Thursday, October 31, 2002

The Writings of Greg Palast
Former Israeli Army Chief Accepts Defense Post
Former army chief Shaul Mofaz, known for tough tactics against the Palestinians and advocating Yasser Arafat's expulsion, has agreed to be Israel's new defense minister, an Israeli diplomatic source said on Thursday.

Arafat, the Palestinian president, responded that the appointment did not bode well for efforts to calm more than two years of Middle East violence.
A Lack of Money Forces Computer Initiative to Close
…Stephen M. Case, then the chairman of America Online, and many other high-technology executives announced an initiative called PowerUP less than three years ago, they said that their donated millions would help bridge the "digital divide" between rich and poor.

"We must take steps now so that in the Internet century, no children are left behind," Mr. Case said.

But tomorrow , with nearly 1,000 community-based technology centers financed across the country, the national offices of PowerUp will close and the centers will be left to fend for — and finance — themselves.

Some experts in bringing technology tools to the poor said that there were problems from the start. Larry Irving, a former Clinton administration official who was a prominent strategist in digital divide efforts, called PowerUP a " McDonald's-style, top-down franchise operation," which he said is not the best method for community development.

"I've been in this area for about 10 years — the one thing we've learned is local efforts work best," he said.

Ultimately, the tapestry unraveled. "It's a partnership," said one executive involved with PowerUP. "It was never supposed to be one person at the banquet table saying month after month `Here's the check.' "

Many groups are still providing technology services to the poor and disadvantaged, with programs financed by AOL Time Warner, Intel, Microsoft, Gateway and others, and by groups such as CTCnet, a grassroots national network of community technology centers.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Arafat's New Cabinet, With Few New Faces, Is Approved

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

30 days to a more accessible web site

Arafat's New Cabinet, With Few New Faces, Is Approved
Despite criticism by some reform-minded legislators that provoked angry outbursts from Mr. Arafat, he won the support of council members who had previously contested his appointments and accused his ministers of corruption and incompetence.

The lineup presented by Mr. Arafat strongly resembled the outgoing cabinet, which resigned on Sept. 11 when it faced a no-confidence vote by the legislative council.

Some lawmakers said today that despite lingering reservations about the reshuffled cabinet, their vote reflected a desire to rally around Mr. Arafat after efforts by Israel and the United States to sideline him while pressing for sweeping reforms.

The legislators cited a 10-day Israeli siege of Mr. Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah last month, and a new American blueprint for peace that calls for creation of the position of Palestinian prime minister and makes no mention of elections for president, the post Mr. Arafat holds and is expected to retain in any future vote.

Kadura Faris, a legislator from Mr. Arafat's Fatah faction, said that the message reaching lawmakers from rank-and-file party members was clear. "The president is a target now for the United States and the Israelis, we had a siege against the president and we must make every effort to be together with the president and have a government," Mr. Faris said.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
This document outlines design principles for creating accessible Web sites. When these principles are ignored, individuals with disabilities may not be able to access the content at all, or they may be able to do so only with great difficulty. When these principles are employed, they also make Web content accessible to a variety of Web-enabled devices, such as phones, handheld devices, kiosks, network appliances, etc. By making content accessible to a variety of devices, that content will also be accessible to people in a variety of situations.

The design principles in this document represent broad concepts that apply to all Web-based content. They are not specific to HTML, XML, or any other technology. This approach was taken so that the design principles could be applied to a variety of situations and technologies, including those that do not yet exist.
Dive Into Accessibility
Dive Into Accessibility
30 days to a more accessible web site

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Product guides and reviews - Windows XP
Windows XP Turns One,4148,2878,00.asp
ZDNet: Tech Update: Platforms/OS / Software security--a matter of trust
We make security trust decisions all the time--for instance, when accepting or rejecting a digital certificate prior to downloading software. But can we know whether the software we download is truly safe?,14179,2895282,00.html
Want Bills by Snail Mail? It Might Cost You Money
For years, businesses have cajoled customers to view their bills online, mostly by offering cash, gift certificates, sweepstakes prizes and other incentives in return. A tough economy, though, has led to an even more aggressive stance.

In a move to cut administrative costs and save on paper and postage, some have started billing customers a few extra dollars a month for paper statements.

Leading the charge are telecommunications companies like Primus and MetroPCS. Some lenders and insurance providers, like State Farm Insurance and USAA, are charging a few customers for monthly paper statements. Credit card issuers like American Express are adding paper fees to merchant accounts, and online services that initially mailed statements, like NetBank and Ameritrade, the online brokerage firm, have begun charging for them, setting a standard for some new businesses that want to do the same.

These companies say consumers should be ready and even eager to go paperless because Internet transactions have become more secure, not to mention more familiar and accessible.

Some consumers argue that charging for paper bills punishes people who are not comfortable handling their finances online. After all, not everyone owns a computer or has a fast Internet connection. About 60 percent of American households have a computer at home and Internet access. Though many more people can use a computer with a fast link at the office, several said they were uncomfortable transmitting sensitive financial information while on the job. Companies that want to eliminate paper are asking for too much too soon, these people suggest.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Palestinian Subdued and Shot, Yet His Bomb Kills 3
Israel Werner, 37, a guard stationed nearby, also ran to the scene. "I saw three soldiers sitting on somebody," he said. One was sitting on his legs, he said, and one on each arm. "He was screaming and hollering," he said. "It was very obvious they had him under control." Then, he said, he heard two gunshots.

Another witness, Vladimir Gutliv, 32, a reserve soldier, said, "A second after he was shot, he exploded." Mr. Gutliv, clearly shaken, had blood spattered on his right sleeve. He held the rifles of two comrades who had been taken to the hospital.

Captain Wienograd said the police had not determined if the bomber or a bullet detonated the explosive.
Official Silence on Gas Raises Vexing Questions

Some of Russia's top health officials said tonight that the gas was a nonlethal anesthetic, like the ones used in general surgery. But in the chaos of a predawn commando operation against heavily armed guerrillas, the result was all too lethal. Of the 117 hostages confirmed dead so far, all but one appear to have died from the effects of the gas, according to the Health Committee of Moscow.

What unfolded in the theater appears to have amounted to a risky test of a previously undisclosed chemical agent that ended with disastrously unintended consequences.

Andrei P. Seltovsky, the chairman of the health committee, said tonight that he did not even know the name of the gas, parrying questions toward what he called the "competent authorities," strongly suggesting that the gas was developed by the military or security forces as part of some secret program.

The light gray gas filtered down like a mist in the theater hall before sunrise on Saturday, and the effect on hostages and hostage-takers alike was nearly instant. Most simply lost consciousness, as their breath and blood slowed and Russian security troops began to surge through the theater.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Bomber Kills Israelis; Troops Shoot Militants

Dread and Dreams Travel by Bus in Israel

Determining Element Page Coordinates, Part 2

Determining Element Page Coordinates, Part 1

Bomber Kills Israelis; Troops Shoot Militants
A Palestinian suicide bomber attacked a Jewish settlement Sunday, killing three Israeli officers and wounding 20 other people.

The Palestinian was punched, kicked and shot by bystanders but managed to detonate the bomb he was carrying before he died. The Israeli army said the soldiers and civilians had managed to prevent heavier casualties.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the blast at a petrol station at Ariel, one of the biggest Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

There are some 145 Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in what the international community regards as a violation of international law, a position Israel disputes.

``I saw the gas station manager and his worker had spotted the terrorist and then they grabbed him,'' witness Yehiel Hazan told Israel Radio at Ariel, 15 miles east of Tel Aviv and home to some 17,000 settlers.

Shahar Keshet, a motorist who stopped for petrol, said he ran from his car with his pistol and approached the Palestinian.

``We started to punch and kick him in the head. But he didn't lose consciousness,'' Keshet told Israel's Channel Two television.

One of those grappling with the Palestinian shouted, ``I see an explosives belt,'' and Keshet said: ``I put a bullet or two in (the bomber's) head without a second thought.''

