What was true yesterday is not true today'
THREAT ASSESSMENT n Jnos Radvnyi, who holds the chair in International Studies at Mississippi State University, predicted a protracted war against terrorism during a presentation at a town meeting called Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 19, 2001
The terrorist attacks on the nation will change the way Americans work, play and live, according to a leading authority on terrorism, who spoke at a Meridian town meeting on Monday.
Radvnyi, once the highest ranking Communist official in Hungary, defected to the United States in the early 1970s. He was a key speaker at the Monday town meeting called by U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss.
Radvnyi outlined the terrorist network of Osama bin Laden's, the U.S. government's No. 1 suspect in the terrorist attacks, at the town meeting, which drew more than 100 people.
Bin Laden, funded by money he inherited from his wealthy family, runs an intricate, complicated organization whose behavior is marked by aggressive recruitment, strict discipline, training, logistics and a high level of conspiracy, he said.
Low-tech terrorist attacks sometimes use car bombs and explosives tied to bicyclists. Higher tech attacks include hijacked civilian aircraft and the potential for attacks using nerve gas, saran (small pox) gas, or miniature nuclear bombs in suitcases and backpacks.
One fear involves cyber terrorism, which could threaten Department of Defense command and control information systems and other vital information systems, including personal computers, he said.
Pickering said the U.S. government "will find and dismantle small groups of people who are prepared to attack us in ways we've never imagined."
Echoing comments made by President Bush, he said the war against terrorism will be "broad-based, comprehensive and long-term.
Pickering predicted congressional action by the end of this week on some components of anti-terrorism legislation. Federal laws dealing with the apprehension, arrest and indictment of suspects could be rewritten as early as Friday to cut red tape in detaining and charging suspects. Immigration law reform is also necessary to gain some control over a system that admits 530 million foreign visitors into the U.S. each year.
Pickering said even if bin Laden is captured, the war against terrorism will continue because dozens of other terrorists organizations exist.
Bin Laden, who declared war on the U.S. in 1996,is determined to fight a "holy war," Pickering said. One of his goals seems to be to drive American soldiers off Arabian soil. Bin Laden also wants the nation of Israel to cease to exist.
Terrorists acts can strike anywhere at any time, and East Mississippians are not immune, he said, especially with two military bases in close proximity.
Troops with the 186th Air Refueling Wing at Key Field are prepared and could be deployed for overseas missions. If the U.S. chooses to invade Afghanistan, a large deployment could be necessary, he said.
Radvnyi said the war against terrorism will be global.
Pickering said law enforcement from the CIA and FBI to the state and city levels could be enhanced.
Meanwhile, residents should attempt to return to life as normal.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for the Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Fighting terrorism includes:
Learning about cultures that thrive on and support terrorism, their techniques and tools;
Dismantling their infrastructure by cutting financial resources and apprehending or liquidating their leaders;
Striking factories that produce agents of mass destruction, such as nerve gas;
Destroying training camps; and
Enhancing intelligence-gathering capabilities on terrorist organizations, members and activities.