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Story Filed:1/7/03 05:00 pm
A modified Chevrolet Silverado platform fitted with modules of counterterrorism equipment just might be the next big thing for homeland security.
"SmarTruck II is engineered to meet the nontraditional challenges of today's military," said Dennis Wend, executive director of the Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's National Automotive Center (NAC). "It provides built-in flexibility and offensive capability [for a variety of situations]."
The jet black prototype SmarTruck II unveiled at the North American International Auto Show didn't much look like a Silverado pickup truck.
Rather than the usual two axles, the SmarTruck II has three, and all six wheels drive the vehicle all the time.
This is key to the SmarTruck II's appeal, Wend said. The modification gives the SmarTruck II a 5-ton payload, so it can carry a bevy of counterterrorism equipment, much of it packaged in armored, self-contained stainless steel modules. The modules can be swapped out for other non-terrorism-related modules when needed.
For example, the SmarTruck II could carry water purification systems on disaster relief missions and communication systems for surveillance missions.
The flexibility could allow many government agencies-from FEMA to the FBI to the military-to share the vehicle, Wend said. "You won't need to have unique trucks with installed equipment; you can just have the modules [stationed] around the United States [ready for use when needed]."
The SmarTruck II on the show floor was clearly armed for military duty. The vehicle was fitted with a guided missile launcher that has a two-mile range and a launcher for a remote-controlled Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV).
Other features: A night vision system, a high-power (50X) zoom video system with thermal imaging and surveillance radar, 360-degree cameras including one under the vehicle to help the driver prevent undercarriage damage when driving off road, and a 12,000-pound, straight-line hydraulic towing winch.
Tires are run-flats, and the grille is covered by a large metal brush guard that's bullet-resistant to keep small armaments from puncturing the engine block.
Wend said the SmarTruck II evolved out of SmarTruck I, which was unveiled at the auto show a year ago. Testing on the SmarTruck II will begin shortly, and NAC officials hope to find interested customers wanting to buy.
But there's a hefty price premium for this kind of Silverado. Wend said it would cost $75,000 to $100,000 just for the modified chassis with six-wheel-drive system and some kind of on-board communications system.
12/29/02: WWW.FUCKTHEWAR.COM WEBSITE LAUNCHED
December 21, 2002
WWW.FUCKTHEWAR.COM WEBSITE LAUNCHED, OFFERING FREE EMAIL TO ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS
A new website offering free email addresses ending in "fuckthewar.com" has been officially launched, its organizers say.
According to the site's creators, the intent of www.fuckthewar.com is to offer a rallying point for people opposed to the United States' likely offensive against Iraq, and a highly visible means for individuals opposed to the war to communicate their discontent.
"We feel that the United States is about to embark on a foolish, costly campaign against a paper-tiger dictator," says fuckthewar.com spokesman David Livingstone. "In our opinion, this war amounts to nothing more than a neo-colonialist gambit by George W. Bush. There seems to be no length he will not go to in order to distract people from the disastrous social effects of his domestic policy and to secure the free flow of petroleum dollars into the pockets of his energy industry pals.
"We believe that a great many Americans oppose this unilateral action against Iraq, not to mention people the world over. To this point, the media have largely gone along with the administration, but if enough of us are visible, both the media and the government will have to take notice."
The site is created by OrwellMedia, Livingstone's public relations and communications firm.
Media representatives desiring further information are invited to contact the site's organizers at (313) 320 2820, or via email at www.orwellmedia.com.
12/28/02: Air Force to pay up for dummy bomb drop on home
Source: CNN.com Saturday, December 28, 2002 Posted: 9:55 AM EST (1455 GMT)
EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- The Air Force said it will pay about $12,000 in
damages to a woman whose house was hit by a dummy bomb.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian police said on Monday they had
confiscated a T-shirt showing President Bush (news - web sites) and
al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) engaged in a
sexual act and were investigating whether it broke a 1931 obscenity
12/23/02: R.I.P. Joe Strummer
We just learned that Joe Strummer has died at the age of 50 of an apparent heart attack. Our condolences go out to all who loved him.
