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Chris M. Lewis 3632 Carolyns Circle Plano, TX 75074
Cosmetic surgery has become fairly commonplace, but perhaps surprisingly, an increasing number of women are seeking perfection to their intimate area.
Although so-called 'designer vaginas' are often blamed on pornography, some women claim they are unable to enjoy sex since having children, fueling their desire to have the risky procedures.
Yet, Dr Gabrielle Downey, gynaecologist at Birmingham City Hospital, warns these procedures are not available on the NHS and can be expensive, therefore women should be aware of what's involved before making the drastic decision.
Importantly, Dr Downey stresses the importance of ensuring your chosen clinic is safe and your surgeon informs you of all the potential risks.
Here, in a piece for Healthista, she explains your options and what to expect.
If you are still invested in the real estate of European cities, get out! A terrorist attack with chemical weapons will happen. There will be hoards of people who won't want to live in urban centers.
Henry E. Gee 4412 Edsel Road City Of Commerce, CA 90040
KUBARK Manual: A User's Guide to Torture?
The 1950s appear to have been a time when the CIA put a tremendous amount of energy into perfecting the science of torture. The CIA conducted covert experiments, at times on unsuspecting Americans, using LSD in the search of a “truth serum” [source: The New York Times]. It used electrical currents to inflict pain [source: The Boston Globe]. The agency conducted trials investigating the effects of sensory deprivation [source: The Washington Post]. The CIA found that the best methods for extracting information from detainees come not through the infliction of physical pain or torture, but through psychological torture.
Although the brand of torture the CIA devised through more than a decade of trial and error may not inflict physical pain, it can still do some real damage. Historian and expert on the subject of the CIA and torture, Alfred McCoy, writes, “Although seemingly less brutal, no-touch torture leaves deep psychological scars. The victims often need treatment to recover from trauma far more crippling than physical pain”.
There is indeed a torture manual and the CIA literally wrote it. In 1963, the Agency created the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual. It was, as Alfred McCoy puts it, the “codification” of everything the CIA had learned from its experiments throughout the 50s. In the KUBARK (the codename for the CIA in the Vietnam War [source: The Washington Post]) manual, methods for breaking detainees are based generally on psychology. Identifying a victim’s sense of self and then stripping it away is part of the first step toward breaking him or her. An introverted or shy detainee might be kept naked and perhaps sexually humiliated, for example. Clothes may also be taken simply to alienate the detainee and make him or her less comfortable.
Creating a sense of unfamiliarity, disorientation and isolation seems to be the hallmarks of psychologically undermining a detainee in the purview of the KUBARK manual. Practices like starvation, keeping inmates in small, windowless cells with unchanging artificial light and forcing inmates to sit or stand in uncomfortable positions (stress positions) for long periods of time have been decried or banned outright by the United States government. Yet these techniques are part of the regimen prescribed by KUBARK. So, too, are using hypnosis and drugs to extract information.
While it doesn’t mention electric shock directly, the manual calls for interrogators to be sure that a potential safe house to be used for torture has access to electricity. As one source told The Baltimore Sun, “The CIA has acknowledged privately and informally in the past that this referred to the application of electric shocks to interrogation suspects” [source: The Baltimore Sun].
Physical pain, however, is ultimately deemed counterproductive by the manual. It’s a much worse experience, the guidebook concludes, for an inmate to fear that pain may be coming than to actually experience it. The old adage that anticipation is worse than the experience appears to also have a basis in the shadowy field of torture.
A newer book, largely a revision of the KUBARK manual, draws the same foundational conclusion -- that psychological torment is paramount to physical abuse. The Human Resource Exploitation Manual -- 1983 was first publicized as the result of an investigative report into the human rights abuses in Honduras.
It's not that we would be madly in love with Donald Trump. Yeah, he may not be the brightest one. Not even bright enough for political correctness. But hey, that's a plus, not a minus. Fuck that political correctness.
