Sunday, November 18, 2001
M o n d a y ,  N o v e m b e r  1 9,  2 0 0 1
Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Six Nations Under Biological Weapons Suspicion by US

Excerpts from article describing US accusations regarding six nations suspected of being complicit in supplying germ warfare materials to bin Laden:

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The United States has accused Iraq and five other countries of developing biological weapons and said that a rogue state may have supported attempts by Osama bin Laden to wage germ warfare.

The decision to name countries came as the Bush Administration again said that Iraq could be a future target in the war on terrorism.

Iraq Bioweapons Inspections
(excerpts from CNN 1998 report)

... Untreated, a person will die from anthrax in 48 hours. After the 1994 discovery of growth media, Ekeus demanded an explanation.

"I said, 'How could you produce a large amount of such an extremely dangerous agent without having any idea what to do with it?'

The response was: 'We don't do it as you do in Europe. There you have a plan. You say you'll produce it for something, and then you produce it. But here in the Arabic world we produce first, and when we're producing we start thinking what to do with it' -- and that was the explanation."

Between May 1992 and September of 1997, Iraq gave the United Nations seven reports which it declared were "full, final and complete disclosures" of its biological warfare program. All were rejected -- the most recent as "not remotely credible." ...

John Bolton, the UnderSecretary of State for Arms Control, made the charge yesterday at a conference in Geneva of the 144 nations that have signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

He said that the existence of Iraq’s germ warfare programme was beyond dispute and that the US suspected North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and Sudan of developing similar programmes. ...

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  • The Times [link inactive]

Four Journalists killed in Afghan Ambush

Excerpts from article describing the attack upon a convoy of unarmed journalists between Jalalabad and Kabul:

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Four journalists have been killed in Afghanistan by gunmen who ambushed the convoy in which they were travelling.

Drivers said the gunmen forced the journalists from their vehicles when they were 90 kilometres east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and made them march up into the surrounding hills.

Driver Mohammed Farrad said he heard three or four bursts from a Kalashnikov rifle. "They took the journalists, and when the journalists turned to look at them, the gunmen shot."

... Three journalists - two French and one German - were killed a week ago in northern Afghanistan when Taleban fighters ambushed an opposition convoy.

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Impacts of "True Belief" in God / Faith / Religion

American alarm at the adverse impacts and threats posed by religious extremism has risen to the fore as a result of the 9-11-01 attack, but what are some of the other risks of "true belief" in god / faith / religion?

The primary risks pertain to psychological harm to people (a contentious issue) and physical harm to people, leaving one to wonder if the perceived "good" of religion can ever overcome the embedded "bad" which remains in ancient religious documents.

"True belief" in god / faith / religion tends to enslave the mind and heart. By its very nature, when taken literally, such a view promotes pretentiousness and toys with deceit and manipulation as it treats the supernatural as "reality" and non-god explanations as unworthy.

By many, "true belief" in god / faith / religion is held blameless for human ills (example: the way President Bush has blinded himself to the deep religious faith of bin Laden and his followers as being at the core of the problem of the attack on America).

As pertains to the mental impact of "true belief" in god / faith / religion, how much greater of a mind-persuasion technique can one invent? Ultimate power, absolute authority, a listener to human wants / needs / requests (prayer) who answers worthy requests (sometimes, maybe), a granter of immortality, and an invoker of eternal torment.

God / faith / religion is a profound dream about life / death, the most extreme expression of human fear / desire / emotion, treated as quite real by "true believers", based on the following formula:

The God / Faith / Religion
"True Belief" Formula

Add the following as soon after birth as possible, leveraging off of human nature, ideas of ancients, and pro-god + pro-faith + pro-religion pressures from society / culture / parents / peers / churches / authority figures:

1 - fear of and discomfort with the unknown

2 - fear of intense pain, in this life & as promised by god for human "sin" in an unending afterlife torment

3 - desire to live as long as is pleasantly possible

4 - diminished appreciation for pleasures in this life (via heavy guilt-trips) to enhance chances of a "thumbs up" from the perceived heaviest guilt-tripper of all, god, in an afterlife

5 - adherence to "god / faith / religion" as absolute authority, "the" answer for unknowns (no evidence required) & the keys to immortality (heaven), mixing 1 with elimination of 2 & promises to fulfill 3 & the afterlife aspects of 4 forever

6 - distaste towards non-god explanations for life and disrespect for accepting unknowns as just that, with claims that those who follow this path will suffer immortal torment (hell), mixing 1 with threats of unending 2 & pressures to adhere to 4 in this life, no matter what


Bunker-buster Bombs Blast bin Laden Caves

Complete article describing the latest in the hunt for bin Laden, efforts by US special forces, and bombing strikes directed at caves, Kunduz, and Kandahar:

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American commandos are being deployed in southern Afghanistan in ever-greater numbers to join the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the Pentagon said yesterday.

