And the Survey Says . .

And the Survey Says . .
Vol: 15 Issue: 31 Tuesday, December 31, 2002

And the Survey Says . .

The United States is perceived to be little more than a global bully to much of the world, particularly in South Asia, the Middle East and the Third World. For the most part, that can be chalked up to distance, unfamiliarity with history, a certain amount of envy and a complete misunderstanding of the US culture and national character.

At least, that used to be the excuse I clung to when trying to understand how the most benevolent nation the world has ever known could be so maligned and despised.

Time to find another excuse, judging from a Canadian survey conducted by Maclean’s Magazine, Canada’s Global TV network and the Citizen by the Strategic Council, which is a Toronto based polling firm.

According to the majority of Canadians in the poll, America is ‘starting to act like a bully to the rest of the world.’

According to the survey, most don’t want their government to support the US war with Iraq and strongly oppose the use of Canadian combat troops in the effort.

Assessment:

It is unclear what the Canadians think would be the best course of action, since whatever alternative course of action Canada might suggest it would be incapable of implementing without US support.

But the staggering thing about the survey is that most Canadians know better.

Most thinking Canadians understand that they owe the last half century of peace to the United States. What is today perceived as global ‘bullying’ was decried as ‘isolationism’ back in 1914 and 1939, when Canada was already locked in combat with the Germans and the United States refused to enter the war.

Canada was not attacked in this war, yet, and is not mourning the deaths of three thousand of their number. Consider the Canadian reaction when an American pilot accidently killed four of their troops in a friendly fire incident. And that was an accident that was committed by an ally.

Canada’s wrath at the deliberate killing of three thousand Canadian civilians in, say, Toronto, although impotent, would be as hot as is Washington’s.

“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)

Note:

We begin our effort to ‘pray in’ 2003 today. There will be a link posted on the front page of the Omega Letter that will take you to our special prayer forum where we can post our prayers for the New Year from wherever we are on the planet. You are encouraged to add your voice to ours, agree with us for the New Year, and make your requests known unto God. You can post anonymously if you wish, this is from you to God, after all, and He knows who you are.

From all of us at the Omega Letter, we pray for you and yours a happy, prosperous and safe New Year. May God richly bless us all in 2003.

Sleepers To Wake For New Year?

Sleepers To Wake For New Year?
Vol: 15 Issue: 30 Monday, December 30, 2002

The FBI is looking for five men it says entered the US illegally from Canada sometime around Christmas Eve.

The five men are: Abid Noraiz Ali, Iftikhar Khozmai Ali, Mustafa Khan Owasi, Adil Pervez and Akbar Jamal, all born between 1969 and 1983. The FBI warned that the names and birth dates may be false.

The photographs can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/

In examining the public alert, it doesn’t exactly have the clear ring of truth, either.

The public statement and the bulletin to law enforcement agencies said, “Although the F.B.I. has no specific information that these individuals are connected to any potential terrorist activities, based upon information developed in the course of ongoing investigations, the F.B.I. would like to locate and question these persons.”

CLUE: The Bureau says it has ‘no specific information’ about these men. Let’s stop there a minute.

The alert was issued on a Sunday afternoon. Not Monday morning during a press conference, which is the way it would be done if the DoJ had CAUGHT five Islamic guys trying to sneak into the country.

The timing of the alert carries with it a built in sense of urgency. And what ‘ongoing investigations’ apart from the war on terror, would involve the FBI in the search for five Middle Eastern guys on suspicion they used false passports?

Overall, then, the question is this. How often is it that the FBI issues Sunday afternoon alerts to look for 5 men of Middle Eastern origin between the ages of 19 and 33 who may have sneaked into the country when it is NOT connected with terrorism?

Although most reports say the men are of Middle Eastern ancestry, four of the five have Pakistani or Persian names and do not look like Arabs.

Mansour Ijaz (who is usually right on these things) told FoxNews last night that he believes only Adil Pervez is likely to be an Arab.

