February 1-15 Stories


Chopper Crash Kills 4 Americans; Land Mine Kills 18 Afghans
WASHINGTON,- All four crewmembers of an Army MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter died following a crash in Afghanistan Jan. 30.
     The crew was participating in routine training at a range 12 kilometers east of Bagram Air Base. The Army is withholding the names of the dead pending notification of next of kin. No other U.S. personnel were injured. (Full Story)

‘Ignorant, Repressive’ Taliban Trashed Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — Life is improving in today’s Afghanistan, a nation recovering from widespread damage caused by the militants who ran it for five years, a senior DoD official said here Jan. 28.
Just over a year ago Afghanistan "was ruled by the Taliban, which has to be one of the most ignorant, repressive and ineffective governments ever to have ruled on earth," Joseph Collins, deputy undersecretary of defense for stability operations, remarked in a briefing to business and community leaders at the Pentagon. (Full Story)

Blair and Bush Align to Tackle Terror
WASHINGTON,- A poison plot uncovered in Great Britain. Another terrorist cell revealed today in Italy. This is the latest evidence that international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction endanger the world.
     U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair today said these two key threats must not be allowed to come together. Yet, the potential for that to happen lies with Saddam Hussein. (Full Story)

Six of the Seven Astronauts Were in the Military
WASHINGTON- Six of the seven astronauts killed aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were in the military; Payload Specialist Col. Ilan Ramon was an honored pilot for the Israeli Air Force, the other five of the six were serving U.S. military officers.
     The orbiter broke apart above north-central Texas on Feb. 1 at about 203,000 feet and was going about 12,500 mph, or Mach 18, when the accident occurred. It was headed for a planned touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in about 15 minutes.
     The mission commander was Air Force Col. Rick D. Husband. The 45-year-old officer was from Amarillo, Texas. He was married and had two children. Husband received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1980 and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1990. (Full Story)

Perfect Voyage Ends in Tragedy
At 7:53am CST, the Space Shuttle Columbia–traveling at mach 18, several times the speed of sound and just minutes before an expected perfect landing in Florida–suddenly lost contact with Houston Mission Control and it quickly became a moment to mourn. By 8:00am, about 203,000 feet above Texas, people over the peaceful cow roaming country of North East Texas suddenly heard what was described as a loud fast train and furious rumbling and then sounds of explosions. Several people saw the trail of fire from the ship thrusting toward the ground.
     Just moments earlier, as the shuttle passed Southern California on its way to Florida, photographers saw what may have been the beginning of the Columbia breaking up. The photographers, expecting to take routine shots, were startled to see red flares streaking across the nose and wing of the shuttle. People in Texas minutes later with home video cameras captured the tragic and devastating end of the shuttle breaking up in mid-flight, killing the entire courageous crew of 7: six Americans and one Israeli. (Full Story)

Bush Speaks of His Prayers for Americans, All People
WASHINGTON — This is "a testing time" for the United States, and at times like this, prayer is more appropriate than ever, President Bush said at the National Prayer Breakfast here this morning.
     "At this hour we have troops that are assembling in the Middle East, there’s oppressive regimes that seek terrible weapons, (and) we face an ongoing threat of terror," Bush said. "One thing is for certain: We didn’t ask for these challenges, but we will meet them. I say that with certainty because this nation has strong foundations that won’t be shaken." (Full Story)

Former ‘Hanoi Hilton’ Resident Keynotes DoD POW/MIA Prayer Breakfast
WASHINGTON — Orson G. Swindle III, who spent six years and four months as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, told the audience at DoD’s 9th annual POW/MIA Prayer Breakfast about the horrors of prison camp and that the nation "must get it right" during such troubled times.
     This year’s prayer breakfast here was the largest ever. More than 230 people attended, including 13 former POWs and three Medal of Honor recipients. (Full Story)

State Department Issues Worldwide Caution to All Americans
WASHINGTON — U.S. citizens around the world are at a heightened risk of terrorist attacks, according to a State Department caution issued Feb. 6.
     "Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, assassinations or kidnappings," the alert states. It goes on to warn "nonconventional weapons" may be used. The term typically refers to chemical or biological weapons or booby traps. (Full Story)

‘Game Over,’ Bush Tells Saddam
WASHINGTON — President Bush said today Saddam Hussein will play a last-minute game of deception, empty promises and false denials in response to U.S. evidence given the United Nations, but, "The game is over."
"The danger Saddam Hussein poses reaches across the world," Bush said in a White House statement.
The president said the United States would welcome and support a new resolution "which makes clear that the Security Council stands behind its previous demands. Yet resolutions mean little without resolve." (Full Story)

