Counter Terrorism News Check
Counter Terrorism Page 11
Counter Terrorism Page 13

WeB-LOG after 9/11 continued

July 22, 2004 - The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission) has released its final report.

There are still unanswered questions about the terrorist attacks.
america2.htm#911 and counter2.htm

Notes and Photos from Alex Jones's Trip to NY

Their leaders know how to turn good police into less than good police by making them work 12 hour shifts (14 for shift turnover) in the heat wearing a full armored suit. They know how to use methods like used in training pit bull dogs to make them more vicious.

RNC Convergence

Half of New Yorkers Believe US Leaders “Consciously” Failed To Act On
9-11; 66% Call For New Probe of Unanswered Questions by Congress or New
York’s Attorney General,
New Zogby International Poll Reveals

Gov't Attempts Subpoena For Indymedia Logs - Service Provider Refuses
31 Aug 2004 21:00 GMT
"It has come to my attention, that our hosting provider, Calyx Internet Access, has been under harassment
and scrutiny by the
United States Secret Service in a blatant attempt to disrupt our relationship.
Furthermore, it has been revealed to me that my contact information, was required to be disclosed to the
government, presumably to begin directly harassing me. The SS did not contact the IMC directly in
relation to this matter, but instead felt it prudent to put a strain on a place which we do business with. The
agents attempted to circumvent Indymedia by contacting Calyx by phone, originally without a warrant or
subpoena, in order
to obtain user connection logs regarding a particular post on an Indymedia site. The
post in question is a repost by an anonymous person containing information that is already available all
over the Internet, and publicly available in other forms."
[Subpoena (US law): to order someone to go to a court of law to answer questions, or to order the appearance
of documents in a court of law ]
The subpoena is for information leading to the posters of a list of RNC Delegates.
Calyx's contacts at Indymedia are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Indymedia is keenly aware of this kind of fishing expedition, as it has happened before, under similar circumstances. In April of 2001, while tens of thousands demonstrated against the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) in the streets of Quebec City, the federal government attempted to do something very similar. In this case the FBI and Secret Service obtained an order issued by Judge Benton, directing the IMC to
supply the FBI with "all user connection logs" for April 20 and 21st from a web server occupying an IP address which the Secret Service believed belonged to the IMC.

Censored 2005: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2003-2004

Bush By Numbers - Four Years Of Double Standards
By Graydon Carter
The Independent - UK

Gott mit uns: On Bush and Hitler’s rhetoric
Bob Fitrakis

Continuity of Government Commission

In Florida, Hillsborough County's results stalled for hours as elections officials struggled to figure out why their computerized counting system malfunctioned. Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood said overall the voting went smoothly with only minor setbacks. When a construction crew sliced a line about 9:30 a.m. and cut power to the Palm Hill Country Club for about 3 1/2 hours, it put Pinellas County's touch-screen machines to the test. But backup batteries kicked in, and power was restored by 1 p.m. "It could have been a very bad problem,'' said Arnold Toney, a clerk at the polling place. <p>It was a night in which the performance of the touch screens was closely monitored by voter rights groups. Touch-screen computerized machines are being used in 15 counties, including Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas. Critics consider the new machines unreliable because they produce no paper record that could be manually checked to verify voting during a recount. An administrative law judge last week sided with critics in concluding that an agency rule prohibiting recounts of votes cast on touch-screen machines violates a state law that mandates manual recounts in close elections. But one day before the election, Hood issued a directive to all elections supervisors informing them that the rule against manual recounts would remain in effect for the primary because her agency has 30 days to appeal the ruling. A similar challenge is being waged at the federal level.

Russian special forces kill 27 terrorists in Beslan
04.09.2004, 02.36
BESLAN, North Ossetia, September 4 (Itar-Tass)

Russian special forces have killed 27 terrorists
who seized a school in the North Ossetian city of Beslan.

A crisis management committee official said on Saturday that eight terrorists
had been killed in the school and the others in the city. Three terrorists were
detained. Investigators are working with them.

Earlier reports said that a search for four more terrorists was under way.

The crisis management committee head, Valery Andreyev, confirmed that
there were 10 Arabs among the killed terrorists. He admitted that there were
also casualties among special force officers.

According to North Ossetian Interior Ministry spokesman Ismel Shaov, four
OMON special police force officers were wounded.

The school, where terrorists held over 1,000 people hostage for more than
two days, remains cordoned off. The relatives of missing hostages keep
vigilance. The search will continue until all victims are identified. According to
some information, the death toll has exceeded 200.

Hundreds held hostage at Russian school; 2 killed

The Associated Press

September 1, 2004, 9:20 PM EDT

BELSAN, Russia -- Armed militants with
explosives strapped to their bodies stormed a
Russian school in a region bordering Chechnya
on Wednesday, corralling hundreds of hostages
-- many of them children -- into a gymnasium
and threatening to blow up the building if
surrounding Russian troops attacked. At least
two people were killed, including a school

Camouflage-clad special forces carrying assault
rifles encircled Middle School No. 1 in the North
Ossetian town of Beslan. Earlier, a little girl in a
flowered dress fled the school holding a soldier's
hand; officials said about a dozen other people
managed to escape by hiding in a boiler room.

A militant sniper took position on a top floor of
the three-story school, and hours into the
standoff Russian security officials used a phone
number they were given and began negotiations
with the hostage-takers -- widely believed
linked to Chechen rebels suspected in a string of
deadly attacks that appeared connected with
last Sunday's presidential election in the
war-ravaged republic.

More than 1,000 people, including many
distraught parents, crowded outside police
cordons demanding information and accusing the
government of failing to protect their children.

The hostage-taking came less than 24 hours
after a suicide bombing outside a Moscow
subway station that killed at least nine people,
and just over a week after near-simultaneous
explosions blamed on terrorism caused two
Russian planes to crash, killing all 90 people on

The recent bloodshed is a blow to President
Vladimir Putin, who pledged five years ago to
crush Chechnya's rebels but instead has seen
the insurgents increasingly strike civilian targets
beyond the republic's borders.

"In essence, war has been declared on us,
where the enemy is unseen and there is no
front," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told
reporters before the hostage-taking.

Putin for the second time in a week interrupted
his working holiday in the Black Sea resort of
Sochi and returned to Moscow to deal with the
unfolding crisis.

President Bush called the Russian president and
said the United States is prepared to give any
help needed to resolve the situation, the Kremlin
said, adding that Bush emphasized that
Washington and Moscow are fighting
international terrorism shoulder-to-shoulder.

At the United Nations, Russia called for an
emergency meeting of the Security Council,
which scheduled consultations for later
Wednesday on the school seizure and other

From inside the school, the militants sent out a
list of demands and threatened that if police
intervened, they would kill 50 children for every
hostage-taker killed and 20 children for every
hostage-taker injured, Kazbek Dzantiyev, head
of the North Ossetia region's Interior Ministry,
was quoted as telling the ITAR-Tass news

Sporadic gunfire and explosions could be heard
throughout the standoff. One girl lay wounded
on the school grounds, but emergency workers
could not approach because the area was
coming under fire, said regional Emergency
Situations Minister Boris Dzgoyev.

There were conflicting casualty reports.

ITAR-Tass, citing local hospitals, said one
person died at the scene and seven in hospitals.
Dzgoyev put the death toll at four, and the
Federal Security Service chief for North Ossetia,
Valery Andreyev, later said two civilians were
killed -- including a school parent -- and two

Emergency officials and doctors said 11 people
were wounded, and a doctor told NTV television
that two of them were in grave condition. Two
bodies were visible outside the school, and there
were reports that one attacker was killed.

The crisis began after a ceremony marking the
first day of Russia's school year, when students
often accompanied by parents arrive with
flowers for their new teachers. The school covers grades 1-11, but
Dzgoyev said that most of the children taken hostage were under 14
years old.

Shortly after 9 a.m., the attackers drove up in a covered truck similar
to those used for military transport. Gunfire broke out, and at least
three teachers and two police were wounded, said Alexei Polyansky, a
police spokesman for southern Russia.

Most of the hostages were herded into the school gym, but others --
primarily children -- were ordered to stand at the windows, he said. He
said most of the militants were wearing suicide-bomb belts.

At least 12 children and one adult managed to escape after hiding in
the building's boiler room during the raid, said Ruslan Ayamov,
spokesman for North Ossetia's Interior Ministry. Media reports
suggested that as many as 50 other children fled in the chaos as the
attackers were the raiding the school.

"I was standing near the gates -- music was playing -- when I saw
three armed people running with guns. At first I though it was a joke,
when they fired in the air and we fled," a teenage witness, Zarubek
Tsumartov, said on Russian television.

Hours after the seizure, the militants sent out a blank videotape, a
message saying "Wait" and a note with a cell phone number, Russian
officials and media said. Andreyev, the federal security official, said
"for a long time we could not make contact" with the attackers, but
that authorities reached them by phone and that "negotiations are
being held now."

Andreyev said authorities were uncertain how many hostages and
attackers were inside, but estimated there might be 120-300 captives.
Other reports said there were as many as 400 hostages.

"The main task is to free the children alive -- and everybody located
there, but the most important thing is the children," he said. He said
the hostage-takers had refused offers of food and water.

Lev Dzugayev, an aide to North Ossetia's president, said brief contact
with the captors indicated they were treating the children "more or
less acceptably" and were holding them separately from the adults.

Dzugayev said the attackers might be from Chechnya or another
neighboring region, Ingushetia; relations between Ingush and Ossetians
have been tense since an armed conflict in 1992. But in Washington, a
U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said the
hostage-takers were believed to be Chechen rebels.

In their list of demands, the attackers sought talks with regional
officials and a well-known pediatrician, Leonid Roshal, who aided
hostages during the deadly seizure of a Moscow theater in 2002,
Polyansky said. Andreyev said Roshal would take part in negotiations.

They also demanded the release of fighters detained over a series of
attacks on police facilities in Ingushetia in June, ITAR-Tass reported,
citing regional officials.

Parents of the seized children videotaped an appeal to Putin, urging
him to fulfill the terrorists' demands, said Fatima Khabolova, a
spokeswoman for the regional parliament.

"We pray to God that this may end without bloodshed," said Marina
Dzhibilova, whose two sons were inside. Distraught, she was supported
by her sisters.

Pakistan has arrested a key Egyptian Al-Qaeda operative who holds a senior position within the terrorist network, a security official told AFP on Wednesday. The official, asking to remain anonymous, identified the suspect as Sharif Al-Misri and said his capture carried a significant reward. "He is one of the top operators in Al-Qaeda's hierarchy," said the official. "Al-Misri is among the top 25 on the list of most wanted Al-Qaeda terrorists." Last week Pakistani security agencies arrested a senior member of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime, which gave Al-Qaeda sanctuary before the September 11 attacks. The Taliban suspect was detained in the central province of Punjab, but his name has not been disclosed so far. Information gleaned from the pair led to the arrest of another senior Al-Qaeda leader, Abu Eisa al-Hindi, in Britain as well as the uncovering of a plot to strike United States, Britain and Pakistan.

Ten dead in Moscow bombing
By Yana Dlugy in Moscow
September 1, 2004
At least 10 people were killed and dozens injured this morning
when a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside a busy
Moscow subway station in an attack claimed by the same group
that said it had downed two planes last week.,4057,10635609%255E401,00.html

Associated Press
Aug. 30, 2004 12:00 AM
KABUL, Afghanistan - A powerful car bomb detonated outside the
office of a U.S. security contractor in the Afghan capital Sunday,
killing at least seven people, including two Americans, and
wounding several others, officials and witnesses said.
Hours earlier, a blast wrecked a religious school in southeastern
Afghanistan, reportedly killing at least eight children and one adult
and underlining the country's fragile security as it moves toward its
first post-Taliban election in October.
The Kabul explosion hit the office of Dyncorp Inc., an American
firm that provides security for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and
works for the U.S. government in Iraq, said Nick Downie of the
Afghanistan NGO Security Office.
"The explosion . . . killed at least seven people," Karzai's office said
in a statement. "Two Americans, three Nepalese and two Afghan
nationals, including a child, have been confirmed dead."

Several nuclear spies arrested: intelligence minister
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Iran has arrested dozens of spies, including several who passed secrets about its nuclear program to the country's enemies, Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said on Tuesday. Most of those arrested were linked to the Iraq-based terrorist group the Mujahidin Khalq Organization (MKO), Yunesi told reporters. He did not say when the arrests had taken place. Yunesi said Iran is the most unsafe country for Al-Qaeda operatives, adding that the Intelligence Ministry has thwarted many plots by this group. He went on to say that some groups linked to Al-Qaeda planned to conduct terrorist activities in Iran, but they were arrested before they could do anything.

The CIA and the Pentagon are publicly fighting a proposal to centralize under Defense Department control the U.S. covert paramilitary operations used increasingly in recent years in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Al-Qaeda no longer needs large sums of money to mount terror attacks and is consequently able to finance its actions in less detectable ways, according to the chairman of a United Nations sanctions-monitoring team. The report said that Al-Qaeda had spent less than US$50,000 on each of its attacks since Sept 11, 2001, and no longer had to seek large cross-border transfers to help pay the estimated US$10 million to US$20 million a year it once owed its Taleban hosts in Afghanistan. Among the difficult-to-scrutinise current funding sources for Al-Qaeda listed in the report were crime proceeds, diverted charitable donations, counterfeit currency trading in Somalia, credit card fraud in western Europe and Asia, the drug trade in Afghanistan and northern Africa and the ancient hawala financial system whose money brokers in the Middle East, Pakistan, India and southern Asia can move cash from one office to another, based on trust.

Russian President Vladimir Putin linked last week's downing of two passenger airliners to the Al-Qaeda network and said it was evidence of the presence of international terrorism on Russian soil in Chechnya. "The fact that an international terrorist organization linked to Al-Qaeda took responsibility for the blowing up of two planes shows once again the link between destructive elements in Chechnya and international terrorism," Putin told reporters. A group calling itself the Islambouli Brigades claimed responsibility for the downing of the planes on an Internet website and warned they would carry out further operations in the future "to back and assist our brothers in Chechnya."

Nuclear waste mystery
The hunt is on for radioactive fuel rods that went
missing from a former reactor near Eureka. It's
the third case of disappearing fuel rods in the
country since 2000.
Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer

Homeland Security whistleblower removed for exposing terrorist threats
by Tom Flocco

Mary Schneider Federal Whistleblower

Bush Keeps Lying About Military Record
Shame pushes a powerful Texan politician to tell the truth about President Bush, but
the President keeps right on lying about how he avoided the Vietnam War.
By Frederick Sweet

White House report says people cause global warming

August 23-29, 2004

A Pakistani national and a US citizen were arrested over an alleged plot to blow up one of several sites in New York, police commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Saturday. "It is clear they had the intention to cause damage and kill people," Kelly said. One of the sites they had been surveying, according to Kelly, was the Herald Square subway station, next door to the convention center where the Republicans are to hold their four-day national convention beginning from Monday. At least one of the men may have an affiliation with a terrorist organisation, according to two law enforcement sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The sources said the group in question was not believed to be al-Qaeda. Attorney Tom Dunn said his client, whom he identified as James L El Shafay, faced a charge of conspiracy to damage the subway. The two men tried get explosives to bomb the station but did not succeed in obtaining any, the sources said. There was no timeline for the plot, which was first reported by WNBC early on Saturday.

