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Current Topic: War on Terrorism Cat Stevens Denied Entry to U.S.
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:02 pm EDT, Sep 22, 2004

] Yusuf Islam, who scored several Top Ten hits in the
] Seventies as Cat Stevens before leaving the business to
] devote himself to Islam, was denied entry into the U.S.
] yesterday, because his name was on several border
] protection watch lists. Islam's plane, en route to
] Washington from London, was rerouted to Bangor, Maine,
] where the artist was detained for questioning.
 . . .
] Islam will be put on a return flight to London today.

Gah! As a big Cat Stevens fan, this news shocks and saddens me. :/ Cat Stevens Denied Entry to U.S.

RE: Iraq
Topic: War on Terrorism 3:56 pm EDT, May 22, 2004

Jeremy wrote:
] Elonka wrote:
] ] ] The United States' invasion of Iraq was not a great idea.
] ] ] Its only virtue was that it was the best available idea
] ] ] among a series of even worse ideas.
] ]
] ] This is pretty much how I feel about it.
] ] There was a problem in Iraq ...
] There are lots of places with "problems" that need "fixed,"
] but we aren't the world's handyman. We simply don't have all
] the right tools. No one does.

Sure, there are plenty of things wrong in the world (the major problems in Africa come to mind immediately), and it doesn't mean that we have to go around fixing all of them.

Iraq, on the other hand, *was* our problem. We still had planes routinely flying there (and remember that Iraq was shooting at us over the no-fly-zones on a routine basis). Attacks on Western targets were being planned from inside Iraq, and it was clear that the infrastructure for further attacks was being built there as well.

It's my belief that if we would have ignored Iraq, the problems would have gotten worse, and more innocents would have died, both inside and outside Iraq. Eventually the problems would have gotten bad enough that the world might have decided to take action, and the end result would have been the same -- either a military invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam, or a military reaction when Saddam once again attacked some other country. He'd already attacked multiple neighboring countries, including Iran, Israel, and of course Kuwait... It was just a matter of time before he tried again. He *was* developing WMDs. There was an active Ricin program up until the day we invaded. Nuclear scientists had clear instructions to hide key parts, along with the associated documentation. Missiles were being built that were in obvious violation of U.N. guidelines. Multiple clear indicators existed, that Saddam was just waiting until he could launch another attack.

War is messy, war is ugly, and the loss of life is heartbreaking. But it's my firm belief that if we would have waited, there would have been *more* loss of life than there was when we acted as we did. It was a better choice, even if still an unpleasant one.

RE: Iraq

Tests Confirm Sarin in Iraqi Artillery Shell
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:42 pm EDT, May 18, 2004

] Tests on an artillery shell that blew up in Iraq on
] Saturday confirm that it did contain an estimated three
] or four liters of the deadly nerve agent sarin
 . . .
] Another shell filled with mustard gas, possibly also part of an
] improvised explosive device (IED) was discovered on May 2,
] Defense Dept. officials said.

That's nearly a gallon of sarin. A single drop is enough to kill. Looks like the only reason there wasn't a high death toll is because the chemicals inside the shell didn't mix properly.

So, where did this sarin come from? Where was it made, *when* was it made, and where has it been stored? And, most importantly, is this just the tip of the iceberg? Are these just a couple stray shells left around for years, or is there more? And if so, where?

Tests Confirm Sarin in Iraqi Artillery Shell

Alleged WebTV 911 hacker charged with cyberterrorism
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:26 pm EST, Apr  1, 2004

February 26:
] FBI agents arrested a Louisiana man last week for
] allegedly tricking a handful of MSN TV users into running
] a malicious e-mail attachment that reprogrammed their
] set-top boxes to dial 9-1-1 emergency response.

This is from several weeks ago... I'm meme-ing it because I'm currently interested in the "what types of hacking count as terrorism" concept. And fwiw, I'm pretty appalled that this moron was messing with 911. They've got enough crap to handle without dealing with stunts like this.

