In another sign of these worried times, the Fairfax County Health Department wishes to inform the public, the police and bomb squads at the ready that the devices appearing on tree limbs and grassy areas around the county -- Wile E. Coyote-looking contraptions involving Tupperware tubs, tiny, whirring fans, toolboxes, foul water and at times, small, perhaps sinister-looking poofs of dry ice -- are, in fact, harmless to all but the luckless mosquitoes sucked into their maw.
They are not bombs.
They are mere mosquito traps, elaborate if crudely wrought, approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and being deployed across the nation in the war against the West Nile virus.
The traps are being placed in Arlington and Alexandria in addition to Fairfax, where Jorge Arias, supervisor of the county's West Nile virus program, said they have been used for about four years. They occasionally are alarming residents who have called police to report a suspicious dangling, glowing, sucking, smoking gadget glimpsed in the woods. Hoping to preempt such calls, the department is trying to educate members of the public, and the people who protect them.
According to a report by ABC News, a grenade was thrown near a stage in the former Soviet republic of Georgia where President Bush was giving a speech.Thank God nothing happened.
According to the report, after President Bush left, the Secret Service was informed by Georgian authorities that during his speech, someone threw a device within 100 feet from the stage.
The device hit someone and fell to the ground, but did not go off. It was later determined that the device was a grenade. The Secret Service is investigating.
A Quarter of a century ago, on May 8th 1980, the Islamic Republic executed an Iranian woman whose only crime was educating her compatriots and setting an example for so many who gained their rightful place in our society. She was to face the firing squad for having provided the opportunity so that Iranians could study, train and therefore, render their expertise for the betterment of our people's lives and society. None of the above however, were stated on Dr. Farrokhrou Parsa's sentence nor appeared on her death certificate. She was condemned to death like thousand of others on the charges of "spreading vice on earth and fighting God."
The two phrases that brought a sudden end to the life of so many in summary executions, was a sentence loosely defined by representatives of Allah on earth who had chosen Iran as their platform to spread their revolution and their God's justice.
According to a new book exclusively obtained by the Huffington Post, Saudi Arabia has crafted a plan to protect itself from a possible invasion or internal attack. It includes the use of a series of explosives, including radioactive “dirty bombs," that would cripple Saudi Arabian oil production and distribution systems for decades.It may have seemed like a clever strategy at the time, but it's actually incredibly stupid. The existence of this doomsday device is extremely dangerous, not because it might get used if the Saudis fall, but because it gives the terrorists a ready-made system to destroy the Saudi oil infrastructure. All they have to do is trigger the preplaced explosives. Is it really that farfetched that the terrorists might have sympathizers who are privy to these secrets?
Bestselling author Gerald Posner lays out this “doomsday scenario" in his forthcoming “Secrets of the Kingdom: The Inside Story of the Saudi-US Connection" (Random House).
According to the book, which will be released to the public on May 17, based on National Security Agency electronic intercepts, the Saudi Arabian government has in place a nationwide, self-destruction explosive system composed of conventional explosives and dirty bombs strategically placed at the Kingdom’s key oil ports, pipelines, pumping stations, storage tanks, offshore platforms, and backup facilities. If activated, the bombs would destroy the infrastructure of the world’s largest oil supplier, and leave the country a contaminated nuclear wasteland ensuring that the Kingdom’s oil would be unusable to anyone. The NSA file is dubbed internally Petro SE, for petroleum scorched earth.
To make certain that the damaged facilities cannot be rebuilt, the Saudis have deployed crude Radioactive Dispersal Devices (RDDs) throughout the Kingdom. Built covertly over several years, these dirty bombs are in place at -- among other locations -- all eight of the Kingdom’s refineries, sections of the world’s largest oil field at Ghawar, and at three of the ten indispensable processing towers at the largest-ever processing complex at Abqaiq.
According to the NSA intercepts, Petro SE was devised by the Saudis because of their overriding fear that if an internal revolt or external attack threatened the survival of the House of Saud, the U.S. and other Western powers might abandon them as the Shah of Iran was abandoned in 1979. Only by having in place a system that threatened to create crippling oil price increases, political instability and economic recessions did the royal family believe it could coerce Western military powers to keep them in power.
Some American and Israeli officials privately believe that Saudi officials have been aware for more than a decade that their conversations were monitored, and that as a result they greatly exaggerated Petro SE in order to blackmail the West into protecting them at all costs. For the Saudis, the threat to the U.S. and other powers works so long as those countries cannot be certain of the extent of the “self-destruction grid."
