Odierno takes over as U.S. commander in IraqPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 6:09amGeneral Ray Odierno took command of U.S.-led forces in Iraq on Tuesday, faced with the challenge of ensuring security gains do not unravel at a time when American troop levels are being reduced. Full Story
4 dead as Hamas, clan battle in Gaza CityPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:22amHamas police waged a fierce gunbattle against members of a heavily armed Palestinian clan in a crowded neighborhood Tuesday, leaving three clan members and one policeman dead, officials said Tuesday. Full Story
Lebanese leaders hold unity talksPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:35amPolitical leaders in Lebanon are holding a "national dialogue" in which the arsenal of Hezbollah, the Shia opposition group, and a national defence strategy will be discussed after months of dissent. Full Story
Petraeus hands over Iraq commandPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:36amGeneral David Petraeus, the outgoing US military commander in Iraq credited for improving security there, has passed control to Lt Gen Raymond Odierno. Full Story
US soldiers battling hard in Iraqi cityPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:37amThe sign was ominous, the humor dark. Iraqis who live in the neighborhood had suddenly vanished, often an indication that an attack is imminent. Full Story
Iran gives full powers to hard-line Guards in GulfPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:38amThe official IRNA news agency says Iran's top leadership has given full powers to the elite Revolutionary Guards as the sole military force in charge of defending the country's territorial Persian Gulf waters. Full Story
Egypt hunts cell planning to kidnap Israelis in SinaiPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:40amHezbollah and Palestinian terrorists are planning an imminent joint operation to kidnap Israelis vacationing in the Sinai Peninsula and transfer them to the Gaza Strip, where they will be held until Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are released, security officials warned yesterday. Full Story
Iraq's Nouri Maliki breaking free of U.S.Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:42amOnce dependent on American support to keep his job, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has consolidated power and is asserting his independence, sharply reducing Washington's influence over the future of Iraq. Full Story
Nuclear agency says Iran has improved enrichmentPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 9:43amIran has substantially improved the efficiency of its centrifuges that produce enriched uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday, indicating that the nation has overcome some of the technical challenges that had plagued its enrichment program. Full Story
Iran gives full powers to hard-line guards in GulfPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 12:08pmIran announced Tuesday that it has put the elite Revolutionary Guards in charge of defending the country's territorial Persian Gulf waters in what appeared to be a hardening of its stance in the vital oil route. Full Story
Bolivia: Governor Accused of GenocidePosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 3:16pmWith South American leaders convened in Chile to discuss Bolivias political turmoil, Attorney General Mario Uribe of Bolivia said Monday that he would file charges of genocide against the governor of Pando Province, where as many as 30 people were killed last week. The move came after President Evo Morales accused the governor, Leopoldo Fernandez, of hiring foreign gunmen to kill peasants. Full Story
Spain's Supreme Court bans Basque partyPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 3:33pmSpain's Supreme Court has banned a party in the country's Basque region because of its links to armed separatists ETA, the court's head said on Tuesday. Hours later, bomb disposal experts in the Basque town of Basauri defused a limpet mine attached to a car belonging to a policeman -- an attempted attack the regional government blamed on ETA. Full Story
Cuba accepts political dialogue with EUPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 3:33pmCuba, in a letter sent earlier this month, conditionally accepted the resumption of formal political dialogue with the European Union, as offered by the European bloc when it lifted diplomatic sanctions against the island two months ago.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry said it "accepts your proposal ... once the foundations and bases are established by joint agreement," in a letter sent in early September to EU headquarters in Brussels and the French embassy in Havana. Full Story
Barclays announces 1.75 bln dlr deal to buy Lehman partsPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 11:26pmBarclays said Wednesday it had reached a deal to acquire the North American investment banking and capital markets businesses of beleaguered US investment giant Lehman Brothers for 1.75 billion dollars. Full Story
Bolivia's Morales arrests rival, sees pact imminentPosted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 11:27pmBolivian troops on Tuesday arrested the opposition governor of a restive northern province blamed for a rash of killings, but President Evo Morales said he still hoped to agree shortly to formal talks with rivals. Full Story
China paper urges new currency order after "financial tsunami"Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 11:33pmThreatened by a "financial tsunami," the world must consider building a financial order no longer dependent on the United States, a leading Chinese state newspaper said on Wednesday. Full Story
France wants Europe to lift Afghan troop restrictionsPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 12:59amFrance on Wednesday asked its European allies to relax restrictions on troop deployment and operations in Afghanistan just a month after losing 10 soldiers in a Taliban ambush. Full Story
Christian factions clash in north Lebanon, 2 deadPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:00amTwo people were killed and three were wounded in a clash between supporters of rival Christian factions in north Lebanon overnight, security sources said on Wednesday.
