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In 2002 , the United States recorded more than 4,000 cases of West Nile and 256 deaths from the mosquito-borne virus that causes fevers and aches and can lead to potentially fatal swelling of the brain. The mosquito-borne West Nile virus hit harder than previously believed, with more than half of hospitalized patients suffering serious nerve damage, a new study has found. Fifty-four percent of patients admitted to three Chicago hospitals last year suffered from symptoms including vision loss, paralysis of more than half the body, muscle weakness, abnormally slow movement, numbness and an unstable walk, the study found--symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease, stroke, polio and other diseases that damage nerves.

Medical experts in the United States and Canada are predicting that as many as 70 million people in North America could be infected by the Norwalk Virus this year. Some microbiologists suggest that this virus will surpass the flu in the number of infections. Norwalk is a group of viruses that usually cause symptoms of gastroenteritis. It is typically a short-term ailment indicated by vomiting and diarrhea. The news reported that numerous outbreaks across the country have already overburdened hospital emergency rooms and quarantine wards. The illness has the potential to disrupt emergency operations.

A drug-resistant superbug that spreads by skin contact is infecting thousands of people across the US and may now have reached Europe. The MRSA bacterium, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, can be resistant to many antibiotics. "We are greatly concerned that MRSA has emerged in the community in people with no ties to healthcare," says Scott Fridkin, a medical epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, which has begun investigating the outbreaks. The strain has been spreading like wildfire in crowded jails but there have also been numerous smaller outbreaks in towns and cities across the US in recent months. The infections usually appear as sores that resemble insect bites. If not treated properly, nasty abscesses and boils can develop, requiring repeated courses of antibiotics and even surgery. If it reaches the lungs or bloodstream, MRSA can cause pneumonia or septicaemia, which can be deadly. There has also been one report of the superbug spreading via food, causing gastroenteritis.

The United States has few vaccines or treatments readily available to defend against some of Iraq's germ weapons, the Army's top biological defense expert said. The military's efforts to develop defenses against biological weapons have been hampered by a lack of money from Congress and a lack of interest from pharmaceutical companies. There are serious holes in the U.S. military's defenses against weapons such as the nerve poison botulinum toxin, plague bacteria and viruses that cause brain infections. Military officials assume Iraq has biological weapons including the smallpox virus and Iraq can produce novel germ weapons such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Pentagon assumes Iraq President Saddam Hussein has the missiles, aircraft and other gear needed to launch a biological attack against either military or civilian targets in the region. The U.S. military does not have detectors that can provide enough warning of a biological attack to allow soldiers to get into the suits before being exposed. And Iraq has developed chemical and possibly biological weapons with particles small enough to penetrate the tiniest gaps in the suits. The U.S. military assumes that North Korea, as well as Iraq, has samples of the smallpox virus, and it's possible the two countries have exchanged information on that and other biological weapons.

Did FBI Deliberately Slow Translation?

The head of the State Department’s consular service Mary Ryan was awarded $15,000 in October 2002 as part of an ‘outstanding performance bonus’. Her office issued visas to 13 of the 19 suicide hijackers, giving them entry to the country. In addition, Thomas Furey, who was consul-general in the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was also awarded a bonus. The Saudi embassy was named by former Consulate officer Michael Springman as a conduit for Al-Qaeda members hired for CIA terrorist training in the 80's.

In December 2002 Senator Charles Grassly, a Republican, described as a “slap in the face” and “shocking” a decision by FBI director Robert Mueller to give an award for ‘exceptional performance to Marion "Spike" Bowman, head of the FBI's national security law unit. The award is officially titled ‘Presidential Rank of Meritorious Service’ and includes cash bonuses of between 20 percent or 35 percent of each recipient's base salary. Bowman was instrumental in calling FBI agents off the trail of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called ‘20th hijacker’ whose arrest many analysts conclude would have cracked the September 11 plot before it was carried out. Grassly stated, "Unfortunately, this award continues a bad tradition. If the FBI is ever to reform, there must be accountability."
Grassley objects to FBI awards

Kenya's government and Western officials are increasingly alarmed that a community once characterized by its tolerance is becoming an incubator for radical militants. Islamic radicalism has been spreading on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast for the last decade. But the apparent willingness of some Kenyan Muslims to work with foreign terrorists makes the longtime U.S. ally an increasing security risk, said a Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Today, Kenya's Muslim population is estimated at 5 percent to 15 percent of the country's 30 million inhabitants.

As of January 2003 more than 300,000 illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported remain at large in the United States, roughly the same number as in December 2001 when the government began a campaign to capture them.

Just days after British anti-terrorist police found small amounts of ricin in a London apartment, the FBI issued a special bulletin alerting U.S. police to the dangers of the deadly toxin. The bulletin said U.S. experts believe ricin is ineffective as an aerosol-based weapon. The FBI said ricin it should only be handled by trained hazardous materials professionals. There have been a small number of cases in the United States that involved the use or near-use of ricin, the bulletin said. In April, 1991 several members of a domestic extremist group called the Patriot's Council in Minnesota manufactured ricin from castor beans and discussed using it against federal law enforcement officers. Four men were convicted for their role in the plot. The amount of the toxin produced then could have killed more than 100 people if effectively delivered, the FBI bulletin said.

Bush administration officials are considering proposals that the United States tap Iraq's oil to help pay for a military occupation. Such a move is likely to prove highly inflammatory in an Arab world already suspicious of US motives in Iraq. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of an occupation would range from $12 billion to $48 billion a year, and officials believe an occupation could last 18 months or more. If President Saddam torches the fields, as he did in Kuwait in 1991, it would take a year or more to resume even a modest flow.

Citing military and intelligence officials, the United States had evidence of a plot to blow up an aircraft carrying troops and cargo to the Gulf region. The evidence identified a specific civilian airline, a specific airport in the United States and a specific date and time for the planned attack. Officials learned of the plot within the past three weeks before Jan. 13, 2003. The military alerted the private airline directly, avoiding the risk of delays that might have come from working through domestic law enforcement authorities or federal transport safety agencies, the report said. Security officials at the airline company took steps to guard against an attack, such as changing the date and time of the flight and the route it followed. In a full mobilization to war, more than 90 percent of the troops deploying would fly aboard private air carriers contracted by the military.

Iraq has jamming equipment potentially capable of knocking some of America's "smart" weapons off course, according to a U.S. government official with access to intelligence reports. The official said the Iraqis have obtained at least a limited number of transmitters that can jam signals from the satellite-based global positioning system or GPS. The Pentagon may have effective means to counter the jamming threat, including alternate weapons such as laser-guided bombs. If Iraq were able to send some of the GPS-guided weapons off course, it could increase civilian casualties and spur regional criticism of a U.S. attack on Iraq. The GPS signals from the satellites are weak and can be jammed by a broadband transmitter that generates enough "noise" at the right wavelengths. Smart weapons have backup inertial navigation systems that have an accuracy of about 100 feet, substantially less than GPS. Jamming can be countered by changing the location of GPS-receiver antennas on the bombs to make them less vulnerable and placing directional antennas on the bombs to give a hundred-fold improvement ability to receive the weak satellite signals. The military also could use airborne sensors to locate any GPS jammers and quickly destroy them with homing missiles.

Police said they increased security around a John F. Kennedy International Airport terminal, a nearby gas station and a city clerk's office in Queens after receiving a tip about a possible terror threat. The alleged plot was to be launched from Albany by terrorists who were to infiltrate the United States from Ontario, Canada, according to an internal police memorandum. The terrorists were purportedly members of a group called Algerian Tahir bin Ammar al-Yusifi.

Jan. 13, 2003 - Florida's Volusia County water treatment plant is shut down after a break-in Saturday night. Water samples will take a couple of days until results are known. People are advised not to use the water. This was not reported until Monday night on the 11 p.m. local TV news only briefly with little detail. There was no news of this on the news wire services, AM radio news, local news web sites or national news until much later. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Bureau of Laboratories, where the samples were tested, did not have instant test results on their Web page. Nothing quick enough from the Florida Health Department either. It would be another good way for government to convey news to the public or maybe they do not want you to know too much and know too soon. It would be nice to have a better warning especially with the terrorism thing.
Roughly 30 hours passed between the discovery of the break-in Sunday morning and Monday's precautionary shutdown of the water plant, which serves more than 4,000 customers in southwest Volusia. On Tuesday, officials began handing out bottled water to residents. The security breach prompted hours of bureaucratic debate before residents were alerted to the possible danger. Then an emergency-notification system failed to reach thousands of residents with the final decision: Don't drink, bathe or cook with the water. County officials say they don't think the intruders at the water plant had an opportunity to contaminate supplies, and no illnesses linked to the water have been reported. County officials called the Sheriff's Office when the security breach was noticed Sunday morning but waited until Monday to notify the state Health Department. Basically, by the time the officials implemented the controls, the horse was out of the barn; it was too late.

The U.S. Postal Service began testing for anthrax at one of its Washington facilities after the Federal Reserve said its own testing of mail had indicated the potential presence of the bacteria, a postal official said on Jan. 14. The facility has the specific purpose of sorting the mail destinating to the 202 through 205 ZIP code range to the federal government in the District of Columbia. While testing is under way postal employees will stay out of the V Street postal-processing facility. All tests on a letter found at a D.C. postal facility have come back negative for anthrax, said a vice president with the U.S. Postal Service. Day said that 86 samples were tested at the V Street postal facility, and all the tests were negative.

Remnants of Afghanistan ousted Taliban regime have begun regrouping near the southern border with Pakistan, Afghan officials said on Jan. 14. Small groups of Taliban fighters were operating in Kandahar, the former stronghold of the radical Islamic militia, and other southern provinces. They are trying to persuade people to join a jihad (holy war). They carry out guerrilla activities in these areas and then flee to Pakistan.

A Texas Tech University researcher was indicted April 10, 2003, for allegedly smuggling bubonic plague bacteria and lying to FBI agents. Dr. Thomas C. Butler, 61, was arrested in January after reporting 30 vials of the bacteria were missing when he had actually destroyed them. Butler was charged with illegal importation, smuggling, exportation and transportation of hazardous materials as well as making false statements to FBI agents. The bacteria require special safeguarding because of its possible use as a terrorist weapon. Butler illegally imported and smuggled the bacteria into the United States from Tanzania in April 2002 without obtaining proper permits, then illegally transported or shipped the bacteria three times that year, according to the indictment. Butler has been involved in plague research for more than 25 years and is internationally recognized in the field. His research with the bubonic plague bacteria was intended to test its sensitivity to various kinds of antibiotics. Bubonic plague is an infectious disease of animals and humans caused by a bacterium named Yersinia pestis. Humans get plague from being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an infected animal.
Texas Tech Plague Vials Mystery Deepens

Air cargo security still has problems that could make it vulnerable to a terrorist attack. The General Accounting Office report said air cargo undergoes little inspection. Some air carriers and freight forwarders, which collect freight from various companies and forward it for shipping, have inadequate background checks for employees handling cargo, the report said.

Intelligence officials believe Iraq may want to develop mobile "fermentation units" to manufacture biological weapons. U.N. officials had said inspectors would be looking for biological weapons laboratories on trucks.

Muslims and Arabs will attack American targets everywhere if the United States goes to war against Iraq, a senior member of the militant Islamic movement Hamas said. "If Iraq is attacked... all American targets will be open targets for every Muslim, Arab or Palestinian," Mahmoud al-Zahar, told reporters. "Any attack against Iraq will be answered by resistance everywhere and American interests everywhere will be targeted. We say that all American targets will be open targets to every Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian," he said.

U.S. defense officials and military analysts are worrying that North Korea might sell a nuclear bomb to a willing customer with a lot of cash. They say North Korea, through its past arms sales, has shown a willingness to sell just about anything to anyone, and fear that potential customers for a nuclear bomb could include hostile countries such as Iraq or even groups such as al Qaeda. The United States believes North Korea already may have two or more nuclear weapons.

Police are not screening for illegal foreigners. It was considered a powerful new law enforcement tool to spot immigrants with no legal right to be in the United States and, perhaps, catch potential foreign-born terrorists before they struck: Florida driver's licenses of foreign nationals temporarily in the country expire when their immigration papers do. The widespread notion was that traffic stops could lead to immigration busts. But more than a year after the rule in response to the terrorists attacks, law enforcement agencies are doing almost nothing to enforce it. A major drawback is that the computer databases officers check during traffic stops indicate only whether drivers are noncitizens, not whether they have overstayed their visas. Many police officers either are not aware of the program or don't know how to proceed under the new rules. Police officers do not routinely arrest drivers whose licenses have expired or call immigration agents when they discover that a driver's visa has expired.

Jan. 21, 2003 - An unidentified gunman or gunmen opened fire on a car carrying two American civilian defense workers near the main United States military base here, killing one of them and severely wounding the other. American and Kuwaiti officials described the ambush as a terrorist attack. It was the third such shooting incident since last fall when American forces began deploying to Kuwait on Iraq's southern border in preparation for a possible invasion to remove Saddam Hussein. About a third of the country has been closed off to accommodate the American buildup.

