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Reports and Issue Briefs
TRACKING THE NUCLEAR
By Gordon Thomas
more on Nuclear Bombs
Dayton Defends Capitol Hill Office Closure
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
WASHINGTON - Sen. Mark Dayton on
Wednesday defended his much-maligned decision to close his
Washington office until Election Day, saying several pieces of
intelligence led him to believe the Capitol was at risk of an attack.
Dayton, D-Minn., said he made his decision
based on a top-secret intelligence report
presented by Majority Leader Bill Frist,
R-Tenn., coupled with the Sept. 11
commission's conclusion that one of the
planes hijacked Sept. 11, 2001, was heading
for the Capitol.
"We know that al-Qaida has a history of going
back to targets it was unsuccessful in
destroying," Dayton said in a telephone
interview Wednesday evening. Law enforcement agencies have said
there is no new intelligence indicating the Capitol is a target.
Dayton also said Senate Sergeant at Arms Bill Pickle called the
intelligence report, which was presented two weeks ago, the most
"declarative statement" in his career.
Sen. Shuts Office
WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2004
Sen. Mark Dayton said he could not describe the contents of the top-secret
intelligence report, which was presented to senators at a briefing two
Dayton said, "I wouldn't advise them to come to Capitol Hill. I would not bring my
two sons to the capitol between now and the election."
Oct 19, 2004
Saboteurs Hit Pipeline in Northern Iraq
KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) -- Saboteurs attacked a key oil pipeline in northern Iraq,
setting it on fire, police said Tuesday.
The pipeline, which connects the Beiji oil refinery with Turkey, was hit with
explosives late Monday, said a Beiji police officer on condition of anonymity.
Lawmakers request CIA's 9/11
Wed Oct 20, 2004
Top Stories - Chicago Tribune
By Greg Miller Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
The ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee have asked
the CIA (news - web sites) to turn over an internal report on whether
agency employees should be held accountable for intelligence failures
leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, congressional officials said Tuesday.
The CIA so far hasn't responded to the
request, raising concerns among some
Democrats in Congress that the report is
being withheld to avoid political
embarrassment for the Bush administration
in the final weeks before the presidential
The report was drafted in response to a
demand from Congress nearly two years
ago for the CIA to conduct an inquiry into
the performance of agency personnel before
the attacks. In particular, the agency was
asked "to determine whether and to what
extent personnel at all levels should be held
accountable" for intelligence breakdowns
catalogued in a joint congressional
investigation of Sept. 11, 2001.
To date, no CIA employee has faced any
disciplinary measures in connection with Sept. 11.
A U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday that the document has not been
provided to Congress because it is not yet complete. "The report is just
a draft," said the official, who requested anonymity. "It's not yet finished
and the matter is still under review." The official wouldn't elaborate or
discuss the contents of the report.
Congressional officials said mounting frustration with the agency
prompted the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Pete
Hoekstra (R-Mich.), and the ranking Democrat, Jane Harman of
California, to send a letter to the CIA two weeks ago directing the
agency to deliver the report.
The 9/11 Secret in the
CIA's Back Pocket
By Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times
Tuesday 19 October 2004
The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior officials.
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election,
and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was
completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that
mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a
satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report
told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it
makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the
government responsible afterward."
In Chaos - Flu Jab Lines Grow
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
While many Americans search in vain for flu shots, members and employees of Congress are able to obtain them quickly and at no charge from the Capitol's attending physician, who has urged all 535 lawmakers to get the vaccines even if they are young and healthy.
Feds Mum on Pre-Election
Tue Oct 19, 2004
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - FBI, Justice Department
and Homeland Security Department officials aren't talking
much about the threat of a terrorist attack to disrupt the election in two
It hasn't gone away; they're just wary of saying anything in public that
could prompt Democrats to charge the administration is playing up a
terror threat to frighten voters.
It was far different in the months and weeks before the political
conventions in July and August. Attorney General John Ashcroft,
FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security
Secretary Tom Ridge all openly discussed the seriousness of the threat.
By all accounts, many hundreds of law enforcement agents are working
around the clock to prevent al-Qaida from pulling off the major attack that
intelligence suggests the terror network wants to carry out before the
Nov. 2 election.
But Ashcroft, Mueller and Ridge have been largely silent of late about a
pre-election threat, and there has been no change in the nation's
color-coded threat level, which remains at the midpoint of yellow, or
Ashcroft has appeared several times in public in the past two weeks,
mainly to talk about theft of intellectual property like movies and music.
Mueller has kept a very low profile and made clear at headquarters that
he wants the bureau kept out of the news. Ridge has kept public
comments at a minimum.
U.S. general suggests Bin Laden is alive
WASHINGTON (AP) The top American commander in
Afghanistan said Tuesday he has no evidence Osama bin
Laden is in day-to-day control of al-Qaeda but suggested the
long-absent terrorist leader is alive.
Lt. Gen. David Barno, speaking to reporters during a visit to
the Pentagon, talked mostly of a lack of evidence about bin
Laden's whereabouts, health and current role in the al-Qaeda
network. He remains, however, a critical target, Barno said.
Still, "I don't see any indications that he is in day-to-day
command and control, as it were, of the al-Qaeda organization
or the other terrorist groups that work with him, certainly in
the Afghanistan-Pakistan area," Barno said.
Barno suggested that bin Laden's death would be difficult to
conceal from intelligence services, even if he died in a secret
place, because his associates would talk about it. Recent
communications from al-Qaeda's top echelon have come from
bin Laden's chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, as videotaped
Monday October 18, 2004
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Duval County Supervisor of
Elections John Stafford resigned Monday.
The office has been criticized recently because it set up only
one site where early ballots can be cast.
In the 2000 presidential election, 27,000 votes were tossed
because of misleading instructions on a punch-card ballot. On
the presidential ballot, voters were told to choose one person on
every page. The presidential ballot, however, took two pages. If a
voter followed instructions, the vote was tossed out as an
Japanese official says
North Korea holds nuclear weapons: report
TOKYO, Oct 17 (AFP) - North Korea has already
completed the development of plutonium-based nuclear
weapons with the help of Pakistan, a senior Japanese
official said in comments published Sunday.
The remarks by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki
Hosoda represent the first time a Japanese official has
confirmed North Korea's claim to have manufactured
nuclear weapons, the Sankei Shimbun said.
"North Korea is near finalising development of nuclear
weapons," Hosoda told a ruling party meeting in the
western town of Shimane on Saturday, the Sankei said.
Pyongyang has not finished developing uranium-based
nuclear weapons, but has completed the development of a
plutonium bomb similar to the one dropped by the United
States on Nagasaki at the end of World War II, Hosoda
"It is urgent to make (North Korea) abandon them,"
Hosoda said, without giving any evidence to back up his
Hosoda said North Korea and Pakistan had cooperated in
the manufacture of nuclear weapons. "It is disgraceful,"
Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan publicly
confessed in February to leaking nuclear secrets to Iran,
Libya and North Korea.
Pakistan has refused to allow he International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's atomic watchdog, to
interview Khan to discuss the international nuclear black
market he used to run.
A North Korean foreign ministry spokemsan said last
month the Stalinist state would never dismantle its nuclear
weapons unless the United States drops its "hostile policy"
towards the country.
Six-nation talks aimed at convincing North Korea to give
up its nuclear weapons programs have failed to make
concrete progress so far.
