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The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Sun. Dec 30, 2001

QuoteLog, 12/30

QuoteLog, 12/30”Troops under the control of Hazarat Ali, an American-backed Afghan commander in Tora Bora, have been searching the caves, retrieving Pakistani and other foreign passports, documents and other information, passing them up to Commander Ali, said one of his deputies, Gul Karim [...] They are less motivated to track down Mr. bin Laden, and the documents they find are not all getting directly to American forces. Caves have been looted for profit. Some of the fighters of the Eastern Shura, a regional alliance, have tried to sell documents to journalists and American military forces. Some documents appear genuine, among them bomb-making manuals in Arabic, which have an asking price of $5,000. Others are worthless, like United Nations vehicle documents part of a cache of papers that one midlevel Afghan commander insisted was worth $200,000.”

NY Times

”Of course, everything changed in early October, when the first of five known anthrax-related deaths became public. After Mr. Ian learned of the death, in Florida, he said he had a brief moment of self-doubt. ’We’ve been called Anthrax for 20 years, but this spore has been around for thousands of years,’ he recalled having said to his drummer, Charlie Benante. ’As a human, do I want to be in a band named after that, with everything that’s going on?’ But if the band was having doubts, many of its fans were not. As the nation’s newscasts spoke of anthrax at every turn, the band’s latent fan base (Anthrax has not put out a new record since 1998) seemed drawn once again to the boys from Bayside. ’To a metal fan or a music fan, the first thing they thought of was Anthrax the band,’ said Dan DeVita, the band’s manager. ’It was almost like Beavis and Butthead: ’Hey, dude, I was watching CNN and they said Anthrax, heh heh.’ ’ More important, Mr. DeVita said, the band’s catalog album sales instantly doubled. Anthrax’s greatest- hits CD doubled its sales to nearly 1,000 a week throughout October and most of November, Mr. DeVita said. Spread the Disease, notably, also doubled weekly sales of about 100 records, he said.”

Paul Zielbauer, NY Times

”Shortly after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, Osama bin Laden approached Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz al-Saud, the Saudi defense minister, with an unusual proposition [...] Victorious in Afghanistan, Mr. bin Laden clearly craved more battles, and he no longer saw the United States as a partner, but as a threat and potential enemy to Islam. Arriving with maps and many diagrams, Mr. bin Laden told Prince Sultan that the kingdom could avoid the indignity of allowing an army of American unbelievers to enter the kingdom, to repel Iraq from Kuwait. He could lead the fight himself, he said, at the head of an group of former mujahedeen that he said could number 100,000 men. Prince Sultan had received Mr. bin Laden warmly, but he reminded him that the Iraqis had 4,000 tanks, according to one account. ’There are no caves in Kuwait,’ the prince is said to have noted. ’You cannot fight them from the mountains and caves. What will you do when he lobs the missiles at you with chemical and biological weapons?’ Mr. bin Laden replied, ’We fight him with faith.’ ”

Douglas Jehl, NY TImes

”In hiring Rivera, Fox News made a huge, not-so-honest mistake. As a journalist Rivera is . . . Well, he’s not a journalist. He’s Chatty Cathy in a bush hat. He’s tried to turn Fox’s war coverage into The Geraldo Rivera Show, starring Geraldo! as Brave War Reporter and featuring Geraldo! as Mr. Patriot, with a guest apearance by Geraldo! as Sensitive Prayer Guy. And now, we’ve got Geraldo! the Victim. Ironically, Fox has sold its credibility for nothing: Geraldo Rivera is a bore.”

Joanne Jacobs

”FBI agents scoured the city of Cleveland yesterday after receiving tips that Osama bin Laden incited an uprising at last weeks Cleveland Browns football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. ’We are asking all Clevelanders to shave and to cease wearing headgear in order to help agents narrow the search,’ Detective Mike Reynolds of the FBIs Northeastern Ohio office said [...] Thousands of suspicious citizens, watching video of the fan riot on ESPN, phoned FBI offices to report sighting a bare-chested man resembling the ousted Al Qaeda leader screaming at officials, throwing plastic bottles on the field, while waving a sign that said, ’I am Osama bin Laden’ at the camera [...] Longtime Dog Pound member Anthony Kowalski is among those who are confident that bin Laden, along with high-level Al Qaeda officials, was sitting in his block at the Jacksonville game. ’I thought I saw bin Laden a few seats down from me,’ said the tool and die worker from Youngstown. ’I was sipping a Chardonnay when I first noticed him, but I didnt say anything because it is impolite to make value judgments based on other peoples appearances. Besides, we take pride in the fact that international fugitives rarely attend Browns games, much less sit in the Dog Pound,’ Kowalski added. ’Criminals meet frequently at Redskins games in Washington, but they are elected officials.’ ”

