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Volume 18, Number 22, May 26, 2004
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Today another warning of terrorist attacks in North America was issued by officials in Washington. The context of the new warning is along the lines of the Madrid attacks and foretells of Al Qaeda aims to tamper with U.S. election proceedings. How U.S. elections would be impacted is something no one is willing to predict.
The Wednesday Report's analysts gave that same warning over a month ago.
Jihadist's aims are unclear.
It is a certainty that operatives are already installed in North America including at least one Montreal man, and their plans and logistics are apparently completed.
Two main events this coming weekend are drawing security attention including the opening of the new World War II memorial in Washington DC and the commissioning of the U.S. Navy's 42nd Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer at Pascagoula, Mississippi.
While many persons in the United States and around the world are speculating that today's warnings are some kind of political ploy by the Bush Administration, others, especially within the security community are quite worried.
Our suggestion is that:
Mike O'Brien, Editor
Another Terrorist Warning
Two of the United States' top law enforcement officials today asked for help from U.S. state and local police and the American public to stop a potential terror attack on the United States expected this summer or fall.
"Credible intelligence", U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft told reporters at FBI headquarters here, "indicates that al Qaeda plans to attempt an attack on the United States in the next few months." FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III accompanied Ashcroft at the news conference.
"The terrorists", Ashcroft said, intend "to hit the United States hard."
Al Qaeda has publicly telegraphed its plans to strike America again soon, Ashcroft pointed out. After the March 11 commuter train bombings in Madrid, Spain, Ashcroft noted, an al Qaeda spokesman announced that 90 percent of the arrangements for another attack in the United States were complete.
The Madrid terror bombings killed more than 200 people and wounded more than 1,500. Newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero responded by vowing to pull out the 1,300 Spanish soldiers assisting U.S. and coalition efforts in Iraq. Those troops recently left Iraq.
"The Madrid railway bombings were perceived by Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda to have advanced their cause," Ashcroft explained. And, he noted, "al Qaeda may perceive that a large-scale attack in the United States this summer or fall would lead to similar consequences."
In coming months, the terrorists may elect to strike at the G-8 summit conference in Georgia, Ashcroft pointed out, or the Democratic and Republican conventions held in Boston and New York City, respectively.
Ashcroft said U.S. federal law enforcement authorities "are seeking help from the American people" to be watchful for suspicious people and activities. He pointed to photographs of seven wanted individuals associated with al Qaeda who are capable of conducting terror attacks in the U.S.
"They all are sought in connection with possible terrorist threats in the United States" and "pose a clear and present danger to America," the attorney general emphasized.
The suspected terrorists speak English and should be considered armed and dangerous, Ashcroft said. Among them, he noted, Adnan Shukrijumah had once lived in the United States "for years." Aafic Siddiqui, he added, is a woman who studied in the Boston area.
Recent intelligence, Ashcroft said, shows al Qaeda is seeking recruits who look like Europeans.
Citizens who witness suspicious activity, Ashcroft said, should report it to their local police or sheriff's departments or the FBI.
To confront this danger, Ashcroft said the FBI has created a 2004 threat task force "to focus on this developing threat over this summer and fall period." The task force, he added, will coordinate gathered intelligence, analysis and field operations.
"We seek unprecedented levels of cooperation with (U.S.) state and local law enforcement in collecting intelligence to enable America's entire terror- fighting apparatus to act decisively to disrupt any al Qaeda presence in the United States," Ashcroft said. Federal authorities, he pointed out, would share information with state and local law enforcement.
Mueller noted that terrorists also could target Fourth of July celebrations, as well as the November presidential election.
Ashcroft and Mueller both noted that U.S. officials don't have information pointing to a specific place or time of attack on the United States. However, "in light of the March terrorist bombings in Madrid, we must be prepared for any plans to launch attacks in the next several months," Mueller emphasized.
Boeing 7E7 In Advanced Wind Tunnel Phase
Boeing is proceeding with the second round of wind tunnel tests for its all-new 7E7 Dreamliner at four locations around the world as it works toward finalizing the passenger airplane's configuration early next year.
In addition to its own high-speed facility in Seattle, Boeing is using the QinetiQ low-speed wind tunnel in Farnborough, England; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames facility in Mountain View, California; and the University of Washington low-speed wind tunnel, also in Seattle.
"No one in the world does advanced aerodynamics as well as Boeing", said Chief Project Engineer Tom Cogan. "It is a core competency that allows us to create the airplanes that our customers want.
Boeing has refined its computational fluid dynamics methods since designing its 777 airplane during the early 1990s, allowing designers to optimize an aircraft's shape to achieve the highest efficiency.
