February 15th, 2011
Saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan "suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating" on Feb. 11 in Egypt, according to a network statement.
The incident took place as Logan was covering celebrations in Tahrir Square for "60 Minutes" shortly after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Logan and her security team "were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration," according to the CBS statement. There were over 200 people in the mob.
"In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew," the statement continued. "She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers."
Logan reconnected with her team and returned to the United States the next morning. She's currently recovering in a hospital.
During the Egyptian uprising, numerous journalists were attacked by pro-Mubarak mobs and arrested. Unlike the attack on Logan, which took place after Mubarak left office, most took place during a two-day period when Mubarak supporters hit the streets. The attack on Logan shows the danger to foreign correspondents reporting from hot spots around the world.
Journalists continue to face threats in the Middle East and North Africa, as protests inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia take place throughout the region. On Monday, government loyalists in Yemen attacked a BBC reporter and his cameraman.
Nearly two weeks ago, Logan described the difficulties facing foreign journalists in Egypt--a country not unlike other authoritarian regimes in its treatment of the press--just before she was also detained by police. Watch below:
Logan spoke to Esquire about her earlier police interrogation on Feb. 10, the night before the attack transpired.
"We were all blindfolded," Logan told the magazine. "They blindfolded me, but they said if I didn't take it off they wouldn't tie my hands. They kept us in stress positions—they wouldn't let me put my head down. It was all through the night. We were pretty exhausted."
She said Egyptian police also accused her crew of being "Israeli spies" or agents. "We were accused of everything," she said.
But Logan, who had returned to the United States after the police detention, wasn't going to sit out the rest of a major revolution.Â She decided to return to Egypt on Feb. 10, telling Esquire "there's no doubt in my mind that the situation we were caught in before, we are now arriving into again."
The New York Times noted Tuesday that "some female journalists complained about being singled out by crowds" while covering the protests in Egypt. However, it's unclear at this time if there were other incidents of sexual assault involving journalists.
The crowd in Tahrir Square during the early days of the protest was overwhelmingly male. But as the protests grew, the crowd resembled a cross-section of Egyptian society, with women and children present at demonstrations. That continued through the celebrations following Mubarak's resignation, which until this incident, have been largely viewed in a positive light.
CBS said Tuesday that there will be no further comment and that "Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time."
More From Michael Calderone
(Photo of Logan moments before the attack, courtesy of CBS News)
February 15th, 2011
UK Daily Mail
By David Gardner
A port official has admitted that a 'weapon of mass effect' has been found by 'partner agencies' in the U.S., raising major questions over a possible government cover-up.
The disturbing revelation came in an interview with San Diego's assistant port director screened by a television channel in the city.
The Customs and Border Protection Department tried to dampen speculation over his remarks, but doubts remained over whether he had inadvertently revealed a dirty bomb plot to attack the U.S. mainland.
Scroll down for a video of the interview
Crucial moment: Assistant port director Al Hallor admits on camera 'weapons of mass effect' have been found at locations in the U.S.
Concern over a secret WMD bust came after U.S. cables made public by the Wikileaks whistleblower website revealed terror groups were plotting a 'nuclear 911.'
In the interview screened by San Diego’s 10News, Al Hallor, assistant San Diego port director, said ‘weapons of mass effect’ had been found, although he did not specify exactly where or what they were.
Reporter Mitch Blacher asked Mr Hallor: ‘Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponised device?’
‘At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things,’ the customs official replied.
Realisation: The assistant port director closes his eyes as reporter Mitch Blacher again asks him if weapons have ever been found in San Diego - and a public affairs officer intervenes
‘So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?’ asked Mr Blacher.
‘Correct. Weapons of mass effect,’ said Mr Hallor.
‘You ever found one?’ asked Mr Blacher.
‘Not at this location,’ Mr Hallor said.
‘But they have found them?’ asked Mr Blacher.
‘Yes,’ said Mr Hallor.
‘You never found one in San Diego though?’ Mr Blacher asked.
‘I would say at the port of San Diego we have not,’ Mr Hallor said.
‘Have you found one in San Diego?’ Mr Blacher asked.
The interview was then interrupted and cut short by a public relations official before Mr Hallor was able to answer the question.
San Diego's Customs and Border Protection agency was unavailable for comment today.
Earlier, Mr Hallor told Mr Blacher: ‘Potentially every city in America is a target. Given the waterways and the access to the Navy fleet here, I’d say, absolutely, San Diego is a target.
Shocking interview: 10News reporter Mitch Blacher interviews Al Hallor at San Diego port - where he makes the startling revelation WMDs have been brought into the U.S.
‘Our overall arching mission is to protect the American homeland against terrorists and from weapons of mass effect from entering the country. We are the guardians of America’s borders.’
THE CRUCIAL CONFESSION
Reporter: Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponised device?
Mr Hallor: At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things.
Reporter: So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?
Mr Hallor: Correct. Weapons of mass effect.
Reporter: You ever found one?
Mr Hallor: Not at this location.
Reporter: But they have found them?
Mr Hallor: Yes.
Reporter: You never found one in San Diego though?
Mr Hallor: I would say at the port of San Diego we have not.
He was explaining how the port checks cargo ships arriving at the port. He suggested the customs ‘partner agencies’ may have found the 'weapons of mass effect.'
Former Secret Service agent and airline security director Glen Winn told 10News Mr Hallor’s comments appeared to be credible.
‘This person was, I believe, knowledgeable, has a very important position with the port and the government and as such has that knowledge,’ he said.
‘You posed some very serious questions as to security gaps and discoveries that perhaps have taken place in this area.
'I want to know how many and where did you find them so if I'm in that area, driving around and I see something that is out of place, I make a phone call,’ he added.