The Environmental Protection Agency's 3,000 air quality monitoring stations throughout the country will start deploying a national system of environmental monitors that is intended to tell within 24 hours whether anthrax, smallpox and other deadly germs have been released into the air. Officials said that although the system would not by itself protect Americans against a germ attack, early detection of such a strike would give the government more time to mobilize medical resources. It could give time for government to secretly setup a mandatory quarantine before notifying the public. Under the system, the E.P.A. monitoring stations will send samples of a tissue-like paper from newly upgraded machines that filter air to the closest of some 120 laboratories across the country associated with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results will be available within 24 hours, and possibly within 12 hours. While the government is still working to develop cheap and reliable instant detectors, the technology has yet to be perfected, officials said. The hand-held detectors, which have been distributed in some cities, and others that are now being tested provide what experts call too many "false positives" mistaken identifications of a germ release. The new environmental surveillance system uses monitoring technology and methods developed in part by the Department of Energy's national laboratories. Samples of DNA are analyzed using polymerase chain reaction techniques, which examine the genetic signatures of the organisms in a sample, and make rapid and accurate evaluations of that organism. Officials said the new system would not detect germ releases in indoor places such as shopping malls, subways and other covered areas.

More than a dozen FBI agents [Jan. 22, 2003] wrapped up two days of searching a vacant Greenacres home of a Saudi Arabian family in Palm Beach County, Florida. A Saudi couple, Mohammed and Afaf Almasri, and their children lived in the home who neighbors say left abruptly the weekend before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The family left hurriedly on Sept. 9, 2001, when a white minivan pulled into the driveway and quickly loaded their suitcases and drove off. The family typically spent six months a year in the suburban neighborhood eight miles southwest of West Palm Beach and the other half the year in Saudi Arabia. Not only did members of the family share a profile of the hijackers, they may have used the same bank. In addition, the family had a son enrolled in the Kemper Flight School in Lantana. Agents collected evidence for two days without commenting on anything they found. FBI agents were seen using metal detectors in the front yard and digging in the back yard. Agents were also seen bringing up a trailer and removing dozens of brown boxes and bags of evidence to store evidence. They towed a silver Mitsubishi Mirage with a flat tire from the garage as well, that belonged to the Almasris' 22-year-old son whom neighbors say had been taking flying lessons before the family left. Agents refused to say why they searched the abandoned home. Because the search warrant is sealed by a judge, it could be months or even longer before the FBI might explain publicly what was found. The neighbors said they became suspicious after the terrorist attacks and called an FBI hot line to report their concern. It took 16 months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks before the FBI searched the home.

Italian authorities question alleged Morrocan terror suspects detained in a raid that turned up explosives and maps. Police arrested five men on Jan. 22, 2003, at an abandoned farmhouse outside of Rovigo and discovered a kilo of explosives, believed to be C4, maps of central London and maps marking the site of Italian churches and NATO bases. The explosive was found hidden in a sock under a pile of dirty laundry.

Americans, or foreigners of any kind, will not be allowed to hunt for suspected al-Qaida terrorists in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, a senior regional official said. Only Pakistani security forces will carry out anti-terrorism operations in Kashmir. India says Taliban and al-Qaida fighters have found a new haven in Pakistani Kashmir after their bases in Afghanistan were dismantled by the United States. Pakistan denies the allegations.

The nation's international airports remain vulnerable to illegal entry by foreign terrorists and smugglers because the Immigration and Naturalization Service has not followed security recommendations. The report by the Justice Department inspector general's office said a follow-up review of a dozen unidentified airports nine months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks revealed not only that the INS had not addressed the problems, but also that there were new deficiencies.

Spain's police arrested 16 suspected al-Qaida terrorists on Jan. 24, 2003, who had explosives, chemicals and false passports. Authorities said the men had links to suspects recently arrested in France and Britain. They were mostly Algerian citizens and suspected members of the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, an Algerian extremist organization. He said they maintained contact with groups in Chechnya and Algeria. The searches found containers with some chemical components of resins and synthetic rubber. They also confiscated timing and remote-control devices of the type used in bombs.

The bodies of U.S. soldiers killed by chemical or biological weapons in future wars may be bulldozed into mass graves and burned to save the lives of surviving troops, under an option being considered by the Pentagon. If soldiers are killed by something like smallpox in which bodies cannot be decontaminated they would cremate them right there. Military veterans said they hope those commanders will never have to make such a choice. The Army mortuary affairs center has only one group - the 246th Quartermaster Mortuary Affairs Company, a 220-soldier reserve unit based in Puerto Rico. Soldiers contaminated by chemical weapons would need to leave the scene as quickly as possible to limit their exposure. Those contaminated by biological agents would need to stay put to avoid spreading germs or viruses to their colleagues or civilians. Chemical weapons generally contaminate relatively small areas, while biological weapons such as smallpox, which is highly contagious and lethal, can spread for long distances if contaminated people, bodies, gear or equipment are moved around. Similar methods would have to be used on civilians caught in similar attacks that could happen in the United States in the event of a terrorist attack. Most Army officers deflected questions about the mass graves option to Pentagon superiors, who in turn deferred to the White House. White House officials also declined to comment, saying any such plan is a Pentagon issue. A spokesman for the White House's National Security Council repeatedly said, "We don't comment on military plans, operations or procedures."

The government is building a computerized network that will collect and analyze health data of people in eight major cities, administration officials say. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to lead the multimillion-dollar surveillance effort, which officials expect to become the national network to spot disease outbreaks by tracking people's health data from commercial medical databases. Officials would not disclose the program's cost or which cities will be involved. The emerging network has raised concerns that such surveillance may violate individual medical privacy rights. Experts say that privacy can, in theory, be violated when connections are made between disparate databases for instance, between those of physician payment and disease diagnosis, or health and law enforcement. The prospect of war with Iraq, and the chance that Baghdad might retaliate with germ weapons, are accelerating the effort to expand and integrate scores of rudimentary disease surveillance systems being developed by cities, states and the federal government.

The US is considering using nuclear weapons to destroy Saddam Hussein's underground command posts and stop him using his own weapons of mass destruction, a military expert said. In December 2001, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed a classified nuclear posture review opening the way for nuclear weapons to be used against targets invulnerable to non-nuclear attack on nations such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria as possible targets. The review also called upon the military to develop plans to attack foreign weapons of mass destruction facilities, even if the enemy did not resort to them first. An administration official said, "The US reserves the right to act in defense of itself and its allies by whatever means necessary."

Japan on Jan. 28, 2003, admitted that 206kg of its plutonium, enough to make about 25 nuclear bombs, is unaccounted for. Government scientists said that 6,890kg of plutonium had been extracted since 1977 from spent nuclear fuel at a processing plant about 120km north east of Tokyo. But that is 3 per cent short of the amount the plant was estimated to have produced. About 5kg to 8kg of plutonium are needed to make a 20-kiloton atomic bomb similar to the one that destroyed Nagasaki in 1945. Experts said the missing amount was surprisingly large. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is confident that no nuclear material has been diverted from the facility. The IAEA, a United Nations nuclear watchdog, has urged Japan to strengthen its procedures for measuring nuclear material.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister warned that the continuing standoff between North Korea and the United States could lead to "a very bad situation on the Korean peninsula, perhaps even armed conflict between North Korea and the United States." He believed North Korea's determination to stand firm in the face of Washington's threats of sanctions was real. "These statements aren't hollow words. North Korea could take measures that would cause problems for certain countries."

The European Union launched its own "navy" to patrol the southern shores of Europe and head off the flotillas that ship illegal immigrants from North Africa.

Guatemala, Honduras, Poland, Peru and El Salvador, aware of Mexico's success in getting identification cards to its citizens in the United States, including those here illegally, have begun or are considering issuing cards of their own, federal officials said. In the United States it has become a legal form of identification, giving the holders the ability to apply for social services, open bank accounts, cash checks, sign lease and rental agreements, and board airplanes. Federal law-enforcement authorities warn of the potential for widespread fraud involving the cards. U.S. banks hope to cash in on illegal aliens in this country that are unable to open bank accounts because of a lack of proper identification. A recommendation would be made to federal law enforcement and security agencies to ensure the cards' integrity and security.

If any of you saw Bush's speech on TV January 22, he was standing in front of what looked like a row of boxes, with a banner above them. Stamped on all the boxes was 'MADE IN THE USA'. But the whole thing was an illusion. Most, if not all, of the boxes were stamped Made in China, Made in Taiwan, Made in Hong Kong. Someone taped over the labels, and stamped on Made in the USA.
Behind The Curtain

Hundreds of US forces in southeastern Afghanistan were hunting extremists after a clash that killed at least 18 anti-government rebels on Jan. 27, 2003. Two men were detained and several caches of weapons destroyed in a sweep through caves believed to be housing rebels on Adi Ghar mountain, near Spin Boldak on the border with Pakistan. There had been no further clashes since a night of heavy fighting involving US and Norwegian bombing raids on Jan. 27.

President Bush has said that he plans to create a Terrorist Threat Integration Center to merge separate units at the CIA, FBI and other agencies into a single government unit intended to strengthen the collection and analysis of foreign and domestic terror threats. The center will be led by George Tenet, the director of the CIA, a step that would for the first time give the Central Intelligence Agency full control over the collection and evaluation of all information relating to terrorist threats in the United States or overseas.

Former US Gulf War commander Norman Schwarzkopf has said a new war with Iraq has not yet been justified.

The 2003's federal deficit will soar to $199 billion even without President Bush's new tax cut plan or war against Iraq, said the Congressional Budget Office. Fighting the war on terrorism has cost the Pentagon at least $15 billion more than its budget can cover, and the gap must be filled soon or troop training will have to be cut, the Pentagon says.

Washington will announce the decision to hold a military operation against Iraq within the 3rd week of February, the Russian military command believes. The Bush administration will make a formal decision to hold a military operation in Iraq right after the U.S. Armed Forces and their allies have formed battle groups in the region, which will be the 2nd to 3rd week of February.

Law enforcement officials across the country will soon have access to a database of 50 million overseas applications for United States visas, including the photographs of 20 million applicants. The database, which will become one of the largest offering images to local law enforcement, is maintained by the State Department and typically provides personal information like the applicant's home address, date of birth and passport number, and the names of relatives. It is a central feature of a computer system linkup, scheduled within the next month, that will tie together the department, intelligence agencies, the F.B.I. and police departments. The new system will provide 100,000 investigators one source for what the government designates "sensitive but unclassified" information. As for the new interagency system, other large security and law enforcement computer networks are scheduled for integration with it within the next year. These include an unclassified part of the Defense Department computer network, as well as the National Law Enforcement Telecommunication System, which is used to disseminate criminal justice information nationwide.

Jan. 30, 2003 - The U.S. State Department designated an al-Qaida-linked radical Islamic group in Pakistan as a foreign terrorist organization. It is believed responsi ble for the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl last year. A State Department spokesman said the group has claimed responsibility for the 1997 killing of four American oil workers in Karachi. The Sunni Muslim group also has engaged in numerous bus and church bombings. One bus bombing last year killed 15 people, including 11 French technicians. Lashkar-i-Jhangvi "has ties to al-Qaida, ties to the Taliban, in addition to receiving sanctuary in Afghanistan for their activities in Pakistan.

Italian authorities found a newspaper photo of Britain's military chief when they arrested 28 Pakistanis in Naples this week with powerful explosives, forged documents and maps of the area with "sensitive targets" highlighted, a police official said on Feb. 1, 2003. A police official said the combination of the materials "could have imploded a 10-story building." Police said the dynamite plus the chemicals used in the explosive fuse produced the equivalent of 3.3 pounds of T4, a powerful explosive even in small amounts. The official said police also uncovered maps of Naples with "sensitive" targets circled. Italian news reports citing unidentified sources said the areas marked included the U.S. Consulate in Naples and NATO bases in nearby Bagnoli and Capodichino. Police also found hundreds of forged identity documents, cell phones, thousands of international telephone contacts and addresses, and manuals on forging identity documents. In addition, religious texts in Pakistan's Urdu language and other documents were found, as well as photos of "martyrs of the Jihad (holy war)," the police statement said. Last year, seven Tunisians were convicted in Milan of helping suspected al-Qaida recruits obtain false documents.

The U.S. has sought "permission" of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to bomb the tribal areas of Waziristan and Northern Areas, where 10,000 Al Qaida terrorists are reported to have taken sanctuary. U.S. officials were reported to have specifically identified the Mahsoud and Khattak tribes as those providing sanctuary to the Al Qaida who had fled Afghanistan to escape the hunt by U.S. troops.