In the past, Boeing has taken as many as 60 wing designs into wind tunnels for testing. For the 7E7, it will take fewer than a dozen.
"We are more efficient throughout the design effort", said Cogan. "It's another way we are controlling costs. We continue to find that our computation fluid dynamics (CFD) programs are extremely accurate in predicting the performance of our design.
Advanced aerodynamics is one of four characteristics contributing to the 7E7's dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency. The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel per passenger as compared to other airplanes in its class.
In addition to improving airplane performance and team efficiency, computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel testing contribute to safety, the ultimate design goal.
More than 15,000 hours of wind tunnel time will be logged to develop the 7E7.
Career Afghan Soldier, Lt. Ahamd, Earns His Pay
Staff Sgt. Kelly McCargo
Very little was routine for the first of 16 Afghan National Army battalions to be operationally fielded throughout southern Afghanistan during the unit's recent 52-day "force presence" patrol.
The 1st Commando Battalion of the 3rd Brigade Quick Reaction Force was attacked on three separate occasions, and on the morning of March 13, an ANA second lieutenant showed his coalition force allies what the ANA is capable of doing.
"Second Lieutenant Nasir Ahamd is a young and aggressive lieutenant from Panshir, and like many soldiers, he joined the army out of patriotism and love for his country," said Marine Capt. Eric Hansen, embedded Marine combat trainer. "Lieutenant Nasir volunteered for the Commando Battalion after graduating the Officers Course at the Kabul Military Training Center. He was flown to Kandahar to join our battalion as we were conducting our missions."
With little formality or fanfare, the 21-year-old officer was assigned to 3rd Company as platoon leader for the 3rd platoon. That same morning, the company was given a mission to establish a blocking position in the Bari Samighar region to prevent enemy forces from escaping the coalition's main attack force in an attack that would be conducted later that day, said Hansen.
"We were stationed at Shygeen (in) the Zabul province, and at 3 a.m. our mission started," said Nasir through an interpreter. "At 6 a.m., we started our trip through the valley; there were about eight ANA soldiers including myself, and six American soldiers from the Special Forces.
"After walking for a while, we saw a place that seemed like a lurking place for the Taliban," he continued. "Two people came out, and as they saw us, they ran. We called out to them to 'stop and surrender' and they didn't reply."
Unsure at the time if the two men were hostile insurgents, Nasir told his men to hold their fire. His team cautiously advanced with the intent of capturing the men.
"We didn't think anyone else was there, so we started getting closer and then people started shooting at us," Nasir said. He and his team quickly pulled back and took cover from the hail of gunfire that confirmed the Taliban's identity.
"I (lined) my soldiers across the valley, and we returned fire," he said. "We fired six (rocket-propelled grenades) into the compound, but the Taliban still resisted." In the valley below, 20 Taliban insurgents could be seen attempting to reorganize, said Hansen.
Without hesitation, Nasir led his team down the steep ridgeline in pursuit of the enemy. "At the bottom of the slope, Lieutenant Nasir was confronted by a smaller group of Taliban armed with AK-47s and an RPG 7," Hansen said. "Nasir shot one of them, and the others started running up the next hill."
Nasir charged after them, shouting encouragement to his men, heedless of the enemy fire around him, and his men followed, Hansen said.
The assault was going according to the officer's textbook until Nasir's weapon became inoperable, Nasir said.
"When my weapon stopped firing, I became very surprised, then upset," he said. "I asked myself, 'What do I do now?' There were no interpreters to explain this situation to the Americans."
So Nasir said he took the only acceptable course for an officer -- to continue to lead his men forward.
"We continued going, and when we came within 10 meters of the Taliban, a Special Forces soldier saw me without a weapon, and he gave me a gun," he said with a relieved sigh. "Finally, I became equipped again."
The enemy ran further into the valley to regroup, but the ANA soldiers still pursued them up the rocky hillside. "A Taliban (insurgent) popped up from the rocks and sighted in on the ANA soldiers, but again Nasir was faster," said Hansen.
Nasir killed the enemy insurgent with the borrowed 9 mm pistol. He continued the chase up and down the ridgelines, hunting down the enemy, Hansen said. "When I conquered the enemy, I took his weapon," said Nasir.
Never giving up or slowing the attack, Nasir pressed until the evening, denying the insurgents an opportunity to regroup or outflank his men, Hansen said.
"At 4 p.m., our operation was finished," Nasir said. "My companion soldiers were very brave and energetic, and they are very eager to bring peace and stability to the area and to Afghanistan." The day ended with three dead Taliban fighters and five prisoners. The company confiscated several AK-47s, RPGs and a motorcycle.