Alleged WebTV 911 hacker charged with cyberterrorism

RE: US denies Iranian report of Bin Lauden capture
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:47 am EST, Feb 29, 2004

Decius wrote:
] When they arrest BL, they won't tell everyone that they've
] arrested BL, because BL knows things that they want to know,
] and they don't want BL's associates to react to the idea that
] they have the information that BL has. They could delay making
] an announcement for quite some time if they feel like they can
] collect useful intelligence. So rest assured, when you hear
] that BL has been captured, it happened a long time ago. It
] might have happened already. There is really no way to know
] unless the guy puts out a recent video...

Then Rattle wrote:
Saddam's capture felt pretty stock. The PR handling of Bin Laden's capture should rival that of Janet Jackson's tit and all of the primaries. I'm sure there is a upper-double-digit size team of people working somewhere in Virginia, pondering the best 10 of 40 different approaches to handling the situation. I hope they have some good ideas.

Then I (Elonka) wrote:

I don't think there's any way that they'd be able to keep bin Laden's capture secret. At least for any period of time. There are too many other people that would be notified when it happens. Word would have to go up the chain from the soldiers to the commanders to Washington to Bush and several of his advisors. Word would also be going out through the tribe or wherever BL's been hiding. *They* would know he was gone, and they'd be talking as well.

It's too big of a secret -- I don't believe it could be kept for more than a few days, max.

RE: US denies Iranian report of Bin Lauden capture

CIA has 'secure online form' for reporting information about Iraq
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:05 pm EST, Feb 12, 2004

] If you have information relating to Iraq which
] you believe might be of interest to the U.S.
] Government, please contact us through our secure
] online form. We will carefully protect all information
] you provide, including your identity.

I wonder how many real tips they get here, vs. nutcases? Then again, it's probably no worse a percentage than anything else. I hear that "America's Most Wanted" gets an enormous amount of junk tips that they have to wade through, but for the few tips that they get which are real and useful, it's worth it.

CIA has 'secure online form' for reporting information about Iraq

RE: Blair Defends War Decision
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:53 pm EST, Feb  5, 2004

Terratogen wrote:
] If you remember, Bush gave Suddaam a 3 day ultimatum to
] surrender the weapons of mass destruction he *knew* had to be
] in Iraq.

For the record, the final ultimatum was not a 3-day deadline to surrender WMD, it was a 48-hour ultimatum for Saddam and his sons to leave the country:

] Blatently, the reasons we're in Iraq were not publicised by
] those who made the decision

I beg to differ. The world's unhappiness with Iraq was extremely well publicized and debated. The U.N. passed resolution after resolution condemning Iraq. Iraq wasn't a country that we were worried *might* use chemical weapons, Iraq was a country that verifiably *had* used chemical weapons, on multiple occasions, on thousands of people, military and civilian, including people in its own country. It wasn't a suspicion of something that Saddam *might* be capable of, it was a proven fact.

I supported the war in Iraq not just because I thought there were stockpiles of WMD there. I supported the war because there was a long history of Iraqi deception, U.N. resolutions were being blatantly ignored, and it was clear that Saddam had no intention of cooperating. I felt sure then, and I still feel confident now, that if left alone, Saddam would have continued to build arsenals, and would have done his best to build his empire by violent means. We already had military in Iraq from the last time he had invaded a neighboring country, Iraqis were regularly shooting at us over the no-fly zones, and I saw no circumstances on the horizon that would have allowed us to say, "Okay, things are better now, we can leave."

Now having said that, I will also agree that some of our intelligence was flawed, and that some things were said, by Bush and others, that later analysis has now shown was probably incorrect. I do not think that this means that they "lied", I think it means that they got their hands on some bad info. But there were still plenty of things that were said that *were* correct, and there were things that we had suspicions of, which have since been verified a hundred times over. Saddam really did have WMD at one point, and he was doing his level best to get more. Secrets really were being kept from U.N. Inspectors and from the world. Saddam had *not* given up on the idea of building an empire... He was just waiting for world scrutiny to go away.