Al-Qaeda-related terrorism still poses as great a threat as ever

Al-Qaida terrorists looking for a U.S. military target might try to attack a Veterans Affairs hospital, the FBI warned in a leaked-out classified terrorism bulletin. There have been persistent reports of suspicious activity at medical facilities throughout the United States. That includes "possible reconnaissance activities" this year at military medical facilities in Bethesda, Md., and Aurora, Colo., according to the bulletin. The bulletin was circulated late Thursday to law enforcement agencies and security officials nationwide. "These facilities may be considered attractive targets due to their association with the military and a perception that such an attack may be more successful than an attack against traditional military targets, which generally maintain a more robust security posture," the bulletin said. Bethesda, located just outside the nation's capital, is the home of the National Naval Medical Center, where U.S. presidents are treated, and just across the street from the sprawling National Institutes of Health. Aurora, just east of Denver, is home to the former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, now being redeveloped into a civilian medical school. FBI officials declined to provide details about the incidents mentioned in the bulletin. The Department of Veterans Affairs operates 163 hospitals in the United States, with at least one in each of the 48 contiguous states as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. There are also hundreds of VA clinics and nursing homes. The new bulletin repeats a number of previously released indicators of possible terrorist surveillance. These include unusual interest in security measures or access points of buildings; operatives possibly disguised as "panhandlers, shoe shiners, food or flower vendors;" discreet use of video cameras in areas not frequented by tourists; and individuals seen observing security drills or procedures.

When the Feds Come Knocking
By Steve Weissman
The FBI or local police ring your doorbell. They've come to ask a few questions, they say. Just part of a routine investigation or community outreach program. You freak out. Perhaps you've publicly suggested that Mr. Bush's Iraqi mission was less than accomplished, or questioned which God Mr. Bush talks to, and in which tongue. Maybe you plan to attend an anti-war demonstration, just to see friends, of course. Worse, you get your news from a politically dubious website, or you've committed that most heinous crime, PWM - Protesting While Muslim. What should you do?

264 arrested in NYC bicycle protest
From Jonathan Wald

NYC Police Arrest 250 in Bicycle Protest
In the first major clash between police and demonstrators converging for the Republican National Convention, more than 250 bicyclists were arrested during a protest ride that snaked through the city and passed by Madison Square Garden. A total of 264 people were arrested as of early Saturday, according to Sgt. Michael Wysokowski, a police department spokesman. Police had reported a total of 22 arrests in convention-related protests before Friday evening's bicycle procession.

President Bush signed executive orders Friday (Aug, 27, 2004) strengthening the powers of the CIA director and establishing a new national counterterrorism center. The order designates the CIA chief as the president's principal adviser on intelligence matters and strengthens his hand over the intelligence budget. Another executive order establishes the National Counter-Terrorism Center, while a third order sets guidelines for the sharing of intelligence among agencies. A fourth order establishes a presidential board on civil liberties. Bush also issued two presidential directives. One calls for establishing a governmentwide standard for identifying federal employees and contractors with access to government facilities. The other on government's procedures for screening databases for suspected terrorists. The start of the Republican National Convention for President Bush's reelection is on Monday. Debate over how to reshape the intelligence community picked up steam following the release of the Sept. 11 commission's 567-page report that made more than 40 recommendations for government reform.

Still Unreported: The Pay-Off In Bush Air Guard Fix
by Greg Palast

Exposed: Scandal of double voters
Some 46,000 New Yorkers are registered to vote in both the city and Florida, a shocking finding that exposes both states to potential abuses that could alter the outcome of elections, a Daily News investigation shows. Registering in two places is illegal in both states, but the massive snowbird scandal goes undetected because election officials don't check rolls across state lines.

A state rule barring the 15 Florida counties that use touchscreens from doing manual recounts is at odds with state law, which requires hand recounts in certain close elections, an administrative law judge ruled Friday (Aug. 27, 2004). A coalition of government watchdogs and other interest groups sued the state arguing the law requires provisions for hand recounts in every county, no matter what voting technology is used. Administrative Law Judge Susan B. Kirkland agreed, writing that state law clearly contemplates "that manual recounts will be done on each certified voting system, including the touchscreen voting systems." With a primary election Tuesday and more than half the state's voters in counties that use touchscreens, it's not clear what each of those counties will do. Secretary of State Glenda Hood issued the ruling preventing manual recounts in touchscreen counties in April. She could appeal Kirkland's decision, which would automatically keep the rule in place for now. A spokeswoman for Hood said late Friday that she was considering that option. Elections supervisors in some of the 15 counties with touchscreens had asked the state what they should do about a law requiring manual recounts when elections are particularly close, because the machines the counties use aren't programmed to create a paper record of each vote. The Division of Elections issued the rule in April saying touchscreen counties couldn't conduct hand recounts, because such recounts are used to determine the intent of voters whose votes weren't counted. And that shouldn't be able to happen with touchscreens, state officials argued. Lawyers who sued the state over the rule say the law is the law, and local officials will have to figure out a way. "The burden is on the secretary of state and the supervisors of elections to identify effective mechanisms, which we know are available," said Alma Gonzalez, the lawyer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union provided the lawyer for the lawsuit but was not officially a party to it. "Our number one goal is to ensure there is voter confidence ... and that people feel like their vote is counted and counted accurately," Gonzalez said. The judge also noted that evidence presented at the hearing established that there are touchscreen systems in existence that can provide a paper trail by printing a picture of the screen as it appears when a vote is cast. ACLU Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said if touchscreen counties are forced in close elections to review every ballot visually it would ease concerns that machines may not count every vote. "Performing manual recounts in close or disputed elections is necessary not only to ascertain the intent of the voter, but to verify the integrity of the data on each machine," Simon said. "Today's decision upholding the law requiring manual recounts will increase voter confidence in our electoral process."

Only about one-third of Customs and Border Protection agents and inspectors believe they have all the tools, training and support to stop terrorists from entering the country, according to a survey.

Even with all the security gains since the Sept. 11 attacks, most airline passengers in the United States aren't screened for explosives before boarding a plane. Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a Sept. 11 commission member, told the House aviation subcommittee this week that the prospect of suicide bombers getting on U.S. aircraft is "a very real threat." He said it's more likely now a terrorist will try to smuggle explosives aboard U.S. planes because they have been made more secure against other threats. "We're doing nothing to detect nonmetallic explosives concealed on a person's body," said DeFazio, the subcommittee's most senior Democrat. TSA chief David Stone, appearing with Lehman, testified the agency hasn't decided whether it should check more people for bombs when they're screened a second time. He said the agency for now won't try to require all passengers to be patted down. The TSA recently began testing to see if equipment to detect explosives on people will work and won't slow down screening. The walkthrough machines are being tried out in Rochester, N.Y., Providence, R.I., San Diego, and Tampa, Fla., and will soon be in Biloxi, Miss. Made by General Electric Co., they analyze the air around a person to see if it contains explosive substances. The "EntryScan" machines were already approved for use in U.S. airports, and are in use now in power plants and military installations in the United States and Europe. Each machine costs about $140,000, and installing them at 2,000 checkpoints in the nation's 441 commercial airports would cost about $280 million. To date, the government has spent more than $10 billion on aviation security since the terrorist attacks. Stone said the TSA also is reviewing:
_"Backscatter" machines, which bounce low-level X-rays against a
person in a booth. The machines produce a black-and-white image that
will show any concealed weapons or explosives.
_Scanners that can detect explosives on driver's licenses, passports and
other documents shown at airports.

Explosives have been found in the wreckage of the second of two jets which crashed almost simultaneously this week. "Additional examination of the fragments of the Tu-134 aircraft which crashed on Tuesday ... has revealed traces of hexogen," an FSB spokesman said. The FSB said on Friday that hexogen, more widely known as RDX, had been found in the wreckage of the other Tu-154 plane which crashed on Tuesday (Aug. 24, 2004) in southern Russia. Hexogen has been used in previous attacks in Russia blamed on Chechen separatists -- including the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow. Russian media have speculated that two passengers, believed to be Chechen women, blew up the planes in the run-up to Sunday's Chechen election certain to return a pro-Moscow president.

One of two Russian airliners that crashed nearly simultaneously was brought down by a terrorist act, officials said Friday, after finding traces of explosives in the plane's wreckage. An Islamic militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in a Web statement. The planes, with 90 people aboard, went down within 20 minutes of each other Tuesday night. In Washington, a Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there is mounting evidence that both crashes were acts of terrorism. Traces of the explosive hexogen were found in the remains of one of the planes, a Tu-154, security service spokesman Nikolai Zakharov said. No results from the investigation of the other crashed plane, a Tu-134, have been announced. "According to preliminary information, at least one of the air crashes ... has been the result of a terrorist act," a spokesman for the Federal Security Service, Sergei Ignatchenko, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The Tu-154 was carrying 46 people when it crashed en route to the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The other flight had 44 people aboard, heading to the southern city of Volgograd, when it went down. NATO's chief blamed terrorism for both crashes. "I condemn in the strongest possible terms the apparent act of barbaric terrorism ... resulting in the crash of two Russian passenger aircraft, and the senseless loss of innocent lives," NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said Friday. Hexogen, the explosive found in the Tu-154, is the material that Russian officials said was used in the 1999 apartment bombings that killed some 300 people in Russia, an attack blamed on Chechen separatists. Details of how the planes were destroyed remained incomplete. News reports said at least one of the planes sent a distress signal indicating a hijacking shortly before it disappeared from radar screens. That led to speculation that Russian anti-aircraft missiles may have shot down the planes to prevent a Sept. 11-type plan to crash them into buildings. The Tu-154 was en route to Sochi, where Russian President Vladimir Putin was at his summer residence. However an independent military analyst dismissed that speculation, saying the plane wreckage did not show signs of being shot down and that there are no anti-aircraft missile batteries in the regions where the planes fell.

A claim of responsibility for the downing of two Russian planes appeared on a Web site known for militant Muslim comment Friday. The statement, which accused Russians of killing Muslims in Chechnya, was signed "the Islambouli Brigades." A group with a similar name has claimed at least one previous attack, but the legitimacy of the group and the authenticity of such statements could not be verified. Russian officials have said terrorism was the most likely cause of Tuesday's plane crashes, which killed 89 people. "We in the Islambouli Brigades announce that our holy warriors managed to hijack two Russian planes and were crowned with success though they faced problems at the beginning," the statement said without elaborating on the problems. Friday's statement said five mujahedeen (Islamic fighters) were on board each plane and their wills will be published soon. The statement did not explain how the hijackers boarded the planes, how they downed them or give any other details. "Russia's slaughtering of Muslims is continuing and will only stop when a bloody war is launched," the statement said. "Our mujahedeen, with God's grace, succeeded in directing the first blow, which will be followed by a series of other operations in a wave of to extend support and victory to our Muslim brothers in Chechnya and other Muslim areas which suffer from Russian faithlessness." A July 31 Web statement signed the "Islambouli Brigades of al-Qaida" claimed responsibility for the attempt to assassinate Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan's prime minister-designate. Friday's claim did not refer to al-Qaida, the international terror network led by Osama bin Laden.

Iraq Oil Exports Cut in Half After Attack

Graham Allison, a defense official under both Republican and Democratic Administrations and now a leading Harvard researcher, describes the Bush Administration as "reckless" for its failure to secure fissile materials around the world and its apparent lack of interest in preventing North Korea and Iran becoming nuclear powers. His book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, lays out a series of measures to minimize the risk of al Qaeda or another group building or buying a nuclear weapon and smuggling it into the US. Allison demonstrates that the Bush White House, for all its bullish rhetoric, has taken none of them. Al Qaeda is known to have tried to obtain nuclear weapons since 1992. "On the current course," Allison concludes, "nuclear terrorism is inevitable." The most likely scenario, say security experts, is that terrorists would buy or steal fissile material and build their own bomb, using science that has been in the public domain for 30 years. Hence the urgent need to secure the world's relatively restricted stockpiles of that fissile material - either highly enriched uranium or plutonium. However, a program for securing nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, pioneered by US Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, is so poorly funded that it will take 13 more years to finish at today's pace. "The incandescent and incontestable fact is that in the two years after September 11, fewer potential nuclear weapons' worth of highly enriched uranium and plutonium were secured than in the two years before September 11," Allison said. If North Korea developed a full nuclear production line it would be "the greatest failure of American diplomacy in all our history". An effective "war on nuclear terrorism", Allison argued, would cost around $5 billion a year - out of a budget "that devotes more than $500 billion to defense and the war in Iraq."

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor sold conflict diamonds to known al-Qaeda operatives that may have been used to finance the September 11 attacks on the United States, according to a confidential report from the UN-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone. "It is clear that al-Qaeda had been in west Africa since September 1998 and maintained a continuous presence in the area through 2002," said the document, produced by the office of prosecutor David Crane. The document, gleaned from press reports, witnesses to sightings of al-Qaeda operatives in Liberia and interviews with a single, unnamed source, is the latest effort to link the global terror network to conflict diamonds mined during the civil war that ravaged the west African state for a decade. But more tellingly, according to Washington Post reporter Douglas Farah, who first revealed many of the links between Taylor and the terror group, it shows the flagrant intelligence shortfalls in truly understanding al-Qaeda's connections to Africa. "The United States has not perceived itself to have a strategic interest in sub-Saharan Africa on the terrorism front until very recently," Farah said in an August 5 interview with "The development not only in Liberia of a functioning criminal state is not a secret to anyone who has been to the region or who lives in the region. The whole scenario is part of the neglect by the outside world." Taylor, a warlord who rose to the presidency in 1997 after a seven-year rebellion, is at the center of the intricate relations between al-Qaeda and Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels.

More Floridians are living in poverty and Escambia surpassed Miami-Dade as the state's poorest county, according to U.S. Census figures released Thursday. The state's poverty rate was above the national average, climbing to a three-year average of 13.1 percent last year from 12.8 percent in 2002. That means about 2.17 million Floridians are living in poverty. Another report from the Census Bureau also put Florida above the national average in the percentage of its residents without health insurance. While Florida continues to lead the nation in job growth, the poverty rate underscores concerns about the number of low-wage jobs being created. Escambia County replaced Miami-Dade County last year as the poorest county with 19 percent of its residents living below the poverty line, up from 15.9 percent in 2002. It was listed as the 17th poorest large county in country. Rick Harper, director of the Haas Center for Business Research at the University of West Florida, said the poverty figures "point out the fact that job quality is the most pressing labor issue" in Escambia County. He said the county has lost manufacturing jobs that tended to pay more than service industries. He said a decline in industries such as chemicals and paper, which pay higher wages than those serving the county's large tourist and retirement communities, has lowered the cost of living and pushed up the level of poverty. The poverty rate in Miami-Dade County increased slightly, giving South Florida's largest county the 18th highest poverty rate in the country among counties with populations over 250,000. Miami-Dade County's poverty rate increased to 18.4 percent from 18.3 percent in 2002. Daniella Levine, executive director of the Human Services Coalition in Miami, said the figures show "a good sector of our population is still in recession." "We are at risk of the American dream dying. People are working jobs with lower pay and fewer benefits, working more jobs to provide for basic needs and feeling insecure about their future," she said.

