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Using drugs will be terrorism if the Victory Act passes "This bill would treat drug possession as a 'terrorist offense' and drug dealers as 'narco-terrorist kingpins,' " the aide argued. "To say that terrorist groups use a small percentage of the drug trafficking in the United States to finance terrorism may be a fair point, but this bill would allow the government to prosecute most drug cases as terrorism cases." (ABC)
Ashcroft Speech Interrupted by Protester A room packed with police officers failed to shield Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) on Thursday from a protester who accused him of lying about the Sept. 11 attacks on America and Washington's declared war on terror (Reuters)
Panoply of the Absurd Were the attacks on New York and Washington the biggest act of terrorism in history – or just an enormous secret service conspiracy? Conspiracy theorists are filling bestsellers with their supposed evidence, and they already have one-fifth of all Germans convinced of their half-truths.
The man with the shy smile who has been appearing in the dock in room 237 at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in Hamburg since August 14 is accused of being involved in a conspiracy. His name is Abdelghani Mzoudi, and he has been charged with assisting in the commission of murder - in 3066 cases - as a member of the secret terrorist group surrounding Mohammed Atta that changed the world with its attacks on September 11, 2001. - Bröckers and Hauß spend fifteen pages making their version of a tale of suicide assassins seem plausible. Bülow does the same thing in five pages. However, a few telephone calls are all it takes to destroy their zombie theories. What these investigative journalists should have done was to spend a little time listening to those whom they cite as "reputable" sources for their arguments. Take the BBC, for example, which did in fact report, on September 23, 2001, that some of the alleged terrorists were alive and healthy and had protested their being named as assassins.
But there is one wrinkle. The BBC journalist responsible for the story only recalls this supposed sensation after having been told the date on which the story aired. "No, we did not have any videotape or photographs of the individuals in question at that time," he says, and tells us that the report was based on articles in Arab newspapers, such as the Arab News, an English-language Saudi newspaper.
The operator at the call center has the number for the Arab News on speed dial. We make a call to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A few seconds later, Managing Editor John Bradley is on the line. When we tell Bradley our story, he snorts and says: "That's ridiculous! People here stopped talking about that a long time ago."
Bradley tells us that at the time his reporters did not speak directly with the so-called "survivors," but instead combined reports from other Arab papers. These reports, says Bradley, appeared at a time when the only public information about the attackers was a list of names that had been published by the FBI on September 14th. The FBI did not release photographs until four days after the cited reports, on September 27th. (Der Spiegel)
Larry Silverstein's $3.5B Definition Larry Silverstein, who holds a 99-year lease for the buildings that were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, is claiming that he is entitled to recover $7.1 billion from the 22 insurers of the properties (Forbes)
Time To Take It Off For America The reason is homeland security and the proposal goes far beyond stepping out of your shoes or even being patted down to get on a plane. The device will be able to see guns and bombs that could otherwise slip past metar detector or luggage search. (The Tuscaloosa News)
Ron Paul’s Address: Neo-Conned The modern-day, limited-government movement has been co-opted. The conservatives have failed in their effort to shrink the size of government. There has not been, nor will there soon be, a conservative revolution in Washington. (US Congress)
Post Headline on 9/11 Inquiry May Prove Prophetic An original Washington Post headline "Lawmakers Urge More Aggressive Sept. 11 Probe", posted online on May 22 was changed to "New Panel, Independent of 9/11 Commission, Is Sought", when the print version was released the following day (Scoop)
911 Commission Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta Testimony - the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and say "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?" (CSPAN)
2003 Mission Accomplished Speech "Mission Accomplished" refers to a banner titled "Mission Accomplished" that was displayed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a televised address by United States President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003 and the controversy that followed.
Bush stated at the time that this was the end to major combat operations in Iraq. While this statement did coincide with an end to the conventional phase of the war, Bush's assertion — and the sign itself — became controversial after guerilla warfare in Iraq increased during the Iraqi insurgency. The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, have occurred since the speech. (Wikipedia)
Undercutting the 9/11 Inquiry Reasonable people might wonder if the White House, having failed in its initial attempt to have Henry Kissinger steer the investigation, may be resorting to budgetary starvation as a tactic to hobble any politically fearless inquiry. (New York Times)
Pope issues strong appeal against war Pope John Paul II, in one of his strongest appeals yet against war, today implored Saddam Hussein to avoid giving the West reason to attack and warned the United Nations Security Council that military intervention could trigger an explosion of extremism (Associated Press)
World gets together for peace Several million demonstrators took to the streets of Europe and the rest of the world on Saturday in a vast wave of protest against the prospect of a US-led war against Iraq (Indian Express)
Privacy Commissioner of Canada's Appearance before the Legislative Committee on Bill C-17, Public Safety Act I very much appreciate this opportunity to meet with you this morning. I really have only one privacy concern in this bill that I want to raise with you. It's a large bill with a great many facets, but there's only one privacy issue I want to raise with you.