The Bush administration on Feb. 4, 2003 said North Korea was pursuing a nuclear weapons program and conceded its record on arms proliferation was worse than Iraq's. Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state, told the Senate foreign relations committee the US was concerned that North Korea would seek to avoid economic collapse by selling nuclear fissile material to rogue states or terrorist organisations. Mr Armitage conceded that North Korea was a worse proliferator than Iraq, selling missiles to Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt "and other places". The US also had "suspicions" that North Korea had spread nuclear weapons technology, indicating that Pakistan and Libya might have benefited. US officials this week revealed that spy satellites had shown trucks at Yongbyon believed to be moving fuel rods out of storage. This indicated that North Korea might be preparing to start the reprocessing of plutonium. But Mr Armitage insisted the Bush administration believes Iraq presented a more immediate threat than North Korea.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he's concerned that the Bush administration's focus on Iraq is draining resources from the fight against terrorism. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said he believes Osama bin Laden al-Qaida organization remains a bigger danger to Americans than Iraq and that he hasn't seen information yet that would justify a war now against Saddam Hussein. He said he doubts war can be avoided, given rhetoric from the Bush administration that's "almost like they're moving toward something which is perhaps decided." That could prompt Saddam to give his chemical and biological weapons to terrorist groups, he said. He noted that in a letter to lawmakers last year, CIA Director George Tenet warned that Saddam was likelier to help terrorists attack the United States if he believed a U.S. invasion was imminent. He also said though elements of al-Qaida have been in Iraq, he has not seen evidence of close ties between Saddam and the organization.

There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network, according to an official British intelligence report seen by BBC News. The classified document says there has been contact between the two in the past. But it assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideologies.

The United States on Feb. 5, 2003 called North Korea's announcement that it had restarted nuclear facilities "dangerous" and said U.S. forces were ready to confront Pyongyang if necessary.

The Saddam Hussein Interview

Secretary of State Colin Powell presents photos, audio tapes and statements the U.S. says offers "undeniable" evidence that Iraq has defied calls for disarmament and continues to house weapons of mass destruction.
rtsp:// Iraq's response

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called the camp in northern Iraq a terrorist poison and explosives training center, a deadly link in a "sinister nexus" binding Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. But journalists who visited the site depicted in Powell's satellite photo found a half-built cinderblock compound with no obvious sign of chemical weapons manufacturing.

Hard To Believe

The Department of State reminds Americans that U.S. citizens and interests are at a heightened risk of terrorist attacks, including by groups with links to Al-Qaida. issued Feb. 6, 2003

Recent intelligence reports said spy agencies have picked up indications that bin Laden family members are preparing to head for Libya from other parts of the world that the officials would not identify.

The Bush administration on Feb. 7, 2003 will raise the national terror alert from yellow to orange, citing a U.S. intelligence warning of a "high risk" of terrorist attack, a senior administration official said. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision was based on an increase in intelligence pointing to a possible attack around the Muslim holy period of the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the holy Saudi city of Mecca. The administration planned to announce the change later in the day. The alert has been at code yellow, or "elevated," which is the middle of a five-point scale of risk developed after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. It was last raised to orange in September. It stayed at orange then for two weeks to coincide with the first anniversary of the attacks. Government officials have grown increasingly concerned about the likelihood of terrorist attacks within the United States as intelligence sources are reporting an increase in terrorist activity or "chatter." One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this activity appeared to be peaking and was rivaling that seen before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Officials are increasingly worried that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups might try to use chemical, biological or radiological weapons such as a "dirty bomb" that spews radiation into the atmosphere over a relatively confined area. There is no evidence, they say, that al-Qaida has acquired nuclear weapons but there is ample proof that it was working with a variety of harmful substances. There is also concern that individual al-Qaida member or sympathizers could attempt small-scale attacks, such as a shooting or suicide bombing. U.S. preparation for a possible war with Iraq and Sunday's start of the Hajj were also key factors in the decision to raise the alert status. Muslim holy periods tend to raise jitters about terrorist activity among U.S. intelligence officials. U.S. officials say they have thwarted more than 100 terrorist plots around the world, including some planned within the United States, since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two senior al Qaeda figures helped train the people now suspected of planning chemical and biological attacks in France and the United Kingdom, European intelligence said. One of those figures is Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the man singled out by President Bush as a link between the terrorist group and Iraq. The other is Abu Khabab whose voice has been identified by intelligence sources as the man on a videotape showing al Qaeda operatives performing chemical weapons experiments on dogs. The information comes after a recent wave of arrests in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain that investigators say helped uncover several cells of Islamic terrorists who had the material to make chemical and biological weapons. And, investigators say, the terrorists were apparently ready to use them. Among the common links between some of the men who were arrested: They trained at a camp in the Caucasus region, particularly the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia and in nearby Chechnya, according to investigators. They are coming from the same region, most of them are Algerian, trained in the same place, in some camps in Afghanistan, and at the same time in Georgia in the Pankisi Gorge. And it seems that they wanted to start chemical attacks. In raids near Paris in December, the French police not only recovered a chemical suit, as previously reported, but also chemicals, including cyanide. Security sources believe that those being trained in the Chechnya and nearby Pankisi Gorge region may also be receiving instruction from men who had experience with chemical and biological weapons in the Russian army. Because of the recent arrests and other investigations, a leading anti-terrorist investigator says that the Chechnya and nearby Pankisi Gorge region is on the verge of becoming a new launching pad for Islamic terrorism against the West.

The CIA fears that Al Qaeda is planning at least two large-scale attacks against American targets by mid-February or at the outset of war with Iraq. The terrorist strikes - which may coincide with the end of the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca - could include the use of a radioactive "dirty" bomb or chemical and biological weapons, the CIA has determined. Federal terrorism officials have been warned that "Al Qaeda is organizing a 'new' type of attack that will surprise the United States." The CIA's alert said Osama Bin Laden's thugs may attempt strikes that "potentially could involve a radiological dispersal device," combining major assaults with "smaller attacks at multiple places around the world." It cited "multiple reliable reports" that Al Qaeda is "ready to trigger" new attacks.

India said "the novel version of democracy" which Pakistan recently unveiled had brought more religious extremist forces into its polity and worries that Pakistan is the safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban elements which may expand. India worries that Pakistan's nuclear weapons are stored in tunnels and caves in the Chagai Hills of Baluchistan and concern of the "freelance activities" of some Pakistani nuclear scientists.

The Islamic group Ansar al Islam assassinated a minister of the Kurdish parliament and two other government officials on Feb. 8th 2003. A team of gunmen, whom Kurdish officials said had been able to get close to the minister because they were masquerading as peace negotiators, also killed three civilians and wounded 12 other people. Shawkat Haji Mushir was a founding member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party that controls the eastern Kurdish zone in Iraq, and a close confidante of the Jalal Talabani, the party leader. He had earned a reputation for courage and battlefield savvy as a commander in struggles against Saddam Hussein and rival Kurds. Ansar al-Islam, a Taliban-like party with several hundred fighters, occupies a small bit of land near the Iranian border, and has been engaged in war with the Kurdish government since 2001.

Under the shadow of looming war in Iraq, two million pilgrims prepared to start the five-day haj ritual at Islam's holiest site in Saudi Arabia on Feburary the 9th 2003, with many expressing deep anger at the United States. Many pilgrims are deeply opposed to a war by America against Iraq. "America is not after Saddam. It is out to humiliate Muslims. It wants to dominate the region and leave Israel free to kill more Palestinians," said Ahmad, a young Egyptian pilgrim who works as a labourer in Qatar. Ahmad's hatred of the United States is so intense that he says he supports killing Americans. "I hate America. It is the cause of Muslim and Arab disgrace. If I were ever on a plane with an American on it, I'd hijack it. If I see them in the street, I'd kill them," he said. "We are powerful, if united. We should be afraid of no one," he added, pointing at the sea of white-robed pilgrims in Mecca. Even among more moderate pilgrims, the view is widespread that the U.S.-led campaign against Saddam is really a crusade against Islam, while anger over U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is common. "America wants to strike all Muslim countries, not just Iraq. It wants to help the Jews and the Zionists to expand their influence," said Ali, an Indonesian. "Saddam is both good and bad -- bad because he suppresses his own people and good because he stands up to America and Israel," said Inayat, a pilgrim from Bahrain. Some of those most opposed to Saddam were Kuwaitis, Iranians and Kurds. "But we do not support war on Iraq. I hope the regime will be changed by Iraqi people," said Mohammad, a Kuwaiti. Esfandiar Abbasi, an Iranian pilgrim, said he was against Saddam but opposed war. "Saddam has shown us a lot of enmity and tyrannized us, but we still do not wish war against his country," he said. But Qadir Osman Ali, an Iraqi Kurd, said he supported the drive to topple Saddam. "We pray here for Saddam to go. The Americans will take him out. Then Iraqi people, from Shi'ites Muslims to Sunni Muslims to Kurds, will live peacefully together like brothers," he said. The haj is a pillar of Islam and must be performed once in a lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Pilgrims begin the ritual by retracing the footsteps of the prophet Mohammad 14 centuries ago. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to its holiest shrines.

Avenger air-defense systems are positioned around Washington, D.C. The U.S. Army weapon is part of a multi-agency effort to provide the nation's capitol with greater protection against attack from the air. The protection measures include Air National Guard fighter jets in Combat Air Patrol (CAP) above and Army radar systems positioned alongside Humvees outfitted with ground-to-air Stinger missiles. The patrols by fighter aircraft that have been in place for months over Washington and New York have been stepped up as a precaution. Also in response to the heightened alert, U.S. Customs Service has increased its Black Hawk helicopter surveillance patrols over Washington. As of last month, the helicopters typically flew between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. but the patrols are now being conducted around the clock. All 425 military bases in the United States have increased security levels from Threat Condition Alpha to Threat Condition Bravo. The Pentagon remains at a still-higher state of alert, Threat Condition Charlie.

Transcript of Osama bin Laden tape broadcast February 11, 2003 on al-Jazeera Part 1 Part 2

Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States

Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 2001
Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs

Department of State - International Information Programs

The Duct Tape Follies

A key piece of the information leading to recent terror alerts was fabricated, according to two senior law enforcement officials in Washington and New York. The officials said that a claim made by a captured al Qaeda member that Washington, New York or Florida would be hit by a "dirty bomb" sometime this week had proven to be a product of his imagination. The informant described a detailed plan that an al Qaeda cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops. The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and Christian or clerical centers. The person did not pass a polygraph test. Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted.

Some facts about weapons of mass destruction that U.S. officials say terrorists want to use against Americans:
WHAT IT IS: A bomb made from conventional explosives surrounded by radioactive material.
WHAT IT DOES: A "dirty bomb" is meant to spew radioactive material over a large area. Sources of the radioactive material include medical devices such as those used to treat cancer; radioactive waste; military devices such as power sources for remote sensors; and nuclear power plant components.
IRAQ'S ROLE: U.N. documents say Iraq tested a one-ton "dirty bomb" in 1987. Weapons inspectors said Iraq gave up its dirty bomb project because the levels of radiation released were deemed not deadly enough.
WHAT IT IS: Bacillus anthracis, a hardy bacteria that causes illness in livestock and humans.
WHAT IT DOES: There are three types of anthrax infection: skin lesions, gastrointestinal infection and lung, or inhalation, anthrax. The deadliest — and the one weapons are designed to produce — is inhalation anthrax, which starts with flu-like symptoms but escalates to fill the lungs with fluid, causing death. Just a few tiny anthrax spores are enough to cause a deadly infection in some vulnerable people. The 2001 anthrax attacks showed that antibiotics, if given early, can eliminate the infection, and the U.S. military has a program to vaccinate its soldiers against the disease.
IRAQ'S ROLE: Iraq acknowledged making 2,200 gallons of anthrax spores — enough to kill millions if delivered effectively — but U.N. inspectors determined Iraq could have made at least three times that much. As many as 16 missile warheads filled with anthrax are missing. Iraq also mastered the technology to produce a deadlier dry, powdered form of anthrax, inspectors say. U.N. documents show Iraq imported up to 25 tons of asubstance that could be used to make powdered forms of anthrax or other biological or chemical weapons.
WHAT IT IS: The variola virus, a deadly germ that only kills people and was declared eradicated in 1980.
WHAT IT DOES: About two weeks after infection, smallpox causes a high fever and other flu-like symptoms. Within four more days, the smallpox rash develops, first as red spots on the tongue and mouth. The rash then spreads to the skin, concentrated on the face, hands and feet. Within two weeks, the rash starts to form scabs, which fall off and leave scars. The rash also appears inside the body, which can cause death through interfering with breathing or other vital body functions. Historically, smallpox was fatal about 30 percent of the time.
IRAQ'S ROLE: U.S. officials believe Iraq probably has stockpiles of the smallpox virus, possibly left over from an outbreak in Iraq in 1972. Iraq has admitted performing research on camelpox, a virus closely related to smallpox.
WHAT IT IS: A deadly poison made from castor beans.
WHAT IT DOES: Tiny amounts of ricin, when ingested, can stimulate the intestines — castor oil has long been used as a natural laxative. Larger doses can cause diarrhea that can kill by dehydration; ricin also can cause severe shock and death by suppressing breathing. There is no known antidote or cure.
IRAQ'S ROLE: Iraq claimed it made only 10 liters of ricin — about 2.5 gallons — but inspectors never verified this claim. U.S. officials have said they suspect an Iraqi plant that uses castor beans to make brake fluid could also be used to make ricin.
WHAT IT IS: A poison produced by the clostridium botulinum bacteria, botulinum toxin is the deadliest substance known.
WHAT IT DOES: In small doses, such as those in food contaminated with the bacteria, it can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, blurry vision and muscle weakness which can advance to paralysis and death. If the toxin is applied in pure form — especially if it is inhaled — the paralysis and death can be very rapid.
IRAQ'S ROLE: Iraq acknowledged making nearly 5,300 gallons of botulinum toxin, most of which was put into missile warheads and other munitions. At least five missile warheads filled with botulinum toxin are missing.
WHAT IT IS: The most toxic of chemical weapons, VX is a sticky, colorless liquid that evaporates slowly into a colorless, odorless gas.
WHAT IT DOES: VX interferes with the body's nerve impulses, causing convulsions and paralysis of the lungs and blood vessels. Victims essentially choke to death. A drop on the skin is enough to kill.
IRAQ'S ROLE: Iraq acknowledged making 3.9 tons of VX, which it said it destroyed. U.N. inspectors estimated Iraq had the means to make more than 200 tons of VX and never found definitive proof Iraq had destroyed its supply.
WHAT IT IS: A colorless liquid at room temperature, mustard agent evaporates into a gas that may be odorless or smell like mustard or rotten onions.
WHAT IT DOES: Mustard agent begins dissolving tissues on contact, causing skin injuries similar to burns, as well as damage to lungs and eyes. Mustard agent usually is not fatal but can cause blindness, lung problems and other injuries that can be painful for decades.
IRAQ'S ROLE: Iraq gave U.N. inspectors two figures of how much mustard gas it produced: 3,080 tons and 2,850 tons. Iraq acknowledged extensive use of mustard gas against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. U.S. intelligence reports say that included using a powdered, or "dusty," form of mustard agent that can penetrate protective gear. Iraq told the U.N. it misplaced 550 mustard-filled artillery shells after the 1991 Gulf War.

