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Alice In Wonderland and the WTC

letter sent by <TJJJJM@aol.com>

Editors Note: The best I can tell this is a real and true story. Attempts to contact the author of this letter is still being attempted. His name is Adam Mayblum, and he has one hell of a story to tell.

A Survivor's Story:

My name is Adam Mayblum. I am alive today. I am committing this to "paper" so I never forget. SO WE NEVER FORGET. I am sure that this is one of thousands of stories that will emerge over the next several days and weeks.

I arrived as usual a little before 8am. My office was on the 87th floor of 1 World Trade Center, AKA: Tower 1, AKA: the  North Tower. Most of my associates were in by 8:30m. We were standing around, joking around, eating breakfast, checking emails, and getting set for the day when the first plane hit just a few stories above us. I must stress that we did not know that it was a plane. The building lurched violently and shook as if it were an earthquake. People screamed. I watched out my window as the building seemed to move 10 to 20 feet in each direction. It rumbled and shook long enough for me to get my wits about myself and grab a co-worker and seek shelter under a doorway. Light fixtures and parts of the ceiling collapsed. The kitchen was destroyed. We were certain that it was a bomb. We looked out the windows. Reams of paper were flying everywhere, like a ticker tape parade. I looked down at the street. I could see people in Battery Park City looking up. Smoke started billowing in through the holes in the ceiling. I believe that there were 13 of us.

We did not panic. I can only assume that we thought that the worst was over. The building was standing and we were shaken but alive. We checked the halls. The smoke was thick and white and did not smell like I imagined smoke should smell. Not like your BBQ or your fireplace or even a bonfire. The phones were working. My wife had taken our 9 month old for his check up. I called my nanny at home and told her to page my wife, tell her that a bomb went off, I was ok, and on my way out. I grabbed my laptop. Took off my tee shirt and ripped it into 3 pieces. Soaked it in water. Gave 2 pieces to my friends. Tied my piece around my face to act as an air filter. And we all started moving to the staircase. One of my dearest friends said that he was staying until the police or firemen came to get him. In the halls there were tiny fires and sparks. The ceiling had collapsed in the men's bathroom. It was gone along with anyone who may have been in there. We did not go in to look. We missed the staircase on the first run and had to double back. Once in the staircase we picked up fire extinguishers just in case. On the 85th floor a brave associate of mine and I headed back up to our office to drag out my partner who stayed behind. There was no air, just white smoke. We made the rounds through the office calling his name. No response. He must have succumbed to the smoke. We left defeated in our efforts and made our way back to the stairwell. We proceeded to the 78th floor where we had to change over to a different stairwell. 78 is the main junction to switch to the upper floors. I expected to see more people. There were some 50 to 60 more. Not enough. Wires and fires all over the place. Smoke too. A brave man was fighting a fire with the emergency hose. I stopped with to friends to make sure that everyone from our office was accounted for. We ushered them and confused people into the stairwell. In retrospect, I recall seeing Harry, my head trader, doing the same several yards behind me. I am only 35. I have known him for over 14 years. I headed into the stairwell with 2 friends.

We were moving down very orderly in Stair Case A. very slowly. No panic. At least not overt panic. My legs could not stop shaking. My heart was pounding. Some nervous jokes and laughter. I made a crack about ruining a brand new pair of Merrells. Even still, they were right, my feet felt great. We all laughed. We checked our cell phones. Surprisingly, there was a very good signal, but the Sprint network was jammed. I heard that the Blackberry 2 way email devices worked perfectly. On the phones, 1 out of 20 dial attempts got through. I knew I could not reach my wife so I called my parents. I told them what happened and that we were all okay and on the way down. Soon, my sister in law reached me. I told her we were fine and moving down. I believe that was about the 65th floor. We were bored and nervous. I called my friend Angel in San Francisco. I knew he would be watching. He was amazed I was on the phone. He told me to get out that there was another plane on its way. I did not know what he was talking about. By now the second plane had struck Tower 2. We were so deep into the middle of our building that we did not hear or feel anything. We had no idea what was really going on. We kept making way for wounded to go down ahead of us. Not many of them, just a few. No one seemed seriously wounded. Just some cuts and scrapes. Everyone cooperated. Everyone was a hero yesterday. No questions asked. I had co-workers in another office on the 77th floor. I tried dozens of times to get them on their cell phones or office lines. It was futile. Later I found that they were alive. One of the many miracles on a day of tragedy.

On the 53rd floor we came across a very heavyset man sitting on the stairs. I asked if he needed help or was he just resting. He needed help. I knew I would have trouble carrying him because I have a very bad back. But my friend and I offered anyway. We told him he could lean on us. He hesitated, I don't know why. I said do you want to come or do you want us to send help for you. He chose for help. I told him he was on the 53rd floor in Stairwell A and that's what I would tell the rescue workers. He said okay and we  left.

On the 44th floor my phone rang again. It was my parents. They were hysterical. I said relax, I'm fine. My father said get out, there is third plane coming. I still did not understand. I was kind of angry. What did my parents think? Like I needed some other reason to get going? I couldn't move the thousand people in front of me any faster. I know they love me, but no one inside understood what the situation really was. My parents did. Starting around this floor the firemen, policemen, WTC K-9 units without the dogs, anyone with a badge, started coming up as we were heading down. I stopped a lot of them and told them about the man on 53 and my friend on 87. I later felt terrible about this. They headed up to find those people and met death instead.

On the 33rd floor I spoke with a man who somehow new most of the details. He said 2 small planes hit the building. Now we all started talking about which terrorist group it was. Was it an internal organization or an external one? The overwhelming but uninformed opinion was Islamic Fanatics. Regardless, we now knew that it was not a bomb and there were potentially more planes coming. We understood.

On the 3r floor the lights went out and we heard & felt this rumbling coming towards us from above. I thought the staircase was collapsing upon itself. It was 10am now and that was Tower 2 collapsing next door. We did not know that. Someone had a flashlight. We passed it forward and left the stairwell and headed down a dark and cramped corridor to an exit. We could not see at all. I recommended that everyone place a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them and call out if they hit an obstacle so others would know to avoid it. They did. It worked perfectly. We reached another stairwell and saw a female officer emerge soaking wet and covered in soot. She said we could not go that way it was blocked. Go up to 4 and use the other exit. Just as we started up she said it was ok to go down instead. There was water everywhere. I called out for hands on shoulders again and she said that was a great idea. She stayed behind instructing people to do that. I do not know what happened to her.

We emerged into an enormous room. It was light but filled with smoke. I commented to a friend that it must be under  construction. Then we realized where we were. It was the second floor. The one that overlooks the lobby. We were ushered out into the courtyard, the one where the fountain used to be. My first thought was of a TV movie I saw once about nuclear winter and fallout. I could not understand where all of the debris came from. There was at least five inches of this gray pasty dusty drywall soot on the ground as well as a thickness of it in the air. Twisted steel and wires. I heard there were bodies and body parts as well, but I did not look. It was bad enough. We hid under the remaining overhangs and moved out to the street. We were told to keep walking towards Houston Street. The odd thing is that there were very few rescue workers around. Less than five. They all must have been trapped under the debris when Tower 2 fell. We did not know that and could not understand where all of that debris came from. It was just my friend Kern and I now. We were hugging but sad. We felt certain that most of our friends ahead of us died and we knew no one behind us.

We came upon a post office several blocks away. We stopped and looked up. Our building, exactly where our office is (was), was engulfed in flame and smoke. A postal worker said that Tower 2 had fallen down. I looked again and sure enough it was gone. My heart was racing. We kept trying to call our families. I could not get in touch with my wife. Finally I got through to my parents. Relived is not the word to explain their feelings. They got through to my wife, thank G-d and let her know I was alive. We sat down. A girl on a bike offered us some water. Just as she took the cap off her bottle we heard a rumble. We looked up and our building, Tower 1 collapsed. I did not note the time but I am told it was 10:30am. We had been out less than 15 minutes.

We were mourning our lost friends, particularly the one who stayed in the office as we were now sure that he had perished. We started walking towards Union Square. I was going to Beth Israel Medical Center to be looked at. We stopped to hear the President speaking on the radio. My phone rang. It was my wife. I think I fell to my knees crying when I heard her voice. Then she told me the most incredible thing. My partner who had stayed behind called her. He was alive and well. I guess we just lost him in the commotion. We started jumping and hugging and shouting. I told my wife that my brother had arranged for a hotel in midtown. He can be very resourceful in that way. I told her I would call her from there. My brother and I managed to get a gypsy cab to take us home to Westchester instead. I cried on my son and held my wife until I fell asleep.