Secrets of the Saudi Royal
Critics Call Saudi Rule Hypocritical and Corrupt
Prince Nayef bin Fawwaz Al Shalaan is under indictment by U.S. authorities for drug trafficking. (ABC News)
By BRIAN ROSS and JILL RACKMILL
US admits its borders are
not 'dirty bomb' proof
The US government has admitted its network of border radiation detectors designed to
prevent the smuggling of a "dirty bomb" could be fooled, in a conclusion that lends
credence to charges voiced by Democrat John Kerry during the presidential campaign.
The Department of Homeland Security said, in a report by its inspector general, that the
performance of its detection equipment installed at ports and border crossings "is
reduced by certain factors."
"The analysis described the distances beyond which the detection equipment would no
longer detect the radiation source," Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin said in a
thoroughly sanitized report, an unclassified version of which was released Thursday.
Specific findings about the system's flaws will remain secret to avoid tipping off
potential terrorists, officials said.
The investigation was launched at the request of two high-level congressional
Democrats, John Dingell of Michigan and Jim Turner of Texas, alarmed by recent
media reports indicating that despite all efforts by the administration of President
George W. Bush to shore up border security, the nation's borders remain porous -- even
to smuggled nuclear devices.
The outcry first erupted two years ago, when ABC News managed to successfully
bring into the country nearly seven kilograms (15 pounds) of depleted uranium in a
The uranium, purchased in the former Soviet Union and stashed in a cylinder shielded
with lead, was first brought by train to Austria, then shipped to Istanbul, Turkey, where
it was loaded onto a US-bound cargo ship and successfully made it to its destination.
According to the report, the US Customs Service failed to detect the radioactive
material despite the fact that the crate, in which it was traveling, was classified as a
The department did not explain the reasons for the failure, but pointed out that the
uranium was placed in the middle of a large container filled with huge vases and Turkish
The sting operation was repeated in August 2003, when ABC News placed a similar
uranium-filled cylinder into a teak trunk and sent it to the United States from Jakarta,
Indonesia, in a container full of furniture.
As it the first case, the uranium arrived undetected.
In a subdued tone, the report accepted the department's responsibility, saying "the
protocols and procedures that ... officials followed, at the time of the two smuggling
incidents, were not adequate to detect the depleted uranium."
The inspector general assured that technological and procedural improvements have
since been made.
But Congressman Turner, the ranking member of the House homeland security
committee, remained skeptical.
"It is hard to see how the government can reassure anyone based on the inspector
general's report," he told the television network. "The sad state of affairs is that three
years after 9/11 it still seems possible to get nuclear material into this country."
With homeland security topping this year's election agenda, Kerry, the Democratic
presidential nominee, has repeatedly complained that nearly seven million cargo
containers arrive in US ports each year, but only five percent of them are physically
"We will reduce the spread of nuclear and biological and chemical weapons and better
guard our ports," the Massachusetts senator said in one of his stump speeches.
Crude oil futures hit a record high of $55.33 a barrel on Oct. 18, 2004.
Iraq's most wanted Zarqawi
pledges allegiance to bin Laden
Sun Oct 17, 2004
DUBAI (AFP) - The Tawhid wal Jihad group of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi,
the most wanted man in Iraq, pledged allegiance to
Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, in a statement
posted on on Islamist website.
"We announce that Al-Tawhid wal Jihad (Unity
and Holy War), its emir (Zarqawi) and soldiers
have pledged allegiance to the mujahedeen
(Islamic warrior) Osama bin Laden," said the
It was the first such public pledge by the
group which is led by Zarqawi, whom the
United States has branded the chief operative
in Iraq of Al-Qaeda, which carried out the September 11, 2001 anti-US
However, the authenticity of the statement could not be verified.
Zarqawi, who like bin Laden has a 25-million-dollar US bounty on his
head, has claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks in Iraq,
including kidnapping and beheading of hostages.
"Sheikh Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi was in contact with the brothers within
Al-Qaeda for eight months. They exchanged points of view and then
there was a cut due to fate," the statement read.
"Suddenly contacts were restored.
"Our brothers in Al-Qaeda understood the strategy of Al-Tawhid wal
Jihad group in the Land of the Two Rivers (Euphrates and Tigris) and
were satisfied with our line," said the statement dated October 17.
"With the start of Ramadan, the month of victories and a time when
Muslims need more than ever to close ranks, to gouge out the eyes of
the enemies of Islam ..., we announce this good news to our nation, to
the joy of Muslims."
But in a separate statement also posted on the Internet and attributed to
Zarqawi's group, it said one of its leaders, Abu Hafs Allibi, had "fallen in
combat alongside the heroes" of the Iraqi rebel stronghold of Fallujah.
He headed the group's Islamic sharia law committee, it said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has ordered residents of the town of
Fallujah in western Iraq to surrender Zarqawi and his supporters or face
invasion by US-led forces.
On Sunday, US forces and insurgents battled around Fallujah, trading
fire on the outskirts of the town as US aircraft pounded rebel positions.
L.A. hit hard by West Nile
By Troy Anderson
"It's the new polio," said James J. Rahal, a professor at the Cornell University Weill College of Medicine in New York. "It's a devastating complication. The West Nile virus can cause the same paralysis and pathology as polio."
Oct. 16, 2004
Terror center struggles with shortcomings
KATHERINE PFLEGER SHRADER
WASHINGTON - If information is power, few in the U.S. government have more than John Brennan.
He sits at the nerve center of the country's 18-month-old terrorism analysis center, called the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which can peer into 26 government computer networks to assess data on international terror threats.
But what Brennan still cannot do is a clear sign of how far the federal government has to go.
And Congress is getting impatient.
Under his desk at the center's headquarters, Brennan can press buttons to toggle between computer networks that were once off-limits to people who didn't work for those agencies - networks for the CIA, the FBI, the Defense Department, the National Security Agency and more.
But he still can't run one single search simultaneously through all federal counterterror computer networks to pull together all the information about a certain terrorist group or operative.
That, he says, would be truly revolutionary.
"If you are able to touch that data all at one time, you can create new knowledge by pulling in things that have a relationship that you didn't know existed otherwise," said Brennan, a 23-year CIA veteran and Middle East expert.
In what's become a refrain since the Sept. 11 attacks, Brennan added, "You really have to try to connect the dots."
In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the formation of TTIC, (pronounced Tee-Tick), to bring together employees from the FBI, CIA Defense Department and elsewhere to "merge and analyze all threat information in a single location." Today, the center has several hundred employees.
But some in Congress wonder why the agency hasn't yet linked all the computer systems.
"Can you for a moment understand my frustration?" Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., recently asked Brennan at a congressional hearing. "It's three years after 9/11. This is not a new idea or concept - that we would create this (computer) architecture. And here we are, three years later, almost three years later, saying, 'Boy, we're going to have to do this soon, aren't we?' What has stopped us?"
Brennan said the center is trying to bring disparate computer systems together.
"The bumper-sticker comments about we're not sharing information don't take into account the complexity of the issue," he said.
By later this fall, Brennan and Spalding said, officials at the terror integration center also will have a new capability: They'll be able to conduct searches against six separate databases on two different networks belonging to the CIA and Defense Department, with more databases to come.
That, Brennan says, is a big deal.
But Spalding cautioned: "As far as really getting to the point where (Brennan) doesn't need to toggle under the desk, that is going to be a government-wide breakthrough to make that happen."