The percentage of Americans living in poverty rose to 12.5 percent in 2003, up from 12.1 the previous year. The actual numbers are much larger. The percentage increase adds another 1.3 million Americans to the poverty classification, bringing the total to 35.9 million, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. The average middle-class family's income is about $1,500 lower than it was three years ago.

Rising costs for health coverage and a continuing fall-off in the number of workers in employer-sponsored health plans are among the reasons that a greater number of people did not have health insurance last year, experts say. The increase in uninsured people last year, as reported by the United States Census Bureau yesterday, a record 45 million.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking at Reserve Board's annual economic symposium to a group of central bankers, academics, and economists at their annual gathering in the mountain retreat of Jackson Hole, Wyoming said Friday the country will face "abrupt and painful" choices unless Congress acts quickly to trim Social Security and Medicare benefits for the baby boom generation. He said the government has promised more than it can deliver. Government resources even under the most optimistic economic assumptions on growth and productivity will be inadequate to provide baby boomers with the level of benefits their parents got, he said. The 78-year-old Greenspan, recently confirmed for a fifth term as Federal Reserve chairman, suggested one possible fix would be to increase the retirement age for receiving full benefits. It is already scheduled to rise from 65 to 67. Greenspan has suggested in earlier comments on the subject that Congress should look at tying the retirement age to future increases in life expectancies so that the age for full retirement will keep pace with the longer period that retirees will be drawing benefits. In a statement, Kerry spokeswoman Allison Dobson said Friday that Greenspan's testimony "should be a wake up call." She criticized Bush's economic policy saying "it has driven up endless deficits and put Social Security in danger."

The nation's confusing array of terrorist watch lists -- like those that snagged Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. John Lewis -- can be easy to get on, but far more difficult to get off. It took Kennedy, one of the country's best known senators, three weeks and several calls to federal officials to separate his identity from that of a person with a similar name on the no-fly list. Lesser-known Americans face greater hurdles when their name is flagged by an airline computer. ''This really speaks to just how difficult it can be for ordinary people,'' said Jay Stanley, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed two lawsuits on this issue. ''The complaints reflected in our litigation are serious.'' Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, was stopped at least five times while trying to board US Airways flights because a name similar to his was being used as an alias for someone on the watch list. Kennedy does not think politics played a role in his being linked to someone on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list, according to his spokesman David Smith. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, has filed a complaint with the Homeland Security Department. He said he routinely can't get an electronic ticket and has his luggage combed through by hand. And, he said, one airline representative in Atlanta told him, ''Once you're on the list, there's no way to get off it.'' The TSA has about a few thousand names on a ''no fly'' list, which bans people from boarding planes, and another few thousand on a list that identifies people for additional screening, the official said. The task of clearing up the problems belongs to the agency's ombudsman, Kimberly Walton, and her 26 staff members. Passengers who think they've been wrongly detained or confused with someone on the watch lists can call (877) 266-2837. They'll receive a form letter requiring additional information that must be notarized. The TSA will check that information and notify the airline if an individual is not on the watch list.

Report: Government Keeping More Secrets
Thu Aug 26, 5:06 PM ET
By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Government secrecy has increased sharply in the
past few years — keeping Americans in the dark about information they
should be able to access, says a report released Thursday by a coalition
of watchdog groups.

It found the federal government created 14 million new classified
documents in fiscal year 2003 — a 26 percent increase over the number
of documents stamped secret in 2002, and a 60 percent increase over
2001. Those numbers cover over 40 agencies, but exclude the CIA.

At the same time, the government is declassifying fewer documents, the
report said. Some 43 million pages were declassified in 2003, down from
44 million the year before — and a significant decrease from 2001 when
100 million pages were declassified.

"There are secrets that are necessary, but there are a heck of a lot of
secrets that are being kept secret that the public would benefit from, with
their disclosure," said Rick Blum, coalition coordinator for and author of the report.

Blum said secrecy is not just a Bush administration problem. He said
the recent spike began in 2000 during the Clinton administration.

"Clearly, we in the government classify too much," said J. William
Leonard, director of the Information Security Oversight Office at the
National Archives. His office monitors the government's security
classification process.

Leonard said the higher number of classified materials may be a result of
a government that is working harder and producing more documents in a
post-Sept 11 world, with a military fighting the war on terrorism. "It
doesn't necessarily represent a propensity toward secrecy," he said.

But he added that agencies are too quick to automatically apply

The coalition measured the scope of government secrecy by examining
federal data on documents classified and declassified over the last nine
years. It also looked at the money spent on classification and the
number of requests from the public for information under the Freedom of
Information Act.

More than $6.5 billion was spent making documents secret last year,
while only $53 million financed declassification projects, the report said.

The coalition also found a steady rise in the number of public requests
for information from the government in the last five years, with more than
3 million requests in 2003 — up from 869,000 in 1998.

The coalition is based in Washington and comprised of groups
representing consumers, environmentalists, labor, journalists and
librarians concerned about government secrecy.

Ludicrous, Lethal Government Secrets Cited
Tue Aug 24, 6:10 PM ET
By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A former dictator's cocktail preferences and a
facetious plot against Santa Claus were classified by the government to
prevent public disclosure.

Also stamped "secret" for six years was a
study that concluded 40 percent of Army
chemical warfare masks leaked.

These and other ludicrous and lethal
examples of classification were cited Tuesday
by members of Congress and witnesses at a
House subcommittee hearing into the Sept.
11 commission's conclusion that secrecy is
undermining efforts to thwart terrorists.

Some classifications were made in error or to save face.

The CIA deleted the amount Iraqi agents paid for
aluminum tubes from page 96 of a Senate report on prewar intelligence.
The report quoted the CIA as concluding, "Their willingness to pay such
costs suggests the tubes are intended for a special project of national

That price turned out to be not so high. On page 105 of the same Senate
report, the same security reviewers let CIA's figure — up to $17.50 each
— be printed twice, along with other estimates that the Iraqis paid as
little as $10 apiece.

"There are too many secrets" and maybe too many secret-makers, said
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., chairman of
the Government Reform Committee's national security panel. There are
3,978 officials who can stamp a document "top secret," "secret" or
"confidential" under multiple sets of complex rules.

No one knows how much is classified, he said, and the system "often
does not distinguish between the critically important and comically

The problem is growing, said J. William Leonard, director of the Archives'
Information Security Oversight Office, which monitors federal practices.
Officials decided to classify documents 8 percent more often in 2003
than in 2002. Total classification decisions — including upgrading or
downgrading — reached 14 million.

"The tone is set at the top," Shays said.

"This administration believes the less known the better," added the
Connecticut Republican, noting sadly he was speaking of a GOP
administration. "I believe the more known the better."

The panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich
of Ohio, noted that former President Clinton directed
that in cases of doubt, the lowest or no classification be used. But in
2003, President Bush ordered officials to use the
more restrictive level.

Steven Aftergood, director of a Federation of American Scientists project
on secrecy, said some classification was clearly designed to conceal
illegality or avoid embarrassment, even though that is forbidden.

Aftergood cited the "secret" stamp on Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba's
report of "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal
abuses" inflicted on Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison.

Carol A. Haave, deputy undersecretary of defense for counterintelligence
and security, said most misclassification was unintentional, resulting
from misunderstanding or failure to declassify no-longer-sensitive data.
She said a weakness, particularly for anti-terrorism efforts, was that
those who collect intelligence determine its classification.

"Collectors of information can never know how it could best be used,"
Haave said. "We have to move to a user-driven environment."

Leonard, of the Archives, said another obstacle to sharing anti-terrorist
data as the Sept. 11 commission envisioned was that federal law divides
the authority for writing the rules that govern secrets. The CIA director
has authority to protect intelligence sources and methods, the Energy
Department has power to write regulations to shield nuclear secrets, the
Pentagon has control over classifying NATO
data and the National Security Agency can define
communications eavesdropping secrets.

"All these variations have nuances that impede cooperation," Leonard

Aftergood, who is fighting in court to declassify the overall budget for
intelligence agencies, argued that declassifying that total "could break
the logjam" of over-classification. That was also recommended by the
Sept. 11 commission.

Leonard said a 2000 law created a public interest declassification board
to recommend release of secrets in important cases, but the president
and Congress never appointed members. "The executive branch is ready
to make nominations," Leonard said, urging Congress to select its

For the curious: the CIA classified for 20 years longtime Chilean dictator
Augusto Pinochet's preference for pisco sours,
according to subcommittee staff members citing previously classified
documents published by the National Security Archive, a private
anti-secrecy group here.

And a CIA employee made up a story of a terrorist plot to hijack Santa
Claus and inserted it into some classified traffic. "So apparently the fact
that CIA had a sense of humor was classified," said subcommittee
counsel Lawrence J. Halloran.

All That Secrecy Is Expensive
By Noah Shachtman

Uncle Sam Hides More and More From Americans

Letter to the Washington Post
Shameful and Unsavory Editorial

Montreal man downed U.S. Plane, CSIS told 'Farouk the Tunisian' involved, al-Qaeda say, but officials insist crash was accidental
Stewart Bell
A captured al-Qaeda operative has told Canadian intelligence investigators that a Montreal man who trained in Afghanistan alongside the 9/11 hijackers was responsible for the crash of an American Airlines flight in New York three years ago. Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents were told during five days of interviews with the source that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen also known as Farouk the Tunisian, had downed the plane with explosives on Nov. 12, 2001. The source claimed Jdey had used his Canadian passport to board Flight 587 and "conducted a suicide mission" with a small bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid, a "Top Secret" Canadian government report says.

August 17-22, 2004

Motorists can expect prices at the pump to reverse course and perhaps again edge skyward toward the $2 a gallon range nationwide in the coming weeks if crude prices stay at close to $50 a barrel as they were Friday. And consumers also should be ready to pay more for heating this summer as crude costs likely will to push up heating oil prices — and perhaps natural gas prices as well as some industrial users shift from oil to natural gas, according to analysts.

Crude futures plowed to a new high near $49 a barrel Thursday (Aug. 19, 2004) as the threat of sabotage to Iraqi oil infrastructure loomed larger than promises from Baghdad to boost exports in coming days. Those fears were amplified late in the day after Shiite militants broke into the headquarters of Iraq's South Oil Co. and set the company's warehouses and offices on fire, witnesses said. Analysts and traders also remained concerned about developments and a possible cut in supply from Russia and Venezuela, both major crude exporters. Russian oil giant Yukos continues to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy as the government tries to collect $3.4 billion in back taxes -- a move that threatens to weaken Yukos' daily productivity of 1.7 million barrels. In Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest exporter, opposition leaders refused to participate in an audit of last Sunday's referendum to oust President Hugo Chavez -- which officials say he won convincingly.

Governments throughout Mexico and Central America are on alert as evidence grows that al-Qaida members are traveling in the region and looking for recruits to carry out attacks in Latin America. Officials worry the Panama Canal could be a likely target. In 2003, boats making more than 13,000 trips through the waterway carried about 188 million tons of cargo. Earlier this month, the United States and seven Latin American countries - including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Peru and Panama - carried out a weeklong anti-terror exercise aimed at protecting the canal. In South America, U.S. officials have long suspected Paraguay's border with Brazil and Argentina as an area for Islamic terrorist fund-raising. Much of the focus has fallen on the Muslim community that sprouted during the 1970s, and authorities believe as much as $100 million a year flows out of the region, with large portions diverted to Islamic militants linked to Hezbollah and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The more immediate concern is Mexico, which shares a porous, 2,000-mile border with the United States and is the home to widespread organized crime. In December, Mexican officials canceled two Aeromexico flights from Mexico City to Los Angeles, and a third was forced to turn around after takeoff because of terrorism concerns. At the time, the United States, Canada and Interpol told Mexico that officials suspected terrorists might be using Mexican soil to plan an attack, Vasconcelos said. Concerns increased this summer about whether Mexico was doing enough to screen international visitors after a 48-year-old South African woman arrived in Mexico with a passport that was missing several pages and then waded across the Rio Grande into Texas.

A series of bombs went off at a U.N. voter registration office in western Afghanistan, injuring six policemen, setting vehicles ablaze and shattering windows, police and the United Nations said Friday. It was the latest in a string of attacks targeting election workers.

Iran will strike the Israeli reactor at Dimona if Israel launches an attack on Iran's own burgeoning nuclear facilities, a commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying. "If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear centre, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move," General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr was quoted as saying in the press. Iran last week tested an upgraded version of its conventional medium-range Shahab-3 missile, and Revolutionary Guards chief Yadollah Javani said at the weekend that all Israeli military and nuclear sites are now within range.

A new report from the now-defunct Sept. 11 commission details the lax controls on immigration and customs that the hijackers exploited to carry out their plot. The report, compiled by the commission's staff, says 13 of the 19 hijackers applying for visas presented passports that were less than three weeks old, yet their visa applications were met with no increased scrutiny. Two of the hijackers, the report said, lied on their applications "in detectable ways" but were not questioned about those lies. And all 19 of the hijackers' applications had data fields left blank, or were incomplete in some other way. Three of the hijackers were carrying Saudi passports "containing a possible extremist indicator" present in the passports of many al-Qaida members, the report said. While it's not clear what that indicator was, the report added that it had not been analyzed by the CIA, FBI or border authorities for its significance.

Senators Ask Where $8.8 Bln in Iraq Funds Went
By Sue Pleming
At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft U.S. audit set for release soon.

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with rules that would compel the businesses to make it possible for law enforcement agencies to eavesdrop on Internet calls.

National ID seen in 9/11 panel plan
By Shaun Waterman
The September 11 commission's recommendation for federal standards of identification documents such as driver's licenses and birth certificates is tantamount to the introduction of a national ID card system "through the back door," some lawmakers believe.

A judge's decision to punish five reporters for refusing to identify their sources for stories about nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee threatens to chill vital newsgathering at a time of increased government secrecy, advocates say. U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on Wednesday held the reporters in contempt and fined each of them $500 a day until they reveal their source. "The threat to First Amendment rights that's going on this summer is unprecedented," Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, said. "We have reporters being subpoenaed. We have judges issuing illegal prior restraints on the media. "All this has to do with secrecy. The government is trying to keep more and more secrets all the time, and journalists are working harder to uncover those secrets. Given the terrorism climate, all this has come to a head," she said. The reporters contend they provided all the relevant information they could without breaking a commitment to protect their sources. "I believe strongly that when a reporter gives a source the assurance that his or her confidentiality will be protected, he cannot go back on his word," Hebert said. "To do so would be a disservice to the source, destroy the reporter's credibility with future sources and hinder essential newsgathering." George Freeman, assistant general counsel for The New York Times, said, "The Times continues to believe, as we have for decades, that confidential sources are critical for us to give the public as broad a perspective as possible on the important issues of the day." Los Angeles Times vice president Martha Goldstein said, "The ruling seriously jeopardizes the press's ability to report about our government's actions and the public's right to know." Last week, U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan in Washington held Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in contempt as part of the investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. Prosecutors have subpoenaed at least four other journalists, and Cooper is appealing.