The recent spike in gasoline prices isn't justified and is getting "uncomfortably close" to gouging, a AAA spokesman said on Feb. 13, 2003.

North Korea has responded defiantly to the decision by the United Nations nuclear watchdog to refer it to the UN Security Council for breaching nuclear non-proliferation agreements. A senior official in Pyongyang, told a news agency that North Korea had a right to self-defence and, if provoked, had the ability to strike American targets anywhere in the world.

Why The Tyrants Want Open Borders
Homeland Defense Begins at Borders

Mexican immigration police announced they had detained six Iraqi citizens who arrived in Tijuana in an apparent attempt to cross into the United States. The Iraqis, five men and one woman, claimed they were German citizens when they arrived at the Tijuana airport on a flight from Mexico City Tuesday [Feb. 11, 2003] night. It was not immediately clear whether the Iraqis were Chaldean Christians, a group with a sizable community in southern California. Chaldeans claim they face persecution in their home country, and say their normally routine requests for U.S. asylum have fallen victim to the widespread mistrust and anxiety that have followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Mexican officials detained 96 Iraqi Chaldean Christians in Tijuana in September 2001. Five Iraqi citizens detained after arriving in Tijuana on German travel documents are Chaldean Christians and not potential terror suspects, Mexican immigration authorities said.

Endless Fake Terror Alerts: Fear Based Mind Control

New York City hospitals were placed on high alert after the government warned of a potential cyanide gas attack by terrorists. The city Health Department has urged hospitals to increase levels of sodium thiosulfate, the antidote to cyanide, and other pharmaceutical agents in emergency rooms to deal with chemical warfare or a nuclear attack. Greater New York Hospital Association

Taiwan Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming said the military had been put on a state of alert for fear China could take advantage of a war in Iraq to launch an invasion of the island.

The government raised the national threat level last week after American intelligence obtained evidence that agents of Al Qaeda might be positioning themselves to carry out two major attacks, including one inside the United States, government officials said on Feb. 14, 2003. Officials said the intelligence was especially worrisome because it showed that Al Qaeda might have gone beyond the planning stages for two distinct plots, one in America and a second in the Arabian Peninsula, and might actually have dispatched low-level operatives to conduct the logistical or operational work needed to carry them out. The official added that intercepts of telephone conversations, e-mail messages and other intelligence indicating that terrorists had moved closer to an attack is one of the crucial considerations used by the new Homeland Security Department to determine when the threat level should be raised. One official said that concerns within the intelligence community rose even higher Wednesday night [Feb. 12, 2003], when "chatter" among Qaeda operatives suddenly dropped off. The official said there were fears that the operatives, having moved into place, were quiet because they had finished their preparations and were poised for an attack.

International oil sources fear al Qaeda is planning a radioactive strike for the big Saudi oil terminal at Ras Tanura - or against US troops stationed in the Saudi Kingdom and Gulf emirates – that will further push up world oil prices.
Al Qaeda Talks Back

Nigerian oil workers on Feb. 15, 2003 launched an indefinite strike that could shut down crude exports in the world's sixth largest oil exporter.

U.S. intelligence agencies say Osama bin Laden's oldest son, Sad, is in Iran along with other senior al Qaeda terrorists. Sad bin Laden was spotted in Iran last month, according to officials familiar with intelligence reports. Sad is believed to be a key leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network. Sad, 23, is the oldest of Osama bin Laden's 27 children from several wives. He lived with his father in Sudan and Afghanistan, and fled Afghanistan in December 2001.

In detailed advisories over the past week, the FBI and Homeland Security provided information to local law enforcement about the type of biological and chemical weapons that U.S. and foreign intelligence indicates al-Qaida already has obtained and tested. Some of the advisories cautioned that chemical and biological attacks could be staged at multiple locations and synchronized to cause the greatest possible panic, officials said. FBI investigators also have gathered evidence that as many as a dozen men who trained at al-Qaida training camps are currently on U.S. soil, thus raising the prospect they may be part of existing terror cells able to launch attacks if a war starts, officials said.

Al Qaeda leaders were taught to break attacks into stages, with separate small groups responsible for distinct tasks, to avoid losing the entire operation if some are arrested. One group picks a target, another procures materials and weapons, and a third is responsible for carrying out the attack. The teams, which have their individual tasks, neither know who the other teams are nor have any contact with them.

Feb. 16, 2003 -- Washington has told Tokyo of its plan to beef up its military presence in Japan to prepare for a possible emergency amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The United States announced plans for joint war games with South Korea and emphatically ruled out direct talks with North Korea to resolve an escalating nuclear crisis. With no glimmer of respite in the four-month old nuclear standoff, US authorities announced that annual joint military exercises would take place from March 4 to April 2 on the Korean peninsula.

Mohamed Atta was twice seen with flight school owner Rudi Dekkers in Venice, FL. during the final month before he crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, directly contradicting Dekker's account of his relationship with the terrorist ringleader. Atta took numerous cab rides in August 2001 to and from Huffman Aviation as well as other locations in Venice, according to Venice Yellow Cab employees interviewed by the FBI three days after the attack.

Iranian-backed Iraqi opposition forces have crossed into northern Iraq from Iran with the aim of securing the frontier in the event of war, according to senior Iranian officials. The forces, numbering up to 5,000 troops, with some heavy equipment, are nominally under the command of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, a prominent Iraqi Shia Muslim opposition leader who has been based in Iran since 1980 and lives in Tehran.

Three giant cargo ships are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion that they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Each with a deadweight of 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes, the ships have been sailing around the world's oceans for the past three months while maintaining radio silence in clear violation of international maritime law, say authoritative shipping industry sources. The vessels left port in late November, just a few days after UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix began their search for the alleged Iraqi arsenal on their return to the country. The ships were chartered by a shipping agent based in Egypt and are flying under the flags of three different countries. The continued radio silence since they left port, in addition to the captains' failure to provide information on their cargoes or their destinations, is a clear breach of international maritime laws. The vessels are thought to have spent much of their time in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean, berthing at sea when they need to collect supplies of fuel and food. They have berthed in a handful of Arab countries, including Yemen. American and British military forces are believed to be reluctant to stop and search the vessels for fear that any intervention might result in them being scuttled. If they were carrying chemical and biological weapons, or fissile nuclear material, and they were to be sunk at sea, the environmental damage could be catastrophic. The ships are thought to have set sail from a country other than Iraq to avoid running the gauntlet of Western naval vessels patrolling the Gulf. Defence experts believe that, if they are carrying weapons of mass destruction, these could have been smuggled out through Syria or Jordan.

U.S., British and German intelligence services failed to confirm the existence of three mystery ships suspected of carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, reported by a British newspaper. A German security source told Reuters: "We consider the reports to be wrong," adding that if there were such ships, they would be easy to detect with satellites. The International Maritime Organization said it was not against the international law of the sea for a ship to withhold information or maintain radio silence on the high seas. But one maritime security consultant told Reuters the report was credible.

Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday that Iran, Libya and Syria should be stripped of weapons of mass destruction after Iraq. "These are irresponsible states, which must be disarmed of weapons mass destruction, and a successful American move in Iraq as a model will make that easier to achieve," Sharon said to a visiting delegation of American congressmen. Sharon told the congressmen that Israel was not involved in the war with Iraq "but the American action is of vital importance." In a meeting with U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton yesterday, Sharon said that Israel was concerned about the security threat posed by Iran, and stressed that it was important to deal with Iran even while American attention was focused on Iraq. Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials that he had no doubt America would attack Iraq, and that it would be necessary thereafter to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea.

A Florida computer engineering professor and seven other men were charged Thursday with overseeing and financing the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. Full Statement Press Release Indictment

A few commercial pilots will be able to carry guns in the cockpit, at least for the foreseeable future.The TSA announced on Feb. 19, 2003, its preliminary plan for arming pilots. Press Releases

The United States Navy is boarding an average of six vessels a day as it steps up patrols in international waters searching for Iraqi weapons rumoured to have been hidden on ships or smuggled overseas. Most of the operations have been in and around the Persian Gulf, where Western naval detachments are enforcing international sanctions against Iraq, ensuring there is no traffic in forbidden goods. There was no evidence that ships carrying Iraqi missiles were concealed at sea, but the Indian Ocean is a very big place so it is not difficult to hide things there. US naval patrols in the Gulf have yielded only minor discoveries of drugs and a handful of unauthorized guns.

India is a "weak link" in the global fight against money laundering that aids terrorism and the country's central bank has been unable to stop the practice, a U.S. Congress member said. "India is not complying with international standards to stop money laundering, the U.S. Congress is concerned. In the Indian banking system, a lot of business is done with pieces of paper," he said.

"The dead from the war against Iraq and its destructiveness will be the fertilizer from which the next generation of terrorists will come," Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak said. The conflict "will ignite a gigantic fire of terrorism."

A U.S.-led assault on Iraq could push the price of oil on international markets to unprecedented levels — perhaps as high as $50 a barrel — and fuel a worldwide wave of terrorism by Muslims, Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warned.

The United States will send troops to Philippines in the next few weeks to fight Muslim extremists in the southern part of the country, Pentagon officials said on Feb. 20, 2003.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has reiterated his opposition to a US-led war against Iraq, warning that the United Nations could "die a moral death" if it succumbs to pressure from Washington. His comments came days after Defence Minister George Fernandes said it would be "inconceivable" for the United States to attack Iraq.

In the year after the Sept. 11 attacks, federal prosecutors exaggerated their success convicting would-be terrorists by wrongly classifying three of every four cases originally labeled as international terrorism, congressional investigators said. Justice Department: Better Management Oversight and Internal Controls Needed to Ensure Accuracy of Terrorism-Related Statistics

Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defense, was on the board of technology giant ABB when it won a deal to supply North Korea with two nuclear power plants.

A classified F.B.I. intelligence bulletin [ issued on Feb.19, 2003 ] to state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country, warned the authorities to be on the alert for lone terrorists who are not directed by organizations like Al Qaeda. "Lone extremists [ Note: not the word terrorist ] represent an ongoing terrorist threat in the United States," the bulletin said. "Lone extremists may operate independently or on the fringes of established extremist groups, either alone or with one or two accomplices." Lone extremists who belong to conventional terrorist groups may commit acts without the prior knowledge of the group's leadership, the bulletin said, adding: "Even successful undercover penetration of such groups may not provide any advanced warning of planned attacks. However, often there are early warning signs concerning these individuals that could be useful to law enforcement. Many lone extremists, for example, have a history of functioning poorly within traditional communities, such as educational institutions, churches and places of employment." Investigators have intensified their use of covert monitoring using national security warrants and have questioned a few people who they believe might engage in violence.

Afghan rebel commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said he is proud the United States has branded him a terrorist and echoed Osama bin Laden's call for suicide attacks against Americans. Calling the United States the "big Satan of the world," Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister, also vowed jihad against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar is closely aligned to Pakistan's oldest and best-organized Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami which is a leading member of the 6-party Islamic coalition that rules the North West Frontier Province.

FBI Whistleblower Harassed? A Review of the FBI's response to John Roberts Statements on 60 minutes

The FBI has done a poor job with an anti-terrorism law that permits unprecedented levels of domestic surveillance, Senate Judiciary Committee lawmakers said.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service's dismal record of deporting illegal aliens extends even to those from countries the government considers sponsors of terrorism, the Justice Department inspector general said.

Assailants gunned down a senior government official leaving a mosque in southwestern Afghanistan in what police said may have been a Taliban-orchestrated attack to discourage Afghans from working with the government.

A group calling itself "September 11" sent terror threats to the U.S., Australian and British embassies in New Zealand, warning it has 55 pounds of cyanide to use against American interests if Iraq is attacked, police said on Feb. 26, 2003. "September 11 waits at the Americas Cup for instruction if Iraq is attacked by the host of Satan all interests and there supporters will be attacked by September 11," the letters said. "September (11) has stockpiled 25 kilo weapon grade cyanide and will use those against those interests wherever they are," the threat adds.