It is in fact, of the various concerns you have heard and will hear as a committee, probably the easiest to fix, because it has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on either transportation security or national security against terrorism, which of course are the objects of this bill. And yet, it is also a concern that is crucially important because of the precedents the provision in question would set and the doors it would open, which are of grave concern from a privacy point of view.
I want to emphasize, in addressing this issue, as I emphasized in my annual report, which was made public last week, that since September 11, I have not once objected to a single actual anti-terrorism measure. I regard it as of course unthinkable that, as Privacy Commissioner, I would for a moment seek to stand in the way of any measures that are genuinely and legitimately necessary to protect Canadians against terrorism. I have not done so and I would not do so. (Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada)
2003 State of the Union speech
Thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished citizens, and fellow citizens: Every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union. This year, we gather in this chamber deeply aware of decisive days that lie ahead.
You and I serve our country in a time of great consequence. During this session of Congress, we have the duty to reform domestic programs vital to our country and we have the opportunity to save millions of lives abroad from a terrible disease. We will work for a prosperity that is broadly shared and we will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people. In all these days of promise and days of reckoning, we can be confident. In a whirlwind of change, and hope, and peril, our faith is sure, our resolve is firm, and our union is strong. - Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment. I have sent you a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy efficiency and conservation, to develop cleaner technology, and to produce more energy at home. I have sent you Clear Skies legislation that mandates a 70 percent cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years. I have sent you a Healthy Forests Initiative, to help prevent the catastrophic fires that devastate communities, kill wildlife, and burn away millions of acres of treasured forest.
I urge you to pass these measures, for the good of both our environment and our economy. Even more, I ask you to take a crucial step, and protect our environment in ways that generations before us could not have imagined. In this century, the greatest environmental progress will come about, not through endless lawsuits or command and control regulations, but through technology and innovation. Tonight I am proposing 1.2 billion dollars in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles. A simple chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a car -- producing only water, not exhaust fumes. With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom -- so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free. Join me in this important innovation -- to make our air significantly cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Our fourth goal is to apply the compassion of America to the deepest problems of America. For so many in our country -- the homeless, the fatherless, the addicted -- the need is great. Yet there is power -- wonder-working power -- in the goodness, and idealism, and faith of the American people. (George W Bush)
9/11 Commission Meets Behind Closed Doors "The victims' families feel very strongly that there are questions that have never been answered, and any serious report on the events of that day and what led to them must be answered," Kean said (FOX)
Project Achilles Report -- Preliminary low-altitude cellphone experiment January 23 2003; 4:35 – 5:40 pm
Civic Airport, London, Ontario, Canada
aircraft: Diamond DA20/C1 Katana two-seater
engine: 125 hp
body & airframe: fiberglass/carbon fiber composite
weight fully loaded: 1630 lbs
cellphones: one Motorola model “120 CDMA” cellphone (A)
two Motorola “i1000 plus” cellphones (B)
(both fully charged at flight time)
The flight plan consisted of four “laps,” elongated circuits (shaped like a paperclip) over London, Ontario airspace. Each lap was about seven to eight miles long and two to three miles wide. Three calls were made on each of two straight legs in each lap. Calls alternated between cellphone A and cellphone B. A second i1000, intended for use at higher altitudes, slipped to the cockpit floor and could not be retrieved in those cramped quarters. A check of battery levels of the first i1000, however, showed that there had been no significant power drain on the unit. (Physics 911)
John le Carré, Opinion: The United States of America has gone mad America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.
The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.
The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world’s poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.