Oct 16, 2004
Report: Bush ignored advice to'pull the plug' on voter purge
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Jeb Bush ignored advice to "pull the
plug" on a flawed felon voter list before it went out to county election offices
in spite of a warning from leery state officials, according to a published report
Computer experts in the Department of State and Florida Department of
Law Enforcement were concerned about the software program that matched
data on felons with voter registration rolls to create the purge list of 48,000
names, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
Jeff Long, a computer expert with the FDLE, told his supervisor in a May 4
e-mail that Paul Craft, the Department of State's point man on the purge list,
had recommended it be scrapped.
"The Gov rejected their suggestion to pull the plug, so they're 'going live' with
it this weekend," Long wrote in an e-mail obtained by the newspaper after a
public records request.
Two months later, Secretary of State Glenda
Hood junked the database after acknowledging 2,500 ex-felons on the list
had their voting rights restored through the state's clemency process. Most
were Democrats, and many were black. Hispanics, who often vote
Republican in Florida, were almost entirely absent from the list due to a
technical error when the two state databases were merged.
Florida is one of only a handful of states that do not automatically restore
voting rights to convicted felons when they complete their sentence. The
purge by election officials has been a hot-button issue since the 2000
presidential election when many citizens discovered at the polls they weren't
allowed to vote.
Bush told the newspaper Friday that he was never warned about any
problems before the list was released.
Bush spokeswoman Jill Bratina said Saturday that the allegation that Bush
ignored warnings was "absolutely false."
"It's also irrelevant because the list isn't being used," Bratina added.
Alia Faraj, a spokeswoman for Hood, said Craft never made
recommendations to Bush about the purge list. She added that Long's e-mail
dealt with "a specific component with the central voter database that had
nothing to do with the reliability of the original data source."
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Florida chairman of John Kerry's presidential
campaign, said the report shows how far Bush is willing to go to ensure his
"Early voting starts in Florida on Monday," the Miami Democrat said in a
statement Saturday. "By the time the polls open, Jeb Bush and the Bush
campaign need to come clean about their involvement in this sad spectacle."
U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., and the voter-rights organization People
For the American Way Foundation both said Long's message proves Bush
had ties to the flawed effort to purge felons.
"It's the smoking e-mail," American Way president Ralph G. Neas said in a
statement. Neas is asking U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to
Fla. Has New Rule on Touch-Screen
By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida set new guidelines for recounting touch-screen ballots in close elections, but voter-rights groups said the court-ordered decision doesn't go nearly far enough to ensure a fair election.
Under the new rules, if a recount is needed, election officials must review a printout from each voting machine to count the so-called undervotes, or ballots on which no candidate was chosen. The equipment will be checked for problems if the number doesn't match the undervote totals given by the machine.
If the discrepancy remains, officials will rely on the original machine count.
State law requires a manual recount if the election is decided by less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the vote, as it was in the 2000 contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Secretary of State Glenda Hood had issued a rule barring manual recounts for touch-screen votes, but a judge in August ruled the manual-recount law applies no matter what voting technology is used.
Hood's office released the new recount rules late Friday, 18 days before the Nov. 2 presidential election. Voter activists complained that their proposal was ignored.
A coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union, Florida Common Cause, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the American Way Foundation wanted touch-screen voters to have the option of using a paper ballot. They also wanted to create a process to make sure all votes cast match the number of people who voted, and to have a federal court oversee a recount if one were necessary.
"It seems like every time they have a decision to make, somehow they find a way not to come down on the side of voters or the side of protecting the right to vote," said Howard Simon, executive director for the ACLU in Florida.
More than half of Florida's 9.8 million registered voters are in the 15 counties that use touch-screen machines. The rest use optical scan ballots.
The state did not take up the suggestion of providing the paper ballot option, saying it didn't make logistical sense. It also did not agree to give up oversight of a recount.
Meanwhile, in West Palm Beach, election officials counted every ballot cast on electronic voting machines in a test postponed by computer trouble Tuesday.
"This shows we are ready for an election in Palm Beach County," said Theresa LePore, the county's election supervisor.
Critics said the computer trouble shows why a paper trail is needed for touch-screen machines. They say there is no way to verify touch-screen votes and question whether undervotes are the result of a deliberate choice by the voter or the machine simply losing the vote.
Also Friday, U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King of Miami urged quick work in a lawsuit against Florida's largest counties over the rejection of more than 10,000 voter registration forms that officials say were improperly filled out.
The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of unions, challenges state rules that let counties disqualify people who provided a signature affirming their eligibility to vote but failed to list an identification number, such as from a driver's license, or failed to check boxes affirming they were citizens, were mentally competent and were not felons.
The lawsuit alleges the practice disproportionately affects minorities. Nearly 45 percent of the challenged forms in one county, Duval, came from blacks.
Al Qaeda using militants
Sat October 16, 2004
By Amir Zia
KARACHI (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda appears to
be using established militant groups and small cells for bloody
attacks in Pakistan aimed at destabilising President Pervez
Musharraf and thus the wider war on terror, analysts say.
In the past month, Pakistan has been rocked by a fresh wave of
bombings of majority Sunni and minority Shi'ite Muslim gatherings
that have killed nearly 80 people.
It has also seen its ties with its closest ally China tested by the
kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in a tribal region bordering
Afghanistan in which one of the foreign hostages died.
Diplomats and other analysts believe al Qaeda cells are using
Pakistan as a key battleground in its broader war against the
United States and are exploiting long-standing enmity between
Sunni and Shi'ite extremists to further this aim.
They say the government's failure to crack down on groups it has
used for years as tools of policy in the divided Kashmir region and
in Afghanistan has played into al Qaeda's hands.
Foreign militants have given a dangerous dimension to a sectarian
rivalry that dates back to late 1970s military ruler Zia-ul-Haq, who
nurtured Islamic groups to marginalise mainstream politicians and
advance foreign policy objectives.
Mutahir Ahmed, a professor at the University of Karachi, said
local militants had become more sophisticated and professional.
"In the past, for example, there was no trend of suicide attacks and
such kind of sophisticated bombings in Pakistan," he said. "This
shows al Qaeda's involvement.
The government and some analysts argue that the recent spike in
attacks is a result of government pressure on militants, including the
killing last month of Amjad Farooqi, whom it described as a key
link between local militants and al Qaeda.
"Their important people are being killed or arrested," Information
Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told Reuters. "They are panicky.
They are hitting back in desperation."
Analysts agreed with the minister's view that mainly Sunni al Qaeda
was masterminding attacks in Pakistan, but doubted it was striking
back in desperation.
"There's no doubt that they have been hit hard," an
Islamabad-based diplomat said of al Qaeda.
GOVERNMENT CLAIM DOUBTED
"But I don't buy the line that because they have so much success,
this is just the last fling of a few desperate people.
"What the recent violence suggests is that there is a big enough
pool of people out there and they are well enough trained and they
are well enough equipped."
Security officials say militants from outlawed Sunni sectarian
groups like Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and its splinter group
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were the closest allies of al Qaeda.
But they say many members of other mainstream religious parties,
fired by religious passion since the United States ousted the
Taliban in Afghanistan, then invaded Iraq, have also joined al
Qaeda-linked cells to carry out terror assaults.
After Musharraf joined the U.S.-led war on terror he announced a
ban on several militant groups, but some simply began working
openly under new names, while others went underground.
The government has also failed to follow through on its vow to
reform Islamic schools that are militant recruiting grounds.
