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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Plutomium Smuggler Stopped in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - A man was arrested for trying to sell plutonium in an undercover investigation, the Kyrgyz security agency said Tuesday amid rising worries of a growing black market trade in radioactive materials.

He was in possession of plutonium-239...the radioactive material was packed in 60 ampoules.

Kyrgyz agents arrest man in radioactive sting [msnbc]
Kyrgyzstan Seizes Nuclear Bomb-Grade Plutonium [Reuters]
Smuggler seized in Kyrgyzstan with weapons-grade plutonium [Guardian]

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Asteroid Comes Closest to Earth Since 14th Century

Asteroid 4179, Toutatis, came within approximately 1.5 million kilometers or 961,000 miles of Earth at 9:35 a.m. Eastern Time, Wednesday, September 29, 2004. A very close distance in astronomy terms. Something like four times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

The asteroid is named after an obscure Celtic and Gallic god, Toutatis. It is a yam-shaped space rock that measures 1.92 kilometers (1.2 miles) by 2.29 kilometers (1.4 miles) by 4.6 kilometers (2.9 miles).

Toutatis will not be this close again until 2562. The year 1353 A.D. is when Toutatis last got as close to the Earth as it did today. It was discovered in 1989.

Had Toutatis hit the Earth, it would have had the explosive impact of a one million megaton bomb, many times the total nuclear arsenal of the superpowers, and would have destroyed a majority of the life on the planet.

Large Asteroid Will Zoom Safely Past Earth [ScienceDaily.com]
Near-miss asteroid could have wiped out Greater London area [Independent.co.uk]
Asteroid Comes Closest to Earth Since 12th Century, NASA Says [Bloomberg]
ESO Views of Earth-Approaching Asteroid Toutatis [Inovations-Report]

related:
Asteroid (1997 XF11) Will Miss Earth By "Comfortable Distance" In 2028, NASA Predicts [ScienceDaily.com]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Ocean Levels Are Rising

Inch by inch slowly but surely the oceans are rising. Those investing in beachfront property, especially in Florida, might want to take note. Wired reports:

A number of massive glaciers in the West Antarctic are sliding into the ocean at an accelerating rate and raising sea levels, according to new data released Thursday.

The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that six glaciers flowing into the Amundsen Sea have quickened their march into the ocean over the past 15 years, and the pace has accelerated recently. The fastest of these, the Pine Island Glacier, is ripping along at a six-yards-a-day pace -- 25 percent faster than it was moving in the 1970s -- making it one of the fastest-moving glaciers on Earth.

"What we're seeing here is a comparative gallop," said Eric Rignot, a glaciologist...
Glaciers Quicken Pace to Sea [Wired]

Monday, September 27, 2004

Latino Gangs swarm back to US

Marlon Enrique Fuentes, deported by the U.S. and jailed in Honduras, displays his Los Angeles gang ties with tattoos: XVIII, Cry Me and Try Me.
Mara 18 Gangmember-Marlon Enrique Fuentes

Ginger Thompson of the NY Times reports on how hispanic gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 started in the slums of Los Angeles. Gang members were then sent back to Central America in a massive immigration crackdown in the mid-1990's. This in-turn led to a massive crime wave in Central America. The Central American governments, then applied extraordinary measures to expell many gang members who now have come full circle and ended up back in the US.

...gang members, known here (in Honduras) as "maras," after a species of swarming ants. Indeed, over the last decade gangs have spread like a scourge across Central America, Mexico and the United States, setting off a catastrophic crime wave that has turned dirt-poor neighborhoods into combat zones and an equally virulent crackdown that has left thousands of gang members dead, in hiding, in jail or heading to the United States.

The authorities estimate there are 70,000 to 100,000 gang members across Central America and Mexico. In the last decade, gangs have killed thousands of people, sowing new fear in a region still struggling to overcome civil wars that ended just a decade ago. Gangs have replaced guerrillas as public enemy No. 1...