Your financial secrets are headed overseas
More credit, mortgage and tax files are being handled abroad. Nothing suggests your data are more vulnerable -- but an identity thief 10,000 miles away is virtually untouchable.
By Liz Pulliam Weston

US Population Forecast To Boom 43% By 2050

A highly sensitive lawsuit was filed in the U.S. district court in New York City by a former federal agent, Rodney Stich, seeking to report criminal activities in government offices.

CWD/BSE - Escaped Bioweapons
From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Lawyers for a Florida congressman argued Friday ( Aug. 20, 2004) to keep alive a push to require the state's voting machines to create a paper ballot to go with each vote. Attorneys for U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat, told members of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a district judge wrongly threw out Wexler's lawsuit. Wexler's attorneys have asked the appeals court to speed their decision so state election officials could make changes before the November elections.

Florida's original voucher law was declared unconstitutional Monday ( Aug. 16, 2004) by a state appeals court because it lets students from failing public schools attend private religious schools at taxpayer expense. The 2-1 decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal upholds an August 2002 ruling by a trial judge who said that the law violates a provision of the state constitution that bans the use of tax dollars on religious schools. The state has been allowed to issue vouchers during its appeal and that will likely remain true until the Florida Supreme Court ultimately decides the case. Under the 1999 law, the centerpiece of Gov. Jeb Bush's education policies, students attending public schools that earn failing grades two years out of four are eligible for vouchers to help them attend private schools, religious or otherwise.

August 7-16, 2004

An alleged senior Al Qaida operative who was captured in Britain during anti-terror raids earlier this month secretly visited a remote Pakistani tribal region near Afghanistan in March, an army spokesman and intelligence sources said yesterday. Abu Eisa Al Hindi met with terror suspects in the South Waziristan region, a hideout and training base for Al Qaida which has been targeted in several Pakistani military operations in recent months, said an intelligence official.

Videotapes found in a Pakistani immigrant’s New York home had extensive images of Las Vegas casinos and other facilities, officials announced. Kamran Akhtar, 35, who was arrested in North Carolina last month while filming Charlotte’s downtown skyline, had videotapes depicting “hours and hours” of Las Vegas, said Ellen Knowlton, FBI special agent in charge in Las Vegas. Akhtar had tapes that included scenes of buildings and transit systems in Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans and Austin, Texas. Las Vegas authorities learned of the tapes in the fall of 2002. In that instance, the FBI decided not to disclose the information to the public. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was cited in federal documents as expressing concern the tapes’ release could harm the city’s tourism industry.

Nearly 10 million Afghans register to vote

Authorities have halted oil export flows from the main pipeline in southern Iraq after intelligence showed a rebel militia could strike infrastructure, an oil official said Saturday. The shutdown kept loadings at southern oil terminals at half their normal level, undermining the government's effort to raise revenue as oil prices hit record highs, partly in response to the instability in Iraq. News that Iraq have stopped oil exports from the key southern pipeline came as Iran said that global markets were oversupplied by 2.8 million bpd of crude and that there was no reason for OPEC to raise production to cool down sizzling oil prices. U.S. benchmark crude prices soared to yet another record of $46.65 a barrel Friday following news of a blast at the Whiting, Indiana refinery, and on fears about possible unrest in OPEC producer Venezuela during this weekend's referendum on the rule of President Hugo Chavez. With the latest bullish news from the Middle East, oil analysts now expect prices to soon strike $47 a barrel and head for $50.

8-13-4 - World oil prices tore to all-time highs as a hurricane thundered near oil platforms, oil-rich Venezuela faced a strike risk and Iraq fighting raged. New York's benchmark light sweet crude for delivery in September leapt 1.08 dollars to a record high settlement of 46.58 dollars a barrel. It spiked at an all-time high 46.65 dollars.

The US trade gap exploded to a record 55.8 billion dollars in June, the sharpest deterioration in more than five years, the government said.

Cointelpro Ressurected For GOP National Convention
Another Accomplishment In Bush's War On Terrorism
By Mark G. Levey

Bush Tax Cuts Heavily Favor Rich, CBO Says

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee warned fellow Democrats in the Senate on Sunday against trying to block the nomination of Rep. Porter Goss as CIA director, saying that would be picking the wrong fight in this election year.

Rep. Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee to head the CIA, recently introduced legislation that would give the president new authority to direct CIA agents to conduct law-enforcement operations inside the United States including arresting American citizens.

Moore footage shows new CIA boss ruling himself out
Michael Moore yesterday released unseen footage of the new CIA boss explaining his own unsuitability for the role. The scene, which didn't make the cut for Fahrenheit 9/11, shows Porter Goss pointing out that his lack of language and computer skills means he "wouldn't get a job" with the CIA. Only Senate approval lies between Republican Congressman Porter Goss and the office of America's most senior intelligence chief following his nomination by the president, George Bush, earlier this week.,12589,1282478,00.html

"The Ghost of Orwell is Upon us"
Manuel Valenzuela

The Trouble with Talk Radio
by Christopher Westley

Citing concerns about terrorists crossing the nation's land borders, the Department of Homeland Security announced today that it planned to give border patrol agents sweeping new powers to deport illegal aliens from the frontiers abutting Mexico and Canada without providing the aliens the opportunity to make their case before an immigration judge.

If Osama bin Laden is directing plans for an attack on
the United States - as Washington intelligence officials suspect - his
instructions are likely coming out of the craggy mountains between
Afghanistan and Pakistan on the back of a donkey or under the
shawl of a villager.

After the arrests of several top
lieutenants, bin Laden and his
right hand man, Egyptian
Ayman al-Zawahri, have
learned their lessons well,
Pakistani intelligence officials
and international terrorism
experts say.

They don’t use satellite or cellular phones, don’t trust anyone
outside their innermost circle and never come up for air.

Messages from the men likely pass through the hands of many
couriers, most of whom have no idea where they originated,
before they are turned into e-mails or conveyed by phone calls to
other militants.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

“If bin Laden wants to convey something, he gives a letter to
someone in his circle, who takes it a certain distance and then
hands it to someone else, and then someone else until it reaches its
final destination. Nobody knows who the letter is from except the
first person who is one of bin Laden’s most trusted men,” said a
senior Pakistani intelligence official who has been in on his nation’s
most sensitive counter-terror operations.

The US government believes plans for a terror attack are being
directed at the most senior levels of the Al Qaeda leadership,
including bin Laden, a US intelligence official told The Associated
Press in July.

How much input the top men have is open to question, but a
Pakistani government official told the AP that several captured Al
Qaeda men have told authorities they received instructions from
bin Laden.

“Probably he is alive, and some Al Qaeda suspects captured in
Pakistan have talked about receiving verbal messages from him
through different channels,” he said of bin Laden.

The American and Pakistani officials spoke on condition of

There has been no firm intelligence on bin Laden and al-Zawahri’s
whereabouts since they slipped away during a US-Afghan assault
on their mountain hideouts in Tora Bora in late 2001, but they are
believed to be hiding in the mountainous no man’s land between
Pakistan and Afghanistan, protected by deeply conservative
tribesmen who share their beliefs.

With the exception of about a half-dozen audio taped messages
that the CIA has authenticated as being his voice, there has been
virtually no sign of bin Laden since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001
attacks. That silence has lent him almost a mythic quality,
especially among his followers, but officials say he is still very real,
and very dangerous.

The Pakistani intelligence official said one of the best leads came
with the arrest of Al Qaeda’s No. 3 man, Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed, who had a letter on him that he told interrogators he
got directly from bin Laden, and which experts authenticated as
being in bin Laden’s handwriting.

The letter was apparently personal and destined for several of bin
Laden’s relatives in Iran, the official said. He would give no further

“Khalid Shaikh Mohammed said he got the letter directly from bin
Laden and was supposed to give it to someone else and it would
eventually go to Iran,” the official said. He said the letter proves
bin Laden was alive as recently as early 2003. Mohammed was
arrested in Pakistan on March 1, 2003 and is now in US custody.

Netting fugitives

Several top Al Qaeda fugitives arrested in Pakistan have allegedly
been tracked using satellite intercepts, including Abu Zubaydah
and Ramzi Binalshibh. A tribal elder accused of sheltering foreign
militants was killed in a bombing in Waziristan on June 18, hours
after he used a satellite phone to call media to denounce the

The importance of discretion has become even more apparent in
recent weeks following the July 13 arrest of an alleged Al Qaeda
computer whiz named Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan.
Intelligence gleaned from Khan and his computer has led to
counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan, Britain and the United
Arab Emirates, and dozens of suspects have been arrested.

Khan’s computer contained a trove of information, including
coded e-mails to other operatives. He is said to have cooperated
with authorities and sent e-mails while in custody to militants so
that authorities could arrest them.

Armed with electronic intelligence, raids in Pakistan have netted
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian with a US$25 million US
bounty on his head, and at least 19 other suspects.

Authorities in Dubai detained Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a Pakistani
with close links to bin Laden who ran an Afghan training camp
through which some 3,500 militants passed. In Britain, a dozen
suspects have been picked up, including a senior Al Qaeda
operative identified as Abu Eisa al-Hindi or Abu Musa al-Hindi
who was reportedly involved in surveillance on financial institutions
in Washington and New York.

“Terrorists, like the rest of us, are finding out that they cannot live
without the Internet. It is very difficult to keep in touch with a lot of
people over large distances without it,” said Paul Wilkinson,
chairman of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political
Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

He said Al Qaeda operatives have used encrypted e-mails and
other techniques, like hiding messages inside photographs, to
conceal communications. But they can’t always hide, and when
authorities get diskettes or hard drive, they can deal terror groups
a major blow. “The technology that Al Qaeda has used so
effectively can also be its Achilles heel,” he said.

Pakistani authorities say bin Laden and al-Zawahri have shielded
themselves, staying clear of the chatter between lower ranking
operatives. Bin Laden is seen mostly as a financial backer and
religious inspiration to his fighters, making regular communication

“Whenever we get hold of high profile Al Qaeda activists there is
a great deal of euphoria and excitement, and it leads to a lot of
optimism ... that it will lead us to the eventual prize - the
apprehension of Osama and al-Zawahri,” said Interior Minister
Faisal Saleh Hayyat. “But we have to be very cautious. This
network ... remains a potent threat to Pakistan, and to civilized

The Pakistani intelligence official acknowledged that the lack of
solid intelligence has been frustrating.

“You keep waving your sword in the air and you hope a bird will
come along and you will hit it,” he said. “It’s a matter of luck.”

Iraq on a knife-edge
By Donald Macintyre

U.S. Silent on Eve of German 9/11 Retrial
By Mark Trevelyan
On the eve of Germany's third big trial related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, court officials said Monday they had no word from Washington on whether captured al Qaeda leaders and the ex-head of the CIA will be allowed to testify.

Now Bush wants to test every American for mental illness--including you! And guess who will create the tests?
By Jordanne Graham
Next month, President Bush plans to unveil a broad new mental health plan called the “New Freedom Initiative.”

Big Business Becoming Big Brother
By Kim Zetter,2100,64492,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

Media Mogul’s Sinister Links to September 11
The Aussie Connection
By Christopher Bollyn
On March 4, 2001, Fox TV, a branch of Murdoch’s media empire, broadcast the pilot episode of a program called “The Lone Gunmen.” A spin-off of the popular “X-Files,” Murdoch-owned companies produced the pilot episode in Vancouver, Canada, and New York from March 20 to April 7, 2000. The pilot episode depicted a passenger aircraft being hijacked by a hostile computer hacker and flown directly into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. After 9-11, however, rather than being discussed as a prescient warning of the possibility of such an attack, the pilot episode of “The Lone Gunmen” series was quietly forgotten.

Doctor investigated by FBI was warning of bioterror dangers well before anthrax
By Associated Press
Monday, August 9, 2004

Dr. Kenneth Berry was sounding alarms about bioterrorism well before
the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five people, and he advocated gas masks for Americans
at a 2001 EPA-sponsored conference.

He called for anthrax vaccines in 1997, the year the emergency room doctor proposed a
training program for 200,000 first responders, and he won a patent in March on a tracking
device for biological, chemical and nuclear attacks.

``The 21st century is going to be a different place,'' he said at a terrorism forum in 1997,
according to a transcript.

In recent days agents have searched Berry's home and former apartment in Wellsville,
his parents' summer home on the Jersey shore and a car Berry reportedly kept at an airport
in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, where some of his relatives live. An FBI spokesman said
the searches were part of the bureau's investigation of the unsolved 2001 anthrax attacks.

Berry told police that he had nothing to do with anthrax, Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.,
police Chief Daniel DePolo said in a news conference Friday.

The FBI said the public was not in immediate danger, but would not say what agents
were seeking.

The searches came nearly three years after five people were killed and 17 fell ill when
anthrax-laced envelopes were mailed to government offices and news media, triggering even
more fear in a country already shaken by Sept. 11. The attacks have baffled government
investigators, who have turned up few leads.

During the winter, a couple of agents asked about Berry in the small village of Wellsville,
where he lives with his wife and children, said resident Gary Barnes.

The FBI presence seemed odd in the town of 5,000 residents near the Pennsylvania line,
better known for its annual hot-air balloon rally and trout derby in the Allegany foothills.

Barnes, manager of the Wellsville Municipal Airport where Berry kept his small plane,
said the agents wanted to know the doctor's flight routes and were told he mainly flew back
and forth to Pittsburgh for his job as an emergency room doctor there.

``We had no knowledge of what it was leading to,'' Barnes said of the questioning.

Berry works at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-McKeesport, hospital
officials told Pittsburgh newspapers. They would not elaborate.

Wellsville Mayor Brad Thompson said agents spent 14 hours inside Berry's home

Barnes said he found Berry to be a friendly person and a good pilot, and unusual only in
that he flew his plane to work every week.

``He's a little bit different type of person but I just can't believe he'd be involved in
something as bad as what it potentially could be,'' Barnes said.

While agents were combing through his home, Berry was arrested in Point Pleasant
Beach, N.J., on domestic charges unrelated to the anthrax investigation. Authorities said he
had been fighting with four family members at a motel, and the family members required
medical treatment. He was released on $10,000 bail.

Attempts to reach Berry, 46, by telephone and e-mail have been unsuccessful.

