Poor Richard's Almanac is a terrorist's tool!


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DaveB
December 29, 2003, 06:45 PM
Not even the National Lampoon would have thought up such an absurdity.

From the AP, 12/29/03

The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning."

It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.

"The practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known methods of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning," the FBI wrote.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the bulletin this week and verified its authenticity.

db

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Tim Burke
December 29, 2003, 07:03 PM
So is having an almanac probable cause for a search? If not, how are they going to know how it is annotated?
Will the next alert be for people with book covers on their books? There might be a concealed almanac.
Has anyone thought that maybe they ought to put out an alert for Middle Eastern Islamic males between the ages of 15-40?

greyhound
December 29, 2003, 07:05 PM
Good Lord. Guess they'll use the Patriot Act to find out whose been checking out almanacs at libraries!

Heaven forbid they tell the citizens to be able to defend themselves....lets tell them to snoop on people to find out what they are reading!

greyhound
December 29, 2003, 07:06 PM
Has anyone thought that maybe they ought to put out an alert for Middle Eastern Islamic males between the ages of 15-40?

The first thing that popped into my head when reading that was the Swedish girl in the "Ricola" commercials wagging her finger back and forth and saying "Nuh uh uh".:D

kbr80
December 29, 2003, 07:11 PM
Has anyone thought that maybe they ought to put out an alert for Middle Eastern Islamic males between the ages of 15-40?

Can't do that. It would make to much sense.

dischord
December 29, 2003, 07:16 PM
Well, this almanac concern is rather bizzaro, but in the FBI's defense:

1) The concern is not over farmers almanacs like Poor Richards, but those thick "World Almanacs" that have all kinds of information that actually would be of use to terrorists -- everything from state capitals to lists of high-level government officials to lists of nuclear facilities to important holidays.

Of course this information is available just as easily on the interent, so I suppose you could issue a similar notice about people with internet accounts.

2) The FBI said that the carrying of almanacs -- in conjunction with other suspicious behavior -- is of concern. It isn't singling out almanac-carrying as this article implies.

dischord
December 29, 2003, 07:20 PM
Here is the rest of the A.P. story

FBI Issues Alert Against Almanac Carriers

<snip>

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the bulletin this week and verified its authenticity.

"For local law enforcement, it's just to help give them one more piece of information to raise their suspicions," said David Heyman, a terrorism expert for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It helps make sure one more bad guy doesn't get away from a traffic stop, maybe gives police a little bit more reason to follow up on this."

The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, "the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities." But it warned that when combined with suspicious behavior such as apparent surveillance a person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning."

The publisher for The Old Farmers Almanac said Monday terrorists would probably find statistical reference books more useful than the collections of Americana in his famous publication of weather predictions and witticisms.

"While we doubt that our editorial content would be of particular interest to people who would wish to do us harm, we will certainly cooperate to the fullest with national authorities at any level they deem appropriate," publisher John Pierce said.

The FBI said information typically found in almanacs that could be useful for terrorists includes profiles of cities and states and information about waterways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, tunnels, buildings and landmarks. It said this information is often accompanied by photographs and maps.

The FBI urged police to report such discoveries to the local U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force.

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20031229_1628.html

TallPine
December 29, 2003, 07:29 PM
The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent
Well, that's nice to hear. :rolleyes:

You think somebody might have a legitimate use for a map in their car...?

So what's next...? Encyclopedias, travel guides, dictionaries, maybe traveling with an AM/FM radio receiver ....?

sm
December 29, 2003, 07:32 PM
You've got to be kidding me!

Farmer's Almanacs are a great read, witty and I recall the teachers would ask us to write and/or discuss the various essays. Folks used these for planting and everything.

Almanacs are great learning tool, heck I've given several to kids as a reference tool.

So I guess when we see an increase in okra planting and castrations of farm animals the "big one" is just around the corner huh?.

Or that means we should start hoarding these various Almanacs. I doubt Big Brother uses almanacs in State Indoctrination Schools .

When Almanacs are outlawed - only terrorists will have Almanacs...

Sheesh...it is the INTENT of the person not the darn tool...err...Almanac ! When are we going to start dealing with people and not the darn "tools" ??

Not one time today has my inanimate Desk Encylopedia made a threatening move...only reason "it" moved was because "I" moved it...nor has a loaded handgun and spare mag...and "they" won't move until 'I' move them...arrgghh!!

pax
December 29, 2003, 09:07 PM
The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, "the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities." But it warned that when combined with suspicious behavior such as apparent surveillance a person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning."
So, it'd be okay to let my oldest son keep the Almanac in the van with us, but if he does, I can't keep my bird watching binoculars there?

