The 2011 counterterrorism calendar, working for you

By Al Kamen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 20, 2011; 8:29 PM

The holidays are over, but there'll be many other celebrations where you'll be looking for that special something for someone who's got everything.

Look no more! Yes, it's the National Counterterrorism Center's excellent 2011 weekly planner.

The calendar pages on the right are where you'll find major - and maybe some less-than-major - moments in the battle against terrorism.

For example, Jan. 20 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the remaining 52 hostages from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

On Jan. 21, 2003 (or, we learn, 15 Safar in the Arabic calendar), in Kuwait, "a gunman ambushes a vehicle near Camp Doha, killing one U.S. contractor and wounding another."

The pages on the left have insights, safety tips, drawings and, for those looking for a fine retirement package, helpful wanted posters with reward information. A tip that helps nail Osama bin Laden can get you up to $25 million from the Rewards for Justice Program (rfj@state.gov). Ditto for his pal Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Okay, those are two elusive targets. But there are others at the $5 million level whom you might be able to spot lurking about. There's Hussein al-Umari, wanted in a 1982 airplane bombing. He's about 74 years old, so how fast could he be? Our calendar says he hangs out, armed when he leaves home, in Lebanon, which isn't a very big country.

And there's our longtime favorite Faker Ben Abdelaziz Boussora, a Canadian, distressingly still at large. He's got "prominently protruding ears and is believed to have a serious pituitary gland illness." Plus, judging from his picture, he needs major orthodontic work on the uppers. He's pretty easy to spot, and he's worth $5 million.

New this year are three old-timers from the old Abu Nidal gang, wanted in a 1986 plane hijacking on the ground in Karachi, Pakistan. One of them is 55 years old. Each of the oldsters can get you $5 million.

Anwar al-Aulaqi, a U.S. citizen hanging out in Yemen who is believed to have orchestrated the failed Christmas 2009 underwear bombing of a Detroit-bound jet, also makes his first appearance on the calendar.

Another newbie is Hakimullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistani Taliban. He's going to be a bit tougher to nab in South Waziristan or wherever. The calendar says he's got a "full beard and mustache." (That's not all that helpful in that region. )

The calendar - about 40,000 have been printed - is generally given out as a counterterrorism resource guide for law enforcement and intelligence officials and folks in the anti-terror biz, especially for those working in the field. That's why there are a number of pages on ways to spot and deal with biological and chemical attacks, "suspicious financial activity indicators," or people using false passports.

The back pages list those no longer with us, such as Saeed al-Masri, the al-Qaeda No. 3 who was killed in 2010 by a missile in Pakistan, or Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader killed in a raid there in April.

A downloadable, interactive version is on the NCTC Web site, www.nctc.gov, but you can't buy the 5-by-9-inch spiral version anywhere. Got to know someone. That's what makes it special.

Destruction site

The Haqqani clan and other Taliban types in North Waziristan and in the rugged Afghanistan mountains may think those Predator attacks are a major problem. But things may be getting worse for them soon, judging from a recent Air Force solicitation notice.

Cannon Air Force Base, just west of Clovis, N.M., is looking for a contractor to build a "rustic village which reflects the likeness of an Afghanistan village." The base, pretty much in the middle of nowhere near the Texas-New Mexico border, warns that the "site is remote, and located on Melrose Firing Range."

What's more, "with exception of non-potable well-water, there are no utilities available," the notice says, so bring your own generator, water, porta-facilities and so forth. Definitely rustic.

In addition to the village, the Air Force wants you to build "four caves to be composed of, at minimum, 36" thick . . . reinforced concrete" that would be able to "withstand repeated 105 mm target practice rounds and 40 mm armor piercing rounds." Certainly could upset a quiet family dinner. (Don't forget: Aim for the tall guy attached to the kidney dialysis machine.)

The Air Force is not looking for a fancy village. Planned construction price tag is only about $1 million to $5 million.

Nothing new

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Desert Storm, the war to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and the long-simmering argument continues over whether April Glaspie, as U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, gave the Iraqi dictator a green light to invade his neighbor.

The dispute flared up a few weeks ago when WikiLeaks issued Glaspie's July 25, 1990, secret cable to Washington outlining her version of what she said to Hussein, a former Washington ally against the ayatollahs in Iran.

The leaked document prompted historian Juan Cole, among others, to blog that the Glaspie memo "vindicates her" from accusations that she let Hussein think Washington would not care if he invaded.

Maybe so, but detractors fired back on the blog that the cable most certainly does nothing of the sort. And so the argument went on.

Finally, someone signing his name as "Bert" pointed out that the "new" leaked document had been out for 12 years, on the Web site of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's foundation.

They're not my peers

The legal firepower got a bit excessive Thursday in the D.C. Superior Court jury room. Bad enough that one former solicitor general, Seth Waxman, now in private practice, was called in to do his civic duty. (He's already served on a couple of trial juries.)

Worse, a second solicitor general, now a Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan, was also down there waiting to see whether she'd be selected.

If one of them were on your jury, wouldn't that be grounds for immediate appeal? Alas, neither was called, and all prospective jurors were dismissed shortly after lunch.

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