As it turns out my partner, the one who I thought had stayed behind was behind us with Harry Ramos, our head trader. This is now second hand information. They came upon Victor, the heavyset man  on the 53rd floor. They helped him. He could barely move. My partner bravely/stupidly tested the elevator on the 52nd floor. He rode it down to the sky lobby on 44. The doors opened, it was fine. He rode it back up and got Harry and Victor. I don't yet know if anyone else joined them. Once on 44 they made their way back into the stairwell. Someplace around the 39th to 36th floors they felt the same rumble I felt on the 3rd floor. It was 10am and Tower 2 was coming down. They had about 30 minutes to get out. Victor said he could no longer move. They offered to have him lead on them. He said he couldn't do it. My partner hollered at him to sit on his butt and schooch down the steps. He said he was not capable of doing it. Harry told my partner to go ahead of them. Harry had once had a heart attack and was worried about this mans heart. It was his nature to be this way. He was/is one of the kindest people I know. He would not leave a man behind. My partner went ahead and made it out. He said he was out maybe 10 minutes  before the building came down. This means that Harry had maybe 25 minutes to move Victor 36 floors. I guess they moved 1 floor every 1.5 minutes. Just a guess. This means Harry wad around the 20th floor when the building collapsed.

As of now 12 of 13 people are accounted for. As of 6pm yesterday his wife had not heard from him. I fear that Harry is lost. However, a short while ago I heard that he may be alive. Apparently there is a web site with survivor names on it and his name appears there. Unfortunately, Ramos is not an uncommon name in New York. Pray for him and all those like him.

With regards to the firemen heading upstairs, I realize that they were going up anyway. But, it hurts to know that I may have made them move quicker to find my friend. Rationally, I know this is not true and that I am not the responsible one. The responsible ones are in hiding somewhere on this planet and damn them for making me feel like this. But they should know that they failed in terrorizing us. We were calm. Those men and women that went up were heroes in the face of it all. They must have known what was going on and they did their jobs. Ordinary people were heroes too. Today the images that people around the world equate with power and democracy are gone but "America" is not an image it is a concept. That concept is only strengthened by our pulling together as a team. If you want to kill us, leave us alone because we will do it by ourselves. If you want to make us stronger, attack and we unite. This is the ultimate failure of terrorism against The United States and the ultimate price we pay to be free, to decide where we want to work, what we want to eat, and when & where we want to go on vacation. The very moment the first plane was hijacked, democracy won.

Wednesday September 19, 01:05 AM

Taliban concedes bin Laden may be involved

By Michael Arkus and Jeff Franks

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Afghanistan's ruling Taliban has conceded for the first time that Osama bin Laden could have been involved in attacks on the United States, while in Washington President George W. Bush portrayed America as the "home front" in a war against terrorism.

"Anyone who is responsible for this act, Osama or not, we will not side with him," Information Minister Qudrutullah Jamal told Reuters in Islamabad by telephone from Kabul.

But he said bin Laden's involvement in the attacks by hijacked airliners that slammed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon must be proved before the Saudi-born exile could be handed over, and then only for trial in a third country.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in Washington that providing proof could be a problem because of the need to protect intelligence sources.

"To the extent you compromise a source or a method of gathering information, you have damaged yourself," he said. Rumsfeld also suggested that one or more nations provided support for the hijackers, but would not reveal more.

A week after the attacks, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the chances of finding any of the 5,422 people still missing in the rubble of the World Trade Centre were "very, very small."

Many Americans, led by Bush, who has vowed stern retaliation against any state harboring those responsible, observed a moment of silence at 8:48 a.m. (1248 GMT), exactly one week after the first of two planes slammed into the World Trade Centre.

In a speech in the White House Rose Garden, he kept up the nation-at-war theme he began last week by appealing for disaster-relief donations to bolster the "home front."

"Our compassion and generous citizens have led the first phase in the war on terrorism. They have sustained and strengthened the home front," Bush said.

In New York, local radio and television stations stopped regular programming to play the national anthem, the sound of tolling bells or somber music, marking the minute when the city's skyline and psyche were forever changed.

After a massive sell-off on Monday when markets opened for the first time since the attacks, U.S. stocks wobbled and finally fell again on Tuesday as investors worried that the already troubled economy could go into a tailspin.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 17.30 points, 0.19 percent to 8,903.40, its lowest close since December 1998. The NASDAQ Composite Index dropped 24.27 points, or 1.55 percent to 1,555.08, its lowest close since October 1998.

Caution persisted in world markets as many financiers worried that a U.S. campaign against global terror could hit buying power worldwide.

Executives from U.S. airlines, whose shares plummeted worst of all on Monday, met with Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta on Tuesday in hopes of getting a $24 billion government bailout. The airlines were stung by a two-day shutdown of the national air system after the attacks and now are being hit by heavy airport security and a widespread fear of flying.

Mineta said the Bush administration hoped to have an airline bailout proposal ready by early next week.

U.S. investigators expanded to more than 190 the number of people they want to question in connection with the attacks and are investigating if any of the 75 now in custody may have planned other hijackings.

U.S. sources told Reuters that the United States is looking into possible links between one of the attack suspects and an Iraqi intelligence official with whom he met earlier this year in Europe. U.S. officials have named 19 men they say used knives and box cutters to hijack the four commercial airliners.


While Bush sought to build a strong international coalition for a possible attack on Afghanistan, which calls bin Laden a "guest," some world leaders who condemned the attacks sounded alarm bells at the prospect of American military strikes.

Washington's NATO allies have generally voiced full support for a war on terrorism, but German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer also warned: "We need to react with a cool head."

Chinese state media quoted President Jiang Zemin as saying U.N. approval and "irrefutable evidence" were needed for China to back armed retaliation. China also said the United States should not harm innocent people and must respect international law.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose country is an important U.S. ally in the Middle East, said the United States must think twice before taking action that would kill civilians.

But Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar on Tuesday called for Europe's unequivocal support for the United States and Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said he stood with the United States in what he called "a very special war." To underscore his support, Cardoso became his nation's first president ever to visit the U.S. Embassy in Brazil.

In a visit to Washington on Tuesday, French President Jacques Chirac promised to work in "complete solidarity" with the United States, but stopped short of calling the attacks "war."

Bangladesh, a major Muslim nation in the region, said the United States could use its airspace and other facilities if it decided to launch a military offensive.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was to address the nation on Wednesday as anxiety grew over expected U.S. attacks on neighboring Afghanistan.

A U.S. interagency team was expected to visit Pakistan this week to discuss specific ways in which Islamabad could help the U.S. anti-terrorism effort, U.S. officials said.

Reports in Pakistani papers said the Taliban could be ready for negotiations.

The Taliban might be prepared to hand over bin Laden, who is reported to have denied any hand in the attacks, under certain conditions, according to the reports in the Nation and Jang newspapers. The reports could not be independently confirmed.

The conditions included the trial of bin Laden in a neutral Islamic country, the lifting of U.N. sanctions against the Taliban, economic assistance and suspension of foreign aid and military supplies to the Afghan opposition, said the reports.

A senior Afghan cleric also said the Taliban would launch a "jihad" or holy war against the United States if it attacked militarily, although officials of the Islamic movement quickly said the final decision lay with a council of clerics due to convene this week.


Governments around the world tightened security at borders, airports and military bases.

The U.N. General Assembly delayed indefinitely its annual debate of world leaders set to begin next week because of the strain on New York security services from the attacks.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank canceled their annual meetings, which were due to be held at the end of September in Washington, because of security concerns.

The toll in the World Trade Centre attack stood at 5,422 missing, with 218 confirmed dead, after six days of rescue efforts at the smoking ruins of the 110-story twin towers. Of the dead, only 152 have been identified.

A further 188 people died at the Pentagon, and 45 were killed in the crash of the fourth plane in Pennsylvania.

Calls indicate Flight 93 passengers went down fighting

September 19, 2001 Posted: 7:37 AM EDT

By Miles O'Brien

(CNN) -- Little more than an hour after United Airlines Flight 93 left Newark International Airport for San Francisco, California, the 757 reversed course and started heading toward Washington.

Passengers began making frantic phone calls home.

