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   PastimesNext stop Damascus?

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To: Condor who wrote (115)4/16/2003 12:15:17 PM
From: Tadsamillionaire
   of 156
{Clinton Admin, strikes again} One day after the capture in Iraq of the wanted Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas, American officials Wednesday began weighing several options for handling him.
The three scenarios being discussed included holding him at a military base, bringing him to the United States for possible prosecution or transferring him to a third country.

The situation is full of possible entanglements. The Palestinian Authority said it wants Abbas freed. Italy, which convicted him in absentia for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, announced it would seek his extradition.

Future plans aside, U.S. officials viewed Abbas' capture as a major victory in the war on terrorism, as well as a vindication of President Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein's regime was harboring terrorists.

"This mission success highlights the U.S. and our coalition partners' commitment to defeating terrorism worldwide," U.S. Central Command said in a statement. "The capture of Abu Abbas in Iraq removes a portion of the terror network supported by Iraq and represents yet another victory in the global war on terrorism."

Abbas was captured early Wednesday morning in Baghdad by American special operations forces supported by the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

Abbas had tried twice to flee to Syria in recent days but was turned away at the border, Palestinian officials close to the guerrilla leader's organization said Wednesday. He also reportedly tried to escape to Iran.

After the fall of Baghdad last week, Abbas traveled to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, then to the nearby Syrian border, but was recognized and turned back by Syrian officials, the sources said.

He returned to the Syrian border several days ago after Palestinian factions based in Damascus tried to intercede on his behalf, but was rebuffed again.

Abbas returned to Baghdad and was captured the next day, the sources said from south Lebanon.

The raids on Baghdad hideouts of Abbas' branch of the Palestine Liberation Front also yielded other suspects and weapons including rocket-propelled grenades, Yemeni and Lebanese passports and other documents.

Abbas' American captors were sure to grill him about his ties to other terror groups and Saddam Hussein, who sheltered him for years.

"Justice will be served," said Marine Maj. Brad Bartelt, a spokesman for Central Command.

His interrogators also would want more information about the October 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean, during which an elderly American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot to death and dumped overboard in his wheelchair.

Abbas was never aboard the Achille Lauro, but his PLF faction carried out the hijacking.

"He got away from us, and we've been chasing him ever since," said Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief. "He's a big catch for us. It's an old score to settle."

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday demanded his release, saying the arrest violated a 1995 agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that was signed by then-U.S. President Clinton.

No PLO officials were to be arrested for violent acts committed before the 1993 Israel-PLO pact of mutual recognition, the Palestinians said. Abbas' branch of the PLF renounced terrorism after the 1992 Israel-PLO Oslo Accords, and the group is believed to be politically close to Yasir Arafat's Fatah organization.

A Palestinian Cabinet minister, Saeb Erekat, said Abbas has visited Palestinian areas repeatedly since 1996 with Israeli and U.S. acquiescence. After the Oslo Accords, Abbas lived openly in the Gaza Strip for several years.

Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli said Wednesday his country would seek Abbas' extradition.

"Now we know he has been captured in Iraq, but that he's in the hands of American authorities. We will have to clarify some legal questions as to whom to request the extradition, which we'll do as soon as possible," he said.

U.S. special forces had been looking for Abbas for a few days, searching several locations before finding him, Fox News has learned.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a suspect was finally caught who "subsequently admitted to being Abu Abbas."

He was captured with documents, weapons and money — "tens of thousands of dollars," according to one official.

Leon Klinghoffer's daughters, Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, said Wednesday on NBC's Today show that they wanted Abbas to face trial in the United States.

"We want him brought here, and we want him tried here, in our country, and we want to know that he's going to serve his full sentence, which is hopefully a life sentence," said Lisa Klinghoffer.

Abbas and his small faction had been relatively quiet in the decade after the Achille Lauro hijacking, and he repeatedly expressed regret for it. Most of the group's other terror attacks involved penetrating Israeli borders by sea or air, and most ended in failure. Its support among Palestinians in the occupied territories was believed to be nonexistent.

But in recent years, the Abbas wing of the PLF served as a conduit for Saddam Hussein's payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, payments which totaled about $35 million. Israeli officials also accused Abbas of training would-be terrorists at Iraqi camps.

President Bush cited the presence of Abbas in Baghdad in an October 2002 speech outlining the arguments for removing Saddam from power.

"Iraq has ... provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger," Bush said. "And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace."

Four PLF guerrillas seized the Achille Lauro as it sailed from Egypt to Israel in October 1985. They demanded the release of 50 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

After several days, they shot Klinghoffer, 69, then tossed him and his wheelchair overboard.

