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Pakistan spy service 'aiding Bin Laden' Afghan interior minister Younis Qanooni has accused the Pakistani secret service of helping al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden flee Afghanistan. - US planes have also continued sporadic bombardments of the Tora Bora region in a bid to flush out remaining al-Qaeda forces. (BBC)
Report: Bin Laden Already Dead Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader. (FOX)
Experts Urging Broader Inquiry in Towers' Fall Saying that the current investigation into how and why the twin towers fell on Sept. 11 is inadequate, some of the nation's leading structural engineers and fire-safety experts are calling for a new, independent and better-financed inquiry that could produce the kinds of conclusions vital for skyscrapers and future buildings nationwide. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, both of New York, have joined the call for a wider look into the collapses. In an interview on Friday, Mr. Schumer said he supported a new investigation "not so much to find blame" for the collapse of the buildings under extraordinary circumstances, "but rather so that we can prepare better for the future." - "There is an urgent and critical need to determine the lessons to be learned from these events," reads a letter from the American Society of Civil Engineers, dated Nov. 15. - "I find the speed with which potentially important evidence has been removed and recycled to be appalling," Dr. Mowrer said. (The Towers)
Mistranslated Osama bin Laden Video -- the German Press Investigates A GERMAN TV show found that the White House's translation of the
"confession" video was not only inaccurate, but even "manipulative".
ON December 20, 2001, German TV channel "Das Erste" broadcast its analysis
of the White House's translation of the OBL video that George Bush has
called a "confession of guilt". On the show Monitor, two independent
translators and an expert on oriental studies found the White House's
translation not only to be inaccurate, but "manipulative".
Arabist Dr. Abdel El M. Husseini, one of the translators, states,
"I have carefully examined the Pentagon's translation. This translation is
very problematic. At the most important places where it is held to prove
the guilt of Bin Laden, it is not identical with the Arabic."
Whereas the White House would have us believe that OBL admits that "We
calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy", translator
Dr. Murad Alami finds that:
"'In advance' is not said. The translation is wrong. At least when we look
at the original Arabic, and there are no misunderstandings to allow us to
read it into the original."
At another point, the White House translation reads: "We had notification
since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that
day." Dr. Murad Alami:
"'Previous' is never said. The subsequent statement that this event would
take place on that day cannot be heard in the original Arabic version."
The White House's version also included the sentence "we asked each of
them to go to America", but Alami says the original formulation is in the
passive along the lines of "they were required to go". He also say that
the sentence afterwards - "they didn't know anything about the
operation" - cannot be understood. (WelfareState.com)
FBI won't release Flight 93 tape The FBI is refusing to release the cockpit voice recording from United Airlines flight 93 which crashed September 11 in Pennsylvania after being hijacked by terrorists, declining a request from at least one victim's family (Washington Post)
City Had Been Warned of Fuel Tank at 7 World Trade Center Fire Department officials warned the city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1998 and 1999 that a giant diesel fuel tank for the mayor's $13 million command bunker in 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story high-rise that burned and collapsed on Sept. 11, posed a hazard and was not consistent with city fire codes. (New York Times)
German firm probes final World Trade Center deals German computer experts are working round the clock to unlock the truth behind an unexplained surge in financial transactions made just before two hijacked planes crashed into New York's World Trade Center on September 11 (Rediff)
Osama Gump? The Camera That Couldn't Shoot Straight After days of anticipation, television viewers the world over witnessed the grand premiere of the mystery tape in which, according to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, "bin Laden confirms his guilt" and consequently "totally vindicates the action that we, the U.S. and the international coalition have taken in Afghanistan."
The tape, the proverbial smoking gun, was found late November in a house in Jalalabad under circumstances enshrouded in mystery. The Pentagon which, apparently, spent two weeks agonizing over its release, proffered the tape to the networks with a translation of the material.
The Pentagon gives us the setting for the tape. "In mid-November, Osama bin Laden spoke to a room of supporters, possibly in Kandahar, Afghanistan."
A paraplegic Sheikh visits bin Laden. "We came from Kabul", he tells his host. "We asked the driver to take us, it was a night with a full moon." Later, he places the conversation in context to "this holy month of Ramadan". The full moon of Ramadan occurred around the 30th of November, not mid-November - exactly around the time the tape was allegedly found.
The transportation service in war-ravaged Afghanistan must be extraordinary. First, the tape moves from Kandahar to Jalalabad at a speed that would make Fedex envious! (Counter Punch)
Pentagon Releases Bin Laden Videotape: U.S. Officials say Tape Links Him to Sept. 11 Attacks The Pentagon has released a videotape of Osama bin Laden, that it says provides additional evidence that the al Qaeda leader is responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Administration officials say the tape shows bin Laden had specific knowledge of when and where those attacks would occur before they took place.