``I truly don't believe it,'' said Pat O'Shea, who lives near Berry's parents' lagoon-front
bungalow in Dover Township, N.J. ``I know he's a bioterrorism expert. He's a brilliant

Berry received his medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean, School of Medicine, in 1983. He
was on the staff at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville from December 1996 until he resigned in October 2001, hospital
spokeswoman Judy Burt said. He is a past president of the American Academy of Emergency Physicians.

Berry pleaded guilty in 1999 to disorderly conduct to settle charges related to the fake will of a deceased former
colleague. Authorities said Berry and a second colleague were listed as witnesses to the will, which had been written by the
late doctor's wife. Berry was initially charged with two counts of forgery but pleaded to a lesser violation that allowed him
to keep his medical license.

William DiBerardino, retired administrator of Jones Memorial Hospital, said he doesn't believe Berry would do
anything to hurt his country.

``He's just a very bright guy,'' DiBerardino said. ``He is a little different in what he does and the way he is, but not in
any bad sense.''


Halliburton Accused of Accounting Fraud
By Jonathan Stempel

Nader's Letter To ADL's Foxman
By Janine Zacharia

Bush, Congress Are Puppets Of Israeli Govt - Nader
By Brian Faler
Washington Post

US Biological Attacks And Operations On US Citizens

Teflon linked to birth defects and illness
By Michael Day

Al-Qaida may attempt to launch attacks in U.S. cities using helicopters or rented limousines packed with explosives as weapons, the FBI said in two nationwide bulletins. The warnings come amid reports that data confiscated in Pakistan indicates al-Qaida has studied using those, as well as speedboats and divers, as tools in a potential attack on New York City. One of the FBI bulletins said terrorists could attempt to hijack commercial, charter or tourist helicopter flights and use them in suicide attacks against buildings, parades or sporting events. Helicopters and limousines could both help terrorists get closer to targeted buildings, the FBI warnings said. The warnings were sent Friday night by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, other government officials and private groups. The FBI said it has information that indicates al-Qaida has considered using helicopters packed with explosives in an unspecified attack. Helicopters might also be used to spread chemical or biological agents in the ventilation systems of high-rise buildings, the FBI bulletin said. Terrorists may view helicopters as an attractive weapon due to their maneuverability and nonthreatening appearance when flying at low altitudes, the FBI said. The other bulletin warns that al-Qaida has frequently used rented cars and trucks for bomb attacks in the past ”including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center” and may do so again. Limousines, the FBI said, could be especially useful to terrorists because they are larger than regular cars and might draw less suspicion than trucks. Limousines often convey an impression of authority or prestige, which may facilitate their access to specific locations in a building or a facility denied to the general public, the FBI bulletin said.

August 1-6, 2004

U.S. stock indexes closed at their lowest levels of the year on Friday after a dismal July jobs report fueled concerns the U.S. economic recovery could be losing steam and crude oil hit another 21-year high. The broad Standard & Poor's 500 index had its worst week of the year, falling 3.4 percent. Oil prices, which have climbed all summer and hit record highs in six straight sessions this week, helped push stocks lower. NYMEX crude futures eased back to around $44 per barrel after reaching a high of $44.77.

A state appeals court dismissed a lawsuit that sought a paper trail for Florida's new touchscreen voting machines, ruling Friday that voters are not guaranteed ``a perfect voting system.'' U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., had argued that the new machines will not allow for an accurate manual recount such as the one needed during the 2000 presidential election fiasco. He sued Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to force them to add a paper trail to the computerized machines. Wexler's state lawsuit was dismissed Friday, but he is pursuing a similar complaint in federal court.

Urge Governor Bush to Immediately Act to Implement Plan

Two Democratic lawmakers wrote to Gov. Jeb Bush Thursday asking him to order 15 counties that use touchscreen voting to give voters a choice in November between the electronic machines and those that use paper ballots. A Bush spokesman said the governor won't adopt the duo's proposal.

Poor Jobs Figure A Sharp Blow To Bush - Analysts
By Alan Elsner

Wednesday 04 August 2004 - Oil Prices Hit a New Record

ECONOMY, Not Necessarily the News; 9/11, Book Report

Internet phone carriers should set up their systems so U.S. law enforcers can monitor suspicious calls, the Federal Communications Commission tentatively ruled on Wednesday. By a vote of 5-0, the FCC said "voice over Internet protocol," or VoIP, providers should be subject to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which ensures that law enforcers will be able to keep up with changing communications technologies.

National Transportation Safety Board chairman Ellen Engleman Conners wants the government to require data recorders in all passenger vehicles. Critics worry about who would get access to that information. Privacy advocate David Sobel said millions of drivers on the road now have no idea that their vehicles are collecting data. "They certainly don't know what's being collected, how long it's being retained and who can get access to it under what circumstances," said Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. AAA, the nation's largest auto club, would support requiring black boxes only if protections were in place to ensure the data are used just for safety research and can't be traced to specific drivers, spokesman Mantill Williams said.

U.S. Department of Justice Orders Libraries To Destroy Copies Of Laws
Federal Statutes On Asset Forfeiture May Not Be Published
Department of Justice Rescinds Order for Libraries to Destroy Documents

Why does Karl Rove, President Bush’s political advisor, not want you to know what is happening on the Arizona border?
By Margie Burns

Statement On First Hearing On 911 Report

Open Letter To Thomas Kean – Chairman Of The 9/11
Commission - From FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds

Another F.B.I. Employee Blows Whistle on Agency
By Eric Lichtblau

Foreign Lobbyist Database Could Vanish

Passport ID Technology Has High Error Rate
Fri Aug 6,10:46 AM ET
By Jonathan Krim, Washington Post Staff Writer
The State Department is moving ahead with a plan to implant electronic identification chips in U.S. passports that will allow computer matching of facial characteristics, despite warnings that the technology is prone to a high rate of error.

The Homeland Security Department, short of inspectors who specialize in keeping agricultural diseases out of the country, has been catching less insect-infected food at the border. The drop came after responsibility for the inspections was switched from the Agriculture Department to the Homeland Security Department.

The latest theme of the Republican presidential campaign is “Results Matter.” No
doubt about that.
By Regis T. Sabol

Study: Wal-Mart Policies Cost Taxpayers
Study: Calif. Taxpayers Pay $86M Annually to Subsidize Wal-Mart Workers'
Public Assistance

Does Teflon Pose Health Hazards?

N Korea's New Nuclear Missiles May Reach The US

UK Terror Suspect to Fight Extradition to U.S.
Aug 6, 3:57 PM (ET)
By Peter Apps
LONDON (Reuters) - A British man accused of raising money through Internet sites in the United States for Islamic militants in Chechnya and Afghanistan was remanded in custody by a British court Friday on a U.S. extradition warrant.

The bioterrorism expert whose homes were raided by FBI agents investigating the anthrax attacks had sought a patent for a system to identify chemical and biological strikes in September 2001. Dr. Kenneth M. Berry filed a provisional patent for the system in October 2000 and filed the actual patent application just days after the first anthrax letters were mailed. He touted the system as an effective way to respond to bioterrorism attacks. "In an era where chemical, biological or nuclear attacks at one or more locations either globally or within a country are possible, it is desirable to have a surveillance system capable of locating and identifying the type of attack so that a rapid response can be initiated," according to a description of the invention. Berry has not been connected to the attacks, and he told police that he had nothing to do with anthrax, Point Pleasant Beach Police Chief Daniel DePolo said in a news conference Friday. "He just denied he was guilty of anything," DePolo said. On Thursday, more than three dozen agents, some in protective suits, combed through two homes listed in property records as Berry's past and present addresses in Wellsville, N.Y. About 250 miles southeast, the Jersey shore home of Berry's parents was also searched, and neighbors said investigators brought out bulky garbage bags and towed away two vehicles, later returning one. There was no sign of further police activity there Friday. The FBI said the public was not in immediate danger, but declined to say what agents were seeking. The searches came nearly three years after five people were killed and 17 fell ill when anthrax-laced envelopes were mailed to government offices and news media. Hours after Thursday's raids, Berry, 46, was charged with assault for allegedly fighting with four family members at a seaside motel in New Jersey, authorities said. The family members required treatment at medical facilities. "Apparently, there was a dispute over a cell phone, and it's my understanding that there was a lot of stress from search warrants that were being conducted," DePolo said. In 1997, Berry founded an organization that trains medical professionals to respond to chemical and biological attacks. The bioterrorism-response system uses a computer to combine weather data with information on how various concentrations of biological or chemical agents would affect a specific location, according to the patent office filing. The patent was granted in March. A New Jersey native, Berry was director of emergency services at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville until 2001. He resigned after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct to settle charges of forgery. He was also once charged with forgery in a fake-will case, but pleaded to a lesser violation and was allowed to keep his medical license. Berry's father said he is being "shafted by the FBI" because the government has been unable to find whoever is behind the deadly mailings. "It's just buying time because they have nothing on anthrax," William Berry told The Star-Ledger of Newark from his home in Newtown, Conn. "You are looking at a setup."

Federal agents investigating the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks searched homes Thursday belonging to the founder of an organization that trains medical professionals to respond to chemical and biological attacks. More than three dozen agents, some in protective suits, combed through two homes in this upstate New York village at the same time as similar search occurred in New Jersey. Authorities provided few specifics about the investigation, other than to say that FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents were searching multiple locations in Wellsville and Dover Township, N.J., as part of the anthrax probe. Property records list the New York homes as the addresses of Dr. Kenneth Berry, 48, a bioterrorism expert who once advocated the distribution of anthrax vaccine in major cities. It was not immediately known why the agents searched the homes, and attempts to reach Berry by telephone and e-mail were unsuccessful Thursday. In New Jersey, agents searched a lagoon-front bungalow and hauled out garbage bags that a neighbor said appeared to be filled with bulky contents. Authorities also removed boxes with clear plastic bags in them. Two flatbed trucks hauled two vehicles away from the property, said neighbor Adam Fadel. FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman declined to confirm who lived at the New Jersey home, located on the Jersey shore about 40 miles north of Atlantic City. A telephone listing for the address was under the name of W. Berry. The phone rang unanswered Thursday afternoon. Weierman said no one had been charged or taken into custody as of Thursday evening. She said authorities have conducted 5,200 interviews in connection with the attacks. Weierman said 30 FBI agents and 13 postal inspectors are currently devoted solely to the investigation. Berry founded PREEMPT Medical Counter-Terrorism in 1997. In a USA Today interview that year, Berry said: "We ought to be planning to make anthrax vaccine widely available to the population starting in the major cities." The remarks were made soon after the Pentagon announced it would begin inoculating all 2.4 million military personnel against anthrax. Berry pleaded guilty in 1999 to disorderly conduct to settle charges of forgery. State police said Berry's signature was on a fake will of the late Dr. Andrew Colletta, according to The Wellsville Daily Reporter. While initially charged with two counts of second-degree forgery, the plea to a lesser violation allowed him to keep his medical license.

Heavily armed police manned checkpoints on streets around the U.S. Capitol and closed one avenue Tuesday, angering local officials who warned of turning the city into an armed camp hostile to tourists and commerce. The new security measures, approved by congressional leaders, were imposed after federal officials announced that over the past several years terrorists had been closely monitoring major financial institutions in New York City, Newark, N.J., and Washington. Police stopped cars at more than a dozen hastily erected Jersey barriers along Constitution and Independence avenues and other streets around the Capitol complex. During the morning rush hour cars were lined up for blocks along Constitution, which normally flows smoothly at this time of year when Congress is gone and many who work on Capitol Hill are on vacation. Vehicles also were being inspected at checkpoints around the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings in downtown Washington. District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams, standing on newly blocked-off 1st Street, which links the Capitol with Union Station several blocks away, said Gainer and other security officials had come up with an "unworkable and unacceptable" solution to the terrorist threat. "This is a living, breathing city. You can't continue to close streets without doing death to commerce in this city, to tourism in this city, to the tax base in this city," Williams said. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington's nonvoting delegate in the House, complained that the decision was made by the Capitol's security officials, largely Gainer and the House and Senate sergeants at arms, without consulting officials of the capital city. "They did the easiest thing for them," she said, speaking of the new travel restrictions. "They forgot that we live here." Norton and others said said Senate leaders, including Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., chairman of the Rules Committee, which oversees security matters, signed off on the measures at the recommendation of the security officials. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Democratic leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., made the announcement Monday about the measures.

Suspect Confirmed Terror Threat, U.S. Says
Thu Aug 5, 8:52 AM ET
By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

Feds Say Suspect Confirmed Terror Threat
Wed Aug 4, 7:28 PM ET
By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

Ridge Defends New Terror Threat Warning
Wed Aug 4, 2:25 AM ET

Pre-9/11 Acts Led To Alerts
By Dan Eggen and Dana Priest

Detainee Information Prompts Terror Alert
Mon Aug 2, 7:11 PM ET

Threat Level Code Orange for Financial Sector in New York City, Northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

The federal government warned Sunday of possible terrorist attacks against "iconic" financial institutions in New York City, Washington and Newark, N.J., saying a confluence of chilling intelligence in recent days pointed to a car or truck bomb. The government said the new intelligence indicated the meticulous planning of al-Qaida. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge identified explosives as the likely mode of attack, as opposed to a chemical or biological attack or a radiological "dirty" bomb. In an unprecedented action, the government named these specific buildings in densely populated areas as potential targets:
_Citigroup buildings and the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.
_The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank buildings in Washington.
_Prudential financial in northern New Jersey.
"The preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a briefing with journalists. "That would be a primary means of attack," he said. The government said the new intelligence indicated the meticulous planning of al-Qaida. Ridge identified explosives as the likely mode of attack, as opposed to a chemical or biological attack or a radiological "dirty" bomb. Ridge said the government's threat level for financial institutions in just these three cities would be raised to orange, or high alert, but would remain at yellow, or elevated, elsewhere. The official said the intelligence gathered from several sources included security in and around these buildings; the flow of pedestrians; the best places for reconnaissance; how to make contact with employees who work in the buildings; the construction of the buildings; traffic patterns; locations of hospitals and police departments; and which days of the week present less security at these buildings. To illustrate the level of detail included in the intelligence, the official cited these examples: midweek pedestrian traffic of 14 people per minute on each side of the street for a total of 28 people; that some explosives might not be hot enough to melt steel; and that the construction of some buildings might prevent them from falling down. The official said he had not seen such extraordinary detail in his 24 years in intelligence work. A U.S. counterterrorism official said the threat information is based in large part on documentary evidence obtained by CIA in successful counterterrorist operations, working independently and in concert with other countries. Some other information also played a part in the warning. Ridge said it would be up to New York City officials to decide whether to move to the highest level, red. The city has remained on orange since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The threat potential remains through the Nov. 2 elections, Ridge said. The secretary said the government took the unprecedented step of naming particular buildings because of the level of specificity of the intelligence. "This is not the usual chatter. This is multiple sources that involve extraordinary detail," Ridge said. He said the government decided to notify the public because of the specificity of detail it had obtained. Ridge acknowledged that protecting these buildings, located in heavily populated areas, would require additional security measures, especially because thousands of cars and trucks travel through these cities daily. "Car and truck bombs are one of the most difficult tasks we have in the war on terror," Ridge said. Local and state officials were notified earlier in the day and Ridge said new security procedures were already being put in place. The exchange and the Washington institutions were to open for business Monday. An NYSE spokesman declined comment on security, but increased measures since the Sept. 11 attacks have included barricades on all sides and checkpoints to enter the building. A Citigroup spokesman cited a company e-mail to employees that said they should expect to see tighter security at all of its New York buildings. In the capital, the FBI, Secret Service and city police will provide additional security. Messages for Prudential officials were not immediately returned. A White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said the intelligence on the threat was "very new, coming in during the last 72 hours." "The president made the final decision today agreeing with the recommendation of Secretary Ridge to go ahead and raise the threat level in these select areas," Healy said. This was the first time the color-coded warning system had been used in such a narrow, targeted way, Ridge said at a news conference at department headquarters. "With this kind of information comes action," Ridge said. "This is sobering news." Referring to terrorists who are hostile to the United States, Ridge said, "Iconic economic targets are at the heart of their interest." He said workers at the five specific buildings should get guidance from security officers at each site and remain alert as they go to work. The government's warning came four weeks before the Republican National Convention in New York, which will draw more than 30,000 people, including top government officials and the president. Ridge sidestepped a question about whether the convention should go ahead - its main item of business is formally nominating Bush. Ridge said only that New York already operates at an extraordinary level of security and the city would draw additional protective measures from the government as a national security event.