Elmer S. Mason 2562 Rollins Road Grand Island, NE 68803
Dr. Sergio Canavero, of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group (TANG) in Italy, first spoke of his plans to carry out the first human head transplantation in July 2013 - a project named HEAVEN-GEMINI.
At the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons' 39th Annual Conference in Annapolis, MD, in June, Dr. Canavero will present updated plans for the project, addressing some of the previously identified challenges that come with it.
Though researchers have seriously questioned the feasibility of Dr. Canavero's plans, it seems the first human head transplantation is a step closer to becoming a reality; Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old computer scientist from Vladimir, Russia, is the first person to volunteer for the procedure.
Spiridonov has Werdnig-Hoffman disease - a rare genetic muscle wasting condition, also referred to as type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The condition is caused by the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the brain region connected to the spinal cord. Individuals with the disease are unable to walk and are often unable to sit unaided.
Spiridonov was diagnosed with Werdnig-Hoffman disease at the age of 1 and told MailOnline that he volunteered for HEAVEN-GEMINI because he wants the chance of a new body before he dies.
'"I can hardly control my body now," he said. "I need help every day, every minute. I am now 30 years old, although people rarely live to more than 20 with this disease."
Dr. Canavero told CNN he has received an array of emails and letters from people asking to be considered for the procedure, many of which have been from transgender individuals seeking a new body. However, the surgeon says the first people to undergo the procedure will be those with muscle wasting conditions like Spiridonov.
The procedure - which is estimated to take 100 surgeons around 36 hours to complete - will involve spinal cord fusion (SCF). The head from a donor body will be removed using an "ultra-sharp blade" in order to limit the amount of damage the spinal cord sustains.
"The key to SCF is a sharp severance of the cords themselves," Dr. Canavero explains in a paper published earlier this year, "with its attendant minimal damage to both the axons in the white matter and the neurons in the gray laminae. This is a key point."
The recipient will be kept in a coma for around 3-4 weeks, says Dr. Canavero, during which time the spinal cord will be subject to electrical stimulation via implanted electrodes in order to boost the new nerve connections.
The surgeon estimates that - with the help of physical therapy - the patient would be able to walk within 1 year.
Spiridonov admits he is worried about undergoing the procedure. "Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am," he told MailOnline. "But it is not just very scary, but also very interesting."
"You have to understand that I don't really have many choices," he added. "If I don't try this chance my fate will be very sad. With every year my state is getting worse."
Dr. Canavero has previously admitted there are two major challenges with HEAVEN-GEMINI: reconnecting the severed spinal cord, and stopping the immune system from rejecting the head. But he claims that recent animal studies have shown the procedure is "feasible."
Unsurprisingly, however, researchers worldwide are highly skeptical of the proposal. Talking to CNN, Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of medical ethics and NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, NY, even called Dr. Canavero "nuts."
Caplan said the procedure needs to be conducted many more times on animals before it is applied to humans, adding that if the technique is feasible then Dr. Canavero should be trying to help paralyzed patients before attempting whole body transplants.
And talking to New Scientist earlier this year, Harry Goldsmith, a clinical professor of neurosurgery at the University of California-Davis, said the project is so "overwhelming" that it is the chances of it going ahead are unlikely.
"I don't believe it will ever work," he added, "there are too many problems with the procedure. Trying to keep someone healthy in a coma for 4 weeks - it's not going to happen."
Spiridonov says he is well aware of the risks, though he is still willing to take a chance on Dr. Canavero.
"He's a very experienced neurosurgeon and has conducted many serious operations. Of course he has never done anything like this and we have to think carefully through all the possible risks," he told MailOnline, but adds that "if you want something to be done, you need to participate in it."
Though it not been confirmed when the procedure will be performed, Spiridonov says it could be as early as next year. Watch this space.
In a rich world, a persons value depends on attractiveness and youth. If you are rich and older, just invest in destruction. The poorer the world, the less does your value depend on youth.