Osama bin Laden tape
The videotape -- discovered in a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan -- shows a relaxed bin Laden discussing the attacks in Arabic with another man who appears to be a cleric. On the tape, bin Laden says he was pleasantly surprised by the amount of destruction caused at the World Trade Center; he only expected the top portion of the twin towers to collapse.
According to a translated transcript issued by the Pentagon, bin Laden says the attacks on the World Trade Center did more damage than expected. "...we calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower," he says, according to the transcript. "We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (...Inaudible...) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for." (National Public Radio)
Transcript of Bin Laden Videotape Following is a transcript of the videotape released by the Pentagon of Osama bin Laden, that U.S. officials say provides additional evidence that the al Qaeda leader is responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Source: U.S. Defense Department. - (US Department of Defense)
The Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration: BUILDING A SMART BORDER FOR THE 21st CENTURY ON THE FOUNDATION OF A NORTH AMERICAN ZONE OF CONFIDENCE The terrorist actions of September 11 were an attack on our common commitment to democracy, the rule of law and a free and open economy. They highlighted a threat to our public and economic security. They require our governments to develop new approaches to meet these challenges. This declaration commits our governments to work together to address these threats to our people, our institutions and our prosperity.
Public security and economic security are mutually reinforcing. By working together to develop a zone of confidence against terrorist activity, we create a unique opportunity to build a smart border for the 21st century; a border that securely facilitates the free flow of people and commerce; a border that reflects the largest trading relationship in the world.
Our countries have a long history of cooperative border management. This tradition facilitated both countries' immediate responses to the attacks of September 11. It is the foundation on which we continue to base our cooperation, recognizing that our current and future prosperity and security depend on a border that operates efficiently and effectively under all circumstances. (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)
The scene at NORAD on Sept. 11: Playing Russian war games ... and then someone shouted to look at the monitor Deep inside a mountain in Colorado and far beneath the granite of North Bay, members of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) are at full "battle staff" levels for a major annual exercise that tests every facet of the organization. Operation Northern Vigilance, planned months in advance, involves deploying fighter jets to locations in Alaska and northern Canada. Part of this exercise is pure simulation, but part is real world: NORAD is keeping a close eye on the Russians, who have dispatched long-range bombers to their own high north on a similar exercise. (Toronto Star)
The Site Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade Center - By 11:30 a.m., the fire commander in charge of that area, Assistant Chief Frank Fellini, ordered firefighters away from WTC 7 for safety reasons. (New York Times)
Advantage: God Why the Salvation Army beats the Red Cross - The American Red Cross ran up a white flag recently, surrendering to critics who had accused it of bait-and-switch fund raising by planning to hold back more than half of the $543 million it had raised for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks (Wall Street Journal)
Buried WTC gold returns to futures trade A fortune in gold trapped for seven weeks in the ruins of the World Trade Center officially returned to the global bullion trade Friday, but dealers had already closed the book on the tale of tragedy and buried treasure (Rediff)
Does bin Laden have Marfan syndrome? Is Osama suffering from a rare disease that can cause sudden death? If what some medical experts say is true, it may not require a military strike to kill Osama bin Laden. For several years now, reports have been circulating that claim the 45-year-old is quite ill, sees doctors regularly and may have a heart problem. The evidence is sketchy, but some see signs that bin Laden could die suddenly.
Marfan syndrome is a potentially fatal disorder of connective tissue, and some believe it's jeopardizing the life of al-Qaida's elusive leader. Bin Laden would be in good company: Some say Marfan would have killed Abraham Lincoln if John Wilkes Booth had missed his mark in 1865. It also appears to have claimed the lives of Jonathan Larson, author of the musical "Rent," who died on the eve of the production's 1996 Broadway debut; Chris Patton, a University of Maryland basketball star who died during a pickup game; and Flo Hyman, an Olympic volleyball player who died at 31 in 1986. The aortas of all three ripped in a manner consistent with the disorder. Charles de Gaulle and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff are also believed to have had Marfan.
Although Marfan syndrome, like sickle cell anemia, is often the product of an inherited genetic mutation, determining whether someone has the disease is tricky. Experts say one in 10,000 people have it, but that thousands are unaware that they are affected. The National Marfan Foundation estimates that more than 200,000 people in the United States have Marfan syndrome or a related connective tissue disorder. "It's a very complicated diagnosis to establish," says Dr. Hal Dietz, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins University, who led the team that discovered the mutant gene responsible for Marfan. "There is no DNA test that can absolutely confirm whether someone has it." (Salon)
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