Periscope

On Sept. 21, 2001, Scotland Yard's antiterrorist branch raided the London home of flight instructor Lotfi Raissi. They immediately saw the Algerian's framed pilot's certificate on the wall, and grinned. One of them said: "This is our man." They hauled him in.

But last week Raissi, the first suspect to be arrested in connection with September 11, walked free on bail. The judge decreed that there was no immediate likelihood of any terrorism charges being filed against him. There simply wasn't enough evidence.

The judge's decision was one the United States had feared and Europe had predicted. U.S. authorities saw Raissi's case as proof of just how many potential terrorists were on the loose in Europe, thanks to legislation that puts suspects' rights dangerously ahead of state security. Prosecutors initially declared Raissi a "lead instructor" for four of the hijackers, based on photos of him with a man they believed to be Hani Hanjour, the terrorist thought to have piloted Flight 77 into the Pentagon. But the "suspect" in the picture turned out to be Raissi's cousin. The prosecutors needed a scapegoat, says Raissi, "and the beauty of this scapegoat is that he has to be a pilot, a Muslim, Arabic. Bingo."

But it wasn't bingo for U.S. authorities, just an ominous sign of the problems they are having in cooperating with their European partners. In Britain, some 100 people have been arrested on suspicion of Qaeda connections--about a dozen remain in prison. About half a dozen suspects have recently been arrested in Germany, and all except one have been promptly released. And at least three of the dozen men held in Spain since November are now free as well.

Europe refuses to follow the United States by detaining suspects on inconclusive evidence. There is a delicate balance between protecting public safety and ensuring civil liberties, insists British terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp. So, although authorities on both sides of the Atlantic will continue to round up the usual suspects, those in Europe will walk free unless plausible evidence is presented. Holding the U.S.-European antiterror alliance together has not been an easy task since day one. And as more cases like Raissi's fall apart, the more difficult it is likely to become.

U.S.-CHINA

Will Hu Bond With Bush?

Hello?

The Bush camp switched the venue to Beijing's Tsinghua University. But the Chinese government's original choice had nothing to do with boosting Marxism; they simply wanted Bush to bond with the school's director, Vice President Hu Jintao, who is slated to succeed Jiang Zemin as party head this fall and as president in March 2003. Jiang is anxious that the relatively obscure Hu and Bush get off on the right foot.

Luckily for Sino-U.S. relations, Hu won't be deterred: he's attending Bush's speech anyway, and may even accompany Bush on his limo ride to Tsinghua. That should help break the ice a little. And the two should have more bonding opportunities when Hu makes an official U.S. visit this spring.

INDICATORS

Partners in Poverty?

Come again? One third of Botswana's population is infected with HIV. Its GDP in 2000 was $5.3 billion, a fraction of the former Asian juggernaut's $4.7 trillion. After 18 years of Japanese recession, Moody's primary concern is Japan's 0.7 percent rate of deflation, which has deepened the exposure of Japan's banks and government to loans from the go-go years. Moody's blames Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's inability to tackle reforms. "The longer it takes for the government to fashion an effective response to deflation," it announced, "the more complicated solving other economic problems becomes."

On his visit to Asia, President George W. Bush was expected to give Koizumi another push. Who knows if he succeeded? If he didn't, lenders soon might start to consider places like Afghanistan as attractive alternatives to Japan.

Graphic: (Chart) The Tale of the Tape: A glance at the two economies: (Graphic omitted)

EXPLOSIVES

Black-Market Boom

As a precaution, the Czech government recently took control of Explosia. But recently, several batches of Semtex have gone missing, two Army majors were caught stealing 42.5 kilograms' worth, a soldier allegedly sold some to a Belgian customer for $500 per kilo and an Army captain stationed in Yugoslavia was caught smuggling 35 kilograms. Clearly, the government doesn't have complete control of Semtex after all. Says Kushner: "Once the spigot is open, it is hard to stop the flow."

TERRORISTS

Buddies With Bin Laden

What do you think of President Musharraf and the United States?
Musharraf was clearly told, "We will send you to the Stone Age." He is not a man with real faith and conviction. From his heart I am sure he hates America. Because Musharraf was happy with the Taliban. Our government is a slave government. We are the puppets of the United States.

Can Musharraf endure?
Before, the president used to go in one car. Now, there are two cars and several convoys. When you need all this security, you are not secure.

Will the tension ease if America helps rebuild Afghanistan?
They think that by this they will win people over. Like when they used to throw those packets of food. That is insulting. In Islam, if you kill one innocent person it is as if you have killed the whole humanity.

Do you still defend bin Laden?
If you have a brother whom you've known for years, who is a wonderful person, but 50 people come and tell you he is horrible, would you believe that? No.

Would the Osama that you know have planned the September 11 attacks?
Osama was mediocre--you could not call him a very intelligent person. He was also shy by nature. From that kind of a man, this kind of planning is just not possible.

It's been reported that you quarreled with him recently.
That is not true. He is a wonderful person to me. [But] I did have quite a few differences of opinion with him. For example, he would revolve the total religion around jihad. Jihad is one of the most important factors, but you cannot totally revolve around it. My way of living was a little different, but still I could find him mostly better than me in many respects.

