|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Thursday, June 03, 2004
A Scapegoat Is Not a Solution: Notes on how much the CIA had advised about Al Queda, and how policy was slow to change. "[The CIA] 1995 national intelligence estimate on foreign terrorist threats in the United States judged that the odds were increasing that terrorists would try to use chemical or biological agents, but that they "were more likely to use the conventional weapons with which they are familiar and which can be extremely destructive." The estimate postulated that the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 — in which the bombers' objective was to topple the twin towers and kill thousands — had probably crossed a threshold in terms of "large-scale terrorist attacks" and that more of the same would be coming. The kinds of targets the estimate identified as being especially at risk were "national symbols such as the White House and the Capitol and symbols of U.S. capitalism such as Wall Street."
Even more striking, that estimate also made clear that the most likely foreign terrorist threat stemmed from the network of Islamist groups that had formed during the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It noted the network's continued reliance on training in Afghanistan, and the animus of its members toward the United States. It warned that members were seeking cover by blending in with the growing Muslim immigrant community in the United States, and that they could move freely because "they know how to take advantage of U.S. laws." Among its key judgments, the intelligence estimate assessed that members of this Islamist network posed the most likely threat of terrorist attack in the United States, and that growth of the network was "enhancing the ability of Islamic extremists to operate in the United States." It also highlighted civil aviation as a vulnerable and attractive target. " 11:11:10 PM
Towards a standardized relief comms kit?
: Brief report on a panel discussion. "Nethope is developing a suitcase-sized NetReliefKit in a collaborative effort between Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and Inmarsat. The kit would integrate an RBGAN terminal, wireless and wired networking capability, IP Telephony and specialized relief applications. It would be available only to NetHope members." 12:04:09 PM
i4donline.net - news on developing country IT
: "The i4d (Information For Development) print magazine is one its kind, and is intended to provide a much-needed platform for exchange of information, ideas, opinions and experiences, both inside and outside the Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) sector. .. i4d encompasses the role and relevance of ICT in various development sectors such as Rural Development, Gender, Governance, Micro-finance, Education, Health, Wireless Communication, ICT For Poor, Local Content, Culture and Heritage.." The online edition has features additional to the print edition, with many categories of headlines. Sponsored by the Centre for Spatial Database Management & Solutions
in India with another publication on GIS for development
. 8:57:54 AM
South Africa and VOIP
: "SA is in danger of losing its status as Africa's technological leader, as other African countries -- notably in East Africa -- are moving to the forefront. Algeria, Mauritius, Mali, Nigeria and Kenya have all legalised VOIP and WiFi and it seems that these progressive governments are embracing new technologies in order to gain the long-term benefits of ICT, despite potential short-term losses in revenue as incumbent telecommunications providers restructure their approaches." 8:52:49 AM