Metropolitan Los Angeles, with a population almost equal to that of Honduras, remains the world capital of street gangs, with an estimated 700 different cliques and more than 110,000 gang members. City and county police officials say half of all homicides there are gang related.
Shuttling Between Nations, Latino Gangs Confound the Law [NY Times]

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The New Islamic Mafia / Albanian Mafia: Information Summary

Albanian Mafia

M. Bozinovich of serbianna.com writes an excellent summary of some of the current information about how dangerous and widespread the Muslim Albanian Mafia has become. He calls them "The New Islamic Mafia." He recounts some history, for example, when two Albanian mobsters killed two employees who crossed them at the famous New York City strip club - Scores:
A 1996 murder of a waiter, Jonathon Segal, and a bouncer, Michael Greco, in New York's Scores restaurant illustrates the indifference and haste with which Albanian assassins kill: two ethnic Albanians employed as Gambino family assassins opened fire on the waiter and bouncer after instigating an argument over quality of service they got in the restaurant.
CNN reported in August about FBI concerns that the Albanian Mafia is becomimg a serious problem in the US:
Thousands of Albanians and others who fled the Balkans for the United States in recent years have emerged as a serious organized crime problem, threatening to displace La Cosa Nostra (LCN) families as kingpins of U.S. crime, top FBI officials said Wednesday.

The Albanian criminal enterprises, operating largely in New York and other Eastern seaboard cities, represent a major challenge to federal agents because of their propensity for violence and brutality, the officials said.

"They are a hardened group, operating with reckless abandon," said Chris Swecker, the newly named FBI assistant director for the Criminal Investigative Division.

Swecker and other officials said some of the Albanians served as enforcers in the established Mafia families for several years.
Dusan Janjic, Coordinator of the Forum for Ethnic Relations in Serbia, was interviewed by orgkriminal.org in May about the Albanian mafia. He cites some reasons for the success of the Albanian criminal gangs and who leads them:
Numerous myths are circulating broad about the Albanian mob. What are its advantages compared with other similar groups? JANJIC: They have several. Firstly they speak a language that few people in Europe understand. Secondly, its internal organization is based on family ties, breeding solidarity and safety. Thirdly there is the code of silence and it is perfectly normally for somebody to die if he violates the code. Such murders are considered ethically justified. When people talk about the mob`s brutality they mostly mean brutality directed towards it own people who broke the rules...

Who are the heads of the Albanian mob? JANJIC: When it comes to drugs, the top people are in Denmark, mostly families originally from Trnovac. The rest are in Germany, Switzerland, and coordinate the trade. There are also smaller bosses, all of them involved in some part of the operation and there are parallel ties. It is hard to say who is the de facto organizer of the business. Billions of dollars are involved.
Speaking anonymously for Philadelphia's City Paper a member of the "Kielbasa Posse", an ethnic Polish mob group, declared in 2002 that Poles are willing to do business with "just about anybody. Dominicans. Blacks. Italians. Asian street gangs. Russians. But they won't go near the Albanian mob. The Albanians are too violent and too unpredictable."

The KLA or Kosovo Liberation Army (an Islamic group) may be one of the links between Al-Qaeda and the Albanian Mafia. NewAmerican.com details the links and reports:
According to Interpol’s Ralf Mutschke, the KLA is an example of a "hybrid" criminal group that straddles the border between ideological terrorism and international organized crime. Working with existing underworld groups, such as the Albanian Mafia and various Italian crime syndicates, the KLA has carved a niche for itself in the world of international sex slavery (the abduction of women who are forced into prostitution). But its most profitable venture is the global heroin trade.
The Christian Science Monitor reported about Albanians in this country collecting money for the KLA:
Typical of the donors is Agim Jusufi, a building superintendent on Manhattan's West Side. Mr. Jusufi gets a weekly paycheck. He describes himself as an ordinary "working man." However, he has donated $5,000 to the KLA.

"It is always stressed that we should donate when we can," he says, "We are in a grave moment, so we are raising money."

Jusufi bridles over reports that drug money funds the KLA. There has been an Albanian organized-crime element involved in the drug trade for decades. But, he says, in this country, the money comes from hard-working immigrants. "We have canceled checks to prove it," he says.