Passenger Jeremy Glick, 31, a 6-foot-1 judo champ, called his wife to tell her his plane had been hijacked. He said the hijackers had stabbed a flight attendant -- and to find out if what he had heard was true -- that another plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.

When she said yes, Glick put the phone down. When he came back on the line, he told her the male passengers had taken a vote to attack the hijackers.

Todd Beamer

Todd Beamer apparently was one of those male passengers who voted to attack. He used an air-phone to call a GTE supervisor who patched him through to the FBI.

Beamer told the FBI that one hijacker positioned in the rear of the plane claimed to have a bomb strapped to his body and that he -- Beamer -- and others were going to jump him.

He had the GTE supervisor promise to call his wife, Lisa, who was due with their third child in January. After Beamer put the phone down, the supervisor overheard him say, "Let's roll."

Passenger Tom Burnett, a 6-foot-2 former high school quarterback, was also apparently part of the group. He called his wife four times during the hijacking. On the last call, he told her the male passengers were getting ready to do something.

Deena Burnett

"He said, 'They've already knifed a guy; they're saying they have a bomb. Please call the authorities,' " said Deena Burnett.

The fourth member of the passenger revolt -- and there may have been others -- was Mark Bingham -- a 6-foot-5 rugby player. He was sitting in the first-class section of the plane with Tom Burnett and, it turns out, two of the hijackers.

Bingham called his mother to say goodbye.

"He said, 'I want you to know I love you very much, and I'm calling you from the plane. We've been taken over. There are three men who say they've got a bomb,' " said Alice Hoglan.

There's no way anyone can know what happened after the passengers decided to attack.

It is known that after the jet reversed course and started heading toward Washington, President Bush authorized U.S. fighter planes to shoot it down if it threatened the nation's capital.

It never got that far. Flight 93 crashed in western Pennsylvania in a field 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

N.Y. burn victims face long recovery

September 17, 2001 Posted: 1:05 PM EDT (1705 GMT)

Doctors treat one of the victims of Tuesday's attacks in New York.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Manu Dhingra survived the attack on the World Trade Center earlier this week, but Sunday, lying in a hospital bed, he faced a long, painful road to recovery.

Dhingra was engulfed in a fireball from the crash of one of the hijacked planes Tuesday and suffered burns over most of his body.

Like others who were severely burned by a fire sparked by the jet fuel as the crashed planes turned the buildings into infernos, he was just beginning his work day Tuesday on the 83rd floor of the north tower, the one that was struck first.

"All of a sudden, as I was walking down the hallway and I heard a door explode and this large ball of fire just engulfed me," he said from his hospital bed at the Cornell Burn Center where all those burned in the attack are being treated. "I just froze. I didn't do anything. I just stood there."

Dhingra was among thousands of people inside the twin towers when two hijacked airliners struck the buildings Tuesday. A third hijacked airliner heavily damaged the Pentagon. A fourth airliner crashed in a field in western Pennsylvania, apparently after a passenger revolt thwarted the hijackers.

Dhingra said after he realized he was burned he fell to the ground screaming, only to be helped from the building by another person.

"I don't know how, but I jumped up and started running downstairs," he said. "People were very nice. They saw that I was burned and let me go in front of them."

Ling Young said she believes she was the last person to escape the tower before it collapsed. She was trying to save her boss, who had suffered a broken leg in the attack.

Young said she was waiting to take an elevator down. When the doors opened, a fireball incinerated several people waiting to get on. She finally made her way to the stairs and out of the building.

"I hear myself saying, 'Let's go,'" she recounted tearfully. "After we turned the corner the whole building collapsed. I'm very, very lucky. But any of my friends still up on the 70th floor either got crushed or on their way down the stairs they never made it."

One of those who did not make it, Young said, was her boss.

Doctors at the burn center said many victims suffered from serious third-degree burns. Doctors told CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta that contact for just one second with something heated to 155 degrees will result in a third-degree burn.

"Doctors believed these balls of fire were up to 1,000 degrees, engulfing and literally incinerating people," Gupta said.

The burn victims now face a long and often excruciating recovery. The recovery period for burn patients is estimated as the same number of days as the percent of the body burned, Gupta said.

"So, for those that have 50 to 60 percent burns on their body, they'll probably be in the hospital for two months getting skin grafts, getting physical therapy," he said.

Although the physical wounds may heal in a few months, the psychological wounds may take much longer. Young is already wondering why she survived when so many other people did not.

"What I go through is nothing," she said, her voice choked with emotion. "It's the people I know who had young families. People who just got married and had young kids. I don't know how they're going to survive. I just don't."

FBI warns terrorists may steal fire trucks

September 18, 2001 Posted: 8:40 PM EDT (0040 GMT)

By Kelli Arena

CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI issued a warning to firefighters across the country Tuesday that terrorists could hijack their trucks and use them as bombs.

FBI warning said fire and emergency services vehicles could be stolen by terrorist groups and turned into rolling bombs aimed at military bases or other government installations.

The FBI asked fire departments to review the security of their stations and vehicles. If a vehicle is stolen, stations were asked to immediately notify the FBI.

The FBI did not say there was any specific and credible threat that caused it to issue the warning.

One official said the FBI is exercising "an abundance of caution" and is passing on all information it is gleaning from interviews and tips, "regardless of the reliability of the source."

Some firefighters told CNN their vehicles -- even those carrying patients -- have been stopped and searched upon entering medical facilities.

The warning was sent by the FBI to the National Volunteer Fire Council and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, which passed it on to local fire departments.

Wednesday, September 19 9:11 AM SGT

Nuclear plants at risk from airborne suicide bombers: IAEA

VIENNA, Sept 19 (AFP) -

Nuclear plants across the world are at risk from airborne suicide attacks similar to those which rocked the United States last week, International Atomic Energy Agency experts said.

There are dozens of different types of nuclear reactor in more than 400 plants worldwide, making them, as well as huge numbers of other targets, very difficult to protect.

That difficulty means the annual general assembly of the IAEA, being held in Vienna until Friday, is focused on the threat of nuclear proliferation rather than that of hypothetical terrorist attacks on nuclear plants.

"Electricity is a key element to the functioning of western societies. The West's reliance on electricity, much of it from nuclear sources, is such that a nuclear plant would be a potential weak point for terrorists to pick out," IAEA spokesman David Kyd said Tuesday.

The combination of the impact of a large jet of 200 tons or more with the detonation of the fuel, if it were tanked up like the planes which attacked New York and Washington last week, could damage a containment dome and a reactor to the extent of a nuclear catastrophe, according to Kyd.

But reactors are low bumps on the landscape which are difficult to find or reach between immense cooling towers which stand out, he said.

The impact of an attack on a nuclear plant would not be bigger than the bombing of an oil refinery, a chemical factory or a standard electricity plant, Kyd went on.

"But nuclear installations have a special mystique attached to them," he said.

All American nuclear plants, as well as reactors dedicated to research, have been put on maximum alert since the suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

But the 438 active nuclear plants throughout the world are difficult to protect, Kyd said.

There are dozens of different types of them. The United States, home to a quarter of the world's nuclear plants, has more than 20 models. Great Britain has half a dozen.

"I don't know what kind of reinforcement could give you a guarantee to withstand the impact," Kyd said.

During the Cold War, Germany built reinforced plants to protect against possible collisions with fighter planes because of the large number of NATO training flights that took place in its airspace. But while these reinforcements were deemed safe in the face of unarmed aircraft, their usefulness against fighter planes carrying live ammunition was questionable, a former NATO expert explained.

In spite of disaster scenarios, the American government has focused its reaction on the risks of proliferation and the hijacking of fissile materials, at the time of the IAEA general assembly's opening.

"We cannot assume that tomorrow's terrorist acts will mirror those we have just experienced," said US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

He asked the IAEA to increase its efforts to stop nuclear proliferation and the illicit trade in nuclear materials, which is seeing an upsurge.

Following a lull between 1995 and 1998, the IAEA has seized six loads of 0.4 to six grammes of uranium or enriched plutonium since the beginning of 1999 in the former Soviet republics and the Balkans.

It takes at least eight kilogrammes of plutonium or 25 kilogrammes of highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb, according to experts.

US 'lacks knowledge to launch land war'

By Ahmed Rashid in Lahore

(Filed: 19/09/2001)

AMERICAN military action against Afghanistan is unlikely to begin for another four to five weeks because of Washington's lack of knowledge and intelligence about the situation, Western sources said yesterday.

