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Teaching & Understanding Sept 11:

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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?

Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented? Long before the tragic events of September 11th, the White House debated taking the fight to al-Qaeda. It didn't happen and soon it was too late. The saga of a lost chance. (Time mag)

Despite Sept 11, Interest in Foreign News Still Low. That's really sad. What the fuck is it going to take? Worse still, without reading about the rest of the world, 1 in 4 Americans back the use of nuclear arms to fight terror. Wonder why some people consider the US arrogant and a rogue nation?

Ok, how about a non-threatening first step: Read about the war on terrorism from a European perspective - getting info from the BBC shouldn't be a hardship.  Latest News ~ Investigating Terrorism ~ Day of Terror

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How does al-Qaida stay organised when its members are in hiding and scattered across the world? Easy - it runs a website: Whether Bin Laden and his colleagues are on a mountain or living with their beards shaved off in a suburb of Karachi no longer matters to the organisation. They can inspire and guide a worldwide movement without physically meeting their followers - without even knowing who they are. 

The Washington Post did a great story about cyber attacks by al Qaeda. Even though the Sept 11 suicide missions were low tech (boxcutter and airplane), the concern is that the controls for dams and communications can be controlled from the web - and could be used in combination with a low tech event. Excellent article. 

"The new threat bears little resemblance to familiar financial disruptions by hackers responsible for viruses and worms. It comes instead at the meeting points of computers and the physical structures they control. U.S. analysts believe that by disabling or taking command of the floodgates in a dam, for example, or of substations handling 300,000 volts of electric power, an intruder could use virtual tools to destroy real-world lives and property. They surmise, with limited evidence, that al Qaeda aims to employ those techniques in synchrony with 'kinetic weapons' such as explosives."

On creating an Office of Homeland Security: "I don't think it does anybody a disservice to actually read what it is we're voting on, to prepare amendments if they have some disagreements," he said. "Senator Byrd and others are suggesting that they may support in the end the proposal, but they want more care, more attention, more careful consideration given to a proposal of this magnitude. And frankly, I don't think that's too much to ask."

"It is going to require the investment of real money your money. It cannot be done with the kind of creative accounting gimmicks that you might expect to find at Halliburton Company and Harken Energy Corporation," Mr. Byrd said.

The Saudi pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported that one of bin Laden's 20 sons has taken over al Quaida. Some see this as evidence that bin Laden is dead, while others dismissed the notion of Saad bin Laden running Al Qaeda, although he acknowledged that "his responsibilities have grown since the war began." 

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