But it played down the idea that they had their quarry pinned in one small corner of the country.

Hundreds of special forces backed by a fleet of warplanes and surveillance aircraft are combing the mountains for the world’s most-wanted man. But Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, said it was wrong to think that bin Laden and his entourage were trapped in a shrinking area.

“The al-Qaeda and Taleban leadership can be in any number of places, and they move frequently,” he said. “To think that we have them contained in some sort of a small area would be a misunderstanding of the difficulty of the task.” Another official said: “If we knew precisely where he was, he’d be dead.”

Mr Rumsfeld said that American warplanes had been “targeting caves and tunnels and closing them up, and getting a lot of secondary explosions when they were used for ammunition storage”.

The US Air Force is said to be using EGBU28 bunker-buster bombs that can pierce yards of rock and AGM65 Maverick missiles that can seek out the mouths of caves.

GBU-28 Bunker Buster

(click for details)

AGM-65 Maverick missile

(click for details)

US warplanes flew 138 attack sorties on Sunday alone, bombing caves and suspected al-Qaeda hideouts as well as Taleban forces still fighting in Konduz and Kandahar.

Mr Rumsfeld said that US military aircraft were also seeking to enlist Afghans to join the manhunt with offers of a $25 million (17.6 million) reward: “We have leaflets that are dropping like snowflakes in December in Chicago.”

On the ground, British and American Marines are mounting roadblocks, pinpointing targets for airstrikes and combing the ridges and canyons of southern Afghanistan for the Saudi Arabian millionaire and his small entourage of aides, relatives and guards.

Mr Rumsfeld refused to confirm reports that the commandos are moving from cave to cave with night-vision goggles and stun grenades.

He said only that the reward had provided an incentive to “a large number of (Afghans) to begin crawling through those tunnels and caves looking for the bad folks”.

However, another Pentagon official told The New York Times: “It’s a process of elimination. You hit on a cave, see where they run to and then hit that cave. We’re working our way across the whole country that way.”

Mr Rumsfeld said that “people can hide in caves for long periods and this will take time”. Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, was also cautious.

He said of the Taleban: “We have now made them pay. We have driven them from power . . . but this war is not over, and our troops will carry on the fight until alQaeda is destroyed.”

From the sky, satellites, armed Predator drones and conventional surveillance aircraft are watching for one false move by bin Laden. The American and Pakistani militaries are doing their best to seal the border.

If bin Laden is spotted he is likely to be shot on sight. “We won’t ask him if he wants to surrender,” one US official said.

In northern Afghanistan Mr Rumsfeld said that US troops were now beginning to rebuild roads and bridges, clear mines and open airports so that humanitarian aid could be brought in from Uzbekistan before winter sets in.

Officials do not believe bin Laden would allow himself to be taken alive if cornered. He might be shot by his followers, or seek a martyr’s death with an ambush, gunfight or, just conceivably, by unleashing some primitive weapon of mass destruction.

He told a Pakistani journalist two weeks ago: “This place may be bombed. And we will be killed. We love death. The US loves life. That is the big difference between us.”

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  • The Times [link inactive]

Philippines Muslim Uprising

Excerpt describing the latest outbreak of violence in the Philippics:

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Hundreds of former Muslim rebels took up arms in the southern Philippines on Monday, shattering a five-year-old peace deal in a battle that left 55 people dead.

Rebel patrols outside
MNLF headquarters
in southern Philippines

Guerrillas of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) launched a pre-dawn raid on an army camp on the island of Jolo, killing four soldiers and wounding 27 others in a rain of mortar shells, the army said.

Lieutenant-General Roy Cimatu, the regional army commander, said the situation was under control by noon after a counter-attack with air force bombers and helicopter gunships killed 51 rebels and wounded 13.

The shelling of the army's 104th Infantry Brigade headquarters near the airport in Jolo town raises a challenge to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is visiting the United States to appeal for military aid in fighting other groups of Islamic separatists.

Brigadier-General Adilberto Adan, a military spokesman, said: "It's a deliberate plan to show to the government that the MNLF still has teeth."

The now-factionalised MNLF was once the biggest Muslim group fighting for an Islamic state in the south of the largely Catholic country until it signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996, formally ending more than 30 years of fighting that killed more than 120,000 people. ...

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