If that was the case, the speech would have been only to tell what we WILL be doing, not what we won't. By constantly saying what we won't do, he is associating a direct negative to his plan and coupling any who oppose his plan with that unfavorable negative.

A dog is a dog and a tree is a tree, calling the dog a tree won't stop it from pissing on the real trees.

August 31st, 2006, 04:07 PM
Uh huh. Not political. If that was the case, the speech would have been only to tell what we WILL be doing, not what we won't. By constantly saying what we won't do, he is associating a direct negative to his plan and coupling any who oppose his plan with that unfavorable negative.

A dog is a dog and a tree is a tree, calling the dog a tree won't stop it from pissing on the real trees.

So true!

September 1st, 2006, 05:21 PM
Pentagon: Cold-blooded carnage soaring in Iraq

POSTED: 5:00 p.m. EDT, September 1, 2006

var clickExpire = "-1";Story Highlights

• Iraq death squads killing hundreds each month, U.S. military reports

• Iraqi casualties up 51 percent in June-August; attacks up 15 percent

• Current violence not civil war, officials conclude

• Report compiled by Pentagon each quarter to submit to Congress
Adjust font size:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Death squads and terrorists have ramped up attacks on civilians in Iraq, killing more than 1,600 people in cold-blooded "execution-style" slayings in July alone, a Pentagon report said Friday.
Increasing violence is affecting "all other measures of stability, reconstruction and transition," according to the report, which examined the situation in June, July and August.

But the report concluded the "current violence is not a civil war, and movement toward civil war can be prevented."
"Sectarian tensions increased over the past quarter manifested in an increasing number of execution-style killings, kidnappings and attacks on civilians," said the report which is required by Congress.
The number of executions reached a new high in July, the Pentagon said, blaming the killings on al Qaeda in Iraq and death squads who are accused of targeting members of various communities to increase sectarian tension.

"The Baghdad coroner's office reported 1,600 bodies arrived in June and more than 1,800 in July, 90 percent of which were assessed to be the result of executions."
The report said the quarter had seen a 51 percent increase in Iraqi casualties and a 15 percent increase in the number of attacks.
The report's release came after a wave of apparent sectarian violence Thursday claimed at least 46 lives across the Iraqi capital.
Neighborhoods targeted

Forty-four people died and at least 255 others were wounded in five attacks using Katyusha rockets in mostly Shiite neighborhoods of southeastern and northern Baghdad, the Iraqi Health Ministry said.
The blasts destroyed six residential buildings in five neighborhoods and are under investigation, said an Iraqi Interior Ministry official.

A car bomb also killed two people and wounded 13 near a gas station in the southeastern Baghdad neighborhood of Mashtal, police said.
Thursday's violence followed a string of insurgent bombings Wednesday in Baghdad and the nearby provinces of Diyala and Babil, killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 100 others, emergency officials said.
The attacks hit as Iraqi and U.S. security forces engage in an extensive security crackdown in the capital.

Amid flagging support domestically for the war in the United States, President Bush launched a new series of domestic speeches Thursday, again asserting that the battle for Iraq is the "central front in our fight against terrorism."
Bush told an audience at the American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, that the effort was akin to World War II and the Cold War and warned that failure to persevere will lead terrorists to take their battle to U.S. shores.

Also on Thursday, Congressional Democrats sharpened their attacks on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, with one senator proposing a resolution that would call on President Bush to sack the outspoken Pentagon chief.
Sen. Barbara Boxer of California said that she wants to attach the measure to the defense appropriation bill coming to the Senate floor after lawmakers' August recess.

Many Democrats have disputed Bush's view that the Iraq war is essential to the fight against terrorism. In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada called for "beginning the redeployment of troops from Iraq, refocusing our efforts on the war on terror and protecting Americans from terrorism here at home."
Other developments

U.S. troops transferred security responsibilities Friday in most of the key northern province of Tameem to two Iraqi army battalions. Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division made the transfer during a ceremony at an Iraqi military base outside Kirkuk. That oil-rich city and Hawija will remain under U.S.-led coalition control.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday said Iraqi security forces soon will assume leadership responsibility in the southern province of Thiqar. Iraqis recently took control of security in Muthanna province from the British.