Posner chronicles an over twenty-five year multinational intelligence gathering operation that exposes Petro SE -- the House of Saud’s “nuclear" insurance policy to escape the fate of Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran.
“Although the NSA is not certain of the radioactive elements finally used by the Saudis, they believe Petro SE successfully developed dozens of radiation dispersal devices," Posner writes.
“These RDDs that the Saudis have integrated into their oil infrastructure are far less lethal than traditional nuclear weapons. The risk is not mass fatal casualties as with a nuclear explosive, but rather increased cancer rates over many years. In the short run, the psychological fear that an area is contaminated by radiation might be so great as to make it commercially unproductive."
Japan's defense chief Yoshinori Ono said the apparent kidnapping of one of its citizens would not affect the country's deployment of 550 troops in southern Iraq.Wow!
The Sunni militant Ansar al-Sunnah Army claimed on its Web site it had kidnapped Akihiko Saito, 44, after ambushing a group of five foreign contractors protected by Iraqi forces. It said Saito was "seriously injured" in the fighting and that the others had died.
A spokesman for Saito's employer, Cyprus-based security firm Hart GMSSCO, confirmed he was missing after an ambush Sunday night involving Hart personnel.
Saito's brother, Hironobu, urged Tokyo to stay the course.
"If the Japanese government decides it's best to stay in Iraq, I will support (that). ... I do not expect the Japanese government to waver for the sake of my brother," he said.
Whether or not it is, in the technical sense, a “joke", I find myself, with the benefit of hindsight, in agreement with Billy Connolly’s now famous observation on Kenneth Bigley – “Aren’t you the same as me, don’t you wish they would just get on with it?"What's more dignified? "Tony Blair has not done enough for me", or "I do not expect the Japanese government to waver for the sake of my brother"? I know which one I'd want to be my family member if I was kidnapped, and it ain't Paul Bigley.
Had his killers “just got on with it", they would have decapitated Mr Bigley as swiftly as they did his two American confreres. But, sensing that there was political advantage to be gained in distinguishing the British subject from his fellow hostages, they didn’t get on with it, and the intervening weeks reflected poorly on both Britain and Mr Bigley.
None of us can know for certain how we would behave in his circumstances, and very few of us will ever face them. But, if I had to choose in advance the very last words I’d utter in this life, “Tony Blair has not done enough for me" would not be high up on the list. First, because it’s the all but official slogan of modern Britain, the dull rote whine of the churlish citizen invited to opine on waiting lists or public transport, and thus unworthy of the uniquely grisly situation in which Mr Bigley found himself[...]While Ken Bigley passed much of his life as a happy expat, his brother Paul appears to have gone a stage further and all but seceded. Night and day, he was on TV explaining to the world how the Bigley family’s Middle East policy is wholly different from Her Majesty’s Government – a Unilateral Declaration of Independence accepted de facto by Mr Blair’s ministry when it dispatched Jack Straw to Merseyside to present formally his condolences to the Bigleys, surely the most extraordinary flying visit ever undertaken by a British Foreign Secretary. For their pains, the government was informed by Paul Bigley that the Prime Minister had “blood on his hands". This seems an especially stupid and contemptible formulation when anyone with an Internet connection can see Ken Bigley’s blood and the hand it’s literally on holding up his head[...]Paul Bigley can be forgiven his clumsiness: he’s a freelancer winging it. But the feelers put out by the Foreign Office to Ken Bigley’s captors are more disturbing: by definition, they confer respectability on the head-hackers and increase the likelihood that Britons and other infidels will be seized and decapitated in the future. The United Kingdom, like the government of the Philippines when it allegedly paid a ransom for the release of its Iraqi hostages, is thus assisting in the mainstreaming of jihad.
Relations with France have taken a nose-dive after Air India opted for fifty Boeings to augment its fleet discarding competition Airbus, and the country may back out of supporting India’s bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat with veto powers.Truly, deeply pathetic.
Yesterday, French ambassador Dominique Girard was slammed by foreign secretary Shyam Saran for saying to the press that “We are surprised and disappointed. Airbus definitely has an advantage over Boeing…It is clear that some factors other than commercial have played a role."
Previously, Air India was going for a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, but it became all Boeing after the UPA came to power and Praful Patel of the NCP became civil aviation minister, and Air India now plans to buy eight Boeing 777-200LRs, fifteen Boeing 777-300ER, and twenty-seven Boeing 787s, for nearly $7 billion.
Diplomats said that France found no play with the UPA, and efforts at raising bilateral relations to strategic level were blocked by foreign minister Natwar Singh, who peculiarly explained that India was cultivating ties with the European Union as a whole, which the French found “meaningless".