Do you think he is still alive?
I am sure.

When did you last see him?
Ha, this is an interesting question. Let's skip that.

Cloning Copy Cats

The surprise to many observers was that the kitten did not look like a younger version of her "genetic donor," Rainbow. The older cat is a white, orange and black calico, while CC is a black-and-white tabby with almost no orange. Scientists can't fully explain why the genetic twins appear so different. But reproductive physiologist Mark Westhusin, who led the research team, notes that coat-color patterns aren't controlled solely by DNA. And neither is an animal's personality, meaning that an affectionate cat could give rise to an aloof feline. "Cloning is reproduction, not resurrection," says Westhusin.

It will be several years before kitty cloning is commercially viable. Still, word of the breakthrough drew criticism from the Humane Society of the United States, which noted that there are already too many cats "desperate for homes" all over the country. Regardless, phones were swamped last week at the Texas gene bank that provided financial backing for the research--Genetic Savings &Clone.

ICONS

Kiss and Tell

What's your overall vision?
A combination between Interview, Rolling Stone and Playboy. The girls keep their clothes on--no nudity, but we'll try and get some headlights in there. That's very important for men.

Is there a Tongue criterion for features?
We have a letters column called "Tongue Lashings," [and] "Tongue 'n' Cheek" is gonna be the who's-doing-who section.

Is Tongue...
I prefer you call it Gene Simmons's Tongue, like "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

OK. Describe your potential readers.
It's for cool people. It won't delude you into thinking that marriage is an institution that works. It's gonna tell the truth: the only thing wrong with marriage is that one of the two is a man. [To himself] Gene, are you inferring that men are incapable of being monogamous? Well, we try, but we can't hold our breath forever.

You lost me here. Is this the subject of a Tongue story?
No, it's just my philosophical take on things. We lead delusional lives. Like women don't want to hear the truth. They want to hear "I promise I'll stay with you until death." The truth is, I do love you with all my heart and all my soul, but I love your sister and your mommy, too.

Let's get back to the magazine. You personally interview some of the celebs for Tongue, right?
Yes. I talked with Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit--how he grew up white trash and Kiss changed his life. We'll also interview celebs for "My First Time." They'll talk about how they lost their virginity. You know, the eternal urge to merge. Ah, Gene [to self again], that's so poetic.

First Person Global

By John Ness

How to create a utopia without distinctions or discord? In an effort to find out, I recently hung out with members of a leading anti-globalization coalition, Another World Is Possible, when they gathered in New York City. The group's name offered some hint of its vision: optimistic, contrarian, revolutionary--and vague. When I asked organizers to be more specific about the society they envisioned, they suggested I attend the pagan ritual kicking off one of their major protests.

They met at Washington Square, a downtown park that makes an ideal base of operations for summer skateboarders and street performers. But that January night, the park's architecture conspired to divide the egalitarian group: beatific pagans massed on top of a raised concrete island, rabble-rousing revolutionaries stood on the ground. At ground level, a half-man, half-puppet calling himself "The Little Green Man From San Francisco" rapped and exhorted the crowd to be strong. Random groups would spontaneously sing three choruses of "Ain't no power like the power of the people 'cause the power of the people don't stop. Say what?" Then another joined the chorus. Suddenly, a young black member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade yelled, "Quit trying to figure out how to help black people! You want to know what black people want? Ask me, motherf----r!" His comrades nodded in agreement, but nobody asked him.

I tried to climb the steps to the pagans' mount: they at least looked semiorganized. But I had to wait in a queue: not because there was a rush to join them, but because at the top of the steps an oblivious Wiccan blocked the way. She was swishing her arms around in an attempt to spread the life energy she sensed in the air. Nobody waiting on the steps asked her to move. They simply lined up, and one at a time tried to maneuver past her.

Atop the island, Tela Star Hawk Lake--Star Hawk to her fans and the night's pagan celebrity emcee--exhorted hundreds of young people to "bring in some of the energy of the moon." Excited women--young and old--let out whooping war cries. After the crowd had brought in the energy, they began the spiral dance, which was something like an enormous multilayered conga line.

A sensible journalist, I could have dismissed this circus as a carnival of the terminally weird. Only I was surprised at how much of it affected me. Whatever your political beliefs, hundreds of people singing on a cold night is a lovely thing to see and hear. When a black-hooded witch bade me "Welcome to the shrine of grief," I felt the same current of solidarity that I experienced when Christian volunteers offered to pray with me when I visited Ground Zero.

But what I couldn't find was any common ethos other than anarchy. When Star Hawk asked some of the participants to kneel so TV cameras could see the ceremony, a man yelled, "You don't use corporate media! Corporate media uses you!" After Star Hawk ignored the comment and called upon participants to help her harness the four elements, a young woman next to me hissed, "They're f---ing media junkies." The protesters really believed another world was possible. But on that night, between pagan openness and revolutionary paranoia, consensus never stood a chance.

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