Feb. 28, 2003 - A delegation from the global nuclear agency is on its way to Nigeria to help track down radioactive material lost by an oil company. The two devices contained caesium-137 which could potentially be used in radioactive "duty bomb," a some in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said. The arrival of the team followed an appeal by Nigeria's government to the IAEA to help it recover the two missing radio active material in the Niger Delta region. The hand-held devices used to X-ray oil pipelines to check for cracks are also a risk to people's health, the source said. Both devices have been missing since December and seem to have been stolen or fallen off a transport vehicle in the Southern Niger Delta region, an official at the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) said. The Nigerian authorities reported the loss to the IAEA and are now awaiting advice. Residents of the oil-producing region have been warned not to touch the material, which may be in "thick steel cylindrical containers with yellowish-black" markings. Health workers have also been urged to keep a look-out for anyone with prolonged nausea or skin burns. The material went missing on December 3, 2002 but a public warning was only made last week. "We have ... informed the International Atomic Energy Agency in case somebody stole it and wants to take it outside Nigeria," Shams Elegba, Head of the NNRA said. The material was lost while in transit between Warri and Port Harcourt.

Bulletins distributed by the Defense Intelligence Agency on Feb. 11 and 13 were the strongest warnings yet about the likelihood of terrorism once war begins, and for the first time predicted an uprising that would spread from Al Qaeda to terror organizations that are not Islamic. "Anti-U.S. terrorist attacks during any conflict with Iraq are a certainty," the defense agency informed intelligence and policy leaders in a Feb. 13 memo. "Indigenous terrorist groups in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Peru, Chile, Japan and Southeast Asia are the most likely to have some kind of terrorist response to U.S. military action in Iraq." The Pentagon alerted its commanders in the U.S., Bahrain and Qatar this month that it was raising the terror threat level from "significant" to the maximum level, "high." The classified memos express an unnerving certainty that terrorists will retaliate for a U.S. invasion of Iraq and contradict public statements by top officials who have insisted the nation's color-coded threat alert is not tied to a looming war. A Feb. 11 agency memo reported that "at the onset of hostilities" with Iraq, Al Qaeda and other terrorists "will launch anti-U.S. terrorist operations, probably in the U.S. and Arabian Peninsula." But on Feb. 13, the agency said terrorists might attack U.S. interests if war "appears imminent." The Pentagon's threat analysis departs from statements by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who has said the Orange Alert announced Feb. 7 "wasn't predicated on anything related to Iraq."

Al-Qaida operatives plotting U.S. attacks may use sophisticated surveillance techniques that are difficult for local security and police officials to detect, the FBI cautions. An FBI bulletin circulated this week to law enforcement agencies nationwide says that al-Qaida operatives are highly trained in surveillance methods ranging from using hidden cameras to posing as beggars or tourists. Among the group's methods are what is called "prolonged static surveillance," in which people are "disguised as panhandlers, demonstrators, shoe shiners, food or flower vendors, news agents or street sweepers." Police and security officials have also been told to watch for:
_Unusual or persistent interest in security personnel, access controls, or perimeters such as fences or walls.
_An increase in anonymous telephone or e-mail threats, which could be a way of testing reaction.
_Use of hidden still or video cameras and sketchpads, especially in non-tourist areas.
_Use of multiple sets of clothing, identification and the like.
Al-Qaida has also used teams of two or three people doing surveillance together on foot, as well as mobile methods including scooters, bicycles, cars and trucks, boats and even small aircraft, the FBI bulletin says.

A small plane whose frequent flights over the city of Bloomington, Ind. had raised fears among some residents is being used by the FBI, officials acknowledged. The FBI said [Feb. 27, 2003] that the plane is being used in monitoring people who might have terrorist connections. Earlier in the week, when aviation officials disclosed that the aircraft was conducting surveillance, the FBI had denied any link to the plane. The aircraft is monitoring individuals, vehicles and businesses, and places open late at night from which faxes or e-mails can be sent. FBI officials said that use of aircraft is not uncommon in surveillance, particularly when agents are keeping tabs on people over a wide-ranging area. Residents have seen the white, single-engine Cessna 182 at least since Feb. 19 making passes overhead about noon, in the late evening and after midnight. The aircraft is conducting surveillance flights over several communities near Indianapolis. Bloomington is about 40 miles south of Indianapolis and home to the campus of Indiana University, where more than 3,300 foreign students attend. Several of the university's students have been questioned by FBI agents, university and agency officials confirmed. An agency spokesman, however, would not say if those interviews were related to national security or the airplane's flights.

Fuel for nuclear weapons is more widely available

Dan Rather's interview with Saddam Hussein

Federal inspectors are checking all travelers arriving in the United States for radiation as part of an expanded effort to screen for terrorist activity, a Customs official said. A spokesman for the new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, said inspectors began using small, pager-like detectors March 1, 2003, at U.S. ports of entry to check passengers for radiation.

The North's official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted the ruling communist party's Rodong Sinmun as saying the U.S. Department of Defense recently ordered huge U.S. air force deployments in South Korea, Japan and around the Korean peninsula. The paper said, "If the U.S. imperialists ignite a war on the Korean peninsula, the war will turn into a nuclear war." It added, "As a consequence, the Koreans in the north and south and the people in Asia and the rest of the world will suffer horrifying nuclear disasters."

An alleged Al-Qaida operative was killed March 2, 2003, in a car bomb explosion in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, as he was heading to a mosque to pray. Palestinian and Lebanese sources said the man was an Egyptian named Mohammed Abdel-Hamid Shanouha, but Israeli sources identified him as Mohammed al-Masri, a Palestinian activist and the leader of the Lebanese branch of Al-Qaida. Two other people were injured by the blast and dozens of houses were damaged. The mosque was frequented by members of Asbat al-Ansar (Band of Partisans), a militant group on Washington's list of terrorist organizations suspected of links to Al-Qaida. Residents of the camp, located on the outskirts of Sidon, accused Israel of the assassination. The Lebanese army issued a statement saying that at 11:30 Friday night two Israeli reconnaissance planes passed overhead and then returned toward Israel. Several witnesses reported hearing a drone flying throughout the night, until the bombing took place. Lebanese sources said Masri had links to a number of fundamentalist Islamic organizations including Asbat al-Ansar.

The suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks was being interrogated by U.S. and Pakistani agents after what Washington called the biggest catch so far in the war on terror. Pakistan said its agents arrested Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, described by U.S. officials as one of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's "most senior and significant lieutenants," and two other al Qaeda suspects at a house in Rawalpindi early on March 1, 2003.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was born in Kuwait in the mid-1960s. Mohammed may have been known as Muktar Baluch. In 1983 he went to America to study mechanical engineering at Chowan College in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. The following year he got a degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. He left in 1986 and went to Peshawar in northern Pakistan to join the Afghan struggle against the Soviet invaders. After the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 the US withdrew its support for Osama bin Laden. On February 26, 1993, a rented truck exploded in the underground parking lot of the World Trade Center, killing six and injuring thousands. American officials investigating the World Trade Center bombing suggest Mohammed was linked to the operation, though he has never been indicted. By then Mohammed was in Karachi, where he operated an import-export company whose products included bottled holy water from Mecca. After the World Trade Center bombing, Mohammed joined forces in a new phase of international Islamist terrorism from a base in Manila. They started with a string of small-scale bombings. The culmination of Mohammed's activity in the Philippines was to have been Operation Bojinka, an ambitious plot to blow up 11 or 12 American airliners simultaneously over the Pacific Ocean. The plan was foiled accidentally by police who stumbled across incriminating computer files while investigating his involvement in a possible assassination attempt on the Pope. In 1995, Mohammed evaded capture and made a new base for himself in Qatar. When the FBI closed in on him in Qatar in 1996 he fled again, this time to Kandahar, the headquarters of the Taliban. In 1997 he is believed to have moved to the center of bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. He was put in charge of terrorist operations in south-east Asia but by 1999 he was already contemplating reviving the idea behind the abortive Bojinka operation and using civilian airliners as terrorist weapons in a strike on America. He is also suspected of involvement in the bombing of US embassies in Africa in 1998 and the attack on the USS Cole, in Yemen in 2000. U.S. investigators said he was one of the key players in the Sept. 11 attacks. Specifically, they believe he coordinated the suicide hijackers' training as pilots as well as the plot's execution on Sept. 11.

Sources say a tape obtained by ABCNEWS was shot in preparation for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

Health problems plague Ground Zero workers

Analysis of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's seized computers should help thwart future attacks, identify and locate terrorist operatives and their financial resources. The tools and techniques used by government examiners are the same ones we routinely use to analyze hard drives to for attorneys and corporations. Computer forensic examiners first make exact digital evidence copies of all hard drives and disks using sophisticated computer forensics software. These copies are then viewed just as you would normally look at them in Windows, including a preview of each file's contents. The program automatically recovers deleted documents, emails and graphic images displaying them in an easy to read and sort, column and row format. Each file's date and timestamp is displayed making it easy to assemble a timeline related to when the file was created, saved or even viewed. But the real power of an examination comes from an ability to search through a mountain of data very thoroughly and quickly and in any language. A list of relevant "unique keywords" is developed, that when run against the evidence, returns "hits" or occurrences where the keyword was found. Scripts can be run to quickly recover all complete or partial email addresses, phone numbers and even a history of visits to websites.

Terrorists linked to al Qaeda have targeted U.S. military facilities in Pearl Harbor, including nuclear-powered submarines and ships. Intelligence reports about the terrorist threat to the Hawaiian harbor were sent to senior U.S. officials in the past two weeks and coincided with reports of the planning of a major attack by Osama bin Laden's terrorist group. Officials said the reports were one of the reasons that led to the recent heightened security threat alert. The alert status has since been lowered.

Authorities in Hawaii dismissed a published report by the Washington Times that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network planned to attack the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, saying there was no credible threat. "There was a single report from an unverified, unreliable source that mentioned Pearl Harbor, but it was not in any way connected to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and it was held in very low credibility even when at the time it first came in," a U.S. official familiar with the intelligence report said. "There is no credible threat that specifically talks about that, that anybody has information that the terrorist organization has actually planned this." Even when U.S. officials raised the nation's threat level, Hawaii officials kept the state's threat level at blue, a lower status.

Mar. 3, 2003 - Top money manager predicts a depression

The federal government is urging private pilots to watch out for suspicious behavior at small airports and giving them instructions on what to look for. The Transportation Security Administration is mailing brochures to 200,000 pilots about the Airport Watch program. There are 18,000 private landing facilities in the United States. They are seen as potentially vulnerable to terrorists because many have little or no security. Last summer the TSA issued an alert saying terrorists may turn to private planes and airports because of stepped-up security at commercial airports and airlines.

Al Qaeda nukes are reality, intelligence says

The arrest of al-Qaida operations chief Khalid Shaikh Mohammed could speed up terrorist attacks in the United States that are in the planning stages, the FBI said in a bulletin sent March 5, 2003. The latest of the weekly FBI memos to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies says Mohammed's capture "deals a severe long-term blow" to al-Qaida's ability to carry out attacks. "However, in the short term, the apprehension may accelerate execution of any operational planning already under way, as operatives seek to carry out attacks before the information obtained through Mohammed's capture can be used to undermine operational security," the bulletin said.

Western diplomats say it is intriguing that Mohammed was arrested in a Rawalpindi neighborhood, where army generals and top military officials live. The congested city of about 4 million people is the headquarters of the Pakistani Army and home of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Mohammed was arrested at the home of an activist of Pakistan's oldest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, which has close links with the Pakistan intelligence service, known as ISI. In the 1980s, Jamaat-e-Islami activists worked closely with Pakistan's intelligence to help Afghan insurgents during the U.S.-bankrolled anti-communist war in Afghanistan. Arab and Pakistani sources said that Mohammed may have been trying to raise money for terrorist attacks against U.S. interests. Fund-raising was not new to Mohammed, who ran an Islamic charity in northwestern Peshawar along with his brother during the 1980s war in Afghanistan. Through their charity they financed Islamic insurgents and taught students at religious schools in Peshawar and in nearby Pubbi, including the Jalozai Refugee camp, where many Arab militants lived. Other militant Arab warriors lived in nearby Shamshatoo camp, which was run by renegade rebel leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami group. Hekmatyar has been labeled a terrorist by the United States. A former loyalist of Hekmatyar's - a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship who identified himself as Abu Yusuf - said Mohammed traveled freely throughout Pakistan. His only fear was from U.S. intelligence agents, who have provided the tipoffs to Pakistani security officials that have led to previous raids and arrests. One such tip led to a raid in southern Karachi last Sept. 10 in which Mohammed's wife and two small children were arrested, Abu Yusuf said. The next day, Ramzi Binalshibh, a would-be hijacker who could not get into the United States, was captured in the southern port city of Karachi. He was an aide to Mohammed and a key moneyman for the attacks on the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon. Pakistani officials said that an arrest made in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province, helped police trace Mohammed to Rawalpindi. However, other reports say that U.S. intelligence traced a telephone call that led police to Mohammed. A second al-Qaida suspect, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi, a Saudi national, was arrested with Mohammed, along with Ahmed Abdul Qadus. Al-Hisawi was suspected of financing the Sept. 11 attacks. He was also said to be the moneyman for al-Zawahri and may have been trying to contact the Egyptian fugitive at the time of his arrest.