European diplomats with experience of the region are urging America to limit its military campaign and restrict the use of land forces to avoid getting them bogged down in Afghanistan.

"The US armed forces do not have a single soldier or officer who speaks Pushtu [the principal language of the Taliban]," said a senior Western military official.

"They will have to first hire hundreds of Pushtu speakers. That shows how much they lack on the ground for this upcoming battle in Afghanistan." Pushtu, or Pashto, is the language of the Pathans and of the Taliban, who come from southern Afghanistan.

Although the US army has people who speak Farsi, or Persian, is also extensively spoken in central and northern Afghanistan, bin Laden is hiding among Pushtu-speaking Afghans.

According to authoritative reports, before the current crisis the CIA had no agents on the ground inside Afghanistan, and the State Department has no high level contacts with the anti-Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan.

The lack of intelligence stems from Washington's decision effectively to ignore developments in Afghanistan from 1989 after Moscow withdrew its forces.

Its only major intelligence source is satellite imagery, which cannot clearly differentiate between Taliban and Arab fighters nor between fighters and civilians. America is expected therefore to rely on intelligence provided by Afghanistan's neighbours and other allies such as Britain which will take time to collate and evaluate.

The key to obtaining intelligence on Taliban and bin Laden troop movements and their whereabouts is the degree to which Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, which has been the principal backer of the Taliban, will co-operate with the CIA.

President Pervaiz Musharraf of Pakistan has pledged full co-operation, but with the lack of trust between the ISI and the CIA, Pakistan may well limit what it passes over.

European governments closely allied to America are trying to influence decision-making in the Pentagon to make Washington aware of the dangers of sending large numbers of ground forces into Afghanistan.

"The danger is that Washington may be in an overkill mode, without realising the complexities of Afghanistan and the potential to destabilise the region," said a European diplomat.

European defence experts and military attaches hope that America does not attempt an invasion of Afghanistan. British and Soviet invasions were defeated by Afghan guerrilla fighters in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Instead America is hoping to establish military bases in Pakistan and Central Asia. From there, special forces could attack specific targets inside Afghanistan, eliminate their opponents and then return to their bases after a few days.

US forces in Pakistan would be based along the border with Afghanistan in Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province, which is just 15 minutes' flying time for troop-carrying helicopters to reach many of bin Laden's bases.

US special forces rather than satellite imagery would be used inside Afghanistan to guide aerial and missile strikes, the main American weapon to break up Taliban and Arab groups.

The bulk of the war effort is expected to be directed at four provinces in southern Afghanistan - Kandahar, Helmand, Herat and Uruzgun - where the Taliban leadership and bin Laden will try to hide.

"There will be absolutely no point in bombing the cities because they will be evacuated by the time the war starts and the cities are pretty much devastated already," said a European official.

"The US may also try to capture an airfield inside Afghanistan and use it as a bridgehead for attacks in the interior of the country. But securing an airfield will mean committing some 20,000 troops just to guard the outer perimeter, which is high risk."

At the same time America will have to enlist Afghans, and arm and fund them to go after the Taliban in the ravines and valleys of the mountainous and desert terrain.

In northern Afghanistan the anti-Taliban United Front has already pledged 15,000 fighters to the US-led alliance. If it is given American air cover, its forces could quickly capture the major cities in the north.

However, its forces have little presence in the Pathan belt in the south and it is here that the main war will be fought.

Wednesday, September 19 7:41 AM SGT

Unprecedented use of DNA in identifying Twin Towers victims

NEW YORK, Sept 18 (AFP) -

Hundreds of grieving relatives stood Tuesday on a government line with toothbrushes, old worn shoes, hair brushes, and cigarette butts in hand, anything that might bear a trace of the DNA of their loved ones, who were buried in the World Trade Center's collapse.

"DNA: this is the end of my journey," said Robert Dorf, who lost his brother, Stephen, when two hijacked planes slammed into the center's twin towers September 11, destroying them.

"Now we have to wait for the detectives to call us."

Using DNA technology on an unprecedented scale, officials have begun what they say will be a long, hard campaign to identify the mangled remains of those entombed in the wreckage. Authorities fear more than 5,000 people are buried there.

"I don't think we're going to find bodies anymore," Robert Shaler, the director of the city's forensics labatory, told the local daily Newsday this week.

So far, the city has identified only 152 of the 218 bodies it has retrieved, and some say the process of uncovering the rest could last into next year.

"DNA will be needed with the body parts," said Michael Baden, chief forensic scientist for the New York State Police. "We've only seen the best bodies so far."

As they dig deeper, rescuers will mostly uncover body fragments -- a piece of a leg bone or a buttock -- which rule out traditional identification methods such as dental records, finger prints, or relatives making a visual identification.

The city is pinning its hopes on matching DNA extracted from the victim's remains with the dead's personal items or a family member's.

New York City, which has the largest forensics labatory in the country, could not handle so many cases alone.

"We've never had something like this before," Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for New York City medical examiner's office, told AFP.

In other high-profile disaster cases, authorities faced a much smaller toll. For example, the TWA flight 800 air crash off Long Island in 1996 killed just 230.

New York has already signed contracts with three corporations in an attempt to deal with the influx, Borakove said.

At 900 centers cross-country, the LabCorp company is accepting relatives' DNA specimens and items such as toothbrushes or dirty underwear.

Interpol, the international police agency, is opening stations in Europe to take DNA samples from relatives whose loved ones perished in the disaster, Borakove said.

New York has also signed contracts with the pioneering Celera Genomics Group, which mapped the entire human genome, and Myriad Genetics, Borakove said.

The city will be employing the two main methods of DNA testing to identify the victims. The more common is the STRI-13 technique, which matches 13 locations on a subset of the victim's chromosomes with DNA from an immediate family member or an item belonging to the victim.

The other is the mitochondrial technique, which matches chromsomes inherited from the victim's mother's side with a DNA specimen from a maternal relative or a personal item. It is most commonly used with the identification of 30- or 40-year-old war remains.

There are only around a dozen labs in the country that can handle mitochondrial testing, the best known being the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Maryland. New York's forensic lab is not one of them.

Celera has been contracted for some mitochondrial testing and Myriad for SRI-13 testing, Borakove said.

However, some experts caution against the hiring of private labs with little experience in forensics, although the city says the companies will only handle extracted DNA specimens.

"Most industrial labs are not used to getting a body part. Crime labs are used to getting compromised samples," said John Planz, associate director of the DNA Identity Labatory at the University of North Texas.

Regardless, the scale alone ensures a huge wait for the victims' families.

"This is a problem of epic proportions. You take a war. You may have 20,000 casualties over a five-year period. You can work things out as they are coming in. This kind of thing wham, bam, We're stuck with them all at once," Planz said.

"It'll be a long wait for these families before they know whether there are any retrievable remains from their loved ones."

Fears that jets carried another deadly cargo

By Ben Fenton in Washington

(Filed: 19/09/2001)

AS the dust started to settle after the destruction of the World Trade Centre's twin towers, the least-recognised of emergency workers were burrowing in the rubble with test tubes, not shovels.

Public health officials in New York and Washington DC had been alerted by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta that the hijacked aircraft may have been carrying a cargo even more deadly than thousands of gallons of aviation fuel.

They were looking for traces of smallpox, anthrax or other epidemic-causing diseases, perhaps packed in the luggage of the hijackers.

For years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which with America was the leading developer of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, there has been a growing fear of what terrorists could do with the planet's most terrifying technologies.

Urgent action by the Americans, working alongside British and other intelligence agencies, is believed to have reduced the chances of a terrorist obtaining the machinery and material necessary to produce a nuclear weapon, although the programmes of rogue states such as Iraq and North Korea remain a significant threat.

But much more worrying to many scientists and defence experts in America is the threat from "bio-terror", the spreading of lethal diseases through the air or in water supplies.

The diseases usually mentioned are anthrax, which is widely available but very hard to keep alive as a "useful" biological warfare agent; smallpox, which is a tougher germ, but hard to obtain; and one or other of the most virulent forms of plague, which is relatively easy to cure with antibiotics once detected.

Smallpox is probably top of the list because of reports that the former Soviet Union had developed techniques to keep the germ alive in an aerosol form that would resist destruction by fire or explosion.

Western populations today, unlike previous generations, are not widely inoculated against the disease because it is supposed to be extinct, except for those phials of smallpox that America and Russia kept for "experimental purposes". American experts believe that Russia cannot account for all its supplies of smallpox.