A U.S. Marine and soldier died Wednesday "due to enemy action" during operations in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. Since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, there have been 2,633 U.S. military fatalities. Seven American civilian contractors of the military also have died in the conflict.
CNN's Jamie McIntyre, Nic Robertson and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

September 1st, 2006, 09:47 PM
Mmmmm. Do you smell that? Its freedom.

September 1st, 2006, 10:17 PM
Speaking of smells ...


September 2nd, 2006, 12:12 PM
New ABC Docudrama Blames Clinton For 9/11,
Praises Bush

thinkprogress.org (http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/01/abc-blame-clinton/)


On September 10 and 11, ABC will air a “docudrama” called “The Path to 9/11.” It was written by Cyrus Nowrasteh, who describes himself as “more of a libertarian than a strict conservative (http://www.libertyfilmfestival.com/libertas/index.php?p=462),” and is giving interviews to hard-right sites like FrontPageMag (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=23865) to promote the film.

What will it say about President Clinton? Here’s Rush Limbaugh with a preview (http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_083006/content/coming_soon.guest.html):

A friend of mine [Cyrus Nowrasteh] out in California has produced and filmed — I think it’s a two-part mini-series on 9/11 that ABC is going to run in prime-time over two nights, close to or on 9/11. It’s sort of surprising that ABC’s picked it up, to me. I’ve had a lot of people tell me about it, my friends told me about it…And from what I have been told, the film really zeros in on the shortcomings of the Clinton administration in doing anything about militant Islamofascism or terrorism during its administration. It cites failures of Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright and Sandy Burglar.

How does it deal with President Bush? Salon has a review (http://www.salon.com/ent/tv/review/2006/09/01/911_shows/print.html):
Condoleezza Rice gets that fated memo about planes flying into buildings, and makes it very clear to anyone who’ll listen just how concerned President Bush is about these terrorist threats — despite the fact that we’re given little concrete evidence of the president’s concern or interest in taking action. Maybe my memory fails me, but the only person I remember talking about Osama bin Laden back in 1998 was President Clinton, while the current anti-terrorist stalwarts worked the country into a frenzy over what? Blow jobs. In the end, “The Path to 9/11″ feels like an excruciatingly long, winding and deceptive path, indeed.The director of the film, David Cunningham, is already backtracking about its accuracy, saying “this is not a documentary (http://blogs.abc.com/thepathto911/).” OK, fair enough. But the movie is being billed as “based on The 9/11 Commission Report (http://abc.go.com/movies/thepathto911/index.html).”

&#169; 2005-2006 Center for American Progress Action Fund

September 4th, 2006, 12:54 PM
Gunman Kills Tourist and Injures 6 in Jordan

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Jordan-Tourist-Attack.html?hp&ex=1157428800&en=f6501eb85ffaa899&ei=5094&partner=homepage)
September 4, 2006

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- A gunman opened fire on tourists near a popular Roman ruins site in Jordan's capital on Monday, killing a British man and wounding five other foreigners and a local police officer, officials said.

It was the first major terror attack in Jordan since triple hotel blasts in the capital that killed 63 people, including three suicide bombers, last November, and came despite stepped up security across the country.

It was not immediately clear if the attacker -- who was taken into custody -- had acted alone or as part of larger terror ring, but officials said they would consider the attack a terrorist act unless the man was found to be mentally unstable.

Nasser Judeh, a government spokesman, declined to say if the assailant was believed to be linked to any known terror organization. ''The investigation is under way and it's still early to tell,'' he told The Associated Press.

The group al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for last November's attack and is believed to have militants who operate in Jordan.