Land of the free. :( Right.

pax

The usual road to slavery is that first they take away your guns, then they take away your property, then last of all they tell you to shut up and say you are enjoying it. -- James A. Donald

cpileri
December 29, 2003, 09:12 PM
Eva Braun would be so proud. Lets burn 'em!
C-

seeker_two
December 29, 2003, 09:29 PM
Or that means we should start hoarding these various Almanacs. I doubt Big Brother uses almanacs in State Indoctrination Schools .

Knowledge is a dangerous weapon. Thank goodness that our public schools are engaged in disarming our children...:rolleyes:

7.62FullMetalJacket
December 29, 2003, 09:40 PM
Mr. Burke said

QUOTE]Has anyone thought that maybe they ought to put out an alert for Middle Eastern Islamic males between the ages of 15-40?[/QUOTE]

LMAO :D

Just like every other alphabet agency, they are looking for tools instead of terrorists. :barf:

Now, if the tool is a canister ov VX gas, or a small thermonuclear device, OK :eek:

But an almanac? :cuss:

Freedspeak
December 29, 2003, 09:48 PM
Gee! What do you think they would do to you if you were carrying a witches almanac?:what: :evil:

El Tejon
December 29, 2003, 09:53 PM
Hmmm, how about an Internet connection?:confused: :eek:

Double Yikes, Batman.

Standing Wolf
December 29, 2003, 10:24 PM
I won't start to worry until I hear Agent Schmuckatelli has been taken off the case.

SteelyDan
December 30, 2003, 12:08 AM
On the surface this does sound easy to ridicule, but I doubt that fact would be lost on the FBI, which is presumably somewhat sensitive about its image. When I first read the warning I therefore assumed there was some hard intelligence involving "almanacs" which led the FBI to, perhaps sheepishly, issue the warning. There are certainly other possibilities, but I'll stick with my gut instinct here.

jimpeel
December 30, 2003, 12:31 AM
Would a AAA TourBook be considered an "almanac"? After all, it lists many locations and attractions which could be used "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning." or "researching potential targets". It also contains maps to those locations and attractions.

XavierBreath
December 30, 2003, 01:07 AM
Whew.............. I just boxed up my almanacs and buried them in the back yard. That was a close one!

hksw
December 30, 2003, 01:52 AM
:confused:

What about Fodor's?

Tag
December 30, 2003, 01:58 AM
When does the frog start to boil again?

Ky Larry
December 30, 2003, 03:43 AM
No wonder we're awash in terrorists, criminals, dope dealers, pimps, rapists,and theives. Sleep tight, Barney Fife is on guard.:rolleyes:
Next time you see someone with a map, tourist guide book, or almanac, call 911. It's your patrotic duty.

ravinraven
December 30, 2003, 07:50 AM
I can remember studying Air Force history back in about 1960 that we [the good guys] had almost NO navigation information about the various badguylands. There was a run on old National Geographic magazines and other publications that published maps accurate enough to get a force of bombers on a target.

So. There is something to this even though my over-worked sense of humor is about to have heart failure.

I can just see a bunch of camo clad militia duds out running around in the woods and swapping Old Farmer's Almanacs.

rr

Master Blaster
December 30, 2003, 11:25 AM
I just have one question:

WHEN DO WE START BURNING THE BOOKS?????

:fire:

HankB
December 30, 2003, 12:22 PM
Hmmm . . . in many government schools, zero-tolerance has gotten students expelled for having things like a box cutter in the tool box behind the seat. (Along with hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, etc.)

One tyke was suspended for pointing a chicken finger and saying "pow." (No word on whether he ate the evidence.)

Heaven forbid a student should bring an ALMANAC along - a government school is no place for books!

Uhhh . . . wait a minute there . . .

Sean Smith
December 30, 2003, 12:45 PM
I'd suggest that the FBI's bulletin is not as stupid as the knee-jerk hysterical reactions here would suggest.

the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning."

"The practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known methods of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning," the FBI wrote.

True statements, though maybe not self-evident to Officer Bob at one of the 18,000 PDs the message was sent to, who has spent overworked years investigating crack murders and now has to worry about crazy foreigners killing people, too. As the sole basis for taking police action, of course, a copy of an Almanac isn't much, to say the least. But I don't think anyone is saying otherwise... including the FBI.