"The events in New York and Washington were tragedies beyond what anyone had previously imagined, but the potential of biological terrorism is far greater in terms of loss of life and disruption," said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

Many experts play down the likelihood of a biological attack, citing the difficulty of cultivating and keeping alive enough disease germs and distributing them with the vagaries of wind and weather.

But as a measure of concern in America, the CDC has contracted two biotech companies to make and stockpile 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine, compared with the seven million now available. The first batches are not expected to be ready until 2004.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2001.

Fifth hijack team foiled by cancelled flight, says FBI

By Ben Fenton in Washington

(Filed: 19/09/2001)

THE FBI believes that a fifth hijack team could have been aboard an American Airlines jet that failed to take off from Boston on Sept 11 because of mechanical problems, it emerged yesterday.

Meanwhile, evidence came to light that the FBI should have known that there was a possible threat to airlines at least three weeks before the attacks.

The flight under investigation now, AA43 from Boston to Los Angeles, was almost identical to another, Flight AA11, which took off from Boston to the same destination at 7.59am, 11 minutes earlier than the scheduled departure time of the aircraft that was cancelled.

At 8.48am, AA11 was the first jet to crash into the World Trade Centre after it was seized by hijackers believed to belong to the al-Qa'eda network headed by Osama bin Laden. A third flight from Boston to Los Angeles, United Airlines 175, crashed into the second tower at 9.02am.

The cancellation of AA43, for undisclosed mechanical reasons, may have prevented another hijack atrocity, the FBI believes, although it does not know the intended target.

Sources close to the investigation said the FBI had been unable to trace several of the passengers on the flight manifest, who are believed to have Arabic names. None of those now being sought by the bureau turned up for the rescheduled flight when air travel resumed on Friday.

The FBI is seeking about 200 people in connection with the investigation, many of whom may have provided logistical support to the hijackers. Meanwhile, senior members of Congress warned Americans not to be complacent about the possibility of future attacks.

Sen Bob Graham, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said there was "credible evidence" that the hijackings were part of a "multi-day" plan of terrorist attacks of which Sept 11 was only the beginning.

The owner of an Oklahoma flying school disclosed yesterday that FBI agents visited him in August to ask about Habib Zacarias Moussaoui, a French-Algerian, who was arrested on Aug 17 after using a fake passport as identification at another training school.

Dale Davis of the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma, said the agents knew that the man, whom French intelligence later said had possible links to bin Laden, had been trying to get instruction on piloting large Boeing airliners.

At a Minneapolis training school he aroused suspicion because he wanted to learn how to turn an aircraft, but was not interested in how to take off or land.

The indication that the FBI was aware of suspicious behaviour at flying schools by a man with possible links to bin Laden raises questions about why it did not recommend heightened security in America's aviation industry.

In addition, Mr Davis said the FBI had been to the school two years before asking about a former student, Ihab Ali Nawawi, who was thought to have obtained training at the expense of bin Laden and has been charged in connection with the 1998 bombing of America's embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

He added that two of those who hijacked aircraft last week had also looked around the school before deciding on a different training programme in Florida.

Forty-nine people are still in custody, including a Dr Albader Alhazmi who is suspected of providing technical assistance to the hijackers, sources said. Two other men were found with large amounts of cash, hair dye and modelling knives similar to those used by the hijackers.

Intelligence lapses may cost CIA chief's job

By Philip Delves Broughton in New York

(Filed: 17/09/2001)

GEORGE TENET, the CIA director, is widely expected to lose his job following the failure of the intelligence agencies to warn of Tuesday's attacks.

According to reports in Washington, Mr Tenet, one of President Clinton's appointees retained by President Bush, is expected to take the fall for the disastrous lapse in intelligence.

In February he told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee that Osama bin Laden's organisation "is continuing to place emphasis on developing surrogates to carry out attacks in an effort to avoid detection, blame and retaliation. As a result, it's difficult to attribute terrorist incidents to his groups".

Despite these concerns, the intelligence community was still taken by surprise. The investigation is going on at several levels, from the mundane details of hotel bookings and car reservations made by the terrorists up to how they penetrated the highest levels of US security.

The White House has said it received specific threats which revealed knowledge of security codes for Air Force One and the White House on Tuesday morning. As the investigation spreads across America, the FBI said yesterday it was about to issue many more arrest warrants.

Five of the alleged hijackers are now believed to have trained at secure US military installations during the past few years, learning flying, strategy and language skills as part of arrangements with foreign governments.

The FBI also revealed that it was looking for two of the hijacking suspects before Tuesday's attacks and had warned immigration officials not to let them into America.

Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaf al-Hamzi were known associates of bin Laden and had been sought by US authorities since August, yet they used their own names to buy airline tickets and board American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon.

John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, said the investigation was now "developing a kind of clarity" about the methods used by the terrorists. Investigators have been busiest in Texas, Florida, New York and Massachusetts, piecing together the lives and movements of the 19 suspected hijackers.

Over 100 names are now on the FBI's list of possible accomplices. One man has been arrested in New York as a material witness to the attacks and a warrant has been issued for another.

Twenty-five people are in custody for immigration violations as part of the investigation, though none has been formally charged either on immigration counts or with crimes related to Tuesday's attacks.

The first man arrested as a material witness was stopped at New York's JFK international airport on Thursday night carrying a false pilot's licence and identification. He is said to have direct links to bin Laden and bin Laden's brother.

Two other men were arrested during a routine drugs search aboard an Amtrak train in Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday. Ayub Ali Khan, 51, and Mohammed Jaweed Azmath, 47, had boarded the train in St Louis after their flight from Newark, New Jersey, was grounded following the attacks.

They were carrying $5,000 in cash and box cutters similar to those used by the hijackers. There has also been intense investigative activity in Boston, from where the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Centre took off.

According to Newsweek, three of the alleged hijackers used the address of the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, on their drivers' licences and car registrations. Pensacola is the main centre for training US Navy pilots.

Saeed Alghamadi and Ahmad Alnami were aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed outside Pittsburgh. Ahmed Alghamdi was on United Airlines Flight 75, which hit the south tower of the World Trade Centre.

Another of the hijackers may have been trained in strategy and tactics at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, while a fifth received instruction at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. These last two men are believed to have been Saudi Arabian Air Force pilots who came to the US to train.

American and European law enforcement officials were also investigating share trading activity among bin Laden associates to see if they tried to profit from the terrorist attacks by buying or selling stocks in airline and insurance companies before Tuesday.

German officials said they were investigating sales in three large European reinsurance companies, whose shares plummeted inexplicably shortly before the attacks.

The FBI has already searched hotels in Boston and Newark, where the hijackers are believed to have stayed on Monday night. Three New Jersey men were arrested outside Newark airport on Thursday night carrying $11,000 in cash and one-way tickets to Syria.

Investigators have also retrieved navigation equipment, flight instruction manuals and a box cutter from a motel in Deerfield Beach, Florida, where several of the hijackers are believed to have lived in the months leading up to the attacks.

The FBI has been re-examining the testimony of Ahmed Rescam, who was arrested in Washington State in December 1999 on his way to bomb Los Angeles's international airport. He told investigators at the time that there were Islamic terrorist cells in more than 50 countries including the United States, Canada, Italy and Germany.

FBI to question 'terror chief' arrested at Heathrow

By David Bamber, Chris Hastings and Rajeev Syal

(Filed: 16/09/2001)

A SUSPECTED leader of a terrorist group headed by Osama bin Laden is to be quizzed by United States federal agents after being arrested at Heathrow on the same day as last week's airliner attacks.

Mufti Mohammed Khan, who security sources suspect is the second-in-command of the Jaish-i-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed), flew in from New York only a couple of hours after the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were hit.

He is now being returned to New York for questioning by the FBI, which has described Jaish-i-Mohammed as one of the most dangerous terrorist cells in the world.

It is a banned organisation in Britain and is a prime suspect as the group behind the attacks in New York and Washington. Its leaders have declared war on all US citizens.

Scotland Yard detectives tried to keep details of the case secret, only saying that they had arrested an unidentified man in his mid-40s at Heathrow, and that they had released him on Friday without charge.

Security services have now confirmed his real identity, however, and say he is wanted for questioning in connection with his time in the US.

Khan's presence in Britain, in contravention of a banning order issued by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, on September 5, increases fears that Islamic terrorists are beginning to target this country.