Police officers at the scene said soldiers and another bystander also shot at the Palestinian, who managed to trigger the explosives before dying. But Channel Two said police were investigating whether the gunfire had detonated the bomb.
Dread and Dreams Travel by Bus in Israel
The young man looked like a typical Israeli hipster, with his cropped, spiky black hair and wispy goatee. At the back of the No. 405 bus to Tel Aviv, he was scanning a graphic in a Hebrew-language newspaper detailing a new sex survey. The digital readout of his cellphone, which rang frequently, was also in Hebrew.

But as he folded the newspaper, he identified himself as an Israeli Arab: Usama Darawshe, "You know, like Osama." He was 22, from Nazareth, and he studied dentistry in Jerusalem.

Mr. Darawshe described running his own particular gantlet in boarding the bus at Jerusalem's central station, to Tel Aviv, where he would catch a taxi homeward, avoiding the perilous Wadi Ara bus route.

He said he tried to pass as an Israeli Jew, not speaking any Arabic into his cellphone to avoid the "silly questions" of the guards. Then, once aboard, he scanned each new passenger, keeping the same fearful watch as his fellow travelers for suicide bombers.

"It's not so easy being an Arab in Israel these days," he said. "The situation now is that the Jews in the country don't distinguish between the Arab Israelis living inside Israel and the Palestinians living in the territories. I'm an Israeli. I'm a fan of the same soccer teams, I listen to the same music, I love the same TV shows."

On Route 1 headed west, the bus reversed the course of the Zionist soldiers — newly minted Israelis — who battled their way up these hillsides to Jerusalem in 1948. Then, six Arab states, rejecting the United Nations partition of Palestine, declared war after the declaration of Israeli independence.

Israel emerged with more land than the United Nations allotted it. Along this road, the husks of army vehicles, the sagging terraces of olive groves and the ruins of evacuated Arab villages testify to the ferocity of the struggle for Jerusalem. As the remains of war flashed by, Mr. Darawshe said he felt suspected, if not despised, by both non-Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews. He said he did not understand why Israeli Arabs were not used by both sides to "draw them closer to conversations."

"We can serve as a bridge," he suggested.
Dread and Dreams Travel by Bus in Israel
As is often the case on Israeli buses these days, most of the passengers were soldiers returning to base. They listened to music blasting through earphones. They stared out the windows, their M-16 rifles in their laps, an ammunition clip, in some cases, jammed through the handgrip of the back of the seat before them.

The bus would soon branch to the northeast along the Wadi Ara road, the site of repeated attacks by Palestinian suicide bombers. But the soldiers — sleepy, bored, used to it all — seemed fatalistic to the point of numbness.

"You know the difference between Russian roulette and Israeli roulette?" asked one of them, Capt. Dan Ravitz, 21, putting aside his spy novel. "In Russian roulette, you choose your bullet. Here, you just pick a bus."
DHTML Lab - DHTML Diner - Element Page Coordinates, Part 2 -
Determining Element Page Coordinates, Part 2
IE for Windows and TABLEs
DHTML Lab - DHTML Diner - Element Page Coordinates, Part 1 -
Determining Element Page Coordinates, Part 1
IE for Windows, NS6

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Israeli Forces Again Seize Control of Palestinian West Bank City

Documentation of Internet Filtering Worldwide

Can the Internet survive filtering?

Study Tallies Sites Blocked by Google

Rumsfeld Denies Rift Exists Between Pentagon and C.I.A.

Israeli Forces Again Seize Control of Palestinian West Bank City
Israeli forces again tightened their grip on the West Bank city of Jenin today. Hundreds of soldiers supported by scores of tanks and other armored vehicles swept into the city in what Israel said was a hunt for a terrorist cell behind the suicide attack that killed 14 people on Monday.

The military action followed by a few hours a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials on improving security and easing Israeli restrictions in some areas. In a separate development, Israeli Army announced that it had withdrawn troops from most Palestinian areas of the divided city of Hebron, retaining only the strategic heights.

Hospital officials in Jenin reported that two youths were shot and seriously wounded in the early hours of the Israeli action. The Israeli Army reported two exchanges of fire and no Israeli casualties. It said its soldiers had shot and wounded three men, all armed. Israeli soldiers seized at least 40 homes.

Israeli forces eased out of Jenin late last week, seeking to isolate it with a ring of troops and a ditch. Israeli officials said that Israel's reward for this step was the suicide attack, and that the cell, from the Islamic Jihad, was planning more such violence. In Monday's attack, two men drove a bomb-laden sport utility vehicle into a bus.

"Out of some 250,000 people in the Jenin area, we are looking for a cell of no more than 20 terrorists who are bringing misery to everyone," a senior Israeli Army commander said.

Palestinians contend that it is the Israeli occupation of cities like Jenin, and the civilian deaths that have accompanied it, that provoke such attacks. Palestinian officials accused Israel of seeking to sabotage the Bush administration road map, which was presented by Assistant Secretary of State William Burns. Both sides have been cool to the proposal.

Israel did not immediately retaliate for Monday's suicide bombing, and some Israeli officials said the government was trying to keep a low profile to avoid interfering with the Bush administration's efforts against Iraq. But other officials made clear that Israel would pursue those behind the attack.

Jenin has been under curfew most days since Israeli forces first seized it in June after another suicide bombing. The Israeli defense minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, called Jenin "the capital of terror," a title that Israeli officials have also applied to Nablus, to the south. He said that Israel wanted to loosen restrictions on Palestinians but could not "when you need to defend your home from suicide bombers and car bombs."

Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, said that the Israeli action was "a continuation of the crimes committed by troops and settlers against our people and our children."
Documentation of Internet Filtering Worldwide
A variety of organizations, institutions, companies, and countries seek to restrict Internet access from within their premises and territories. For example, companies may seek to improve employee productivity by restricting access to leisure sites; libraries and schools may seek to avoid exposing children to sexually-explicit content, or be required to do so; countries may seek to control the information received by their citizens generally. Common among nearly all these applications is the public unavailability of the filtering lists -- that, by the design of filtering systems, users cannot and do not know the set of specific sites blocked. In some cases users might ask for a specific site and be told of its unavailability due to filtering, but in other cases such unavailability may be conflated with unremarkable network blockages -- a Web site might be unreachable for any number of reasons, and the failure to view it at a particular moment cannot reliability be attributed to active filtering.

With this project we seek to document and analyze a large number of Web pages blocked by various types of filtering regimes, and ultimately create a distributed tool enabling Internet users worldwide to gather and relay such data from their respective locations on the Internet.
Can the Internet survive filtering? - Tech News -
The digital chain connecting one's laptop to a Web site thousands of miles away can be traversed by a single click--so long as no link within the chain refuses to carry the signal.

Such refusals, though still rare, are on the rise.

The Internet was built on principles of "end-to-end neutrality," an engineering rule of thumb calling for smarts at edges of the network rather than in the middle. The idea was--and remains--that fancy features work better at the edges. Since we can't anticipate the uses to which the network itself might be put, globally optimizing it for one use might regrettably disadvantage others.

Thus the basics, such as data encryption between distant users, and verification that data sent is actually received, are left to the computers that attach to the Net rather than to the network itself. The Net's job has been determinedly simple: Any given intermediary will use best efforts to move the data it receives at least one step closer to its declared destination.

But a number of pressures are converging to complicate that job.

Internet service providers and their customers have long since tired of handling overwhelming volumes of spam. Parents want to shield their children from pornography and hate speech. Governments want to exclude certain content from their respective territories.

They share a common desire to readily categorize and filter out that which they don't want themselves or others to see. While there are a variety of possible solutions for each problem, one common approach is to ask the network to help: An end user's computer need not be burdened (or perhaps entrusted) with the task of sorting out what's desirable and what's not.

Documenting the new crop of discerning Net couriers among the old-time end-to-enders isn't easy. Any number of problems might prevent someone from reaching a requested Web page or other Internet resource, including network congestion, misconfigured servers or broken routers.

How, then, can you know when a blockage is due to the explicit filtering of content somewhere within the network at someone else's initiative?
Study Tallies Sites Blocked by Google
…the popular Internet search engine, has excluded more than 100 Web sites from the French and German versions of its index under pressure from those nations' governments, a new study has found.

The sites include many devoted to white supremacist philosophy and Nazism, with names like Jew Watch. Ben Edelman, who did the research, said "they are mostly pretty terrible pages."