Jusufi, who has worked in Switzerland, says Albanians living there and in Germany often donate 3 to 6 percent of their salary toward Albanian causes. He calls it a kind of tax.
Benjamin C. Works has collected a list of articles that discuss the connection between the Kosovo Albanians, their heroin Mafia and the KLA insurrection in Kosovo of 1997-99. Articles date back to a 1985 Wall Street Journal account of Rudy Giuliani --then Federal prosecutor in NYC-- prosecuting the Kosovo Mafia.

The JUTARNJI LIST (Morning Paper, Croatian national daily from Zagreb) reported last year that: "the Head of the Macedonian Mafia is currently in New York. He is considered the one who controls the production and trafficking of heroin."

Links:
The New Islamic Mafia [serbianna.com]
FBI: Albanian mobsters 'new Mafia' [CNN]
An Interview with Dusan Janjic, Coordinator of the Forum for Ethnic Relations [orgkriminal.org]
Pole-Vaulting [City Paper]
Behind the Terror Network [NewAmerican.com]
Pulling political and purse strings [csmonitor.com]
Articles on KLA-Kosovo-Drugs-Mafia and Fundraising [Benjamin C. Works]
New Mafia Bosses More Moderate and Devious [JUTARNJI LIST]

Johnsville News coverage of Albanian Mafia:
Albanian Mafia and Nationalism [21-Aug-04]
The Rudaj Organization aka: The Albanian Mafia [2-Nov-04]

Friday, September 24, 2004

Drawings of Aliens by the Children They Abducted


This website has original drawings made by children who are abducted by aliens. It includes drawings of aliens, alien spacecraft, alien hybrids, children being abducted by aliens, and the things aliens do to children.

For complete authenticity, descriptions and comments on the drawings have not been edited. The drawings of a brother and sister are featured on this website. Drawings of aliens by children all over the world are requested for display on this website.

Drawings of aliens by children [AliensAndChildren.org]

Terrorism Knowledge Base

Terrorism Knowledge Base, from the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) and the Office for Domestic Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base is the one-stop resource for comprehensive research and analysis on global terrorist incidents, terrorism-related court cases, and terrorist groups and leaders. The Terrorism Knowledge Base illuminates the current status of terrorism today. It takes users through the history, affiliations, locations, and tactics of the terrorism entities operating across the world at this moment. The database features interactive maps, biographies on key terrorist personalities, dynamic graphs, and succinct summaries on who is who and what is what inside the shadowy world of terrorism today.

MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base [MIPT]
via Neophyte Pundit

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Public Enemies

John Dillinger We forget that before J. Edgar Hoover got old and strange he was a good guy. Back in the 1930's there was a crime wave led by notorious criminals like John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde that swept this country. An ambitious federal bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover organized and transformed a small obscure agency named the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reestablish the rule of law.

Bryan Burrough wrote an interesting book, Public Enemies, describing how an earnest, ambitious clerk named John Edgar Hoover "reinvented" the FBI. Perhaps Hoover's reinvention of the FBI to combat crime in the 1930's has some lessons for today's war on terror.

Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 [Amazon.com]
In Depression era, gangsters' spree prompted rise of 'G-men' [Washington Times]

Update: US News wrote a short bio on the lady trying to fix the FBI. Her name is Maureen Baginski or "Mo". She is a 25-year veteran of the National Security Agency. Baginski has meticulously been creating the blueprint for a new FBI intelligence arm since May 2003. That's when Mueller named her to the new office of FBI "intelligence czar".

A Russian linguist, Soviet expert, and career intelligence analyst, Baginski has earned kudos for trying to avoid the quick fix. Instead, she's trying to create a fundamental paradigm shift in how the FBI harvests its domestic intelligence and how the bureau recruits, trains, and retains its intelligence analysts--long viewed as such second-class citizens that they're often relegated to answering phones and even clearing trash bins. The 9/11 commission found that nearly two thirds of FBI analysts are unqualified for their jobs, and the good ones are raided by other agencies.

Baginski also wants to train new agent recruits to gather and use intelligence right from the beginning of their careers. And she wants intelligence gathered from all sorts of FBI cases to be funneled into the effort to prevent terrorist attacks. "She's embedding intelligence into the DNA of the FBI," says recently retired bureau executive Steven McCraw...
Links to Baginski's recent testimony to Congress:
The FBI's 'Vision Lady' [US News]

Monday, September 20, 2004

Shamil Basayev: Russia's Most Wanted Man

Shamil Basayev
Chechen warlord, Shamil Basayev, is the top Chechen rebel sought by Russia for 300m roubles ($10m). Prosecutors say he masterminded the Beslan school siege in North Ossetia. At least 326 people - about half of them children - died.