The Telegraph has learnt that he was due to meet other members of bin Laden's organisation in London, Birmingham and Wales. He was held for two days by immigration officials before being arrested under the powers of the new Prevention of Terrorism Act on Thursday.

Detectives decided to return him to New York after federal agents said they wanted to question him. Khan was at Heathrow last night, awaiting a flight back to the US.

Jaish-i-Mohammed, formed less than two years ago, claimed responsibility for last October's attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 sailors. It has been particularly active in Britain, where it has recruited volunteer fighters.

Abdullah Bai, a 24-year-old from Birmingham, was killed when he took part in one of the group's suicide bombing raids on an Indian army barracks in Kashmir.

Mufti Khan's closeness to bin Laden became known in 1998 when the rich Saudi dissident urged the Pakistani people to back the Taliban militia in Kabul. In a public letter to Khan, released to the press, bin Laden said it was the "religious duty" of every Muslim to support the hardline Islamic militia who control most of Afghanistan.

Detectives believe that Khan intended to travel to Wales. They have begun questioning a number of individuals there. Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the 1993 bomb attack on the World Trade Centre, studied at a technology college in South Glamorgan.

Activists in south Wales are thought to have close links with Islamic extremists in Germany, where two of the people linked to last week's devastating attacks lived until last year.

Last week, German police said they had arrested two men in connection with the atrocities in the US. They both had large amounts of British currency - raising fears that they may have planned to target Britain next.

Baggage handlers at Dulles probed

By Jim Keary


The U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating the use of non-U.S. citizens who have worked as baggage handlers and security screeners at Washington Dulles International Airport. Top Stories

The investigation, which began in July following complaints to the agency, was stepped up last week after terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon. The flight, which had 64 persons on board, originated at Dulles airport.

The DOT inspector general and the Immigration and Naturalization Service are trying to find out if noncitizen workers were allowed into secured areas of the airport. People without citizenship or resident alien status are forbidden from secured areas of the airport.

"We are looking at security issues," said David Barnes, a spokesman for the DOT inspector general. "We began the investigation in July. We found after the events of last week we needed to step up our efforts a bit."

He declined to say if any arrests have been made or if any employees were found to have been working illegally in secure areas. An inspector general's statement said investigators were interviewing only employees who were not U.S. citizens to be sure they had the proper credentials to be working at the airport.

The focus of the investigation appears to be employees of Argenbright Security Inc. of Atlanta, whose employees worked at security checkpoints and as baggage handlers at Dulles. Argenbright, one of the nation's largest airport security companies, was hired by United Air Lines, which is the largest airline flying from Dulles.

Argenbright spokeswoman Sara Jackson said the company is cooperating with investigators. She said she has been told Argenbright is not the target of the investigation even though it is the only company that provides security screening at Dulles.

In April 2000, Argenbright agreed to pay $1.2 million in fines and costs, and be placed on three years probation as part of a settlement for violating Federal Aviation Administration rules by failing to conduct background checks on 1,300 of its security employees at the Philadelphia International Airport. The company also conceded that it did not properly train its employees.

Argenbright employees falsified diplomas and test scores, and hired at least 14 airport security workers with criminal convictions.

Argenbright also provided security at Newark International Airport in New Jersey, where United Airlines Flight 93 originated. That flight also was hijacked by terrorists last Tuesday and crashed in western Pennsylvania. It had 45 persons on board.

A former Argenbright employee who worked security at Dulles said the company provided little or no training and no semblance of background checks. The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she was able to work for Argenbright although she had been convicted of felony drug charges.

She said many of the security personnel hired by Argenbright were not trained and some spoke only limited English.

"It was mainly foreigners," said the former employee. "They couldn't carry on a conversation with you. Some of them couldn't say much more than 'hello' or 'good day.'"

United Air Lines spokeswoman Jenna Ludgate said the investigation is ongoing and would not comment about Argenbright. "We are meeting all the government security directives," she said.

Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said she could not comment on the matter since it is under investigation.

She also said it is not the airports authority's responsibility to provide security for the airlines — the FAA requires the airlines to provide security, adding that United, as Dulles' largest provider, hired the security company.

A Ghostly Look Beneath the World Trade Center: Orange X's Mark the Spot

By Shannon Mccaffrey Associated Press Writer

Published: Sep 18, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) - One floor beneath the World Trade Center, in what used to be a shopping concourse, a clock on a jewelry store wall remained frozen at 9:10. A ghostly Bugs Bunny statue stood coated in gray dust outside a Warner Brothers gift shop nearby.

As the stores in the underground mall were checked one-by-one for survivors, rescue workers marked them with an orange X: They made one stroke of the X as they went in, the other as they came out.

Wearing what looked like miner's helmets, search crews from the Federal Emergency Management Agency picked through the rubble and the darkness under 5 World Trade Center on Tuesday, burrowing into any space big enough to shield a survivor. The nine-story section of the Trade Center was charred but did not collapse when the complex's 110-story twin towers crumbled on Sept. 11.

"There are caverns down here," said Don Schroeder, commander of a FEMA unit from Sacramento, Calif. "The focus is to continue to find and extract victims from a pile of rubble like this."

He said he had no doubt a person could have survived in the spaces the workers found, but nobody has been found alive so far. He said some bodies were recovered as crews tunneled into the concourse but could not say how many.

The mall was dark except for headlamp beams and some daylight that fell through the shaft of a stalled escalator. Broken glass crunched underfoot. The air was stale and stifling. Workers wore heavy, elaborate filter masks. Canisters of oxygen were on hand if needed.

At the Tourneau jewelry shop, where eight clocks displayed time from around the world, local time had stopped at 9:10 - about 22 minutes after terrorists began the attack by hijacked airplanes that brought down the towers.

The store's windows were shattered. Rolex boxes were empty. Pale blue velvet cushioning display counters was caked in dust.

The workers were from a FEMA Urban Rescue team based in Sacramento, Calif., one of eight 62-member teams on duty from California, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Florida and Pennsylvania.

They searched by hand through the corridors of the concourse, tossing aside rubble, peering into spaces and snaking in a fiber optic camera when they could burrow no farther. Harley, a golden retriever, helped sniff for victims.

Outside, the daunting rescue and recovery efforts continued in orderly fashion in the rubble of the towers. Cranes lifted large pieces of debris from a great crater. A large trash bin was labeled "AIRPLANE PARTS" in bright yellow spray paint.

Fliers were posted throughout the area, showing workers what an airliner's black box looks like. The black boxes of the two airliners that brought down the twin towers have not been found.

Hand-lettered signs in the windows above said "God Bless America," and "R.I.P." and "Kill Them All - Let Allah Sort Them Out."

Many of the rescue workers appeared weary. But a team of state troopers in crisp creased flannels monitored the perimeter, standing in puddles.

Above the entrance to 5 World Trade Center, where the FEMA team was working below, was a sign that said, "Open Every Day."

AP-ES-09-18-01 1700EDT

Police fear suicide bombers will soon target British cities

By John Steele, Crime Correspondent

(Filed: 19/09/2001)

BRITAIN will become a target for anti-western Islamic violence, including suicide bombings, for the first time following the US terror attacks, police and security forces said yesterday.

Last week's atrocities have spurred a radical re-assessment of the terrorist threat to Britain in the first decade of the 21st century.

Amid speculation about chemical and biological attacks, senior police officers are more immediately concerned by their analysis that hard-line Islamic terrorists will bring bullets and bombs to the streets of London and other cities.

As a result, more resources will be be pumped into investigations by police and MI5 of Islamic terror groups, traditionally seen as a lower priority than the IRA. Given the Real IRA's recent campaign, resources are unlikely to be switched from operations against Irish terrorism.

There is also likely to be a toughening of attitude to the monitoring of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries to prevent terrorists using peaceable immigrants as cover to enter Britain.

The most significant piece of accepted security wisdom to be overturned in the past week, according to a senior security officer, is the view that - with the exception of strikes by Palestinian groups on Israeli targets - Islamic terrorists do not attack in London.

It has been felt that groups such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the GIA of Algeria have preferred to use Britain for fund-raising, communications and a safe haven.

However, a senior security official said: "We've posed a lot of 'what ifs?' since last week and our professional judgment is that the US attacks make it all very different.

"We are all thinking ahead and the view is that, now, 'all bets are off' and there could be attacks from these groups in London and elsewhere, against American and possibly British targets, particularly if Britain supports US military retaliation.