Christopher Wesley

”In a controversial interrogation tactic that one prominent human rights organization says ’borders on torture,’ CIA operatives in Afghanistan have been showing al Qaeda prisoners the Mariah Carey film ’Glitter.’ The film, which has been put on the ’condemned’ list by many human rights groups, usually induces prisoners to talk after ten or twelve minutes. ’They usually crack during the scenes in which Mariah Carey plays herself as a teenager,’ said one source familiar with the CIA interrogations. A spokesman for Amnesty International, the human rights group, blasted the CIA for using the excruciating film on captured al Qaeda fighters. ’If a nation condones the institutionalized use of Mariah Carey films during interrogations, it comes perilously close to condoning torture,’ the spokesman said.”

Andy Borowitz

”After the battle of Tora Bora, the Pentagon considered sending in hundreds of ground troops when it appeared that Afghan forces might be unable or unwilling to scour the area for Al Qaeda leaders. But American officials remain reluctant to do so, and now hope that incentives like money and winter clothing will encourage more Afghan cooperation [...] According to new United States intelligence, some low-level militia commanders have smuggled Arab fighters, perhaps dozens, out of Afghanistan for up to $5,000 a head. One defense official said that a handful of midlevel commanders were running the network, but that Commander Ali had stopped it [...] While final judgments must await a clearer determination of Mr. bin Laden’s fate and those of his aides, some experts say it was a mistake to be so heavily dependent on Afghan proxies and not to involve American ground troops in the final and potentially decisive chapter of the war at Tora Bora.”

Michael Gordon, NY Times

”There was an important synergy in Afghanistan between the air and ground campaign. With their attacks, the Afghan resistance forced the Taliban and Al Qaeda to take up defensive positions, which were highly vulnerable to airstrikes. The air raids, in turn, accounted for most of the Taliban and Al Qaeda casualties and enabled the Afghan resistance to move forward. The results are clear on the highway that runs from Bagram, a much-fought-over air base built by the Soviet Union, south to Kabul. The burnt-out hulks of Taliban armor frame the road, testimony to the precision bombing of the Americans and the Taliban’s failure to understand the need to conceal their heavy weapons from American warplanes. Effects of the bombing are also felt in the bleak hospital ward in Jalalabad where wounded Arabs, who were lured to Afghanistan by Mr. bin Laden, are being kept as prisoners. Abdul Wakil, a young translator at the hospital, said the Arabs often speak of how accurately the Americans were able to hit their positions as Al Qaeda volunteers tried to hold out with little food and no real way at striking back at the planes. He said they often have nightmares about the bombing, an indication that it broke the morale of many of Mr. bin Laden’s men. Many were never prepared for this kind of war.”

Michael Gordon, NY Times

”Just hours after Captain Amerine and Mr. Karzai reached the town, however, the Taliban tried to retake it. The assault involved a force of 500 soldiers, Taliban troops as well as Arab and other foreign fighters, who piled into an armada of 80 pickup trucks and other battered vehicles. They were racing from Kandahar, 50 miles to the south. Taking positions on a ridge outside the town, the Americans began calling in airstrikes on the vehicles. Captain Amerine’s team was confident that airpower could do the job, but Mr. Karzai’s forces had less experience with precision bombing. Worried that the bombing would not be effective, they began to retreat. That left Captain Amerine’s men no choice but to commandeer four cars and follow. Captain Amerine was concerned that he would have to evacuate Mr. Karzai, whom the Americans were already counting as a future friendly leader. But if the Americans left, Captain Amerine feared the townspeople in Tirin Kot would be slaughtered in a round of reprisal killings by the Taliban. So the Americans helped the Afghans set up new defensive positions near the town and resumed calling in airstrikes. Like Mr. Karzai’s men, the Taliban underestimated the lethal power of the bombing and pressed ahead. ’It was kind of strange, because they just kept coming into the valley and we just kept bombing them,’ Captain Amerine said.”

Michael Gordon, NY Times

”The U.N. World Food Programme said Wednesday that it has sent a record 80,000 tons of food into Afghanistan so far this month. In addition, the United Nations’ refugee agency said the number of refugees returning to Afghanistan from neighboring countries has increased since the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In a statement on the U.N. Web site, spokesman Jordan Dey said that 80,000 tons—or nearly 4,000 tons a day—”is an unprecedented level for Afghanistan.” Dey said the aid was sent via as many as 300 trucks traveling daily across the borders from Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.”

CNN


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