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Tuesday, 27 April 2004

The Bush Presidency and Power:
The Guantanamo Cases, the Cheney Case, and the 9/11 Hearings
Thursday, Apr. 22, 2004

There was a time--now ancient history--when the Republican party swept into power on a platform of limited federal government. But that was before they gained control in the White House and the Congress.

Over the past few years, the Bush Administration has aggressively pushed the limits of its executive authority. But that is a statement of fact, not a conclusion about the constitutionality of those actions.

Now, the Administration's forceful tactics are being challenged and reviewed on several fronts -- a sign that the U.S. Constitution is alive and well. In two high-profile Supreme Court cases, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not actions taken have been constitutional, and the Administration will doubtless abide by its decision.

Meanwhile, Administration actions are also being assessed by a different type of review board--the 9/11 Commission. There, the Administration is having to defend its decisions immediately preceding and following 9/11 -- with probing questions raised about its views of Saddam Hussein, and the necessity of going to war with Iraq.

The Guantanamo Bay Cases: How Broad Are Presidential War Powers?

This Tuesday, April 20, in oral argument at the Supreme Court, the Administration argued that it had the power to detain thousands of non-U.S. citizens indefinitely at its Guantanamo Bay facilities -- without recourse to judicial review of their detention. Detainees' family members had brought a lawsuit challenging this power.

The Guantanamo Bay cases--Rasul v. Bush and Al Odah v. U.S. -- implicate constitutional separation of powers issues. The question they raise is this: Just how broad is the President's power to take an emergency action in the context of waging war -- in this case, the war on terror?

The detainees' families seek judicial review of the reasons for their detention. Some detainees claim they are innocent of participating in the war of terror against the United States, and should be able to prove as much in a judicial proceeding through a habeas corpus petition. None has been charged with a crime or designated as a prisoner of war, and therefore all occupy a sort of no-man's land in the war on terror.

The Administration says that is permissible -- for this is war. It urges that the war on terror is a particularly difficult war to wage, and therefore, it argues, it must have the power to hold detainees at Guantanamo, and off American soil, without permitting them recourse to the courts, or the releases that might follow such access. (There is no debate that if the detainees were on U.S. soil, habeas corpus relief would be available.)

A prior Supreme Court case, Johnson v. Eisentrager -- which involved 21 German citizens who were held outside the United States and denied habeas corpus relief -- provides some precedent for the Administration's argument. But the parties to the case dispute whether and how it is applicable.

Oral Argument Revealed the Court Views The Guantanamo Case as Difficult

Which side will prevail?

Generally, war is an arena where the Constitution grants Presidents broad power to conduct operations, and the courts are inclined to defer to those decisions. It is a matter of institutional competence--on these issues, an Administration typically knows considerably more about national security needs than the courts.

Indeed, a number of the Justices expressed concern about what, exactly, the judiciary would, or could, do if it were to hear the detainees' habeas corpus requests. There is no precedent for the courts to do what the detainees' families request -- to review the reasons for which they were detained, to assess whether those reasons are based in fact, and then presumably to free the ones the courts find innocent.

Thus, the courts would have to build from the ground up a habeas corpus doctrine for the detainees in the context of a war on terror. In habeas corpus, federal courts typically review proceedings in a trial in a U.S. federal or state court -- not facts surrounding a detention that occurred abroad in the context of armed conflict.

Yet, the Court's questions showed that it will not reflexively defer to the Administration simply because a war is on. Thus, the oral argument made it clear that the Court believes this is no easy case.

Various members of the Court -- including Justices Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer -- expressed concern about the extreme nature of the Administration's position -- suggesting that the Court may be uneasy about simply giving its blessing to the Administration's actions. The Administration has drawn a bright line -- broad power; no judicial review -- but Justice Scalia was the only Justice who plainly and wholeheartedly embraced that view

It is impossible to predict the outcome here with any certainty. Each side asks the Justices to make broad precedent in a legal no-man's land. The Court's been offered a rather unappetizing choice between unprecedented executive power, and unprecedented judicial review. Unsurprisingly, the oral argument showed a Court split on the issue. The Court's choice between deference and intervention will not be an easy one.

The Cheney Energy Task Force Case

Second, there is the Cheney case -- more famous now for Justice Scalia's decision not to recuse himself, than for its own facts. There, the Administration asserts that it need not hand over notes of meetings held by Vice President Cheney with energy industry higher-ups.

The Cheney case presents another separation of powers question: Can the courts force the Vice President to reveal with whom he met during meetings of his Energy Task Force?

Unlike in the Guantanamo Bay cases, however, the exercise of executive power is not being justified on national security grounds, but rather executive privilege -- the doctrine that the executive branch may shield at least some of its decisionmaking from prying eyes in order to ensure that the executive has the latitude to get the advice it needs.

Cheney was widely criticized for including only energy industry higher-ups in the meetings and excluding environmentalists. As a result, the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch sued to force Cheney to release the names and positions of those who attended the task force meetings.

In the proceedings below, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered Cheney to produce the notes from the task force. The appeals court affirmed that decision. But Cheney was granted Supreme Court review, and thus has yet to turn over the notes.

Now, the Supreme Court must decide whether the Vice President has an executive privilege covering the papers. The Administration has argued that, if he does not, then in the future, meetings including the Vice President will doubtless occur in a more guarded environment -- with the quality of the advice given watered down substantially due to the knowledge of later disclosure.

That is a potent argument, but not a slam-dunk. In Clinton v. Jones, the Clinton Administration argued that the President should be allowed to assert executive privilege against being hailed into state court on sexual misconduct charges. The argument was that the President should not have to be bothered with such a distraction.

But the Supreme Court, rightly in my view, held that a President is just as subject to the laws of the United States and the states as any other citizen. That is what distinguishes a President from a monarch, after all.

Some have read the opinion to eviscerate executive privileges, some have read it as a disaster for the operation of the Presidency, but it remains an open question whether it will have any affect on this case at all.

The 9/11 Hearings: Systemic Reform Will Not Be Enough

Of course, even as these momentous cases are pending at the Court, the 9/11 hearings have been scrutinizing the decisions of the Bush Administration leading up to that horrific day.

Some have argued that we should not waste our time second-guessing past decisions when so many other pressing issues exist right now. But these critics miss the fundamental need for these hearings: The need to make accountable all those who failed to deter the terrorists.

The Framers were fundamentally convinced that the key to the republican form of government they concocted was a ready supply of "virtuous" men to hold positions of power. We might today call them "heroes." But the hearings are showing that we had a dearth of heroes when it comes to 9/11.

The hearings have demonstrated, sadly, how no one saw beyond his or her bureaucratic or government window to the larger threat before the terrorists could attack. Congress did not perceive the need to fund the CIA and the FBI in ways that would make them battle-ready for the war being launched against us. The agencies did not cooperate with each other because of turf-guarding, and entrenched institutional forms. The Presidents -- both Clinton and Bush -- failed to see through the morass of information with which they are presented, to the terror forming within our own borders.

The only answer for such failures is to assign blame, reform the system, and move on. The problem with the Commission to date, though, is that it appears more focused on reforming the system, surely a good thing to do, than it is on pointing fingers and finding humans responsible for their actions.

For our Executive Branch to be trusted -- and trustworthy -- it must hold individuals personally accountable for the way they handle power. Power without accountability is tyranny. Thus, to the extent that the Commission takes a pass on naming names, it will not only disserve the U.S.'s national interests, it will also disserve our fundamental freedoms.

If this Administration carries on with the same roster after these hearings, it makes the mistake of elevating loyalty above the need for great persons to fill terribly difficult jobs. There is a crying need for this Administration to acknowledge that people run this government, and some of them were inadequate in the face of the growing terrorist threat. If the United States were a corporation, every head would have rolled after 9/11. Would that the market's discipline could be translated into the accountability necessary to make the government better than it already is.

Our Constitution so carefully balances, separates, cabins, and limits government power. In this system, it is an insult to the American People to refuse to hold those in government accountable for the carefully delimited power that it is their duty to exercise.

In the end -- though the Commission's recommendations may disappoint -- the system is working. An aggressive President is exercising what power he has in difficult times, and he is being challenged for the exercise of that power in multiple fora. The Supreme Court will draw limits, and the President will doubtless abide by them -- and those limits will be rooted in our Constitution.

Just after 9/11, in a previous column I wrote an open letter to Osama bin Laden from the United States Constitution, saying that he would have to take it on, to win the war he started. I'm happy to report that he is losing.

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Marci A. Hamilton is the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. Her email address is

What the Asterisks Can't Hide:
Problems with the Fourth Circuit's Opinion in the Moussaoui Case
Monday, Apr. 26, 2004

Those who like word-guessing games might enjoy the opinion that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit handed down last week in the Moussaoui case. Its text is interrupted in several dozen places with sets of asterisks -- **** -- that substitute for classified information that has been excised.

The deletions add a certain atmospherics to the opinion, reminding the reader that the case is about terrorism and national security. Zacarias Moussaoui, the defendant, is an admitted member of Al Qaeda. He was arrested in August 2001, while enrolled in flight training, having raised his instructors' suspicions by his single-minded interest in training on 747 commercial jet simulators that were ill-suited to his limited flying abilities. He now faces capital charges of conspiring in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

What has slowed down the prosecution considerably is the fact that the U.S. has arrested a number of high-level Al Qaeda operatives who, it seems likely, would offer exculpatory testimony in Moussaoui's defense. Moussaoui argues that these men can attest to the fact that he had no knowledge of the September 11 conspiracy.

The question on appeal to the Fourth Circuit was whether the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to "compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor" requires the government to allow Moussaoui to put these detainees' testimony before the jury that will hear his case.

Unmentioned yet lurking in the background of the Fourth Circuit's newly-issued opinion are a couple of essential considerations. One is that if the federal case against Moussaoui falls apart, there is little doubt but that the defendant will be brought to trial before a military commission. The second is that the detainees to whom Moussaoui seeks access are being held in an extraordinary, extra-legal limbo, and neither the district court nor the Fourth Circuit has any way of monitoring their treatment.

Solomonic Justice

The Fourth Circuit's newly-issued opinion is not a clear win for Moussaoui or for the government. Issued by a divided court, as part of a complex package that includes two partially dissenting and partially concurring opinions, the opinion affirms Moussaoui's right to the detainees' testimony but also defers markedly to the government's stated security concerns.

Rather than allowing Moussaoui's lawyers to depose the detained Al Qaeda operatives via remote video hookup -- or, as would normally be the case, to question them at trial before the jury -- the Fourth Circuit has ordered the crafting of written statements that set out the testimony that the witnesses would likely have given.

In other words, while purporting to uphold the constitutional principle of access to exculpatory witnesses, the court has, in practice, barred the defendant from actually exercising that right. The key pending question now is whether the parties will, under judicial pressure, manage to hammer out a negotiated substitute that protects the core interests behind the right.

In its call for written statements instead of depositions, the Fourth Circuit reiterated an idea that it first proposed a year ago. In an order issued in April 2003, the Fourth Circuit had told the district court, which had been requesting the government to permit a video deposition of the detainees, to give the government the opportunity to propose written substitutions. It had emphasized, in advising this alternative, that the district court should assess whether the substitutions would "provide the defendant with substantially the same ability to make his defense" as would the depositions.

What happened subsequently is that the written substitutions offered by the government did not satisfy this criterion. Indeed, as the district court ruled last year, the substitutions were unreliable, incomplete and inaccurate. They could not, in the court's considered view, serve as reasonable stand-ins for witness testimony.

Essentially, what the Fourth Circuit's opinion does now is tell the district court, the government, and Moussaoui to try harder to reach a compromise. To assist this process, its recent opinion goes a step further than its earlier order in describing how the substitutions should be drafted.

The court explains, specifically, that defense counsel should review classified summaries made from the interrogation of the detained Al Qaeda suspects and select excerpts from those summaries that they want to see admitted at trial. The government should, next, review those excerpts and suggest additional material, and the district court should, based on the parties' submissions, take charge of the production of the final written product.

The Military Option

Two factors, neither of which was mentioned by the Fourth Circuit, will continue to affect the progress of the case. The first is that the alternative to the current federal prosecution is a trial before a military commission. For various overlapping reasons, the possibility now seems less urgent than it once appeared (the planned commissions have yet to start functioning, and they now await the Supreme Court's ruling in the Guantanamo case, not to mention the pending federal suit over their rules).

But it remains clear that the option of Moussaoui's transfer to military custody will continue to affect the behavior of all of the actors in this case, from Moussaoui's legal counsel to the judges in charge of the proceedings. Faced with the possibility of being declared "enemy combatants," defendants in other federal terrorism prosecutions have accepted plea bargains. In the present case, the military alternative will most likely encourage defense counsel to agree to less-than-optimal written substitutes for witness testimony.