Rumsfeld Consults Italians, Visits U.S. Troops at Aviano Air Base
MUNICH — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld arrived at this Bavarian city Feb. 7 after a bevy of meetings with Italian defense officials in Rome and U.S. troops at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
     Rumsfeld is slated to speak today at the multinational Munich Conference on Security Policy and to meet with other defense officials to discuss issues surrounding the global war on terrorism. Iraq is high on the secretary’s agenda the entire day. (Full Story)

U.S. Threat Condition Raised to ‘High’; Corroborated Info Cited
WASHINGTON — Citing an increased threat of terrorist attacks within the United States, President Bush agreed today to raise the homeland security threat condition to "orange," designating a high likelihood of attack.
"This increased threat condition designation is based on specific intelligence received and analyzed by the full intelligence community," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a televised press conference from the Justice Department. He added that several sources corroborated the intelligence information.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have warned that al Qaeda is still active and still dangerous. The color-coded threat-level warning system was started in response. Since it began, the threat level has mostly held steady at "yellow," meaning "elevated threat of attack." (Full Story)

The Roads of Terror Lead to Baghdad
Poisons and poison recipes with plans to kill thousands of innocent people have been discovered in counter terrorism operations in Europe. It’s a fast and furious fight against time for governments to root out terrorists who have entrenched themselves within their sovereign country and then stop terror attacks that are planned against their citizens. The terrorist machine has been in motion for years. Although there are countries known to sponsor terror, secretive Iraq has managed to sponsor terror while doing millions of dollars in business with countries like France and Germany. (Full Story)

Iraq and Its Quest for Nuclear Weapons
WASHINGTON — Following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the U.S. military gathered huge piles of information and came up with a long list of "lessons learned."
     The United States wasn’t the only place with experts mulling over the war. One Indian general came up with his succinct own lessons learned from the conflict: "Never fight the Americans without nuclear weapons."
     A huge post-war surprise for the victorious Gulf War coalition was how close Iraq had been to having nuclear warheads. (Full Story)

Coalition Drops JDAM in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — Fighting continues in southern Afghanistan with heavy aircraft called in to pound cave positions in northern Helmand Province, military officials report.
     Late Feb. 12, a U.S. B-52 bomber dropped a 2,000-pound joint direct- attack munition "smart" bomb and an AC-130 gunship fired about 10 105 mm cannon rounds at the caves, a U.S. military spokesman said this morning from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. (Full Story)

Coalition Forces Drop Leaflets in Southern Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA – Operation Southern Watch Coalition aircraft dropped 360,000 informational leaflets over southern Iraq today.
     Coalition forces dropped the leaflets at approximately 2 p.m, EST over Shalhah, Al Qurnah, and Al Madina, approximately 200 miles southeast of Baghdad.
     The leaflets referred Iraqis to radio frequencies where Coalition forces are broadcasting information about United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s reign and other topics.
     To see a picture of the leaflets dropped today, along with radio scripts broadcast recently, follow this link: (Click Here)

Rice Takes Aim at Saddam’s Human Rights Violations
WASHINGTON — National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice propelled the administration’s clear message to Saddam Hussein during a Sunday morning talk show: "If you’re ever going to comply, this is the time."
     Echoing remarks made by Secretary of State Colin Powell at the U.N. Security Council meeting on Feb. 14, Rice told Tony Snow on "Fox News Sunday" that Iraq has "weeks, not months." She expressed similar sentiments later in the day on NBC’s "Meet the Press."
(Full Story)


February 16-28 Stories


21 kg of Heroin Found in a Cache on Tajik-Afghan Border
DUSHANBE, February 17, 2003. /From RIA Novosti correspondent Nazhmidin Azizov/. — 21 kg of heroin were found in a cache on the Tajik-Afghan border last night, reported the press service of Russian border guards stationed in Tajikistan.
     The cache was found on the border section controlled by the Pyanj border detachment. It contained 20 packets of heroin weighing a total of 21 kg 520 g.
     Since the beginning of 2003, Russian border guards controlling the Russian Federal Border Service section seized more than 600 kg of various drugs, including 400 kg of heroin.

