Updated: 5/16/2006; 10:47:46 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Monday, May 05, 2003

Soccer Players Describe Torture by Hussein's Son: "Some players endured long periods in a military prison, beaten on their backs with electric cables until blood flowed. Other punishments included "matches" kicking concrete balls around the prison yard in 130-degree heat, and 12-hour sessions of push-ups, sprints and other fitness drills, wearing heavy military fatigues and boots. The story of the 38-year-old Uday, whose whereabouts are unknown, is only part of the horrors that tumble every day now out of American-ruled Iraq. It is a story that exceeds the worst that human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch chronicled in the years before American troops toppled Mr. Hussein's government last month. Those reports suggested that the victims of Mr. Hussein's terror, over 24 years, ran into the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands. On the basis of the horrors now being disclosed, many Iraqis fear that the figure may run much higher still."  10:46:49 PM  permalink  

Missing in Action: Truth: NYT Op/Ed: "Patrick Lang, a former head of Middle Eastern affairs in the Defense Intelligence Agency, says that he hears from those still in the intelligence world that when experts wrote reports that were skeptical about Iraq's W.M.D., "they were encouraged to think it over again." "In this administration, the pressure to get product `right' is coming out of O.S.D. [the Office of the Secretary of Defense]," Mr. Lang said. He added that intelligence experts had cautioned that Iraqis would not necessarily line up to cheer U.S. troops and that the Shiite clergy could be a problem. "The guys who tried to tell them that came to understand that this advice was not welcome," he said. "The intelligence that our officials was given regarding W.M.D. was either defective or manipulated," Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico noted. Another senator is even more blunt and, sadly, exactly right: "Intelligence was manipulated." The C.I.A. was terribly damaged when William Casey, its director in the Reagan era, manipulated intelligence to exaggerate the Soviet threat in Central America to whip up support for Ronald Reagan's policies. Now something is again rotten in the state of Spookdom. "  10:36:21 PM  permalink  

NYT:  Hussein's Son Took $1 Billion Just Before War, Bank Aide Says: "In the hours before American bombs began falling on the Iraqi capital, one of President Saddam Hussein's sons and a close adviser carried off nearly $1 billion in cash from the country's Central Bank, according to American and Iraqi officials here. The removal of the money, which would amount to one of the largest bank robberies in history, was performed under the direct orders of Mr. Hussein, according to an Iraqi official with knowledge of the incident. .. The Iraqi official said the removal of the money amounted to about a quarter of the Central Bank's hard currency reserves. The billion dollars is nearly twice the amount of hard currency believed to have been looted by Iraqis in the three weeks after the collapse of the Iraqi government. American and Iraqi officials said about $400 million in American dollars and at least $40 million in Iraqi currency were taken by looters from banks across the country after April 9."  The $1B apparently was moved in trailer trucks to Syria.  10:28:16 PM  permalink  

Nice words from Pakistan: "Pakistan is ready to get rid of its nuclear arsenal if India also does, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan said on Monday. "As far as Pakistan is concerned, if India is ready to denuclearise, we would be happy to denuclearise," Aziz Ahmed Khan told a press briefing. He said Islamabad would not take the step unilaterally. "It will have to be mutual," he said. "  10:01:37 PM  permalink  

Iraq's bunkers: While the US military says it can't detect and inventory undergroun bunkers, some of the builders of the bunkers are talking:  "Wolfgang Wendler, the German construction manager for one such bunker, says it consists of 14 rooms, is 30 feet underground and protected by reinforced steel and concrete walls and roofs that are more than 5 feet thick. Ventilation filters were installed to protect the inhabitants from a chemical or biological attack. A kitchen contains two months of supplies.

Karl Esser, another German bunker consultant who says he worked on a Baghdad bunker, has told reporters that the hideout was meticulously conceived to protect inhabitants from even the worst bombardment. Special flexible pipes were installed to withstand collapse, and floors were built on springs. Water filters, generators and communications equipment all were similarly protected.

Saddam also tapped the expertise of Yugoslav engineers, considered the best bunker and tunnel builders in the world.  One Serbian engineer, recommended to Saddam by former Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic, has described a bunker that was equipped with an elaborate air-conditioning system, a turbo-diesel electric power plant, a sophisticated electronic security system impervious to enemy monitoring, extensive communication systems and anti-blast construction to suppress the effect of bomb concussions.

And it's not just Baghdad that boasts such underground refuges. In Tikrit, Saddam's hometown and the city U.S. forces are eyeing for an assault after Baghdad is contained, Saddam's palace sits above reinforced bunkers that can hold 1,000 people, and house a command post, armory, medical bays and rooms for decontaminating those exposed to toxins. "

In addition, an airfield held by Australian troops which held 51 MiGs also has "a vast network of underground bunkers that has yet to be evaluated".

  3:30:52 PM  permalink  

Unfinished Business in Afghanistan: Warlordism, Reconstruction, and Ethnic Harmony: April 2003 report from US Institute of Peace on the slow progress, and the current complexities there.  1:50:33 PM  permalink  

IMP Webmail Client: "IMP is the Internet Messaging Program. It is written in PHP and provides webmail access to IMAP and POP3 accounts."  1:16:41 PM  permalink  

VSAT 2001 Hughes Network Systems TES: "The following section covers both the TES Quantum and the TES Quantum-Direct systems. "  Interesting history of the Hughes satcom product line.  9:33:55 AM  permalink  

Pedal-powered e-mail in the jungle: SF coverage of the Jhai-Laos project.  They aim at 12 watts for a workstation: "The bike-pedaled generator will power a battery that in turn runs the computer, which sits in an 8-by-10-inch box and has the power of a pre-Pentium, 486-type computer. Felsenstein designed it to run on only 12 watts -- compared to a typical computer's 90 watts -- so the bike power would be up to the task."  Makes me think of windows terminals (which I think can also be standalone browsers), running on 8 watts as far back as 1998-2000.  They're on sale at eBay for as little as $30 for old models, $150 for recent ones.  (Firmware updates are still available at Wyse.)

  9:13:53 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 10:47:46 AM.