Mr. Edelman wrote the study with Jonathan Zittrain, a co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. They said that the issue of Internet blocking and filtering raised questions about the ability of governments to censor the Internet. Government efforts to filter or block Internet traffic are on the rise, and include recent attempts by France, still in court, to force Yahoo to remove auctions featuring Nazi memorabilia. Google was also blocked last month by China, which diverted queries for Google to other sites the government deemed friendlier.

Mr. Edelman said that the blocking efforts sometimes seemed out of date; at least one Scandinavian site that was devoted to white supremacy has changed its focus since being blocked and is now a Chinese-language site dedicated to legal questions, he said.

Mr. Edelman and Professor Zittrain, who published their report at, have asked volunteers to help them compare the Google directories in various countries to discover other examples of filtering.

In a statement yesterday, Google said that it removed sites "that may conflict with local laws" from the German and French versions of its index "to avoid legal liability," and that it did so case by case, after receiving notices or complaints from "partners, users, government agencies, and the like," taking action only after careful consideration.

The company said that this was a common practice among search engines and "has no effect on the results presented on other Google sites."

Silent blocking leaves Google users with no indication of what information is being withheld, Professor Zittrain said, adding: "People don't know what they don't know."
Rumsfeld Denies Rift Exists Between Pentagon and C.I.A.
Mr. Rumsfeld said the Pentagon's senior leaders ask tough questions of the intelligence reports they receive, but he described the debate as "effective interaction."

He spoke at an afternoon news conference that his aides said was organized specifically to respond to reports of rifts between the Pentagon's senior civilian leaders and the C.I.A., and to counter those who say Mr. Rumsfeld and his advisers are trying to mold intelligence findings to bolster those in the administration who advocate attacking Iraq.

Mr. Rumsfeld cited an editorial in The New York Times on Wednesday that called on him to present what he described as "bulletproof" evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and also an article today in the newspaper describing an intelligence unit at the Pentagon assigned to mine reports from other spy agencies for information on Al Qaeda and Iraq that had been missed or ignored.

Advocates of the unit's work say its assignment is to use powerful computers and new software to mine for data on the capacities of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and of his suspected ties to terrorist groups — information that might have been diluted or even ignored by intelligence analysts who do not believe in the severity of the Iraqi threat.

But critics have said the team is at work finding only information that fits the most hawkish views on Iraq and risks politicizing the intelligence process. Should America go to war to topple Mr. Hussein, then public support requires a full and fair discussion of the evidence against the Iraqi leader, the critics say.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Roadblocks on the Path to Peace
This week the Bush administration has been busy unveiling its new "road map" for a Mideast peace to Israelis, Palestinians and other nations. It is an exhaustive document that has a little of everything except what is needed most: a detailed blueprint of a comprehensive political settlement and a realistic, internationally monitored way of getting there. As one horrific act of violence follows another, the gap between high-level diplomacy and on-the-ground realities rarely has seemed wider. Diplomats are now wrestling with an elaborate sequence of steps and questions over the minutiae of Palestinian government reform, the timing of Palestinian elections and the establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders.

But all of that will fade into irrelevance unless the international community demonstrates the will to promote a settlement plan that goes beyond the generalities offered by President Bush and shows how a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders can be achieved without threatening Israel's security.

There is no doubt that Palestinian politics have been shaken. There is open discussion of reforming Palestinian institutions. There are growing complaints about the Palestinian Authority's lack of transparency and accountability. And there is increased awareness among Palestinians that attacks against Israeli civilians must stop. But it is not the shake-up that is in question; it is its meaning and direction.

Yes, talk about reform is getting louder. But reform means different things to different people. For some Palestinians, it means starting to build more modern, state-like institutions, as the United States has called for. For most, however, the central concern is neither regret over Yasir Arafat's failure to reach a peace agreement with Israel nor disillusionment over the consequences of the intifada. Indeed, Mr. Arafat is often accused of having been too accommodating of Israel, and the intifada is seen less as a war the Palestinians have chosen than as one Israel has imposed upon them. For many, the call for change is rooted in a critique of the Palestinian Authority's inability to resist the Israeli military offensive, the lack of a coherent political strategy and disunity within Palestinian ranks.

Under these pressures, reform of the Palestinian Authority seems inevitable — but it can take one of many directions. If Palestinians are not offered a clear and credible way to end the occupation and reach a comprehensive settlement, moderate Palestinians will have little to offer. Instead, the type of reform most likely to emerge is one that would establish a leadership composed of all national and radical Islamic forces, including Hamas, in order to resist Israel's occupation.

The Bush administration believes that raising final-status issues now will undermine genuine Palestinian reform. In fact, the absence of that element is undermining genuine reformers. In a similar vein, until Israelis can see a realistic political way forward, they are unlikely to challenge Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies that are harming the chances of reaching a peace agreement.

What is puzzling is that so many in the international community publicly endorse an American approach that they privately concede has no chance of succeeding. Israel is likely to say yes to the road map because it knows it is going nowhere; Palestinians are unlikely to say no because under current circumstances they have nowhere else to go. But neither they nor any of the principal international actors harbor any illusion that the security steps, reform, elections or negotiations over provisional borders will yield anything like what Washington claims to have in mind.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

U.S. Envoy Arrives in Jerusalem for Mideast Talks
Israel and the Palestinians expressed reservations Wednesday about a new U.S. peace plan, as Washington launched its most ambitious mediation mission in months with the arrival of a senior envoy in the region.

The mediator, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, was to hold talks with Israelis and Palestinians on Wednesday and Thursday about the three-stage plan, a blueprint for Palestinian statehood by 2005.

Both sides said the plan, which also has the backing of the United Nations, Russia and the European Union, is too vague on crucial points. The plan has not been made public, though officials have revealed some details.

Israel said it would be required to withdraw troops from parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the first stage, without guarantees that the Palestinian security forces would do more to prevent attacks on Israelis.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians need stronger U.S. guarantees regarding the timetable and implementation, including international monitors.

Palestinian officials, meanwhile, said they expected an Israeli pullout from most of the West Bank town of Hebron after security talks set for later Wednesday. Gissin said Israel would pull out when it was satisfied that Palestinian police will take over security duties.

In Israel, a government coalition crisis was brewing over the dismantling of Israeli settlement outposts in the West Bank by Israeli troops. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said he would pull his moderate Labor party out of the government unless Sharon reins in far-right Cabinet Minister Effie Eitam, a settler patron. In a Cabinet meeting this week, Eitam called Ben-Eliezer a fool, a liar and a coward for ordering troops to dismantle some of the outposts.
Israel Buries Bomb Victims, but Does Not Strike Back
Israel did not retaliate today for the bombing of a bus that killed 14 passengers on Monday in what officials said was a nod to American concerns that rising violence here could disrupt plans for possible military action against Iraq.

Departing from what has become a regular pattern after suicide bombings during more than two years of violent conflict, the government did not order the army into action in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

Mr. Sharon, who recently returned from a visit to Washington, has reportedly been asked by American officials to curb Israeli military responses to Palestinian violence as the United States tries to enlist the support of Arab countries for a possible strike against Iraq.

A 10-day Israeli siege of Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, after a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last month was criticized by Bush administration officials as damaging American diplomatic efforts and slowing the process of Palestinian reform.

The decision to hold off a military response this time came on the eve of a new round of American diplomacy.

In a sign that no retaliation was imminent, Mr. Sharon did not convene his security cabinet in the hours after the bombing, consulting instead by phone with Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. Mr. Ben-Eliezer's spokesman said curfews would have to be reimposed and blockades tightened on cities in the West Bank, canceling steps to ease restrictions on Palestinians.

"The terrorists are taking advantage of the easing of curfews and closures to carry out attacks, so this easing will have to be scaled back," said the spokesman, Yarden Vatikai. "They are shooting themselves in the foot and causing suffering to the population."

Israeli security officials said the attackers who struck on Monday exploited the lifting of a curfew to drive their car bomb into Israel. The militant Islamic Jihad group, which took responsibility for the attack, identified the bombers today and said they were from the northern West Bank city of Jenin. The army had recently pulled its forces back from Jenin, surrounding the city and digging a trench around it to prevent militants from sneaking out.

