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Arrests in Sniper case; Nation still at risk (news ~ report

Russians Held Hostage By Chechen Rebels

11/7 (BBC) Americans have been warned that US citizens and businesses overseas could face reprisal attacks over the impending execution of a Pakistani Islamic militant. Mir Aimal Kansi was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murder of two Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees in 1993 in Virginia. The execution is scheduled to be carried out on November 14. "The US Government continues to receive credible indications that extremist groups and individuals are planning additional terrorist actions against US interests," the State Department said in a statement.  "Such actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations." [US execution 'may trigger attacks']

11/8 (BBC) Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is alive and planning further high-profile terrorist attacks around the world, the head of Interpol has said. Mr Noble, who became Interpol's secretary general two years ago, added: ''Intelligence experts all agree that right now al-Qaeda is preparing a high-profile terrorist operation, with attacks targeting not just the US but several countries at the same time.''  The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner says this is the strongest yet assessment of the risk of al-Qaeda attacks. [Bin Laden is alive - Interpol ]

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Since there is more traffic though the photo page, I'll be trying to update that more and update the news-blog less frequently

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Daily update, Christian Science Monitor

Afghan War Faltering, Military Leader Says: Myers Cites Al Qaeda's Ability to Adapt 

The U.S. military is losing momentum in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan because the remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban have proven more successful in adapting to U.S. tactics than the U.S. military has to theirs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this week. Gen. Richard B. Myers also said there is a debate taking place within the Pentagon about whether the United States needs to change its priorities in  Afghanistan and de-emphasize military operations in favor of more support for reconstruction efforts. (Washington Post)

Detecting bioterror attacks gets creative: Counting coughs and tracking OJ sales part of unique defense. Epidemiologists are tracking orange juice sales at the local Safeway and poring over school attendance data. They're mapping every case of the sniffles they can find and watching surveillance videos to count how many times people sneeze.  The idea is that a sudden spike in everyday aches, pains, sniffles and coughs could signal the earliest stages of a health commissioner's worst nightmare -- a massive biological attack. So in the last few years, an increasing number of health departments have started collecting electronic data from hospital emergency rooms, pharmacies and other sources in an effort to gauge the overall level of illness in the population. (CNN.com) 

Russians Held Hostage By Chechen Rebels

Use of Opiate Sedative Gas Fentanyl to End Standoff Raises Chemical Weapon Questions

Covered from head to toe in all-black Islamic robes with only their determined, kohl-lined eyes showing, they quickly came to be called the "black widows" as a horrified world watched a new Chechen female suicide squad in action last week. [Black Widows Hell Hath No Fury Like Chechnya’s Ruthless ‘Widows of War’]

The Pentagon, quoting U.S. Embassy officials in Moscow, says the gas used by Russian forces to end the siege by Chechen terrorists in a theatre was a morphine derivative.  The gas is one of a class of drugs that researchers suggested two years ago the Pentagon should investigate for development as non-lethal weapons.

Neither the U.S. nor Britain have criticised Russia for using the gas that killed more than 100 of the 800-plus hostages being held in a Moscow theatre by Chechen terrorists.  U.S. military research into "calmative" agents is on hold because of worries such weapons would violate the international treaty that bans chemical weapons. [Siege gas 'was morphine spray'

Russia Confirms Gas Was Opiate-Based Fentanyl (Washington Post)

The quest for an effective "nonlethal" chemical agent like the one that killed more than 100 hostages in Moscow last weekend has tantalized U.S. military and law enforcement officials for years.

But even though the government has undertaken several research projects into incapacitating gases and aerosols since the mid-1990s, the effort has proceeded slowly in the face of thus-far insurmountable technical hurdles and concern about violating the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Mazzara, a retired Marine colonel who ran the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate before joining the laboratory in 1999, suggested that "what we saw in Russia almost cries out for more rather than less research into this." 

His views clashed sharply with those of Edward Hammond, director of the Austin-based Sunshine Project, a leading opponent of U.S. ventures into nonlethal technology:  "Using chemical weapons, including incapacitating chemical weapons, is a slippery slope," Hammond said. "We've gone down it before, but it seems like we're going down it again."

U.S. Finds Hurdles in Search for Nonlethal Gas

Al-Qaeda may target golfing senators: US senators are warned after Al-Qaeda suspect brags of snipers being trained to shoot from the back of pick-up trucks 


A significant number of scientists and biological warfare experts are expressing skepticism about the FBI's view that a single disgruntled American scientist  prepared the spores and mailed the deadly anthrax letters that killed five people last year. [FBI's Theory On Anthrax Is Doubted (Washington Post)]

The sniper attacks that held this metropolitan area hostage for three weeks offered lessons for terrorists and law enforcement alike in the nation's struggle with  homeland security. "There's no indication this had any kind of link to a terrorist organization. But anybody on the outside can see what they could do with teams of snipers, if they were in six metro areas at once, how paralyzing that could be for us," said Stephen Flynn, who researches homeland security with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

"It should refresh for Americans our memory of how quickly we can be terrorized as a society." 

rest of story | sniper archive

When the United States attacks Iraq, suppose Saddam Hussein sends secret teams armed with anthrax to spread death and panic in U.S. cities. This possibility, raised in a war game conducted last week at the Brookings Institution, adds to the urgency expressed in a new study by the Council on Foreign Relations warning that the nation is still woefully unprepared for attacks using weapons of mass destruction. U.S. vulnerability was demonstrated in reality by the Washington sniper trauma as men armed with just a rifle spread terror throughout the metropolitan area and tied down its police forces for weeks. 

Congress Has Left U.S. Unprepared For New Terrorism  (Kondracke, Roll Call)

10/28 (BBC) A senior US embassy official has been shot dead outside his home in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

11/6 (MSNBC) As Ramadan gets underway, the war on terror heats up and military action against Iraq looms, Muslim communities across America are on a PR mission to explain what their religion is all about.

US moves into emerging bioweapon era Rapid biotech developments, like Russia's use of fentanyl, are leaving international treaties behind

The use of poison gas to subdue Chechen rebels in Moscow, together with what the Bush administration says is the growing threat of Iraq's chemical weapons, comes as the United States itself investigates new substances that can be used to disable terrorists – perhaps even battlefield opponents.  

More profoundly, the opiate used to knock out the Chechen attackers (which killed 117 of 763 hostages) reflects a new era in weapons development: using biotech advances to degrade enemy forces while enhancing one's own troops. According to Pentagon documents, the Defense Department is studying the development and use of so-called "calmative" chemicals as well as "incapacitants, malodorants, and possibly convulsants." The idea is to take the fight out of an attacker without inflicting mortal damage. (rest of story from Christian Science Monitor)

11/7 (BBC) Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has promised to ensure the safety of Yemeni al-Qaeda members who renounce violence and "repent".  "Islam rejects violence and extremism, and if  these (al-Qaeda militants) are truly Muslims, they must return to the right path ... and  integrate into society as good citizens." [Yemenis told to shun al-Qaeda]

Archive: Up ] July 02 ] Aug 02 #1 ] Aug 02 #2 ] sniper ] [ Nov 03 ] Iraq 1 ] Iraq 2 ]




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