- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Terrorist territories
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is once again coming under attack on Capitol Hill for its purported links to the terrorist underground.
Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, was making the case this week against the United States going to war against Iraq. In doing so, he cited a chart of al Qaeda "high-value targets" the United States wants captured.
"Number one is Osama bin Laden," he said. "And then there is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the one they just caught. Then there is Abu Zubaydah …. What is interesting about all of this tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 is Osama bin Laden is a Saudi. [Ayman Al-]Zawahiri is Egyptian. Saif Al-Adel is Egyptian. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is Pakistani.
"Then down here is a Jordanian, a Palestinian, a Saudi, a Yemeni, an Indonesian, a Kuwaiti and an Egyptian. One thing kind of leaps out at you: Not one of them is an Iraqi. You would think that if Iraq were so closely tied in with al Qaeda, they might have some operatives in there."
The senator continued: "Look at all … the high-value targets, and more than just a few are Saudis. Maybe that ought to be the target of our invasion. After all, we know it has been the Saudis who, with their deep pockets, have been funding the fundamentalists in their efforts in that part of the world.
"It is the Saudis, with their deep pockets, who have been buying and paying for Al Jazeera television with all of the inflammatory tirades against the United States and Israel that come across that television station. Not Iraq. It wasn't Saddam Hussein paying for that. It was the Saudis paying for it."
In fairness, Mr. Harkin said, the United States should perhaps attack Egypt, too.

Homeland security
The chief of the FBI's crisis-negotiation unit, who was negotiation team leader during sieges at Waco, the Montana Freemen ranch and the Japanese Embassy in Peru, and who was an adviser on the recent Beltway sniper case, is now negotiating in the private sector.
Gary Noesner has become vice president of crisis and security management for Control Risks Group, which has its new North American headquarters in downtown Washington. Apart from numerous Middle Eastern terrorist and counterintelligence investigations, Mr. Noesner since 1990 managed to negotiate more than 120 kidnappings for the FBI, taking him from Africa to the Philippines.
He also played key U.S. investigative roles in the hijackings of the Achille Lauro, TWA Flight 847, Pan Am Flight 73 and Kuwait Airways Flight 422, and was deployed to Lockerbie, Scotland, after the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing.
Joining Mr. Noesner as a vice president for crisis and security management is Wells Goddin, an Alexandria native who for 12 years was a U.S. Army Special Forces and special-operations officer assigned to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and unconventional-warfare operations in the jungles of Central and South America.
Since joining CRG in 1997, Mr. Goddin has handled international crises from various overseas posts. Most recently, he evaluated the security of U.S. Navy installations worldwide.

American in Paris
We have to laugh at the creative writer who took liberty with a State Department travel advisory purportedly "warning Americans abroad not to act like Americans."
"Unlike previous alerts, which have warned Americans to keep a low profile or avoid certain destinations, the new advisory notes that it is now unwise to come across as American at all," the author explains.
"As a result, the State Department cautions U.S. citizens to avoid behaviors that could cause them to be singled out as obviously American. These include: the wearing of white socks and tennis shoes; complaining if asked to share a bathroom; threatening to sue over bad service, television reception, or weather."

Bat house
We've just finished reading "Shattered Dreams: One Hundred Stories of Government Abuse," published annually by the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, with an introduction by Rep. Richard W. Pombo, California Republican, a property-rights activist.
Two of the more outrageous tales in this fourth compilation of 100 tales deal with bats, cats and mice. Oh, and humans, who in no way are at the top of this food chain.
Take Grant Griffin of Bradenton, Fla., for example, who can't sleep in his home anymore thanks to a colony of bats. During the day, the bats sleep in his kitchen sink, as a photograph of "Grant Griffin and friends" clearly reveals. At night, the bats do what bats do best, and Mr. Griffin and his girlfriend have small bat bites on their bodies to prove it.
Because these bats are protected as "native wildlife" in Florida, Mr. Griffin is unable to exterminate them. Similarly, his sympathetic landlord is prevented from screening over all bat entrances and exits because that would cause the bat babies to die for lack of food.
Our second story takes us to Colorado Springs, home to people, cats and the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, listed in 1998 as an endangered species. As a result, the house cats of one subdivision are forced to remain indoors for fear they could eat a mouse.
If the felines disregard the Endangered Species Act, their owners let's call them the other threatened species in this story face U.S. government fines of $200,000.

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