Osama bin Laden is alive, in good health and living in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the suspected No. 3 al-Qaida leader told his interrogators after being captured last weekend, a Pakistani intelligence official said on March 6, 2003. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said he met with bin Laden in recent weeks using a complicated network of phone calls, runners and intermediaries to line up the visit, said the official, who participated in the interrogation. The meeting took place in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province or in the rugged mountain peaks that run along the border with Afghanistan, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. In what appeared to corroborate Mohammed's information, The Associated Press received similar information on Monday from a former Taliban intelligence chief. In a telephone interview from Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, the former intelligence chief said bin Laden was seen in South Waziristan in Baluchistan province less than two months ago. Bin Laden was meeting with Taliban members, he said. His report could not be independently verified, but both U.S Special Forces and Pakistani soldiers are in South Waziristan trying to flush out fugitive Taliban and al-Qaida. Several sources say that bin Laden moves with only a small number of guards, changing his location nightly, never using satellite telephones. Instead he reportedly sends messages through intermediaries to a selected person who makes telephone calls on his behalf, according to former Taliban interviewed in Pakistan's remote tribal regions. Another intelligence official earlier said that a raid was carried out on a house in Wana in South Waziristan earlier this year after a tip off was received that bin Laden's top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, was there. The raid led to the arrest of some Afghan Taliban, but not al-Zawahri. Officially, however, Pakistan's Interior Ministry spokesman, Iftikhar Ahmad, said "we cannot say that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He (bin Laden) would have been arrested if he had been here."

A spokesman for Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, said that before he was handed to U.S. authorities the self-confessed head of al Qaeda's military committee said in separate interrogations that bin Laden was alive and that he was dead. Major General Rashid Qureshi said he spoke with the chief of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Agency, who was present during the interview with Mohammed before he was handed over to U.S. officials. During the interview, Mohammed gave statements that bin Laden was alive and, later, he said the al Qaeda chief was dead, Qureshi said. Qureshi denied reports that Mohammed said bin Laden was living in Pakistan. U.S. officials acknowledge that they believe they may be getting closer to finding bin Laden, though they deny a newspaper report that the U.S. has narrowed his location down to one Pakistani province near the Iranian border. Officials say they have recent intelligence showing bin Laden is alive, and that their best estimate remains that he is either in the Afghan-Pakistani border area, or in a nearby Pakistani city.

Is there more to the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than meets the eye?

'Terror boss' moves up ladder as U.S. sees fit

A chemical plant which the US says is a key component in Iraq's chemical warfare arsenal was secretly built by Britain in 1985 behind the backs of the Americans.

The Minneapolis FBI agent who exposed Sept. 11-related intelligence failures has told her boss she doesn't think the agency will be able to handle terrorism that could follow war with Iraq. Agent Coleen Rowley outlined her concerns in a seven-page letter sent to FBI Director Robert Mueller last month. Rowley is a 22-year agent who came to national prominence when she accused headquarters of removing important details from a search warrant application that was later rejected, a gaffe she said may have kept the government from learning more about Moussaoui before the attacks. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer discounted Rowley's latest letter, saying the administration heard the same warning about attacking Afghanistan and the Taliban. Rowley letter to FBI director

An FBI counter-terrorism agent claims he is being silenced by his agency to cover up its mishandling of a pre-Sept. 11 probe into alleged supporters of Osama bin Laden. Chicago-based Special Agent Robert Wright received a rejection letter yesterday from the head of the FBI's public affairs office in response to his request to disclose details of his charges. One of Wright's claims is that the FBI allowed a Muslim agent to hinder an investigation due to religious loyalties and sensitivities, reflecting a pattern of conduct by the agency that has harmed the nation's security.

The State Department urged Americans traveling to or residing in the Philippines to exercise great caution and maintain heightened security awareness. A bomb exploded on March 4, 2003 at the international airport in Davao, on Mindanao island, killing at least 20 people, including one American, and injuring over 140 others. Another bomb exploded shortly thereafter in Tagum, about 20 miles north of Davao, injuring several people.

The United States is concerned that international terror groups have established bases in all Latin American countries, the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela said on March 7, 2003. Ambassador Charles Shapiro's comments follow those made in Miami by the U.S. Southern Command's Gen. James Hill that terror organizations, including the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah, were operating in border areas of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay and on Venezuela's Margarita Island. Hill said operatives were taking advantage of smuggling hotspots and weak institutions to channel funds to international terrorist groups.

A Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) has won the contract to oversee any firefighting operations at Iraqi oilfields after any U.S.-led invasion, a Defense Department source said. KBR was widely viewed by many in the oilfield services industry as the likely candidate to oversee firefighting in Iraq's oilfields. Halliburton does extensive logistic support work for the U.S. military. Vice President Dick Cheney served as Halliburton's chief executive officer from 1995 to 2000.,2763,912515,00.html

Ex-presidents club' gets fat on conflict or Bush Sr's Carlyle Group Gets Fat On War And Conflict

Al-Qaida operatives are planning to strike at U.S. and allied forces taking part in a war in Iraq, according to information acquired by American intelligence agencies, counterterrorism officials said on March 8, 2003. The operatives are subordinates of Abu Musab Zarqawi, whom CIA officials describe as a senior associate of Osama bin Laden. The counterterrorism officials said operatives may be planning to use explosives or toxins to conduct the attack. It is thought the attacks are being planned as "independent terrorist operations," conducted by individuals or small groups rather than controlled by Iraqi military planners, one official said. The threat assessment also cites intelligence reports indicating that in northern Iraq, including Kurdish areas only nominally under Sadam Hussein's control, 100 to 200 Qaeda operatives are believed to be working, along with 450 to 700 members of the extremist Islamic group Ansar al-Islam.

Insurance gains fueled Berkshire Hathaway's $4.2 billion in net income for 2002. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, reported its highest-ever annual profit helped by rising insurance rates and healthier returns from its expanding stable of Old Economy companies. In all respects, '02 was a banner year," Mr Buffett said in his annual report. Profit from insurance was higher than it might have been in a "normal" year, Mr Buffett said, as there was no large insured catastrophe during the year. Berkshire owns businesses and stock in a wide variety of industries, including jewlery, furniture, restaurants, candy, bricks, carpets and newspapers.

You may have heard Warren Buffet's name elsewhere on conspiracy websites. He was hosting his annual golf tournament at Offut Air Force Base the most secure military base in the USA on 9/11. It is so secure they brought President Bush there after he stopped reading the goat story to those school kids in Florida during the attack.

Rising Insurance Costs Swamp Business, Consumers

With war in Iraq near and North Korea pursuing a covert nuclear program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, Iran is constructing a facility to enrich uranium near Natanz. Sources say work on the plant is "extremely advanced" and involves "hundreds" of gas centrifuges ready to produce enriched uranium and "the parts for a thousand others ready to be assembled." Israel is deeply alarmed by the developments. "It's a huge concern," says one Israeli official. " Iran is a regime that denies Israel's right to exist in any borders and is a principal sponsor of Hezbollah. If that regime were able to achieve a nuclear potential it would be extremely dangerous." Critics of the Administration say Bush's hard public line against the so-called "Axis of Evil," combined with the threatened war with Iraq, have acted as a spur to both Iran and North Korea to accelerate their nuclear programs. The Bush administration counters that both programs have been underway for many years.

UK Ministers are secretly scouring the country for mortuaries to take thousands of civilian bodies from a terrorist attack after war breaks out with Iraq.

Government employees around the US are being told to share cell phones, get better calling plans or give up their phones altogether as officials try to balance their deficit-ridden budgets. State audits have found frequent abuse and mismanagement of cell phones, making them an obvious item to cut.

Iraqi forces appear to be moving explosives to oilfields around Kirkuk to prevent them being seized in an invasion, according to US defense officials. The moves in northern Iraq happened recently, the officials say. They add there are indications that Iraq may be taking similar measures in southern oilfields. The American claims were immediately denied in Baghdad.

A top Al Qaeda planner captured in Pakistan nine days ago told interrogators that he met with Osama bin Laden in December 2002, but he refused to describe the location, Pakistan's top intelligence officials said as they gave the first detailed, official account of the arrest and questioning of the terror planner, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Another Qaeda member, whom the officials refused to identify, has told interrogators that he met bin Laden in September and December in a mountainous region, the officials said. The exact location is unclear because the man says he was blindfolded traveling to the meetings, but the Pakistani officials said it appeared to be in Afghanistan.

Experts at International Conference Look to Reinforce Security of Radiation Sources Against Potential Terrorist Threats

Joint Commission Calls for Community Mobilization to Develop Emergency Response Capabilities for Terrorist Attacks

Snipers assassinated Serbia's prime minister as he walked into government headquarters on March 12, silencing a pro-Western leader who helped topple Slobodan Milosevic and declared war on organized crime. The slaying of Zoran Djindjic in downtown Belgrade prompted the government to impose a nationwide state of emergency amid fears the Balkan nation could plunge into a violent power struggle. The government blamed Milorad Lukovic, a warlord loyal to Milosevic, and several other top underworld figures for organizing the killing. President Bush expressed condolences, saying Djindjic "will be remembered for his role in bringing democracy to Serbia and for ... bringing Slobodan Milosevic to justice," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

The Islamic Action Front leader, Sheik Hamza Mansur, said Islamic groups throughout the Middle East would take up arms to defend Iraq, and the citizens of those countries which joined the attack were potential targets. "This aggression will deepen the enmity and hatred of the sons of our [Arab] nation for your countries and governments," he said. The warning comes amid mounting concerns within the Jordanian Government of violent domestic unrest once the war begins. Jordan, which is home to a large population of Palestinian and Iraqi exiles, is also bracing for a possible influx of more than a million Iraqi refugees once the fighting begins. He predicted that growing anti-American sentiment across the region could trigger revenge attacks on US citizens and other Westerners. "I fear that some Western civilians, through no fault of their own, will be hurt as a result of their governments' policies," he said. Jordan's Islamic Action Front, while a mainstream political party, is closely aligned with Egypt's radical Muslim Brotherhood.

North Korea said the U.S.-South Korean war games would make the "Korean peninsula so tense that a nuclear war may break out any moment." A U.S. air force spokeswoman said Stealth aircraft would arrive in the South by the end of March 14, 2003. "The U.S. claims that the exercises are annual events which have nothing to do with the nuclear issue of the DPRK (North Korea). But this is nothing but a broad hoax to mislead the public opinion and cover up its sinister military purpose," said the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA said the military drills in the South this month and next showed Washington was "watching for a chance to mount a pre-emptive attack on the nuclear facilities in the DPRK." US Ambassador Thomas Hubbard said, "North Korea represents a clear proliferation threat, not only because of its own development of weapons of mass destruction, but also because of the possibility that it could sell or give such weapons to terrorist states or terrorist enemies of the international community."

Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network is planning assaults on civilian targets on an unprecedented scale, a senior U.S. diplomat warned on March 13, 2003. "These terrorists continue to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan, conduct assaults in Bali and elsewhere, and continue to plan attacks to inflict civilian casualties on an unprecedented scale, "Pierre-Richard Prosper, U.S. ambassador for war crimes issues, wrote in a Swedish newspaper.

Members of a radical Islamic group are becoming more active in Kyrgyzstan, calling for a holy war against Americans in this Central Asian country hosting U.S. troops, an intelligence official said on March 13, 2003. "This is real war declared by the United States of America against Muslim countries," reads the message from Hizb ut-Tahrir, according to a National Security Service spokeswoman. "If you don't want to become slaves, call for jihad (holy war) against every American. It is the duty of every Muslim."