What galled them, according to diplomats, was a feeling that India did not adequately reciprocate France’s declared friendship by being among the first P-5 states to support India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council with veto power.
“Despite French insistence that the US was an unreliable ally," said a diplomat, “India preferred the US somewhat blindly, and if the Americans are unreliable with us, they are going to be very unreliable with you. Those Boeings are not going to come in time for Air India to take commercial advantage, and it would be foolhardy to choose the F-16 over the Mirage."
But the denial of the Air India deal has come as a breaking point for France, which diplomats say is reviewing support to India’s candidature as a permanent UN Security Council member, and it will likely now insist on a consensus for any expansion of the Council and its permanent members, and will lean in support of the Chinese position on this and other issues.
France won’t back India in UNSC expansion | India-Defence
Chandler police have stepped up patrols near Basha High School and are planning a community forum with school officials tonight to address concerns prompted by a student's arrest.I guess the impulse to evil and mass murder knows no gender, but I'm still kind of shocked to see a teenage girl planning murder on such a scale. Let's hope she's the first and the last.
Police believe 17-year-old Kelley Patricia Kaminski, and possibly two other students, planned a violent assault on campus. Kaminski was arrested last week; police are still questioning the other students, who have not been named.
The meeting is the result of what Chandler police said was a flood of calls this week to the department and the school regarding the alleged plot and the safety of students and staff.
Letters notifying parents about the question-and-answer session were sent home with Basha High students Thursday.
Kaminski was released from a juvenile detention facility Wednesday on the condition family members provide constant supervision to the teenager until her next court date. She is facing two felony counts involving interference with an educational institution.
Kaminski was taken into custody on school grounds last week after frightened students alerted school officials to her alleged plan to shoot students and teachers.
Administrators found a notebook in her backpack containing a "detailed map" of the school and a "written plan to carry out her threats," police said.
According to police records, she also had the means to carry out those threats. A search warrant executed on the Kaminski home produced several assault rifles, semiautomatic weapons and numerous boxes of ammunition, which purportedly belonged to her stepfather.
Chandler police say two other students, whose names have not been released, could also face charges.
School threat spurs forum
A former City tax adviser who was tortured in Saudi Arabia has been told the Government will side with the Saudis against him in his fight for justice.Obscene.
Ron Jones said he had a reassuring meeting with Foreign Office minister Lady Symons earlier this year at which she promised she would raise the issue at a top level meeting with Saudi ministers in February.
Lady Symons said the case would be raised again in March and wrote to Mr Jones to say she was hopeful that they could make "real progress".
But the 52-year-old has now received a letter telling him that the Government will intervene on behalf of the Saudis when the case is heard in the House of Lords.
Mr Jones, from West Sussex, is pursuing a �2.5 million claim for damages for wrongful arrest, torture, personal injury and loss of earnings.
His claim, which is seen as a test case for others, seeks to argue that the 1978 State Immunity Act is incompatible with the Human Rights Act and gives foreign states the right to shelter torturers.
His torture claims were bolstered by physical evidence found by doctors after his release following two months captivity in Saudi Arabia.
The Foreign Office consular division confirmed at the time: "[Mr Jones's] story was substantiated by evidence. Officials were in no doubt he was telling the truth."
Yesterday Mr Jones told The Telegraph: "I was assured that the British Government was doing everything it possibly could to resolve the issue.
"I am absolutely disgusted. Lady Symons led me to believe they were in the final stage of negotiations before the matter was resolved.
"I have made it perfectly clear that there is no way I am going to let them get away with torturing me."
The case has already been heard in the Court of Appeal, where Mr Jones was given the right to sue the individual torturer, whom he has identified as Lt Col Abdul Aziz.
But he was denied the right to seek compensation from the Saudi state and, since Mr Aziz has no assets here, the victory was hollow.
Mr Jones, who worked in Hong Kong for eight years followed by a 15-year spell in the City, now has to survive on �170 a week in income support, incapacity benefit and child benefit for his 15-year-old son, Grant, and wife, Sandra, 56.
He had been in Saudi Arabia for four months working for a petro-chemical company when he was injured by shrapnel in a bomb blast and taken to hospital where security forces dragged him from his bed and arrested him on suspicion of causing the explosion.
He said: "They ruined my life. I think about what they did every single day. My hands are painful, my hip is bad and I can't walk very far. I can't work and I feel like I'm sinking fast."
Ministers 'back' Saudis in 2.5m torture battle