The violence, the latest in a series of deadly clashes in several areas of Lebanon in recent days, came hours after rival Lebanese leaders held a first session of talks aimed at discussing divisive issues and easing sectarian and political tensions. Full Story
Three die in China baby powder scandal, thousands sickPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:01amChina said on Wednesday a third infant had died from drinking milk contaminated with toxic melamine and 6,244 infants were sick as four officials were sacked amid a widening scandal. Full Story
Feds $85 Billion Loan Rescues InsurerPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:03amFearing a financial crisis worldwide, the Federal Reserve reversed course on Tuesday and agreed to an $85 billion bailout that would give the government control of the troubled insurance giant American International Group. Full Story
U.S. captures $187 million drug haul in submarinePosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:05amThe U.S. coast guard captured a submarine-like vessel equipped with sophisticated navigation equipment and stuffed with seven tonnes of cocaine, Costa Rican authorities said on Tuesday. Full Story
Shell flow station destroyed in Nigeria: militant groupPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:06amThe most prominent armed group in southern Nigeria said early Wednesday it has destroyed the Orubiri flow station operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company in Rivers state. Full Story
Jazeera airs video of kidnapped Canadian, AustralianPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:06amAl Jazeera television on Tuesday aired a video showing a Canadian and an Australian journalist kidnapped in Somalia last month, and said the pair were appealing to their governments to work for their release. Full Story
7th Australian found guilty of terrorism chargesPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:07amA jury convicted a seventh man Tuesday of being a member of an Australian terrorist cell that prosecutors said plotted to attack major sporting events in a bid to kill thousands of people. Full Story
Indian anti-terror strategy faces special challengesPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:19amA spate of bombings in India has fuelled calls for stronger counter-terrorist measures, but duplicating US or British-style strategies is a tough task for such a vast, socially complex country. The series of coordinated blasts that ripped through crowded markets in New Delhi on Saturday, killing 22 people, were the fourth in a major Indian city in as many months. Full Story
US Embassy in Yemen hit by car bombPosted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 3:40amA U.S. spokesman says the American Embassy in Yemen was hit by a car bomb and that there were unspecified casualties. U.S. Embassy spokesman Ryan Gliha tells The Associated Press by telephone that there was a second explosion Wednesday that followed the initial one. He did not have figures for casualties or know their nationalities. Full Story
Malaysia PM says he might resign before 2010Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 3:41amMalaysia's prime minister, facing a resurgent opposition and rebellious colleagues in the ruling party, said Wednesday he may hand over power to his deputy before the 2010 deadline he set earlier. Full Story
Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc
Terrorism Fear Could Create Psychosomatic Epidemic, Feds Warn
By Ryan Singel September 15, 2008
Americans' fear of a terrorism could create a mass outbreak of a psychosomatic illness -- even in the absence of any real attack -- -- creating a fake epidemic that could overwhelm hospitals attempting to treat real victims.
Adding to the confusion, the symptoms of a mass pyschogenic illness look much like symptoms of an anthrax attack, avian flu outbreak or chemical attack.
At least that's what the feds warned hospitals in a nonpublic 2006 communique recently published by the government sunshine site Wikileaks.
Call it a contagious psychosomatic illness -- though the feds preferred to label the phenomenon "psychogenic illness," defining that as:
A phenomenon in which social trauma or anxiety combines with a suspicious event to produce psychosomatic symptoms, such as nausea, difficulty breathing, and paralysis.
If many individuals come to believe that the psychosomatic outbreak is connected to the cause of the trauma or anxiety, these symptoms can spread rapidly throughout a population.
In fact, the feds suggest (.pdf) that there's already been a totally terrorism-fear-created illness in California where no one was actually sick from an attack.
In that case, a man walked into a California bank in October 2003, sprayed an aerosol can into the air and then left. Employees and customers became ill, though investigators found there were no biological or chemical agents in the air.
(Note proof of this incident is attributed to a November 2003 FBI report that is also considered too sensitive for the public's eyes.)
A similar fear-based illness began in Chechnya -- when 13 kids fell ill with headaches, fevers and numbness, according to the report. Many believed that the kids had been poisoned by a Russian chemical attack and the symptoms quickly spread.
Some 87 people, mostly kids, were hospitalized, though there was no evidence of any chemical attack. Officials attributed the illness to anxiety over Russian military activities in the area.
And perhaps most seriously, after the deadly sarin gas attacks in Tokyo in 1995, some 5,000 people went the hospital -- claiming to have symptoms, despite the attack's rather small radius. Twelve people were killed by the gas and 54 others sustained serious injuries.
The analysis recommended that the government and health system educate people about chemical and biological attacks so they can recognize real symptoms, as well as quickly isolating both real and psychosomatic victims in the case of an attack or perceived attack.
The July 5, 2006, analysis entitled Fear of Terrorist Attack Could Trigger Mass Psychogenic Illness (.pdf) from the the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center is not classified.
Instead it is labeled For Official Use Only (FOUO) -- a designation that allows the data to be shared with people without clearances, but away from the public eye. Such material is usually not available through government sunshine requests.