|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Monday, September 08, 2003
Solar Energy ICT Project in Nigeria:
"The Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Turner Isoun, has said that the federal government has developed solar energy pilot project in Bayelsa State. The pilot solar energy project he said was developed to supplement the unsteady power supply to improve performance of Information Communication Technology (ICT)development in Nigeria. The move, the minister said, was the beginning of vigorous efforts channelled towards strengthening solar energy which is needed to support ICT equipment throughout the country, adding that more states will soon be provided with solar energy and ICT facilities." 12:10:37 PM
ABCNEWS.com : Hunt for Osama Bin Laden Narrowed to 40 Square Miles: "The hunt for Osama bin Laden has been narrowed to a 40-square-mile section of the Waziristan region of Pakistan, senior U.S. officials told ABCNEWS. ..
Protected by local gunmen, an ABCNEWS producer, who we won't name due to safety reasons, was able to move through the hostile Waziristan area undetected this summer. Local residents showed ABCNEWS the mountain homes of known al Qaeda operatives, graffiti praising the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who is also believed to be hiding in northern Waziristan, and the marketplaces and bazaars where authorities believe that bin Laden and his entourage could get its supplies. ..
At least eight people were murdered in the town of Angoor Ada, in broad daylight, on the suspicion they were informing the U.S. of bin Laden's whereabouts, according to locals. As a result, locals are tightlipped about al Qaeda's presence. Locals also told ABCNEWS that one tribe has been known to kill their own relatives for helping Americans with development and infrastructure work on either side of the Afghan-Pakistan border. .. even the Pakistanis have a hard time operating there. By treaty with the Wazir tribe, they are not allowed further than 100 yards on either side of the road..
US Special forces in Afghanistan are not as specialized as they once were, [CIA counter-terrorism chief Vince] Cannistraro told ABCNEWS. .. "If you've drawn off many if not all of your Arabic language resources and sent them off to Iraq you're shorthanded in terms of dealing with intelligence collection problem of fixing bin Laden's location," said Cannistraro. "So there are fewer resources to deal with in trying to basically find and capture, the principal leader of a terrorist organization that's killing Americans." "
In the Sept 2003 Harpers, there's an interesting "Letter from Waziristan" with recent travel by a female journalist there. "Anyone with white skin is Angrez -- English. But Angrez, American, and CIA are interchangeable. There is only one thing worse: NGO. The tribespeople believe that nongovernmental organizations are the most insidious aliens because they're out to change the Pashtun way of life." 11:04:43 AM
Iraq WMD: Inventory Errors?: "Some [missing weapons] may represent miscounts, they say, and some may stem from Iraqi underlings' efforts to satisfy the boss by exaggerating reports on arms output in the 1980s. "Under that sort of regime, you don't admit you got it wrong," said Ron G. Manley of Britain, a former chief UN adviser on chemical weapons... On the search for weapons of mass destruction, Manley said his encounters with Iraqi scientists in the 1990s convinced him that at times, when told to produce "X amount" of something, "they wrote down what their superiors wanted to hear instead of the reality," Manley said. Producing VX nerve agent, for example, is a difficult process, he said.
Former UN inspector Scott Ritter, an American, said he, too, was sure Iraq's "WMD" accounts were at times overstated. "There was so much pressure put on scientists to produce world-class systems, they would exaggerate their reports back to authorities," he said. ..
U.S. defense analyst Carl Conetta said it was always a "fragile assumption" to expect Iraq to provide a highly detailed, fully consistent and well documented account of all its weapons work. No military can do that, he wrote in a report on the Iraq inspections. A U.S. audit last year, for example, found the Pentagon had lost track of more than 1 million chemical-biological protective suits, said Conetta, of Mass.-based Project on Defense Alternatives, a private think tank. In perhaps the most striking example, U.S. government auditors found in 1994 that almost 3 tons of plutonium, enough for hundreds of nuclear bombs, had "vanished" from U.S. stocks because of discrepancies between "book inventory" and "physical inventory." 10:32:18 AM