Ijaz is a Pakistani-American with some amazing connections in the region.

The FBI said they believed the men crossed from Canada sometime around Christmas Eve. The Canadians are denying it, saying they have ‘no reason’ to believe it.

Under the banner headline, “RCMP skeptical of illegal border crossing” the Toronto Globe and Mail reported,

“The RCMP had been made aware of this situation before yesterday and have been co-operating with the FBI, said RCMP Staff Sergeant Andr Guertin. “I can state at this time that there is no reason for us to believe that [they came through Canada].””

Assessment:

It’s a curious denial. I’ve crossed the Canadian border into the US hundreds of times, most recently last week.

Canada does NOT conduct border exit checks. As the pieces come together, it appears the US knows what Canada doesn’t because the five used false passports on the American side.

US officials aparently let them in before the document fraud was discovered. The five evidently entered Canada from Britain. In both those cases, the forged documents passed inspection.

I find it noteworthy that Canada remains in a state of denial — to the peril of us all.

There are additional reports in the New York Post to the effect the FBI is quietly looking for fourteen other men of similar background that are believed to be already in place in a number of US cities, including New York.

The Washington Post said on Dec 26 that Canadian intelligence experts developed information that sleeper cells in Canada and in the United States had suddenly stepped up communications between them.

The Canadians nabbed an Ottawa area pizza-delivery man named Mohamed Harkat. Harkat is a major player in al-Qaeda, as it turns out.

Harkat was busted shortly after he made calls to suspected al Qaeda members in the US, quoting Reid Morden, former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, who has been in contact with the Canadian spy agency on the matter.

Osama’s network has already tried a major strike against an American target on New Year’s Eve 2000.

All the available intelligence points to the possibility that he will try again, most probably on New Year’s Eve. I am NOT trying to be alarmist and I hope that I am misreading the signals.

But what good is a Christian intelligence digest that holds back information because it is scary?

On New Year’s Eve, I’ll post a link to our “Send an email to God” New Year’s Eve public prayer forum.

Among my New Year’s prayers this year will be a prayer that I am wrong about this.

But be alert during the New Year’s season. And may our God bless us all.

WOW – They Really Said That?

WOW – They Really Said That?
Vol: 15 Issue: 29 Sunday, December 29, 2002

As we prepare to close the books on 2002, America is a nation bitterly divided over nothing that anyone can put their finger on, but the divisions are there. The gulf between left and right has widened, and the left is finding itself losing much of its base of support.

Election 2002 suggests that America may be making a hard right turn, and the left is doing all it can to hold the steering wheel straight. Let’s take a look at some of 2002’s best liberal propaganda and remember, they really did say this stuff. I’m not making this up.

Terry Moran of ABC News actually asked the following of White House spokesman Ari Fleischer during a September 10 news conference: Can you assure the American people that this elevated [terrorism] threat alert is not part of the administration s effort to convince people that the danger is such that military action against Iraq is necessary?

In other words, how can we, the people know that you the government aren’t simply making things up so you can go to war?

Ummm – the current New York skyline might be a clue.

The day after the President’s September 12 speech to the UN, Jennings shared his impartial journalistic observations;

Wherever you live in the world today, the sound of war drums being beaten in Washington has become unmistakable. With the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks behind us…the administration s preoccupation with Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction has rapidly become the number one issue in international affairs.

Too bad we have a paranoid lunatic in the White House, eh, Peter?

Later, Jennings, in his ‘Closer Look” for October 14, continued to play up that theme.

“We re going to take A Closer Look tonight at the mood in the country as the President s determination to wage war against Iraq becomes more defined. The country appears to be less confident than the President. Really? Nothing in the polls indicate that, but Peter Jennings is against it, so that must qualify as the ‘country’.

ABC’s Bill Redecker interviewed people in three cities, San Diego, Charleston and Denver. Redeker’s report quoted only those opposed to the war.