It will also encourage the courts, to the extent they believe that terrorism prosecutions belong in the civilian justice system, to continue to bend the rules in the government's favor. (Already, the district court implicitly acknowledged these considerations last year when it exercised its discretion not to dismiss the indictment against Moussaoui when the government flouted its deposition orders. Its call for the case to be resolved in "an open and public forum" made its views fairly clear.)

And, most of all, the military option will encourage the government to be intransigent in its demands in the case. As long as the government has no reason to fear the indictment's dismissal as a sanction -- as long as it believes that trial before a military commission would be an equally viable, or even preferable option -- it has no reason to compromise with defense counsel, or even to comply with the rulings of the district court.

The Hidden Detainees

The second important consideration involves the detainees to whom Moussaoui seeks access. These men, whom the government has deemed enemy combatants, are not detained in military installations on U.S. soil, like Jose Padilla and a couple of others, nor are they held on Guantanamo. Rather, they are held in undisclosed locations abroad -- on aircraft carriers, or perhaps on the British island of Diego Garcia -- outside of the law and beyond judicial scrutiny.

Next to nothing is known about the detainees -- not where they are held, nor how they are treated, nor what, in the long run, will become of them. Indeed, as the district court pointed out in an opinion last year, the government takes the position that "anything" that concerns the detainees is classified information. Even their names have been excised from the courts' opinions, though they are well known to the press: Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.

Excised, as well, from the Fourth Circuit's opinion is any mention of the word "interrogation" and its variants, although a quick read though the opinion reveals the word's frequent silhouette. The government warns, for example, against disrupting "its detention **** of the enemy combatant witnesses." (Replace the asterisks with "and interrogation ?") It states that any "interruption **** will have devastating effects" on its ability to gather information from them. (Substitute "of their interrogation ?") And so on.

Why is this word so important? Because it reveals a central and worrying problem that clouds the entirety of the Fourth Circuit's proposed approach. In its ruling, the Fourth Circuit ordered the district court to instruct the jury regarding the reliability of the written substitutes that will be provided in lieu of the detainees' testimony. The jury should be informed, the Fourth Circuit has specified, that the substitutes "are derived from statements obtained under conditions that provide circumstantial guarantees of reliability."

But in reality there are no such guarantees, as the district court may have pointed out when it ruled last year that the government's proposed substitutes were unreliable. (Unfortunately most of this portion of the district court's opinion was censored -- again, because it discussed classified information -- so one can only guess at the court's reasoning.)

Indeed, the little information that is known about the treatment of these hidden detainees suggests the Fourth Circuit's assertion is precisely wrong: that rather than guaranteeing the statements' reliability, the conditions of the men's detention render their statements suspect.

Based on interviews with unnamed U.S. officials, several newspapers have published credible descriptions of how the detainees have been abused. The sources detail physical and psychological "stress and duress" techniques to which the detainees have been subject, including being held blindfolded or hooded, bound in awkward painful positions, and deprived of sleep for prolonged periods.

Considering, in addition, that some of the detainees have been held by their interrogators in extra-legal limbo for more than two years, without a moment's access to any neutral arbiter, it is hard to understand how the Fourth Circuit could rule as it did.

A First Encounter with Legality

If Moussaoui's legal counsel was allowed to question the hidden detainees, it would go a long way toward securing the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to the testimony of exculpatory witnesses. Perhaps equally important, it would be the first encounter with lawyers, the law, and legal procedures that the detainees have had since they entered U.S. custody.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government will accept neither of these options. The only alternatives it seems willing to consider range from secrecy to more secrecy, and restricted rights to more restricted rights.

What Do You Think? Message Boards


Joanne Mariner is a FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney.
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THE TRILLION-DOLLAR BREACH OF CONTRACT: Social Security And The American Worker
Thursday, Aug. 30, 2001

George W. Bush managed to find seven Democrats who would support the partial privatization of Social Security. He placed them, along with seven Republicans, on a commission to evaluate the state of the Social Security system. The result? Unsurprisingly, the commission slanted its findings in favor of privatization.

What surprised virtually everyone, however, was the commission's frantic claim that the system would be in crisis not in the late 2030's, but two decades earlier, in 2016. Commentators across the board have been discussing whether the commission's new deadline for reform, and the criterion its members used to arrive at the deadline, make sense or simply serve Bush's political agenda.

The best way to understand what is at issue in the Social Security debate is to view the commission's proposal as an attempt to breach what is, in effect, a contract with the public. That contract was agreed to in the early 1980's and is still being honored today. Bush's commission, however, wants to violate it.

Opportunism and the Social Security Contract

Imagine that you have a wealthy friend, with whom you make a deal to share expenses in a fair manner. You agree to pay more than your share of the expenses for thirty years or so, because while you make a decent living now, you worry that the subsequent decades will be rather lean for you. You'd like to pay more now, and pay less later. For his part, he'll pay less now, but pay more later.

Your friend accepts the deal and, for the next twenty years, gladly accepts your overpayments. But then he tells you he wants to renegotiate. Under the current contract, his payments are about to rise, and he doesn't like that. You are (understandably) very upset. The whole reason you overpaid for so many years was precisely because you expected reciprocal treatment when the time came. "Of course you'll be paying more!" you tell him, "That was the deal!"

This describes the Social Security problem in a nutshell. For a few years in the late 70's, the Social Security system had started to run tiny deficits (less than 0.2% of the Gross Domestic Product). There was a sense that the system needed to be tweaked, so in the early 1980's President Reagan convened a bipartisan Social Security commission.

In the short and medium term, the commission knew there would be no problem at all. The final surge of the Baby Boom was just entering the labor force in the early 1980's, yet most of the boomers' parents were still working. Thus, both boomers and their parents were paying into Social Security, not taking from it.

For several decades, at least, the Social Security system would be in clover. Indeed, had Reagan's commission chosen to do so, it could have both cut payroll taxes and raised benefits, and still not run out of money for Social Security.

Looking ahead, though, the commission saw that the good times would not last. The first boomers would be eligible for full benefits in 2011. Since they had not produced nearly as many offspring per person as their parents had, a relatively small base of working people would be paying into the Social Security system to support them in their retirement years.

To many on the commission, this suggested that the system should run surpluses?a departure from the original design of the system, which was supposed to balance taxes paid in with Social Security payments sent out as closely as possible. Thus, just when the system was least in need of new funds, the payroll tax rates for Social Security were raised.

What should be done with the inevitable surpluses? One might think they should have been invested in the private financial markets. But remember that, in the Reagan years, the rest of the federal government was running deficits. And putting some government money (from Social Security) into the financial markets, yet still running a deficit, would have simply amounted to lending money with one hand, to the corporations in which investments were made, while borrowing it with the other, from the institutions that made loans to the government. In the aggregate, it was a wash.

As a result, rather than recommending that Social Security "invest" its excess funds in private securities, the commission recommended that Social Security turn them over to the Treasury. The long-term plan was this: For thirty or forty years, Social Security would run annual surpluses (which would be turned over to the rest of the federal government). Then, for the next thirty or forty years, Social Security would run deficits (financed by the rest of the federal government). The system would finally return to a rough balance between taxes in and payments out, when the boomers had all died off.

Who Pays the Taxes?

Even though the Social Security system is part of the government, the choice to finance deficits out of Social Security funds, as opposed to other funds, was not merely a technical matter. Instead, it made a real difference whether the deficit was funded out of Social Security or out of other government monies.

That is, in part, because Social Security taxes are among the most regressive taxes in the federal arsenal; they disproportionately affect poor and middle-income taxpayers. Social Security taxes are levied only on labor income (salaries and wages), not on capital income (capital gains, dividends, interest). But the highest income people in the country earn most of their money through investments (even structuring their executive compensation so that they receive stock or options, which result in lightly-taxed capital gains, in lieu of part of their salary). As a result, high-income people largely escape paying Social Security taxes.

Even if high-income people (such as professionals, for example) do pay Social Security taxes, there is a limit to how much they must pay. Currently, wage income above roughly $80,000 is not taxed. Thus, a person who earns $180,000 or $800,000 pays exactly the same number of dollars in social security tax (approximately $5000) as the $80,000 earner. For example, the law firm associate and partner pay only as much into the system as the senior secretary or computer systems person at the law firm.

And below the $80,000 cutoff, each dollar is taxed proportionately. Thus, to continue the example, a messenger or photocopy worker in a law firm, who makes very little, still pays proportionately the same in Social Security as the secretary or computer systems person.

Together, these features of the Social Security tax make it fall proportionately much more heavily on low and middle-income earners than on the rich. Income taxes, on the other hand, are among the most progressive taxes available. All income is potentially subject to tax, not just labor income, and the rates are graduated. (The estate tax, whose future is currently uncertain, is the most progressive tax in the fiscal system.)

For perspective, consider that nearly three-quarters of all Americans pay more in Social Security and federal excise taxes than they do in income taxes. The much-discussed income tax rebates that Democrats in Congress added to the Bush tax cut (for which Bush is now taking credit) were not paid at all to 34 million American adults, while another 17 million received only partial income tax refunds.

Therefore, collecting more money than necessary for Social Security in the 80's, in order to help finance the general budget, deliberately replaced a tax that falls mostly on the wealthy with a tax that falls mostly on middle-income and poor people.

The Contract between the Non-Rich and the Rich

In essence, therefore, the following deal was made in the early 1980's: the non-rich would pay too much in taxes for three or four decades. Then the rich would reciprocate by financing the inevitable shortfalls in the Social Security system by paying higher income taxes.

The famous Social Security Trust Funds are nothing more than an accounting of the terms of that contract. That is, when the trust funds go to zero, both sides to the deal will have paid and received equal amounts of money (after accounting for interest).

The argument that Social Security is going to go bankrupt typically relies on the idea that the trust funds will be depleted. The current best wild guesstimate is that that might happen in 2038. That calculation, however, depends entirely on low-ball estimates of economic growth over the next thirty-seven years. Less pessimistic (but still historically low) rates of economic growth would allow the system to remain solvent forever?meaning that working people (and their working children) who paid high amounts into Social Security in the 80's, 90's, 00's, and 10's will never quite be paid back for their sacrifices.

The current Bush Administration Social Security commission, though, wants to change the focus. They are saying that the system will be in crisis in 2016, which is the first year that the rich will need to start paying in. Rather than raising taxes on the rich ? which would solve the "crisis" and fulfill the Reagan Era agreement ? the commission is suggesting that the government should renege on the promise to working people that was made almost twenty years ago.

If the Agreement Is Breached, Does the Government Have A Defense?

Of course, even formal contracts among private parties are broken and renegotiated all the time. And sometimes breaches of contract are excused ? for reasons including a unilateral, or sometimes a mutual, mistake about the facts. If the commission's recommendation is taken, and the Social Security agreement broken, is there an excuse?

The answer is no. There was no mistake when the initial agreement was made, unilateral or otherwise. Nor has there been any unforeseeable change in circumstances. The only circumstance that has changed appreciably is the political power of those who have always wanted to kill Social Security. Now in power, they will gladly manufacture any excuse to have their way, including the false notion that the system is in crisis.

On the contrary, the agreement is working almost exactly the way it was supposed to. None of the facts noted above are news to anyone who was paying attention. And the rich are fully capable of making good on their part of the agreement.

From a fairness perspective, too, the rich owe the non-rich big time, since low and middle-income taxpayers suffered to fulfill their part of the agreement. Their wages and salaries fell (in real, cost-of-living adjusted terms) until 1998. During the same time period, they also lost the benefit of important budget items. Most of the changes in spending that moved the rest of the federal budget into surplus by the late 1990's were taken directly out of the hides of poor and middle-class people. Yet they were still forced to over fund the Social Security System.

Meanwhile, the incomes of the wealthy went through the roof over the last twenty years, while their taxes, over the same period, went down. Compared to the early 1980's, the wealthy pay lower income tax rates today. The maximum marginal income tax rate has moved around some, but it is now lower than when the Social Security agreement was forget. It has dropped from 50% to 39.6%, and thanks to Bush's tax cut, it is slated to fall further over the next few years.

Capital gains tax rates are lower still. And it is also worth bearing in mind that the direct beneficiaries of a Social Security privatization plan would be Wall Street investment banks, whose high-income owners would be able to charge billions of dollars in fees to manage the new accounts.

If short, the rich have only gotten richer in the period since the agreement on Social Security was made. After making the non-rich pay to create a surplus for years, the rich should now fulfill their part of the agreement by paying into Social Security at a higher rate. If they breach, at the behest of the Bush commission, there will be no excuse.

One still might worry that taxing the rich will shrink the economy. But even if that were so?as the proponents of trickle-down economics want us to believe?we have already given the rich a break. Supposedly, this is what has allowed us to build up the economy before the boomers start to retire.

Because of this buildup, we will be passing a large, productive capital stock on to the next generation, making it easier for the economy to produce the goods and services that we will need. A relatively smaller work force will be able to produce more than enough for everyone, because of the large capital stock that they will inherit. The boomers and their parents are paying for that now. They should receive the benefit of it when they retire.