Despite the warnings that restrictions would be reimposed, curfews were not in force today in Jenin and Nablus, the army said. The two cities have been described by army officers as hotbeds of militant groups and the source of some of their most devastating attacks in Israel. The army did demolish two family homes in the Nablus area. One was the home of a suicide bomber who struck last July, the other of a militant suspected of organizing attacks on Israelis, a military spokesman said.
Windows XP SuperGuide,3971,530826,00.asp

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Death and Taxes? or War and Spam?

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Palestinians 'forced to abandon village'
The last few families left the village of Yanun, near Nablus, on Friday, saying they had been regularly under attack from illegal hilltop outposts of the Itamar settlement 10 kilometres to the west.

The village mayor returned with several men at the weekend to maintain a presence and prevent settlers from taking it over.

Yanun is the first Palestinian community to be evacuated in recent years owing to alleged harassment by Jewish settlers.

'More difficult than death'

Reports say the village's stone houses are now locked and the small local school is deserted.

An electricity generator was found scorched by fire and three large water tanks tipped over and emptied.

"Our life is more bitter than hell," said 40-year-old father of six Kamal Sobih, who was one of the last to leave for the neighbouring village of Aqraba.

Residents said that masked settlers used to rampage through the village stealing sheep, throwing stones and beating them with fists and rifle butts.

Olive pickers and goatherds say they have been chased from nearby hillsides, and two weeks ago a man from Aqraba was shot dead in the olive groves.

"This was not a life," Mr Sobih added. "I left against my will. It is more difficult than death, but I would go to the desert so my son can sleep safely." | Israel
Most Palestinians do not believe an attack will be made on their leader this time. They are, instead, bracing themselves for more of the same: tightened sieges and curfews in their cities. Even before the bombing, the Israeli army had reoccupied Jenin and slapped a curfew on Qalqiliya.

The greater fear—especially among Palestinians ensnared in their increasingly isolated villages—is that Israeli settlers will be given free rein to exact revenge. In the past month, armed gangs of settlers have tried to prevent Palestinian farmers from harvesting the olive crop, leaving at least one Palestinian dead and acres of farmland torched. The aim is to drive out Palestinians from areas that abut the settlements. It is proving successful. On October 18th, the last remaining Palestinian families left a village near Nablus after two years of armed harassment from settlers and no protection from the army.

Palestinians also expect Mr Sharon will authorise the demolition of more houses belonging to the families of suicide bombers, and the assassinations of Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders. They are equally convinced it won’t stop the bombers, who are proving remarkably resilient in the teeth of Israel’s repression. More than 80 Palestinians have been killed in the past month, many of them civilians. It is from such bloodied soil the Islamists draw their sustenance, says Jamal Zaqout, a secular leader in Gaza. “Support for the suicide bombers grows the more Palestinians feel the lack of any kind of international protection,” he adds. | Iraq, Israel and the United Nations
SOON after invading Kuwait in 1990, Saddam Hussein realised that he had made a mistake. Contrary to his expectations, the world would not after all allow his land-grab to stand. The United States was girding for war. He therefore began to cast around for a face-saving exit. One of the first ideas he came up with was “linkage”. Why not trade a withdrawal from Kuwait for Israel's withdrawal from the territories it had occupied in 1967?

Linkage got nowhere. But as the world debates the merits of another American-led war against Mr Hussein, the idea has returned in a new form. Israel has violated countless UN resolutions and amassed weapons of mass destruction, say those who oppose this war. Why then is Iraq singled out for yet more punishment while the Israelis get off scot-free?

This question is no longer being asked by Arabs alone. “No war against Iraq, Free Palestine” has become the slogan of anti-war demonstrators in Europe and America. The two conflicts have become entwined in the public mind in a way that the West's politicians cannot ignore. When he sought last week to talk his sceptical Labour Party into supporting action against Iraq, Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, got his biggest cheer for the bit of his speech that said UN resolutions should apply in Palestine as much as Iraq.
'They're Coming After Us.' But Who Are They Now?
…officials use the words Al Qaeda to explain the potential threat or the grisly reality of almost anything resembling a terrorist attack, potential anti-government plot or suspected sleeper cell. The message is heavily coated with fear.

George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, made the case dramatically before Congress Thursday: "They have reconstituted," he said. "They are coming after us . . . They plan in multiple theaters of operation. They intend to strike this homeland again."

But defining what Al Qaeda is seems to become only more difficult with time, as alleged operatives range from a handful of Muslim converts in Portland, Ore., who tried to get to Afghanistan but never made it, to a fundamentalist Muslim cleric in Indonesia suspected in the disco bombings that killed nearly 200 a week ago in Bali.

So what is the current Al Qaeda? An organization? A movement? An ideology? Answering the question is a key to figuring out how to fight it.
News: Spammers crack through Windows
Spammers have co-opted an administration feature in Microsoft's Windows operating systems and are using it to bring up intrusive advertisements on Internet-connected computers.
ZDNet: Tech Update: Networking / Meet your spammer
How the heck did all these people get my e-mail address?

Unfortunately, the answer is, very easily. Your work e-mail, if it's posted on your company's Web site, is probably even more vulnerable than your personal address. Your personal e-mail is likely to be culled from newsgroups, but savvy e-mail marketers are more likely to troll company Web sites for e-mail contacts.

For home use, you can change your e-mail address, or simply get an alternative "spam catching" address from a free e-mail service and use it when you post to newsgroups or fill out forms on the Web. But businesses can't have employees changing their e-mail address every time the spam piles up. Nor would it be good business practice to remove employees' e-mail addresses from the company Web site.

Relying on legislation to halve the size of your inbox has proved a waiting game, although plenty of states are trying to whittle away at spam. In California, the unsolicited e-mail I receive is required by law to have a label of "ADV" or "ADV:ADLT" in the subject line, only three of the last 50 spams I received were appropriately labeled. Obviously, e-mail transcends state boundaries--much of it originates overseas--which makes such the legislation difficult to impose. In some cases, it's weak by design. If, for example, you live in Delaware and receive a spam e-mail from out of state, your state's anti-spam law only applies if there's "a reasonable possibility" that the sender knows you are in Delaware. Just keep deleting.,14179,2880792,00.html

Monday, October 21, 2002

There are a couple of really good tools here.

Jewish Settlers' Zeal Forces Palestinians to Flee Their Town
The alleys of this Palestinian hamlet were silent today, the empty stone houses locked, the small local school deserted.

The last families living here left on Friday, broken by what they said was a year of steadily mounting violence by Jewish settlers living in neighboring outposts on the hills. The gunfire, stone-throwing, physical assaults and vandalism had become unbearable, they said.

"This was not a life," said Kamal Sbeih, 40, a father of six, who packed up and moved with his family to the neighboring village of Aqraba. "I left against my will. It is more difficult than death, but I would go to the desert so my son can sleep safely."

The evacuation of Khirbat Yanun, a village southeast of Nablus which once numbered 150 people, is the first case in memory in which harassment by Jewish settlers has emptied an entire Palestinian community. It was also an example of how militant young settlers are shaping the conflict in the West Bank after more than two years of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

The zeal of the younger generation of settlers, born and reared in conflict, was on display several miles west of here today, where about 1,000 Jewish youths fought soldiers and police officers who came to evict them from an illegal settlement outpost known as Gilad Farm — one of scores of encampments built in recent years on West Bank hills.

Hurling epithets at the soldiers and urging them to refuse orders, the young protesters clung to shipping containers and barricaded themselves in sheds before they were dragged off, and the structures were demolished. Dozens of people were hurt. After the troops left the area, a few hundred youths returned to rebuild the dismantled structures.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon criticized the settlers today, saying, "There is no issue which justifies violence against soldiers and the security forces."

Outposts similar to the one taken down today, extensions of the Jewish settlement of Itamar, flank Khirbat Yanun.

The slopes below the outposts have become effectively off limits to the villagers in recent years. Settlers have opened fire to scare goat shepherds away and to distance olive pickers from hillside groves, villagers said. Two weeks ago a man from the neighboring village of Aqraba was killed when shots were fired at olive pickers on a hill nearby.

