World Plunges Into Recession
Vol: 2 Issue: 21 Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Although the US stock market has recovered all its losses since 9/11, the world is in its first recession in 20 years, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The recession is a direct result of the 9/11 attacks which the OECD says administered a ‘severe shock’ to the global economy.
One of the nations whose economic outlook has been shattered by the attacks is Great Britain. In the UK, government spending has jumped 21% eating up 2/3s of the surplus the UK had built up during the 1990’s boom.
Human Rights Groups Warn US
The United States has said it will ‘take no prisoners’ in the war against al-Qaeda. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the US doesn’t have sufficient forces on the ground to take prisoners, but Human Rights Watch says the US could be held responsible for ‘genocide’ if Taliban troops wanting to surrender are massacred by the Northern Alliance. For the record, ‘genocide’ is defined as ‘conspiring to destroy an entire group because of their religious or ethnic identity.’
‘Genocide’ is one of those buzzwords that has largely lost any real meaning over the last half-century: al-Qaeda is made up of a whole range of ethnic groups; Chechens, Arabs, Afghanis; all are Muslim. The Northern Alliance is made up largely of multi-ethnic Afghans who are also all Muslim. While we abhor any loss of life, we are at war against those who murdered more innocent, non-combatant Americans than were lost at either Pearl Harbor or the Normandy Invasion in 1944. ‘Genocide’ hardly applies.
Oil Prices Continue To Plummet
An unexpected ‘benefit’ of the attack on America by Saudi Osama bin-Laden has been a dramatic drop in the world-wide price of oil. Americans are staying home more and as a consequence, there is a global glut of oil. Outside Atlanta, some services stations are selling gas for $0.79 a gallon. Good for consumers, bad for the Saudis and bad for the oil cartel.
Larger US Presence in Afghanistan Under Consideration
General Tommy Franks said yesterday that larger-scale ground forces remain an option in Afghanistan, but no decision has been made. Advances so far have been based on U.S. air power and intelligence gathered by special forces on the ground.
Chechen Rebels Planning to “Kill Fat Americans”
Russian intelligence says Chechen guerillas are planning to relocate in Afghanistan where they plan to “kill fat Americans” serving there, according to Jane’s Intelligence Watch.
“What? You Mean Fighting?”
The prime minister of Canada said that his country might not make available 1,000 troops for operations in Afghanistan as promised, the Canadian Press reported. “Threats of heavy fighting may cause Canada to abort a plan to send ground troops to protect air operations in Afghanistan,” he said.
Another bin-Laden Lieutenant Captured
One of Osama bin Laden’s top aides was reportedly arrested while trying to cross into Pakistan Nov. 20, the Frontier Post reported. The suspect, Fazle Razi, ”was traveling on sabotage mission, which entailed action against American military targets in Kuwait,” the paper said.
U.S. Navy warships have begun stop-and-search operations in the Arabian Sea on all vessels leaving Pakistan, as part of a search for Osama bin Laden and his associates, ThisIsLondon reported. The ships were warned that any resistance would lead to military action, and a notice to mariners issued by the U.S. Navy reminded them of the $25 million reward for bin Laden.
Sarin Gas Found at al-Qaeda Camp
Thirty boxes labeled as Sarin gas, each containing ten ampoules of the neuro-toxin were discovered at an al-Qaeda camp. Incubators and empty test tubes labeled ‘anthrax’ were also found at another site in Afghanistan.
Sarin gas is colorless, odorless, tasteless and diffuses rapidly into human skin. It tends to drift above the ground after deployment for weeks or even months, depending on the amount. It is 26 times as deadly as cyanide, 21 times as deadly as potassium chloride and it takes only 0.01 mg for each kg of body mass to be fatal. Early symptoms of exposure include breathing difficulty, miosis, nausea, involuntary drowsiness and convulsions. Once exposed to a fatal dose, the victim cannot be saved.
The discovery of this cache of sarin almost certainly suggests al-Qaeda has more of the same in other, undiscovered caches. It would not be difficult to smuggle a quantity of sarin into the United States disguised in a perfume atomizer, aftershave or some other innocent looking cosmetic. Releasing it in a subway or shopping mall could cause devastating casualties. All it would take is a few suicide terrorists willing to make the delivery. And al-Qaeda has no shortage of those.