Government agencies opened a package mailed between two Associated Press reporters last September and seized a copy of an eight-year-old unclassified FBI lab report without obtaining a warrant or notifying the news agency. The Customs Service intercepted a package sent via Federal Express from the Associated Press bureau in Manila to the AP office in Washington, and turned the contents over to the FBI. FBI spokesman Doug Garrison said the document contained sensitive information that should not be made public. However, an AP executive said the package contained an unclassified 1995 FBI report that had been discussed in open court in two legal cases. "The government had no legal right to seize the package," said David Tomlin, assistant to the AP president. The package was one of several communications between Jim Gomez in Manila and John Solomon in Washington, AP reporters who were working on terrorism investigative stories. It was the second time that Solomon's reporting was the subject of a government seizure. In May 2001 the Justice Department subpoenaed his home phone records concerning stories he wrote about an investigation of then-Sen. Robert Torricelli. The Customs Service said its agents opened the package from Manila after selecting it for routine inspection when it arrived at a Federal Express hub in Indianapolis. Agents did not open an identical package addressed to AP's United Nations office. Both packages contained an FBI laboratory report on materials seized from a Filipino apartment rented by convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef. The reporters were working on a research project that resulted in stories published last month about the government's concerns before April 19, 1995, that white supremacists might bomb a federal building. Press freedom advocates criticized the agencies' seizure of the document. "It was really stupid of them to keep it," said Lucy Dalglish, director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "What they're trying to do is prevent you from reporting a story. That's censorship." The AP inquired about the missing FedEx package last autumn when it did not arrive in Washington. A FedEx spokeswoman said the company was unable to track the package after it arrived in Indianapolis and had no records showing that it was seized by Customs. If the company knows a package has been taken by Customs, FedEx policy is to notify the customer and provide a number to contact the agency, Davenport said. FedEx did send a letter of apology to the AP, she said. In January the AP was tipped that the package had been intercepted and that the FBI had requested an investigation to find out who had provided the lab report to the news service. A letter from the Philippine Department of Justice to the Philippine National Police about the document read, in part: "In view of the concerns raised by the FBI regarding this matter, may we request your good office to conduct a thorough investigation on the mishandling of such sensitive information?" Customs has the legal right to examine packages sent from overseas at the point they arrive in the United States, in this case Indianapolis. The Customs Service (now the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection) said in a statement that the package addressed to Solomon was selected for "routine inspection" on Sept. 19. Because it contained an FBI document, Customs called the FBI. Spokesman Dean Boyd said Customs routinely asks another agency about contents of an examined package that pertain to that agency. "An FBI agent subsequently examined the file and requested that it be turned over to the FBI," the Customs statement said. "Based upon these representations by the FBI, Customs turned the file over." No warrant was issued, Customs and FBI both said. Customs said any notification to the AP was the FBI's responsibility. Garrison, who works out of the FBI's Indianapolis bureau, said the package was sent to the FBI in Washington after an FBI agent in Indianapolis reviewed the document and said it contained some information that should not be made public. "From the FBI's perspective, if the document was a laboratory report that contained sensitive information that the laboratory thought ought to be controlled, they had an obligation to control it," Garrison said. The AP said the information had been previously publicly disclosed in two court venues. The material included copies and photos of dozens of pieces of evidence gathered in the terrorism cases of Abdul Hakim Murad and Ramzi Yousef, including batteries, explosive devices, bomb fragments, a copy of a Time magazine, cell phones and phone books. Murad and Yousef were sentenced to life in prison in a plot to blow up 12 U.S.-bound airliners flying out of Asia. Yousef was later convicted of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The earlier incident involving Solomon's home phone records sparked a media outcry after Justice officials subpoenaed Solomon's phone records while trying to learn the identity of law enforcement officials who told the AP about a wiretap intercept of then-Sen. Torricelli of New Jersey. Solomon found out about the May 2001 subpoena in August when he returned from vacation and opened a notification letter from the government. The Code of Federal Regulations says the AP should have had the opportunity to challenge the subpoena. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders said Wednesday they may push for as much as a 20-cent-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax over the next six years. That is more than double the proposed 8.1-cent increase included in a plan they circulated just last week. Chairman Don Young (Republican-Alaska) said "the tax increase will probably be included when the committee drafts a surface transportation bill later this spring. That would push the current 18.4-cent federal gas tax to more than 30 cents a gallon by 2009.

The average price of self-serve regular gas is $1.70 per gallon, up 10.5 cents since February and 50.2 cents from March 2002. That is the highest price ever recorded by AAA for Florida, but in line with the national average, the group said on March 12, 2003. Diesel fuel is also at an all-time high of $1.89 per gallon. Nationally, the average price for all grades hit about $1.75 a gallon last week, the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide reported.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have identified the unique gene expression patterns from human cells induced in response to 8 different biothreat agents. "The overall objective has been to create a library of host gene expression responses typical of various biological threat and infectious agents and to begin to correlate gene patterns to predict course of impending illness," says the scientist directing the study. "New technology currently can be used to profile approximately 400 genes in a few hours. This offers possibilities utilizing host gene expression responses for rapid detection of potentially exposed individuals." American Society for Microbiology

The threat of terrorists setting off a crude nuclear bomb in a major city is real and should be urgently addressed, concludes a private report.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the FBI to investigate forged documents the Bush administration used as evidence against Saddam Hussein and his military ambitions in Iraq. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said he was uneasy about a possible campaign to deceive the public about the status of Iraq's nuclear program.

The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, composed mostly of former CIA analysts along with a few operational agents, is urging employees inside the intelligence agency to break the law and leak any information they have that could show the Bush administration is engineering the release of evidence to match its penchant for war.

The threat posed by cyber-terrorism has been overhyped and the net is unlikely to become a launch pad for terror attacks. That was the conclusion of a panel of security and technology experts brought together at the CeBIT technology fair to consider the threat posed by net attacks on businesses and consumers. Respected security expert Bruce Schneier said the threat posed by so-called cyber-terrorism had been over-estimated. "The hype is coming from the US Government and I don't know why," he said. Fellow panel member Art Coviello, head of security firm RSA, said some of the warnings about cyber-terrorism had come about in reaction to the attacks on 11 September. But, he added, sections of the media were also responsible for hyping the threat. "Some of these stories are very entertaining and sell a lot of newspapers," he said. "Some media organisations are fanning the flames of this." Mr Schneier said any terror group that wanted to sow panic and attack its ideological enemies was unlikely to turn to net technology to make their point. Mr Schneier said companies and consumers should concentrate on real threats from common criminals, viruses and other malicious programs.

Building on information from captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Pakistani authorities captured another suspected key al-Qaida figure on March 15, 2003. The suspect, Yassir al-Jaziri, was arrested in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan's Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said. Court documents describe Al-Jaziri as an Algerian-Moroccan dual national responsible for al-Qaida's business interests. But it was not immediately known where al-Jaziri stands in the hierarchy of the al-Qaida network. Intelligence sources said a number of documents were found at the home where al-Jaziri was arrested, as well as a computer and compact discs.

The Bush administration has identified nine senior Iraqi officials, including President Saddam Hussein and his two sons, who would be tried for war crimes or crimes against humanity after a US-led attack on Iraq. There are about a dozen people on the list of Saddam’s inner circle.

A large-scale anthrax attack on a major US city could cause 123,000 deaths, given current levels of preparedness, researchers said. This figure stems from the findings of a mathematical model, which describes an attack involving one kilogram of anthrax spores released from a height of 328 feet in a city of more than 10 million people. In this scenario, the investigators predicted that everyone would receive antibiotics at least 48 hours after an attack. Many people would begin to show symptoms of infection within two days after exposure, which would alert officials that an attack had occurred. The authors also assumed that the spores would be just as easy to inhale as those used in the anthrax attacks of 2001, which involved six letters filled with one to two grams of anthrax spores and caused five deaths. Study author Dr. Lawrence M. Wein of Stanford University in California said that this estimate is not set in stone.

President Bush on March 17, 2003 at 8 p.m. EDT gave Saddam Hussein a 48-hour deadline to flee Iraq or face a U.S.-led invasion. Time is up on March 19, 2003 at 8 p.m. EDT or March 20 at 4 a.m. Baghdad time. The U.S.-led invasion on Iraq began March 19, 2003. March 20th sunset in Baghdad starts at 10:14 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time or 6:14 p.m. Baghdad time then sunrise starts at 10:06 p.m. EDT or 6:06 a.m. Baghdad time.

The United States raised its color-coded terror-alert level to "orange," meaning a "high" risk of attack, after President Bush addressed the American people on Iraq, U.S. officials said. U.S. officials have said intelligence reports show a strong likelihood of some type of retaliation if the United States attacks Iraq. Attacks could come from organized groups or "lone wolves" who might be motivated by a war to act.

If the nation escalates to "red alert," which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home. A red alert would also tear away virtually all personal freedoms to move about and associate. Red means all noncritical functions cease. Noncritical would be almost all businesses, except health-related. A red alert means there is a severe risk of terrorist attack, according to federal guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security. States will restrict transportation and access to critical locations. You must adhere to the restrictions announced by authorities and prepare to evacuate, if instructed. Stay alert for emergency messages. The government agencies would run at a very low threshold. The state police and the emergency management people would take control over the highways. Schools will be on lockdown and you would not be allowed to pick up your children. You literally are staying home, is what happens, unless you are required to be out. Security experts have predicted that parts or all of the nation could move to Level Red in the coming weeks, as the war intensifies.

March 20, 2003 -- The FBI has issued a "Be on the Lookout" (BOLO) alert for Adnan G. El Shukrijumah in connection with possible threats against the United States.

The U.S. war against Iraq and the possibility of terror attacks on American soil pose the biggest threats to the U.S. economy, according to a survey of economists released on March 24, 2003. Most of the survey had been conducted conducted March 3-10 before the Labor Department reported on March 7 that the U.S. economy had shed a shocking 308,000 nonfarm jobs in February. As the U.S.-led military campaign against Baghdad widened the war setbacks dealt a blow to European and U.S. stock markets. Last week, oil prices staged a days-long slide that helped ease fears the U.S. economy could tip back into recession but oil prices surged on Monday as hopes that the war would be swift and relatively uncontested faded.

From mosques to the Internet, Muslims around the world are increasingly expressing anger at the U.S. attack on Iraq in radical religious terms. "The war between right and wrong has begun. This is a jihad," a holy war, said one of India's most influential Islamic clerics. "Now we have many calls to jihad, and those calls aren't only coming from what we usually call radicals or extremists," said an expert on radical Islamic groups. More moderate clerics are using similar language, as are Islamic thinkers who usually confine themselves to political analysis, not calls to arms, he said.

The U.S. government has resumed 24-hour air patrols over New York amid heightened fears of possible terror attacks
during the war with Iraq, officials said on March 25, 2003. The Department of Homeland Security's newly formed Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has deployed 50 pilots and crew to patrol the local airspace in New York recently designated as a restricted fly zone. The round-the-clock operation over New York City, using unarmed, law enforcement aircraft including Black Hawk and A-Star helicopters and Cessna II interceptor jets equipped with sensors and infrared capabilities resumed on March 23, 2003. Two months ago the government set up patrols to monitor airspace over Washington, D.C. 24-hours a day.

The FBI is warning police that terrorists could construct a simple but deadly chemical weapon out of materials readily available. Terrorists could take advantage of building ventilation systems, air intakes or enclosed areas to disperse toxic chemical gas. The FBI bulletin says hydrogen cyanide or chlorine gas could be produced by combining liquid and solid materials, possibly using a canister such as a paint can with holes pierced into it. The materials could be combined using either a blasting cap or some kind of delayed switch. The bulletin also repeated the FBI's search for Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a 27-year-old Saudi-born man who may be an al-Qaida operative. El Shukrijumah left the Miami area in May 2001 for Morocco, according to his family, but law enforcement officials say they do not know his whereabouts. El Shukrijumah was identified in part by information collected after Mohammed's capture in Pakistan. In addition, the bulletin asks police to look for Dr. Mohammed Khan, 33, and his estranged wife, 31-year-old Aafia Siddiqui, both of whom the FBI wants to question about possible terrorist ties. Siddiqui, who has a doctorate in neurological science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may be in Pakistan, FBI officials say. She lived in Boston while attending MIT and also recently traveled in Maryland.

March 26, 2003 -- American businesses have eliminated more than 2.5 million jobs since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to international outplacement specialist Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. The Chicago-based executive recruitment firm, which tracks job cut announcements on a daily basis, said that aerospace, defense, transportation, telecommunications, consumer goods, industrial goods and retail saw a 54 percent increase in job cuts during the past 18 months.

Scientists Warn on Bush Bioweapons Push By PAUL ELIAS, AP Biotechnology Writer against Biosafety Level 4 Labs

A top adviser to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and one of the intellectual architects of the war with Iraq resigned his post March 27, 2003, amid an ethics controversy.

Bush Reportedly Shielded From Dire War Forecast

North Korea pointed to the weapons inspections that preceded the war in Iraq as a reason not to compromise with the United States. Iraq invited its "miserable fate" by opening its weapons facilities to U.N. inspectors, the North's main state-run newspaper said. North Korea, it added, will not make the same mistake. An unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman assailed Washington's goal of "regime change" in Iraq. "The arrogant and outrageous behavior of the U.S. that adopted it as its national policy to kill the state leader of (another) country is typical state terrorism that can never be tolerated," he was quoted as saying by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency. Japan launched its first spy satellites March 28, 2003, to monitor North Korea's missile development and suspected nuclear weapons programs. North Korea accused Tokyo of setting off a regional arms race and committing a hostile act with the satellite launch. The North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has not appeared in public for 43 days, observers said, triggering speculation that he is putting his country in a war posture.

Fallout from the US-led war in Iraq and health fears wrought by a killer outbreak of atypical pneumonia are having a devastating impact on Asia's money-spinning travel industry, analysts said.

President Bush's father, George Bush Senior. "We should not march into Baghdad," he wrote in his 1998 book, A World Transformed. "To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero...assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability."

Opening Pandora's Box By Doug McIntosh

Thousands of Muslims who say they are ready for martyrdom have flocked to Iraq since the U.S.-led war began, a sign that a prolonged stay of U.S. and British forces may turn the country into a magnet for militants seeking a new jihad. On March 29, 2003, a suicide bombing killed four U.S. soldiers near the holy Muslim Shiite town of Najaf south of Baghdad. Iraq vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan threatened more, saying suicide bombings would become "routine military policy."