Profiles: Russia's most wanted [BBC]
Basayev: Russia's most wanted man [CNN]

13% of Airliner Water is Filthy

Next time you fly bring your own bottled water.

As part of enforcement activities, EPA, during August and September 2004, randomly tested the water supplies on 158 aircraft.

Nearly one of every eight passenger airliners tested by the Environmental Protection Agency carried drinking water that fails agency standards because it contains coliform bacteria, the agency said Monday.

Of the planes checked, 20 tested positive for total coliform bacteria, which could signal the presence of other harmful bacteria. Two planes tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which in a severe form can cause gastrointestinal illness.

13 percent of airliner water below EPA standards [AP]
EPA Makes Passenger Aircraft Water Testing Information Available [EPA]
Airline Water Supplies-Test Data [EPA]

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Godfather Horse Head Pillow

Kropserkel.com is selling "The Godfather Horse Head Pillow" for $90:

This is our little contribution to the Godfather legacy. A custom severed horse head pillow that is actually quite comfortable to sleep on, albeit a tad on the south side of morbid. A great conversation piece for the film buff who has everything and whose wife won't let them own a revolver. Fans of the Godfather can now unite and sleep comfortably, if not uneasily.

Send someone a message! Here is one way you can threaten or spook someone in the nicest possible way, under the guise that you want them to get a better sleep. A better sleep with the fishes that is.

Friday Linkage

Ivan May Just Be a Messenger: Hurricane Ivan is among the most powerful Atlantic storms in recent history, and more such storms are likely in the future due to global warming, say climate experts.

"Global warming is creating conditions that (are) more favorable for hurricanes to develop and be more severe," said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Twist a Pen, Open a Lock: Kryptonite's near-indestructible bike locks can be opened in seconds with a cheap plastic pen. This is pretty bad for Kryptonite: The same lock is widely used in vending machines, security panels and vehicle security products.

• WESTMINSTER, Calif. - A 20-year-old waitress, Ngan Thi Bich Vo, has been arrested for allegedly ordering the slayings of two customers who allegedly made rude remarks and tried to grab her as she served them drinks, authorities said.

Woman arrested for allegedly ordering murder of two patrons [Monterey Herald]

Friday, September 17, 2004

Big Dig Tunnel in Boston Springs Leak

Trapped in a tunnel 50 feet under sea level with water gushing in - not a pretty picture for Boston motorists, who got jammed up at the front of this 10 mile back-up. The Boston Globe reports:

Water gushed into the Central Artery's northbound tunnel for hours yesterday (Sept 15, 2004) from a small breach in the eastern wall, backing up afternoon rush-hour traffic for miles and leaving Big Dig officials at a loss to explain where the water was coming from and what had caused the leak.

Artery tunnel springs leak [Boston Globe]
Big Dig officials hoping to head off future Big Dig leaks [Boston Herald]
Mysterious water leak turns $14.6B Big Dig into Big Puddle [Boston Herald]

Thursday, September 16, 2004

H-Bomb lost in 1958 found off Georgia Coast?

Mark 15 Hydrogen Bomb lost of Georgia coastThe Tybee Bomb as described by Wikipedia:

The Tybee Bomb is a 7,200 pound Mark 15, Mod 0 hydrogen bomb that was lost in the waters off of Savannah, Georgia on February 5, 1958. The bomb was jettisoned during a practice exercise after a B-47 bomber carrying it collided in mid-air with an F-86 fighter plane. It is presumed lost somewhere in Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island. The bomb is one of eleven known missing nuclear weapons from the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The NBC station in Savannah, GA is reporting:

The Air Force is coming to Savannah next week to investigate new information on the Tybee Bomb. The military is interested in claims a Statesboro man (Derek Duke, a retired Air Force colonel) found the 8-ton nuclear weapon lost in an accident in 1958.