Yaacov Hayman, the chairman of the local council of Itamar, said that after two years of lethal Palestinian attacks, which he said had killed 11 people from the settlement, the villagers had to keep their distance.

…settlers have also made violent forays into Khirbat Yanun itself, coming with increasing frequency over the past year, especially on the Jewish sabbath and holidays, villagers said. The settlers would threaten residents at gunpoint, hurl stones from rooftops, smash windows and vandalize property, according to the villagers. They described huddling in their homes with frightened children as settlers pounded on doors.

Mr. Hayman said he was not aware of any such attacks.

Yet the empty hamlet bore scars of violence. Windows were broken in some homes. A blackened building held the rusting remains of a generator, which residents said had been burned by settlers in April, leaving the village with no electricity. Three water tanks that had supplied the village lay empty. Residents said they had been toppled by settlers.

Abdellatif Sbeih, the mayor, showed a scar on his head he said was left from the blow of a settler's rifle. He produced a sheaf of written complaints to the police going back four years, which he said had produced no results. The troubles began five years ago when the settlement outposts first went up, he said, and they have continued unabated.

A police spokesman confirmed that complaints had been received, saying that settlers had been questioned but none had been prosecuted.

As the violence intensified over the years, people began moving out of Khirbat Yanun. Last Friday, the last few families left. (printer drivers, cdrom drivers, modem drivers, sound drivers, mouse drivers, monitor drivers, etc.) -
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Sunday, October 20, 2002

Protection of Privacy by States Is Ranked
California and Minnesota protect the privacy of their citizens better than any other states, while the federal government does a poor job, a study by Privacy Journal says.

The journal ranked states in five tiers. The other states in the top tier are Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Washington and Wisconsin.

The second tier, states considered "above average," includes Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.

The third tier, states considered "below average," has Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia.

The fourth tier has nine states and the District of Columbia: Alabama, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The lowest tier includes Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

Texas, ranked in 1999 as "not on the radar screen," improved its standing by enacting laws restricting the use of genetic information by insurance companies and employers, and the use of automatic dialers by telemarketers. It also joined several other states by requiring telemarketers not to call individuals who have entered their names on a state "do not call" list.

Mr. Smith said the federal government would have been ranked in the fourth tier of privacy protectors if it were a state.
Israel Continues Its Crackdown With Raids in the West Bank
Israeli troops raided houses in the West Bank today and arrested at least eight people suspected of being militants, continuing their crackdown on a Palestinian uprising despite calls for calm from Washington.

The predawn raids centered on the city of Nablus, and the men detained belonged to Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction and the militant Islamic group Hamas, the army and Palestinian witnesses said.

Witnesses said troops searched six houses whose occupants had already fled. Four soldiers were injured as they blew up the door of a wanted man's house in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.

The sweep came as Israel eased its hold on several West Bank cities, a day after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon returned from talks in Washington and an American envoy, William J. Burns, set off for the Middle East with a peace plan

The United States, Israel's closest ally, wants to see Israel ease its curfews and closures as it tries to rally Arab support for a possible war against Iraq.

The army suspended its curfew indefinitely in Jenin but tightened its grip around the city, a militant bastion like Nablus. Military sources said a troop presence in Hebron would also be scaled back ahead of talks on a potential withdrawal.

Restrictions on movement were also eased in Hebron, Tulkarm, Nablus and Qalqilya, the army said.

But the measures were unlikely to calm tensions aggravated by Israeli shelling that killed six Palestinians after militants fired on an army outpost in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

The United States called for an Israeli investigation into the killings. "We are deeply concerned by reports that civilians and children were among those killed and injured," a State Department spokeswoman said.

The new violence soured the mood before Mr. Burns's tour and imperiled planned Israeli-Palestinian talks to build on a high-level meeting on Wednesday, the first in weeks.
Possibility of Using Trucks for Terror Remains Concern
Two taped warnings attributed to Al Qaeda both specified that attacks would target America's economic lifeline. Intelligence officials say this most likely means transportation or finance.

A more ominous sign, experts say, is that fuel-laden trucks have been used three times this year in terrorist attacks. On April 11, a terrorist driving a truck carrying liquefied natural gas ignited his cargo in front of a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba, killing 21 people, mainly German and French tourists. Germany blames Al Qaeda.

In May and August, terrorists remotely triggered bombs attached to Israeli fuel tankers. Neither bomb caused substantial damage, but the incidents signaled a new tactic.

About 50,000 trips are made each day by gasoline tankers, many of which hold as much fuel as a Boeing 757. Many of the depots where they fill up are unattended, dispensing fuel with the stroke of a driver's card. The trips often end with a late-night delivery to a deserted gas station. Experts say that chemicals present an even greater risk, particularly those like chlorine or cyanide, which can form clouds of deadly fumes.

Across North America, terrorism officials were alerted in May when a truck hauling 96 drums of sodium cyanide was stolen north of Mexico City. Most of the 55-gallon drums were quickly recovered, but the hijacking showed the ease with which terrorists could appropriate a potential chemical weapon.

The very placards that trucks must carry to inform firefighters of toxic contents could also direct terrorists to particularly deadly cargo, experts say.

"Gasoline and propane are very spectacular, but realistically they pale in potential damage or injuries compared to a lot of other products that move by truck," said a senior official at a chemical-hauling company. "And the placards pretty much advertise exactly what's inside."

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Israel Eases Its Hold on Jenin and Plans Pullback From Hebron
The Israeli Army has moved out of Jenin, on the West Bank, surrounding it and digging a trench to prevent militants from sneaking out, the army and the local governor said today.

On Sunday, Israeli cabinet officials are to discuss a pullback from Hebron, where Israeli forces have been in the part of the city formally controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer has already decided on the Hebron pullback, his spokesman said, but the move requires the final approval of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who returned today from a visit to Washington. Jenin today, the Palestinian governor reported that Israeli troops had left the city. An army spokesman said that troops were now positioned around Jenin, and that a trench was being dug to block the movement of weapons and militants out of the city. Access would be allowed on main roads controlled by checkpoints, the spokesman said.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, about 200 people returned to a Jewish settlement outpost southwest of Nablus that the army had begun to dismantle this week. The army made no immediate move to evict the settlers, but Mr. Ben-Eliezer said the planned removal of 24 unauthorized outposts would be completed.

In the Gaza Strip, tensions remained high after Israeli tank shelling killed six Palestinians, including two children, during fighting in the Rafah refugee camp on Thursday.

In what the Islamic group Hamas called a revenge attack for the killings, two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded near Dugit, a settlement of in the northern Gaza Strip, when they were assaulted with an explosive charge, gunfire and grenades. The Palestinian attacker was killed.

Brig. Gen. Yisrael Ziv, the commander of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, defended the lethal shelling in a television interview today, saying his forces had responded properly to antitank rockets shot by Palestinian gunmen. "We have no need to apologize" the general said.

Friday, October 18, 2002

The Atlantic Online | Flashbacks | Technology and Security Following the devastation last September 11, the FBI was widely criticized for having failed to detect the planning and preparation of the terrorist attacks. Many argued that the agency's lack of high-tech equipment and computer savvy may have been its crucial flaw. But as the nation now moves to upgrade its various surveillance and detection systems, one author writes in the September Atlantic that we should be wary of placing too much faith in the capacity of technology to protect us.
The Atlantic | September 2002 | Homeland Insecurity | Mann
A Web-only Primer on Public-key Encryption

Public-key encryption, as noted in the profile of cryptographer Bruce Schneier, is complicated in detail but simple in outline. The article below is an outline of the principles of the most common variant of public-key cryptography, which is known as RSA, after the initials of its three inventors; a mathematically detailed explanation of RSA by the programmer Brian Raiter, understandable to anyone willing to spend a little time with paper and pencil, is available here.
Palestinians and Israelis Clash in Gaza; at Least 6 Die
The latest bloodshed came days after the Bush administration expressed deep concern over a significant rise in Palestinian civilian casualties during Israeli military operations. Last week, 17 Palestinians were killed during an Israeli raid on the town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip.

After today's shelling, witnesses said, dismembered bodies were pulled from the rubble of refugee dwellings and body parts littered the alleys. The dead included a 4-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy, two women and two men, said Dr. Ali Musa, the director of Rafah Hospital. He said that half of the wounded were seriously hurt.

