~I was thinking & discussing this very possibility is what Tom needs to win! ~JP
~I was thinking & discussing this very possibility is what Tom needs to win! ~JP
The Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas has nearly finished off its entire stockpile of chemical warfare materials, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Dec. 24, 2009).
The remaining bulk containers of mustard blister agent have been transported to the incineration plant for disposal, said Army Lt. Col Nathaniel Farmer, who heads the Pine Bluff Chemical Activity program.
Elimination of the mustard agent ton containers is the last step to be completed in chemical disarmament operations at Pine Bluff. Work is expected to be completed in December, according to an Army release.
The arsenal once held 3,850 tons of chemical weapon-related materials, 12 percent of the total U.S. stockpile. Disarmament operations at Pine Bluff began in March 2005 (Associated Press/ Baxter Bulletin, Oct. 22).
A man who admitted to scouting out target locations for the Mumbai terror attacks said he also shot footage of India’s Bhabha Atomic Research Center and its living quarters for Pakistan’s intelligence service, the Times of India reported today (see GSN, Oct. 19).
Former Chicago resident David Headley told Indian investigators he was asked by Major Iqbal, his manager at Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, to scope out the Mumbai-based nuclear facility and its residential area as a possible attack site. “He gave me the mobile phone camera (and) some counterfeit money,” said Headley, who is now in U.S. custody.
Headley provided video footage of the site to Iqbal, but not to his contact for the Pakistani-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been credited with carrying out the Mumbai strikes that killed more than 160 people.
Pakistan has denied any involvement in planning or carrying out the Mumbai attacks.
The confessed accomplice to the attacks identified a number of other Indian sites he said could remain potential targets of the extremist organization. Locations he filmed included the Bombay Stock Exchange, Maharashtra State Assembly, World Trade Center, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, the offices of El Al Israel Airlines and Indian Airlines, a Chabad house, a Maharashtra police station and a naval air station.
Lashkar in 2006 began considering potential strikes on targets including an oil refinery at Rajkot and a large Hindu pilgrimage, Headley added (Indrani Bagchi, Times of India, Oct. 22).
A biological defense laboratory in Allegheny County, Pa., has begun some operations, but it has yet to receive federal approval to work with lethal disease agents like anthrax and smallpox, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 8, 2009).
The laboratory could be inducted this year into the Laboratory Response Network managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That would enable the facility, a 500-square-foot portion of a larger biological security facility, to begin work with potential terrorism agents, Allegheny Country Health Department Director Bruce Dixon said.
The biodefense laboratory undertook some work this summer, including testing of tuberculosis and HIV, Dixon noted. The area failed a safety inspection in August 2009, forcing a delay of its planned opening until the following month, a goal that was also missed.
The laboratory hosts four technical experts holding FBI security clearances, and the county might recruit one or two additional technicians, Dixon said. The experts could conduct analyses for the presence of harmful disease agents, but the state government would have to verify their findings
The biodefense site, which has overrun its construction budget by $2 million or more, is one component of the county’s now-operating $6.4 million biosecurity facility in Lawrenceville (Tim Puko, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Oct. 21).
The danger of biological terrorism poses an increasing danger to the United States, an expert on Tuesday told a conference convened in Alabama to address the subject. A strike by state-backed or independent actors could produce tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths, according to Kansas State University biologist Jerry Jaax.
“There is a serious problem for us out there that is not going to go away,” Jaax told the Huntsville Times. “We’re not going to be able to say in 15 years, ‘We’ve got it licked.'”
The Soviet Union launched a drive three years before its collapse to destroy hundreds of tons of anthrax and other disease agents, but U.S. scientists later discovered live anthrax spores where remnants of the material had been buried.
“They had huge programs we were unable to detect,” Jaax said. “And we certainly have indications that the bad guys, the nonstate actors, are saying they would do this if they could figure out a way to do it, and some of these agents don’t require very sophisticated biotechnology.”
Biological weapon-related equipment and expertise is in danger of falling into the hands of terrorists, the expert said, adding that agricultural diseases and water contaminants also pose a threat.
“The government is taking it seriously,” Jaax said. “There has been a proliferation of biocontainment facilities that have been sponsored by the federal government.
“There certainly is a sense that people seeing the valid threat information recognize what a problem it is,” he said.
“The question is, is it sustainable,” Jaax said of the effort to counter biological threats. “Is it going to continue… in this (economic) environment?”
Research in the sector must continue, he argued.
“The alternative is to cross your fingers and do nothing,” Jaax said. “I think that’s a big mistake” (Lee Roop, Huntsville Times, Oct. 20).