Forcing Moynihan to Stay Consistent

One interesting sidelight to the Social Security debate is that one of Bush's favored Democrats, former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (who is co-chair of the current commission), was involved in brokering this agreement in the early 1980's. He, of all people, should know how important it is to honor an agreement he had a part in crafting.

The legal maxim known as contra proferentem states that, when interpretation of a contract is at issue, the contract should be construed in the manner least favorable to the party that drafted the contract. Moynihan joined with others to draft the Social Security contract in the early eighties. Now he is trying to re-write that deal now. But he knew full well what he was doing twenty years ago. As a drafter of the agreement, he cannot be heard to claim its plain meaning does not control.

Social Security is the most successful ongoing social program in history. It can and should be financed in part out of general revenues until the boomers pass on. Having the rich finance Social Security's deficits is only asking that they fulfill their part of an agreement from which they have dramatically benefited for decades.


Neil H. Buchanan, Ph. D., teaches economics at the University of Michigan, where he is also a J.D. candidate.
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IS YOUR VOTE A CONTRACT WITH THE GOVERNMENT?: Form Over Substance in the Supreme Court's Election Decision
Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2000

Critics of the decision in Bush v. Gore have faulted the five-justice majority for hypocrisy. Many have asked how these Justices' prior claims of allegiance to the principles of "judicial restraint" and "states' rights" can possibly be squared with the aggressive federal intervention that they used to determine the outcome of the 2000 presidential election.

These attacks are clearly warranted. However, there actually is a consistent (though misguided) legal principle behind the Justices' decision?or, at least, behind the concurring opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist that was joined by the court's other two reactionaries, Justices Scalia and Thomas. That legal principle comes, surprisingly, not from the high-flown world of constitutional legal theory, but rather, from contract law, one of the most pedestrian of legal disciplines.

Are Voting Instructions A Contract?

Chief Justice Rehnquist's concurring opinion, having explained why this is the one and only case where deference to a state's highest court is inappropriate, turns to the question of the uncounted votes. The Chief Justice points out that there are explicit instructions in all voting booths that use punch card ballots, which read as follows: "After voting, check your ballot card to be sure your voting selections are clearly and evenly punched and there are no chips left hanging on the back of the card." He goes on to claim that "no reasonable person" could say that it is inappropriate to ignore ballots that are "not marked in the manner that these voting instructions explicitly and prominently specify."

For those of us who loved our first-year course in Contract Law, and who have therefore been quietly amused at the difficulty people have had with the seemingly nebulous concept of "intent," this was a delicious moment. The reactionary justices had finally revealed the consistent legal principle that guided them: Classical contract formalism.

Williston and Langdell ? the high priests of classical contract doctrine? couldn't have said it better! If the contract (here, the set of voting instructions) says that your vote will be counted only if you meet certain criteria, and you do not meet those criteria, then your vote will not be counted. Q.E.D. A deal is a deal.

Put another way, the contract said you were supposed to flick off the hanging chads and make sure you had not left any mere dimples; but you, careless voter, never bothered to do so. So too bad for you ? and for your candidate.

The Evolution of Law Away From Contract Formalism

Of course, it's not that simple. Indeed, the path of contract law over the past century has been largely a move away from such formalism.

This has resulted in a somewhat grudging (at least in some quarters) recognition that, in some circumstances, it is reasonable to enforce contracts that do not meet formal requirements. Why? Because, for example, it is often possible to determine the "intent of the parties" indirectly, rather than just from the formal language they used to describe their intent.

Another result has been a parallel recognition that, in other circumstances, it is unreasonable to enforce contracts that do meet formal requirements. Why? Because, for example, the court may have concerns about whether the terms were sufficiently clear to the party who did not draft the contract, or may feel that the exigencies of the situation required a party to act in understandable haste and sign a contract she should not later be held to, and so on, and so on.

Obviously, this path away from formal contract requirements, and towards more situation-specific analyses, has not been a smooth one. And people like Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas have always regretted the movement of modern contract doctrine away from simplistic formalisms (You signed the contract!) toward a recognition of situational ambiguities (I was not fully informed! I was compelled! I was confused! It was hidden in small print!). As Justice Scalia once put it in a related context, with typical bluntness: "Long live formalism!"

Treating the Voting Instructions as a Contract with the Voter

The evolution of the law away from the type of formalism that provides the backdrop to the three-Justice concurrence was driven by a simple fact: No contract can be as simple, clear, and unambiguous as the formalists claim. Interpretation and clarification are almost always necessary, simply because no written contract can account for all potential sources of disagreement and misunderstanding. Looking more carefully at the voting instructions cited by Chief Justice Rehnquist, it is therefore not at all surprising that these instructions are much more ambiguous than he believes.

What, after all, does "clearly and evenly punched" mean? Must there be not even a shred of paper hanging from the corners where the paper was torn? Will the machine count ballots that have slight irregularities in the shapes of their punched holes? Can a hole be too big, as well as too small, or should a risk-averse voter enlarge the holes to be absolutely sure that the holes are punched in a way that the machine cannot miss? Or will doing so automatically invalidate the vote?

What if a voter does not know what a "chip" is? And, after the card is pulled out of the holder, how is the voter even to tell whether there are holes punched in the right places on a card with no writing on it? Were the instructions really placed "explicitly and prominently," in a visible place in a typeface that could be read by all voters (even those with poor eyesight, who at last check were still eligible to vote)?

To all of these questions, classical contract doctrine had a simple answer: If you do not find out the answers on your own, it is your own fault that your vote was not counted. In other words, protect your own interests! And if you don't, beware.

Why Classical Contract Formalism Doesn't Work For Voting

According to this view, every voter must now become an expert on ballot procedures. But if enough people actually took the time and care necessary to effectuate the Rehnquist vision of responsible voting, the process would surely slow to a crawl. This would likely cause more people to "choose" not to vote (a choice that formalists, ironically, would view as dispositive evidence that the would-be voter's intent was never to vote in the first place ? rather than, say, evidence that many people fear being fired if they take too much time away from work to vote).

What if you ask the precinct worker whether your ballot meets the standards, but the precinct worker gives you incorrect information ? or simply refuses, or is too busy, to clarify? And how can you even ensure that the "contract" is enforced ? that is, that your vote is counted once you have met all the requirements? Surely after all the work Rehnquist would require, the voter ought to have some assurance that the government will uphold its side of the contract.

These are exactly the types of questions that led to the emergence of modern contract doctrine, which substantially modified (if not eviscerated) classical contract formalism. Recognition that rigid rules can easily be used to hurt the powerless motivated much of the movement away from formalism and towards more flexible rules. (The very same recognition, one might suggest, may motivate Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas to suggest a return to it).

Rigid rules are not likely to hurt the wealthy, well-educated, time-rich voter (or contract-signer). They are going to hurt the less-educated, hard-working voter who cares enough to vote, but cannot risk dallying forever at the polls or has trouble with instructions that require mastery of the previously obscure distinction between a chip and a chad (if, indeed, such a distinction exists). And when formal rules do hurt the powerful, they make up new rules?or install better voting technology in their own precincts.

Parallels Between Flexible, Modern Contract Doctrine and Florida's Election Code

Modern contract doctrine is admittedly fraught with ambiguities (indeed, some would say that it revels in those ambiguities). It requires "reasonable" actions in particular circumstances, thus applying an inherently variable, fact-specific standard. Moreover, it is tailored to the differing sophistication of the parties and the differing stakes involved: Contracts for commercial real estate rentals, for example, are subject to very different rules than, say, contracts for surrogate motherhood.

In our system of universal suffrage (or, at least, our aspiration toward such a system), voting rules, as well, must certainly take into account differing levels of sophistication of voters ? as well as other situation-specific features of voting such as time constraints, poorly trained precinct workers, etc.

Fortunately, the Florida election code already acknowledges the inherent impossibility of totally objective ballot counting. Therefore, it explicitly provides that votes cannot be thrown out (even if they were not readable by machines) if the intent of the voter can reasonably be determined. In other words, the Florida election laws parallel modern contract doctrine ? providing a variable, fact-specific "reasonableness" standard to encompass a wide variety of possible situations, from chad to chip, with every variety of shred of punch card and voter marking in between.

Now, if the three reactionary Justices who joined the Rehnquist concurrence were truly believers in judicial restraint, they would have admitted that they do not like modernism (in any of its forms, apparently), but they nonetheless would have affirmed that Florida's election code as written does not begin and end with the classical "caveat emptor" requirement that the voter protect herself. Restraint, in this situation, would have meant admitting that Florida's election law standard is a modern, flexible one ? not a rigid, classical one.

Notably, the situation is not symmetric. In other words, even a restrained judiciary might still feel compelled to relax the boundaries of a formal election law, in order to protect the fundamental right to vote that arises once a state has decided to hold an election. Thus, if the Florida election laws had been written as rigidly as Rehnquist, et al. would have liked them to be, and had essentially codified the voter instructions, then large groups of people would have been disenfranchised ? and the U.S. Supreme Court would have been justified in stepping in to correct the resulting inequality.

If the rigid standards of the Florida instructions really were the law, then the voting process would include an implicit literacy test ? and such tests have been illegal for a long time now. Indeed, on some ballots, basic literacy will not even suffice. Figuring out the spatial and diagrammatic arrangement of names (on butterfly ballots, most famously), and deciphering less-than-obvious placement of referenda questions on ballots (as had recently happened in New York State), require more than the minimal skills a literate person has. And we should not forget that illiterate citizens do have the very same right to vote as those more fortunate others who received a better education.

In some cases, therefore, applying classical formalism ? in the form of rigid voting instructions that discard votes as to which the intended candidate choice is clear ? actually would present an equal protection problem. The more voting resembles taking the LSAT (an experience even law students, who've chosen the profession, would hate to repeat), the more people will be disenfranchised.

Formalists can always fall back on the retort "What, they can't follow simple directions?" But the rest of us know that it is never that simple. If we really want "the people" to vote, we must take the people as we find them.

In some cases, we will never know what the voter meant to say; but when we can figure it out, Florida's election law tells us that we must count the vote. That is the real contract between the people and their would-be leaders.


Neil H. Buchanan, Ph. D., is an economist at the University of Michigan. He is also a second year student at Michigan's law school.

Why We Should Not Use Guantanamo Bay To Avoid The Constitution
Thursday, Mar. 07, 2002

What are we fighting for? In the process of liberating Afghanistan from its lawless oppressors, we may be undermining our own position as the champions of the rule of law.

In a case last month here in California - Coalition of Clergy v. Bush - the Administration argued that the Constitution does not bind the United States in our actions against the Guantanamo detainees. The issue is also raised by another case--Rasul v. Bush--pending in federal court in the District of Columbia. The Administration's argument is a mistake, for both principled and practical reasons.

It is wrong for us to deny basic constitutional protections to those who are in our custody. Moreover, doing so will ensure that someday our citizens, when imprisoned abroad, will be denied similar protections by a foreign government, as well. The treatment of the Guantanamo prisoners could also provide a wedge for our own government to erode the civil liberties of citizens, permanent resident aliens, or visaholders - claiming that the Constitution applies in fewer and fewer circumstances, and to fewer and fewer persons.

If we are silent about our own treatment of the Guantanamo prisoners now, we will have little to say about these future abuses when they inevitably occur. As Thomas Paine wrote, "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

The Administration's Claim: The Constitution Does Not Apply in Guantanamo

The plaintiffs in the California case are a group of clergypersons and lawyers - including a former Attorney General of the United States, Ramsey Clark. They challenge the constitutionality of the confinement of the Guantanamo detainees. Specifically, they claim that the detainees have been denied due process, the right to be informed of the charges against them, and the right to legal counsel.

The Bush Administration could have chosen to defend the case by arguing that the confinement is constitutional. The Constitution requires different amounts of process depending upon the circumstances, and various cases have held that a system of military justice can be appropriate under the laws of war. Here, the Administration could have argued that the detainees are being processed in accordance with the law applicable to enemy combatants; that the right to counsel was inapplicable at this time given the circumstances of the war against terrorism; and that a general regard for the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of captives in war satisfies American constitutional standards.

But the Bush Administration chose to make none of these arguments. Rather than arguing the merits of the claims, the Administration simply denied the right of the detainees to any constitutional protection whatsoever. It argued that the Constitution provides no protections at all to aliens in Guantanamo Bay, since, according to the Administration, they are not in the United States, but rather in Cuba.

The District Court's Decision: The Administration Is Right

The federal district court in Los Angeles agreed with the Government. In a decision last month, the court held that the detainees have never been within territory over which the United States is "sovereign," and that they therefore fall outside the protection of our Constitution.

In a 1950 decision, Johnson v. Eisentrager, the Supreme Court had declared that enemy aliens captured and imprisoned abroad could claim no rights under the Constitution. Relying on that decision, the district court dismissed the case.