The hijacking ended after negotiations involving Egypt and the PLO. Abbas, who helped negotiate the surrender, and the four hijackers were flown out of Egypt on a jet that was intercepted by U.S. Navy fighters and forced to land in Sicily.

Armed U.S. and Italian soldiers faced off, each demanding custody of the hijackers. The situation was resolved after feverish telephone calls between Premier Bettino Craxi and President Reagan.

The Italians took custody of the four and promised to try them, but refused to detain Abbas, saying Washington's evidence was insufficient and that he held an Iraqi diplomatic passport. Within two days, he slipped out of the country.

Two weeks later, Italian magistrates filed charges against Abbas and issued an arrest warrant, which has remained outstanding.

In June 1986 he was convicted by an Italian court in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence was upheld on appeal.

Abbas was a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee from 1984 but left in 1991, according to the State Department.

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To: Tadsamillionaire who wrote (131)4/16/2003 12:39:22 PM
From: Tarzan
   of 156

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To: Tadsamillionaire who wrote (131)4/16/2003 12:56:41 PM
From: Tarzan
   of 156

Ethel was a bit of a demon in her wheelchair, and loved to charge around the nursing home, taking corners on one wheel and getting up to maximum speed on the long corridors. Because the poor woman was one sandwich short of a picnic, the other residents tolerated her, and some of the males actually joined in.

One day, Ethel was speeding up one corridor when a door opened and Kooky Clarence stepped out with his arm outstretched. "STOP!", he shouted in firm voice. "Have you got a license for that thing?"

Ethel fished around in her handbag and pulled out a Kit Kat wrapper and held it up to him. "OK" he said, and away Ethel sped down the hall.

As she took the corner near the TV lounge on one wheel, Weird Harold popped out in front of her and shouted, "STOP! Have you got proof of insurance?" Ethel dug into her handbag, pulled out a drink coaster and held it up to him. Harold nodded and said, "Carry on, ma'am."

As Ethel neared the final corridor before the front door, Crazy Craig stepped out in front of her, stark naked, holding a very sizable erection in his hand. "Oh, Good grief," said Ethel, "Not the breathalyzer again!"

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To: Tadsamillionaire who wrote (132)4/16/2003 3:45:11 PM
From: Tech Master
   of 156
Seems like Syria seems to be the destination of choice for terrorists and dictators on the run.

Will you be surprised if we find bin Laden in Syria?

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To: Tarzan who wrote (125)4/16/2003 3:45:37 PM
From: MrLucky
   of 156
I know. You're just looking for Jane. :)

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To: Eashoa' M'sheekha who wrote (119)4/16/2003 3:45:53 PM
From: Tech Master
   of 156
Still an idiot? Apparently so.

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To: Tech Master who wrote (135)4/16/2003 3:48:14 PM
From: Tadsamillionaire
   of 156
Lest We Forget....
To the litany of terrorist acts that President Clinton laid at the feet of renegade Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden in justification of his cruise missile attacks on Afghanistan and the Sudan last week, the administration has now alleged a murky plot to assassinate the president as well.
The alleged plot against Clinton was to have taken place when he was to have visited Pakistan. The anonymous intelligence sources that have made such an industry in bin Laden revelations this week acknowledge that the plot never went beyond the coffee-shop talking stage.

But the charge helped to reinforce the president's claims that bin Laden is "perhaps the preeminent organizer and financier of international terrorism in the world today," and that there was "compelling" -- if unrevealable -- evidence that a network of terrorist groups he controlled was planning "further attacks against Americans and other freedom-loving groups."

At a time when presidential veracity is at an all-time low, one might have wished that the president and his national security advisors had laid out in detail just what was the "compelling evidence" that led the United States to launch some 75 missiles at two sovereign nations.

As it is, the public, both here in the United States and in the more critical world at large, is being asked to take a giant Kierkegaardian leap of faith in the president's claims. Given Clinton's recent track record in the "trust me" department, this is a lot to demand.

For while there is little doubt that bin Laden is a sworn enemy of the United States with the financial means to put some teeth in that enmity, his exact role in anti-American terrorism is unclear. The administration's claims are based more on conjecture -- mostly bin Laden's own braggadocio and the bad company he apparently keeps -- than hard and convincing evidence.

Clinton and his security staff have now blamed bin Laden for being behind almost every terrorist act in the past decade -- from plotting the assassinations of the pope and the president of Egypt to the planned bombing of six U.S. jumbo jets over the Pacific, with massacres of German tourists at Luxor and the killings of U.S. troops in Somalia, fatal car bombings of U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia and this month's truck bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam thrown in. Not since the '70s heyday of the terrorist Carlos has there been such a Prince of Darkness, if the allegations are to be believed.