Here’s the ‘ ‘balanced’ view from the left. “Voices of opposition. Not so much against getting rid of Saddam Hussein but how, when and at what cost….Military retirees remember getting bogged down in Vietnam and losing support at home. Many here are leery of a rerun….Unilateral action also troubles those we talked to in Denver. Few want to go it alone….In all three cities, there is a feeling the administration is moving too fast….Contrary to what the President says, when it comes to war, America does not speak with one voice.

Excuse me, Mr. Redecker, but I must disagree. According to your report, America DOES speak with one voice. And it sounds just like YOURS.

Or NBC’s Ron Allen, who reported from Baghdad on September 17; Many Iraqis believe America s true motive is to remove Saddam Hussein from power, install a puppet government and seize Iraq s vast oil wealth. On the streets, many see Hussein s offer to allow the inspectors back as a wise, brave decision showing strength.

Thanks for sharing that tidbit of news. The Iraqis are wise and brave, while America’s true motive is to steal Iraqi oil, according to the National Broadcasting Corporation (which nation are they broadcasting for again?)

Then there is this little bit of impartial journalism from liberal Washington Post writer Ceci Connoly, who analyzed Bush’s UN speech on Fox News, saying, What also struck me, aside from how frightening much in this speech was, were the things that were missing. Very little with respect to minorities, the uninsured, the homeless, the elderly, Enron workers who have lost their life savings.

I am sure that the United Nations wanted to hear about all your pet liberal causes in a speech to the UN about the possibility of war with Iraq, Cecie. But since he didn’t, thanks for your impartial journalistic analysis.

According to TIME magazine, George Bush was indirectly responsible for the Beltway Sniper. Time s Karen Tumulty and Viveca Novak wrote in the November 4 issue of Bush’s slimy association to the crimes, saying,

Gun-rights advocates have been emboldened by an administration that is sympathetic to their cause. The closeness was underscored by the fact that the military-style gun used in the sniper attacks named, unfortunately for the White House, Bushmaster XM15 was manufactured by a company owned by Richard Dyke, a Bush fundraiser.

The ‘Bushmaster’ was named for George W. Bush, and NOT because most hunters go hunting in the ‘bush’ and the gun manufacturer wanted to convey the impression that someone armed with that hunting rifle would ‘master the bush’.

Just in case you want the ‘real’ story on George Bush. He inspired the Beltway sniper, you know.

MSNBC’s Brian Williams wanted America to know what it REALLY meant for the US to withdraw from the ABM treaty. It wasn’t because we face a threat from North Korea’s 5000 mile range Taepodong1 missile or North Korea’s developing nuclear arsenal. Instead, Williams teased the story this way.

When we come back, the other big news from the White House today. President Bush makes a major announcement. Tonight, why the U.S. is deliberately going back on its word in front of the rest of the world.

Is President Bush’s agenda to protect America from its enemies, foreign and domestic, as required by the Constitution and made necessary by September 11?

Of course not, says New York Times writer Robert E Worth. In his column last February 24, Worth explained;

As President Bush toured Asia last week, some world leaders worried publicly that the war on terrorism was starting to look suspiciously like the last great American campaign against Communism….The McCarthy years in some ways were eerily similar to the present moment….Communists were often conceived as moral monsters whose deviousness and unwavering dedication to their faith made them capable of almost anything….The first victims of anti-Communist hysteria were immigrants, and hundreds of immigrants have been detained since Sept. 11, many with little apparent cause beyond the fact that they were Middle Eastern men.

Worth, in his zeal to point out Bush’s propaganda campaign against immigrants, neglected to mention that 100% of the al-Qaeda terrorist network is made up of men between the ages of 17 and 45 from the Middle East.

‘Anti-Communist hysteria’ has been replaced by ‘anti-something hysteria’ — but clearly, it is just a Bush White House inspired ‘hyseria’.