Diplomats say the government appears reluctant to act because it
feels it still needs the militants for their original purpose -- to
advance policy aims, particularly against nuclear-armed rival India
in the divided Himalayan state of Kashmir.
Pakistan rejects Indian charges that it has continued to assist
guerrillas conducting a bloody war in Kashmir, but diplomats say
that, even if it had stopped doing so, it did not yet feel ready to cut
the militants completely adrift.
In the meantime, seeing Musharraf's peace moves with India and
role in the war on terror as a threat to their existence, the militants
have been doing all they can to end his rule.
Having twice failed to assassinate Musharraf in December and
once to kill Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in July, the militants had
turned to soft targets like Shi'ite mosques to fuel destabilisation
through sectarian violence, a diplomat said.
Some go so far as to suggest that to achieve their aims, al Qaeda
cells may have been willing to attack their own and carry out
bombings like that in Multan on Oct. 7. It killed 42 Sunni militants
and bore few similarities to past Shi'ite attacks.
"For once, I might go along the lines of conspiracy theorists who
say this isn't straightforward sectarianism, that there's an element of
the destabilisation factor," a diplomat said.
So far, analysts say, the attacks have done little more than pour
scorn on Musharraf's efforts to hold up Pakistan as an example of
enlightened, moderate Islam, but that could change.
"The problem would come if they start getting more successful at
targeting his corps commanders or government officials," the
diplomat said. "That would make people start questioning how
much they would want to stand up for Musharraf."
Al-Qaeda suspect detained
in Germany for extradition to Spain
Fri Oct 15, 2004
BERLIN (AFP) - German authorities said they had detained a
Syrian-born German suspected of being a leading member in Osama bin
Laden's Al-Qaeda network following an extradition
request from Spain.
A court in Hamburg, northern Germany, said
it had issued an arrest warrant for Mamoun
Darkazanli, 46. He is accused of being "one
of the key figures of the Al-Qaeda terrorist
network and providing logistical and financial
support for this organization since 1997 in
Spain, Germany and Britain".
He is also believed to have had ties with the
so-called Hamburg cell that produced three of
the presumed September 11 suicide
Darkazanli figures among 35 people indicted by Spanish judge Baltasar
Garzon in September 2003 over suspected links to or membership of
Al-Qaeda. The charge can carry a 12-year prison sentence.
"He is believed to have been the constant interlocutor and assistant of
Osama bin Laden in Germany and to have been particularly involved in
the transfer of documents and the payment of bills," the Hamburg court
spokeswoman, Sabine Westphalen, said in a statement.
Westphalen said the Spanish authorities believed Darkazanli was
involved in buying a ship -- reportedly an ocean-going cargo freighter -- for
bin Laden and had traveled to Kosovo in 2000 on behalf of Al-Qaeda. She
did not give details.
Darkazanli, who has lived in Hamburg for several years, told German
authorities he would not agree to be extradited.
Westphalen said three final conditions now had to be met for him to be
handed over to Spain -- a further order from a Spanish court, the approval
of that order by the Hamburg court and a green light from the German
She noted that new legislation permitting extradition of German citizens
had made his expulsion possible.
In September 2001, US President George W. Bush
froze the assets of the Mamoun Darkazanli Import-Export Company,
along with those of 26 other individuals and groups he said were linked to
Darkazanli was questioned by German police the day after the
September 11 attacks but was never taken into custody. He has denied,
in interviews with the German press, any involvement in Al-Qaeda
He told the Financial Times Deutschland in September 2001 that he
knew the three Hamburg-based suicide hijackers of September 11 "by
sight" from the port city's Muslim community.
The three were presumed ringleader Mohammed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi
of the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanese Ziad Jarrah, who all lived as
students in Hamburg.
Darkazanli also acknowledged having been a guest at the wedding of
Said Bahaji, a German with a Moroccan father, who is wanted in
connection with the September 11 attacks but is still at large.
And he has admitted having contacts with Al-Qaeda's presumed top
financier, Mamduh Mahmud Salim, arrested in Germany in September
1998 and extradited to the United States.
Fri Oct 15, 2004
U.S. oil hit $55 a barrel on Friday as traders worried over thin heating oil inventories ahead of winter. U.S. light crude settled up 17 cents to $54.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after setting a new all-time high of $55 during the regular session. London Brent eased 16 cents to $49.93 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange. Double-digit oil demand growth from China, now the world's second-biggest importer, took the world by surprise this year, stretching OPEC supplies to the limit. India's crude imports so far in the fiscal year from April to end-September are up 7 percent at 16 million tonnes.
Oct 15, 2004
U.S. retail gasoline prices rose close to $2 a gallon on Friday, near their record. The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline hit $1.997, according to the AAA motorist group's daily survey, bringing them within reach of the record $2.054 hit in May, and 16 cents higher than a month ago. The spike in fuel costs, at a time of year motor fuel prices typically decline.
Bush policies 'fuelling
violence', say scholars
By Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON: The Bush administration's failure to accept advice on Iraq from its military and
foreign service officers has led to policies that have fuelled the insurgency against US-led forces in the
occupied nation , says a letter signed by some 500 national-security specialists.
Released on Tuesday by a group called Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy (SFP), the
letter calls the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq the United States' 'most misguided'
policy since the Vietnam War.
"The results of this policy have been overwhelmingly negative for US interests," according to the
group, which called for a 'fundamental reassessment' in both the US strategy in Iraq and its
"We're advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole, to stop digging," said Barry Posen,
the Ford international professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT), one of the organizers of SFP, which includes some of the most eminent US experts on
national-security policy and on the Middle East and the Arab world.
Among the signers are six of the last seven presidents of the American Political Science Association
(APSA) and professors who teach in more than 150 colleges and universities in 40 states.
The making of the terror
Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the 'inevitability' of catastrophic terrorist attack. But has the
danger been exaggerated? A major new TV documentary claims that the perceived threat is a politically driven
fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion. Andy Beckett reports
Friday October 15, 2004
The Power of Nightmares
Wed 20 Oct, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 60mins
Baby It's Cold Outside
In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us
from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network.
But just as the dreams weren't true, neither are these nightmares.
This series shows dramatically how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised
terrorist network is an illusion. It is a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the
security services and the international media. At the heart of the story are two groups: the
American neoconservatives and the radical Islamists. Both were idealists who were born out
of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. These two groups have changed the
world but not in the way either intended. Together they created today's nightmare vision of
an organised terror network. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and
authority in a disillusioned age. Those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.
The rise of the Politics of Fear begins in 1949 with two men whose radical ideas would inspire
the attack of 9/11 and influence the Neoconservative movement that dominates Washington.
Both these men believed that modern liberal freedoms were eroding the bonds that held
society together. The two movements they inspired set out, in their different ways, to rescue
their societies from this decay. But in an age of growing disillusion with politics, the
neoconservatives turned to fear in order to pursue their vision. They would create a hidden
network of evil run by the Soviet Union that only they could see. The Islamists were faced by
the refusal of the masses to follow their dream and began to turn to terror to force the people
to 'see the truth'.
This war on terrorism is
The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use
force to secure its global domination
Saturday September 6, 2003
Review Finds More Bush
By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Weeks after Texas National Guard officials signed
an oath swearing they had turned over all of President Bush's
military records, independent examiners found more than two
dozen pages of previously unreleased documents about Bush.
