December 1-15 Stories

Enemy Troops Use Hit-and-Run Tactics in Afghanistan
American service members and their coalition allies continue operations in Afghanistan.
     U.S. camps have been targets of hit-and-run attacks from Taliban and al Qaeda sympathizers over the last week. U.S. personnel also have found arms caches and shut down a drug lab. There were no U.S. casualties.
     The most serious incident over the last week was in the camp at Lwara Nov. 24. The forward-operating base came under rocket attack. Ten rockets impacted within the base, with nine of them armed with white phosphorus. The rockets started three fires in the camp, which personnel quickly put out. (Full Story)

Laid Snares in Kenya
MOMBASA—Two young Israeli brothers were among the 13 confirmed murdered and the 80 wounded by the terrorist attack on Thursday at Paradise Hotel. The five star Israeli owned resort hotel–once known to be the most popular resort for Britons and other Westerners in East Africa–is now another ashen site of Islamic terrorist destruction. It has been reported now that internet chat rooms had talked of impending simultaneous terrorist attacks as part of the Islamic terrorist effort to incrementally conquer the Western world. As said by bin Laden, ‘They must submit or be destroyed.’ Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, head of al Muhajiroun in London said, "They said in chat rooms that there would be something good in East Africa, that a heavy price would be paid." Bakri has been vocal in his support of bin laden and has been key in sending British Muslims and other recruits to combat training camps in the U.S., followed by terror tactic training in the Middle East. (Full Story)

Afghans Lead U.S. Soldiers to Rockets
By Kathleen T. Rhem, AFPS

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2002 — Afghan villagers led American soldiers to a weapons cache near a U.S. firebase Dec. 7, defense officials said.
     A group of Afghan civilians led a team of Special Forces and 82nd Airborne Division troops to a site about five kilometers southwest of the U.S. firebase at Lwara, in eastern Afghanistan.
     The U.S. troops found eight armed 107 mm rockets that had been aimed toward the U.S. base, officials said. Local Afghans reportedly pointed the rockets away from the base before the soldiers arrived. The Special Forces soldiers destroyed the rockets in place, officials said.
     Coalition forces in Afghanistan have found nearly 500 weapons caches in the country, including more than 43,000 107 mm rockets.

Power Restored in Most of Carolinas
FRANKLINTON, N.C. (AP) – While most of the Carolinas had power restored Monday following several days coated in ice, people in tiny towns like this one were beginning to wonder if they’d been forgotten.
    More than half of Franklinton’s 1,800 residents shivered for a fifth straight day without power while utility companies prioritized lines that served the most people. (Full Story)

Terrorists Threaten Europe from Balkan Safe Haven
The turning of a blind eye in certain, select cases has produced some strange anomalies in the global war on terror. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror experts note some striking instances…
     …The threat does not come from distant lands but from next door, the Balkans. There, as in Yemen, the blinkers are on.
     Take the case of Macedonia. (Full Story)

Building a Presence in Djibouti
…The demands of the global war on terrorism means Djibouti is a hot spot. Across the Red Sea is Yemen, the family homeland of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The coastal country’s neighbors are Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia — areas where terrorists have attacked and where al Qaeda elements may be hiding. (Full Story)

USO Brings Part of Hollywood to the Warfront
BAGRAM, Afghanistan — What do a principal, a soap star, a sports reporter and a graying mayor all have in common?
     Everything, if you count them having a sincere passion to visit and thank every one fighting the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.
“It’s important for us to let you know how we feel about your service,” said Dennis Haskins IV, the actor who portrayed the principal in “Saved by the Bell.” “We have been overwhelmed by meeting all of you.” (Full Story)

Wolfowitz: Disarmament of Saddam’s WMDs Is the Goal
LONDON — As the UN analyzes CD’s Iraq submitted with 529mega bytes of data and compares the 11,807 pages of written material with previous information, inspections are still underway in Iraq. At least one of Saddam’s multi-million dollar palaces was visited by UN inspectors last week. The apparent first surprise visit caused a delay at the entrance of the palace gates. There are conflicting reports about the wait, but one report says it took one of Saddam’s secretaries 10 minutes to arrive and then the inspectors were allowed to enter the palace grounds.
Concern remains high that Saddam is hiding weapons of mass destruction, while in meetings with British officials in London last week U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told members of a British "think tank" that although it’s good that U.N. weapons inspectors are scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, the primary goal is to disarm Saddam Hussein’s regime. (Full Story)