Syria, alarmed by the impending collapse of its neighbor and ally, has called for suicide missions against U.S. forces in Iraq. Syrian President Bashar Assad also called on Arab regimes to oppose the U.S.-led war against Iraq. He warned that Syria could be the next target of Washington. "We will not wait until we become the next target," Assad said. Assad said he expected an Israeli attack.

About 150,000 Moroccans, chanting "suicide attacks lead to freedom," poured through the streets of Rabat.

More than 200,000 people gathered in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar. They chanted slogans and burned effigies of US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair while demanding an immediate end of "aggression against innocent Iraqis." "The US is heading for a collapse, it will meet the same fate which the Soviet Union faced in Afghanistan," said MP Shabbir Ahmed, referring to the former Soviet Union's futile decade-long war in the country in the 1980s. "We are confident the US humiliation will be worse than the Soviet Union. We will not sit at rest until the USA is disintegrated into pieces," he said. Ghafoor Haideri, an Islamic party MP, demanded that Bush and Blair be put on trial for alleged war crimes and called for removal of all British and American consumer goods from Pakistani stores. The MMA, which emerged a powerful bloc in October 2002 elections, rules the country's deeply religious North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Suicide bombing will have no effect on the US-led invasion of Iraq, a senior US military officer said amid reports that would-be martyrs are streaming in from other Arab states. "It's not a very effective military tactic at all. It's a terror tactic and it won't be effective," General Vincent Brooks told reporters at the US Central Command's forward base here. "It's not at all illogical that a dying regime would undertake such acts as suicide bombing," US General Tommy Franks, the man in charge of coalition forces, said. He said it was "remarkable" that the regime would condone such attacks and thereby confirm its link to "terrorism".

The U.S. military said -- March 30, 2003 -- it is considering a wider offensive to root out terror groups in Afghanistan following an ambush by suspected Taliban rebels that killed two U.S. special forces soldiers and injured another. The attack in the southern province of Helmand on March 29 was the sign of an "uptick" in rebel activity following the start of the Iraq war, said U.S. Army spokesman Col. Roger King. Three Afghan soldiers also were wounded in the attack, the first fatal encounter for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since December. It occurred two days after a Swiss International Red Cross worker was killed in neighboring Kandahar province.

A US Special Forces team asserted that a joint operation with local Kurds against an alleged al-Qaeda-linked group in northern Iraq had been a resounding success, with initial investigations turning up evidence of chemical weapons production. Seven special forces officers said Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam) was now "neutralised", even though many of the group's fighters may have escaped over the border to neighbouring Iran.

The 12-day rampage by Ijaw extremists has cut Nigeria's normal oil output of 2 million barrels a day by 40 percent at a time world prices already were up because of worries over the war in Iraq. Nigeria is the fifth-biggest supplier of U.S. oil imports. the latest violence was far worse than anything previously seen, and the companies have shut down far more onshore and offshore facilities then in previous outbreaks. The multinational companies - Royal/Dutch Shell, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf - say it remains too dangerous for their workers to return.

More major airlines announced cuts in jobs and flights to cope with the crisis in global aviation made worse by the Iraq war. Never in the history of the aviation industry has it been hit with so many negative factors out of its control, and there are fears that more of the world's leading airlines could be forced into bankruptcy. The spiral began with a slump in travel after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijack attacks in the United States, a slowdown in the world economy, a rise in aviation fuel prices, the outbreak of a new respiratory ailment in Asia that has further discouraged travel, and a war in Iraq that has inflamed the Middle East.

FBI officials are concerned that al-Qaida may turn to women to carry out or facilitate surprise terror attacks, officials say. Female attackers, successfully used by other terror organizations like the Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, would represent a major tactical shift for al-Qaida after years of being aligned with the Afghan Taliban regime that oppressed women and treated them as second class citizens unworthy of participating in the Islamic jihad, officials said. "We're aware it is an option and one that was used recently against the Israelis and could easily be adapted by al-Qaida," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But we have nothing to suggest it is about to happen right away."

The FBI has sent a classified intelligence bulletin to the nation's state and local law enforcement agencies advising them to be on the lookout for terrorists making toxins such as ricin and botulism. The alert, entitled "Improvised Chemical and Biological Agents," and dispatched April 2 to 18,000 law enforcement agencies via a secure electronic network, was prompted in part by the discovery of homemade biological toxins in a radical Islamist compound in northeastern Iraq that was raided by the U.S. and Kurdish troops late last week. "Recent events including the January, 2003, arrests in the United Kingdom of Algerian extremists apparently attempting to produce ricin toxin in their residences, indicate an ongoing interest among terrorists in developing improvised weapons of mass destruction," the bulletin says. It warns that ricin and other lethal agents can be easily concocted using recipes that can be found on the Internet and ingredients and equipment that can be bought from nurseries, hardware stores and mail order chemical supply houses. The bulletin cites several cases from the 1990s in which U.S. home-grown extremists and crackpots were arrested for making ricin, a quick-acting poison, and Sarin, a deadly nerve agent. The bulletin also tells local law officials and other first responders to be aware of telltale signs of toxin production: for instance, large caches of yeast or infant formula, which can be used to grow or dilute biological toxins, and sacks of castor beans, from which ricin is extracted.

Sophisticated radar planes that are capable of spotting aircraft up to 250 miles away are patrolling the nation's northern border from Wisconsin to Maine to protect against terrorist attacks. Since the start of the war with Iraq, P-3B Airborne Early Warning planes have joined Black Hawk helicopters and other patrol craft, such as Cessna Citations, in 24-hour patrols to detect and intercept aircraft that stray into unauthorized flight areas or do not identify themselves. The radar planes are part of an unarmed airborne security network that began in January with patrols over Washington, D.C. The P-3Bs have distinctive radar domes atop their fuselages. Their eight-member crews spend up to 10 hours aloft at 20,000 feet to probe the skies for suspicious aircraft. If trackers on P-3Bs spot anything suspicious, they relay the information to a radar base in Riverside, Calif. The base, in turn, relays the location of the suspicious aircraft to Black Hawk crews based in the New York City area. The helicopters can be launched to intercept the craft. If an alert is sounded the four-member crews on Black Hawks are sent up. They use a blinding spotlight dubbed the ''Night Sun'' they can shine on aircraft. Black Hawk crews try to establish radio contact with unauthorized aircraft and then escort them out of restricted airspace. Since the start of the Washington patrols, Black Hawk crews have been sent up after three to five planes a day on average, said Charles Stallworth, director of the federal Office of Air and Marine Interdiction. So far, all offenders have been recreational pilots who have strayed. None of the alerts have resulted in calling out more than the Black Hawks. If a Black Hawk's commands are ignored, then military fighter jets are summoned.

The Bush administration said -- April 4, 2003 -- that India must not use the U.S.-led pre-emptive war against Iraq as a pretext for an attack on Pakistan. He was responding to a comment by India's Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha that India would be justified in taking pre-emptive action across the Pakistan border. "We derive some satisfaction because I think all those people in the international community must realize that India has a much better case to go for pre-emptive action against Pakistan than the U.S. has in Iraq," Sinha said. He added that India will do whatever is necessary to fight terrorism. China and Pakistan have for the first time signed a charter to step up bilateral defense cooperation to help maintain peace and stability in South Asia. The agreement, as part of Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali's recent high profile visit to China, was signed in Beijing on April 1 after senior officials from the two countries held in-depth talks on the security situation in South Asia, diplomatic sources said.

Pakistan raised the temperature in its rhetorical war with India, saying the latter was "the suitable case for a pre-emptive attack" for violating U.N. resolutions and possessed weapons of mass destruction. Talking to journalists, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said it was India that had violated the U.N. Security Council resolutions and not Pakistan and the international community should take measures to force India to implement the resolutions. The minister said, "India could use these weapons of mass destruction and deadly chemical agents against its neighbours, hence it's a threat to international peace...this is a serious cause of pre-emptive attack against India." He said that Pakistan reserved its right of pre-emptive strike "as India possesses weapons of mass destruction as described by the international community."

Apr 08, 2003 --- An audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden exhorts Muslims to rise up against Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other governments it claims are "agents of America," and calls for suicide attacks against U.S. and British interests to "avenge the innocent children" of Iraq. The 27-minute tape quotes extensively from the Muslim holy book, the Quran, and says jihad, or holy war, is the "only solution to all the problems." There was no way immediately to confirm that the voice on the tape was that of the al-Qaida chief. "You should avenge the innocent children who have been assassinated in Iraq. Be united against Bush and Blair and defeat them with suicide attacks so that you may be successful before Allah," the voice urges. "Oh Muslim brothers, let us promise to devote our lives to martyrdom in the way of Allah. America has attacked Iraq and soon will also attack Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan. You should be aware that non-Muslims cannot bear the existence of Muslims and want to capture their resources and destroy them." The voice purported to be bin Laden's urges the faithful to attack governments in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. "All of them have been imposed upon you and jihad (holy war) against them is your duty," says the tape. The only other individual identified by name on the tape was Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai. "One of the slaves of America is Karzai in Afghanistan because he supported non-Muslims over Muslims. Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi are also agents of America." The cassette tape makes repeated promises of heaven for those who carried out suicide attacks. "I ask the Muslim women to join jihad by providing food to mujahedeen (holy warriors.) Elders should pray for us. I am proud of those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islam." "Do not be afraid of their tanks and armored personnel carriers. These are artificial things," the voice says. "If you started suicide attacks you will see the fear of Americans all over the world. Those people who cannot join forces in jihad should give financial help to those mujahedeen who are fighting against U.S. aggression."

Prince Hassan of Jordan said terror would not end with the end of the war in Iraq, and individual "terrorists" could turn into weapons of mass destruction. The war would inflame Arab extremism and the transition to democracy in Iraq would be hampered by a rise in terrorism and conflict for decades to come, the former crown prince said. "With the outcome of the war...terror is not going to end. On the contrary, individual terrorists, within less than 10 years, can become a weapon of mass destruction. "And I think the healing process is going to be made much more difficult by the continuation of (Osama) bin Laden style assassinations, acts of terror...and the war itself will produce extremism." It was essential now to work to ensure that Iraq did not fracture into a "militarized democracy." "I think this military democracy in fighting the war is understandable. But in waging the peace it's going to be very difficult to comprehend if the new ruler of Iraq is going to be the defense ministry, or U.S. administrators...or U.S. ambassadors advised by Iraqi exiles," Hassan said. "I just wonder how this is going to tally with the blood, ruin and trouble that the Iraqi people are suffering." He said any new Iraqi leadership seen as a creation of the Americans would obviously have to rely on American support to remain in power.

More job searchers just quit looking by Barbara Hagenbaugh, USA TODAY
In the Grip of a Permanent War Economy by Seymour Melman
The Only Indicator That Really Matters: The Paycheck by Jim Jubak MSN Money Markets Editor Downsizings

Another threat for the fragile economy is the possibility that America's booming housing market could be headed for a bust. In a survey of global economic dangers, the International Monetary Fund warned on April 3, 2003, that the U.S. housing market, after two years of record sales over and strong increases in home prices, could be headed for a fall. The study said that based on past experience, a housing bubble in an industrial country has a 40 percent chance of being followed by a sharp drop in prices.

April 24, 2003 -- The FBI is telling law enforcement agencies across the nation to be aware that the al-Qaida terrorist network may be using women to carry messages, handle financial transactions and provide other logistical support. The information in the FBI's weekly bulletin to 18,000 state and local police agencies follows a global alert last month for Aafia Siddiqui, a former Boston woman wanted by the FBI for questioning about possible links to al-Qaida. "Law enforcement agencies should remain alert to the potential that women may be used to facilitate al-Qaida financial transactions and should report suspicious activity to the nearest Joint Terrorism Task Force," the April 23 FBI bulletin states. The bulletin says that al-Qaida will use women to take on logistical tasks such as securing false documents, acting as couriers for materials or messages, warning loved ones of security concerns and spreading propaganda. It also says that al-Qaida uses women to open bank accounts. raise and deliver money and transfer it among accounts. Women may become corporate shareholders or directors in al-Qaida-connected companies in an attempt to reduce the chances of legal scrutiny, the bulletin adds.

The National Commision on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, an independent, bipartisan commission created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002, is chartered to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The Commission is also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks. The Commission will hold its first public hearing March 31, 2003.

Tim Roemer, a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, criticized the panel's leaders for not demanding immediate and total access to documents compiled during a congressional inquiry of the terror attacks. He noted that the commission, by law, must build upon the work of the congressional inquiry, which found that organizational problems and human failings prevented intelligence agencies from unraveling the Sept. 11, 2001, plot. "The basic foundational work of the commission is the joint inquiry's product," Roemer said. "To delay access to that, to hinder access to that, is out of bounds." Roemer said the commission should fight any delays or conditions. "Nobody should be filtering that data," he said. Kristin Breitweiser of New Jersey, who lost her husband in the Sept. 11 attacks and was a leader in the movement to create an independent commission, said she was troubled to hear about limits on its review of documents. "This is an independent commission, and there's no reason why any branch— legislative, judiciary or executive — should be filtering information or denying access," she said. The bipartisan commission has until May 2004 to report on causes of the Sept. 11 attacks.


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Page revised April 25, 2003