Not a response to the 9/11 attacks that claimed more Americans than Pearl Harbor or than fell during the Normandy invasion on D-Day. It’s just ‘hysteria’.

Assessment:

Does any of this bear any resemblance to reality? The liberal media has pulled out all the stops — right down to finding a way to plant a subliminal suggestion that somehow George Bush bears some responsibility for the Beltway Sniper.

On December 2, Peter Jennings reported that, The President said he is not encouraged by the weapons inspections currently being done by the United Nations in Iraq, even though the UN inspectors say that under the circumstances things are going quite well.

Really? That same night, Dan Rather reported, Inside Iraq today the weapons hunters made their rounds and, as CBS s Mark Phillips reports from Baghdad, for the first time since inspections resumed last week, they were not satisfied with what they found.

Here’s the way Tom Brokaw set up the exact same story on the exact same night.

This is the beginning of a critical week in the showdown between Iraq and the coalition led by the United States. By Sunday we could know much more about the chances for war….[The] signals coming out of today s UN weapons inspection in Iraq were not encouraging.

Same night, three different newscasts, same subject. (A week before the Iraqi declaration that even the UN said was baloney)

How about this one? Some of the President s critics take these encounters as a sign the President is not waiting for the weapons inspectors to do their jobs and that the U.S. may even be these are their words goading the Iraqis to lighting up their air defense systems.

That was Peter Jennings on November 20 giving HIS opinion but disguising it as coming from ‘some of the president’s critics’.

That America was deliberately starting a war with Iraq. Remember, ‘more Americans get their ‘news’ from ABC News than from any other source’.

Here’s what those misinformed Americans who trusted ABC News for the truth learned on November 20:

Peter Jennings: There has been rising anti-American sentiment in Saudi Arabia as there has been in many Arab countries. Just one of the ripple effects on the road to possible war with Iraq.

Jim Sciutto: Across the Arab world, few would miss Saddam Hussein, but even fewer believe a U.S.-led war is the way to remove him. Even America s closest allies are reluctant….Many here see the U.S., not Iraq, as the greater threat to peace.

America is a greater threat to peace than Iraq.

The end is indeed near.

Wars and Rumours of Wars

Wars and Rumours of Wars
Vol: 15 Issue: 28 Saturday, December 28, 2002

Unlike the situation in Iraq, there is pretty much global concensus where the North Korean nuclear threat is concerned. The European Union didn’t waste any time condemning Pyongyang, issuing a call for the North Koreans to ‘back off’ on its plans to reactivate its nuclear program.

South Korea sent envoys to Beijing and Moscow, hoping they would use their influence to get Pyongyang to reverse course. China and Russia are the only two major countries to have diplomatic relations with North Korea, which as the most closed society on earth.

The global response to North Korea is different from that of Iraq in only one respect. Saddam MIGHT have nuclear weapons . ..maybe.

But North Korea has ’em NOW.

Security experts believe North Korea made one or two nuclear weapons using plutonium it extracted from the Yongbyon reactor in the 1990s. Now there are fears it will reprocess plutonium fuel rods that were separated from the Yongbyon reactor, and later stored under supervision by IAEA inspectors.

“They’re going to be able to build four to five additional nuclear weapons within months if they begin that reprocessing operation,” Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said during a broadcast interview.

Biden, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agreed the North Korean nuclear issue was a greater threat to U.S. interests than Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Assessment:

The news that North Korea might resume producing nuclear weapons introduces a new threat many times more dangerous than the current situation with Iraq. That isn’t to say that Iraq isn’t a threat and doesn’t need to be dealt with.

But compared to North Korea, Saddam is merely a nuisance. His arsenal of weapons of mass destruction are potent, but limited in scope.

While Iraq could supply chemical or biological weapons to al-Qaeda, neither Saddam or the al-Qaeda jihadists have an effective means of delivery.