"The possibility of vehicles being driven through gates and blowing up hundreds of people is probably remote, but walking terrorists, suicide bombers in the streets, are much more likely. We don't think it will matter to them if innocent civilians are killed.

"It has been thought they need Britain to raise money, but groups like Osama bin Laden's have enough money."

A recent process of "target hardening" - tightening security at such high-profile areas as Westminster, the City of London and Canary Wharf against the threat of IRA bombs - will provide a defence against attacks by Islamic extremists.

Airports have tight security as a result of the Irish threat. But Islamic terrorists might not focus on largely political, economic and military targets, as the IRA has tended to do.

The ease with which the New York and Washington terrorists evaded detection has shaken the security establishment in Britain, according to the source. At the heart of the debate now being conducted in Government is whether British police and security services would have penetrated and prevented such a conspiracy?

The answer is bleak. Police and security chiefs have woken up to the fact that their knowledge of those involved in clandestine Arab terrorist groupings, such as bin Laden's, is thin, with little penetration by agents.

A veteran of Scotland Yard anti-terrorist operations, said: "We looked at one or two of the groups for raising money through low-level fraud and we've helped the Americans after the African embassy bombings. But, quite frankly, they've not been a high priority. The focus has been on the Irish."

Intelligence has been gathered by Special Branch on some groups, such as Islamic Jihad and the GIA, at times with the help of the Egyptian, Algerian and other Arab governments. The Israeli security service, Mossad, has traditionally provided information on Palestinian terror groups.

However, the senior security source said: "It would be foolish if we were confident that those we had in our sights were the ones we should be looking at. We have to face the possibility that they might be a facade and there are completely unknown people out there.

"The more that is confirmed in the US, the more it seems the hijackers formed their group and did not contact the people watched by the authorities. Not a drop of intelligence leaked out. We have to think here, 'Do we know what the enemy looks like now'?"

Experts see an America of surveillance and seizures


Security experts see the United States becoming a much less free country, where electronic identification might become the norm, video surveillance is common, immigrants are tracked far more closely and wiretaps are conducted with few restrictions.



Wednesday September 19, 4:01 PM

Afghanistan asks CNN to leave

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's ruling Taliban has asked CNN to leave the country, the U.S. television news channel said on Wednesday.

Nic Robertson, reporting from the Taliban headquarters of Kandahar, is one of the last remaining western journalists in Afghanistan which is braced for possible strikes from the United States after last week's attacks on New York and Washington.

The station said it was petitioning the Taliban for permission to stay.

Most Westerners have already left Afghanistan, which Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in last Tuesday's attacks and wanted "dead or alive" by President George W. Bush, has made his home as a "guest" of the Taliban.

Pakistan closes newspaper for publishing head money on Americans

Wed Sep 19 2001 11:09:52 ET

Lahore, Pakistan (dpa) - A Lahore newspaper has been closed and its entire editorial staff arrested for publishing head money for American citizens, official sources said Wednesday.

A story under the headline ``Kill one American, Get Rupees 400,000'' prompted the action against the little known newspaper Punjab Post, according to the sources in the information department of the Punjab province. At the current exchange rate that would make the reward about 6,231 dollars for each American.

The story was based on a press release from a non-descript organisation in Pakistan's tribal territory where the threat of a U.S. attack on bordering Afghanistan has raised anti-American sentiments.

Editor Khalid Mahmood and 15 of his staff were arrested under public safety laws.

* * * *

Pakistan seals newspaper that offers reward for death of American

Authorities shut down a newspaper and arrested its editors Wednesday after it published a statement offering a reward to anyone who kills an American, police said.

The Urdu-language newspaper, the Punjab Post, offered 400,000 rupees or dlrs 600,000 to anyone who killed an American. According to the newspaper article, the offer was being made by a radical Sunni Muslim group in Pakistan, but that group denied involvement.

Five people, including the owner, editor and printers of the newspaper were arrested on charges of inciting hatred and advocating terrorism, said police. The newspaper office was sealed, they said.

The reward follows increasing anti-American and anti-Western sentiment in Pakistan because of expectations that the United States is preparing to launch an assault on Afghanistan's ruling Taliban to get Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the terror attacks in New York and Washington last week.

The five men will go on trial on Thursday. They pleaded not guilty Wednesday when they appeared in court.

Pakistan's religious parties have been staging nationwide demonstrations almost daily to protest Pakistan's promise to give ``full support'' to the Untied States to fight terrorism. This promise is said to include allowing a multinational force, led by the United States, use Pakistan's airspace and territory to stage an attack against Afghanistan.

Several western nations, including the United States, have warned their citizens against traveling to Pakistan. Nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy as well as most other Western Embassies are being evacuated from Pakistan along with their families.

Warplanes tail commercial jet after pilots lose radio contact

57 aboard return safely to O'Hare

By Jon Hilkevitch

Published September 19, 2001

A pair of F-16 warplanes raced across the Midwest sky to investigate an American Airlines plane whose pilots did not respond to calls from air-traffic controllers shortly after takeoff Tuesday from O'Hare International Airport, authorities said.

It turned out to be nothing more than a radio problem, but the 51 passengers aboard American Flight 1555 got a startling view of the fighters just beyond the wingtips of the Boeing 737-800 until the glitch was sorted out.

Officials said the F-16s escorted the passenger jet back to the apron of the runway at O'Hare, then peeled away.

The problem began when the flight, bound for Los Angeles, experienced radio failure and intermittent difficulty turning, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

The FAA immediately asked the military to send up the Air National Guard fighters for a close look, after the controllers' radio instructions were met by silence, officials said. Adding to the concern was that the aircraft had arrived at O'Hare from Boston's Logan International Airport, where two of the four airliners hijacked Sept. 11 began their ill-fated flights.

Although the pilots of Flight 1555 could not receive or transmit voice communications, they did punch a numerical beacon code on the aircraft's transponder, indicating their communications radio had failed and the passengers and six crew members were OK, officials said.

But FAA and military officials took no chances, in part because the hijackers last week were pilots and had disabled the transponders aboard the hijacked aircraft to prevent officials from tracking the speed, altitude and identity of the planes.

The pilots' difficulty in turning the plane might have added to the concerns, sources said.

"The F-16s were winged on each side of the aircraft for the entire trip back, and the crews were able to communicate with hand signals," one official said.

Military officials declined to comment. Sources said F-15, F-16 and E-6B warplanes, accompanied by KC-135 refueling aircraft, have been patrolling commercial air lanes in the Midwest around the clock since the terrorist hijackings.

While en route back to O'Hare, radio contact with the American flight was restored but then lost again, officials said.

If the nation's airline and air-traffic system were not on a state of high alert because of the hijackings, Tuesday's radio problem would not have prevented Flight 1555 from going on to Los Angeles International Airport, FAA officials said.

According to contingency procedures, the pilots would continue on their planned routing and choose a runway for landing. A "Nordo" code sent from the aircraft--slang for "no radio"--alerts controllers to get other planes out of the way.

Officials said the American pilots and controllers at several FAA facilities were able to communicate by using the numerical code system. In addition, the 737 and F-16 pilots were able to talk briefly between the intermittent radio outages on the American plane.

During the plane's final approach to O'Hare, radio contact was again restored. The plane landed at 9:51 a.m., less than an hour after departure. The passengers were transferred to other flights, FAA and American officials said.

Authorities declined to identify the fighter wing to which the F-16s belong. It is believed that they are part of either the Illinois or the Indiana Air National Guard.

Copyright © 2001, Chicago Tribune

Sept. 19, 2001, 9:00AM

Bill Maher calls U.S. cowardly; FedEx pulls ads from show


Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle TV Editor

Federal Express ordered its ads removed from the ABC late-night series Politically Incorrect on Tuesday after the show's host referred to recent U.S. military actions as "cowardly."

After receiving complaints from around the country, including Houston, Federal Express reviewed Monday's edition of the show and decided to act, company spokesperson Carla Richards said.

Richards said she did not know how many complaints the company received, but that they were of sufficient quantity to merit the actions the company took.

"The (30-second) ad that runs during that show has been pulled for the indefinite future," Richards said.

Dinesh D'Souza, a panelist on Monday's show, quibbled with a reference made by President George W. Bush that the suicide bombers were cowards, noting that they gave up their lives for whatever may be their cause.

"These are warriors," D'Souza said, "and we have to realize that the principles of our way of life are in conflict with people in the world."