Indonesia: Networked for Terror
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, was hit Thursday with two simultaneous terrorist attacks that Indonesian police say may have ties to al Qaeda. The two targets were a McDonald’s fast food restaurant, located in a shopping mall, and a used car lot owned by Indonesia’s Social Welfare Minister Yusuf Kalla. Three people were murdered in the bomb attack at the McDonald’s and eleven people are being treated for serious wounds at a nearby hospital.
A suspect involved in the McDonald’s bombing had accidentally blown himself up while setting a timed bomb that was to explode later for when the restaurant would be filled with customers celebrating the end of Ramadan. According to South Sulawesi police chief Firman Gani, "It was not a suicide bomb…the suspect who carried the bomb was nervous." Police chief Gani went on to tell reporters that the bomber had locked himself into the kitchen when the bomb went off. (Full Story)

Spanish Capture Secret Transport
MADRID–"They were navigating without a banner," said Spain’s Defense Minister Federico Trillo at a briefing Wednesday after two Spanish warships initiated the capture of a vessel that contained "sophisticated weapons." The Cambodian registered ship sailed from North Korea but was not properly marked and wasn’t flying a flag. The Spanish military in joint action with US intelligence determined the ship needed to be stopped and searched.
     Initially, when the Spanish ordered the vessel to stop for boarding inspection, the North Korean captain refused and warning shots were fired. A helicopter with the frigate "Navarra" was key in the operation. (Full Story)


December 16-31 Stories

Ex-U.S. Sub Chief Apologizes for Accident
UWAJIMA, Japan (AP) – In a highly emotional visit Sunday, the former captain of a U.S. nuclear submarine that collided with a Japanese fishing boat laid flowers at a memorial for nine people to offer his personal apology.
     Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Scott Waddle was at the helm of the USS Greeneville when it surfaced beneath the Ehime Maru on Feb. 9, 2001, sinking the student fishing vessel off the coast of Hawaii, killing nine of the 35 people aboard.
(Full Story)

Nearly 100 Marine recruits hit by strep A
San Diego, CA (Union Tribune) – Nearly 100 Marines have been hospitalized with a potentially life-threatening form of streptococcus infections, a Navy spokesman said yesterday.
     Three of the Marines were in the intensive care unit last night and 61 others were
quarantined in a ward at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego to prevent the illness from spreading. (Full Story)

Iran Hides Two Big Nuclear Facilities – Subcontracts for North Korea
On October 25, 2002, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported in its No. 82 issue the suspicion in Washington that one of the two bombs allegedly hidden in Kim Jong II’s war chest was not North Korean at all, but Iranian. Our sources revealed that the Iranian bomb was delivered to North Korea in the third week of September under a secret agreement Kim-Jung Nan, the North Korean president’s overseer of his country’s military and nuclear relations, concluded in Tehran on July 24. (Full Story)

U.S. Forces Help Restore Afghan Health Care
Pictures coming out of Afghanistan show a land seemingly forgotten by time — and modern medicine. After 20 years of war, medical clinics and hospitals are in ruins and in dire need of basic medical supplies and equipment.
     With U.S. and coalition aid, the situation is on the mend.
     The United States has been "indispensable" in helping to restore health care in Afghanistan, according to Dr. Abdullah Sherzai, director of planning at the Afghan Health Ministry in Kabul.
     "Just the presence of the American military creates the security background within which you can work — from nutritional work, to health care, to reconstruction," he said. "The Afghan people understand this and we appreciate it." (Full Story)

Rumsfeld: "…Your mission, is to stop attacks of such magnitude."
Djibouti — At the Horn of Africa last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld visited troops based at Camp Lemonier to thank them for volunteering to serve in the fight against terrorism.
     "Your task in the global war on terrorism is a difficult one and potentially a very dangerous one. As President Bush has said you carry on your shoulders not only the values of America but also the hopes of the world. And it is so. Thousands of people, citizens of every race and religion, were killed on September 11th [in New York and Washington D.C.]."
     Rumsfeld spoke in a newly built maintenance facility on the base, adjacent to the Djibouti International Airport. About 900 service members are stationed at the Horn of Africa. Rumsfeld’s stressed the importance of the coalition mission to prevent terror against innocent civilians. (Full Story)