Rumsfeld Says U.S. Will Stand by Afghans,
Would Do the Same for Iraqis

NEW YORK — Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told an audience of civic and business leaders that the U.S. remains steadfast to its promise to aid Afghanistan’s stability.
     And he said experiences in Afghanistan could apply to a post-Saddam Iraq.
     "Let me be clear," he said, "No matter whatever else happens in the world, we will not abandon Afghanistan. Afghanistan remains an important ally, not only in the war against terrorism, but in that larger struggle for freedom and moderation in the Muslim world." (Full Story)

Japan’s Premier Koizumi Expresses Solidarity with Countries Supporting Disarmament of Iraq
TOKYO — The Japanese government, which supports a military solution to the Iraqi problem, has dissociated itself from a rally against war in Iraq that swept across the country over the weekend.
     Anti-military actions throughout the world can only give "a wrong signal" to Baghdad, Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said on Monday.
     "They’d better be careful or Iraq may start to think it is acting right," said the premier. (Full Story)

Mayor Snubs Iraqi Official Over Reporter’s Question
ROME (AP) Monday, February 17, 2003 — Rome’s mayor canceled a meeting on Sunday with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz of Iraq to protest his "unacceptable" refusal to answer a question from a journalist from an Israeli newspaper.
     In a letter to Aziz, who left Italy on Sunday after a four-day visit, Mayor Walter Veltroni said he had canceled because Rome is a city with a tradition of tolerance, peace and liberty. "I cannot accept that a public official, the representative of a country, deny to someone whatever position he represents, the right to express himself," he wrote.
On Friday, Aziz refused to answer a question at a news conference from a reporter from Ma’ariv on whether Iraq would strike Israel if the United States launched a war.

CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency Detail Terror Threats
WASHINGTON — North Korea has missiles capable of reaching the West Coast of the United States.
     Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist network has sophisticated biological weapons capabilities.
     Iraq has tested unmanned aerial vehicles that could carry chemical and biological weapons to Iraq’s neighbors and could be transported to the United States. (Full Story)

NATO: "That’s what the alliance of free nations is all about."
WASHINGTON — NATO is sending several defensive weapons systems to Turkey to protect that alliance member from possible attack by neighboring Iraq.
"Today this alliance is providing equipment to Turkey to help protect our Turkish ally from potential attack from Iraq," President Bush said in a brief White House appearance with NATO Secretary-General George Robertson. (Full Story)

Blair: "Just Ponder This"
"As you watch your TV pictures of the march, just ponder this: If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for," said Prime Minister Tony Blair in a speech Saturday to Britain’s Labor Party in the midst of worldwide protests.
"If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started.
"Let me read from an e-mail that was sent by a member of the family of one of those four million Iraqi exiles. It is interesting because she is fiercely and I think wrongly critical of America. But in a sense for that reason, it is worth reading.
     "In one part, she says:
     "’You may feel that America is trying to blind you from seeing the truth about their real reasons for an invasion. I must argue that in fact, you are still blind to the bigger truths in Iraq.
     "’Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years, are you willing to allow him to kill another million Iraqis?
     "’Saddam rules Iraq using fear – he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures the mass population for no reason whatsoever – this may be hard to believe and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts…’" (Full Story)

Intelligence Experts to Help Find 3 Missing Americans in Columbia
WASHINGTON — U.S. experts are helping the Colombian armed forces search for three Americans captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, embassy officials said.
     A single-engine U.S. government Cessna 208 crashed Feb. 13. When Colombian forces reached the crash site, they found the bodies of two crewmembers, one Colombian and one American. The embassy is not releasing the name of the American at his family’s request. (Full Story)

Powell and Our Asian Alliances
"The resolution … will be a simple resolution, directly to the point," to ask the Security Council to recognize that Iraq has not fulfilled its responsibilities under previous resolutions, Powell said during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
     The secretary was in Asia to attend the inauguration of President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea and to visit American friends and allies in the region. In Tokyo, Powell met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi. (Full Story)

Spain’s President Aznar and the New Resolution
Spain, which has experienced a large Islamic influx of illegal immigration–like it’s neighbors Britain and France, has become one of the strongest forces in dismantling terrorism. Spain has successfully apprehended al Qaeda terrorists, and while President Aznar was in Texas speaking at a joint press conference with President Bush Saturday, he articulated his commitment to Spain’s continual work. “I would like to express how satisfied I am,” Aznar said, “having arrested important terrorists today in Spain, people who only think of murdering and committing crimes.” Aznar has faced fierce opposition for his work in leading the charge against threats to world security, but he has not backed down. (Full Story)