It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.

Read that again: if you are already looking, check for almanacs too... they might contain evidence. Hardly a cause for ranting about Farenheit 451 coming true. :rolleyes:

Art Eatman
December 30, 2003, 12:49 PM
Devil's Advocate, okay?

Remember reading of the B-24 raids on the Ploesti oilfields in WW II? We had no decent maps of the route from North Africa. The first efforts were poor as planes initially missed the target area. They provided the "real directions" for later raids. A terrorist, here from some foreign country, has the same sort of problem, as well as that of learning a new culture.

So you're a terr. You need info about routes and targets. The US Almanac and the various state almanacs provide much helpful info on many subjects which might be useful--as do, of course, the various atlases of US highways.

In and of themselves, these items are innocuous. They're harmless.

Learning to fly an airplane is harmless. Normally, an airplane is not any sort of weapon.

Learning to shoot a rifle is harmless. We here all do it or have done it. And further, we all speak of "misuse" of firearms as regards harm.

To perform terrorism requires information; it is a necessary tool.

Last, how many times have we read of some crook, stopped for some routine traffic incident, released because of a lack of curiosity on the part of the LEO? (The converse is also true, of course.)

So, in and of themselves, almanacs have little importance in the WOT. In the event of seeing something else that seems "hinky", they might jiggle the "uh-oh" switch in some LEO's mind...

Art

seeker_two
December 30, 2003, 01:35 PM
And how long will it be until the sight of an almanac on the seat of a vehicle will be considered "probable cause" to conduct a vehicle search w/o the person's consent? :scrutiny:

It won't be long until BREATHING will be considered "probable cause"....:fire:

dischord
December 30, 2003, 01:42 PM
We shouldn't have our heads in the sand, but contrary to popular belief, running around like chicken little is not an improvement.

jimpeel
December 30, 2003, 02:01 PM
This is either seriocomic or humoserious I think "Tragicomic" about covers it.

Ky Larry
December 31, 2003, 03:00 AM
Didn't our fearlees G-men ignore repeated warnings by their own agents about possible terrorists training at American flight schools? IIFR,didn't they give us the fiascos at Waco and Ruby Ridge? Aren't they the same agency that opened a bordello in New Orleans to listen in on pillow talk between hookers and customers? Didn't they engage in illegal domestic spying, wiretapping,political fixing, and character assination? Wasn't their National Crime Lab cited by congress for inaccurate and false evidence? Am I supposed to take them serious about terrorism thru almanacs?
PAH-LEEEZE!:rolleyes:

Wildalaska
December 31, 2003, 03:42 AM
I'd suggest that the FBI's bulletin is not as stupid as the knee-jerk hysterical reactions here would suggest.

in and of themselves, almanacs have little importance in the WOT. In the event of seeing something else that seems "hinky", they might jiggle the "uh-oh" switch in some LEO's mind...

We shouldn't have our heads in the sand, but contrary to popular belief, running around like chicken little is not an improvement.

Voices of reason in a flurry of mindlessness.

Isnt it amazing how the described self liberal press, with an agenda to embarrass the administration and quite frankly aid and comfort the enemy, has the power to whip up a frenzy on this Board over a simple memo that if read in context, makes a lot of sense, (except of course to the.....ah never mind)


WildshouldhavementionedmapsandcamerastooAlaska

jimpeel
December 31, 2003, 04:59 AM
Several years ago, the government issued a warning to police departments that those they stopped who were carrying Bibles, or copies of the Constitution should be considered as possibly dangerous anti-government persons. :rolleyes:

Shweboner
December 31, 2003, 07:48 AM
Knowledge is a dangerous weapon. Thank goodness that our public schools are engaged in disarming our children...


that quote would make a great bumpersticker

~Brian

seeker_two
December 31, 2003, 11:28 AM
Shweboner: Feel free to make them. Just send me a few for family & friends...;)

jimpeel: I remember that. I also carry a Bible & a paperback pamphlet-sized copy of the Constitution in my truck, too. Guess I'm the enemy now...:evil:

Wildalaska: If you consider those quotes "Voices of reason in a flurry of mindlessness.", then I question the definition of "reason"....:uhoh:

Read my last post & answer this question: Would the presence of an almanac in the car of a Muslim would be "probable cause" for a search of the vehicle? :scrutiny:

Bill Hook
December 31, 2003, 01:09 PM
Uh, considering you can buy access to satellite photos now and MapQuest is free, who needs an almanac to carry out dirty deeds? :rolleyes:

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