The making of the terror
Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the
'inevitability' of catastrophic terrorist attack. But has
the danger been exaggerated? A major new TV
documentary claims that the perceived threat is a
politically driven fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion.
Andy Beckett reports
Friday, October 15, 2004
U.S. bioterror plan frustrates industry
By PAUL ELIAS
AP BIOTECHNOLOGY WRITER
SAN DIEGO -- When President Bush signed Project BioShield into law in
July, he said he was immediately making $5.6 billion available to counter such
anticipated threats as smallpox genetically engineered to render current
But the expected flood of contracts never materialized.
Project BioShield was supposed to jump-start a national security renaissance
in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries by guaranteeing contracts
to make drugs for combatting potential bioweapons.
But all the law has done so far is to generate indifference or frustration among
biodefense contractors, industry executives and experts say. Most are
snubbing the program because of liability and intellectual property issues and
confusion over what the government wants.
Fri, Oct. 15, 2004
N.Y. Times Seeks Hatfill Suit Dismissal
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The New York Times asked a federal judge Friday to dismiss a libel lawsuit
against the paper filed by a bioterrorism expert named by the FBI as a "person of interest" in the 2001
Times attorney David Schulz told the judge that no reasonable reader would walk away from the
columns in question with the impression that the newspaper was accusing Steven J. Hatfill of any
"It just isn't there," Schulz said.
Hatfill's attorney, Victor Glasberg, said the suit should go forward because the columns clearly
suggest that the reader conclude that his client "had a hand in what happened."
U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton did not immediately rule on the motion.
Hatfill has long denied involvement in the anthrax mailings, which killed five people and sickened 17
others, paralyzed the postal system and frightened the nation a few weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001,
At issue in his lawsuit is a series of columns by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof.
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 identified him, the complaint states.
The lawsuit also said the Times refused to print a letter to the editor and an op-ed article from
Glasberg that responded to the charges.
Hatfill has filed a separate lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft and other government
authorities who named him as a "person of interest." That case is before U.S. District Judge Reggie
Walton in Washington.
New push to force out
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's opposition parties vowed
yesterday to work to force out President Pervez Musharraf in a
"do-or-die" battle for democracy after he backtracked on a pledge
to give up his role as army chief."The time has come for a do-or-die
struggle for restoration of real democracy in Pakistan," prominent
opposition leader Siddiqul Farooq said.
"Musharraf has closed all doors for democratic change and is
prolonging his military dictatorship," he said.
"We have therefore decided to mobilise the nation and start a public
movement to force him out of power," said Farooq, spokesman of
the Pakistan Muslim League-N of former prime minister Nawaz
The lower house of the parliament passed a bill on Thursday
empowering Musharraf to stay on as army chief, despite his
constitutionally enshrined and public pledge last year to quit the post
by the end of this year.
The new law was passed by simple majority amid noisy protests by
opposition members from the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)
Islamic bloc and the secular Alliance for Restoration of Democracy
The house was plunged into a pandemonium again yesterday as
opposition deputies sprang up to their feet and shouted slogans
against Musharraf and the "black law."
Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup five years ago,
said in a nationwide broadcast on December 24 last year that he
would relinquish the military post by the end of 2004.
His constitutional pledge was part of a deal with the MMA, which in
turn backed the passage in parliament of constitutional amendments
which validated Musharraf's presidency and sweeping powers,
including the power to dismiss parliament.
Now the MMA and the ARD are among the groups that said they
would form a united public movement to force out Musharraf.
Meanwhile, the United States reminded Musharraf of his pledge to
embrace democracy, but declined to criticise the adoption of a law
by parliament prolonging his dual role as president and army chief.
Asked whether he should step down as military chief, State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: "Our view is that
Pakistan needs to continue to make progress towards democracy.
"Whether he takes the specific step is something that's going to have
to be decided in Pakistan," he said.
India and Pakistan in
nuclear dead heat
By Sultan Shahin
NEW DELHI - A new assessment by a Washington
think-tank released on Monday claiming that Pakistan's
nuclear-weapons arsenal "now appears large enough to rival that
of India" has revived the controversies and debates
surrounding India's nuclear policy and its objectives.
In a paper on the world's fissile-material stocks,
David Albright and Kimberly Kramer of the Institute
for Science and International Security (ISIS) estimate
that Pakistan now has between 55 and 90 nuclear weapons
compared with 55 and 110 in India. Israel and North Korea,
listed among other current de facto weapons states, have
between 110 and 190 weapons and between two and nine weapons
ISIS's estimates, published in the latest issue of
the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, are based on
the production of fissile material in "nuclear" countries. India,
whose nuclear-weapons program is mostly plutonium-based,
is estimated to have between 300 and 470
kilograms of plutonium stocks. Having clearly ramped
up its plutonium production, Pakistan is believed to
have been producing more plutonium per year than India
for several years, and now has between 20kg and 60kg
of plutonium. But Pakistan, whose weapons program
is mostly uranium-based, has between 1,200kg and
1,250kg of highly enriched uranium. Though a
smaller arsenal does not matter much in the case of
nuclear deterrence, Pakistan, being in possession of more
atomic bombs, will make it that much more difficult for
India to negotiate a fissile-materials cutoff treaty.
To add to India's dismay, Pakistan test-fired an intermediate-range, nuclear-capable
ballistic missile on Tuesday as part of its efforts to
boost defenses against India, in spite of recent peace talks.
The test came just ahead of two days of talks between
Pakistani and Indian border officials in the Indian city
of Chandigarh, their second meeting this year since
regular contacts were revived to discuss frontier issues.
Rove Testifies in CIA Leak
Fri Oct 15, 2004
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - President Bush's top political
adviser, Karl Rove, testified Friday before a federal grand jury trying to
determine if an administration official leaked the name of an undercover
Auditors Can't Account for
Iraq Spent Funds
Fri Oct 15, 2004
By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - U.S. and Iraqi officials doled out hundreds of
millions of dollars in oil proceeds and other moneys for Iraqi projects
earlier this year, but there was little effort to monitor or justify the
expenditures, according to an audit released Thursday.
Files that could explain many of the
payments are missing or nonexistent, and
contracting rules were ignored, according to
auditors working for an agency created by
the United Nations.
U.S. Marks Al-Zarqawi
Group As Terrorist
Fri Oct 15, 2004
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
WASHINGTON - The group headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which
has claimed responsibility for dozens of deadly attacks in Iraq
and the beheading of hostages, was designated by the U.S.
government Friday as a terrorist organization.
China sends more troops to
N. Korea border
Fact or Fiction? Bin Laden
is in China
MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA
Novosti) - Russian nuclear power plants and other nuclear
facilities remain under
increased protection because the danger of terrorism is high, Andrei Malyshev, acting head of the Federal
Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision Service, has said.
"Work and protection are taking place in two directions - permanent estimation of the level of physical protection
and of a possible threat. We permanently keep an eye on them," he said.
Malyshev noted that physical protection for Russian nuclear power stations has greatly improved over the last
"I think that their protection is at a high level and meeting the requirements," he said.
He added that protection of nuclear power plants permanently increases because terrorists get more and more
A decline in the nation's inventory of heating oil catapulted crude
futures prices toward $55 a barrel on Thursday.