It’s believed to be in less than 20 feet of water somewhere in Wassaw sound between Wilmington Island, Little Tybee Island and Wassaw Island. [...]
CNN added:
[Lt. Col.]Smolinsky said if the bomb were found, a decision would have to be made about whether to try to recover it or leave it where it is.

An Air Force investigation concluded in 2001 that the bomb is probably harmless if left where it is. It also said a recovery operation could set off the conventional explosives in the bomb that would put the recovery crew at risk and do serious environmental damage.

The 7,600-pound, 12-foot-long thermonuclear bomb contained 400 pounds of high explosives as well as uranium.

The Air Force insists the bomb was being used for practice and did not contain the plutonium trigger needed for a nuclear explosion.

The accident took place the morning of February 5, 1958, over the coast of Georgia. [...]
----
update:

mgbg.com:
Air Force Assessment of Reported Elevated Radiation Resulting from a 1958 B-47 Accident -- 44 page report [.pdf] dated May 31, 2005
The Air Force has reaffirmed that the lost incomplete bomb is the property of the United States Government, and has consistently asserted that the best course of action in this matter is to not continue to search for it and to leave the property in place. Due to the concerns previously expressed, the Air Force continues to reject any offer of salvage.

[...]

The Air Force considered the case to be closed until 2004, when media reports indicated a citizens group named ASSURE (American Sea Shore Underwater Recovery Expedition) had discovered enhanced levels of radiation and were concerned that the elevated readings were associated with the lost bomb. In response, the Air Force organized a team of experts to evaluate these reports, with representatives from several organizations. It was determined that the next step was to conduct a radiological survey of the area to ensure valid survey methods, equipment, and readings.

Using sodium iodide detectors, the Air Force-led team surveyed the Wassaw Sound area identified by ASSURE, detecting variations in radioactivity, although the magnitudes reported by the ASSURE team were greater. By utilizing high purity germanium detectors, the source of the radiation was identified as naturally occurring radioactivity. Specific emphasis was placed on determining the presence of the two isotopes of uranium that would indicate presence of the Mk15. These two uranium isotopes were not detected using gamma-ray spectral analysis.

[...]

A wide area survey was performed using an array of six sodium iodide detectors towed behind one of the team boats. This allowed a larger area to be covered during the radiation survey. The broad area survey results detected approximately the same radiation levels found by a second team boat, but no indication of the Mk15.

No new information was uncovered that would lead the Air Force to modify the conclusions reached in 2001. Valuable experience was gained in utilizing modern radiation detection methodology in this endeavor.
---
sources:
Lost nuclear bomb possibly found [CNN]
Group says it may have found missing H-bomb off Georgia's coast [First Coast News]
Air Force Takes New Look at Tybee Bomb [WSAV News 3]
Bomb Hunter [ABC News]

Fake Drugs - Internet Scams

US News reports about the counterfeit drug epidemic that is bilking tens of thousands of Americans out of millions of dollars and jeopardizing many lives.

High prices and the Internet are making U.S. patents easy prey-

...the once tightly controlled, $216.4 billion U.S. drug market is being internationalized, and its safety net is increasingly full of holes. Americans are buying drugs freely and more cheaply over the Internet, often from foreign sources, but this brave new pharmaceutical world is exposing them to the dangers of unapproved and counterfeit medicines, the greed of unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists, and a shadowy world of small "secondary" drug wholesalers, "street brokers," drug "repackagers," and experienced criminals who see more profit in prescriptions than in pushing pot.

Americans pay more for drugs than residents of many other developed countries: They pay 60 percent more than the British or the Swiss for the same drugs, according to testimony before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, and two thirds more than Canadians. It's well known that senior citizens, underinsured or uninsured individuals, and some states and local governments are turning to the Internet and foreign pharmacies, particularly what they believe to be safe, reputable Canadian pharmacies, to find less costly medications. What many don't realize, however, is that Internet pharmacies, even licensed ones in Canada, are increasingly buying from foreign sources themselves to meet American demand.

Drug imports to Canada increased 22 percent in the first eight months of 2003, including some from countries like Iran and Ecuador, where Canada has no agreement that the country's drug makers will abide by good manufacturing practices. CanadaRX, a large Canadian Internet site that buys drugs from other pharmacies, recently sent letters notifying customers that their drug shipments originated from the Bahamas...