Saudi royal family lambasts Michael Moore for twisting the truth in his 9/11 film

July 25-31, 2004

ABC News has learned that federal and New York City officials have received credible intelligence that al Qaeda has been plotting to carry out suicide attacks on corporations based in the city. "Intelligence reporting indicates that al Qaeda continues to target for attack commercial and financial institutions, as well as international organizations, inside the United States," the New York City Police Department said in a statement released today on the "ongoing al Qaeda threat." "The NYPD recommends that corporate and institutional security directors review their protection of HVAC systems, parking installations, and security in general," the statement added. "The alert level for New York City remains unchanged at 'orange' or 'high.'" Intelligence sources say al Qaeda plans to move non-Arab terrorists across the border with Mexico. Authorities already have in custody a woman of Pakistani-origin arrested after crossing into Texas. She carried a South African passport with several of the pages torn out, $7,000 in cash and an airplane ticket to New York. New York is already on heightened alert for the Republican National Convention, which meets at Madison Square Garden in a month and will bring scores of high government officials to town. The sources tell ABC News that Wall Street firms may be among the targeted U.S. corporations based in New York City. Which corporations or how many may be targeted has not been revealed. Particularly disturbing to authorities were the intelligence reports that the attack may involve one or more suicide truck bombings, a tactic never seen in the United States, but one widely used by terrorists elsewhere. Law enforcement officials acknowledge such bombs are extremely difficult to prevent. As to the timing of any planned attack, sources say it could take place between now and Election Day in November.

A top al Qaeda operative, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, was arrested in Pakistan. Ghailani, a 30-year-old Tanzanian who ranked high on the FBI's list of the 22 most wanted Islamist terrorists, is the biggest find since Pakistani officials last year nabbed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Ghailani is under indictment in Manhattan, facing a possible death sentence, for his role in the 1998 twin bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that took 224 lives. According to the FBI, which had placed a $5 million price on his head, Ghailani bought the truck that was used in the attack on the embassay in Dar-es-Salaam and loaded it with the bomb elements. He's also played a key role in facilitating Osama bin Laden's financing: A year-long investigation determined that in 1999 he and a fellow terrorist went to Liberia and Sierre Leone as part of a $20 million effort to corner the market in African diamonds for al Qaeda. Most important, though, is that he was one of seven "most wanted terrorists" believed to have specific knowledge about a possible future terrorist attack. And, say the Pakistanis, he's already begun providing "very valuable" information under questioning. His arrest, in turn, came about thanks to information from a suspected Pakistani terrorist who was arrested in a separate operation. Which shows clearly how, once these people are captured, they begin to fall like a row of dominoes.

Al-Qaeda May Be Behind Pakistan Attack
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network may have been behind the failed attempt to assassinate the country's prime minister-designate, a senior Cabinet minister said Saturday, though investigators are still poring over the evidence. The death toll from the suicide bomb attack Friday against Shaukat Aziz, meanwhile, rose to eight, with about three dozen injured, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said. Among those killed was Aziz's driver, who had not yet closed the bulletproof door on the car when a man approached and detonated a bomb.

Police rounded up people suspected of involvement in Friday's bombings near the U.S. and Israeli embassies and the state prosecutor's office in Tashkent, Itar-TASS news agency said Saturday as the death toll rose to three.

Morocco has warned Spain that it has lost track of 400 Moroccan Islamist militants who trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, Bosnia or Chechnya, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Sunday.

Afghan Rebels Widen Attacks
By Eric Schmitt and David Rohde
Attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Afghan security forces and civilians have increased steadily in the last several months, posing new hurdles for reconstruction and political stability efforts, American commanders and Afghan officials say.

The Afghan Trap
Le Monde - Editorial

The (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station said the United States is planning to deploy more aircraft carriers near the peninsula during August in a bid to "militarily suppress" North Korea.

Israel has US backing for its deterrent weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an oblique reference to his country’s secret nuclear arms. He also claimed American support for key elements of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians. Speaking at a political party gathering in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Sharon said the United States backs Israel in keeping control of main West Bank settlements, drawing secure borders that include parts of the West Bank in Israel and banning Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes in Israel. Hinting at nuclear weapons, Sharon said the United States recognises that "Israel faces an existential threat, and it must be able to defend itself by itself by preserving its deterrent capability." Sharon noted that Iran is under US pressure to stop its nuclear weapons program, and Libya took steps to halt its nuclear arms development, but "we have received here a clear American position that says in other words that Israel must not be touched when it comes to its deterrent capability." Sharon said the United States backs "Israel’s right to defend itself against threats at any place and to preserve Israel’s deterrent power against all threats.’’ In Washington, a State Department official would say only that the United States supports Israel’s right of self defense. Critics of Israeli and US policy have questioned why the United States has pressed Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons, when Israel faces no similar pressure. Palestinians claim all of the West Bank and Gaza for a state, demanding that all 150 Jewish settlements there be dismantled. Also, Palestinians insist on the "right of return" of refugees from the 1948-49 war and their descendants _ about 4 million people altogether _ to their original homes in Israel. Israel rejects that claim as a ploy to undermine the Jewish character of their state.

A report by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations urged the Bush administration to stop any Israeli attempt to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. The council warned that such an Israeli attack would be blamed on the United States and hurt its interests in the region. "Since Washington would be blamed for any unilateral Israeli military strike, the United States should, in any case, make it quite clear to Israel that U.S. interests would be adversely affected by such a move," the report, entitled "Iran: Time for a New Approach," said. The U.S. report, drafted by an independent task force sponsored by the council, said Washington should resolve concerns over Iran's nuclear weapons program by coordinating with the European Union. But the council ruled out any military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. "In addition, any military effort to eliminate Iranian weapons capabilities runs the significant risk of reinforcing Teheran's desire to acquire a nuclear deterrent and of provoking nationalist passions in defense of that very course," the task force said. "It would most likely generate also hostile Iranian initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan." The report also said direct U.S. efforts to overthrow the Iranian clerical regime would not succeed. The council said the regime could eventually provide greater liberties to its people. "Despite considerable political flux and popular dissatisfaction, Iran is not on the verge of another revolution," the report, entitled ". The current Iranian government appears to be durable and likely to persist in power for the short- and even medium-term. However, Iran's generational shift and prevailing popular frustration with the government portend the eventual transformation to a more democratic political order in the long term. That process is too deeply entrenched in Iran’s political history and social structure to be derailed or even long delayed."

Some intelligence reports suggest Iran may already be past the point of no return in joining the nuclear club. The club’s present members are the US, Britain, Russia, France, Libya, India, Pakistan, China, Israel and North Korea. Libya is now in the process of abandoning its weapons program after a thaw in relations with Britain and America. Diplomats say the prospect of Iran equipping itself with nukes threatens to tip the Middle East into crisis. Last week’s 9/11 report in the US confirmed Iran’s links with Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. Iran’s government, led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has since refused to honor its pledge to give up the race for nukes. Military chiefs have warned it will be too late to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program once it has weapons-grade material. The International Atomic Energy Agency will reveal its verdict on Iran’s program in September. Israel has been watching developments and clearly feels vulnerable. Premier Ariel Sharon has already drawn up plans for pre-emptive military strikes on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station with long-range F15 jets. Such a strike would send the Middle East into uproar with millions of Muslims vowing revenge.

In his book "Osama's Revenge" recently published in the United States, the foremost writer Paul Williams claims that Al-Qaeda has laid hands on ten "nuclear suitcases" stolen from Russia. Colonel-General Viktor Yesin, first vice-president of the Academy for security, defense, law and order, says from the pages of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta that nuclear devices to be used by Al-Qaeda will anyway be of non-Russian origin. Viktor Yesin was one of those who checked the safety of "nuclear suitcases" and who personally counted their number. He asserts with full responsibility that suitcase-sized nuclear devices could not disappear from Russia (such a mine's nuclear charge with a capacity of up to one ton can completely devastate an area of 1,200-1,600 meters in diameter). In the opinion of the expert, other countries, apart from Russia and the U.S., that are in a position to posses suitcase-sized nuclear weapons are China and Israel since they are supposed to have nuclear artillery shells which are close to nuclear mines in construction. Experts report, however, about the existence of so-called nuclear "dirty bombs" which can be hand-made. There are more than a hundred states capable of manufacturing fissionable materials for making "dirty bombs".

Retired Gen. Tommy Franks Says U.S. Should Put Iraq On 5-Year Plan
Franks, 59, who retired from the military in July 2003, had a lot to say in this exclusive interview with PARADE magazine , his first national interview since leaving command:
* The biggest surprise for him was that they've found no weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the "reason we went to war." He says multiple Middle Eastern leaders, including Jordan's King Abdullah and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, told Franks that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In January 2003, Mubarak said point blank to Franks, "Saddam has WMD-biologicals, actually-and he will use them on your troops."
* Franks and his warplanners expected 150,000 additional international troops to help with peacekeeping operations. They never materialized.
* Franks singles out White House Counter-terrorism Czar Richard Clarke as never providing him with "a single page of actionable intelligence" and of engaging in mostly wishful thinking. Franks also believes the U.S. invested too much in electronic spy surveillance and not enough in spies. "We can't send a Princeton-educated New York lawyer to infiltrate al-Qaeda. To get information, we have to marry the devil or at least employ him. You have to deal."
* Franks steered clear of Israel while he was a U.S. military commander and openly told Arab leaders that he was sympathetic to their issues. "For years, I had told my Arab friends that I had 'no Israeli visa' in my passport. This was an unofficial way of letting them know that I understood their side of the story."
* Franks was disappointed that the Iraqis initially chose looting and insurgency over pulling together to rehabilitate their country -- immediately coming out to guard museums, weapons depots, etc.
* Franks describes contentious battles among the military service chiefs over his warplans for Afghanistan and how he told his civilian bosses in the Pentagon that he wanted "to be left the hell alone" to run the Iraq war.
* Franks openly rebuts and takes issue with the long-standing "Powell doctrine" of over-whelming military force. Powell criticized Franks' warplans for Iraq, drawing his ire.
* Franks believes the world is "far safer" without Saddam Hussein. Asked about Osama bin Laden, he says that, unlike Saddam, who was hated in Iraq, tens of thousands of Arab families would happily take Osama in as their hero. Franks believes Osama will be caught eventually, "even though we don't have enough sources on the ground."

A Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing was the first on the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations of more than a dozen planned in Congress over the next month as part of an effort that is expected to lead to a historic restructuring of the intelligence community.

The two central reforms proposed by the Sept. 11 commission — creating a powerful intelligence chief and establishing a new counterterrorism center — may remove barriers protecting intelligence from political influence and undermine civil liberties. As written, the commission report would allow domestic intelligence gathering, analysis and operations related to terrorism to be conducted from the White House. It also would locate the new intelligence chief inside the White House, which could make him or her more vulnerable to political influence. "You sort of get into this Nixonian atmosphere, where the president now has all of these organs of government that he could use against political opponents," said a senior GOP official in Congress who asked not to be identified. "The Patriot Act is really a half-measure compared to where they're going with this." Members of the Sept. 11 commission acknowledged that the arrangement raises concerns but defended their proposal, saying a new intelligence czar would need the clout that comes with being part of the White House's inner circle. "Look, there's no magic solution here," said Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. "Every move you make has advantages and disadvantages."

Audit On Iraq Contracts Finds Fraud, Other Abuses
By Sue Pleming

Questions Persist Despite 9/11 Investigations
By Terry McDermott
_Who financed the attacks?
_Were terrorist cells in the U.S. involved?
_Who provided the nearly half a million dollars it cost to carry out the attacks?
_How could the man who is alleged to have recruited several of the hijack pilots have done this while under investigation by at least three intelligence services - those of the United States, Germany and Morocco?
_Who, if anyone, assisted the hijackers during their time in the United States?
_Why did Mohamed Atta and another hijacker drive from Boston to Portland, Me., the day before the attacks, then fly back to Boston the next morning, almost missing the flight they intended to hijack?
_How did it happen that a single family of Pakistani expatriates in Kuwait, by most accounts an ordinary, pious family devoted to good works, produce five men - the plot mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and four of his nephews - who played roles in the attacks?
_How could Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born citizen of Germany, have safely recruited the Hamburg pilots when he was under investigation as a possible Al Qaeda operative?
_In Hamburg, what role if any was played by an associate of the hijack pilots named Mohammed bin Nasser Belfas?
_What was the role, if any, of Zacarias Moussaoui, the Frenchman originally accused in U.S. courts of being the so-called 20th hijacker?
_If Moussaoui was intended to be part of a second wave, what happened to it?
_When did the Germany-based pilots first go to Afghanistan?
_Did Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden really choose them for their roles in the attack based on a single meeting when the plot was already in motion in late 1999, as the 9/11 commission report maintains?
_How did Marwan Al-Shehhi, one of the Germany-based pilots, meet the others?
_Why did Al-Shehhi fly to Morocco in January 2001, and to Egypt in April?
_Were Binalshibh and hijacker Khalid Almihdhar involved in the bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole in Yemen?
_Why do officials of the United Arab Emirates continue to insist that they questioned hijacker Ziad Samir Jarrah at U.S. request in January 2001, when he was en route from Pakistan to Germany immediately after meeting with Bin Laden?
_What were the roles of Essabar and fellow Hamburg resident Said Bahaji, both of whom fled Hamburg to Afghanistan in the days prior to Sept. 11 and are presumed alive and at large?
_Why on the morning of Sept. 11 did the State Department watch list have 61,000 names on it and the Federal Aviation Administration's no-fly list have 12 names?