12/17/02: WESLEY WILLIS UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR LEUKEMIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
We are deeply saddened to report that one of our artists, Wesley Willis has recently been diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). This form of Leukemia is treatable. Wesley is currently undergoing care, and his doctors are very hopeful that the treatment will be successful.
For more information on this type of Leukemia, you can visit http://leukemia-lymphoma.org and we will have updates of his condition on our website: http://www.alternativetentacles.com.
Rock over London!!
12/14/02: Jello on NPR/PRI's "Fair Game"
National Public Radio/Public Radio International's new show Fair Game will air a piece featuring an interview with Jello and his take on current events. The episode will debut tonight, but will run through the weekend on various NPR stations. It will also be available online. For more information on the show and to hear the mp3 (available starting 11/15), please visit the Fair Game website. To find out what stations air the show, go here.
12/13/02: Secret Service Agents Question Student About Anti-Bush Shirt
(from) WHIO-TV, NEWSCENTER 7
Secret Service Agents question a Bellbrook High School student for wearing a controversial t-shirt.
The shirt has a picture of President Bush on it and the words, "not my president." The picture also showed cross-hairs on the Bush's forehead.
Because this issue is so sensitive, even we don't know the students name.
But we can tell you this whole thing was brought to the attention of school administrators after two students came forward and complained.
According to the Assistant Principal, the student had worn it before and the shirt didn't cause any problems until cross hairs appeared on the President's forehead.
The Assistant Principal confiscated the shirt, called the FBI and agents then called the secret service.
From that point, the Secret Service took over the investigation and met with the student and essentially treated the situation as a potential threat on the president.
There are more than 800 students at Bellbrook High School and the Assistant Principal says they're all good kids, but he's especially proud of two of them.
The Assistant Principal states that he is proud of the two students who brought the issue to the attention of the school administration.
12/12/02: FACEPULLER release Habanero Hot Sauce
In a move that has puzzled music fans and food freaks alike, Canada's noise rock band Facepuller have released their own brand of Hot Sauce. "Facepuller Habanero Hot Sauce - Sauce Piquante" is supposedly now available. We have been promised a few free "promo" bottles.
As you may recall, we released an LP and CD by them in 1996 :
To see their nifty taco sauce label, check out:
11/27/02: German Brewery Invents Beer Bath, Gulp!
BERLIN (Reuters) - There are days when you feel like a bath full of beer, not just a glass.
Now you can have both -- thanks to a German brewery which has developed a beer you can wash down your food with or wash down your body.
Jad Fair's project Strobe Talbot will be featured in a story on Public Radio International show "The World" today. The segment includes an interview with the band as well as the real Strobe Talbott, the diplomat.
If you miss the actual broadcast of the show, worry not! It will be archived on "The World" website in the Global Hits section.
Since the world needs information provided by AK Press & Alternative Tentacles artists' MORE NOW THAN EVER, we thought we would highlight these IMPORTANT releases and put some of them on sale for the next few weeks. There have been quite a few great new releases on AK Press/Alternative Tentacles in the past 6 months, so please check them out.
11/19/02: Articles of Faith contest at Flex Your Head Online!
Between November 17 and 24, you can enter the contest here on the FYH website. Good luck!
Listen for your favorite AT bands on the Flex Your Head radio show every Tuesday from 6 - 8 pm (Pacific time) on CiTR 101.9fm .
Articles Of Faith - the latest band in our Re-Issues Of Necessity Series - have received a small write up by David Fricke in the November issue of Rolling Stone!
This is only the second band in AT's history that we know about that were written up in Rolling Stone! (The Flaming Stars get written up in Rolling Stone's german edition!) The first A.T. band was Black Kali Ma .
"For five years, this hardcore crew lit up the Midwest -- and anywhere else you could find its two LPs, Give Thanks (1984) and In This Life (1986), both made with Husker Du's Bob Mould at the board. This is the high-minded frenzy of AoF in full: a righteous slap at the defanged cheese that now typically passes for punk."