Fake drugs, real worries [US News]

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A Big Boy "Pickup" Truck

International®7300 CXT

International's new "Pickup" Truck - the International®7300 CXT

The International monster truck would crush a Hummer like an empty beer can.

The International 7300 CXT is nine feet tall, eight feet wide, 21 1/2 feet long and needs a gallon of diesel to go seven miles. The truck weighs 14,500 pounds and seats 5. The 7300 CXT runs on the International® DT 466 diesel engine with a horsepower rating of 220 hp and 540 lb.-ft. of torque. Its price starts at $93,000.

International says:

Your eyes don’t deceive you. It’s a pickup truck. From International. Which makes it much more than a pickup truck. It’s an International®7300 CXT – born out of the proven International 7300 severe service truck used by professionals for the most rugged applications.

So you get all the attributes of a commercial truck – but you don’t need a commercial driver’s license to drive it.

The legendary International®DT 466 diesel engine provides up to 6 tons of hauling power...

World's Biggest Production Pick-up Truck To Be Unveiled [International Press Release]
International®7300 CXT [Product Page]

update - The NY Times reviewed the CXT (commercial extreme truck):
"Shame on International for making this thing," said Daniel Becker, director of the Sierra Club's global warming and energy program. "This is a monster truck that only a Hummer could love, and it shows that without government leadership, the auto industry will lead us to more irresponsible, gas-guzzling vehicles."

Fuel mileage of the CXT? From 7 to 10 miles to the gallon, despite its diesel engine,

New Way for Stars to Keep Truckin' [NY Times, Jan. 29, 2005]

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Your new Instant Messaging Pal might be a Robot

Wired reports:

If you get an instant message from someone with an unfamiliar screen name in the near future, you might want to think twice before getting emotionally invested in the conversation.

That's because you may be talking with Chatting AIM Bot, a free service that lets anyone play a devious practical joke on a friend, in which an artificially intelligent AOL instant message, or AIM, bot carries on an innocuous, 10-minute conversation before finally lowering the boom and informing the unwitting human at the other end they've been had.

"People fall for it all the time," said Greg Paradee, a Chatting AIM Bot, or CAB, fan. "It acts so much like a real human, sometimes it's hard not to fall for it. The bot ... keeps conversation going with normal, everyday questions, so people answer those thinking it's a real person."

Beware of Bots Bearing Messages [Wired]
Is your new AIM pal an artificial intelligence program? [CNN]
Chatting AIM Bot
The Chatterbot Collection [List of Bot sites & stories]

Friday, September 10, 2004

78-year-old Man Beaten to Death for His House

More evidence the real estate market in New York is out of control:

A women dubbed the "sweetheart swindler" hired an ex-con to beat a 78-year-old Queens, NY man to death because he wouldn't sell his home to her.

Police arrested Jason Shawn Smith, 37, of 106-44 159th St., Howard Beach, and Liat Corman, 30, of 32-15 41st St., Long Island City, and charged them in connection with the beating death of Charles Schlechtiger, who was 12 days shy of his 79th birthday.

Schlechtiger had been refusing to sell his South Ozone Park house to Corman for three years, rejecting her offer of $20,000 for his $252,000 home, authorities said.

Liat Corman & Jason Smith Arrest Release [QueensDA.org]
Cold-hearted deal in cane killing [NY Daily News]
Con artists beat man to death, cops say [NY Newsday]
Elderly Man Beaten To Death In Attempt To Intimidate Him To Sell [wnbc]

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Nuclear Terrorism: Count Down to the New Armageddon

James Hoge reviewed Graham Allison's book: Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe. Some interesting points are:

• Big worry: Russia's large supply of suitcase-size nuclear bombs, which terrorists could smuggle into the United States in cargo containers or as airline baggage. The safeguards on these weapons are loose at best. (In 1997, Russia acknowledged that 84 of some 132 such weapons were missing.)

• Russia presents the greatest problem; 90 percent of all existing fissile material outside the United States is stored within the former Soviet Union. Still, it's not the only region we need to focus on. At least 32 countries possess weapons-grade fissile material.

• There are some 200 locations around the world where nuclear weapons or fissile material could be acquired. Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea are most dangerous.

• Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty loophole: all signatories to the treaty are permitted to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium to make fuel for peaceful power reactors, provided they declare what they are doing and submit to periodic inspections. In other words, states can come to the brink of nuclear weapons capability without explicitly violating the treaty. Then, without penalty, they can withdraw from the treaty and turn enriched uranium or plutonium into bombs. Both Iran and North Korean have done this.

Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe [Amazon.com]
'Nuclear Terrorism': Counting Down to the New Armageddon [NY Times]

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Dark Sorcery: Horrific Ritual Murders in South America

Kanaima is a form of Amazonian assault sorcery. It involves the ritual stalking, mutilation, lingering death, and consumption of human victims. It is a practice still observed among the Indians of the highlands of Guyana, Venezuela, and Brazil. Prof. Neil Whitehead, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote a book explaining the power and perseverence of kanaima violence in the modern world. David Medaris wrote a profile of Prof. Whitehead for AltWeeklies.com:

A kanaima practitioner first stalks the victim, at night or on isolated forest trails, announcing the intention to kill with a whistling noise but then waiting until the victim is deemed vulnerable, as Whitehead describes in a paper published in 2001. The initial attack is swift and incapacitating, resulting in broken fingers, dislocated shoulders and spinal injury but leaving the victim alive with the knowledge that he or she is almost certainly doomed.

The fatal attack may come months or even years later. Once again, the victim is set upon. The tongue is pierced with snake fangs to cause swelling, rendering the victim speechless and unable to eat or drink. The anal cavity is stripped out by the friction of an iguana or armadillo tail. Part of the sphincter muscle is forced out and cut off. Herbs are packed deep into the victim's rectum to induce auto-digestion, the body is rubbed with natural astringents and the victim dies a lingering death due to diarrheal dehydration...

Whatever their functions in antiquity, for example, kanaima rituals appear to have metamorphosed during 19th-century colonial encounters to become a cultural performance that was explicitly understood as a means to resist and reject the white man's materiality and spirituality
Dark Sorcery: Horrific Ritual Murders in Amazonia [AltWeeklies.com]
Dark Shamans: Kanaima and the Poetics of Violent Death [amazon.com]

related:
Becky Gates / medical aviation program in the jungles of Guyana, South America:
Emergencies, Superstition and Death -- One afternoon near the last of April... I noticed a commotion down by the river. It was a boat from San Juan bringing a critically ill patient, a young lady in her early 20's. She was unconscious (had been for almost 24 hours), burning up with fever, her eyes rolled back and her arms and legs were stiff... During that time I heard all sorts of stories about what had happened...

The villagers peeking over my shoulder shook their heads sadly. One whispered in my ear, "That's the work of Kanaima, you know!" Several others nodded in agreement. It's hard to describe Kanaima except to say it is an evil force. They tell me it is a man who can convert himself into an animal. It can go where ever it wants to by just wishing to go there. It can do terrible things to you, but you will not remember what it does to you. Shortly afterward, however, you will die a terrible death. The Amerindians, even our church members, strongly believe in it and fear it. I began to pray earnestly that God would overrule in this situation if it could bring honor and glory to His name...

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Al-Qaeda Agents Crossing Mexican Border?

Mexican Border

Are terrorists entering the United States through Arizona's border with Mexico? Leo Banks at the Tucscon Weekly has a disturbing report:

• In early August, the Washington Times reported that al-Qaeda is allying with Mexican organized crime groups to infiltrate the United States via Mexico.

• Congressman Solomon Ortiz, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, was quoted in the Brownsville Herald as saying that Mexicans with possible terrorist ties have been detained after entering the country from Mexico, but are being released for lack of jail space. "It's very, very scary," said Ortiz.

• On Los Angeles radio station KFI AM's John and Ken Show, Congressman John Culberson, a Texas Republican, said federal prosecutors had told him that Middle Eastern men with al-Qaeda links are adopting Hispanic names, acquiring fake Mexican ID cards and mixing with the stream of illegals coming across our southern border. They're choosing this route, he said, because the screening process for incoming airline passengers is increasingly effective.