Oct 14, 2004
E-Voting Machine Crash Deepens Concerns
By RACHEL KONRAD
AP Technology Writer
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A
computer crash that forced a pre-election
test of electronic voting machines to be
postponed was trumpeted by critics as
proof of the balloting technology's
The incident in Palm Beach County - which
is infamous for its hanging and pregnant chads during the 2000 presidential
election - did not directly involve the touch-screen terminals on which nearly
one in three U.S. voters will cast ballots on Election Day.
But critics of the ATM-like machines said it proved how fickle any
computer-based voting system can be and highlighted the need for
touch-screens to produce paper records.
Tuesday's public dry run had to be postponed until Friday because a
computer server that tabulates data from the touch-screen machines crashed,
said county elections supervisor Theresa LePore. Such "logic and accuracy"
tests are required by law.
She said she suspected Hurricane Jeanne,
which struck in September, may have zapped
electricity and air conditioning to the room where the server was stored,
causing temperatures to soar to 90 degrees or more and possibly causing the
crash. The storm wiped out power to nearly 1.3 million homes and
businesses throughout Florida.
The incident raised questions in the minds of computer hardware and
software engineers about the reliability of other computers on which
Floridians will depend for an accurate vote count on Nov. 2 - especially
An Achilles' heel of electronic voting equipment, just like any machines
whose circuits get hot with colliding electrons, is its inability to tolerate
extreme conditions, many experts say.
"Heat is a very serious problem for these machines, especially in Louisiana
and Florida," said Dan Spillane, former senior testing engineer of
touch-screens for a small equipment manufacturer in Seattle. "Basically, these
things work in the secretary of state's office. Outside of that, no one knows."
LePore, who lost a re-election bid and will
be replaced as supervisor in January, said
the incident did not result in deleted or
altered data and she predicted a smooth
election on Nov. 2.
"We can always go back if everything totally
crashes and burns," she said. "We still have
the info on the cartridges and the voting
LePore was referring to the memory
cartridges in the touch-screen machines that
record the votes.
Critics of paperless voting systems used in
15 Florida counties said the incident
demonstrates their pleas for a system that
includes printers on every touch-screen and
produces paper records of every ballot
"I don't have any confidence at all in these
machines," said Susan VanHouten, a poll
worker in Lake Worth, Fla., who has
helped mobilize 900 monitors at polls in
Palm Beach County on Nov. 2. "At this
point, the only thing we can focus on is
getting as many people as possible in the
polls to watch for electrical problems and
hardware and software problems."
According to technical standards for
electronic voting systems, updated in 2002,
voting machines must be able to tolerate
storage temperatures ranging from minus 4
to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. They must be
able to operate in "natural" conditions and
temperatures ranging from 50 to 95
Those standards aren't satisfactory to
Vincent Lipsio, a firmware design engineer
in Gainesville, Fla.
Lipsio, who is helping draft e-voting
equipment standards for the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said
most hardware that's considered "mission
critical" - including medical devices, military
equipment and aviation hardware - should
tolerate 180 degrees or more. He worries that the machines could fail under
a variety of extremes, from heat waves to lightning storms and severe
"Conceptually, the whole electronic voting thing is now so far from what I
think is acceptable that I would never vote for it, if I had the choice," Lipsio
said. "These standards aren't any more mission critical than your average
Lipsio said he took little comfort in knowing that the meltdown at the Palm
Beach elections office happened during a trial to help spot such problems.
"What happens if there's a hurricane on election day, or terrorists knock the
power out?" Lipsio said. "The reality is these machines are dependent on
electricity, and unless you're going to have generators at polling places, you
need a paper backup system."
Mechanical problems during California's March primary caused nearly half of
all touch-screens in San Diego County to malfunction, causing hundreds of
precincts to open late. Heat-related troubles have flared up in other counties.
In the July primary, numerous machines in one elementary school in Decatur,
Ga., failed throughout the day, when temperatures exceeded 90 degrees,
according to a report by poll monitors.
An executive at Sequoia Voting Systems, which provides Palm Beach
County's touch-screens but not the county office server that crashed, called
critics' fears were overblown.
"These machines have been tested to severe conditions, and we haven't seen
any weather-related problems - from dry Nevada to humid Florida,"
spokesman Alfie Charles said.
Europe could be on
collision course -report
14 October 2004
By Matt Spetalnick
JERUSALEM, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Israel could end up on a collision
course with the European Union and face sanctions like
apartheid-era South Africa unless the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is
resolved, a confidential government report warns.
The document, a 10-year forecast prepared by Israel's Foreign
Ministry, predicts that the Jewish state could become increasingly
isolated internationally as the EU grows more influential, political
The report says that if the recently expanded 25-nation bloc can set
aside internal differences and forge a unified foreign policy, it could
"harm Israeli interests" by cutting into the clout wielded by the United
States, Israel's chief ally.
"This could put Israel on a collision course with the European Union,"
the report says. "Such a collision course holds the risk of Israel losing
international legitimacy and could lead to its isolation in the manner of
The report, drawn up in August by Foreign Ministry analysts and
meant for use within government circles, reflects growing Israeli
worries about the threat of international sanctions that could turn
Israel into a pariah state.
Israel's relations with the EU have long been strained over what it
sees as favouritism toward the Palestinians in their conflict with the
But the situation has deteriorated further in the face of European
criticism of Israel's military crackdown in Palestinian areas and the
vast barrier it is building largely inside the occupied West Bank.
For its part, Israel has complained of what it sees as growing
anti-Semitism in Europe and inadequate efforts to combat it.
Israel prefers to deal almost exclusively with Washington on Middle
East diplomacy. President George W. Bush is seen as the most
pro-Israel U.S. leader ever, having agreed the Jewish state should be
allowed to keep swathes of occupied land and bar the return of
Palestinian refugees under any final peace deal.
But Palestinians have always insisted on a European role, seeing
them as more sympathetic to their cause than Washington.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon threatened in July to freeze the EU out
of Middle East peacemaking after EU states backed a U.N. General
Assembly resolution demanding that Israel heed a World Court ruling
calling on it to tear down its West Bank barrier.
Israel calls it a bulwark against Palestinian suicide bombers.
Palestinian have condemned it as a "racist apartheid wall" and a land
grab that denies them a viable state.
On Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana unveiled a
four-point plan to revive Middle East talks, offering new assistance
to the Palestinians and warning Israel its aid was at risk if it did not
But Israeli suspicions of EU intentions limit the chances of success for
Solana's initiative. The EU is a junior member of an international
"Quartet" of Middle East peacemakers and takes a back seat to the
Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders at the United Nations have begun
pushing for sanctions against Israel, citing as a model the
anti-apartheid boycotts against South Africa that began in the 1970s.
But the United States, which wields a veto in the U.N. Security
Council, has made clear that it would block any such effort.
OCTOBER 13, 2004
WASHINGTON: Pakistan and Russia are two nations that could be
potential sources of leaking nuclear weapons technology or fissile
materials to terrorists, according to a new report by the
Congressional Research Service (CRS) on nuclear terrorism.
"The fear regarding Pakistan is that some members of the armed
forces might covertly give a weapon to terrorists or that, if President
Musharraf were overthrown, an Islamic fundamentalist government
or a state of chaos in Pakistan might enable terrorists to obtain a
weapon," the report said.
"Terrorists or rogue states might acquire a nuclear weapon in several
ways. The nations of greatest concern as potential sources of
weapons or fissile materials are widely thought to be Russia and
Pakistan," it added.