"Nasir's leadership and bravery under fire greatly inspired his men, and it contributed to the success of the Commando Battalion and the entire Afghan National Army," Hansen said. "He's one of the many incredible young men serving to protect and defend Afghanistan."
A career soldier who supports 10 family members, Nasir said he wants eventually to become a high-ranking officer in the ANA.
"One day I want the ANA to become very powerful -- a strong army able to defend every province in the country and not allow any foreign invaders to use our country again," Nasir said.
British Colombia's Avcorp Grows Employment
Avcorp Industries Inc. (AVP on the Toronto Stock
Exchange) has announced that it has signed a new agreement with
Bombardier which is expected to double the Company's production
of horizontal stabilizers for the CRJ200 Series regional jet and
the Challenger 604 business jet by sole-sourcing instead of
dual-sourcing. Avcorp has manufactured over 1,000 units since the
beginning of the highly successful Bombardier regional and
business jet programs.
Arleigh Burke-class #42 Commissions Saturday
The newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Pinckney (DDG 91) will be commissioned on Saturday, May 29, 2004, during an 11 a.m. PDT ceremony at the Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif.
The ship honors Navy Cook First Class William Pinckney, (1915-1975), recipient of the (U.S.) Navy Cross for his courageous rescue of a fellow crewmember onboard the USS Enterprise (CV 6) during the World War II Battle of Santa Cruz. When an explosion killed four of the six men at his battle station in an ammunition handling room, Pinckney and the other surviving sailor attempted to exit through a hatch to the hangar deck above. When the other man grasped the scorching hatch, he fell back unconscious. Despite the suffocating smoke, flames, and gasoline fumes surrounding him, Pinckney carried the sailor to safety. For his selfless heroism, Pinckney was awarded the Navy Cross.
The Honourable John J. Young, Jr., assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy for research, development and acquisition, will deliver the ceremony's principal address.
Henrietta Middleton Pinckney will serve as sponsor for the ship named for her husband. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Pinckney will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
Pinckney is the 41st ship of a planned production run of 62 vessels and will be homeported in San Diego, Calif.
Pinckney was built at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula, Miss. The 9,300-ton ship is 509.5 feet in length, an overall beam of 66.5 feet, and a navigational draft of 31.9 feet. Four gas turbine propulsion plants will power the ship to speeds above 30 knots.
New WW II Memorial Opens in "The Mall" - Washington DC
When organizers first proposed placing the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall, critics complained.
They said the memorial would spoil the ambience of the National Mall.
Proponents of the memorial countered that the site between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument emphasized the crucial role World War II has had in shaping the United States and the world. It's hard to argue with their logic.
The proponents won that argument, and the monument on the National Mall will be dedicated May 29.
The memorial honors the more than 16 million Americans who served during the war. It also recognizes the sacrifice of more than 400,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, Coast Guardsmen and members of the Merchant Marine who died in that conflict.
World War II was the central facet of the 20th century. The war proved once and for all that democracies could stand up to totalitarian regimes. As with totalitarians before and since, Hitler and his Axis partners were wrong in their assessment of the United States.
The United States did unite during the war. Americans volunteered for service in the military. Millions swarmed production plants and churned out the tools of war. People endured rationing and collected scrap metal to build weapons.
It was total war, and the total population had to participate with unseen results.
Millions of women moved into the work force. "Rosie the Riveter" gave impetus to the push for women's rights.
World War II saw the rise of science. It changed the way Americans live. Radar came out of the labs to the battlefield. Instant coffee, Teflon, jet aircraft and rockets are just a few of the technologies that came out of World War II labs.
In a mixed blessing, labs also produced atomic weapons and atomic energy.
The war hastened the destruction of the colonial system in the world. In Asia and Africa, people saw the great empires humbled, and that encouraged their nationalist aspirations.
In the United States, a lasting effect of the war was the G.I. Bill. American service members came back from war and used this piece of legislation to get educations and buy homes. The middle class grew by leaps and bounds in the post-war years. Millions of Americans who had no chance before the war of attaining a college degree could get one. And that alone has changed the face of the United States.
Two superpowers emerged from World War II: the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That rivalry shaped the world through the early 1990s. In fact, some historians said the fall of the Soviet empire really signaled the end of the post-World War II era.
Before the war, Americans felt safe behind the moats of the Atlantic and Pacific. The United States did not need allies to defend Fortress America. After the war, Americans felt the moat had shrunk, and most realized that the United States had to remain a player on the world stage. Americans supported the United Nations and many other international organizations.
NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw has called those who fought in World War II "the Greatest Generation." Their memorial deserves its central place in Washington, because their sacrifices have been central to the world we have today.
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