The North Koreans have the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead to a target five thousand miles away. All of Europe is within reach of Pyongyang, as is Japan and the extreme west coast of Alaska.

And the North Koreans are as likely to supply al-Qaeda with a nuclear weapon as Saddam is to give them biological or chemical weapons.

A terrorist with a chemical or biological agent would have the potential to kill thousands.

A terrorist with a nuclear weapon is almost unthinkable.

This is the scenario, assuming a 1 kiloton ground blast somewhere in the United States. Let’s select Niagara Falls, since it is the world’s most recognizable address.

A strike against Niagara Falls would reverberate around the globe, and it is a soft target, since it borders with Canada.

Suppose a suicide jihadist detonated a nuclear device hidden in the trunk of his car somewhere beside the Falls?

Where the mighty Niagara once roared majestically, there is a crater 200 feet deep and 1000 feet in diameter.

For comparison, the water going over the falls drops 166 feet into the Niagara Gorge. The entire Falls is less than a thousand feet across, so it is entirely obliterated.

Nothing recognizable remains within about 3,200 feet (0.6 miles) from the center, except, perhaps, the remains of some buildings’ foundations.

At 1.7 miles, only some of the strongest buildings — those made of reinforced, poured concrete — are still standing. Ninety-eight percent of the population in this area are dead.

The Niagara Falls power generating plant is gone. Much of the Eastern seaboard of the United States has gone dark. Within a circle of 2.7 miles, virtually everything is destroyed.

The walls of typical multi-story buildings, including apartment buildings, have been completely blown out. The bare, structural skeletons of more and more buildings rise above the debris as you approach this ring. Single-family residences within this this area have been completely blown away — only their foundations remain.

Fifty percent of the population in this area are dead. Forty percent are injured. Both cities of Niagara Falls on both sides of the border are utterly destroyed.

Within a radius of 4.7 miles, any single-family residences that have not been completely destroyed are heavily damaged. The windows of office buildings have been blown away, as have some of their walls.

The contents of these buildings’ upper floors, including the people who were working there, are scattered on the street. A substantial amount of debris clutters the entire area. Five percent of the population in this ring are dead. Forty percent are wounded.

At 7.4 miles in all directions from what was the mighty Niagara, residences are moderately damaged. Commercial buildings have sustained minimal damage. Twenty-five percent of the population in this ring have been injured, mainly by flying glass and debris.

Many others have been injured from thermal radiation — the heat generated by the blast. The remaining seventy-five percent are unhurt.

That is based on a one-kiloton nuclear detonation with Niagara Falls at Ground Zero, according to information released in a 1979 government report entitled “The Effects of Nuclear War”.

The nuclear suitcases that went missing in 1991 from the former Soviet Union have a yield of 0.6 megatons. They weigh about sixty pounds and it is rumored that bin Laden may have bought as many as twenty of them from Chechen rebels.

North Korea currently has plutonium enough to construct four or five one kiloton nuclear devices that would fit in a car trunk.

This scenario, as horrible as it is, is entirely plausible, which is why the global reaction to the North Korean threat was instantaneous and unequivocal.

I’d like to be optimistic for 2003. But it doesn’t look good. It is highly likely that the war with Iraq could begin before the ball has reached he bottom of Times Square.

And equally likely that sometime in 2003, war will again come to the Korean peninsula.

And maybe to America.

Speaking of Strong Delusions . . .

Speaking of Strong Delusions . . .
Vol: 15 Issue: 27 Friday, December 27, 2002

Among the items of interest in this morning’s news was a story in the Miami Herald that didn’t get much attention in the national press, although it made major headlines across South Asia. The story is about Mark Jimenez, a Miami computer executive who was extradicted back to America after fleeing to his native Phillipines in 1998.

The real story is why Jimenez fled to the Phillipines in the first place, and why it’s NOT news in America.

