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Since there is not much traffic to this blog, I'll do more of it through the photo and update this less frequently


This week, CNN has been doing an interesting series based on 60 videos that appear to have been part of an al Qaida library. Here are a few highlights - and I'm sorry to say there's not a lot of good news:

"'It's probably extremely significant, if not profound,' said John Gilbert, a chemical weapons specialist and arms control expert who advises the U.S. government. "I know there's been a lot of speculation about the state of technology, and how far they may have advanced toward having a usable chemical weapon. The fact that they were able to repeat tests or demonstrations on this tape indicates that they clearly have a way to produce a predictably lethal chemical.

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[more CNN tapes:] "I was shocked at the quantum leaps that al Qaeda has made in their explosive development program. They have effectively managed to develop explosives and blasting caps with materials that are virtually undetectable or raise [alarms] for authorities. 

"The overarching point here is that they can pick any venue or target city - with nothing on them - arrive in that city and, based on what we are seeing here, [construct a bomb] using common materials"

Urban Terrorist Tactics and Assassination: "I don't think anyone ever fathomed, even in the intelligence community, how sophisticated their training was, how well-prepared they were and how they were working away secretly in imparting this advice," said Magnus Ranstorp, deputy director of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrew's in Scotland. 

"The training tapes also include step by step instructions on how to use a surface-to-air missile, raising concerns about the implications for civil aviation. Lessons on complex hostage-taking techniques and assassination operations are also featured. 

""Just the intensity of the training that's described in these tapes. Very determined. Covered a lot of different areas,' Grange said. 'Information on warfare, bomb making, assassinations, raids, snatches, destruction of bridges, of lines of communication.'"  

"If an Afghan village is bombed and CNN is not there to film it, did it really happen?"

Padilla, the 'dirty bomb' al Qaida  figure turns out to be "small fish" and there's no evidence a radiological bomb plot was under way. Oops. He still doesn't have access to a lawyer or the courts because he's an "enemy combatant" (at least maybe). 

I think Tom Tomorrow has the best grasp on the situation: "Constitutional rights are meaningless if they do not apply equally to everyone, even Ted Bundy and Charlie Manson and Tim McVeigh, and even traitorous high ranking al-Qaeda dirty bomb plotting except as it turns out not really gang members from Chicago. You either believe in our system of Constitutional protections or you don't, but there's nothing to debate here, especially when your strongest argument is, But he's a terrorist! I just know he is! There was never much doubt that Charlie Manson was a mass murderer--he still got a damn trial.

"If you don't understand this, if you have learned nothing from the lessons of history, if you so blithely dishonor the gift of liberty which has been passed down to you from preceding generations...then I guess you deserve the world you will inevitably inhabit. Unfortunately, you will also drag the rest of us down with you, like a cinder block chained to the feet of a drowning man."

A year after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the publishing industry has produced more than 300 related books. Over the next few weeks, we'll provide summaries of a small selection of these titles.

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