But 10News said a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security told them Mr Hallor was 'just nervous' in the interview and 'mis-spoke'.
The spokesman denied officials said weapons of mass destruction had never been found in the U.S.- but would not answer questions about dirty bombs or chemical weapons.
After the interview, the Customs and Border Protection department in San Diego issued a statement denying it had dealt with any nuclear-related smuggling attempts.
‘CBP has not specifically had any incidents with nuclear devices or nuclear materials at our ports of entry,’ it said.
‘CBP is an all-threats agency. The purpose of many security measures is to prevent threats from ever materializing by being prepared for them.
'And, we must be prepared to stop threats in whatever form they do materialise at the border, whether it’s an individual or cargo arriving by land, air, or sea.
'Regardless of what the contraband or threat is, we’re being smart, evaluating, and focusing in on anything or anyone that is potentially high-risk.’
No WMDs have ever been smuggled into the US, or, a least, none have been disclosed.
There were reports more than six years ago that al Qaeda was planning to try and sneak a bomb through a secret tunnel into Arizona from northern Mexico, although it was never substantiated. Just last year, a 2,200 ft cross-border drugs tunnel was discovered in San Diego, complete with lighting and ventilation.
Terror risk? U.S. officials discovered a 2,200ft cross-border drugs tunnel in San Diego last year, raising fears al Qaeda could use a similar method
One reason for covering up a known attempt would be to prevent public panic. Just three days ago, acting Inspector General of the Department of Justice, Cynthia Schnedar, criticised U.S. efforts to prepare for a potential WMD attack as 'uncoordinated and fragmented'.
While the FBI had made adequate precautions for dealing with a WMD fallout, other branches of the DOJ were not sufficiently ready.
With the exception of the FBI, other departments had no training, did not participate in drills and had not selected an individual to take charge over WMD response operations, she said.
'In addition, while the department had designated the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as the lead agency to coordinate the use of federal law enforcement resources to maintain public safety and security if local and state resources are overwhelmed during a WMD incident, ATF had not adequately prepared for this role,' she added.
A year ago, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism said the U.S. government should be doing more to prevent the nuclear threat.
Work to improve the nation's response to biological attacks and efforts to reform intelligence gathering and other aspects of homeland security all received an 'F' on the report.
February 15th, 2011
February 15th, 2011
Are you in Iran? Share your stories and photos with CNN iReport, but please make your safety your first priority.
By the CNN Wire Staff
Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian lawmakers denounced Monday's protests in Tehran and called for the execution of two opposition leaders for inciting the demonstrations, Iran's state-run Press TV reported Tuesday.
Members of the Iranian parliament issued fiery chants against opposition leaders and former presidential candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi.
Press TV aired video Tuesday of lawmakers chanting "Moussavi, Karrubi ... execute them."
Lawmakers also named former President Mohammad Khatami in some of the death chants.
The calls for the leaders' executions come after a particularly deadly month in Iran. At least 66 people were executed in January, according to Iranian media reports. Most of the executions were reportedly carried out for drug offenses, although at least three involved political prisoners, a U.N. statement said.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed alarm earlier this month over the number of executions.
Iranian leaders have praised Egypt's revolution, but Monday when protesters in Iran took to the streets the government cracked down hard.
Last week, the Iranian government rounded up activists after Karrubi and Moussavi called for supporters to gather at Azadi Square -- the site of mass protests by Iran's opposition movement after the disputed 2009 presidential elections.
Despite the security crackdown, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Tehran Monday.
Patrolling security forces battled protesters with batons and tear gas for much of the day.
The massive crowd was largely cleared from the city's streets by nightfall and the main squares near Tehran University remained free of police, security forces or protesters.
Dozens of demonstrators were detained during Monday's protests, while videos posted on the showed others had been chased and beaten.
One person was shot and killed during the protests, according to Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency. Several others were injured and listed in serious condition as a result of the shooting, which the Iranian government blamed on "agitators and seditionists."
The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that nine security force members were among those injured in the protests, which the country's deputy police chief called "illegal gatherings ... directed from America, England and Israel."
"The hands of sedition leaders are drenched in blood and they should answer for these actions," Ahmad Reza Radan said, according to IRNA.
Video uploaded to YouTube showed throngs of demonstrators marching, burning posters of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and in one instance beating a man who appeared to try to remove a poster from the hands of protesters.
Other YouTube video showed police in riot gear pursuing dozens of people running away from the baton-wielding officers.
Other videos show similar protests going on in other cities in Iran such as Shiraz and Isfahan.
CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the videos and witnesses declined to be named for fear of retribution.
Reporting from Iran proved extremely difficult Monday -- foreign journalists were denied visas, accredited journalists living in the country were restricted from covering the demonstrations and internet speeds slowed to a crawl in an apparent attempt to both limit protest organizing and restrict information from being transmitted out of the country.
Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, released a statement Tuesday urging Iranian officials to "fully respect and protect the rights of their citizens, including freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully."
CNN's Reza Sayah and Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.
February 15th, 2011
The homemade drug submarine was found in a rural area of Timbiqui.
The Colombian military has seized a 100-foot-long submarine capable of transporting eight tons of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, news reports say.
The vessel was found in a jungle area in Timbiqui in southwestern Colombia on Sunday, according to a report from RTT News.
Colombian navy officials said the homemade sub had two diesel engines and sophisticated navigational equipment that would enable it to travel to Mexico while remaining up to 30 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
The vessel was set up for a crew of four but was unoccupied when found, RTT reported. Officials estimated it would have cost $2 million to build.
The submarine is just the latest example of crafts smugglers have made to try to get their illicit cargo past law enforcement.
Last year, VBS.TV got access to the Colombian naval base where many captured smuggling vessels are taken.
Recent CNN Posts