Alejandro J. Talamantes 4027 Anthony Avenue Abilene, TX 79602
Anesthesia awareness occurs when a patient under general anesthesia becomes aware of some or all the events during surgery or a procedure, and has direct recall of those events.
The frequency of anesthesia awareness has been found to range between 1 and 2 per 1,000 patients undergoing general anesthesia.
1 Carol Weiher: experienced it during an eye removal surgery When Carol Weiher was having her right eye surgically removed in 1998, she woke up hearing disco music. The next thing she heard was "Cut deeper, pull harder."
She desperately wanted to scream or even move a finger to signal doctors that she was awake, but the muscle relaxant she'd received prevented her from controlling her movements.
"I was doing a combination of praying and pleading and cursing and screaming, and trying anything I could do but I knew that there was nothing that was working," said Weiher, of Reston, Virginia.
The surgical tools didn't cause Weiher pain -- only pressure -- but the injections of a paralytic drug during the operation "felt like ignited fuel," she said. "I thought, well, maybe I've been wrong about my life, and I'm in hell," she said. The entire surgery lasted five-and-a-half hours. Sometime during it she either passed out or fell unconscious under the anesthetic. When she awoke, she began to scream.
"All I could say to anyone was, 'I was awake! I was awake!'” she said.
Weiher is one of few people who have experienced anesthesia awareness. Although normally a patient does not remember anything about surgery that involves general anesthesia, about one or two people in every 1,000 may wake up during general anesthesia, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Source)
2 June Carson: suffered a cardiac arrest during surgery As June lay on the table, supposedly unconscious, the surgeon made his first incision. The scalpel cut her belly open – and she let out a silent scream of agony.
The anaesthetist had miscalculated the dose and, while June could not move or make a sound, she could feel every torturous second of her operation. The surgeon and his staff had no idea of her suffering until it was over.
“That day I was wheeled into the anaesthetic room, where a drip was inserted in my hand and a mask over my face. I lay back, closed my eyes and expected to fall asleep slowly as I always had before. But, after a few minutes, I could still hear the doctors talking and realised something was wrong.”
“I knew they would have to make several deep cuts in my stomach. My mind was racing. Feeling the knife cutting into my stomach, I thought I would die immediately. It's impossible to describe the pain but I felt as if I was being tortured.”
After 15 minutes enduring the agony of keyhole surgery, her heart stopped from the shock. Fortunately, with an injection of adrenaline, June's heart started to beat again.
June woke up two hours later in intensive care, remembering every nightmarish second. (Source | Photo)
3 Experienced Anesthesia Awareness twice This unlucky patient experienced Anesthesia Awareness twice. Once at 3 years old, but she didn't remember feeling anything during the operation, she just heard the doctors talking. Her heart rate sky rocketed and that was when doctors realized what was happening and gave her a larger dose of anesthesia.
And the other time, was at 16 years old. She was having surgery to correct some breathing problems. She could hear and feel everything. The doctors had no idea of what she was going through.
“I felt the surgeon cut through me and work to repair the problem. The pain was so excruciating that I was falling in and out of consciousness. It was terrifying.”
After it was all over, she didn't remember a thing until a few hours later. "When I asked about it, they decided to test me by showing me "partial-words" and asking me to say whatever sounded familiar (any terms I may have heard the doctors talk about.) They asked me to describe any pain I had felt, and the only thing I could remember was any time I felt a knife/blade cut me in any way. "
Then, they verified that she had experienced anesthesia awareness.
4 Experienced anesthesia awareness during gallbladder surgery This woman's nightmare experience happened in 2008 during gallbladder surgery. She went into surgery and went to sleep for a short time. Then, sShe came to and could tell she had a breathing tube in her throat, and heard the anesthesia Dr. talking to someone else above her head about the dosages of the different drugs.
Then, the surgeon began his incisions for the laparoscopic procedure. She felt the first incision near her belly button.
“At that point, I was aware, I could not scream because of the breathing tube, all I could think of is I have got to move some way; I was fighting for all I had in my mind to move as they proceeded with the second incision up by the rib cage, there is no words to describe the pain.”
