AN INQUIRER READER attending a conference in Japan was sat just feet away from a laptop computer that suddenly exploded into flames, in what could have been a deadly accident.
Guilhem, our astonished reader reports: “The damn thing was on fire and produced several explosions for more than five minutes”.
Should you witness such an event, his advice is, “Don’t try anything courageous/stupid, stay away, away, away!”
“For the record, this is a Dell machine,” notes Guilhem. “It is only a matter of time until such an incident breaks out on a plane,” he suggests.
If there were a contest for the title of “most stupid fans at the World Cup”, two England supporters in Cologne who mislaid their car ahead of tonight’s match against Sweden would certainly be in the running.
The fans parked their car in Cologne’s old city and, before going off to have a drink, they wrote down what they thought was the German street name. When they returned several hours later, they could no longer find their car. According to this morning’s German press, the unnamed England fans, who had driven to the Rhine city from Belgium, then approached two police officers and handed over a crumpled piece of paper with the street name on it. Unfortunately, however, it read – “Einbahnstrasse”, the German for one-way street.
One example out of many comes in Ron Suskind’s gripping narrative of what the White House has celebrated as one of the war’s major victories: the capture of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in March 2002. Described as al-Qaeda’s chief of operations even after U.S. and Pakistani forces kicked down his door in Faisalabad, the Saudi-born jihadist was the first al-Qaeda detainee to be shipped to a secret prison abroad. Suskind shatters the official story line here.
Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries “in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3″ — a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail “what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said.” Dan Coleman, then the FBI’s top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, “This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality.”
Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda’s go-to guy for minor logistics — travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was “echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President,” Suskind writes. And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as “one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.” And over the months to come, under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques.
How could this have happened? Why are we learning about it only now? Those questions form the spine of Suskind’s impressively reported book.
Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. “I said he was important,” Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. “You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” “No sir, Mr. President,” Tenet replied. Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,” Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, “Do some of these harsh methods really work?” Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, “thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target.” And so, Suskind writes, “the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.”
Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in the planet Earth’s sky.
Called a solstice, the date traditionally marks a change of seasons — from spring to summer in Earth‘s Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. Pictured above is the 2005 Summer Solstice celebration at Stonehenge in England. The event was rare because Stonehenge was not always open to the public, and because recent summer solstices there had been annoyingly cloudy. In 2005, however, thousands of people gathered at sunrise to see the sun rise through the 4,000 year old solar monument. Due to the precession of the Earth’s orbital axis over the millennia, the Sun no longer rises over Stonehenge in an astronomically significant way, although the photographer was able to find a good spot where the rising Sun appeared over one of Stonehenge’s massive standing stones.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali behoudt haar Nederlanderschap. Minister voor Vreemdelingenzaken Rita Verdonk (VVD) heeft dat besloten. Dat meldt RTL Nieuws dinsdag op basis van ‘betrouwbare bronnen’. De woordvoerder van Verdonk ontkent het verhaal tegen RTL.
Verdonk zou hebben besloten de procedure tegen Hirsi Ali niet door te zetten. Hirsi Ali zou juridisch gezien niet hebben gelogen toen zij bij haar naturalisatieaanvraag een valse naam gebruikte. De naam Ali heeft ze van haar opa, en volgens Somalisch recht zou ze die naam mogen gebruiken.
Het kabinet neemt waarschijnlijk vrijdag een besluit over de naturalisatie van Hirsi Ali. Er zou worden gezocht naar een goede formulering, zodat Verdonk niet te veel gezichtsverlies zou lijden.
Die laatste zin verdient herhaling. Het gaat er niet om wat er precies allemaal gebeurt is. Dit is wat telt: Er zou worden gezocht naar een goede formulering, zodat Verdonk niet te veel gezichtsverlies zou lijden.