More Activist Intrusions at Belgian Nuclear Base Stoke Worries
By Elaine M. Grossman Global Security Newswire
WASHINGTON — At least three times since January, peace activists have slipped onto a Belgian military base and on one occasion, they contend, made it inside an aircraft shelter where nuclear weapons are stored (see GSN, Feb. 17).
The Belgian organization Peace Action in February produced an initial video documenting how five of its members on Jan. 31 wandered unimpeded for roughly an hour at the Kleine Brogel Air Base, northeast of Brussels, before being apprehended by an unarmed guard.
This month the Belgian group revealed that over the past nine months, its members have repeatedly penetrated base security. The Antwerp-based outfit is unaffiliated with Peace Action headquartered in Washington.
“We visited 15 other bunkers, some of which still contain nuclear weapons,” an unidentified Peace Action narrator states in a new video posted Oct. 10 to YouTube. “We took pictures in one of them.”
The nine-minute release includes video and still footage from three or more incidents this year in which several individuals jumped the Kleine Brogel perimeter fence and identified what they believe are storage locations for U.S. nuclear-armed B-61 gravity bombs.
~Bill was initiated in June, so the libs can’t cry foul.
~From the Left Coast…
In April, I reported that the New York Times was about to publish a list of covert American operatives providing force protection for our troops in Afghanistan. A month later, the Times admitted that it did in fact have the list, but that they did not intend to publish the names. It was the right thing to do and we commended them for it. We are hoping that they will once again exhibit such sound judgment.
From a source inside the Times, I have just been told that the findings of a confidential Department of Defense investigation have been leaked to a specific NYT reporter (whose name I am withholding).
Since March, I have been writing about the ongoing battle between the CIA and the Department of Defense over the DoD’s use of former Special Operations and former CIA personnel to provide force protection for our troops in the Af/Pak theater. The good news is that the CIA and the DoD have decided to bury the hatchet. The bad news is that they are doing so right in the back of one of America’s most dedicated patriots, Michael Furlong.
Until recently, Furlong helped coordinate the DoD’s force protection efforts in Afghanistan. His efforts, as well as those of the brave men and women working within the force protection program he oversaw, have prevented the deaths of incalculable numbers of American troops. It would seem, though, that Furlong and his team were too good at their jobs.
At great personal risk, they were doing what the CIA claimed couldn’t be done. What’s more, they were doing it more efficiently and for far less cost to the American taxpayer. The turf battle that ensued between Langley and the Pentagon quickly found its way onto the front pages of the New York Times where the Central Intelligence Agency drove most of the narrative, including all sorts of accusations.
According to intelligence sources familiar with this case (who asked that their names not be used), Furlong was publically dragged through the mud in hopes of embarrassing the DoD into shutting down his force protection program.
Considering the great harm that would come to our troops if the program was halted, I and many others hoped that it would be kept alive. Sadly, this was not to be. Furlong has been mothballed and funding to the program has not been renewed.
To make matters worse, it appears that kissing and making up wasn’t good enough for somebody. A blood sacrifice was called for.
With all of the negative publicity in the elite media, the DoD launched a stunning, Star Chamber-esque investigation in which Furlong wasn’t even interviewed or allowed the chance to defend himself. One has to wonder what kind of nation we have become when terrorists are given every opportunity to adjudicate the cases against them, but we deny one of our most important war fighters – a man committed to protecting the lives of American troops – any ability to answer charges leveled against him.
Actually, one doesn’t have to wonder what’s going on here. The CIA doesn’t like Furlong. He made them look bad and now he is being made to pay, but the people who will ultimately pay are America’s brave men and women fighting in Afghanistan. Since failing to renew the program, death rates have begun to climb, just as we predicted.
I have seen the information that was leaked to the Times and have had it confirmed by a well-placed source connected to the Defense Department. I even know who leaked it, but am withholding his name (as I have done with the name of the reporter in question) in hopes that everyone does the right thing here.
Per the DoD’s own investigation, Furlong has not broken any laws and has not misappropriated any funds. According to sources close to Furlong, he not only had approval from his superiors for everything he did, he has the classified emails to prove it. But without an appropriate forum to present those, he can’t possibly defend himself.
Despite the voluminous, life-saving intelligence produced by Furlong’s force protection specialists (which was considered a daily “must read” by the top military brass in Afghanistan right up to General Stanley McChrystal), suddenly no one knows who signed off on Furlong’s program. In an effort to make nice with the CIA, Michael Furlong is being painted as man who exceeded his authority and misled everyone. Presumably, “everyone” includes all of the higher-ups who gobbled up his reports, but never seemed to get around to asking how he got his intel. (And if you believe that, you’ll believe just about anything.)
In short, Furlong has been tossed under the proverbial bus.
Here’s the biggest question of all, though. Who in their right mind pulls a star player at such a critical moment in the game? Vendettas be damned. We need every man on the field. The only people helped by forcing Furlong out are the enemy.