Then, they placed a tube in each incision, and all this time, she was fighting for a move. The anesthesiologist said that her blood pressure went way out of control.
“The surgeon then started to do the third incision, with me still fighting to move. I remember the sticking in of the scalpel for that incision but, at that point they realized something was wrong and gave me the max amount of drugs without killing me to put me under.”
At the end of the surgery, the doctors were unable to move her to recovery for 4 hours because of her high heart rate. When she was moved to second recovery, the nurse's first question was what her pain level was, and she answered: “it would be much lower if I had not been awake during that surgery.” (Source | Photo)
5 Diane Parr: experienced it during a tooth extraction Diane Parr could only listen in horror as she heard the surgeon asking for the scalpel. She was lying on an operating table for a tooth extraction due to an abscess, a procedure she'd been assured was routine.
Minutes before, the anaesthetist had administered something into a tube in the back of her hand and she felt a woozy, relaxed feeling wash over her.
She began to count backwards from ten, as instructed, but as she was wheeled into theatre, she realised she could feel the trolley judder beneath her and hear the voices of the theatre staff.
"I could feel the surgeon leaning over me and push down on my body before pulling up. It felt as if my tooth was coming out of my foot, not my mouth. A searing pain shot up my body."
"'It's a toughie', I heard him exclaim. I thought I was going to die, not because of the pain, but the fear. I thought I was going to have a heart attack."
Diane, who lives in St Teath, Cornwall, with her husband, Tim, and daughter, Dawn, 22, says the experience "ruined" her life. (Source)
6 Experienced anesthesia awareness during leg surgery One patient in the UK required an operation that involved cutting open his leg and drilling into the bone. He was anesthetized but conscious in the operating room with a tube down his throat, aware, but unable to move. He tried to alert the doctors by wiggling his toes; a nurse noticed this but was told it was "just reflexes" and she should ignore it. Someone then grabbed the patient's leg and began applying a tourniquet to his groin, at which point he realized that (1) the operation was just beginning, (2) he was acutely sensitive to pain, and (3) he could do nothing about it. The patient had to lie there in helpless agony while his leg was sliced open and four holes were drilled into the bone. He felt sick and stopped breathing in another attempt to alert the OR staff, but the ventilator began "breathing for him." Afterward he sued and was awarded 15,000 pounds, pretty modest compensation considering the circumstances.
7 Had an out-of-body experience during a nose job This patient awoke during her nose operation. She saw her body as it lay upon the operating table, as if she was standing outside her body at the foot of the operating table, on the right-hand side. She realized it was she who lay upon the operating table, but felt no alarm or consternation upon realizing that she was apparently standing outside her body. She saw the surgeon operating on her nose, but felt neither the operation, nor any pain from the operation. She saw the surgeon's assistant. She saw the anesthetic assistant sitting next to the anesthetic machine located at the left-hand side of her body. And she remarked that she could not see the faces of any of these people.
Her blood pressure, blood oxygen concentration, and blood carbon dioxide concentration remained normal throughout the operation. No-one in the operating theatre observed anything unusual during the operation. Nobody saw her soul standing next to the operating table. Her body remained on the operating table during the operation. She could not move, breathe, or speak during the operation, because she had received a drug that almost totally paralyzed all the muscles of her body, and was being mechanically ventilated through a tube placed between her vocal cords. But shortly before the end of the operation, when the effects of all the drugs she received were partly worn off, she made slight movements of her arms and legs. So, just in case she was awake, the anesthetic assistant promptly administered an extra dose of a powerful sleep-inducing drug. Otherwise, there was no reason to think she was conscious at any time during the operation. She was only capable of speaking after she awoke from the general anesthetic.
