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Archive for Monday, October 28, 2002

Briefly

October 28, 2002

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Washington, D.C.: FBI's anthrax letters theory unlikely, experts say

A significant number of scientists and biological warfare experts are expressing skepticism about the FBI's view that a single disgruntled American scientist prepared the spores and mailed the deadly anthrax letters that killed five people last year.

These sources say that making a weaponized aerosol of such sophistication and virulence would require scientific knowledge, technical competence, access to expensive equipment and safety know-how that are probably beyond the capabilities of a lone individual.

As a result, a consensus has emerged in recent months among experts that was sent to Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., that some of the FBI's fundamental assumptions were flawed.

"In my opinion, there are maybe four or five people in the whole country who might be able to make this stuff, and I'm one of them," said Richard Spertzel, chief biological inspector for the U.N. Special Commission between 1994 and 1998.

Washington, D.C.: Fox News proposes covering Iraq weapons inspections

Fox News is asking the United Nations for permission to send reporters and crews along if U.N. weapons inspectors return to Iraq.

"This is a serious proposal," Senior Vice President John Moody told U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in a letter sent Friday. Having broadcast crews along "would make it easier for U.N. inspectors to do their work and would underscore the credibility of the U.N. mission in Iraq ... Viewers could decide for themselves if the inspectors are being allowed to do their jobs."

"Some television outlet ought to volunteer to eat the cost of showing everything worldwide," says Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes. "Why not let the world in on what's going on?"

Rupert Murdoch, the network's owner, approved the move, even though it may cost millions of dollars to follow as many as 12 inspection teams. Ailes says Fox would share the footage with any legitimate news organization "We don't believe this is something you can pretend to own," he says but would like to have television partners to help split the cost.

North Korea: Country says arms essential to fight 'U.S. imperialists'

A day after U.S., Japanese and South Korean leaders demanded that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program, the communist state said Sunday it needed military arms to fight against "U.S. imperialists."

It was unclear whether the statement in North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper was a response to the three leaders, who met during the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Mexico. A second North Korean paper said Sunday that the Pyongyang government was willing to talk with the United States to allay fears about the nuclear program, under certain conditions.

President Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, demanded on Saturday that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program "in a prompt and verifiable manner."

On Sunday, the Rondong Sinmun said, "U.S. imperialism looks down upon those countries weak in military power, forces them to accept its brigandish demands and makes them a target of its military intervention and aggression."

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