Guantanamo as Law-Free Zone? U.S. Power Without "Sovereignty"

The Administration's argument, and the court's decision, might be reasonable if the detainees were held in a place other than Guantanamo. There is a strong argument to be made that, in general, the Constitution does not protect enemy aliens who are located in a foreign country. (There is also a strong, contrary argument, however, that the U.S. should always be obliged to follow the Constitution, wherever it acts around the world. Or, put another way, the Constitution should follow the flag.)

But Guantanamo is not the typical foreign land. It is more akin to a territory controlled by the United States.

The history of our control over this tip of the island dates back to the Spanish-American War of 1898, which sought to liberate Cuba from Spanish oppression. The war concluded with America acquiring significant parts of the Spanish colonial empire for itself - including Guam, the Philippines, and Guantanamo Bay.

Under the terms of a 1903 lease and a 1934 treaty, the United States was granted the power to "exercise complete jurisdiction and control" over Guantanamo Bay, while Cuba would retain "ultimate sovereignty." For the last century, the United States has exercised such control, despite the protestations of the Cuban government for the past few decades that the U.S. presence is illegitimate.

In Coalition of Clergy v. Bush, the court relied on the fact that the lease declared that "sovereignty" over Guantanamo remained with Cuba. With Cuba "sovereign" over Guantanamo, it made little sense, the court believed, to apply the U.S. Constitution to this land.

But this is a very superficial argument. The international order relies upon states exercising their powers to maintain order and certain minimal legal rights within their sovereign territories. Sovereignty without power is an empty concept.

Cuba has no method by which it might maintain order within Guantanamo, even were it inclined to do so. Guantanamo Bay is defended by the American Navy; no Cuban policeman would dare venture into this territory. While formal sovereignty may remain with Cuba, it is in name only. The practical aspects of sovereignty clearly reside with the U.S.

To excuse ourselves from the application of the U.S. Constitution on the basis of Cuba's empty, technical reservation of "sovereignty" is to undermine the international order. This position effectively renders Guantanamo a law-free zone - a place where there is no law, but only power.

The U.S. government argues that American law, and even the Constitution, does not bind it on Guantanamo, at least with respect to how we treat aliens. Yet it would never respect Cuban law either - consider how likely the U.S. government would be to follow a decision by Castro that the prisoners should be treated differently henceforth.

Finding the Right World War II Precedent: Not Eisentrager, But Yamashita

This analysis shows why the Supreme Court's holding in Johnson v. Eisentrager does not even remotely apply to Guantanamo. There, the Germans who challenged their confinement had been tried before a U.S. military tribunal in China with the explicit consent of the Chinese Government, which exercised genuine power over the land at issue.

In contrast, the Guantanamo detainees are being held without any regard for the wishes of the country that the U.S. says is "sovereign." Our lack of relations with Cuba serves our purposes well--we have ignored their objections regarding our actions in Guantanamo for many decades now.

The relevant precedent is not Eisentrager, but another World War II decision - the 1946 case of Application of Yamashita. There, the Supreme Court considered the petition of a Japanese general who had been tried by a U.S. military tribunal in the Philippines--like Guantanamo, a territory we gained as a result of the Spanish-American War.

The Court did not deny that the general had any rights under the U.S. Constitution. Instead, it considered his claim on the merits. By doing so, it implicitly established what the Government today is unwilling to concede--that an enemy alien in a foreign territory under the control of the United States is still within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution.

The general lost on the merits, and so might the Guantanamo detainees. But my point is not that the detainees should win their constitutional case. It is that they should have a right to make it. Instead, the Bush Administration has tried to avoid the constitution by claiming that Guantanamo is, in effect, a foreign country, even though it is entirely within our power.

U.S.-controlled Guantanamo is closer to the U.S.-controlled Philippines than it is to China. We should be disappointed that the Administration argued, and the court held, to the contrary, applying Eisentrager and not Yamashita.

Believing in the Rule of Law As A Requirement, Not A Matter of Grace

The Bush Administration has said recently that it will apply the rules of the Geneva Conventions to at least some of the detainees at Guantanamo, and that it will comply generally with humanitarian law in its treatment of all detainees. The result may be that at least some of the detainees benefit from the same rights that the U.S. Constitution would have afforded them. But this is cold comfort for the other detainees - and cold comfort as a precedent for the future.

As first year law students learn in the famous case of Marbury v. Madison, if there is no way to challenge an executive or legislative action in court, the executive and legislative branch is not truly bound by the rule of law. The Administration has made the decision to provide some of the detainees with some process - as a matter of grace, at its own whim, and without guarantees of fairness or equality. But that is no substitute for the detainees' ability to argue - successfully or not - that all of them deserve whatever process the Constitution says is due.

A Bad Precedent for Our Citizens Abroad

For over a century, we have had complete control over Guantanamo Bay. We should not now argue that - despite this longstanding and thoroughgoing control - we still do not have sovereignty, because Guantanamo is technically Cuban soil. The argument makes a mockery of our legal system and invites other countries to treat our own citizens unfairly in the future by employing similar means.

We should not forget that it was the Bush Administration who chose to bring the detainees to Guantanamo in the first place - perhaps because it could make this very argument. Indeed, one "advantage" of our maintaining a base in Guantanamo is to avoid being required to respect the Constitution there.

What if another country were to arrest U.S. citizens, take them to a location over which that country had control, but no technical sovereignty, and then argue that the country's own law did not apply in that territory - so that our citizens would not have a right to counsel, or even to know what the charges against them might be?

We would be distressed. We should be distressed, too, about our own country's similarly taking the position that Guantanamo detainees do not even have the most basic rights under our Constitution.

To be sure, if the Constitution were held to apply in Guantanamo - as it should be - a federal court might well conclude that the government's treatment of the detainees accords with the Constitution. But we should not seek to do an end run around the Constitution by claiming that it does not even apply.

We should show greater faith in the Constitution's wisdom than that. Let us hope that the federal courts considering this issue, on appeal or in the first instance, hold that the U.S. Constitution follows U.S. power to Guantanamo Bay.

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Anupam Chander is an Acting Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis, School of Law. A graduate of Yale Law School, he specializes in cyberlaw and international law.

Revising the Laws of War to Account for Terrorism:
The Case Against Updating the Geneva Conventions, On the Ground That Changes Are Likely Only to Damage Human Rights
Tuesday, Feb. 04, 2003

With respect to both al Qaeda and Iraq, the Bush Administration claims that U.S. forces have scrupulously observed the laws of war and will continue to do so. Indeed, according to Charles Allen, a senior Department of Defense lawyer I recently interviewed, "The United States has probably the strongest law-of-war program in the world." But assurances like this gloss over the fact that there is, to say the least, a good deal of controversy about how the laws of war (also called "international humanitarian law") apply to armed conflict in today's world.

Many have charged that in its campaign against terrorism, the Administration has not observed, but flouted, the laws of war. And even in more conventional wars, the U.S. military interprets the rules in a way that allows it to take actions - for example, in the kind of targets it chooses to attack - that others consider prohibited by the laws of war.

Whatever your views on the merits of U.S. military policy, there is no doubt that the existing body of international law has gaps and ambiguities that have been exposed - or highlighted - by changes in the nature of war. In turn, those ambiguities have allowed the Bush Administration to define legal terms in any way it sees fit, to its own maximum advantage - treating terrorists as warriors, while denying them the legal rights that enemy soldiers are supposed to enjoy.

The laws of war were codified in the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and the Additional Protocols of 1977. But of course, the world has changed dramatically since then. That leads to a crucial question: Should international humanitarian law be updated to take account of these developments and if so, how?

An Initiative to Re-Evaluate the Geneva Conventions

The question has been much discussed since September 11, and the government of Switzerland - which acts as custodian of the Geneva Conventions - recently launched a public initiative to look into the subject. Last week, this process got underway with an "informal high-level expert meeting" at Harvard University.

The meeting brought together representatives of several countries, the European Union, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and various prominent scholars. Its objective was to set an agenda for further research about the "reaffirmation and development of international humanitarian law."

It is appealing to think that the laws of war could be revised to give them greater precision in relation to contemporary armed conflict. However, there are good reasons for thinking that it will not be easy to frame new rules that can both address the most controversial aspects of modern warfare, and that will be able to gain broad international support. By their nature, the kinds of questions that will come up in any attempt to revise the Geneva Conventions will deeply divide the nations that will weigh in on them.

Moreover, there is a danger that reopening the debate will allow groups to push for other changes in the law, such as allowing the military to attack some civilian targets, that could set back humanitarian values. The question of when, if ever, civilians can legitimately be attacked, and the related question of how much care must be taken to avoid civilian casualties, are likely to be intensely controversial.

International Law Does Not Recognize "War" With an Entity Like Al Qaeda

Broadly speaking, the framework of existing international law envisages two kinds of war: international armed conflicts, between two or more countries, and civil wars, occurring within the territory of a single state.

Thus, the possibility of armed conflict between a state and a transnational organization without a recognized geographical base is never acknowledged - either in the Geneva Conventions, or in the Additional Protocols. (The Conventions do create the category of "unlawful combatants," but do not address the character of a conflict between a force composed entirely of such combatants, and a country or alliance of countries.)

Nevertheless the Bush Administration has unhesitatingly described its campaign against al-Qaeda as a "war." Thus, it claims the laws of war apply: not the provisions of the Geneva Conventions themselves (since they don't cover this kind of conflict) but the underlying principles that inform the Conventions, and are seen as customary law.

Claiming the Laws of War Apply to Al Qaeda Had Led To Bad Consequences

What does that mean, specifically? For one thing, the U.S. claims the right to shoot enemy combatants engaged in active hostilities. That right has in turn, be interpreted by the U.S. to amount to a license for U.S. forces to shoot anyone alleged to be a terrorist, anywhere in the world.

That's a particular problem because terrorists are far less easy to pick out than soldiers, who must (to qualify as such under the Geneva conventions) be recognizable as soldiers by their uniform, flag and so on.

Meanwhile, the U.S. also claims the right to detain enemy captives until the end of hostilities. The problem with this, of course, is that where the "war on terrorism" is concerned, there seems to be no end in sight. Moreover, the Administration has arrogated the definition of who counts as an enemy solely to itself - including many people picked up far from any battlefield, who are being held incommunicado with no chance to assert their innocence before an independent judge.

The U.S. also claims to have shouldered the obligation not to harm enemy fighters once they have been detained, or to punish them without due process. But it resists the argument that either Taliban or al Qaeda detainees qualify for the status of prisoners of war.

The strangeness of the U.S. position, under current international law, thus is plain. It claims that the United States is at war with al Qaeda, giving U.S. soldiers the freedom to attack al Qaeda fighters anywhere it finds them. Yet it claims that al Qaeda members are as a collective group and by definition "unlawful combatants," with no right to use force against members of the U.S. military.

Granted, al Qaeda is a horrific organization. But these legal positions still seem extreme and unconvincing.

Can These Problems With the Law of War Be Solved? Not Easily.

That leads to the key question: What, then, should be done?

One solution would be to reaffirm the traditional legal framework, restricting the notion of "armed conflict" to cases clearly acknowledged in the written law. That would mean that the U.S.'s campaign against al Qaeda is not a war, but the pursuit of a group of international criminals. Accordingly, the U.S. would be limited, in fighting al Qaeda, to the tools of its (and its allies') law-enforcement structure.

War could occur, and the laws of war would only be triggered, when the U.S. took military action against a state, such as Afghanistan under the Taliban, that was harbouring terrorists. This type of country-versus-country conflict would count as an international war, and the laws of war would thus apply.

Of course, the U.S. would never subscribe to these positions, believing that al-Qaeda presents too serious a threat to the United States to be treated this way. And this argument cannot be completely dismissed.

The scale and scope of the September 11 attacks, and the international nature of its organization, put al Qaeda on a different level from terrorist groups of the past. It is reasonable to think that if al Qaeda managed to obtain a biological or chemical weapon, or a radioactive "dirty bomb" it could launch an attack that would dwarf September 11 in the havoc and destruction it caused.

A Possible Revision of the Geneva Conventions

That may lead one to think that the law should be revised precisely to take account of organizations that, like al Qaeda, operate in a netherworld between crime and war. One option would be to go the whole hog, and categorize the campaign against al Qaeda as a new kind of armed conflict. That would have the advantage of setting clear standards that are now absent: rules governing when terrorists can be targeted, what counts as a battlefield in a war against terrorists, or when such a conflict should be said to end.

However, any new treaty to cover transnational wars against non-state organizations like al Qaeda would run up against a very tricky problem: whether terrorist fighters should be given the status of legitimate soldiers.

The U.S., and many other countries would certainly balk at the idea. Treating al Qaeda members as soldiers would give them soldiers' rights, and make their operation seem more legitimate. They could no longer be prosecuted for attacks directed at U.S. military targets, such as the Pentagon, though attacks on non-military targets would still count as war crimes. Al Qaeda fighters detained during the course of the war would be entitled to the full privileges of prisoner of war status.