Edwin J. Lopez 587 Pooz Street Toms River, NJ 08753
The influences of pH, ionic strength and carbohydrates on the foaming and gelation properties of mucuna bean protein concentrate (MPC) were investigated. The protein concentrate was extracted by alkaline solubilization at pH8, followed by isoelectric precipitation at pH 4. The protein solubility–pH profile showed minimum solubility (19.4%) at pH 4.0 (iso electric point) and maximum solubility (96%) was obtained at pH 12. Foaming capacity increased as the sample concentration increased. Increase in sample concentration also enhanced foaming stability at the various times studied. pH had a pronounced effect on the foaming properties of MPC. At pH 4, MPC exhibited minimum foaming capacity and maximum foaming stability. At lower pH values, there was enhanced foaming capacity and a reduction in the foaming stability. Alkaline media (pH 8 and 10) enhanced foaming but the foams were less stable. Sucrose, maltose, lactose and potato starch improved the foaming capacity and stability of the protein concentrate. Increase in ionic strength, from 0.1 to 0.4 M, improved foaming capacity and stability, while further increase beyond the ionic strength resulted in a reduction of the foaming properties. In all cases studied, gelation improved with increases in concentration of the protein concentrate in the media. Gelation properties were reduced in alkaline and acidic media, except at pH 4, where least gelation concentration endpoint (LGE) was 8. Gelation properties of MPC improved in the presence of carbohydrates in the mixture. Gel-forming properties also increased with increases in ionic strength of the media from 0.1 to 0.4 M, while further increase, from 0.6 to 1.0 M, reduced the gelation properties of MPC. Five polypeptide protein sub-units, at apparent molecular weights of 200, 116, 82, 63, and 59 kDa, were obtained from polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under non-reducing conditions (without 2-mercaptoethanol). In addition, two other sub-units, at apparent molecular weights of 97 and 40 kDa, were obtained under reducing conditions (with 2-mercaptoethanol).
Don't bother whether your sex is legal or illegal. Just go for it. Because the eternal life of your soul depends on whether your sex is good enough on earth.
Kevin H. Gaskin 3503 Irving Place Chesterfield, MO 63005
A Chinese man had his penis freed from a tiny wrench last week after getting it stuck for nearly a day.
The 37-year-old, unnamed, was sent to hospital in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, after his trapped penis had swollen and turned purple.
Doctors and firefighters, who failed to free the man, had to call in dentists to help remove the wrench using a dental drill.
According to Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to People's Daily China, the man is a bachelor and lives in Linhai city.
He reportedly got his genitals trapped in the metal tool and was sent to the Taizhou Hospital at 9:30pm on June 2. It remains unclear why the man's penis had been stuck.
Doctors suggested that the man should undergo a surgical operation to reduce the blood flow in his penis before they could remove the tool.
It's said that the doctors tried to contact the man's parents to gain their approval for the surgery. His parents agreed to the operation, but failed to show up in the hospital to sign the consent.
As a result, the doctors had to call the Linhai Fire Brigade for help.
The firefighters arrived and brought an angle grinder.
However, the firefighters said they couldn't use the grinder. They explained that the heat generated from the grinder could pose danger to the patient.
One doctor suggested that they should find a dentist to help resolve the issue. The doctor said she had studied a similar case during a seminar.
Two dentists, Zhou Gi and Shi Gengsheng, were called. They arrived at the hospital half an hour after the man was sent in.
They brought a dental drill, a high-speed engine that rotates 200,000 to 300,000 times per minute.
'The dental engine also has a high-pressure water cooler to reduce the heat caused by the drilling,' said Zhou.
The rescue team tested the dental drill on a wrench from the firefighters' tool box before carrying out on the man.
The man was freed after a 30-minute operation by the two dentists. No further injuries were reported.
Women were created from a bone of man. Or was that a boner?
Humberto T. Noonan 2776 Fantages Way Sherman Mills, ME 04776
IN THE aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, those whose job it is to think the unthinkable were conscious that, for all the carnage, it could have been far worse. Fuel-laden aircraft slamming into buildings was bad enough. But the sight of some among the rescue workers picking over the debris with test tubes, followed by the sudden decision to ground all of America's crop-spraying aircraft for several days, pointed to an even more horrible possibility. Were terrorists with so little calculation of restraint to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction—whether chemical, biological or even nuclear—they would surely use them. How real is that threat?
