My Novels

Monday, January 14, 2002

We had fun yesterday using the metal detector. We went to several old schoolyards, and a community center and ended up at an old family cemetery (of my relatives) way out in the deep woods, no church or buildings anywhere in sight. All we found, however, was some coins and a small charm off a charm bracelet. But nevertheless, it was interesting to scout the ground and hear the detector beep, so we could look to see what was buried.

The metal detector we're using is at least twenty years old, borrowed from one of DH's friends. Certainly, if we buy one I want controls that will show depth and something about the buried object -- which the newer ones do. We dug up a lot of aluminum cans and aluminum foil, way too much work for nothing! Anyhow, at least we know some of the features we'd like in a newer metal detector. But it is a fun activity, and good exercise in all that walking, plus a great way to pass hours and hours of time!

Well, all the news lately of Enron is very interesting. I can only offer this comment: I hope that the Congressional investigation gets to the bottom of that fiasco. I think ALL the employees who were not allowed to sell their stock as it fell should be reimbursed -- possibly straight from the CEOs of Enron who made a fortune by selling off their shares BEFORE they went bankrupt. As for the Prez & Company, if he is involved, it will sooner or later be revealed -- unless another terrorist attack saves his butt.

In an earlier entry I had mentioned that I've found very little about the ring-leader of the WTC plane attacks, Atta. Here's an article I did find that is somewhat interesting:

Agony of teacher who gave help to hijack leader

A RETIRED teacher from Hamburg has described the mental breakdown she suffered after hearing that Mohammed Atta, the student she brought to Germany to foster international friendship, was the ringleader in the September 11 attacks on America.

Frau Michaels and her husband said they were devastated that their sponsorship of Atta had given him an entrance to the West, which he had used to train for his attack on the World Trade Center.

"I had a breakdown (after September 11) and I am still fighting it," she said. "The impact of this was like a split or a breakdown in everything which my life represented until then. It was as if a chain had snapped."

The couple, who did not wish to have their full names revealed, were speaking for the first time during an Insight investigation that revealed a disturbing portrait of Atta, the chief hijacker on September 11. While Atta seemed a quiet and shy student to his German hosts, he could be short-tempered and sometimes violent.

Atta plotted the attacks during more than seven years in Hamburg.

"We often discussed politics and he told me, 'It's terrible when people resort to violence,' " said Michaels. "I was devastated when I found out what he had done."

She said her breakdown lasted until the end of November. She did not receive hospital treatment, but sought the help of a psychologist to combat the depression.

"For years I have made it my business to try to build up good contacts with people from abroad," said Michaels. "I am not so open any more and of course that hurts me."

Nevertheless, she feels no responsibility for September 11. "I don't blame myself for what happened. I understand that other people, professionals, who ought to have noticed something, didn't."

Michaels established contacts in Cairo when she helped organise the exchange of schoolchildren between Egypt and Germany, and, after a request from mutual family friends, extended a formal invitation to Atta to study in Hamburg.

Herr Michaels said: "It's a fact that we tried all those years to build bridges between our country and other people and look what happened."

When Atta arrived at the couple's spacious bungalow, he impressed them with his diligence, criticising students who failed to attend tutorials.

He was already a committed Muslim, covering his eyes with his hands when semi-clad women appeared on television. But he showed no signs of being a dangerous extremist.

The Michaelses lost contact with Atta in about 1995, but he remained in Hamburg and cultivated fundamentalist contacts.

While he was withdrawn in German company, among his Arab friends he was quick to anger and was once involved in a brawl at a Hamburg station. He would also go out drinking on the Reeperbahn, a renowned red light district.

Now I've got to try and install a bunch of programs on my PC, for the scanner, printer, etc...and hope it all goes well! Still haven't been able to get AOL to work without interfering with JUNO. Oh well, so it goes!

I went on my bike ride earlier, and it's cold, overcast...but the sun is supposed to come out later this afternoon. Nice day, nearly 60 degrees.

Till next time...

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