The Israeli Army said that its tanks had returned fire after an antitank rocket fired by gunmen in the camp hit an armored bulldozer that was building protective earthwork around an Israeli Army position. No Israeli casualties were reported.

Accounts by both the army and local witnesses described fighting throughout the day between the gunmen and Israeli tanks protecting bulldozers working near the Termit outpost facing the Rafah refugee camp on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Gunmen opened fire and hurled grenades before firing antitank rockets, the army said.

In reply, tanks fired cannon shells at several houses, witnesses said. A resident who identified himself as Bassam, said that there had been "random shelling in the whole area," killing one man at the entrance of his home and two women on the street.

Abdullah Abu Jazar, whose wife Fatima, 70, was killed, said that he was sitting with her in their house when a shell hit. "All of a sudden, fire entered through the wall," he told Reuters. "The doors of hell opened up."

Wailing ambulances careened through the alleys of the camp as medical crews braved gunfire to reach the wounded. Rafah Hospital was swamped with casualties and relatives of the injured.

The United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees said that heavy machine gun fire had hit one of its schools, and pupils had to be moved to a basement for safety. The agency said that another of its schools was struck by a tank shell, and that two Palestinian Authority schools were also hit. No one was hurt because the students had already gone home.

Peter Hansen, the agency's comissioner-general, said he was dismayed by the loss of life and property damage. "This is another case of disproportionate force being used against civilian targets, including schools full of children," he said.
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Thursday, October 17, 2002

We Aren't Safer Now

We haven't brought Osama to justice

Nor justice to Osama
The only Islamic Nation with Nukes has seen the influence of radicals increase
Saddam is stronger and more popular
We are, at best, viewed with more suspicion, less sympathy
Digital Rights Management and the Bottom Line
On June 23, nearly two million Britons opened their Sunday edition of the London Times and found a free CD containing three not-yet-released song clips from the band's new album.

But this was no ordinary promotional CD: Using new digital content controls, Sony had encoded it with instructions that, in effect, banned people from playing the three clips for more than just a few times on their home PCs. Fans also were unable to copy the music file and post it to file-sharing networks—thereby making it harder to steal. Oasis fans who wanted to hear more had to link to the band's Web site and preorder the new album from U.K.-based retailer HMV—or wait until it was released.…,3959,615900,00.asp

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Clash of Internet Privacy Policies
Internet Explorer 6.0, which was released late last year and has gradually become the most widely used browser software, aims to discourage third-party tracking abuses. It does so by blocking such cookies unless the third party's privacy policy meets strict standards, like agreeing not to collect personally-identifiable information on the user it is tracking. These third parties must put that policy into a machine-readable format specified by the World Wide Web Consortium's Platform for Privacy Preferences, otherwise known as P3P.

The problem for the Web sites is that so far only 25 of the 100 most highly visited Web sites have put their own privacy policies into that format. And even fewer have worked with their business partners to ensure that they, too, have digitized privacy policies and that they conform with Explorer's rules. As a result, even when a Web publisher does business with a partner with a strict privacy policy, if the partner has not yet digitized that policy to comply with P3P and Explorer, the partner cannot place cookies on a user's computer.
In Letter to Sharon, U.S. Criticizes Killing of Civilians
In a message to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before his planned visit to Washington this week, the Bush administration has criticized Israel for killing Palestinian civilians during its military operations and for maintaining crippling restrictions on movement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The letter, delivered on Friday by the American ambassador to Israel, Daniel C. Kurtzer, was reported today in the local press and confirmed by senior Israeli officials; it followed similar expressions made publicly by Washington last week.

More Palestinian civilian deaths were reported today. A 3-year-old boy was killed during an Israeli Army raid in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip in which a militant was also killed, and a woman was fatally shot near Jenin in the West Bank when soldiers opened fire on a taxi, Palestinians said.

The army said it was investigating the fatal shooting of a 60-year-old woman on Friday as she sat on the veranda of her house in the West Bank city of Nablus. Her son, who witnessed the shooting, said a soldier in a jeep had fired at the house without provocation.

The American message to Mr. Sharon expressed deep concern over what it described as a significant increase in Palestinian civilian deaths during recent Israeli Army operations. It asserted that Israel had failed to keep promises to ease restrictions on the movements of ordinary Palestinians hemmed in by checkpoints and blockades of cities and villages.

A senior Israeli official said the American message repeated public expressions of American concern after an Israeli raid on the Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis last week in which 17 Palestinians were killed and scores wounded.

In an early morning operation in Rafah today, Israeli forces blew up two houses while destroying a network of tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt, the army said. The blasts damaged adjacent houses, and a 3-year-old boy, Tawfik Baraka, was killed by falling debris, Palestinians said. Eighteen people were reportedly injured. Ibrahim al-Ghuti, 26, who the army said was an armed militant, was killed by gunfire from Israeli tanks.

In the West Bank, an Israeli tank fired on a taxi van traveling on a dirt road circumventing Israeli roadblocks southwest of Jenin, killing Yusra Sawalha, 40, and wounding two girls, Palestinians said. The army said it had no information on the incident.

In Bethlehem, an explosion at a public phone booth killed Muhammad Abayat, 27, a member of the militant Aksa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of the mainstream Fatah faction. The group accused Israel of responsibility and vowed to respond, saying it was no longer bound by a cease-fire in the area agreed as part of an Israeli troop withdrawal from Bethlehem in August.

In Nablus, hundreds of mourners joined the funeral of Shaden Abu Hijleh, 60, who was killed by Israeli gunfire as she sat on her veranda on Friday evening during a curfew.

Her son, Saed Abu Hijleh, 36, who was slightly wounded, said in a telephone interview that a soldier fired the fatal shots from the back of a jeep on the street near the house from about 30 yards away. Soldiers in passing jeeps usually enforced the curfew with concussion grenades or shots in the air, but the street was quiet on Friday, Mr. Abu Hijleh said.

"The back door of one of the jeeps opened, and without warning, without any provocation, without any threat to them — they could see us eye to eye — they opened automatic fire on us," he recalled. "Nine bullets penetrated the glass door where I was standing. They barely missed me."

Mr. Abu Hijleh was wounded by glass fragments, his father was slightly hurt by a ricocheting bullet, and his mother was mortally wounded in the chest, he said. "My mom was lying on the steps," he recalled. "I went over to her and said, `Mom are you O.K.?,' and she just looked at me with her eyes. I told her to say a prayer, and she died in my hands."
Warn users to be wary of these virus hoax hall of famers
Virus hoax Internet resources

Just as the propagation of legitimate viruses has spawned an industry devoted to antivirus protection, the proliferation of hoaxes (which are, after all, easier to create and distribute) has caused a number of sites to issue alerts when a bogus warning appears. The following sites contain useful information about virus hoaxes. When in doubt about a received warning, check one of these sites. And of course, visit TechRepublic for news regarding viruses and other security issues.
Symantec’s hoax page
McAfee’s hoax page
Trend Micro hoax page

Sunday, October 13, 2002

An asteroid that entered the Earth's atmosphere last June and exploded with a burst of energy comparable to the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima could have set off a nuclear war between Pakistan and India .

"If it had occurred at the same latitude just a few hours earlier, the result on human affairs might have been much worse," he warned. "Imagine that the bright flash accompanied by a damaging shock wave had occurred over India or Pakistan. To our knowledge, neither of those nations have the sophisticated sensors that can determine the difference between a natural N.E.O. impact and a nuclear detonation. The resulting panic in the nuclear-armed and hair-triggered opposing forces could have been the spark that ignited a nuclear horror we have avoided for over a half century."
The Need to Test Evidence
The real threat to civil liberties after Sept. 11 doesn't come in cases like the Lackawanna six, where the strength of the circumstantial evidence will be examined in a trial. Rather, it comes where suspects are detained for months or longer, waiting for the evidence against them to be tested in court. Consider the hundreds of immigrants detained since Sept. 11. Some are held in legal limbo because, say, they stood behind Mohamed Atta, the suspected leader, in line.