Jimenez fled the U.S. in 1998, shortly before a U.S. Justice Department campaign-finance task force accused the Filipino native — born Mario Batacan Crespo — of orchestrating an elaborate scheme to avoid U.S. election laws that prohibit hard-money contributions from foreign nationals.

The indictment accused Jimenez of funneling hundreds of thousands of illegal dollars into the re-election campaign coffers of President Clinton and Democratic Sens. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Torricelli of New Jersey through 23 employee straw donors.

An additional Miami federal indictment charged him with tax evasion, mail fraud, conspiracy and making false statements.

At least seven employees of Future Tech, the computer parts export firm established by Jimenez, ”gave” $1,000 each to Clinton at a Miami fundraiser hosted by Jimenez later received $1,000 bonus checks in return. Sounds exactly like the Buddhist Temple fund-raising scheme, doesn’t it?

So much for the ‘isolated incident of which I knew nothing because I was in the bathroom after drinking too much iced tea’ defense.

Clearly. this was a routine system used to launder money to the Clinton political machine.

Where Jimenez got into hot water was when he tried to stiff the IRS. His company pleaded guilty to having falsely claimed the donation reimbursements as deductible payroll expenses on its corporate income tax return and falsely reporting a $100,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee as a charitable-contribution deduction.

That’s what tripped him up — not the honest Janet Reno Justice Department of 1998. It’s only because the IRS that didn’t get theirs that Mark Jimenez is about to get his.

I read at least a half dozen stories today speculating on the possibility of Hillary Clinton running for the White House in 2004. CNN, Newsday, the UK Guardian, even ABCOnline from Australia all point to polls that make her the Democratic favorite for the nomination.

And I read the lone account in the Miami Herald of what money can buy in a Clinton White House.

Jimenez’s fortune helped him gain access to the Clinton White House; he golfed with the president, socialized with the First Lady and even attended one of the infamous White House coffee klatches.

During the meeting, he lobbied the administration on behalf of Paraguay, where his firm had major business interests. A month after the coffee, Clinton allowed the country to continue receiving U.S. aid despite restrictions on other Latin American governments that failed to control cocaine smuggling, said the Herald.

Assessment:

I’m not exactly sure what it is about this story that stunned me. I suffer ‘Clinton fatigue’ as much as anybody and more than most. Maybe its just because the whole thing is just SO wrong — and is pretty much blacked out in the national press.

Mark Jimenez came to the US as Mario Crespo, a penniless divorced father on the run with his kids. He became Mark Jimenez to hide his kids from their mother.

He arrived in California with $3000 to his name and somehow managed to get exclusive distribution rights to floppy disks and other computer paraphernalia upon which he built his fortune overnight.

Before long, Mario Crespo was on a first name basis with Bill Clinton, golfing with Hillary Clinton, staying overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom, having coffee and steering US policy with Paraguay.

This is the story that is NOT on the front page of the New York Times, because . . I’ll let YOU finish the sentence.

The corruption of the 1990’s seems somehow surreal in the New Normal, like it couldn’t have really happened. Surely it was blown out of proportion — or that is how it is being portrayed as history revises itself before our eyes.

But LOOK at what we are talking about. Take Mario Crespo/Mark Jimenez and multiply him many times over, add the Chinagate scandals and the James Riadi/Indonesia/Buddhist Temple and the hundreds of other criminal convictions among the Clinton associates.

Most of our military secrets escaped during his watch, the military was decimated and Osama bin-Laden was convinced the United States was so decadent and corrupt that he could scare it into submission. And 3,000 of us died, based on that flawed assumption, on September 11.

The depth and breadth of the corruption of the Clinton administration is almost unfathomable. The cost to the country is still be tabulated and would take generations to calculate completly.

But Bill Clinton continues to command the respect and admiration of half the country and most of the international community.

Now to the point. When the Bible speaks of the antichrist, it almosts sounds like it is referring to another world.

A world in which people are so stupid and gullible that they will believe him when he says that he is really God, and will eventually rally with him on the plains of Megiddo to fight against the returning Jesus.