Japan Sends Warship to Indian Ocean
As Japanese Defense officials meet with U.S. Secretary of State Powell and U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld for talks this week, the Kirishima, an Aegis destroyer, is headed for the Indian Ocean to add needed muscle to the war on terror in the region.
     The Japanese warship is considered one of the most sophisticated in the world; it is equipped with the Aegis computerized radar command system which can track and shoot down several aerial targets at once.
     Japan has been continually involved in Operation Enduring Freedom on the seas and in coalition services to rebuild Afghanistan. Prime Minister Koizumi told concerned families of sailors that the Krishima and other ships merely provide support for the international campaign against terrorism and will not take part in any attack against Iraq.
     Japan’s Defense Ministry said the call of Japan’s navy is going to work for international good. Vice Admiral Hiraku Katsuyama, Fleet commander-in-chief, told the crew, "This is an extremely important mission." (Full Story)

Intel: Iraqi Military not Eager to Engage U.S. Troops
WASHINGTON — According to U.S. intelligence assessments the Iraqi military is demoralized and not eager to engage American troops.
     "The Iraqis, across the board, have a serious morale problem. They are not eager to engage U.S.-led coalition forces in combat," a U.S. intelligence official said last week.
     The official is an expert on Iraqi military capabilities and spoke to reporters on the condition he not be identified by name. He said the Iraqi forces are generally not confident in their abilities. (Full Story)

Iraqi Declaration "Padded with Reams of Extraneous Material"
WASHINGTON — As discussions pick up on how to transfer sensitive US and British Intelligence to top UN officials, US Secretary of State Powell said that Iraq’s declaration that it has no weapons of mass destruction "totally fails" to meet the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.
     Powell indicated the United States would begin providing U.N. inspectors with intelligence information about suspected weapons sites and other support "that would perhaps make the inspection efforts more targeted and effective." (Full Story)

Danish Air Force F-16 Fighter Jet Crashed-Landed in Bagram
WASHINGTON — In Afghanistan, the dangers inherent in even routine military operations were highlighted when an F-16 fighter jet from the Danish air force crash-landed at Bagram Air Base. Defense officials reported the jet’s forward landing gear collapsed as the airplane set down.
     The plane overran the runway and came to a rest about 500 meters past the end of the runway in a minefield. The pilot was immediately transported to the U.S. Army hospital at Bagram, where he was held for observation. Officials had no other details on his condition or injuries. (Full Story)

Coalition Forces Drop Leaflets In Southern Iraq
MACDILL AFB, FL — For the eighth time in three months, coalition aircraft have dropped informational leaflets over southern Iraq.
     Coalition forces dropped leaflets over Al Amarah and over As Samawah. Al Amarah is approximately 165 miles southeast of Baghdad, and As Samawah is approximately 130 miles southeast of Baghdad. The Coalition dropped a total of 240,000 leaflets over both locations.
     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. (View Leaflet)

Russia, U.S., U.N. and EU Join on Security Talks for State of Israel
As war on Iraq becomes more inevitable each day, the tiny state of Israel–surrounded by Arab-Muslim nations–is preparing its people for possible missile strikes from Iraq. Security precautions are a part of daily life for families living in Israel, but defense concerns are heightened as the Iraqi situation heats up. In 1991, the US led Gulf War so angered Saddam, he launched a missile attack against Israel.
   Since that time Palestinian terror strikes intensified against Israeli families. Many children, pregnant women, husbands and fathers were killed or mutilated by Palestinian terrorist attacks. And now Israelis brace for Iraq.
   In Washington, the Quartet of leaders (Russia, EU, UN and US), concerned over the Middle East situation, met to discuss a road map to peace for Israel and the Palestinians. EU’s Danish Foreign Minister Moeller said, "What we are trying to do is to pave the way to the two states… I think it’s very important that Israel knows it will live there forever in security. But they can only have that security if they give a political solution to the Palestinians…"
     The meetings covered humanitarian efforts, health care for Palestinians and Israel’s protection from terror attacks."There are some keys to moving forward. All of us must work hard to fight against terror so that a few cannot deny the dreams of the many," said U.S. President Bush. (Read Quartet Joint Statement)