In the case of Mr. Padilla, the government has gone further, insisting that the evidence is secret, and no judge or jury should ever have the chance to review it. "In cases involving the detention of immigrants and enemy combatants," said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University Law School, "the government's position is: `if the circumstantial evidence satisfies us, we can lock this guy up as long as we want.' "

THE government's claim that Americans can be imprisoned indefinitely on its say so, without the evidence being reviewed by a neutral third party, creates an increased danger of mistaken identification based on innocent coincidences. While it seems unlikely Mr. Padilla was browsing the Web for a research paper on radiology, as long as the evidence remains secret, it is impossible to judge.
Two Palestinians Killed in Israeli Demolition of Gaza Homes
Two Palestinians, one a toddler, were killed and more than 30 wounded in the Gaza Strip on Sunday when Israeli troops raided a crowded refugee camp and razed houses.

The army demolished two homes that it said concealed arms-smuggling tunnels. The force of the blast leveled the walls of nearby homes, killing a three-year-old boy in one and wounding at least 25 people in others, witnesses said.

Witnesses and Palestinian medics said a 26-year-old local man was also killed by Israeli machinegun fire and five people were wounded in the overnight tank raid into Rafah refugee camp.

Since a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation began in 2000, the army has often raided Rafah in operations it says are aimed at destroying tunnels dug by militants to bring arms and fighters into the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

It said in the latest operation soldiers found one tunnel access point behind a baby's crib and another in a kitchen.

Rafah is a militant stronghold and at least one Israeli army vehicle came under grenade attack during the raid, which the army said was an operation to ``fight terror and the smuggling of weapons in the Gaza Strip.''

Palestinian adviser Nabil Abu Rdainah said the raid was part of a ``dangerous policy and escalation which targets not just the Palestinians but also puts the whole area in danger.''

Israeli diplomatic sources said Washington gave a letter to Israel on Friday criticizing it for not fulfilling promises to ease the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for Palestinians and for Gaza raids in which civilians were killed.

Soldiers also shot dead two Palestinian gunmen as they tried to penetrate the Israeli town of Yevul near the frontier with Egypt. Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in the gunfight.

The infiltration was the first militant action across the Israel-Egypt border in more than a decade. Yevul is a few kilometers south of Israel's boundary with the Gaza Strip, one of the areas where Palestinians are fighting Israeli occupation.
Easy Access to Public Records Online Raises Privacy Questions
Crime victims, jurors and witnesses fear that assailants can easily identify and find them. Others worry about identity theft. Former inmates want their pasts hidden, not publicized. Divorced couples grumble that their neighbors now know their business.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Studs Terkel: Conversations with America
Studs Terkel's multifaceted life has produced an equally rich and varied legacy of research materials. After graduating from University of Chicago's Law School in 1934, Terkel pursued acting and appeared on stage, in radio, and in the movies. He has been a playwright, a radio news commentator, a sportscaster, and a film narrator, and has worked as a jazz columnist, a disc jockey, and a music festival host. He even served briefly as a civil service employee but is best known as a radio network personality and as a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of books. His award winning books are based on his extensive conversations with Americans from all walks of life that chronicle the profound and often tumultuous changes in our nation during the twentieth century.

…from 1952 to 1997, Terkel interviewed Chicagoans and national and international figures who helped shape the past century. The program included guests who were politicians, writers, activists, labor organizers, performing artists, and architects among others. Terkel is remarkable in the depth of his personal knowledge of the diverse subjects explored on his program and his ability to get others to talk about themselves and what they do best. Many of the interviews he conducted for his books and for his radio program are featured here.
Medicine and Madison Avenue homepage
This website explores the complex relationships between modern medicine and modern advertising, or "Madison Avenue," as the latter is colloquially termed. The Medicine and Madison Avenue Project presents images and database information for approximately 600 health-related advertisements printed in newspapers and magazines. These ads illustrate the variety and evolution of marketing images from the 1910s through the 1950s.…
Revolving-Door Monsters
President Bush and Vice President Cheney portray Saddam Hussein as so menacing and terrifying that one might think they've lain awake at night for years worrying about him.

But when Mr. Cheney was running Halliburton, the oil services firm, it sold more equipment to Iraq than any other company did. As first reported by The Financial Times on Nov. 3, 2000, Halliburton subsidiaries submitted $23.8 million worth of contracts with Iraq to the United Nations in 1998 and 1999 for approval by its sanctions committee.

Now let me say right up front that this wasn't illegal — or even, in my view, sleazy. This was legitimate business conducted through joint ventures that had been acquired as part of a larger takeover in September 1998. Zelma Branch, a Halliburton spokeswoman, says that the subsidiaries completed their pre-existing Iraq contracts but did not seek new ones.

So this is not evidence of scandalous conduct or egregious misjudgment. This is not like a politician being found, as former Gov. Edwin Edwards of Louisiana put it, in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.

But as we debate whether to go to war with Iraq, it's a useful reminder of how fashions change in our perceptions of rogue states. Public Enemy No. 1 today is a government that Mr. Cheney was in effect helping shore up just a couple of years ago.

More broadly, the U.S. has a long history in which Saddam, though just as monstrous as he is today, was coddled as our monster. In the 1980's we provided his army with satellite intelligence so that it could use chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers. When Saddam used nerve gas and mustard gas against Kurds in 1988, the Reagan administration initially tried to blame Iran. We shipped seven strains of anthrax to Iraq between 1978 and 1988.

These days, we see Iraq as an imminent threat to our way of life, while just a couple of years ago it was perceived as a pathetic dictatorship hardly worth the bother of bombing. What changed?…
Palestinian Troops Seek Arab Killer of Colonel
Thousands of Palestinians, mainly members of the security forces, demanded an end to internal divisions among Palestinians at a funeral march today for a police colonel killed by a group led by a Hamas militant.

The marchers demanded that Hamas hand over the killers of the colonel, Rajeh Abu Lehiya, whose shooting on Monday was claimed by the Hamas militant Imad Akel. Hamas leaders said the Islamic movement was not involved in the death.

"We expect Hamas leaders to help defuse the current tension by helping to bring the killers to justice," said Samir al-Mashharawi, a senior security official and the leader of Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction.

Mr. Akel said his group killed Colonel Abu Lehiya to avenge the death of Mr. Akel's brother, one of three Palestinians who died in clashes with Palestinian police forces a year ago. At the time, the colonel led anti-riot forces that were involved in scuffles with protesters demonstrating in support of Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda.

Hamas leaders denied shielding the colonel's killers, and said the killing was a feud between two families. "We are against assassinations and we are against internal fighting," said Ismail Abu Shanab, a senior Hamas leader.
A Right to Bias Is Put to the Test
Do religious institutions that are ordinarily free to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion lose that freedom by accepting government money?

"This is an unresolved issue," said Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Texas who is an expert in the law of religious liberty.

"Congress is bitterly divided over it," Professor Laycock added, referring to the uncertain fate of legislation to spend more government money on secular services provided by religious institutions. A crucial element of the debate over the legislation is whether receiving such money should limit an institution's ability to discriminate.

The Georgia lawsuit was brought by Alan M. Yorker, who was turned down for a job at a foster home in Decatur because he is Jewish.

"I remember thinking that this would be the perfect job," Mr. Yorker said, recalling an advertisement in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year: the United Methodist Children's Home was seeking a psychological therapist.

Mr. Yorker, 53, sent his résumé, which set out credentials that included degrees from Columbia and Georgia State, teaching at Emory, government service and decades of practice in adolescent and family therapy.

But the interview did not go well. The application he filled out that day called for his religion, church and four references, "including one minister." He wrote that he was Jewish, and listed his synagogue and his rabbi of 24 years.

Sherri Rawsthorn, a supervisor at the home, later conceded in court papers that Mr. Yorker had been "one of the top candidates for the position." On learning he was Jewish, though, she ended the interview. "We don't hire people of your faith," Mr. Yorker said she told him.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Bush's Science Advisers Drawing Criticism
In a particularly controversial case, the Food and Drug Administration has asked an obstetrician-gynecologist who strongly opposes abortions to serve on the panel that reviews reproductive health drugs. The doctor, Dr. W. David Hager, teaches at the University of Kentucky and has written popular books asserting the healing power of faith in Jesus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, is considering a toxicologist who has advised the lead industry for a panel weighing the contentious issue of whether the federal government should lower its acceptable limits of lead in the blood.