But bin Laden conveniently swept all that under the carpet. The Bushies are riding high. Now 88 per cent of Americans want the war, we are told. The US defence budget has been raised by another $60 billion to around $360 billion. A splendid new generation of nuclear weapons is in the pipeline, so we can all breathe easy. Quite what war 88 per cent of Americans think they are supporting is a lot less clear. A war for how long, please? At what cost in American lives? At what cost to the American taxpayer’s pocket? At what cost — because most of those 88 per cent are thoroughly decent and humane people — in Iraqi lives? (London Times)
Profile: Johnelle Bryant: Late April-Mid-May 2000: Atta Leaves Numerous Clues While Seeking Crop-Dusting Airplane Loan Mohamed Atta reportedly has a very strange meeting with Johnelle Bryant of the US Department of Agriculture (incidentally, one month before the official story claims he arrived in the US for the first time). According to Bryant, in the meeting Atta does all of the following:
bullet He initially refuses to speak with one who is “but a female.”
bullet He asks her for a loan of $650,000 to buy and modify a crop-dusting plane.
bullet He mentions that he wants to “build a chemical tank that would fit inside the aircraft and take up every available square inch of the aircraft except for where the pilot would be sitting.” (History Commons)
Security and Prosperity Toward A New Canada-United States Partnership in North America: Profile of the North American Security and Propserity Initiative (NASPI) Canadian business leaders believe that the time has come for the next big step forward in the Canada - United States relationship. The Canada - United States Free Trade Agreement marked a fundamental change in the management of our trading relationship. Economic integration is now irreversible, but in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it also has become clear that North American economic and physical security are indivisible. Our two countries have no choice but to take a more comprehensive approach to managing our relationship.
The North American Security and Prosperity Initiative (NASPI)* launched in January 2003 by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives calls for action on five fronts:
• Reinventing borders by eliminating as many as possible of the barriers to the movement of people and goods across the internal border and by shifting the emphasis to protection of the approaches to North America;
• Maximizing economic efficiencies, primarily through harmonization or mutual recognition across a wide range of regulatory regimes;
• Negotiation of a comprehensive resource security pact, covering agriculture and forest products as well as energy, metals and minerals, based on the two core principles of open markets and regulatory compatibility;
• Rebuilding Canada's military capability both to defend our own territory and to do our share in ensuring continental and global security; and
• Creating a new institutional framework based not on the European model but on cooperation with mutual respect for sovereignty, perhaps using joint commission models to foster co- ordination and to prevent and resolve conflicts. (Canadian Council of Chief Executives)
Critics mock choice of Kissinger for inquiry On Wednesday President George Bush appointed Dr Kissinger to lead the investigation of the United States Government's failure to prevent the terrorist attacks, instructing the former secretary of state to "follow all the facts wherever they lead". "We must uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September11," Mr Bush said before signing legislation creating the 10-member commission, which he initially opposed, and naming one of the most controversial American statesmen of the last half-century as its chairman. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Conspiracy Theory -- Who brought down Flight 93? How? And why are so many people still asking questions? Just after the one-year anniversary of Flight 93's descent into a field in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania, one resident snorted indignantly at what has been reported about the crash. "You have to be crazy to believe what they tell you," he says, declining to give his name.
What really happened on Flight 93? Who was at the controls when the plane went down? Is there something sinister about the crash, perhaps something the government doesn't want you to know?
Perhaps more than any other event in American history, the assassination of President Kennedy helped shape what has become a national pastime, the conspiracy theory. One part of the Kennedy investigation in particular, the fantastic "magic bullet" theory endorsed by the Warren Commission, gave skeptics an archetype of governmental deceit that makes any official proclamation about a tragedy suspect.
September 11 has inspired skeptical inquiry as well. There are literally hundreds of websites and chat rooms offering a host of alternative theories, including a percentage that maintain that rogue elements within the U.S. government actually planned and carried out the September 11 attacks. One conspiracy-minded journalist insists that the WTC would have survived being struck by jetliners but was instead brought down by controlled explosions.
It's not a uniquely American phenomenon. A number of conspiracy theories from around the world try to reveal what really happened on September 11. In many Arab countries the rumor that thousands of Jewish workers in the Trade Center were warned not to come to work that fateful day is still taken as fact, as is the theory that Israel's Mossad was actually behind the terrorism, implicating Arabs in order to provoke worldwide anger at Muslims and destabilize the region. In France, a book purporting that the Pentagon wasn't actually hit by a plane became a bestseller. And of course, a predictable international contingency insists aliens had something to do with it. (Pulp)
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