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Howard's End: Check! Check! Check!

Check! Check! Check! That's my advice to world leaders as the global drums of war start beating over the terrorist attack on the heartland of the United States. The answer is as plain as the nose of your face. Ask not who did it but, rather, ask why? Maree Howard writes.

The drums of war are beating as global leaders desperately search for answers over who committed such an horrific act on U.S. soil and how there was no advanced intelligence knowledge that terrorist attacks were afoot.

United States politicians are now panicking and are about to ratchet-up spending for what they describe as "human intelligence" - more people on the ground.

They say that for too long, they have relied on technology as an intelligence gathering tool but that can never be a true substitute for the human eye or ear.

The military war marching and the defence industry is also set to receive a major boost in funding. Defence and Energy stocks should soar on Wall Street.

Comparisons are now being made between this latest attack and Pearl Harbour.

But we only need to look at the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour to discover that even human intelligence is useless if those in ultimate authority take no notice or don't act.

In January 1941 the U.S. Ambassador in Tokyo advised his government; " In the event of trouble breaking our between the United States and Japan, the Japanese intend to make a surprise attack against Pearl Harbour."

That was confirmed in October 1941 when Tokyo-based Soviet spy, Dr Richard Sorge informed his government; " The Japs intend to attack Pearl Harbour within sixty days." (confession, New York Daily News May 17 1951)

The Soviet Government transmitted this information direct to President Roosevelt.

There was also the messages intercepted and decoded by U.S. intelligence which gave unmistakable evidence of a coming attack but this was not transmitted to the American commanders at Pearl Harbour.

On November 26 1941, the U.S. Government delivered a virtual ultimatum to Japan making war between the U.S. and Japan inevitable.

On December 1 1941 the Head of Naval Intelligence, Far East, drafted a dispatch to C-in-C of the Pacific Fleet saying; " War between the United States and Japan is imminent." But this was cancelled by superior authority.

On December 5 1941 Colonel Sadtler of the U.S. Signal Corps also drafted a similar dispatch to Pearl Harbour commanders stating; " War with Japan imminent; eliminate all possibility of another Port Arthur." ( an illusion to the similar "surprise attack" that began the Russo-Japanese war) This message was also suppressed.

A Japanese reply to the November 26, U.S. ultimatum, tantamount to war, was received in Washington on December 6 1941 but again, no word was sent to the Pearl Harbour defenders.

A message stating; " The Japanese are presenting at one p.m., eastern time today what amounts to an ultimatum, be on alert" was at last despatched around noon on December 7 1941, and reached the commanders at Pearl Harbour between six and eight hours after the Japanese attack.

The record now available suggests that the Americans in Hawaii alone, were left without knowledge of the imminent onslaught which cost the U.S. dearly, but which brought the U.S. into World War II.

Today, I follow a policy - trust, but verify.

Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan, seems to be the likely target for U.S. retribution over this latest attack.

But in a rare interview, bin Laden was interviewed by CNN's Peter Arnett in 1997 where he outlined a vast number of grievances the 1.2 billion global Muslims have with the U.S. and its allies.

He declared a jihad (holy war) on the basis that the U.S. government has acted criminal and tyrannical and committed unjust and hideous acts of terrorism on people in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.

bin Laden said "The mention of the U.S. reminds us before everything else of those innocent children who were dismembered their heads and arms cut off in the recent explosion that took place in Qana" (Lebanon).

"The US Government abandoned even humanitarian feelings by these hideous crimes. It transgressed bounds and behaved in a way not witnessed before by any power or any imperialist power in the world," bin Laden said.

"They should have been considerate that the Qibla (Mecca) of the Muslims upheaves the emotion of the entire Muslim world."

bin Laden said " A reaction might take place as a result of te U.S. Government's hitting Muslim civilians and executing more than 600,000 Muslim children in Iraq by preventing food and medicine from reaching them. So the U.S. is responsible for any reaction, because it extends its war against troops and civilians."

bin Laden blames the U.S. and its allies for supporting Israel and will not exonerate the American people because "they chose the Government and voted for it"

CNN's Peter Arnett then asked "What are your future plans."

bin Laden said " You'll see them and hear about them in the media, God willing."

If the West decides to obliterate Afghanistan and bin Laden, then it will do nothing but inflame the other 1.2 billion Muslims.

Might we then not expect further attacks and even bio-terrorism using such substances as anthrax which will kill tens of thousands more that direct attacks on U.S. soil by hi-jacked aircraft.

Biological agents, as weapons of mass destruction, are becoming more of a possibility than many of us care to recognise.

They are often called the "poor man's" weapon because of their low price when compared to other weapons of mass destruction.

To attack a civilian population of say 500,000 requires just 50kg of anthrax distributed along a 2km line upwind of the population centre.

The World Health Organisation says that would kill 95,000 and incapacitate 125,000.

Using conventional weapons might cost $5,000 per square kilometre, whereas a biological agent costs around $5.

Better, I think, for world leaders to call for an immediate global ceasefire and ask - Can we sit and talk together about how we can bring this all to an end and how we can help each other prosper in peace and happiness?

The doomsday clock has just moved a few more minutes towards midnight. An eye for an eye and everyone soon ends up blind.


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