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Teaching & Understanding Sept 11:

News / Paul's Blog - Aug 02, #1

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"After the first two jets were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, FAA managers had directed all planes out of New York airspace. Next they had stopped takeoffs nationwide. Minutes after a third jet hit the Pentagon, they had ordered controllers nationwide to undertake the most massive effort in aviation history: clearing the skies.

"Now they face an unprecedented challenge. They must land as fast as possible almost 4,500 planes in or headed toward U.S. airspace. Their goal is to bring 350,000 passengers and crew safely to the ground. - from part 2 of a report called Clearing the Skies

Colin Powell has been reduced to little more than a figleaf to cover the excesses of the most radically unilateralist administration since World War II. So why does he stay?

GISHT KUPRIK, UZBEKISTAN – Like a database of criminal mug shots, a computer at this Central Asian border post keeps one photographic image of every vehicle that passes – along with a record of its radiation level. -from America pours cash and training into Uzbekistan to stop transfer of nuclear materials

"A briefing given last month to a top Pentagon advisory board described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that U.S. officials give it an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States. (continued in left column, below)

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"The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers,  from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader," stated the explosive briefing. It was presented on July 10 to the Defense Policy Board, a group of prominent intellectuals and former senior officials that advises the Pentagon on defense policy." -from Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies: Ultimatum Urged To Pentagon Board)

The ultimatum included seizing the oilfields, then Views Aired In Briefing On Saudis Disavowed

Seems like a thinly veiled effort to get the Saudis to let us use airbases there to invade Iraq, which they refused to do. Meanwhile, more Muslims feel threatened and alienated.

According to the BBC, Saudi papers are starting to attack Christian fundamentalism: "the international media had concentrated only on Muslim fundamentalism, forgetting that Christian fundamentalism was just as dangerous."

"The paper said the influence of Christian extremists in America had increased since the attacks on New York and the Pentagon last year."


Damned if they aren't right: "the university in Chapel Hill is asking all 3,500 incoming freshmen to read a book about Islam and finds itself besieged in federal court and across the airwaves by Christian evangelists and other conservatives."

But, trust the press to step in and raise the level of discussion: "But a national TV talk show host, Fox News Network's Bill O'Reilly, compared the assignment to teaching "Mein Kampf" in 1941 and questioned the purpose of making freshmen study "our enemy's religion."

One Freshman seemed to have a much healthier perspective: "After the terrorist attacks, I was so angry that I really didn't care to learn anything about Muslims," said Matthew Dale, an 18-year-old freshmen from Raleigh, N.C. "But I know now that refusing to learn is what causes more anger and confusion. I'm glad they chose this book. I still have a lot of questions, but at least this was a start." 

More of this story

“The US military action may well achieve a number of its immediate goals. However, only when the deepest fears of each side are both understood and addressed, and the narratives of all parties become more complex and nuanced, will events such as September 11 become less likely.” 

--Mark Howard Ross, “The Political Psychology of Competing Narratives: September 11 and Beyond” 

"Britain faces a growing threat of an electronic attack by terrorists linked to al-Qaida that could paralyse key public services, including electricity and water supplies, the government's adviser on computer security has told the Guardian. 

"Mr Cummings stressed that terror groups did not yet have the capability to mount such attacks. Much more likely and more common would be further attacks on individual websites using a virus or worm or through hacking. 

"But he said that while the threat of an attack that would knock out a critical public service or power source was lower than attacks on websites, it was increasing. 

""Terrorists are aware of the potential," he said. "Al-Qaida would be interested in developing the capability." If it recruited someone who worked inside an organisation such as a water or power company, "it could happen tomorrow," he said. 

The Transportation Security Administration has warned airlines to be on the lookout for impostors wearing stolen uniforms trying to gain access to planes or airports, citing a series of recent thefts from flight crews.

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