I used to wonder about that a lot. How WOULD he pull it off? I mean, the antichrist is a pretty specific character about whom we know a great deal.

The only thing we don’t know at the moment is who he is, but once he takes power, his actions will pretty much eliminate any doubt of his identity.

And once it’s obvious that he’s the antichrist, (how many other guys call down fire from heaven, insist on a Mark and demand worship in the last days?) why will they continue following him?

Since governing requires the consent of the governed, how’s he going to manage it?

Just how powerful is propaganda? Well, as I said earlier, I read six stories this morning speculating about whether Hillary Clinton was going to run for president two years from now.

Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not saying that either Clinton is the antichrist.

But look at the dynamic here. As we witness history being revised on the fly, we’re really watching as the fine tuning is being applied to a conditioning process that will answer the questions I posed earlier.

Paul writes of the antichrist and of those who embrace him, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2 Thessalonians 2:11)

A lot of people stumble over this verse, mainly because most of us like to think its the other guy who’ll fall for it and not them.

But Clinton really DID steal the White House using illegal cash and illegal connections, blamed Bush for ‘stealing’ Election 2000, trashed the White House, stole its furnishings, pardoned his cronies and cost the American taxpayer uncounted millions investigating and cleaning up the mess he left behind.

And most Democrats think that Hillary has a chance at the White House only two years from now. The world under antichrist needn’t be populated by gullible morons for the antichrist to seize global power.

The current crop will do nicely.

Pyongyang’s Dangerous Game of Nuclear Chicken

Pyongyang’s Dangerous Game of Nuclear Chicken
Vol: 15 Issue: 26 Thursday, December 26, 2002

It appears that Pyongyang really does intend to push the envelope and see whether or not the Bush administration has the stomach for a little game of nuclear chicken. On Christmas Day, the IAEA announced the North Koreans moved fresh fuel to its newly-unsealed nuclear reactor.

“We had noticed yesterday that they were carrying out work at the 5-megawatt reactor in Yongbyon.” the UN agency’s spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said. ”And we noticed that they were moving fresh fuel to the reactor.”

He added that North Korean technicians had broken most of the seals and disabled UN surveillance devices at all four nuclear facilities at Yongbyon. The cameras had been monitoring the secretive Stalinist state’s compliance with a 1994 shutdown of the plants.

“North Korea estimates that [the 5 megawatt reactor] could be up and running in one to two months” or longer, he said.

The IAEA is also worried about the plutonium storage and reprocessing facilities at the Yongbyon complex. A storage pond there holds some 8,000 spent irradiated fuel rods, which contain large amounts of plutonium.

“The reprocessing plant could have absolutely no civilian use for North Korea,” Gwozdecky said.

The facilities at Yongbyon were frozen under a 1994 agreement with the United States under which North Korea halted its nuclear arms program in exchange for oil shipments and the construction of two atomic reactors that are difficult to use for military purposes.

But the United States, South Korea, and other states suspended oil shipments to North Korea this month after revelations in October that it was operating a separate nuclear weapons program using highly enriched uranium.

On Saturday, North Koreans began removing the seals and disabling UN monitoring cameras at the 5-megawatt Yongbyon reactor after the IAEA failed to meet Pyongyang’s demand that it take away the gear so it could revive the reactor.

US intelligence officials say enough weapons-grade plutonium had already been produced at Yongbyon to build two nuclear weapons by the time the plant was closed in 1994.

Assessment:

Some US intelligence analysts believe the Pyongyang is just playing another game of ‘chicken’. In 1994, North Korea was successful in blackmailing the Clinton administration into paying them NOT to make nuclear weapons. When the US found out last month that Pyongyang was cheating, it cut off the payments.

North Korea is saying it is unsealing its reactors BECAUSE we cut off the energy deliveries, although the reason we cut off the energy deliveries is BECAUSE they unsealed the reactors.