Pakistan, a close ally of the US in the war against terrorism, has often
been described by South Asia experts as a "potential source" of
radicalism, proliferation, terrorism and even nuclear war.
The report said that although it would be difficult for the terrorists to
launch a nuclear attack on any American city, such an attack is
plausible and would have catastrophic consequences - in one
scenario killing over a half a million people and causing damage of
over $1 trillion.
Russia, the report noted, has many tactical nuclear weapons as well
as much highly enriched uranium (HEU) and weapons grade
plutonium, which do not have adequate safeguards.
Many experts believe that technically-savvy terrorists could fabricate
a nuclear bomb from HEU. Terrorists could also obtain HEU from
the more than 130 research reactors worldwide, most of which
"If terrorists acquired a nuclear weapon, they could use many means
in an attempt to bring it into the United States. This nation has many
thousands of miles of land and sea borders, as well as several
hundred ports of entry.
Terrorists might smuggle a weapon across lightly guarded stretches
of borders, ship it in using a cargo container, place it in a hold of a
crude oil tanker, or bring it in using a truck, a boat, or a small
airplane," says the report.
The US would have to take up a "layered defence" to try to block
terrorists at various stages in their attempts to obtain a nuclear
weapon and smuggle it into the US.
These layers include threat reduction programmes in the former
USSR and Pakistan, long-term engagement with the unsecured
nuclear nations, efforts to secure HEU worldwide, control of former
Soviet and other borders, the Container Security Initiative and
Proliferation Security Initiative and US border security.
Indymedia's hardware is
returned, but many questions remain
Servers seized by FBI
returned - but who wanted what?
By John Lettice
Thursday 14th October 2004
The Indymedia hardware seized in London last week were put back in place
over the last 24 hours, but their return puts the UK Home Office even more on
the spot. The original hard disks, apparently with the original data, have been
returned, which suggests strongly that the authorities wanted sight of
information that is on them.
Who these authorities are remains as open a question as what they wanted to
see, but given the convoluted nature of the seizure process (the FBI apparently
acting under a US-UK treaty on behalf of Switzerland and/or Italy to seize
hardware in London), the British Home Office must surely have been
presented with at least a flimsy pretext for its approval of the operation.
Further mystery is added by the circumstances of the return. Rackspace, the
hosting company involved, alerted Indymedia to their return yesterday morning,
saying: "I was just told that the court order is being complied with and your
servers in London will be online at 5pm GMT." But what court order? And
why is being complied with? The Orwellian nature of the powers likely to have
been used in the case severely restrict Rackspace's ability to tell its customer,
or anybody else, what's going on, and can also be used (on US request) to
bind the Home Office to confidentiality. Not that any compulsion is usually
Although the data on the drives appears intact, Indymedia is treating them as
potentially compromised, and won't boot them or take the servers live until
they've been verified. Depending on what was done to them when they were in
the hands of, er, whoever, there may be some slight chance that the verification
will throw up some clues. And if information was being sought as evidence in a
pending court case, then information on how this evidence was obtained and
by what process will also have to be produced. If the process turns out not to
have been one that would be accepted by a court, then it will be likely that
direct evidence-gathering was not the intent. Which would raise even more
questions about the validity of the use of an MLAT, and the Home Office's
involvement in it.
Richard Allan, Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, has tabled a
Parliamentary question to the Home Office asking David Blunkett "what recent
discussions he has had with US law enforcement agencies concerning the
seizure of material from UK-based internet hosting providers; and if he will
make a statement." This is to be dealt with tomorrow. MPs in the National
Union of Journalists' Parliamentary Group are also tabling questions.
Was the seizure of
Indymedia's servers in London unlawful or did the UK government
Home Office in frame over
FBI's London server seizures
By John Lettice
Monday 11th October 2004
The US seizure of two Indymedia servers in London last Thursday is likely to
have needed the approval of UK Home Secretary David Blunkett, but
Blunkett may have acted on tenuous legal grounds
Feds seize Indymedia
By John Leyden
Friday 8th October 2004
The FBI yesterday seized a pair of UK servers used by Indymedia, the
independent newsgathering collective, after serving a subpoena in the US on
Indymedia's hosting firm, Rackspace. Why or how remains unclear.
FBI shuts down 20 antiwar
web sites: an unprecedented act of Internet censorship
13 October 2004
The US government move to shut down nearly two dozen antiwar,
anti-globalization web sites on October 7 is an unprecedented exercise of
police power against political dissent on the Internet.
Libertarian & Green
Party Candidates Arrested
Oct 12, 2004
Feds Try to Cut Off Illegal Immigration
By JACQUES BILLEAUD
Associated Press Writer
PHOENIX (AP) -- Law enforcement officials in the Phoenix area are using
new tactics to cut off illegal immigration: They are going after used-car
salesmen who sell vehicles to smugglers, and arresting operators of safe
houses where immigrants stay after crossing the border.
Unlike past crackdowns, which have focused more on stopping immigrants at
the border, immigration officials say the new campaign frustrates smugglers
by zeroing in on the tools of their trade.
iSee is a web-based
application charting the locations of closed-circuit
television (CCTV) surveillance cameras in urban environments.
October 11, 2004
Secret Service Calls on Owner of "King George" Sign
It was August 26, and Derek Kjar, 19, was in the backyard of his home in Salt Lake
City stringing up plants in his garden.
He got a voice mail message on his cell phone, so he decided to check it.
"Derek, this is Agent Kim from the U.S. Secret Service, and I need to speak to you
as soon as possible. Please call me." Kim left his number, Kjar says.
"At first, I thought it was a joke," Kjar says. "My friend Marisa said, in jest, that they
were trying to flag all the gay people in America." Kjar is gay.
He called his mother, and she told him to call the man back in the morning.
That's what he did.
"Agent Kim answered," Kjar recalls. "He asked me where I was. I said I was at
work. He said he'd be right there. I asked what it was about. And he said he couldn't
disclose that over the phone."
Kjar works at his parents' dry cleaners. He waited there until a silver Grand Am
pulled up to the shop, and two agents came out: Agent Kim and another man, Kjar
"Before we knew it, my stepdad was gone out back talking to the agents," Kjar says.
"When my stepdad came back, they said they wanted to talk to me alone."
Kjar followed them out back.
"When I went out there, they said they had a call from my neighbor about a sticker on
my car," he says. "And right then, I knew exactly what they were talking about: It was
a graphic I had printed off a website on my computer, and I just taped it on to my car
with scotch tape. It said: KING GEORGE-Off With His Head."
The agents asked Kjar where the sticker was, so he took them out to his car. "I
opened up the door and got it off the seat and handed it to them," he says. "They
asked why it wasn't on the window anymore, and I said the sun had melted it off."
Then they got down to brass tacks.
"They started addressing me about how it could be a threat," he says. "They said it
was 'borderline terrorism.' "
"Isn't that sort of bulls__t? Doesn't that take my freedom of speech away?"
No, the agents said, repeating the "borderline terrorism" charge, Kjar says.
The agents then went inside with Kjar, and they interrogated him alone for another
forty minutes, he says.
"They asked me if I was serious about making a threat to the President," he says.
"And I said no, the only thing I was hoping to do was get a few people a little ticked
off at me or maybe get another vote for Kerry."
The questions continued.
"They asked if I had ever made a threat to the President, or ever written to the
President or contacted him in any way or ever met him," he says.
"I said no, I had better things to do with my time.