So, I continue to stand by my original belief:

- The world's demand for the last many years, including in early 2003, was for Iraq to comply with U.N. demands to disarm.
- Iraq was clearly not complying with those demands.
- Something had to be done, and most countries didn't have the balls to do it.
- We did.
- The war was justified.
- And the world is a better place without Saddam.


RE: Blair Defends War Decision

Iraqi WMD: What David Kay really said
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:55 pm EST, Feb  4, 2004

] The subject of this Update is Iraqi WMD and misuse of
] the statements since his resignation from the job of
] David Kay, who headed up US efforts to find Iraqi weapons
] since the war.

Two articles on this page that I found particularly of interest:

- Wall Street Journal, "Anti-Bush partisans aren't listening to what David Kay is Saying", January 28th, 2004

- Newsday, "Why the President was justified -- David Kay or not", January 27th, 2004. This one is especially interesting because it's by Ed Koch, the former *Democratic* Mayor of New York

There are also extracts from Kay's interview with the New York Times, January 26, 2004

Koch, in his conclusion, says:

] What all this means is that if Saddam Hussein had acted
] rationally, he could have avoided war. But he was not the
] rational leader of a nation. He was a sadistic despot who
] tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people
] and invaded other countries. He used poison gas against the
] Kurds and the Iranians. He set fire to more than 700 oil wells
] in Kuwait, creating an environmental catastrophe. The world is
] surely better off without him.

Iraqi WMD: What David Kay really said Transcript: Interview with David Kay, February 1, 2004
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:41 pm EST, Feb  4, 2004

I'm still disgusted with the way that Kay is being misquoted all over the place. So, if anyone's interested, here's a word-for-word transcript.

] KAY: I think Iraq was a dangerous place becoming more
] dangerous, because, in fact, what we observe is that the
] regime itself was coming apart. It was descending into
] worse the part of moral depravity and corruption. Saddam
] was isolated in a fantasy land capable of wreaking
] tremendous harm and terror on his individual citizens,
] but corruption, money gain was the root cause.
] At the same time that we know there were terrorist groups
] in state still seeking WMD capability. Iraq, although I
] found no weapons, had tremendous capabilities in this
] area. A marketplace phenomena was about to occur, if it
] did not occur; sellers meeting buyers. And I think that
] would have been very dangerous if the war had not
] intervened.
  . . .
] Iraq remained a very dangerous place in terms of WMD
] capabilities, even though we found no large stockpiles of
] weapons. Transcript: Interview with David Kay, February 1, 2004

Blair Defends War Decision
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:14 pm EST, Feb  4, 2004

] Blair said inspection teams had turned up evidence showing Saddam
] Hussein's "total, unrepentant, malignant intent" and his
] violation of United Nations resolutions -- enough to justify the
] U.S.-led invasion.
] "I accept (the inspectors) have not found what I and many others
] including Dr. (David) Kay confidently expected they would --
] actual weapons ready for immediate use," Blair said, referring to
] the former top U.S. inspector in Iraq.
] "But let others accept that what they have found are
] laboratories, technology, diagrams, documents, teams of
] scientists told to conceal their work on biological, nuclear and
] chemical weapons capability, that in sum amounts to breaches of
] the United Nations resolution," Blair said.
] "If all that the (Iraq Survey Group of inspectors) find is all
] that they have found, ... we would have been irresponsible in the
] highest degree not to have acted against Saddam and rid him and
] his loathsome regime from power," he said.

I would also point out that Kay himself said plenty of evidence of WMD programs were found in Iraq, *including* an active Ricin program that was only interrupted by our invasion last March. However, Kay's report continues to be misquoted all over the place. People seize on "no evidence of WMD stockpiles", and ignore everything else he said, such as the fact that he still thought the war was a good idea, and that it was still essential to keep looking, and that just because we haven't found stockpiles, does not mean that they didn't exist. It *was* confirmed by the U.N. that Iraq at one point had over 8000 liters of anthrax, and multiple tons of VX, but it's still uncertain as to just what exactly happened to those stockpiles.

Blair Defends War Decision

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