November 18, 2002

nothing killed the terrorism star

Analysis Finds Tape ‘Almost Certainly’ Bin Laden

The CIA and National Security Agency have been analyzing the broadcast of the tape, which was of shaky quality because it apparently was recorded over the telephone.

“It is clear that the tape was recorded in the last several weeks,” another U.S. official said. “At this point there is no evidence to indicate and no reason to believe that the tape was manufactured or altered.”

This was the hardest evidence that the United States has had since December 2001 that bin Laden was alive.

Things just keep getting better, especially with this cheerful send-off:

U.S. intelligence agencies have picked up an increased level of “chatter,” or threatening communications by al Qaeda operatives, and the FBI last week issued a warning that the network may favor “spectacular attacks” that result in mass casualties.

scarier to me still is the strange games being played in the administration. opinions may differ in who one feels threatens us more (or at all), but i am personally confused when we’re getting the following mixed signals from washington.
george tenet (cia director) claims to the senate intelligence committee that the threat al-queda poses right now is the same or greater than on 9-11-01. tom ridge (home secuirity advisor) is saying the new warnings from the fbi are ‘nothing new’, and seems primarily interested in convincing the public al-queda is no longer a worry. bush is busy readjusting funding and spec-ops troops from afghanistan to iraq.
since bin-laden is still around and has acted directly against the u.s., does it seem he is a more imminent danger than saddam (who to the best of my knowledge has not directly threatened the u.s.)? seems that way to me.
i want to know where the true priorities lie in washington…

Grammar notwithstanding, you make some interesting observations about our current political climate. It is a bit unsettling when our own government agencies have such widely differing views on what their own terrorism warning levels imply.
As far as I know, Saddam has not directly threatened the U.S., unless you consider his daily firings upon American jets patrolling the no-fly zone threatening. U.N. resolution one of sixteen that this guy don’t wanna play by.
I also recall reading that Saddam said he was more than willing to sell his WMD’s to the highest bidding terrorist group, if given the chance.
He also cuts checks to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
Whether or not these add up to a justified military usurping of the bastard is up to interpretation. Brown dictators for brown people, I say. I have a headache and am more than willing to concede the argument at this point. The political world has spiraled out of my hands.

i don’t know that i’m trying to argue per say (though i can’t avoid expressing my own opinion, ever), more just expressing food for thought.
as for the validity of iraq and its violations of u.n. resolutions, i find it hard to hold iraq accountable for violating one of sixteen when a country like israel is in violation of (i believe) thirty-two in regards to its treatment of the palestinians.
saddam bidding out wmd’s? i’ve never seen that verified by a non-governmental u.s. source, so i remain suspect to that information.
the planes in the no-fly zone are a much stickier matter. tough to know who’s provoking who. in the past (libya) information has come out that we were the ones provoking the firing through harrasing tactics. unfortunately i’m not there to see, so i’ve no way to tell.
the political mess resides in grays from the middle of the spectrum. black and white exist outside the visible wavelengths of our world perception. i have my opinions, but set to actual argument sake, i have to admit that i’m at a hopeless loss. i’ve no empirical evidence to speak of and a preponderance of propaganda from all sides.

Indeed, indeed. I wasn’t trying to say you were arguing anything… just makin’ clear that I wasn’t arguing anything.
Iraq has violated 16 of 16 resolutions. I don’t know anything about Israel, though I would say that Palestinian suicide bombers are violating all sorts of resolutions. Still doesn’t mean THAT everything Israel has done is justified, of course.
One argument has been that the Bush Administration has not assessed the level of threat posed by Iraq for a number of years (still going off facts from the Clinton Administration). In this, the argument goes that since we don’t know, we can’t shoot. Problem is, there’s no way to reassess the threat until we get weapons inspectors back in (which happened yesterday, didn’t it?), and even then I find those kids to be a cold, cold comfort.
I’m a hopeless loss, too, when it comes to arguments. I used to think I could hold up my end of the bargain, but there’s too much out there I DON’T KNOW. I approach current events as a game, now, more than anything.

The NSA is scary for one reason:
It is the biggest employer of mathematicians in the world. If you should, perchance, be acquainted with someone of the mathematical persuasion, you know what makes it so scary.

more food for thought as the u.s. searches for a reason to go to war, searches for the ‘material breach’ necessary for security council approval:
the u.s. and britan want to declare iraq firing on planes in the no-fly zone as a material breach of u.n. resolutions.
did a little research today out of curiosity and found out that the no-fly zones were (and still are) u.s. and u.k. creations. the u.n. security council has never authorized the no-fly zones.
i’ll try to look into this more. i’m now curious if our continued bombing of iraqi air defense installations over the past few years has been done in violation of international law.
as for mathematicians in the n.s.a.? i’m afraid. i’m very afraid.
admit it hank ryanins – you and ye old man kroiss are out to rule the world!