• In the first nine months of fiscal year 2004 (September-June), for example, the Border Patrol's Tucson sector and the Arizona office of the Yuma sector apprehended 438,519 illegals from Mexico.

• etc, etc...

Other Than Mexicans [Tucson Weekly]
Border Issues [The Anderson Report]

Friday, September 3, 2004

Profiler John Douglas Discusses BTK Case

Profiler John Douglas has a website. During a radio show he made some comments regarding the Wichita BTK Strangler case. Here are some notes summarizing that discussion taken by a listener:

Mr. Douglas gave a recap of the case. He told how the killer was active back in the 1970's. The killer killed 4 members of the Otero Family, and told how the killer cut the phone wires, how he brought a gun and a knife to the scene, got the family members to tie eachother up, and how he was principally after the daughter. The killer took the daughter downstairs to the basement, tied her to a pole, and he'd masturbated on her. Mr. Douglas got the case back in 1980. The killer submitted a sketch of the crime scene, and Mr. Douglas knew the killer didn't do that from memory, he'd had to have taken photographs of the scene and the killings.

Mr. Douglas went on to say now, they have letters and artwork, they have sketches. He told about the one woman who never showed up at her home where the BTK was waiting, and he sketched what he was going to do to her: "She was over a bed, she was gagged, and something inserted in her vagina, looked like a police club, a billy club."

He says if the police would publish that information it might help catch BKT. A guy just doesn't start doing that kind of art, that graphic kind of stuff - that violent artwork. Someone might have been looking over his shoulders over the years, and seen some of his other work and recognize his style.

Mr. Douglas said there was no forced entry into any of the homes, and he went on to say this is not a crime at that time of someone who was about 25 years of age, it's way too sophisticated and the fantasy, it starts off as fantasy, highly sophisticated, delusional, and started as porn, and drawing nude women, then went to murder but even that's not satisfying, so he photographed the crime scenes, then went home and sketched them, and sent in the sketches. Mr. Douglas said so much time has gone by, we don't know if it's him, or some associate of his sending these in now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Witches put hex on Bush

The witches are at the Republican National Convention this week. They are gathering to put the hex on George Bush. Witch Traci Laird who is attending said:

Because of the high energy from both sides, it is a potent place for magic
She went on to say:
There will be a private ritual on Tuesday night, which will, hopefully, tap the energy of the convention for a spell to remove Bush from D.C.
A list of witch activities and RNC updates is available on the witches' web site: www.pagancluster.org

update November 2, 2004
: The spells didn't work

Scott Peterson Case - analysis

Psyche's Knot documents the Scott Peterson Case day by day and peels away the lies like the skin off a rotting onion.

How many times have those of us following the Peterson case posed the question; “Now why would Scott lie about that?”

Why do people lie?

  • To gain something.

  • To create a better image for those they want to impress.

  • To protect themselves.

  • To avoid punishment.

Basically that's about it. The reason for just about any lie can be attributed to one or more of those reason.

So my question is: Why would someone lie when the truth makes them look better?

On January 11, 2003 there were two places where an innocent Scott Peterson could have been without an ounce of suspicion or aspersion cast upon him.
scottlies1

  • At the volunteer center with other family and friends of Laci, awaiting word on the reported body in Berkeley Bay.

  • At Berkeley Marina, watching the search.

On that morning of the 11th, Peterson was indeed at the Berkeley Marina.

While there at 10:48 am he tells his own mother he is in west Fresno.

At 12:56 pm he tells Sharon Rocha he is in Bakersfield, working.

At 1:01 pm he tells his father the same, Bakersfield, working.

What makes Scott Peterson husband of a missing pregnant wife look better, as they search the marina for the announced body and family and friends await word of their find? Working in Bakersfield or at the marina watching the search?

Working in Bakersfield makes him sound callous, unconcerned, disinterested. Bad Scott.

Watching the search from the marina makes him sound concerned, defiant of any suspicions cast on him and unafraid to be there at the site where she may be pulled from the water at any time. Good Scott.

So I repeat: WHY TELL A LIE WHEN THE TRUTH MAKES YOU LOOK BETTER?

Peterson Case - Why Would an "Innocent" Lie? [Psyche's Knot]

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Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

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Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

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The Daily Reckoning - Australia

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