This kind of ‘chicken or the egg’ diplomatic style is typical of the North Koreans, and it worked well in years past. But the only US administration Kim Jong Il knows is the Clinton administration. That Kim Jong Il is, to use the technical term, totally nuts, is a matter of record.

He lives in an alternate universe of his own where he spends his time building castles in the air — and then orders his starving population to live in them.

His defense minister, Kim Il Chol, took to the airwaves yesterday to exhort his people to become ‘human bombs’ in the event of war over its nuclear program.

Christmas Day is over and now its time to go back to the real world. And its a scary one. Here’s the sitrep in a nutshell. In Kim Jong Il, we have a complete nutcase who possesses missiles capable of hitting targets 5,000 miles away who is believed to already possess several nuclear devices.

With the plutonium available from the Yongbong reactor, Kim could produce six more right away. With all three reactors open, Kim could produce enough plutonium for fifty or sixty bombs by the end of the year.

It isn’t so much the danger Kim would use his nukes preemptively that makes the North Korean situation potentially more catastrophic than Iraq.

North Korea is starving. Flat broke.

Kim wants blackmail money from the US in exchange for resealing its reactors, or Kim says he will sell off his plutonium to the highest bidder. And there are no shortage of bidders, from the belligerent Arab states in the Middle East to Osama bin-Laden.

But the Bush administration isn’t the Clinton administration, and we aren’t living in the 1990’s anymore.

Christmas Pie

Christmas Pie
Vol: 15 Issue: 25 Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Christmas at my house is always a busy time of year. As the kids grew older, it got even busier. Our family tradition was something started by my maternal grandfather.

Granddad had five daughters, and he realized he was going have to compete with five sons-in-law if he hoped to continue his own Christmas tradition. Granddad adopted the English Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) as HIS Christmas celebration.

They called it the ‘Christmas Pie’. The ‘Christmas Pie’ was an old refrigerator shipping box filled with presents for all the parents and grandchildren. We’d all gather, the day after our individual Christmas celebration, for an extended Christmas.

All the time I was growing up, I thought that Granddad did it all for us grandkids, something that I thought odd in light of the fact that the rest of the year, he was a very proper English grandfather. But at Christmas, all that British reserve would evaporate.

It wasn’t until my kids had kids that I realized what a brilliant man Granddad really was. The Christmas Pie was NEVER about us, but WE never knew it.

It was really about my Granddad and his daughters never losing their own special Christmas traditions.

Granddad headed off any competition with the outlaws about who went to whose house last year — whenever some young fella married into the family, it was firmly understood at the outset that Christmas was for them — but Boxing Day was Granddad’s.

I share my grandfather’s love of Christmas and could not imagine not having my day with my kids. So when Mike and Kari got married, I sat down with Mike and told him that he could have Kari for eleven of the twelve days of Christmas, but that Boxing Day was MINE.

Or he’d have to find himself another girl.

So, at our house, Christmas is a two-day affair. Christmas day is for Jessica and Bailey and Gayle and me.

We read the Christmas Story from Luke, remember the Greatest Christmas Gift of all — eternity — and have a traditional American Christmas. Then, we get ready for the Main Event.

Boxing Day, we become Englishmen for a day. Johnny and Leah and Ricky and Brooke and Jacob and Mike and Kari and Mike and Hanna and Mikie and Sarah and Jessica and Bailey — all together and at home with us — for one glorious day.

(Did you notice we have more ‘Mikes’ than a rock band?)

Lots of food, a Christmas ‘Pie’ and a chance for the parents to take a day off to be kids.

Our Christmas wish for you is that you are surrounded by a family who loves you. We wish you laughter and love and fun and joy.

We pray our Lord Jesus Christ will envelope your family with an unspeakable love for one another and for Him.

We wish you a merry, merry Christmas.

And may you be truly blessed.

With much love,

Jack and Gayle and Mike and Kari and the Omega Letter Staff