"We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away," said Bill Maher, the host of Politically Incorrect. "That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

"I was just appalled," said Dan Patrick, general manager of KSEV (700 AM) and host of a radio talk show. "When you call our men in the (armed forces) cowards and our military policy cowardly, and when you call these hijackers `warriors,' that should not be tolerated."

Patrick urged listeners to call KTRK and urge the station to stop carrying the "irresponsible" program. Other hosts of KSEV talk shows made the same request.

"The First Amendment gives us the freedom of speech, but it does not guarantee anyone a TV show or a TV camera or a radio show, for that matter," Patrick said. "If Bill Maher believes that Americans are cowards and hijackers are warriors, let him go out on the street corner and shout that. But Disney does not have to give him a TV show and Channel 13 does not have to air that show."

KTRK said it received a number of calls -- "in the low hundreds," the station said. The station said it receives triple that amount when it pre-empts a soap opera. It had no further comment.

ABC issued a statement saying, in part, that Politically Incorrect "celebrates freedom of speech and encourages the animated exchange of ideas and opinions. Understandably, this forum can oftentimes arouse intense emotions, especially during such a sensitive time.

"While we remain sensitive to the current climate following last week's tragedy, and continue to do our part to help viewers cope with unfolding events, we have an obligation to offer a forum for the expression of our nation's diverse opinions."

Wednesday September 19, 02:00 PM

New York subway at risk of major flood

Engineers are drawing up plans to prevent the flooding of New York's underground transport network, following the collapse of the World Trade Center. They fear water from the Hudson river could get into the vast seven floor basement and fill underground train tunnels all over the city.

"It could flood a lot of the underground system of New York," says Dan Hahn, of Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, who are working on the disaster site with the New York Port Authority.

The World Trade Center's twin towers were destroyed on 11 September, when hijacked passenger jets were flown into the buildings. Over 5000 people are feared dead.

The basement of the World Trade Center housed seven floors of shops and parking, with an underground PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train station at the bottom. Two train tunnels from the station head west out of the basement, beneath the Hudson river, where they join a network of other train tunnels. Two of these head back under the Hudson and terminate at 33 rd Street in midtown Manhattan, where they link with subway stations.

The bathtub

The basement, now full of debris, was built by first cutting four channels, about one metre wide and 21 metres deep into the ground and filling them with concrete. This formed what the engineers call the "bathtub"- a concrete-walled box that reaches down to sturdy bedrock. Soil and rock inside the 65,000 square metre area was then excavated to allow the basement floors to be built.

During building, the walls of the basement were secured against the pressure of surrounding soil and water by anchoring them to the bedrock with steel "tieback" cables. When completed, the floors brace this strain and the tiebacks are cut.

With the basement floors now destroyed or damaged, engineers believe only debris from the building is preventing the basement walls from collapsing in on themselves. If this happens, soil and water from the Hudson will start pouring in.

"If the walls collapse and the bathtub fills with water, it'll go straight out of the tunnels at the bottom," says Aine Brazil, managing principal with structural engineers, Thornton-Tomasetti Group who are working alongside Hahn. "That could send water right up to 33 rd Street and into the subway," she says.

Concrete plugs

Engineers say water is already running through the tunnels under the Hudson. Exchange Place, the first PATH station west of the river, is currently under 15 centimetres of water, though this may be from broken water pipes and fire hoses.

To prevent a widespread flood, Hahn has drawn up plans to get into the PATH tunnels that connect with the World Trade Centre site from across the Hudson. Once inside, the tunnels will be filled with huge concrete plugs designed to withstand a 25 metre head of water.

Even so, excavation of the basement - which will not be possible for weeks, according to Brazil - must proceed delicately. Hahn says that for every four to six metres they excavate, they will put in new tiebacks around the walls to support them.

The precaution should also prevent more damage to surrounding buildings, says Brazil. Soil around the walls will shift if the "bathtub" collapses, which could destabilise small or older buildings nearby, she says.

*** UPDATE: SPECIAL REPORT -- United Pilot Missing after Attacks

Miami -- 18SEP2001 (AirlineBiz.Com) According to reports, the FBI is investigating the disappearance of a United Airlines pilot.

Agents in Miami are attempting to find 41-year-old Anjum Pervaiz Shiekh. Records show that Shiekh flew from MIA to Buenos Aires two days before the attack. FBI agents say that he is connected to items including maps of the Northeast along with other material that is described as "potential terrorist paraphernalia". ABCNews said they were able to contact Shiekh by cell phone. Shiekh said he was in Florida and told them to contact UAL for more information.

United Airlines declined comment. In other news: United joined US Airways and Continental saying they would lay off 20,000 employees.

One of the hijacking suspect is reported to have met with an Iraqi intelligence official somewhere in Europe earlier this year. Several hijacking suspects logged on to the Internet in Broward County libraries. A nationwide precautionary advisory is in place for biological-warfare agents. One hijacker of American Flight 77 flew three training flights from a suburban Washington flight school a month before crashing the jet into the Pentagon. FAA records show a Hani Hanjoor as receiving a commercial pilot's license in 1999 and listing a post office box in Saudi Arabia as his address. The FAA is considering a staggered reopening of Reagan National. A search of a Virgin 747 from Heathrow turned up nothing in Newfoundland after a bomb threat. The FBI is investigating whether other airplanes may have been targeted for hijacking as it seeks to question more than 190 people. American accused Argenbright Security of assigning new employees to screening checkpoints without any training, falsifying prospective employees' tests, and not conducting background checks. One screener was hired despite 23 arrests; another was arrested on kidnapping charges and convicted of drug violations stolen property and firearms possession. Delta Air Lines trained a new hire employee with 10 felony convictions for drug trafficking.

In addition, Delta supervisors told employees to take felony convictions off their application if they wanted to be hired by the airline and later instructed the employees to leave the convictions off any airport, Customs, or USPO I.D. application request.

Design choice for towers saved lives

13:14 12 September 01

Eugenie Samuel and Damian Carrington

A lucky choice of design for the World Trade Center towers reduced the death toll caused by their destruction, say engineers.

Each tower was struck by a passenger aeroplane, hijacked by suicidal terrorists, but remained upright for nearly an hour. Eventually raging fires melted the supporting steel struts, but the time delay allowed hundreds of people to escape.

"Most buildings would have come down immediately," says John Hooper, principal engineer in the company that provided engineering advice when the World Trade Center was designed.

Hooper added that engineers at Skilling, Ward, Magnusson, Berkshire, based in Seattle, had been devastated by Tuesday's events. "We're just trying to get through this," he told New Scientist.

Skyscrapers like the World Trade Center are not built to withstand direct hits by large aeroplanes, he says. Furthermore, the fire suppression system in the towers did not include the foam sprinklers that could to deal with the jet fuel fires. Both the crashed aeroplanes were fully fueled for trans-continental flights, making them ideal "flying bombs".

Steel tube

However, the design of the 415 metre WTC towers did help prevent a greater catastrophe. The outside of the towers consisted of closely spaced steel columns forming a giant "steel tube". The columns were less than a metre apart in the upper stories and could withstand the entire load placed on the building by high winds.

This meant that the building's internal columns bore only the load of gravity. Whether it was the external frame or the internal supports that kept the building standing for an hour is not known, but the "double support" saved many lives.

Many skyscrapers have vertical columns up to six metres apart and rely on combined diagonal struts to bear loads. Destroying these structures would probably collapse a building immediately.

Classic demolition

The collapse of the WTC towers looked like a classic controlled demolition, said Mike Taylor of the National Association of Demolition Contractors in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

"If there's any good thing about this it's that the towers tended not to weaken to one side," said Taylor. "They could have tipped onto other buildings or into the river across the West Side highway."

The collapse of the WTC towers mirrored the strategy used by demolition experts. In controlled demolitions, explosives are placed not just on the lowest three floors but also on several consecutive floors about a third of the way up the building.

The explosions at the higher floors enable the collapse to gain downward momentum as gravity pulls the full weight of unsupported higher floors down into lower floors in a snowballing effect.

On Tuesday, the impacts of aeroplanes on the higher floors replaced the explosives. The collapse of the higher floors caused the floors below to be crushed. "It cascaded down like an implosion," says Taylor.

The lack of collapse in higher stories was one reason why the 454 kilogram bomb detonated in the underground garage of the World Trade Center in 1993 failed to destroy the building.

13:14 12 September 01