That option seems unrealistic and unappealing. The alternative would be to formulate new rules for wars against terrorists that preserved the idea - now pushed by the United States - that they are "unlawful combatants." This would effectively put into formal law the unbalanced regime that the Bush administration has proclaimed. States would be able to target terrorists as enemy fighters (at least under certain specified circumstances), or detain them without the benefit of prisoner of war status until the end of the conflict. Terrorists would not have the right to use force - even against military targets - and could be prosecuted for shooting opposing soldiers.

As discussed before, such a legal framework seems lop-sided, even in the case of terrorists for whom few would feel sympathy. But a bigger objection to the idea of a new convention along these lines lies in the difficulty of defining the terrorists to whom it would apply.

As Joanne Mariner discussed in an earlier column for this site, the term "terrorist" is extraordinarily hard to define, for the cliche that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter has some truth in it. States could use such a convention as a charter for assassinating or detaining members of rebel groups with a genuine political grievance - or even opposition movements.

Why Revisions Could Be Extremely Harmful to Terrorist Suspects

Even if a solution could be found to this problem (for instance, by giving the United Nations Security Council the power to determine when a terrorist threat is genuine and rises to the level of a war) another huge problem remains. By their nature, terrorists are difficult to distinguish from civilians, and the effort to make this distinction would often take place in fraught or warlike circumstances.

Who is a terrorist fighter, and who is an ordinary civilian? This crucial question would often be hard to answer, and would be answered by fiat, or by a bullet. Look, for instances, at the U.S. government's insistence on protecting its ability to decide unilaterally that even U.S. citizens such as Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla are not civilians.

The result would be a massive increase in the vulnerability of civilians during fighting. That would cut against the bedrock principles of international humanitarian law, the protection of people who are not involved in hostilities. States have little incentive to defend that principle when the civilians at issue are a small set of individuals suspected of terrorism. Humanitarian law should not make it easier for them to ignore it.

The Case for Not Updating The Geneva Conventions

For all these reasons, it is not clear that there is anything to be gained in the idea of updating the Geneva Conventions for the age of terrorism. Indeed, such an update may actually be harmful.

So what constructive steps are available to remedy current abuses? Here are a few measures the international community should pressure the U.S. to take: It should clarify and limit its rules of engagement against suspected terrorists. It should either release those being detained, or present evidence to a judge to establish that they are active members of al-Qaeda. In addition, it should give a clearer definition of how it will determine that hostilities have ended.

The Question of Which Targets Are Legitimate

Finally, it is worth mentioning another area in which the Geneva Conventions are sometimes said to be ambiguous or outdated: the question of what targets can lawfully be attacked.

Under principles set out in the first Additional Protocol, it is only legitimate to attack targets that "make an effective contribution to military action" and whose destruction or capture "offers a definite military advantage". (The United States has not signed Additional Protocol I, but acknowledges this rule, and much of the rest of the protocol, as binding customary law.)

But what do these criteria mean in practice? It has been the subject of debate.

Consider wars such as NATO's 1999 attack on Serbia, or the prospective war in Iraq, which are directed overwhelmingly against an individual head of state or a particular regime. The aim of these conflicts is to undermine a political leader (as in the case of Saddam Hussein), or force a leader to comply with certain requirements (as with the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic over Kosovo)? Traditional objectives of war have been very different: They have focused on repelling aggression or recovering land, for instance.

U.S. officials have argued that these new wars of "compellance" or "regime change" call for a more flexible understanding of what constitutes a military target. In the war against Serbia, NATO attacked objects like power grids, government ministries, and a television studio. Such targets might have a peripheral connection to military activity, but are more obviously part of the apparatus of domestic political and social order. Were they, or were they not, legitimate military targets?

Some military planners say they should be deemed just that, for attacking these objects may undermine a regime's hold over its subjects, or the popular support it enjoys. They would like to codify this new interpretation into any revised version of the laws of war. One conservative international lawyer who took this view recently asked me: "Why should we think it is more acceptable to wipe out a company of conscript soldiers than to destroy a monument to Saddam Hussein?"

But there are a couple of powerful objections to this argument. On a practical level, evidence from Serbia, Iraq and elsewhere suggests that attacks designed to demoralise the population most often have the effect of prompting it to rally around its government. More importantly, on the level of principle, it opens the door to military action that will increase civilian suffering. Bombing of civilian areas or infrastructure that serves civilian needs inevitably leads to civilian deaths.

Thus, in this area, too, the game of change may not be worth the candle. Instead, participants in the Swiss government's initiative should concentrate on reaffirming or strengthening existing protections in the law. Above all, they should avoid new formulations that could weaken them. This is one area where change is not always good.

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Anthony Dworkin is editor of the Crimes of War Project website, an online journal covering international law and armed conflict.

What Would Grotius Do?
The Founder of International Law Speaks Out on Iraq
Thursday, Apr. 03, 2003

Are the U.S. and Britain waging an illegal war against Iraq? And if they were, how would we know?

For centuries, scholars and statesmen have dreamed of devising a system of international law that would provide precise answers to questions like these.

Unfortunately, international law has always been the Snuffleuphagus of jurisprudence. Like Big Bird's elusive mastodon-like pal on Sesame Street, it exists to the extent we believe in it. To some, international law is not only real--it's our best friend. But when they try to show it off to skeptics, it has a tendency to vanish into thin air.

Why? International law is based on universal consent, rather than majority rule. So nations can essentially "opt out" of rules they don't like. Even when the rules are clear, nations have guarded enough of their sovereign privileges to prevent any really effective international arbitrator from arising with the power to enforce them.

Because its jurisdiction is voluntary, the International Court of Justice (better known as the "World Court") is the international equivalent of Judge Judy. Countries may choose to plead their cases in The Hague, but no one can make them show up. If they ignore the Court's judgments, no wail of police sirens will ensue.

Although the U.N. Charter allows the Security Council to authorize the use of force, it also gives veto power to the Council's five permanent members (the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain). When the interests of the big powers clash, deadlocks and toothless compromises are frequent, while true resolutions remain rare. Badly divided on the use of force against Iraq, the Council could neither authorize the U.S.-led action nor condemn it.

Fortunately, with the legality and legitimacy of the present conflict in Iraq very much in doubt, there is still one untarnished authority to whom we can turn. He has remained largely quiet during the crisis, offending none of the principal antagonists.

To the war's critics, especially in Europe, he is a symbol of balance and humanism, of respect for the rule of law over the law of the jungle. And to the Bush Administration, he represents an era for which they are openly nostalgic--a world of independent states looking out for themselves, their judgments unclouded by the illusory security afforded by ineffective international organizations.

He is the Dutch scholar Huig de Groot. Better known by his Latin pen name, Hugo Grotius, he is perhaps the world's leading authority on international law. According to most accounts, he virtually invented the field.

But you won't find Grotius pontificating about Iraq on CNN or Fox, or even on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. He's been keeping a low profile--at least since his death in 1645.

Despite this not entirely self-imposed silence, Grotius is willing to share his views with those who patiently inquire. Curling up one evening with an copy of his 1625 bestseller De Jure Belli ac Pacis (On the Law of War and Peace), I was able to ask the old master for his opinions on the present crisis. The questions are mine, but Grotius's answers are quoted directly from the text.

Q: The Bush Administration has argued that it is waging war against Iraq now in order to protect the U.S. from possible attacks in the future. But how can this war be justified on the grounds of self-defense, if Iraq has not actually attacked the U.S.?

Grotius: A just cause of war is an injury, which though not actually committed, threatens our persons or property with danger.... The danger must be immediate, which is one necessary point. [But] when an assailant seizes any weapon with an apparent intention to kill me, I have a right to anticipate and prevent the danger.

Q: The Bush Administration says Iraq has made efforts to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons with just such an intention. But the U.S. has tolerated such weapons in the hands of other countries and holds some of them in its own arsenal. Doesn't this inconsistency undermine its self-defense argument?

Grotius: [T]his kind of defense derives its origin from the principle of self-preservation, which nature has given to every living creature, and not from the injustice or misconduct of the aggressor.

Q: So it's not that the weapons themselves that are bad, it's that they're being developed by a potential adversary? That sounds a bit subjective. We're supposed to be talking about law. Isn't there a danger that leaders will claims fears of attack, and the consequent need for self-defense, as a pretext for conquest?

Grotius: Many wrongs proceed from fear... Xenophon says, "I have known some men, who partly through misrepresentation, and partly through suspicion, dreading one another, in order to prevent the supposed intentions of their adversaries, have committed the most enormous cruelties against those who neither designed, nor wished them any harm."

Q: That's exactly the problem--what if our fears have simply run amok? It's possible that Iraq would never have used its weapons against us. How certain do we have to be about a threat before we can act?

Grotius: Apprehensions from a neighboring power are not a sufficient ground for war. For to authorize hostilities as a defensive measure, they must arise from the necessity, which just apprehensions create; apprehensions not only of the power, but of the intentions of a formidable state, and such apprehensions as amount to a moral certainty.

Q: "Moral certainty" is a pretty high standard. At that point, isn't it already too late? Shouldn't we strike before the threat even arises--by waging what the Bush administration has called "preventative war"?

Grotius: Some writers have advanced a doctrine which can never be admitted, maintaining that the law of nations authorizes one power to commence hostilities against another, whose increasing greatness awakens her alarms. As a matter of expediency such a measure may be adopted, but the principles of justice can never be advanced in its favor.... [T]o maintain that the bare probability of some remote or future annoyance from a neighboring state affords a just ground of hostile aggression, is a doctrine repugnant to every principle of equity.

Q: So unless there's an immediate threat, "preventative" war can never be just. But even so, isn't it better to ensure our safety now and worry about justice later?

Grotius: In matters of moment, where the lives of men are at stake, the decision should incline to the safer side, according to the proverbial maxim, which pronounces it better to acquit the guilty than to condemn the innocent. War being an object of such weighty magnitude, in which the innocent must often be involved in the sufferings of the guilty, between wavering opinions the balance should incline in favor of peace.

Q: Easy for you to say. You're already dead. If we follow your advice and put justice and caution first, can we ever be sure that we are safe from attack?

Grotius: Such, however, is the condition of human life, that no full security can be enjoyed. The only protection against uncertain fears must be sought, not from violence, but from divine providence, and defensive precaution.

Q: "Defensive precaution" sounds like a containment strategy. Do you think there are measures that could have been taken to contain Iraq short of war?

Grotius: If any one intend no immediate violence, but is found to have formed a conspiracy to destroy me by assassination, or poison... I have no right to kill him. For my knowledge of the danger may prevent it. . . . [M]y knowing it will lead me to apply for the legal remedies of prevention.

Q: Many opponents of the war previously criticized "legal remedies of prevention" like sanctions and no-fly zones. If the threat from Iraq doesn't justify war, how can it serve as the basis for a containment regime, which also causes innocent suffering?

Grotius: Sovereign powers have a right not only to avert, but to punish wrongs. From whence they are authorized to prevent a remote as well as an immediate aggression. Though the suspicion of hostile intentions, on the part of another power, may not justify the commencement of actual war, yet it calls for measures of armed prevention, and will authorize indirect hostility.

Q: I take that as a vote for continued containment. But was it working? What about all those U.N. resolutions Saddam flouted? And what about evidence that despite the resolutions, he continued to develop weapons of mass destruction? Aren't they just cause for war?

Grotius: How honorable it is to be heedless of our own lives, where we can preserve the lives, and promote the lasting welfare of others. A duty that should operate with greater force upon Christians, who have before their eyes continually the example of Him who died to save us, while we were enemies and ungodly. An example which calls upon us, in the most affecting manner, not to insist upon the rigorous prosecution of our justest rights, where it cannot be done but by the calamities which war occasions.

Q: Turning the other cheek may sound good in Sunday school, but I doubt we can sell it to the American public after 9/11. Is there any point at which you'd give up on containment, and support the use of force?

Grotius: Now and then a cause of such imperious necessity occurs, as to demand the decision of the sword, and that is when, as Florus says, the desertion of a right will be followed by calamities far more cruel than the fiercest wars.

Q: I don't suppose you can tell me whether Iraq is a case of "imperious necessity" or not. But what about some of the other justifications offered by advocates of the war, such as protecting our oil supplies and enhancing the stability of the region?

Grotius: The advantage to be gained by a war can never pleaded as a motive of equal weight and justice with necessity.

Q: In its recent policy statement, "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America," the Bush administration announced that it will not allow any other country to challenge America's military superiority. It also stated that the U.S. will use its power to promote "freedom, democracy and free enterprise," which it identified as the world's "single sustainable model for national success." If this war allows us to impose our way of life on troubled countries like Iraq, is that such a bad thing?

Grotius: As to the argument in favor of universal dominion from its being so beneficial to mankind, it may be observed that all its advantages are counterbalanced by still greater disadvantages. For as a ship may be built too large to be conveniently managed, so an empire may be too extensive in population and territory to be directed and governed by one head. But even granting the expediency of universal empire, that expediency cannot give such a right...

Q: What about human rights? Saddam is a brutal dictator, guilty of all kinds of cruelties against his people. Isn't that cause enough to remove him?