The gunman struck outside the Roman amphitheater, a popular tourist destination in Amman, in broad daylight. Police overpowered and arrested him at the scene, Judeh said.

Interior Minister Eid al-Fayez said a British man was killed, while two British women, a Dutch man, an Australian woman, a New Zealand woman and a tourist police officer were injured.

''This is a cowardly terrorist attack, which we regret took place on Jordanian soil,'' al-Fayez told reporters at the scene.

''This operation is considered a terrorist act unless the man is found to be deranged,'' he said. He said the gunman was being interrogated and that the authorities were checking if he had accomplices.

Judeh said the wounded were rushed to a nearby state hospital with injuries of medium severity.

An witness to the attack in Amman's bustling downtown district said he saw one of a group of seven tourists die of his wounds at the scene.

The gunman, clean-shaven and in his mid-30s, surprised the tourists from the opposite side, wielding a gun and shouting ''Allahu akbar,'' or ''God is great,'' before he fired several shots directly at them, said the Iraqi witness, Mohammad Jawad Ali.

The area in which the attack occurred is frequented by low-income and unemployed Jordanians and Iraqis in a district populated by conservative Muslims.

The British Embassy said it could not confirm the death, but a consular team was on the way to scene and was coordinating with Jordanian police.

There have been attacks against foreigners in recent years in Jordan -- a key U.S. ally -- and the authorities say they have foiled a number of deadly militant terror plots.

The worst was last November's triple Amman hotel blasts claimed by al-Qaida in Iraq, in which the majority of the victims were Jordanian women and children.

In November 2003, a gunman with no known terrorist links, opened fire at the southern Jordan-Israel border crossing, north of Aqaba, wounding five people and killing a foreign tourist.

Following the November suicide blasts, the authorities tightened security around all tourists attractions and hotels across the kingdom. More metal detectors and police patrols were positioned outside these locations.

Associated Press writers Dale Gavlak and Shafika Mattar in Amman reported to this story.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press


Roman Amphitheatre, Amman




September 5th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Say Big Apple kept Hudson in the dark about terror threat

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Thanks for the warning - neighbors.

That's the feeling from local law enforcement officials who say their Big Apple colleagues across the Hudson River kept them in the dark when it came to specific threats to PATH trains that came out in July, but were circulating for months.

Several Hudson County officials said they were made aware of "general" threats to transportation in the region later last year, but were "shocked" to learn about the focus on the PATH trains that only came to light last month after newspaper reports forced New York City law enforcement officials to go public.

"We were not told in advance, and, frankly, that did not make us very happy," said Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio during a Freeholder meeting last month regarding the county's emergency preparedness.

Local officials said that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also learned about the details late - after New York City Police - but also did not share the information, despite the fact that Hudson has as many PATH stops as Manhattan.

The FBI and the Port Authority did not return calls seeking comment, and the New York Police Department offered a "no comment" on the issue.

The New Jersey Department of Homeland Security was aware of the details, but didn't share it with Hudson County officials because the threats were thwarted and no longer posed a risk, said spokesman Roger Shatzkin.

"We do things on a need-to-know basis," he said.

Eight suspects, including an al-Qaida loyalist arrested in Lebanon, had hoped to pull off the attack on the PATH train in October or November, according to published reports.

New York City law enforcement officials and the FBI, who spearheaded the investigation, were forced to go public with the details only after published reports exposed it.

"I was shocked that we didn't know on this side of the pond. Not everyone needs to know this information, but someone should have in order to be prepared," said Jack Byrne, head of the county's Office of Emergency Management.

Jersey City Police Chief Tom Comey said he learned of the threats just hours before the press conference, which is about the same time New Jersey's Department of Homeland Security learned of the threats.

"Levels of communication in law enforcement can always be better," said Comey. "We have an outstanding relationship with the Port Authority, and we are in the initial stages of increasing our communication with the NYPD."

New York City - described by one official as "the 800-pound gorilla" - often doesn't do a good job of communicating with its smaller neighbors, officials said.