It is certainly not new. Among one of many warnings from American think-tanks and government agencies in recent years, a report released last December by the CIA's National Intelligence Council concluded baldly that, when it came to chemical and biological weapons in particular, “some terrorists or insurgents will attempt to use [these] against United States interests, against the United States itself, its forces or facilities overseas, or its allies.” Governments in America and Europe worry that Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda, the terrorist network thought to be behind the September 11th attacks, may already have access to such weapons, and be planning to use them in response to any American military strikes. The World Health Organisation has called on governments around the world to be better prepared for such an eventuality.
For groups prepared to engage in the kamikaze tactics seen on September 11th, the easiest way to spread poisonous or radioactive materials might simply be to fly into repositories of them, or to use lorries full of them as suicide bombs. As Amy Smithson of the Stimson Centre in Washington, DC, observed in a report released last year, there are some 850,000 sites in the United States alone at which hazardous chemicals are produced, consumed or stored. The arrest in America last week of a number of people who were found to have fraudulently obtained permits to drive trucks that carry such hazardous loads looks like a worrying confirmation of such fears.
It is, nevertheless, likely that terrorist groups around the world are working on more sophisticated approaches to mass destruction than merely blowing up existing storage facilities, or hijacking lorry-loads of noxious substances. Mr bin Laden himself has, in the past, called it a “religious duty” to acquire such weapons. He is reported to have helped his former protectors in Sudan to develop chemical weapons for use in that country's civil war, and has since boasted of buying “a lot of dangerous weapons, maybe chemical weapons” for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that now harbours him.
Even for determined terrorists, however, merely getting hold of chemical, biological or nuclear materials is not enough. Do-it-yourself mass destruction—whether of a nuclear, chemical or biological variety—is far from easy (see article). First, you have to acquire or manufacture sufficient quantities of the lethal agent. Second, you have to deliver it to the target. And third, you have either to detonate it, or to spread it around in a way that will actually harm a lot of people.
The difficulties in doing all these things are illustrated by an attack carried out in 1995 on Tokyo's underground railway. Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult, released a potent nerve agent called sarin on five trains. The intention was to kill thousands. In fact, only 12 people died, and some 40 were seriously injured—bad enough, but no worse than the casualty list from a well-placed conventional bomb.
The cult's researchers had spent more than $30m attempting to develop sarin-based weapons, yet they failed to leap any of the three hurdles satisfactorily. They could not produce the chemical in the purity required. Their delivery mechanism was no more sophisticated than carrying it on to the trains in person in plastic bags. And their idea of a distribution system was to pierce those bags with umbrella tips to release the liquid, which would then evaporate.
The attack, in other words, was not a great success. Yet, of the three classes of weapon of mass destruction, those based on chemicals should be the easiest to make. Their ingredients are often commercially available (see table). Their manufacturing techniques are well known. And they have been used from time to time in real warfare, so their deployment is also understood.
Biological weapons are trickier; and nuclear weapons trickier still. Germs need to be coddled, and are hard to spread satisfactorily. (Aum Shinrikyo attempted to develop biological weapons, in the form of anthrax spores, but failed to produce the intended lethal effects.) Making atomic bombs is an even greater technological tour-de-force. Manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear explosives (“enriched” uranium, or the appropriate isotopic mix of plutonium) requires a lot of expensive plant. Detonating those explosives—by rapidly assembling the “critical mass” needed to sustain a chain reaction—is also notoriously difficult.
Terrorist groups working from first principles are thus likely to run into formidable obstacles if they want to get into the mass-destruction business. Nevertheless, there may be ways round these. One quick fix would be to buy in the services of otherwise unemployed or ill-paid weapons specialists from the former Soviet nuclear-, biological- and chemical-weapons establishments. At least some of these people are known to have washed up as far afield as Iran, Iraq, China and North Korea, but none has yet been directly associated with any terrorist group.