Grotius: It is a rule established by the laws of nature and of social order, and a rule confirmed by all the records of history, that every sovereign is supreme judge in his own kingdom and over his own subjects, in whose disputes no foreign power can justly interfere.

Q: I expected you to say that. You wrote your book four hundred years ago, before the horrors of totalitarianism shook our belief in state sovereignty and gave birth to international human rights law. But can't you think of any instances where humanitarian intervention was justified?

Grotius: Where a Busiris, a Phalaris or a Thracian Diomede provoke their people to despair and resistance by unheard of cruelties, having themselves abandoned all the laws of nature, they lose the rights of independent sovereigns, and can no longer claim the privilege of the law of nations.

Q: OK, I'm relieved to hear you say that. But here's the problem. How do we know when to believe a leader who says he's waging war for another people's freedom, and when he's abusing our credulity to achieve other aims?

Grotius: Pretexts of that kind cannot always be allowed, [as] they may often be used as the cover of ambitious designs. But right does not necessarily lose its nature from being in the hands of wicked men. The sea still continues a channel of lawful intercourse, though sometimes navigated by pirates, and swords are still instruments of defense, though sometimes wielded by robbers or assassins.

Q: Nice metaphor. I suppose that if our leaders have tolerated Saddam's barbarity for the past twenty-five years, we should be skeptical when they cite it as a reason for going to war now. But you make a valid point--even if our leaders are insincere, they may inadvertently succeed in doing some good. At this point, we can only hope so. It will be sorely needed to counterbalance the unintended harm.

I'm still having some trouble figuring out exactly where you stand. You seem to doubt the justifications advanced for this war, but, like many of us, find it a difficult question. Meanwhile, the decisions are left to those who admit no uncertainty. Does it disturb you that international law could not prevent this war, or at least assure us that if waged, it would be a just one?

Grotius: There is no intermediate line between a straight line and a curve. But it is not so in morals, where the least circumstances vary the subject, and admit a latitude of interpretation, settling the points of truth and justice between two extremes. So that between what is right and what is unlawful there is a middle space, where it is easy to incline to the one side, or to the other. This occasions an ambiguity somewhat like the difficulty of deciding the precise moment where the twilight begins, and where it ends...

For where the power of law ceases, there war begins.

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Dean G. Falvy, a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, is an attorney focusing on corporate and international law. After due consideration, he thinks Gulf War II is a mistake.

Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), a graduate of the University of Leyden and the Universite de Orleans, served as Sweden's ambassador to France after being exiled from his native Holland. He is known to have had doubts about the Thirty Years' War.

Posted by maximpost at 10:55 PM EDT

UN building on fire in Syria
From correspondents in Damascus
A BUILDING which houses UN offices in the Syrian capital was on fire after three explosions were heard here late today, an AFP journalist said.
The explosions rocked the Mazzeh district of western Damascus that houses several embassies as well as the UN offices.
One of the blasts went off near a shopping mall, residents said.
UN Building Burns After Damascus Explosions, Al-Arabiya Says
April 27 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations building was on fire and a terrorist group started shooting following three explosions in a western Damascus neighborhood, Al-Arabiya news reported, citing the Syrian state news agency SANA.
The explosions occurred at about 8 p.m. local time near the British, Canadian and Iranian embassies, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya said. Another explosion was reported near a shopping mall in the same neighborhood, the station said.
(Al-Arabiya 4-27)
To contact the reporter on this story:
James Cordahi in Dubai on at
To contact the editor of this story:
Glenn Holdcraft at
Last Updated: April 27, 2004 14:58 EDT
Explosions Heard Near Embassies in Syrian Capital, AP Reports
April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Explosions and gunfire were heard today near the British ambassador's residence and the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, the Associated Press reported, citing two Arab television stations.
The explosions were in the western part of the city that is home to many foreign embassies, AP said, citing Al-Jazeera and Al- Arabiya television stations.
(The Associated Press 4-27 Online)

Syrian security forces clash with a ``terrorist band'' in Damascus

ALBERT AJI, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Damascus explosions rock embassy district
By Kim Ghattas in Beirut and Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Published: April 27 2004 19:53 | Last Updated: April 27 2004 20:39

A series of explosions rocked the western sector of Damascus yesterday evening near the embassies of Iran and Canada and the residence of the British ambassador to Syria.
Witnesses in Damascus reported up to five explosions; others said they heard at least 15. Heavy gunfire took place for several hours afterwards.
Police cordoned off the area, on the Mezzeh highway, a road lined with residential buildings and office blocks, which links Damascus to Lebanon.
Syrian state television reported that police had clashed with a "terrorist group" and said that one attacker had been killed and at least one other arrested.
Security sources in Damascus said the explosions were caused by car bombs. But it is unclear what the intended target was.
In London, a Foreign Office spokesman said there were no injuries to UK embassy staff. "Our staff are in the process of assessing the situation."
Syria, which is ruled by the Ba'ath party, saw unprecedented unrest by its Kurdish minority in March, after Kurds in Iraq gained new rights in the post-war interim constitution.
Last year, sources in Syria reported the authorities were searching for cars packed with explosives. Syria has long had its own struggle against Islamist extremists.
Mohammad Aziz Shukri, professor of international law at Damascus university, was at home 200m from where the blasts occurred.
He told the FT by telephone that shooting and explosions began at 7.30pm and lasted for an hour.
"I heard from a driver that terrorists jumped out of a car and began shooting randomly and throwing grenades. It was between the residence of the British ambassador and the house of the Iranian ambassador. But now everything is under control."


(04-27) 12:44 PDT DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) --

Syrian security forces clashed with a "terrorist band" late Tuesday in Damascus, Syrian media reported after explosions and gunfire were heard in a neighborhood where foreign diplomats live and work.
One attacker was reported killed and another captured, a source in Syria said.
Syrian television, in a brief statement, said security forces gave chase and were in control of the situation. It gave no other details. Syria's official news agency SANA, quoting a security source, said "a terrorist band shot this evening indiscriminately in the Mazza area."
It added that security forces "confronted it and were in full control of the situation."
Syria has not seen such violence in years.
Residents of the area had reported explosions and gunfire in Mazza, on the western edge of the city. Smoke was seen billowing from the area, which security forces sealed off, the residents said.
Al-Jazeera reported that car bombs were used in the attack and that heavy exchanges of gunfire were continuing late into the night.
Al-Arabiya quoted a witness saying more than 15 explosions were heard.
A Saudi consulate, the British ambassador's home, offices of the Iranian state news agency, the Iranian Embassy and the Canadian Embassy are in Mazza.
In London, British Foreign Office officials said an explosion and shooting was heard near the Iranian ambassador's residence and in the vicinity of the British ambassador's residence.
"At the moment, there are no injuries to U.K. Embassy staff. Our staff are in the process of assessing the situation," one official said on condition of anonymity.
Another official later said the attack did not appear to be aimed at the British ambassador's residence.
The United Nations Development Fund and its Children's Fund also are in Mazza, as well as building that housed U.N. offices in the past. In New York, Marie Okabe, a U.N. spokeswoman, said the world body could not confirm reports that U.N. offices were hit in Damascus. But she stressed reports were only preliminary.
An Iranian Embassy official in Damascus said that country's embassy was not involved in any attack. The official spoke to Lebanon's al-Manar television station, which is run by the pro-Iranian guerrilla group Hezbollah.
Syrian political analyst Imad Shuaibi told The Associated Press he had learned that two men "attacked with hand grenades and gunfire near the Iranian and Canadian embassies."
"One was killed and the other was captured," Shuaibi said.
Syria has been on the U.S. State Department's list of terror-sponsoring nations for its support of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah that attack Israel. Syria, though, says the anti-Israeli groups are not terrorist, and that it has an interest in fighting Islamic extremist groups like al-Qaida.
Syria has come under intense pressure, particularly from Washington, to crack down on militants based in the country who are opposed to Israel or purportedly entering neighboring Iraq to fight U.S. soldiers.
Neighboring Jordan said several suspected terrorists entered the country from Syria last month in a foiled plot to carry out attacks on targets including the U.S. Embassy in Amman, the prime minister's office and the secret service agency.
Damascus denied claims that suspected terrorists entered Jordan from Syria and has said it is trying to stop foreign fighters from cross from its territory into Iraq, but that the long, porous border is hard to police.
In December, President Bush approved the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, which accuses Syria of hosting militant Palestinian groups and of seeking biological and chemical weapons.
The act says Syria must withdraw its 20,000 troops from neighboring Lebanon and stop militants and weapons from crossing its border into Iraq, and adds that if Damascus does not comply, Washington can impose economic and diplomatic sanctions.
Syria denies pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Syria's hard-line government fought a fierce war with Islamic fundamentalists of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was blamed for a 1980 assassination attempt on President Hafez Assad, the country's authoritarian leader who died from natural causes in 2000. Assad was succeeded by his son, Bashar Assad.
Assad suffered minor injuries after gunmen open fire with automatic weapons and grenades in the 1980 attack.
Syrian special forces troops massacred some 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood members in Tadmur Military Prison near Palmyra to avenge the assassination attempt.
In 1982, the Muslim Brotherhood staged a rebellion in the northern province of Hama. During the clashes, Syrian forces razed much of the city, killing as many as 10,000 people and finally crushing the Brotherhood after a five-year war.

Saudis Reinforce Hunt for Militant Suspects Near Riyadh

By Adnan Malik Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 27, 2004

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Convoys of police vehicles headed into a mountainous area northeast of Riyadh Tuesday to join a hunt for terror suspects, possibly including the chief of al-Qaida's Saudi network.
Abdulaziz Issa Abdul-Mohsin al-Moqrin, the kingdom's most wanted militant, is believed holed up with four to five other terror suspects near al-Hassayah, 30 miles northeast of Riyadh.
Police armed with automatic weapons stopped traffic at a checkpoint near al-Hassayah, and a helicopter flew overhead as police vehicles streamed past palm groves to the area.
A security official told The Associated Press that counterterrorism officers have surrounded the area since late Sunday.
U.S. and Saudi officials believe al-Moqrin is al-Qaida's top figure in Saudi Arabia and the mastermind of a Nov. 8 bombing at a Riyadh housing compound that killed 17 people, most of them Muslims working in Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, an audiotape of a man claiming to be al-Moqrin and vowing to launch more attacks on Americans in the kingdom surfaced on the Internet. The speaker on the tape denied responsibility for the April 21 suicide bombing of a government security building in Riyadh that killed five people and wounded 148.
On Friday, Saudi forces fought a gunbattle with militants in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, killing five and capturing a sixth.
Al-Qaida, the Muslim extremist network blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, is led by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden.
Bin Laden has targeted the rulers of his homeland, saying they are insufficiently Islamic and too close to the United States.

AP-ES-04-27-04 1526EDT


U.S.: Several Countries in Addition to Iran and NKorea May Be Trying to Develop Nuke Weapons

By Edith M. Lederer Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 27, 2004

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Several countries in addition to Iran and North Korea may be trying to develop nuclear weapons, and Washington is pursuing the customers of an underground Pakistani network, U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton said Tuesday.
He said he wasn't prepared to name any of the other countries because U.S. officials are still seeking information.
"There are several others," Bolton said. "There's a lot of information that we don't necessarily have corroboration for, but we are pursuing our concerns where we do have information, trying to get additional information, learning from others, and trying to assess the exact magnitude of the threat."
"Certainly one of the things that we're very interested in is finding out if A.Q. Khan's network had other customers, and we're pursuing that in cooperation with a number of other states," he said.
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, set up an underground network that supplied nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. In February, he admitted being the mastermind of the scheme and was pardoned by Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
"There's more out there than we can discuss publicly," Bolton said, "and it's one of the reasons why the depth of our concern about the international market black market in weapons of mass destruction and related materials is as substantial as it."
Bolton spoke to reporters after accusing "at least" four countries that have ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of using its provisions "as cover for the development of nuclear weapons," either currently or in the past.
"States like Iran are actively violating their treaty obligations, and have gained access to technologies and materials for their nuclear weapons programs. North Korea violated its NPT obligations while a party, and then proved its strategic decision to seek nuclear weapons by withdrawing from the treaty entirely," he said.
In the past, Iraq and Libya also violated the treaty, Bolton told a meeting of the committee preparing for next year's U.N. conference to review the 1968 pact, which is considered the cornerstone of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Declaring that "there is a crisis of NPT compliance," Bolton said President Bush "is determined to stop rogue states from gaining nuclear weapons under cover of supposed peaceful nuclear technology."
Under the treaty, countries that ratify and give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons are allowed to obtain fissile material and nuclear technology for peaceful uses such as power plants. But in February, Bush made a series of proposals to address what the United States sees as loopholes in the treaty.
Bolton said there was "very broad consensus" to limit nuclear enrichment and reprocessing plants to countries that now possess them, though "how exactly it's done is still the subject of discussion."
The United States wants to ban the Nuclear Suppliers Group - which provides fissile material under the treaty - from selling enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology "to any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning enrichment and reprocessing plants." The suppliers would have to ensure a regular supply of nuclear fuel at reasonable prices to countries in compliance with the treaty.
Nuclear experts say the U.S. proposal would keep Iran from building nuclear enrichment and reprocessing plants.
Bolton noted that Iran has expressed interest in buying up to six additional nuclear power plants and has informed the U.N. nuclear agency it is pursuing a heavy-water research reactor at Arak, "a type of reactor that might be well suited for plutonium production."
Stressing that Iran has oil and gas reserves that will last several hundred years, he claimed the only role of Iran's nuclear power program is provide material and technology for covert nuclear weapons development.
Tehran has repeatedly denied it is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Bolton said the United States has not decided whether it will seek to have the International Atomic Energy Agency's board cite Tehran for noncompliance at its June meeting.
The best thing Iran can do now is "come clean" and open its nuclear program "to transparent inspections," Bolton said.
As for North Korea, he said the United States hopes six-party talks will achieve "a peaceful, diplomatic end to North Korea's nuclear programs." But he cautioned that "simply continuing to talk ... is not progress."
Libya has said it has given up its weapons programs.
AP-ES-04-27-04 1527EDT
Is Silver Scandal On the Horizon?
Posted March 16, 2004
By Kelly Patricia O Meara

Investors claim silver sellers are manipulating the market using fraudulent tactics.