But so far, for all of the accusations, no government, not even that of the United States, has established enough credible evidence against bin Laden to conclusively prove his direct participation in, much less leadership of, any of the ugly plots and acts he stands accused of. To date no formal request for his extradition has ever been made, either to the Sudanese government that once housed him or to his current hosts, Afghanistan's Taliban leaders.

Though it was suddenly leaked this week that a federal grand jury's continuing investigation into the World Trade Center bombing in New York City in 1993 had belatedly handed up a sealed indictment against bin Laden in June, the indictment is understood to be only for "sedition," that is, incitement to violence, not the violence itself. That is the same charge under which the Unites States previously convicted Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Trade Center bomber's spiritual leader.

The only link between bin Laden and the World Trade Center bombing seems to be the fact that the mastermind of the bombing, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, was eventually detained by U.S. agents while living in a guest house in Pakistan reportedly rented by bin Laden. The Saudi was also implicated in a failed 1994 plan to blow up American jumbo jets over the Pacific because the plot mastermind, Wali Khan Amin Shah, reportedly was a "close friend" of bin Laden's.

If bin Laden's fingerprints were to be found on any terrorist acts of the last decade, they should have been on the two attacks against U.S. military personnel carried out in the years when he was still living in his Saudi Arabian homeland. Bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi engineering graduate who became a radical Muslim after joining the war against Russia's occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, became virulently anti-American after U.S. troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War.

To him the American presence in Saudi Arabia, home of the holy Islamic sites Mecca and Medina, is a sacrilege he has vowed to reverse, along with toppling the "corrupt" Saudi royal family that has allowed it. Thus, when a car bomb exploded at a Saudi National Guard office in Riyadh in 1995, killing five Americans, and another blew up at the Khobar Towers Barracks in Dhahran a year later, killing another 19, bin Laden seemed the most likely suspect.

But neither the FBI, the CIA nor the Saudi intelligence services has ever been able to establish bin Laden's links to those crimes after years of trying. What evidence that has emerged from those ongoing investigations points the finger at dissident Saudi Shiites, perhaps with the logistic support of the Lebanese Hezbollah organization, or even Iran.

Though much has been made of the fact that from his safe-houses in Afghanistan bin Laden has forged a loose alliance with perhaps a dozen different Islamic groups in the Muslim world from Algeria to Bangladesh, he seems to be more of a spiritual leader and financier than the sort of terrorist mastermind being alleged.

"Bin Laden is a true believer and a funder of Islamic causes, rather than a planner and active participant," says Professor Shibley Telhani, a Middle East scholar from the University of Maryland who has followed his career. "His real influence is not as a mastermind of terrorism but as a person who is using a personal fortune to encourage others to wage war against the American interests in the Middle East he finds so objectionable."

Indeed the sealed federal indictment just handed up, it would appear, is not based on any evidence directly linking him to either of those plots or others. Instead, it seems to have been motivated by a public call to arms against Americans that bin Laden published in the London Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi last February. Issued as an Islamic Fatwa, or holy order, even though bin Laden has no religious authority whatsoever, the broadside by bin Laden and other signers from various Islamic groups called for Muslims to "kill Americans and their allies, civilians and military" wherever they find them.

These are strong words indeed. But they are words, not deeds. And though it is all too likely that those words have inspired others to such actions as the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam last month, bin Laden himself is unlikely to have personally ordered those bombings or carried them out.

Unless the Clinton administration can come up with some hard evidence that bin Laden is in fact calling the shots of a vast new anti-American terrorist network, all the present allegations and faceless intelligence-source leaks claiming facts too secret and explosive to be revealed should be taken with a grain of salt.

Bin Laden may be a dangerous anti-American zealot with a mouth as big as his bankroll. But the evidence so far does not support him being a cerebral Islamic Dr. No moving an army of terrorist troops on a vast world chessboard to checkmate the United States.
SALON | Aug. 27, 1998
But the evidence so far does not support him being a cerebral Islamic Dr. No moving an army of terrorist troops on a vast world chessboard to checkmate the United States.

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To: MrLucky who wrote (136)4/16/2003 3:50:53 PM
From: Tarzan
   of 156
Jane? No Janes on my List of Hollywood Hotties:

Heid Klum
Jennifer Garner
Josie Moran
Kate Hudson
Sandra Bullock
Halle Berry
Any of the new Charlie's Angels

All other hotties need to audition on my treehouse couch!