In an attempt to reduce the risk of this happening, the United States has, over the past ten years, spent more than $3 billion dismantling former Soviet nuclear weapons, improving security at Russia's nuclear storage sites, and keeping former weaponeers busy on useful civilian work. But, as Ms Smithson points out, only a tiny fraction of this money—itself a drop in a bucket when measured against the scale of Russia's sprawling weapons complex—goes towards safeguarding chemical and biological secrets. And even the nuclear side of things has sprung the odd leak.
Over the past ten years there have been numerous attempts to smuggle nuclear materials out of the former Soviet Union. There have been unconfirmed suspicions that Iran, for one, may have got its hands on a tactical nuclear warhead from Russia. So far, though, police and customs officers have seized mostly low-grade nuclear waste. This could not be turned into a proper atomic bomb, but with enough of it, a terrorist group might hope to build a “radiological” device, to spread radioactive contamination around (see article). Fortunately, the occasional amounts of weapons-grade stuff that have been found so far fall short of the 9-15kg of explosive needed for a crude but workable bomb.
Yet even if a group got hold of enough such explosives, it would still face the hurdle of turning them into a weapon. Hence the most effective way for a terrorist group to obtain one would be to find a sponsoring government that is willing to allow access to its laboratories or its arsenal.
After the Gulf war, UN special inspectors discovered that Iraq had been pursuing not one but several ways to produce weapons-grade material, and had come within months of building an atomic bomb. The effort, however, is thought to have taken a decade and to have cost Saddam Hussein upwards of $10 billion. Much of this was spent on acquiring the bits and pieces needed from foreign companies—sometimes through bribery, sometimes through deception.
In similar ways, he amassed the materials and equipment, much of it with legitimate civilian uses in fermentation plants and vaccine laboratories, for his vast chemical- and biological-weapons programmes. Although most of Iraq's nuclear programme had been unearthed and destroyed, along with much of its missile and chemical arsenal, the inspectors were convinced, when they were thrown out of the country in 1998, that important parts of the biological effort remained hidden.
A glance at the list of state sponsors of international terrorism maintained by America's State Department makes troubling reading. Most of the seven countries included—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan—have chemical weapons already. Five are suspected of dabbling illegally in the biological black arts, and several have covert nuclear-weapons programmes, too. America's Department of Defence estimated earlier this year that more than two dozen countries have already built weapons of mass destruction, or else are trying to do so.
So far, there is no evidence that any of these governments has helped terrorist groups to acquire such deadly goods. That may, partly, be because of widespread moral revulsion against their use. But self-interest on the part of the states involved is also a significant factor. It is one thing to give terrorist groups financial and logistical support and a place to hide—a favoured tactic of governments on the State Department's list as a deniable way of furthering their own local or regional ends. It is quite another to share such awesome weapons with outfits like al-Qaeda, which no government can fully control.
On top of that, since the September 11th attacks, American officials, from the president down, have gone out of their way to emphasise that not only the terrorists involved in any future assaults, but also the states that shelter them, can expect to find themselves in the cross-hairs.
Iraq has been the worst offender when it comes to wielding any of these weapons. It used chemical weapons in its war with Iran and in attacks against its own Kurdish population. Yet Saddam Hussein's failure to use his chemical and biological-tipped missiles, or the radiological weapons he also had, against western-led coalition forces during the Gulf war showed that, even when morality plays little part, deterrence can still work. America had made clear that, if he had deployed these weapons, he would have brought down massive retribution on both his regime and his country.
The big distinction between the dangers of states obtaining such weapons and the danger of terrorists getting their hands on them, argues Gary Samore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in London, is precisely that, however hostile they may be, states are more “deterrable”. Mr bin Laden's network has shown that it will stop at nothing. But are states such as Iraq and North Korea, which operate in other ways largely outside international law, deterrable enough to prevent them lending a secret helping hand to a group like Mr bin Laden's?