One can only speculate, of course, about the outcome of the Enron debacle if investors and regulators had been clued by whistle-blowers into the enormity of the corporation's accounting shenanigans in the years before its implosion. Though it's too late for Enron employees and stockholders, thousands of investors believe a similar implosion is looming in the silver market with potentially catastrophic consequences. Rather than sit back and reap the financial benefits to be gained by what these investors believe will be a much higher price for the precious metal, this indignant army of investors and whistle-blowers has set out to alert federal regulators with the hope of averting another Enron-like disaster.

It's fair to say that when the price of any investment sold as a certainty fails to rise to anticipated levels, accusations of unfair practices and manipulation are likely to arise. Some accusations have merit and some do not. In this instance, there is no mincing of words. Not only do a growing number of investors believe that the silver market has been manipulated to hold down the price of silver, they accuse regulators of the commodities markets of allowing a handful of traders who are "short" silver (betting the price will go down) to commit a fraud by selling paper claims for delivery of silver that the whistle-blowing investors say does not exist.

For nearly two decades Ted Butler, an independent commodity analyst and investor in silver, has been a diligent critic and prolific letter writer to the regulators who oversee the commodities markets. It is respect for his remarkable understanding of the silver market that has encouraged thousands of small investors to barrage regulators and law enforcement with requests for an investigation of what they are convinced is a rigged market.

According to Butler: "The problem is that the silver market has not behaved according to the laws of supply and demand, which holds that if you have more consumption of a commodity than you have production - consuming more than you produce - the price has to rise, and has to rise sharply, to correct that condition. Based on the reports of all accepted statistical services which analyze silver, this condition has been present in the silver market for nearly 15 years, yet the price of silver hasn't risen accordingly."

As Butler puts it: "This causes a reasonable person to ask why the price hasn't risen. My answer is that this kind of action can only take place if the market is for some reason not free to re- spond to the iron law of supply and demand. You cannot have a free market in which consumption is more than production without the price increasing. That is the core principle of the marketplace. It is the essential law on which our capitalist economic system is based, the law of supply and demand, and it doesn't get any simpler than that. If the price of silver appears to be immune to the law of supply and demand, there is something wrong."

The situation in the silver market, Butler continues, "doesn't exist in any other commodity traded, and the bottom line is that we've used up 95 [percent] to 99 percent of a 5,000-year accumulation of silver and are about to hit the wall. The fact is, we no longer can depend upon inventory to supplement the market. The world known silver inventory now stands at about 150 million ounces, the majority of which is stored in the [New York Mercantile Exchange] COMEX warehouses in New York. The world annual production - that is, all the silver produced [mined] from the earth in any given year - now is around 600 million ounces per year. Silver supplied from recycling on a regular basis amounts to another 150 million to 200 million ounces. But current consumption of silver is around 900 million ounces, leaving a deficit of 100 million more ounces of silver being consumed than is produced."

The problem gets worse when you consider that the Commitments of Traders Report (COT) for Jan. 27 reveals that commercial traders have increased their net positions in COMEX silver futures and call options to 470 million ounces. And, according to the COT, just "eight or less" traders have sold 330 million ounces of silver - a total net "short" position "three times the size of total world known silver inventories."

Butler puts it simply: "The 'short' traders have sold silver that they do not have and cannot get unless these 'eight or less' traders have some way of obtaining for delivery all of the world's silver production for the next couple of years. That seems more than a little far-fetched. In 2003 the silver deficit was 87 million ounces, and there have been deficits for the last 15 years. To meet this obligation, silver has been taken from inventory, but now the inventory has dwindled to the point that the sales of silver far exceed even what is in known world inventory."

What will happen, asks Butler, "if the buyers of this silver ['longs' who expect the price to go up] decide to take delivery of their silver contracts, which they have every right to do? What if these buyers of silver say 'Hey, I think I'd like to have my silver?' The reason the seller 'shorts' haven't had to turn over the silver is because the buyer 'longs' haven't demanded delivery. But you know, there's an old saying, 'He who sells what isn't hisn, buys it back or goes to prison.' So the sellers can either scrape up the silver from who knows where or buy it back at extraordinary cost. But at that point the cat is out of the bag. Based on the official numbers of known silver, it just isn't possible to deliver the silver that has been sold. This situation inevitably has to end in default, which is the worst thing that can happen in a market, unless action is taken now. And that's why I, and many other silver investors, have been writing to regulators who oversee these markets, asking them to investigate."

In a September 2002 communication between Butler and former New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) executive vice president Neal Wolkoff, Butler further simplified the matter, even agreeing to end the dialogue if the NYMEX official will verify that the "eight or less" traders can prove that they have the 330 million ounces of silver for which they had sold paper claims into the market separate from the COMEX warehouse inventories.

Citing data from well-known market services, including Gold Fields Mineral Services and the Silver Institute, Wolkoff concluded: "I have found no evidence to support a finding, or even a reasonable belief, that the silver market is being manipulated." But the NYMEX official did not respond to Butler's challenge to show that the "eight or less" traders had the physical silver for which they had sold claims on the market.

Beyond Butler's steady communications with the commodities regulators, increased pressure is being applied by investors who not only believe that Butler is correct but that the numbers speak for themselves. In fact, silver investors feel so strongly about what has been transpiring for more than a decade in the silver market that nearly 3,000 of them have signed a formal request to Eliot Spitzer, the hard-nosed attorney general of New York state, urging him to look into the matter and to "ask the COMEX what safeguards they have in place to ensure that big short position holders can fulfill their responsibility to deliver real silver." The investors say that if any COMEX contracts are broken for "insufficient silver" they hope and expect that Spitzer "will prosecute the silver 'short' check writers to the fullest criminal extent of the law."

Spitzer did not return Insight's calls requesting an interview to discuss these matters, but a source at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the congressionally mandated commodities regulatory body, tells Insight that the commission is well aware of Butler, growing investor anger and the current letter-writing campaign. "Through the years," says the CFTC source, "we've considered the allegations and examined the merits of them as we are doing in this recent case. As of now, we don't think there is much merit. We take the letters seriously, but we just don't see that there is a manipulation on the 'short' side."

Asked if the CFTC can confirm that the shorts actually have the silver they have sold into the market, the source explained, "Well, obviously we can't say with certainty about every short having silver on every contract. The hypothetical [that longs would request their silver] has never happened, so the amount of deliveries are always a small number relative to the size of the amount of positions traded."

Has the CFTC gone to the "eight or less" and said, "Hey, you've sold 330 million ounces of silver. Do you have the silver to back it up?"

"I'm not going to get into specifically what we've done," the source says, "but we're comfortable that the shorts are not manipulating the market, and at some future date, if there is demand in the market that exceeds the amount of silver that's available for delivery or in the cash market, then prices will react as they do in any market." That is, there will be one enormous spike in the price of silver.

It appears that much of the CFTC's faith that the market is not being manipulated to keep down the price of silver comes from the fact that to date those who have wanted delivery of silver could get it. "I'm not saying that one man's writing [Ted Butler] isn't credible," the CFTC source claims. "I'm saying that the same accusation has been made over 15 years that there is a shortage that requires higher prices, but over that 15 years there has been enough silver to meet consumption demand for every single year. So presumably the claim did not have much behind it."

Chris Bowen, general counsel and chief administrative officer of NYMEX assures Insight there is no problem. "We have received some letters and e-mails on this matter, and we've received over the course of years, probably from the same individuals, claims about markets focused on silver. As we do whenever we receive complaints, we look at them, review them, and we've found that there has never been an issue. We always look at the market information and at the arguments that they make and see if they make any sense."

The following dialogue with the NYMEX counsel about whether the amount of silver sold into the market is supported by physical silver seems murky at best.

Insight: "Has anyone at the NYMEX gone to the 'eight or less' traders and said 'Hey, let's see the silver?'"

Bowen: "As part of our surveillance procedures, we have information about the positions of all large traders in the market. So in that circumstance we have the ability to monitor for any potential situation. In the past we've never found it to be an issue."

Insight: "In the past there was a much larger inventory. Are you looking into whether the 'eight or less' largest commercial traders have the silver to back up their short position?"

Bowen: "We have information for the positions of all the large traders in the market."

Insight: "Do you have information about the amount of silver that they have?"

Bowen: "Correct."

Correct that the commercial shorts have the appropriate amount of silver, or correct that the NYMEX has information about the amount of silver they have or do not have?

It is precisely this kind of ambiguity or evasion that has fueled the fire among the thousands of individual silver investors calling for an investigation.

Bill Murphy, chairman of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA), a nonprofit organization that researches and studies the gold market, long has held that the gold market has been manipulated by a few of the large banks and government entities. Now Murphy has thrown the full weight of his organization behind the accusations raised by Butler and other silver investors. "Look," says Murphy, "the GATA army mobilized to support this effort because of information that we're getting that large investors are going to the COMEX for silver supply because they can't locate it elsewhere in the world in any size. And that's why we're helping Butler expose this fraud. If we're right, they'll be hitting the wall in silver within the next couple of months because they don't have the silver to continue these games. Of course, all these big shorts have to do is buy back the contracts, but they aren't going to do it. Greed has a full-throttle hold on them. Greed and arrogance like that of the boys at Enron. You know, they just kept on with the game."

Murphy drives home his point: "What we're saying to the regulators is, don't wait until a disaster happens. Don't sit there and protect these big shorts because they seem incomparably rich and powerful. Don't let them keep selling silver contracts that they can't possibly fill. When you have a few people with huge positions and the basis of that position is the claim that they have the silver to deliver, they should be required to prove that they aren't selling hot air. Look, we're investors, and yes we have a vested interest, but we know what we're talking about and the numbers support what we're saying. If we're right, and we believe we are, I think we're going to see some real fireworks beginning in March. And even if it's just coincidence, since GATA got involved in asking these questions, silver has risen nearly 70 cents."

Despite murky assurances by the regulators, Butler concurs with Murphy that big changes in the silver market are coming. "There's no great conspiracy," he explains, "it's just pure greed. You don't have to be Albert Einstein to figure out that if you sell something that doesn't exist, there will be a problem when delivery is demanded. These shorts have raked in tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars by keeping the price at depressed levels. This is a big issue, and when silver goes up, it's going to be a huge scandal. As soon as the inventory is gone the price will spike. A sudden, shocking wake-up call is going to be thrust upon us. It's like we're on the Titanic. We've hit the iceberg and the regulators are yelling, 'Hey, there's no problem until this unsinkable ship goes down.'"

Although the numbers appear to support the dire warnings being made by these small investors, there's no telling what hidden information might exist to have convinced regulators that life jackets are not yet necessary. All that is certain, say critics, is that unlike the Enron debacle, the regulators won't be able to claim that they weren't warned about icebergs.

Kelly Patricia O'Meara is an investigative reporter for Insight.
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Posted by maximpost at 5:02 PM EDT
Monday, 26 April 2004

Investigative Report
Saddam's WMD Have Been Found
Post April 26, 2004
By Kenneth R. Timmerman

New evidence out of Iraq suggests that the U.S. effort to track down Saddam Hussein's missing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is having better success than is being reported. Key assertions by the intelligence community that were widely judged in the media and by critics of President George W. Bush as having been false are turning out to have been true after all. But this stunning news has received little attention from the major media, and the president's critics continue to insist that "no weapons" have been found.

In virtually every case - chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missiles - the United States has found the weapons and the programs that the Iraqi dictator successfully concealed for 12 years from U.N. weapons inspectors.