"The pattern of actions we are watching is troubling," Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, said in an interview. "It's one thing to have a political perspective, which all of us do. But we are going to be in trouble in this country if we start moving toward theology-based science or ideological research."

Mr. Thompson and his aides have defended their selections. In a letter this week to Senator Clinton and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, Mr. Thompson denied that the administration uses a litmus test and said, "We will continue to recruit the best scientific minds to serve."

The issue also came up on Monday at the Senate confirmation hearing of Dr. Mark B. McClellan, President Bush's nominee for commissioner of food and drugs.

"Expertise and objectivity are important criteria for selection," Dr. McClellan told the committee, in response to a question from Senator Kennedy. But, he added, so is "diversity of viewpoints."

The committee changes come at a time when Mr. Thompson is restructuring the health and human services advisory system, which consists of 258 outside boards and panels. In any given year, Mr. Thompson said in his letter, his office can appoint roughly 450 people.

Last month, The Washington Post reported on a series of changes, including some involving a committee that advises the disease control centers on matters of environmental health. The article prompted the letter from Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kennedy. In a statement today, Mr. Kennedy argued that the administration was "stacking these committees with right-wing ideologues instead of respected scientists."

One scientist being replaced is Dr. Michael Weitzman, a pediatrician at the University of Rochester whose five-year term has expired. Dr. Weitzman, who has argued strongly that low levels of lead in the blood may be dangerous in children, said he was mystified as to why he was not reappointed.

"I've taken care of thousands of cases of lead poisoning, and am maybe the senior pediatrician currently still taking care of children and doing research on lead," Dr. Weitzman said. "I'm not a zealot. So why would you take somebody like me off?"

Mr. Markey was critical of Dr. Weitzman's removal. He also criticized the selection of Dr. William Banner, a pediatrician who is medical director of Oklahoma's poison control center. Dr. Banner has consulted with the lead industry in a Rhode Island lawsuit against lead paint manufacturers, and questions whether low lead levels are truly harmful.
Israel Begins Effort to Remove Illegal Settler Outposts in the West Bank
The Israeli Army dismantled two uninhabited settlement outposts in the West Bank today in what defense officials said was the start of a campaign to take down more than 20 illegal encampments.

The removal of the West Bank outposts, ordered by Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, drew harsh criticism from leaders of the settlers, who accused the minister of trying to placate dovish members of his Labor Party ahead of a closely contested election for the party leadership next month.

The prospect of the removal of more outposts, including inhabited sites, raised the possibility of a confrontation pitting Mr. Ben-Eliezer against the settlers and their supporters in the governing coalition.

Some commentators speculated that Mr. Ben-Eliezer was seeking such a confrontation in order to appeal to left-leaning Labor members in the race for the leadership of the party, where he is facing a strong challenge from two dovish contenders, Haim Ramon and Amram Mitzna, the mayor of Haifa.

A spokesman for Mr. Ben-Eliezer dismissed that idea, saying that the minister had decided to act after talks with the settlers about removing the unauthorized outposts had proved fruitless.

Scores of outposts, in which people typically live in mobile homes, have been put up by settlers on West Bank hills since 1996 in an effort to expand existing settlements and scuttle plans to hand over more land to the Palestinians. The Peace Now movement, which monitors the outposts, says it has counted more than 100.

Today the army removed empty mobile homes and shipping containers that had been placed by the settlers in two locations west and south of Nablus, a Defense Ministry official said. He added that 20 to 30 outposts would soon be removed.

Deputy Defense Minister Weizman Shiri said the outposts were illegal and had become a burden on the army, which had to to post soldiers to guard them.

"There cannot be a situation in which people who say they are an indivisible part of the territory of the state will be above the law of the State of Israel," Mr. Shiri said.

Leaders of the council of settlements expressed dismay, saying that despite continuing negotiations, they were informed at an overnight meeting with the chief of the army's Central Command that orders had gone out to remove the outposts.
Death and Revenge: Palestinian vs. Palestinian
In Gaza, where private pain often has political causes and consequences, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the grief of the Akel family has brought Palestinians to what they call the brink of civil war.

The story, as sprawling as the conflict here and as relentless as a brother's vengeance, begins with the American war in Afghanistan. It was while protesting that war on his first day of college a year ago that Yousef Akel, who raised lovebirds and adored his older brother Imad, was shot dead by Palestinian riot-control police.

On Monday, the day before the anniversary of his brother's death, Imad Akel and a team of men, posing as police officers, stopped the white Hyundai minivan of Col. Rajeh Abu Lehiya, an official of Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Colonel Abu Lehiya had been in charge of suppressing the demonstration, which Mr. Arafat feared would anger the Bush administration.

The men tortured and killed the colonel, shooting him 20 times in the arms, legs and torso, then dumped his body in the street and drove the van here for an impromptu celebration in the market.

The killing of Colonel Abu Lehiya has accomplished something that two years of Israeli military pressure has largely failed to do: It has brought the Palestinian Authority and Mr. Arafat's Fatah faction into conflict with the Islamist group Hamas, which it accuses of sheltering Imad Akel.

So far, four people have been killed in clashes while preventing the police from making arrests.

Mr. Arafat's loyalists have superior force of arms, but Hamas and Mr. Akel have the sympathy of the street.

How the conflict will end is unclear, but it is about nothing less than the political identity and allegiance of the Palestinians.

"It is a very dangerous stage," Lt. Abd al-Razak al-Majaydah, the Palestinian national security chief here, said in an interview today in his guarded Gaza City headquarters. But he said Mr. Akel and his conspirators had to be brought to justice to vindicate the rule of law.

"Imad Akel should not be in the streets, because he implemented his own law," he said. "He accused, he arrested, he judged and he executed — by himself." Lieutenant Majaydah expressed great anger at some Hamas leaders, but he said he was in negotiations with them and hoped to resolve the standoff without more bloodshed.
20, 000 Palestinians March in Gaza
Twenty-thousand police and militiamen marched in a funeral procession for a police colonel Thursday in the biggest Palestinian display force in years and a clear warning to the slain officer's Hamas killers to end their challenge to Yasser Arafat's government.

The funeral was a show of force by Arafat's police and security after a flare-up of violence that started when members of a Hamas militia kidnapped and killed a senior Palestinian police officer on Monday.

It came at a time when Arafat's power was already greatly eroded by Israeli military incursions into Palestinian areas. Hamas is regarded as the second strongest Palestinian political faction after Arafat's dominant Fatah movement. Hamas leaders distanced themselves from the killing, calling it an individual act of vengeance, but many Fatah activists blame Hamas itself.

A light blue flatbed police truck adorned with three floral wreaths and packed with armed security officers in military-style uniforms led the funeral procession of Col. Rajeh Abu Lehiya, head of Palestinian riot police. Abu Lehiya's coffin, draped with a Palestinian flag, lay on a second police truck.

Thousands of men followed, many of them armed, representing all the secular Palestinian factions and security units, a demonstration that Arafat's backers still have much more firepower than does Hamas.

Among the banners carried by the crowd was one that read: ``All factions have to respect the Palestinian Authority, the only legitimate authority,'' referring to Arafat's government.

The family of Hamas activist Emad Akel has said that he killed Abu Lehia in revenge for his brother's death at the hands of police during a Gaza City demonstration against the U.S. attack on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan last year.

On Monday, Palestinian gunmen disguised as police officers set up a fake roadblock and abducted Abu Lehiya when his car stopped, later killing him with 10 gunshots.

In clashes that followed, police killed two Hamas members while trying to arrest the killers in Gaza City. Two other people died when police fired on a pro-Hamas protest in the Nusseirat refugee camp, where the Akel family lives. It was the bloodiest flare-up between the two rival forces in years.

Hamas does not accept the concept of a Jewish state in the Middle East and opposes Arafat's attempts to make peace with Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Arab section of Jerusalem.

Hamas has rejected Arafat's repeated calls to stop attacks, including suicide bombings, against Israeli civilians. However, Arafat, fearing a civil war, has never sent his forces to crush Hamas. Israel charges that he is not doing enough to rein in the militants.
con·cept: October 2002