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To: Tadsamillionaire who wrote (138)4/16/2003 3:59:31 PM
From: Tech Master
   of 156
A one-way ticket on Air Allah awaits bin Laden....they will feature the new movie "Lunch with Moab" on board!!!

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To: Tech Master who wrote (140)4/16/2003 8:32:45 PM
From: Tadsamillionaire
   of 156
Pentagon: War Cost Is $20 Billion So Far
Wednesday April 16, 2003 6:10 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon has spent more than $20 billion so far in the war against Iraq and expects to spend at least $10 billion more by the end of September, a senior official said Wednesday.

That doesn't include the several billion dollars it will cost to bring combat troops back home, said Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon's comptroller. He also offered no estimate of the cost of stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq.

At a Pentagon news conference, Zakheim said military operations in Iraq to date have cost about $10 billion to $12 billion. Personnel costs have been about $6 billion and the cost of munitions has been more than $3 billion. He provided no exact figures but said the total was more than $20 billion.

Zakheim was explaining how the Pentagon will use the $62.6 billion Congress has approved in supplemental spending over the Pentagon's $364 billion for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 31. Nearly all the new money is for the war in Iraq and the global war on terror.

The war in Iraq will cost an estimated $2 billion a month through the end of the fiscal year, he said.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the U.S. war commander, made his first trip to Baghdad on Wednesday. His spokesman, Jim Wilkinson, confirmed Franks' trip but provided no details. A full description of his visit was expected to be released later Wednesday, Wilkinson said. Franks has run the war from a command post at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, in the Persian Gulf.

The Pentagon's top general, meanwhile, is still worried that Iraqi chemical or biological weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.

The U.S. military so far has not confirmed finding any of the weapons of mass destruction the Bush administration says Iraq was hiding.

``We still have a lot of work to do in finding and securing weapons of mass destruction sites and making sure that those biological and chemical weapons don't fall in the hands of terrorists. That's still a possibility right now,'' Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday night on CNN's ``Larry King Live'' program.

U.S. troops in the northern city of Mosul were involved in an armed confrontation Tuesday in which U.S. troops killed at least seven Iraqis, defense officials said.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks of the U.S. Central Command said Wednesday the American troops were trying to secure a government building when a crowd of townspeople began throwing rocks at the troops and hitting them. Shots were fired at the troops, and the Americans fired back, Brooks said.

The Pentagon raised the official U.S. death toll in the war to 123. Four Americans were missing, and none was listed as a POW.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military was pulling some forces away from the Iraq fight and working to set the stage for a new, democratic Iraqi government to take over.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said a U.S.-led group charged with laying the foundation for a new civil administration, or interim authority, for Iraq will enter the Iraqi capital of Baghdad ``once conditions on the ground permit.''

He described the interim authority as a steppingstone to a new Iraqi government.

``It will be temporary; it will be large, involving Iraqis from all walks of life; and it will be open to participation by new leaders from across the country as they emerge from the shadow of Saddam Hussein's repression,'' Rumsfeld said.

U.S. military forces plan to snuff out any remnants of the Iraqi regime's Republican Guard or other Iraqi forces and take a closer look at clues to the whereabouts of four missing American troops, prisoners of war from the 1991 war and hidden Scud missiles or other illegal weapons, Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference.

``We'll continue these efforts until Saddam Hussein's regime has been removed from every corner of Iraq,'' the defense secretary said.

U.S. Marines controlled Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, after attacking it from the south, west and north and capturing a key Tigris River bridge in the center of the city about 90 miles north of Baghdad.

Fighting has ended in Qaim, a town near the Syrian border where Iraqi holdouts had been battling U.S. forces for about a week, military officials said. American troops still were negotiating with local leaders for control of the town, discussing issues such as whether and when a curfew would be imposed and what forces would police the town, U.S. officials said.

The only fighting of any consequence in Iraq on Tuesday was in two small towns near Tikrit, the officials said.

In the meantime, some U.S. forces in Iraq were being sent home while others arrived either to add new capabilities or to replace departing troops, Rumsfeld said. He confirmed that one ground force in line to deploy to Iraq had been told instead to stay home.

He would not identify the unit but others said it was the Army's 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas.

The size of the U.S. force remaining in Iraq as a postwar security force will depend in part, Rumsfeld said, on how willing other countries are to contribute peacekeeping troops.

Rumsfeld also said that it would take a while to decide the future arrangement of American forces in various Persian Gulf countries, many of which hosted U.S. troops that fought in Iraq.

``We have not made final decisions with respect to the footprint of the United States in that part of the world and won't for some months,'' he said.

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