911 Report Reveals Al Qaeda Ringleader Contemplated NY-Area Nuclear Power Plant As Potential Target
Indian Point Fits the Description
From Kyle Rabin

A classified Justice Department investigation determined that a whistle-blower's allegations of security lapses in the FBI's translator program were at least partly responsible for her firing, the bureau director told senators. The department's inspector general, Glenn Fine, did not conclude that the FBI had retaliated against the translator, Sibel Edmonds, when she was fired in April 2002, FBI Director Robert Mueller wrote on July 21 to the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Mueller acknowledged he was concerned by Fine's determination that allegations by Edmonds "were at least a contributing factor in why the FBI terminated her services," the director wrote, quoting from the classified report. Edmonds alleges she was fired after complaining to FBI managers about shoddy wiretap translations and telling them an interpreter with a relative at a foreign embassy might have compromised national security after the Sept. 11 attacks by passing information from an FBI wiretap to the target of an investigation. Edmonds' lawyer, Mark Zaid, said the Justice Department informed him Thursday it will consider his request for copies of the report and some supporting documents. The department is working on a version of the report that would be stripped of its classified information and could be released publicly. The department's report concluded the FBI failed to adequately pursue Edmonds' allegation that her colleague committed espionage, Mueller wrote. He said the FBI conducted a "relevant investigation," but he promised to review the case and conduct a further investigation if necessary. Mueller said he asked the inspector general to help determine whether any FBI employees should face disciplinary action. He also promised to report such an outcome to the Senate committee. A federal judge this month dismissed Edmonds' lawsuit against the government over her firing. The judge agreed with claims by Attorney General John Ashcroft and a senior FBI official that a suit could expose intelligence-gathering methods and disrupt diplomatic relations with foreign governments. Edmonds is appealing. Mueller told senators that the Justice Department investigation into Edmonds' firing, which remains classified, determined that Edmonds never qualified for formal whistle-blower protection because she was a contract worker, not a full-time FBI employee. Mueller promised to write another bureau-wide memorandum warning supervisors against retaliating against employees who reveal internal problems. "I want all FBI employees, as well as our contractors and detailees, to know that I encourage them to raise good-faith concerns about mismanagement or misconduct," Mueller wrote. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have said they will ask the Justice Department to release an unclassified version of the inspector general's report.

Pentagon memo reveals bugging
By Rowan Scarborough
When the Bush administration took over the
Pentagon's beleaguered inspector general office
in 2002, officials found something startling: The
director's office, at some point, had been
electronically bugged.
Sorting out why the listening device was
inside the walls of the office, with a cord
leading to another office, is just one issue that
had to be addressed by Joseph E. Schmitz,
President Bush's pick three years ago to be the
Defense Department's top cop.
A Naval Academy graduate and civil
litigation lawyer, Mr. Schmitz was tapped to run
the office responsible for investigating
million-dollar fraud in the far-flung defense
industry and criminal misconduct by senior
Defense Department employees.

New Records Indicate Gap in Bush Military Service

Sullen, Depressed President Retreats Into Private, Paranoid World

Bush Using Drugs to Control Depression, Erratic Behavior

Police detained a family after airport authorities mistakenly reported their small plane had violated a no-fly zone near President Bush's Crawford ranch. In the confusion, the pilot they were seeking drove away. Pilot Del Hinton, his wife, daughter and a friend landed at Arlington Municipal Airport about 2 p.m. Saturday after a trip to a casino in Shreveport, La. As soon as Hinton taxied his six-passenger plane into his hangar, an airport employee told him the Secret Service wanted to question him about his illegal flight through Waco. When Bush is in Crawford, as he was this weekend, airspace is restricted within a 30-mile radius of his ranch. Hinton's family was detained for an hour. "I tried to tell them we had come from Shreveport, but they wouldn't listen. I was on the radar the whole time," Hinton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for its Sunday editions. Finally, Hinton telephoned Flight Services to prove his route. Police eventually learned that the small plane suspected of flying through Waco had landed at the municipal airport about 10 minutes before Hinton. Police were working to identify that man, who airport employees said was expected to return to the airport Sunday. Sgt. Sharon Warms said the man is not believed to have intentionally violated restricted airspace.

Miami-Dade elections officials find lost 2002 data
By RACHEL LA CORTE,0,230414,print.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Touchscreen Vote Records Lost in Florida
A computer crash erased detailed records from Miami-Dade County's first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines, raising again the specter of elections troubles in Florida, where the new technology was supposed to put an end to such problems. The crashes occurred in May and November of 2003, erasing information from the September 2002 gubernatorial primaries and other elections, elections officials said Tuesday. The malfunction was made public after the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, a citizen's group, requested all data from the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride. In December, officials began backing up the data daily, to help avoid similar data wipeouts in the future, said Seth Kaplan, spokesman for the county's elections supervisor, Constance Kaplan. The loss of data underscores problems with the touchscreen voting machines, the citizen's group said. "This is a disaster waiting to happen," said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition. "Of course it's worrisome." The group is concerned about the machines' effectiveness, following revelations about other problems with the system. Last month, state officials said the touchscreen systems used by 11 counties had a bug that would make a manual recount impossible. Earlier this month, a newspaper study indicated touchscreen machines did not perform as well as those that scanned paper ballots. Also Tuesday, election reform groups asked a judge to strike down a state rule preventing counties that use the machines from conducting manual recounts from them. State election officers say manual recounts are not needed since the machines tell each voter if they are skipping a race, known as an undervote, and will not let them vote twice for the same race, known as an overvote. The officials also maintain that the computer systems running the machines can be trusted to count the votes accurately as they're cast, and give the final numbers when needed. But lawyers representing the ACLU and other groups said
the state should require a paper trail in case a physical recount is needed, as it was in the 2000 presidential race in Florida. "I have concern about votes that are cast but not recorded," said Howard Simon, executive director for ACLU of Florida. Election supervisors from some of the 15 counties using touchscreens had asked the state if they would need to go through the laborious process of printing screen images of each ballot during a recount. The Division of Elections then ruled that state law only requires a recount to determine voters' intent, and that it is impossible to question voter intent with touchscreen ballots.

Officials: Jewish extremists may crash plane on Temple Mount
By Jonathan Lis, Yuval Yoaz and Nadav Shragai

Temple Mount Activist Says Blowing Up Dome Of Rock Is 'Worthy Act'
By Arik Bender

US vulnerable to EMP attack
By Michael Sirak

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today released a tool to help state and local officials quickly locate alternate health care sites if hospitals are overwhelmed by patients due to a bioterrorism attack or other public health emergency. The alternate care site selection tool is being shared with emergency response planners at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. In the aftermath of a bioterrorist event or other public health emergency, hospitals may be overwhelmed by a sudden influx of patients. The new alternate care site selection tool is designed to allow regional planners to locate and rank potential alternative sites-stadiums, schools, recreation centers, motels, and other venues-based on whether they have adequate ventilation, plumbing, food supply, and kitchen facilities, for example.

Nanotechnology poses threat to health, say scientists
Ian Sample,12996,1272468,00.html

Synthesis marks prion disease breakthrough

July 18-24, 2004

The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on Thursday declaring that genocide is occurring in Sudan, which backers hope will pressure the international community to take action to protect Africans in the Darfur region from marauding Arab militias. The UN estimates up to 50,000 people have died in Darfur and about 1.2 million have been driven from their homes since a revolt against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum broke out among indigenous black African ethnic minorities in February 2003. The United States has circulated a U.N. resolution threatening sanctions against Sudan's government if Khartoum did not prosecute leaders of the "Janjaweed" Arab militias blamed for raping and murdering black Africans and sacking their villages. Khartoum, which warned the United States on Thursday not to interfere in its internal affairs, denies supporting the Janjaweed. But the United States says the Sudanese government has not met its pledge to protect displaced civilians, disarm militias, lift travel restrictions on aid workers and punish those responsible for atrocities.

By Angie Rodgers and Ed Lazere

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.

Army Inspector General Inspection Report on Detainee Operations
The U.S. military has found 94 cases of confirmed or alleged abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan since the fall of 2001, the Army's inspector general said Thursday in a long-awaited report made public at a hastily called Senate hearing.

The 9/11 Whitewash
Blaming No One

Citizens Against Government Waste Response to 9/11 Commission Report

Pentagon Faces Estimated $12B Shortfall
The Pentagon will need an additional $12.3 billion through September to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and its worldwide effort against terrorism, congressional auditors estimate. That is triple what Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, projected in April he would need to make it through September.

China Tells U.S. Not To Sell Arms To Taiwan
China told the top U.S. military officer in Asia on Friday that it resolutely opposed U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and that it would not allow the island to become independent under any circumstances.

Military contact with Taiwan must stop

Indonesia court says anti-terror law invalid
By Tim Johnston
Indonesia's constitutional court has thrown into doubt the convictions of more than 30 of the country's most notorious alleged terrorists, including the men who were found guilty of killing more than 200 people in the Bali nightclub bombing in 2002.

Germany to drop 9/11 plot charges
Evidence against only man jailed for terror attack 'weak'
by David Rose
German prosecutors are preparing to drop all the most serious charges against the only man convicted for the 11 September attacks, because they fear that crucial American evidence was obtained by torturing detainees.

Mi6 Boss 'Should Quit over Iraq Dossier'
By James Lyons
John Scarlett should go as head of MI6 for his part in intelligence failings on Iraq, a former spy chief suggested today. As Joint Intelligence Committee chairman, Mr Scarlett took ownership of the Government dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

UK Government Admits Hutton Cover-Up
By Colin Brown, Kim Sengupta and Andrew Grice
Downing Street admitted yesterday that MI6 embarked on an unprecedented cover-up after it withdrew intelligence supporting the Government's dossier on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction because it was unreliable.

Patriot Act Gives Bush Power to Cancel Elections

Cheney Lobbied Congress To Ease Sanctions Against Terrorist Countries While He Was CEO Of Halliburton
By Jason Leopold

Grand Jury Probes Cheney's Role In 'Illegal' Iran Trade
By Rupert Cornwell

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger repeatedly persuaded monitors assigned to watch him review top-secret documents to break the rules and leave him alone, sources said. Berger, accused of smuggling some of the secret files out of the National Archives, got the monitors out of the high-security room by telling them he had to make sensitive phone calls. Guards were convinced to violate their own rules by stepping out of the secure room as he looked over documents and allegedly stashed some in his clothing, sources said. "He was supposed to be monitored at all times but kept asking the monitor to leave so he could make private calls," a senior law enforcement source said. Berger also took "lots of bathroom breaks" that aroused some suspicion, the source added. It is standard procedure to constantly monitor anyone with a security clearance who examines the type of code-word classified files stored in the underground archives vault. The same archives monitors told the FBI Berger was observed stuffing his socks with handwritten notes about files he reviewed that were going to the Sept. 11 panel. It is prohibited to make notes about the secret files and leave with them without special approval.

On December 4, 1999, the National Security Council’s counterterrorism coordinator, Richard Clarke, sent Mr. Berger a memo suggesting a strike in the last week of 1999 against Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Reports the commission: “In the margin next to Clarke’s suggestion to attack Al Qaeda facilities in the week before January 1, 2000, Berger wrote, ‘no.’ ” According to the 911 commission report, Mr. Berger was presented with plans to take action against the threat of Al Qaeda four separate times — Spring 1998, June 1999, December 1999, and August 2000. Each time, Mr. Berger was an obstacle to action.

U.S. officials tell us that the FBI is focusing on a single document in its investigation of former White House National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger. Investigators are trying to determine why Mr. Berger improperly removed a highly classified after-action report by Richard A. Clarke, an aide to Mr. Berger, that was harshly critical of the Clinton administration's response to the so-called millennium terrorist plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport and other targets in late 1999.

Some view the leak about Berger as a political ploy to deflect attention from alleged security lapses by the Bush administration because it was made public when the independent 9-11 Commission released its final report.

Sandy Berger, former President Clinton's National Security Adviser, is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department after highly classified terrorism documents disappeared while he was reviewing what should be turned over to the Sept. 11 commission. Berger's home and office were searched earlier this year by FBI agents armed with warrants after the former Clinton adviser voluntarily returned some sensitive documents to the National Archives and admitted he also removed handwritten notes he had made while reviewing the sensitive documents. However, some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are still missing, officials and lawyers said. Berger served as Clinton's national security adviser for all of the president's second term. Clinton asked Berger last year to review and select the administration documents that would be turned over to the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The FBI searches of Berger's home and office occurred after National Archives employees told agents they believed they witnessed Berger place documents in his clothing while reviewing sensitive Clinton administration papers and that some documents were then noticed missing, officials said. When asked, Berger said he returned some classified documents that he found in his office and all of the handwritten notes he had taken from the secure room, but could not locate two or three copies of the highly classified millennium terror report. There are laws strictly governing the handling of classified information, including prohibiting unauthorized removal or release of such information. Government and congressional officials familiar with the investigation, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the probe involves classified materials, said the investigation remains active and no decision has been made on whether Berger should face criminal charges. The officials said the missing documents were highly classified, and included critical assessments about the Clinton administration's handling of the millennium terror threats as well as identification of America's terror vulnerabilities at airports to sea ports. In the FBI search of his office, Berger also was found in possession of a small number of classified note cards containing his handwritten notes from the Middle East peace talks during the 1990s, but those are not a focal point of the current criminal probe, according to officials and lawyers. Lanny Breuer, one of Berger's attorneys, said the Archives staff first raised concerns with Berger during an Oct. 2 review of documents that at least one copy of the post-millennium report he had reviewed earlier was missing. Berger was given a second copy that day, Breuer said. Officials familiar with the investigation said Archive staff specially marked the documents and when the new copy and others disappeared, Archive officials called Clinton attorney Bruce Lindsey to raise concerns. Breuer said Berger was allowed to take handwritten notes but also knew that taking his own notes out of the secure reading room was a ''technical violation of Archive procedures, but it is not all clear to us this represents a violation of the law.'' Justice officials have informed the Sept. 11 commission of the Berger incident and the nature of the documents in case commissioners had any concerns, officials said.

Ex-felons Face New Twist in Voting
By Debbie Cenziper and Jason Grotto

Video Shows 9/11 Hijackers' Security Check

'Hijacker Video' - No Time And Date Stamp

You've Been Framed:
Hezbollah and Three Alive 9/11 Hijackers

House Of Bush, House Of Saud
Extract From A New Book By Craig Unger On Ties Between Bush Family And Saudi Royals

Private contractors revamping IRS computers committed security violations that significantly increased the possibility that private taxpayer information might be disclosed, Treasury Department inspectors say. "They obviously do not have good systems in place to monitor the contractors today," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "This will result, for taxpayers, in very aggressive tactics by debt collectors." The employees' union obtained a copy of the report through the Freedom of Information Act. Portions identifying the contractor, its employees and IRS personnel practices were not shown. Treasury inspectors also found that after their auditors conducted the exam and the security violations became known, the IRS granted the contractor "root" access to the computer system. Root access gives a user permission to make unlimited and unrestricted changes to any part of the computer system, including the ability to turn off mechanisms that monitor users' actions. The inspector general reviewed four contracts last year in which contractors had access to critical equipment and systems. The IRS has over 900 contracts with private companies and consultants. The inspectors raised additional concerns:
- Unauthorized chat and instant messaging activity left the IRS vulnerable to hackers who use those avenues to get information about an organization's internal computer architecture.
- Contractors' computers were vulnerable to hackers and viruses because they did not have security patches for known vulnerabilities in operating software.
- Some computers used by contractors were too old to support a secure operating system, and the IRS did not have enough money to replace them.

