A roundup of other news

A roundup of other news

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

Some stories you may not have seen…

Hijackers left no trail

FBI chief Robert Mueller, speaking in San Franciso recently, seemed surprised that the Sept. 11 hijackers left no paper trail. He told the Commonwealth Club: “In our investigation we have not uncovered a single piece of paper—either here in the United States or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere—that mentioned any aspect of the Sept. 11 plot.”

The Washington Post reported law enforcement officials said that while they’ve been able to track the movements of the alleged hijackers before the attacks, they have found no evidence of an actual conspiracy. – The Washington Post

Taliban regrouping

A Taliban intelligence official, now in hiding, told a Pakistani publication the guerrilla force is regrouping in the mountains of Afghanistan and biding its time. Obeidullah said: “We are not unhappy, afraid or finished. We are just waiting, gathering our strength.”

He said the step was taken on orders of Mohammed Omar, leader of the Taliban. Obeidullah said Omar is safe in Afghanistan. As for Osama bin Laden, he said: he “could be anywhere.” He said senior members of the Taliban and al Qaeda move freely in Afghanistan despite the six-month conflict with the U.S. and its allies.

“There aren’t just 100 or 200 of us—there are thousands,” Obeidullah said, (and) we know how to fight a guerrilla war. We will give this government time to show the people how they aren’t able to govern, then we will show our face more and more.” – Houston Chronicle

U.S. troops threatened

Islamic clerics in tribal areas of Pakistan are threatening to attack U.S. troops who are conducting secret operations in that country in an effort to track down al-Qaeda commanders.

U.S. and Pakistani troops in the past month launched a raid in rural Pakistan near the border town of Miram Shah. They assaulted a madrassah, a religious school, owned by a former Taliban minister who is high on the U.S. “most wanted” list. The attack enraged tribal elders who vowed they will not permit any American or Pakistani soldiers to enter one of their seminaries.

Pakistan’s ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declared only Pakistani forces will be allowed to operate inside his country, despite the reputed presence of a large, heavily armed American force there. – Fort Worth Star Telegram

U.S. rejects war crimes treaty

America has backed away from participation in the first permanent war crimes tribunal. Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper announced the decision in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Prosper said the United States will not ratify the treaty. It was signed by former President Clinton but never presented to the Congress for ratification.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., was dismayed by the action. “Beyond the extremely problematic matter of casting doubt on the U.S. commitment to international justice and accountability,” Feingold said, “these steps actually call into question our country’s credibility in all multilateral endeavors.” – Associated Press

General asks retirement

Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, a key figure in the Pentagon’s operations of the war on terror, is calling it quits. Gen. Newbold was chastised by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld after he said the Taliban’s combat power had been mostly destroyed.

“It’s a square hole, and I am a round peg,” Newbold said. The 53-year-old general said he was leaving his post as director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He did not mention Rumsfeld, but other sources said he had tired of the secretary’s tough-guy style.

Newbold said: “I’m looking forward to a job that doesn’t have the intensity and lack the quality of life that this one has.” – London Telegraph

N Y nuke scare hidden

Time magazine reported last month that senior U.S. officials were informed a month after the Sept. 11 attacks that terrorists had gotten a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb and planned to smuggle it into New York City.

The magazine said the information was kept from most top U.S. officials and from New York City officials as well. It corresponded with reports that nuclear devices had turned up missing from Russia’s arsenal during the 1990s. A 10 kiloton bomb, set off in lower Manhattan, could kill 100,000 civilians and contaminate 700,000 more with radiation. It would level everything within a half-mile radius.

Investigation turned up no evidence of such a bomb or such a plot and the report was discounted. – Agencie France Presse

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