In leaking the findings of its investigation to the NYT, the Defense Department hopes to force Furlong to “go away.” After everything he has given our country and after everything he has done for our troops, Mike Furlong deserves better, much better. The fact that arguably the most successful force protection program in modern American history has had its funding discontinued is a tragedy.
But the fact that an American hero like Michael Furlong is now being kicked in the teeth instead of having a medal pinned on his chest is unforgiveable.
The New York Times should do the right thing and refuse to abet the besmirching of an exceptional man’s character and his record of exemplary service to his country.
And if the Times wants a story truly worthy of investigation, it should look into the rise in U.S. casualties since the cancelation of Michael Furlong’s force protection program.
* FYI Juan will be on O’Reilly tonight 8 pm EST
~When I flew on a long left-coast flight right after 9/11, “I” saw some suspicious, OBVIOUS muslims. But that was not what made me highly uncomfortable. It was the deliberate loudness of their prayers, as if to intimidate. I sweated & had an anxiety attack. Anyone who has not experienced is not telling the TRUTH IMHO. I hope Juan nails CAIR & NPR on this!!! ~JP
NOTE: I will be adding to comments throughout the day…Please comment to blow off steam. I did at FOX & to Megyn via Twitter…CAIR coming on right now! This is a volatile situation that will have many updates!
~People are inundating FOX with comments- read them here NPR has crashed due to traffic!
Before Williams was fired, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said such commentary from a journalist about other racial, ethnic or religious minority groups would not be tolerated.
“NPR should address the fact that one of its news analysts seems to believe that all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim can legitimately be viewed as security threats,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said.
Later Wednesday, NPR issued a statement saying Williams’ remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”
The following is an internal memo sent on behalf of NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller:
Thank you for all of your varying feedback on the Juan Williams situation. Let me offer some further clarification about why we terminated his contract early.
First, a critical distinction has been lost in this debate. NPR News analysts have a distinctive role and set of responsibilities. This is a very different role than that of a commentator or columnist. News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview – not our reporters and analysts.
Second, this isn’t the first time we have had serious concerns about some of Juan’s public comments. Despite many conversations and warnings over the years, Juan has continued to violate this principal.
Third, these specific comments (and others made in the past), are inconsistent with NPR’s ethics code, which applies to all journalists (including contracted analysts):
“In appearing on TV or other media . . . NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist. They should not participate in shows . . . that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.”
More fundamentally, “In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist.”
Unfortunately, Juan’s comments on Fox violated our standards as well as our values and offended many in doing so.
We’re profoundly sorry that this happened during fundraising week. Juan’s comments were made Monday night and we did not feel it would be responsible to delay this action.
This was a tough decision and we appreciate your support.
Vivian Schiller President & CEO, NPR
Juan Williams Responds
“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country,” Williams said.
“But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous,” Williams said.
Williams also commented on remarks by Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad warning Americans that the fight is coming to the U.S.
“He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,” Williams said.
NPR issued a statement saying that it was “terminating” Williams’ contract over the remarks.
“Tonight we gave Juan Williams notice that we are terminating his contract as a senior news analyst for NPR News,” CEO Vivian Schiller and Senior Vice President for News Ellen Weiss said in a statement.
“Juan has been a valuable contributor to NPR and public radio for many years and we did not make this decision lightly or without regret. However, his remarks on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR,” they said. “We regret these circumstances and thank Juan Williams for his many years of service to NPR and public radio.”
Williams said Thursday he wasn’t given the chance to have a face-to-face conversation with his superiors at NPR before he was let go.
Recalling a conversation with NPR’s head of news, Williams said he was told, “This has been decided up the chain.”
“I said, ‘I don’t even get the chance to come in and we do this eyeball to eyeball, person to person and have a conversation. I’ve been there more than 10 years. We don’t have a chance to have a conversation about this.’ And she said, ‘There’s nothing you can say that will change my mind. This has been decided above me and we’re terminating your contract,'” Williams recounted to Fox News.
Williams said that he meant exactly what he said about his fears during his appearance on O’Reilly’s show.
“I do a double take. I have a moment of anxiety of fear given what happened on 9/11. That’s just a reality,” he said, noting that when he told his former boss, she suggested that Williams had made a bigoted statement.
“It’s not a bigoted statement. In fact, in the course of this conversation with Bill O’Reilly, I said we have an obligation as Americans to be careful to protect the constitutional rights of everyone in our country and to make sure that we don’t have any outbreak of bigotry. but that there’s a reality. You can not ignore what happened on 9/11 and you cannot ignore the connection to Islamic radicalism, and you can’t ignore the fact of what has even recently been said in court with regard to this is the first drop of blood in a Muslim war in America.”