FBI agents combed laboratory suites at Fort Detrick - home to the Army's biological warfare defense program - on Tuesday, and a source said they were again looking for evidence in the 2001 anthrax attacks. The labs at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have been closed since Friday, Fort Detrick spokesman Charles Dasey said. A law-enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity said the activity is related to the anthrax mailings that killed five people and sickened 17 in autumn 2001. FBI agents have frequently visited Fort Detrick since the unsolved attacks, amid speculation that the deadly spores or the person who sent them may be connected to Fort Detrick. Dasey said he didn't know which labs were involved, what sort of research had been conducted there or how long they would be closed. Debra Weierman, spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office, said the lab probe was part of ''an ongoing criminal investigation.'' She said could not discuss details of the activity. Much of the speculation about a Fort Detrick connection has centered on Dr. Stephen J. Hatfill, a former government scientist and bioweapons expert who once worked at the infectious disease institute at Fort Detrick. The FBI has labeled Hatfill a ''person of interest'' in the case. Hatfill has denied any role in the attacks. He has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington contending the government invaded his privacy and ruined his reputation by leaking information to the media implicating him in the attacks. His lawsuit seeks to clear his name and recover unspecified monetary damages. His lawyer, Victor M. Glasberg, had no comment Tuesday.

U.S. Army Asking Guardsmen to Stay Longer in Iraq
By Will Dunham

War call-up cuts US ability to fight disasters
by Julian Borger
America's state governors have complained to the Bush administration that the high number of national guard volunteers serving in Iraq has hobbled their ability to fight wildfires or other disasters...,7369,1265624,00.html

Man Sought for Photographing Texas City Refineries
Jul 19, 2:57 PM (ET)
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials said on Monday they are looking for a man seen taking
pictures of two refineries in Texas City, Texas.
Texas City, located on the Texas Gulf coast about 30 miles south of Houston, has three refineries including
the largest U.S. plant operated by BP Plc., which is the third-largest U.S. refinery, processing 470,000 barrels
of crude oil per day.
The man, described as white with dark hair, was seen taking pictures outside the refineries, all located on the
same highway, at about 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday, said Bruce Clawson, emergency management and homeland
security director for Texas City.
While it is not illegal to take pictures of a refinery from a highway or street, officials would like to talk to the
man to find out his reason for taking the photographs.
"This is based on the idea that al Qaeda does its homework," Clawson said. "That's not to say we don't have
enough home-grown idiots already who might want to do something."
The man was seen driving a white van.
Valero Energy Corp. operates a 243,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Texas City. Marathon Ashland
Petroleum LLC, a joint venture between Marathon Oil Corp., and Ashland Inc., operates a 76,000 bpd refinery
in Texas City.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has repeatedly warned refiners that they are possible targets for
would-be terrorists. U.S. refinery security officials say their security guards regularly report people observing
or taking pictures of refineries.
During the Independence Day holiday, ExxonMobil Corp. tightened security at the largest U.S. refinery, the
538,000 bpd plant in Baytown, Texas, 30 miles east of Houston, because of general warnings about possible
terrorist activity.

California Death Shows Dramatic March Of West Nile
By Dan Whitcomb
West Nile virus has claimed its first death in California, evidence of the disease's unrelenting march across America since entering the country through New York City five years ago.

New Study Reveals Gaping Holes in Mad Cow 'Firewall'

July 11-17, 2004

The FBI is cautioning local authorities the al-Qaida terror network may be recruiting non-Arabs less likely to attract notice as they carry out attacks in the United States. Al-Qaida especially wants operatives who have American citizenship or legal residency status, the FBI's counterterrorism division said in its weekly bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. "Finding operatives with U.S. status would greatly facilitate al-Qaida's ability to carry out an attack within the United States," said the bulletin. Using non-Arabs might make it easier for al-Qaida to circumvent security measures in Europe and the United States, the bulletin said. Of special concern are people with ties to Islamic extremist groups in North Africa and parts of Asia outside the Middle East. Still, the FBI said, almost all al-Qaida operatives in the past have traveled at least once to South Asia, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan, for "consultation and training." Because of its hardline Muslim views, al-Qaida favors using male operatives between the ages of 18 and 35 in its attacks, the FBI said. But women could also be recruited, especially from areas considered more liberal on the subject such as North and East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, the FBI notice said. Despite its warning about non-Middle Easterners, the bulletin said police and security personnel should not discount the possibility that Arabs could still be used in a U.S. attack, particularly if they are already in the United States.

FBI agents are interrogating Muslim and Arab Americans across the United States, asking them if they knew anyone who has recently visited Pakistan or Syria. US intelligence officials have identified Waziristan and Syria's Abu Nour Madressah as the two places where some of the terrorists might have trained. A San Francisco lawyer, who accompanied a Turkish immigrant to an interview this week, said that the FBI agents were looking for some recent converts to Islam while a Washington-based Muslim lawyer was questioned about various Muslim organizations and charities. In St Louis, a graduate student of Iranian descent was asked about Iranian groups based in the Middle East and in the US and whether he knew people who had been in contact with the Iranian Mission to the United Nations. A student at the Arizona State University, was asked whether he knew anyone who had recently returned from Pakistan, anyone who had shown interest in a government building or agency or anyone who had shown extreme hostility toward Americans. Others were also asked broad questions, such as their opinion of the US invasion of Iraq or of the Syrian government.

It's no surprise to hear that industry groups, particularly the oil and gas industries, spend a portion of their income lobbying. A report from the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit group, seeks to reveal exactly how much government influence this money is buying. The report POLITICS OF OIL, released on July 15, 2004, is an international investigation of one of the world's richest industries and how it influences government and public policy around the world.

July 17, 2004, 12:19AM
Oil futures bustle past $41 a barrel
Reuters News Service
NEW YORK - U.S. oil prices climbed to a new six-week high
Friday and closed above $41 a barrel as a falling dollar and concerns
over stretched global supplies spurred a new wave of speculative
buying, traders said.
News of OPEC pumping at its highest rate in a quarter of a century
made only a minor dent in gains, as big-money funds were seen
moving back into long positions that had been liquidated over the last
month and a half.

Iran Threatens the West

9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran,8599,664967,00.html

Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Defense

Identity Theft Sentencing Law
The law is meant to take away judges' ability to give probation, reduced sentences or concurrent sentences for identity theft linked to felony crimes. It was approved with bipartisan support. Lawmakers said prosecutors needed better tools to punish identity theft, especially when it is used to commit terrorist acts. The recently signed Fair and Accurate Transactions Act establishes a national system of fraud detection so victims can alert all three major credit rating agencies with a single phone call.

TWA 800: Wreckage Missing, Cases Pending, Eight Years Later

Feds knew about 9-11 bribery conspiracy before attacks
by Tom Flocco

Demand for Paper Trail Escalates
By Kim Zetter
Paper has become a big issue in the controversy over electronic voting machines. So activists in 19 states dumped a lot of it on election officials Tuesday as they delivered petitions bearing 350,000 signatures asking officials to mandate voter-verified paper audit trails for touch-screen voting machines in their states. The Computer Ate My Vote campaign, led by MoveOn, TrueMajority and six other organizations, urged secretaries of state to follow California's lead and adopt measures for improving the integrity of elections this November. They also wanted to rally support for federal legislation that would require a paper trail on voting machines nationwide, which has been stalled in Congress for more than a year.,2645,64205,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_4

George W. Bush - Presidential Or Pathological?
By Arianna Huffington

Bush Administration "Guidelines" for Postponing or Canceling the November Presidential Elections
by Michel Chossudovsky

Commentary: Is Bush the Antichrist?
Using the name of Christ yet being the enemy of Christ, the Antichrist is a threat to every civilization and every person. Could George Bush be the Antichrist?
By Mike Moore

Terror in the Skies Again?

Mystery blackout at Boston's Logan Airport
Backup electrical systems failed to kick in

Deeper Discrepancies Emerge In Spain Bomb Inquiry

A CIA official who claims in a book that the West is losing the war on terror said in an interview Tuesday night that the war in Iraq was actually helping al-Qaida. The 23-year veteran of the CIA, who also has spoken with the U.S. media, is releasing the book anonymously and has not identified himself. "Iraq was a gift of epic proportions to Osama bin Laden and those who think like him," the man said, his face hidden during the interview on the British Broadcasting Corp. "Newsnight" show. The book, "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror," is to be released next month in the United States. In the BBC interview the official dismisses two arguments that have been made by the Bush administration: that bin Laden and al-Qaeda are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer. Criticizing the intelligence information used about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction before the war, the CIA official said: "Currently, we're in a lose-lose situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we stay, we bleed. If we go, the problem festers even worse." He urged the United States to debate its policies in the Middle East, including its support for countries such as oil giant Saudi Arabia and its unqualified support for Israel. "I think before you draft a policy to defeat bin Laden you have to understand that our policies are what drives him and those who follow him," the official told BBC. Asked about the recent report of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Iraq, he said: "If the message about the nature of the evidence was not given to the president, then it's not a question of bad analysis it's a question of bad management."

Spy chiefs 'withdrew' Saddam arms claim
Gaby Hinsliff and Antony Barnett
Tony Blair's claim that Saddam Hussein posed a 'current and
serious' threat to Britain is challenged by dramatic new
allegations today that Britain's spy chiefs have retracted the
intelligence on which it was based.,14750,1258812,00.html

24 US Troops Killed In Iraq In Past Week

Green Light On Terror Vaccines

UW Bends Safety In 1918 Flu Experiments Lab Bioresearch Error May Cause Next Pandemic
From Patricia Doyle, PhD

CJD/Mad Cow Deaths Not Reportable In 28 States
From Patricia Doyle, PhD

USDA Probe Finds Big Holes in U.S. Mad Cow Testing
By Randy Fabi

Groups Blast Delay of FDA Mad Cow Rules Consumer Groups Criticize FDA Delay in Livestock Feed Restrictions to Prevent Mad Cow

The Associated Press asked a federal judge Friday to order the Pentagon to quickly turn over a full copy of President Bush's military service record. The White House has released partial documentation of Bush's military service in the Texas Air National Guard but has not complied with the news service's Freedom of Information Act request for any record archived at a state library records center in Texas, the AP said in a court filing. Records released so far do not put to rest questions over whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard service for a period during the Vietnam War, the AP argued in papers filed in federal court in New York. Those records came from federal records clearinghouses. Texas law requires separate record keeping for state National Guard service, and those records should exist on microfilm in Austin, the AP said. "A significant, ongoing controversy exists over the president's military service during the Vietnam War, specifically whether he performed his required service between May and October 1972," lawyers for the AP wrote. There also are allegations that potentially embarrassing material was removed from Bush's military file in 1997, when he was running for re-election as Texas governor, the AP said. The news service asked U.S. District Judge Harold Baer to hear arguments in the case and to direct the Pentagon to comply with the FOIA request within three days. AP first sought the Texas records in March, and sued the Pentagon in June for not moving more quickly to supply the information. The administration has said that military payroll records that could more fully document Bush's whereabouts during his service in the Texas Air National Guard were inadvertently destroyed. Microfilm containing the pertinent National Guard payroll records was damaged and could not be salvaged, according to the administration.

US report gives Bush a breathing space
Julian Borger
Yesterday's Senate report on the intelligence failures that helped
speed the march to war in Iraq was in many ways a political
coup for the Republican party, that defused a potentially
dangerous landmine between President Bush and re-election in

Destroying Democracy
by Joel Barkin

Russians dash for their cash amid fears of a new banking collapse
By Andrew Osborn

A bioterrorism expert who was named by government authorities as a "person of interest" in the 2001 anthrax attacks has sued The New York Times, saying the newspaper ruined his reputation by pointing to him as the culprit. Steven J. Hatfill filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. He charged that a series of columns by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof was irresponsible by failing to seek, or rejecting, statements of denials from Hatfill. In several columns in 2002, Kristof faulted the FBI for not actively investigating a scientist he identified as "Mr. Z." Descriptions of the "Mr. Z" were detailed enough that readers could recognize him as Hatfill and subsequent columns later identified him, the complaint states. "It was inconsequential to defendant Kristof whether it turned out that his designated culprit was guilty or innocent, how reckless his allegations and insinuations were, or how injurious they were to his victim," the lawsuit alleges. "What was at issue ... was to help 'light a fire' under the federal investigators." The lawsuit said the newspaper declined to print a letter to the editor and an op-ed article from Hatfill's lawyer, Victor Glasberg, that responded to the charges, according to the complaint. A Times spokesman, Toby Usnik, said the lawsuit lacked merit. He noted that Hatfill had already been identified by government authorities as a "person of interest" by the time Kristof's columns ran. "While encouraging the FBI to investigate the matter, Mr. Kristof was careful to note that Dr. Hatfill was presumed to be innocent," Usnik said. "We believe in a case like this, the law protects fair commentary on an important public issue." Hatfill also has a lawsuit pending against Attorney General John Ashcroft and other government authorities who named him as a "person of interest." U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington is expected to rule soon on a government request to have that lawsuit dismissed.

Al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah could try to launch biological or chemical attacks against US allies and secular Muslim governments in Asia using widely available materials, security experts warned. Jemaah Islamiyah is believed to be exploiting anti-western sentiment over Iraq to recruit new members and raise funds that could be used obtain or develop such weapons, top Japanese security official Shinsuke Shimizu told a conference on terrorism in Kuala Lumpur. There are several warning signs that terrorists could be planning biological or chemical attacks in Asia, said Shimizu, the director for international counterterrorism co-operation at Japan's Foreign Ministry. The most realistic threat comes from al-Qaida and its associate groups. Warning signs include the discovery last October 2003 of manuals on bioterrorism at a Jemaah Islamiyah hideout in the southern Philippines, and the arrest in June 2003 of a man who tried to sell cesium 137 - a radioactive material used in industry that could be used to make so-called dirty bombs. Zainal Abidin Zain, the director-general of the US-backed Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counterterrorism, said terrorists may try to adapt chemicals that are widely available commercially for use in weapons. Deadly chemical agents, including various insecticides, industrial chemicals and potent toxins are relatively easy to produce or acquire, he said. Also, It is possible to harvest deadly pathogens from nature with unsophisticated equipment and limited expertise. The probability of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorist attacks cannot be overlooked, said Zain.


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