America's defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, argued this week that it takes no “leap of the imagination” to expect countries harbouring terrorists to help them get access to weapons of mass destruction. Testimony from the trial of four bin Laden operatives convicted earlier this year for the August 1998 bombing of America's embassies in Kenya and Tanzania revealed that their past military interest in Sudan went beyond helping the regime make chemical weapons for its own war. In one case, Mr bin Laden was attempting to purchase uranium via intermediaries.
Meanwhile, intelligence officials trying to assess the range of threats they now face worry that Iraq's past military links with Sudan may have been no coincidence either. In 1998 America bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant which it said showed traces of a precursor chemical for VX, a highly potent nerve gas that inspectors believe Iraq had put into weapon form. Some observers speculate that, even if Sudan's denials that it was manufacturing any such stuff are true, the country may have served as a trans-shipment point for supplies to Iraq. Might some weapons assistance have flowed the other way, possibly reaching Mr bin Laden's network? Iraq denies it has had anything to do with Mr bin Laden, but there have been unconfirmed reports that one of the New York hijackers met a senior Iraqi intelligence official earlier this year in Europe.
Yet even if no direct link is ever proved between a reckless foreign government and last month's terrorist attacks on America, western officials have long fretted that groups such as Mr bin Laden's will be able to exploit emerging new patterns of proliferation to gain access to nuclear, chemical and bug bombs. Despite attempts by western-sponsored supplier cartels—the Missile-Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Australia group, which tries to track the trade in worrying chemicals or biological agents—the number of such suppliers has expanded over the past decade. Countries that were once entirely dependent on outside help for their covert weapons programmes, mostly from Russia and China, are now going into business themselves.
This is particularly disturbing in the context of the third obstacle to the use of these weapons: delivery. Working from original Russian Scud missile designs, North Korea has created a thriving missile- and technology-export business with Iran, Pakistan, Syria and others in the Middle East. Iran, in turn, has started to help Syria and possibly Libya (which had past weapons ties with Serbia and Iraq) to improve their missile technology. Egypt is still building on the expertise developed by a now-defunct missile co-operation programme with Argentina and Iraq.
It is unlikely that such ballistic-missile technology would find its way into terrorist hands any time soon. But two things are true of almost all technologies: as the years pass, they get cheaper, and they spread. Even if there is no immediate threat, it may eventually not be just hijacked aircraft that are flying into places that terrorists have taken a dislike to. And their “warheads” may consist of something even worse than aviation fuel.
Islamize Europe and get women out of politics. Feminism is the root if terrorism.
Albert S. Keller 845 Carter Street Hazelwood, IL 63042
The route between Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco and the Spanish Canary Islands was once the busiest irregular entry point for the whole of Europe, peaking at 32 000 migrants arriving on the islands in 2006.
But the numbers dropped by 60 per cent in 2007 following bilateral agreements between Spain and Senegal and Mauritania, including repatriation agreements. Strengthened border controls, including the installation of the SIVE maritime surveillance system, also helped, along with the Frontex-coordinated Operation Hera.
Migrants on this route were mostly from Morocco and Senegal, with others from Niger, Nigeria and Mali. They generally travelled in long wooden fishing boats, known as cayucos; migrants from Morocco use smaller fishing boats called pateras.
The numbers continued to drop from 2007, until by 2012 there were just 170 arrivals in the Canaries. The figure remained stable for the next two years, although it rose to 874 in 2015.
The Moroccan smuggler operation is not well developed. Sea passages tend to be arranged by individuals working independently, serving clients who have made their own way to the coast rather than using the services of organised networks. Small boats found on Lanzarote containing very small numbers of migrants gave strong indications that drug smuggling was the primary goal of these journeys.
The future of the world will be that it is ruled by China, and Western men will be the sex slaves of Chinese women. Because Chinese men have big brains and small penises, but Chinese women want big ones.
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