Personal Info Taken In Health Care Computer Theft
Thieves made off with computer equipment and files from the Arizona office of a military health care contractor Dec. 14, gaining access to some clients’ social security numbers, according to DoD’s health care management organization.
     The TRICARE Management Activity noted in a Dec. 23 news release that TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp., a TRICARE contractor, provides services to military members, their families and retirees living mostly in the central and western United States. (Full Story)

Troops in Afghanistan Report Several Incidents
American soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division on a routine patrol in Afghanistan Dec. 26 reported finding a site previously used to fire rockets at a U.S. base near Khowst, Defense Department officials said.
     The U.S. troops detained four individuals found in the area, two of whom were armed, a military spokesman in Bagram said today. (Full Story)

American Soldier Wounded in Firefight near Pakistan
WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2002 (AFPS)- An American soldier in Afghanistan was wounded by hostile fire Dec. 29.
The soldier was grazed by an AK-47 round during an exchange of gunfire near the border with Pakistan.
     U.S. officials evacuated the soldier to the medical facility at Bagram Air Base. He was treated and transferred to the U.S. medical center at Landstuhl, Germany.
     Another U.S. soldier was taken to Landstuhl on Dec. 28. That soldier was wounded in an apparent accidental shooting at Kandahar airfield on Saturday. His condition is listed as "very serious," said U.S. Central Command officials.
     Neither soldier has been identified, and officials are investigating both incidents.

Powell Says U.S., Allies Trying for Sense from North Korea
North Korea’s move to build nuclear weapons is "a matter of great concern" to the United States and that "all options are open," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Dec. 29.
     Powell said the United States wants to ensure the international community recognizes that North Korea has violated the 1994 Agreed Framework that bans the country from building atomic weapons. (Full Story)

IDF Provides Protection For Worshippers
Redeploying at checkpoints outside of Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers have temporarily removed themselves from the town’s scenery in a show of respect to Christian pilgrims celebrating the Christmas holy day. Captain Jacob Dallal told the media that he and fellow troops "would like to be completely out of there, but if we are not there, then the buses will explode in Jerusalem.”
Since the 1995 withdraw of troops in Bethlehem, due to the signing of the Oslo 2 Accords, there has been no real Israeli control over the town. But due to the recent Palestinian terrorist attack that killed innocent children on their way to school in Jerusalem, Israeli officials feel that it is important to have a watchful eye on the area where the Palestinian homicide bomber had lived. (Full Story)

Security No Easy Task For Company D
BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Half of their job is security. The other is isolation.
     “There’s also a lot of ‘go chase these people around,’” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Weaver, platoon sergeant.
     Weaver is with Company D, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, N.C., which provides protection for the rest of the battalion.
     “Our first mission was in Deh Rawod,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mike Jarvey, platoon sergeant. “It was a fact-finding mission. We escorted Afghan officials and Special Forces teams. We took them around for five days.” (Full Story)

Terrorists Disguised as Soldiers Slay Students in School Kitchen
A seventeen-year-old boy was murdered in his school’s kitchen by terrorists who broke into the school and opened fire on the unsuspecting students as they were preparing for the evening prayer dinner.
     MFA reports that around 7:30 P.M. Friday, two terrorists from the nearby village of Dura in the Hebron area infiltrated Otniel, Israel by cutting the protective fence and sneaking in unnoticed.
     Heavily armed with M-16 rifles, ammunition and hand grenades, the terrorists cleverly disguised as soldiers stormed the quiet traditional religious school for bible studies (a yeshiva). (Full Story)

Russia, Chechnya, and the French Connection
The rescue operation at the site of the terrorist attack at Grozny is over, say officials, and now they are in the process of clearing away the debris.
     However, the investigation into identifying and locating each of the organizers and participants of the terror attack has just begun and plans to be aggressive.
     Information released Monday reveals that many more deaths may have occurred if not for the quick action of servicemen posted to guard the Grozny building. (Full Story)