"Then they asked me if I had ever studied assassination or terrorism, or the former
assassination of other government officials, or ever read books in school about it, or
done any school projects on it.
"I told them no, I hadn't.
"They asked if I had been in the military or any type of a militia groups.
"I was kind of baffled about that. 'No, no, no, not even close, way off.' "
To Kjar's relief, his mother finally arrived.
"When my mother walked into the room, both agents stood up and puffed their chest
out and said you can't be in here. And my mother said, 'I don't give a s__t. He's my
So she just sat right next to me and waited with me."
Then they probed his political affiliations.
"They asked me, 'Are you a part of an equal rights organization or blah or blah or any
group opposed to the President?"
And then they got personal, he says.
"They started asking me about my relationship with my roommates," he says. "And
whether I went out to clubs. They asked whether I smoke, or drank, or took drugs.
Then they started asking about my physical characteristics: If blond was my natural
hair color, if I wore contacts, and if had any identifying marks, like tattoos, moles, and
scars, and where they were or what they were from, and whether I had ever had any
When they were done with the questioning, the agents had an assignment for Kjar.
"They asked me to write a statement about the sticker, why I got the sticker, where,
how, and why I put it up," he says.
He complied. "It was about a page and a half," he says. "They made me sign it.
Basically, I said I found it on the Internet, I thought it was funny, and it was a little
edgier than most that I'd seen, so I printed it up and put it in my car hoping to get a
Before they left, they took three photographs of Kjar, he says, and they warned him:
"Do not post or print or hand out the sticker again."
Kjar feels that his rights were violated. "I've almost lost my freedom of speech," he
says. "I make one statement, and I get shot down, while everyone is out there with
their bumper stickers and signs."
Kjar suspects that his neighbors with Bush stickers all over their car turned him in.
"They won't even speak to us," he says. "Since the incident, the police have been over
at my neighbors' house several times. For a while, I just felt trapped. I didn't want to
leave my house because I thought my neighbors would hassle me. Or if we had a
party at my house, the neighbors might report us."
The Secret Service office in Salt Lake City would not comment on the story, except
to say that Lon Garner of the Denver office would be answering any questions.
"The inference of a veiled threat is what we look at," Special Agent Garner says.
"That's exactly what that was. By law, we investigate all those types of threats. We
present those to the U.S. attorney. A veiled threat will always be investigated by the
Secret Service. That's what we do. Always."
Garner was incredulous at the suggestion of an infringement on civil liberties.
"How could his freedom of speech be violated would be my question," he says.
Dani Eyer, executive director of the ACLU, offers an explanation. "It would take an
extreme imagination on the part of the Secret Service to consider this sign as an
imminent threat," Eyer says. "Anybody with any familiarity with the Declaration of
Independence or the Revolutionary War would know that 'Off With His Head' was
Eyer says the Secret Service has an obligation to investigate threats, but also an
obligation to take context into consideration and to assess intent. Eyer adds that it was
"inappropriate for the Secret Service to confiscate" Kjar's sign.
While he was intimidated at first, Kjar says he isn't anymore.
"I've gotten a lot of support from people who share my opinions or even support Bush
but believe that it was uncool that they went after me."
He says he may return to posting signs.
"I've been kind of considering making some T-shirts or actual bumper stickers," he
says. "What can they do to me except keep taking my sticker away? I'm not a threat."
FBI whistleblower says
agency suffers from info overload
By GREG GORDON
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
September 08, 2004
WASHINGTON - Outspoken Minneapolis FBI agent Coleen Rowley, appearing on a panel for the nonpartisan
Eisenhower Foundation on Wednesday, warned that counter-terrorism agents now are swamped with
intelligence data and have "too many dots" to connect.
Continuing to press her concerns publicly in her last months as an active agent, Rowley also questioned the
need for an intelligence "czar," a central recommendation of the 9/11 commission.
She said the bureau's dramatic shift to focus its resources on terrorism has resulted in "a huge pendulum swing
. . . from the mistakes of overcomplacency before Sept. 11. Now we're perhaps embarking on what I call the
uncharted waters of massive intelligence collection.
"That changes the problem, and it also changes the mistakes and the errors that are being made now," she
In an interview, Rowley said she notified her superiors this week that she would retire from the bureau at the end
of the year. A veteran agent of nearly 24 years who is her family's prime wage earner, she becomes fully eligible
for her pension when she turns 50 on Dec. 20.
Rowley said she advised FBI officials that, while she believes "in the mission of catching the bad guys," she
wants to do it "in a more effective way."
"I want to talk about integrity and ethics and, hopefully, dissuade people from being the bad guys," she said.
"Civilizations fall not because of external attack, but because of internal rot," Rowley said. "We have seen a lot
of internal rot."
She cited Americans "trying to get away with it . . . on every level.
"Look at Paul Hamm and the Olympics," she said, contending the American gold medal gymnast should have
pressed for the award of a second gold medal to the South Korean rival he edged due to a judging error.
Rowley gained fame in 2002 with her bold accusations that FBI headquarters bungled a chance to thwart the
Sept. 11 attacks when it blocked Minneapolis agents from obtaining a warrant to search the possessions of
jailed terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui. For her "whistle-blowing," Time Magazine later named her one of
its "Persons of the Year."
FBI Director Robert Mueller promised she would face no retaliation, and Rowley has obtained FBI clearances
to speak and publish articles about civil liberties, ethics and integrity. She has traversed the country, talking to
the American Civil Liberties Union, nuclear power-plant security officials, accountants, health-care compliance
officers, church groups, college students and officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Not everyone has welcomed her comments. She provoked harsh criticism from former FBI agents for a 2003
letter to Mueller warning that the pending U.S. invasion of Iraq could heighten the threat of terrorist attacks in the
But Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer who joined her on Wednesday's panel, said: "If it weren't for Coleen
Rowley, there would be no 9/11 commission . . . The whole thing would have been covered up."
Rowley praised many of the commission's recommendations, but said its call for a national intelligence chief is
"not really a solution. . . . Tell me the last time a czar stopped anything."
She said most acts of terrorism have been thwarted by "a lowly customs inspector or a New Jersey trooper," or
flight attendants and passengers who overpowered attempted shoe-bomber Richard Reid.
While a czar could "set the right tone and enable the people at the bottom to do their jobs," she said, she
worries about a "group think" approach that might impede investigations.
Rowley said the FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies now share information effectively -
maybe too much.
She noted that FBI switchboards light up each time the government issues a terrorism alert, bringing a flood of
"information and dots that should be looked at."
"But everyone is afraid that we might miss that one lead," she said. "So we are no longer allowed to exercise
discretion at all with regard to what we look into. We didn't have very many dots before 9/11. Now, if anything,
the problem may be too many dots."
Rowley's appearance was timed with the release of an Eisenhower Foundation book chronicling alleged U.S.
failures in domestic and foreign policy. She contributed a chapter on civil liberties in which she warned that "the
dangers of a 1984 future for America cannot be overstated" given the government's ongoing and proposed
surveillance efforts aimed at stemming terrorism.
McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years who now is on the steering committee of a group known as "Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity," said creation of a czar "would make things much worse than they are
He criticized the politicization of the agency, including President Bush's choice of a member of Congress - Rep.
Porter Goss, R-Fla. - to serve as the new intelligence chief. McGovern also said senior CIA managers should
have stood up and refused to sign off on flimsy intelligence reports supporting the war in Iraq.
BY GORDON THOMAS
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