The Iraq Survey Group (ISG), whose intelligence analysts are managed by Charles Duelfer, a former State Department official and deputy chief of the U.N.-led arms-inspection teams, has found "hundreds of cases of activities that were prohibited" under U.N. Security Council resolutions, a senior administration official tells Insight. "There is a long list of charges made by the U.S. that have been confirmed, but none of this seems to mean anything because the weapons that were unaccounted for by the United Nations remain unaccounted for."

Both Duelfer and his predecessor, David Kay, reported to Congress that the evidence they had found on the ground in Iraq showed Saddam's regime was in "material violation" of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, the last of 17 resolutions that promised "serious consequences" if Iraq did not make a complete disclosure of its weapons programs and dismantle them in a verifiable manner. The United States cited Iraq's refusal to comply with these demands as one justification for going to war.

Both Duelfer and Kay found that Iraq had "a clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses with equipment that was suitable to continuing its prohibited chemical- and biological-weapons [BW] programs," the official said. "They found a prison laboratory where we suspect they tested biological weapons on human subjects." They found equipment for "uranium-enrichment centrifuges" whose only plausible use was as part of a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. In all these cases, "Iraqi scientists had been told before the war not to declare their activities to the U.N. inspectors," the official said.

But while the president's critics and the media might plausibly hide behind ambiguity and a lack of sensational-

looking finds for not reporting some discoveries, in the case of Saddam's ballistic-missile programs they have no excuse for their silence. "Where were the missiles? We found them," another senior administration official told Insight.

"Saddam Hussein's prohibited missile programs are as close to a slam dunk as you will ever find for violating United Nations resolutions," the first official said. Both senior administration officials spoke to Insight on condition that neither their name nor their agency be identified, but their accounts of what the United States has found in Iraq coincided in every major area.

When former weapons inspector Kay reported to Congress in January that the United States had found "no stockpiles" of forbidden weapons in Iraq, his conclusions made front-page news. But when he detailed what the ISG had found in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last October, few took notice. Among Kay's revelations, which officials tell Insight have been amplified in subsequent inspections in recent weeks:

A prison laboratory complex that may have been used for human testing of BW agents and "that Iraqi officials working to prepare the U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the U.N." Why was Saddam interested in testing biological-warfare agents on humans if he didn't have a biological-weapons program?

"Reference strains" of a wide variety of biological-weapons agents were found beneath the sink in the home of a prominent Iraqi BW scientist. "We thought it was a big deal," a senior administration official said. "But it has been written off [by the press] as a sort of 'starter set.'"

New research on BW-applicable agents, brucella and Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin that were not declared to the United Nations.

A line of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, "not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 kilometers [311 miles], 350 kilometers [217 miles] beyond the permissible limit."

"Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited Scud-variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the U.N."

"Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers [621 miles] - well beyond the 150-kilometer-range limit [93 miles] imposed by the U.N. Missiles of a 1,000-kilometer range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East, including Ankara [Turkey], Cairo [Egypt] and Abu Dhabi [United Arab Emirates]."

In addition, through interviews with Iraqi scientists, seized documents and other evidence, the ISG learned the Iraqi government had made "clandestine attempts between late 1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300-kilometer-range [807 miles] ballistic missiles - probably the No Dong - 300-kilometer-range [186 miles] antiship cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment," Kay reported.

In testimony before Congress on March 30, Duelfer, revealed that the ISG had found evidence of a "crash program" to construct new plants capable of making chemical- and biological-warfare agents. The ISG also found a previously undeclared program to build a "high-speed rail gun," a device apparently designed for testing nuclear-weapons materials. That came in addition to 500 tons of natural uranium stockpiled at Iraq's main declared nuclear site south of Baghdad, which International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Mark Gwozdecky acknowledged to Insight had been intended for "a clandestine nuclear-weapons program."

In taking apart Iraq's clandestine procurement network, Duelfer said his investigators had discovered that "the primary source of illicit financing for this system was oil smuggling conducted through government-to-government protocols negotiated with neighboring countries [and] from kickback payments made on contracts set up through the U.N. oil-for-food program" [see "Documents Prove U.N. Oil Corruption," April 27-May 10].

What the president's critics and the media widely have portrayed as the most dramatic failure of the U.S. case against Saddam has been the claimed failure to find "stockpiles" of chemical and biological weapons. But in a June 2003 Washington Post op-ed, former chief U.N. weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus called such criticism "a distortion and a trivialization of a major threat to international peace and security."

Lt. Gen. Amer Rashid al-Obeidi (left) and Lt. Gen. Amer Hamoodi al-Saddi (right) speak to an unidentified French intelligence officer at the Baghdad International Arms Fair in April 1989, and another French officer listens in (behind al-Saadi, facing camera)

The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction concluded that Saddam "probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons (MT) and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW [chemical warfare] agents - much of it added in the last year." That assessment was based, in part, on conclusions contained in the final report from U.N. weapons inspectors in 1999, which highlighted discrepancies in what the Iraqis reported to the United Nations and the amount of precursor chemicals U.N. arms inspectors could document Iraq had imported but for which it no longer could account. Until now, Bush's critics say, no stockpiles of CW agents made with those precursors have been found. The snap conclusion they draw is that the administration "lied" to the American people to create a pretext for invading Iraq.

But what are "stockpiles" of CW agents supposed to look like? Was anyone seriously expecting Saddam to have left behind freshly painted warehouses packed with chemical munitions, all neatly laid out in serried rows, with labels written in English? Or did they think that a captured Saddam would guide U.S. troops to smoking vats full of nerve gas in an abandoned factory? In fact, as recent evidence made public by a former operations officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority's (CPA's) intelligence unit in Iraq shows, some of those stockpiles have been found - not all at once, and not all in nice working order - but found all the same.

Douglas Hanson was a U.S. Army cavalry reconnaissance officer for 20 years, and a veteran of Gulf War I. He was an atomic demolitions munitions security officer and a nuclear, biological and chemical defense officer. As a civilian analyst in Iraq last summer, he worked for an operations intelligence unit of the CPA in Iraq, and later, with the newly formed Ministry of Science and Technology, which was responsible for finding new, nonlethal employment for Iraqi WMD scientists.

In an interview with Insight and in an article he wrote for the online magazine, Hanson examines reports from U.S. combat units and public information confirming that many of Iraq's CW stockpiles have indeed been found. Until now, however, journalists have devoted scant attention to this evidence, in part because it contradicts the story line they have been putting forward since the U.S.-led inspections began after the war.

But another reason for the media silence may stem from the seemingly undramatic nature of the "finds" Hanson and others have described. The materials that constitute Saddam's chemical-weapons "stockpiles" look an awful lot like pesticides, which they indeed resemble. "Pesticides are the key elements in the chemical-agent arena," Hanson says. "In fact, the general pesticide chemical formula (organophosphate) is the 'grandfather' of modern-day nerve agents."

The United Nations was fully aware that Saddam had established his chemical-weapons plants under the guise of a permitted civilian chemical-industry infrastructure. Plants inspected in the early 1990s as CW production facilities had been set up to appear as if they were producing pesticides - or in the case of a giant plant near Fallujah, chlorine, which is used to produce mustard gas.

When coalition forces entered Iraq, "huge warehouses and caches of 'commercial and agricultural' chemicals were seized and painstakingly tested by Army and Marine chemical specialists," Hanson writes. "What was surprising was how quickly the ISG refuted the findings of our ground forces and how silent they have been on the significance of these caches."

Caches of "commercial and agricultural" chemicals don't match the expectation of "stockpiles" of chemical weapons. But, in fact, that is precisely what they are. "At a very minimum," Hanson tells Insight, "they were storing the precursors to restart a chemical-warfare program very quickly." Kay and Duelfer came to a similar conclusion, telling Congress under oath that Saddam had built new facilities and stockpiled the materials to relaunch production of chemical and biological weapons at a moment's notice.

At Karbala, U.S. troops stumbled upon 55-gallon drums of pesticides at what appeared to be a very large "agricultural supply" area, Hanson says. Some of the drums were stored in a "camouflaged bunker complex" that was shown to reporters - with unpleasant results. "More than a dozen soldiers, a Knight-Ridder reporter, a CNN cameraman, and two Iraqi POWs came down with symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent," Hanson says. "But later ISG tests resulted in a proclamation of negative, end of story, nothing to see here, etc., and the earlier findings and injuries dissolved into nonexistence. Left unexplained is the small matter of the obvious pains taken to disguise the cache of ostensibly legitimate pesticides. One wonders about the advantage an agricultural-commodities business gains by securing drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers 6 feet underground. The 'agricultural site' was also colocated with a military ammunition dump - evidently nothing more than a coincidence in the eyes of the ISG."

That wasn't the only significant find by coalition troops of probable CW stockpiles, Hanson believes. Near the northern Iraqi town of Bai'ji, where Saddam had built a chemical-weapons plant known to the United States from nearly 12 years of inspections, elements of the 4th Infantry Division found 55-gallon drums containing a substance identified through mass spectrometry analysis as cyclosarin - a nerve agent. Nearby were surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, gas masks and a mobile laboratory that could have been used to mix chemicals at the site. "Of course, later tests by the experts revealed that these were only the ubiquitous pesticides that everybody was turning up," Hanson says. "It seems Iraqi soldiers were obsessed with keeping ammo dumps insect-free, according to the reading of the evidence now enshrined by the conventional wisdom that 'no WMD stockpiles have been discovered.'"

At Taji - an Iraqi weapons complex as large as the District of Columbia - U.S. combat units discovered more "pesticides" stockpiled in specially built containers, smaller in diameter but much longer than the standard 55-gallon drum. Hanson says he still recalls the military sending digital images of the canisters to his office, where his boss at the Ministry of Science and Technology translated the Arabic-language markings. "They were labeled as pesticides," he says. "Gee, you sure have got a lot of pesticides stored in ammo dumps."

Again, this January, Danish forces found 120-millimeter mortar shells filled with a mysterious liquid that initially tested positive for blister agents. But subsequent tests by the United States disputed that finding. "If it wasn't a chemical agent, what was it?" Hanson asks. "More pesticides? Dish-washing detergent? From this old soldier's perspective, I gain nothing from putting a liquid in my mortar rounds unless that stuff will do bad things to the enemy."

The discoveries Hanson describes are not dramatic. And that's the problem: Finding real stockpiles in grubby ammo dumps doesn't fit the image the media and the president's critics carefully have fed to the public of what Iraq's weapons ought to look like.

A senior administration official who has gone through the intelligence reporting from Iraq as well as the earlier reports from U.N. arms inspectors refers to another well-documented allegation. "The Iraqis admitted they had made 3.9 tons of VX," a powerful nerve gas, but claimed they had never weaponized it. The U.N. inspectors "felt they had more. But where did it go?" The Iraqis never provided any explanation of what had happened to their VX stockpiles.

What does 3.9 tons of VX look like? "It could fit in one large garage," the official says. Assuming, of course, that Saddam would assemble every bit of VX gas his scientists had produced at a single site, that still amounts to one large garage in an area the size of the state of California.

Senior administration officials stress that the investigation will continue as inspectors comb through millions of pages of documents in Iraq and attempt to interview Iraqi weapons scientists who have been trained all their professional lives to conceal their activities from the outside world.

"The conditions under which the ISG is working are not very conducive," one official said. "But this president wants the truth to come out. This is not an exercise in spinning or censoring."

For more on WMD, read "Iraqi Weapons in Syria"

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight.
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Iraqi Weapons in Syria
Post April 26, 2004
By Kenneth R. Timmerman

On Dec. 24, 2002, nearly three months before fighting in Iraq began, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accused Saddam Hussein's regime of transferring key materials for his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs to Syria in convoys of 18-wheel trucks to hide them from U.N. weapons inspectors. "There is information we are verifying, but we are certain that Iraq has recently moved chemical or biological weapons into Syria," Sharon told Channel Two television in Israel.

Before talking about this on Israeli television, Sharon gave detailed information to the Bush White House on what Israel knew and what it suspected. Insight has learned, however, that once the information was handed over to the U.S. intelligence community, officials at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) swept it aside as lacking credibility.

In May 2003, just as major combat operations in Iraq were winding down, new reports surfaced in Israel, this time alleging that convoys of Iraqi water tankers carrying WMD components crossed the border into Syria repeatedly between Jan. 10 and March 10. The tankers reportedly were met by Syrian special forces and escorted to the heroin poppy fields of a Syrian-controlled area in Lebanon's Bek?a Valley, where their contents were dumped into specially prepared pits and buried. Again, INR discounted the reports, U.S. officials tell Insight.

Reports of Iraqi WMD winding up in Syria were not just coming from the Israelis. In October 2003, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, revealed that vehicle traffic photographed by U.S. spy satellites indicated that material and documents related to Saddam's forbidden WMD programs had been shipped to Syria before the war. It was no surprise that the United States and its allies had not found stockpiles of forbidden weapons in Iraq, Clapper told a breakfast briefing given to reporters in Washington. "Those below the senior leadership saw what was coming, and I think they went to extraordinary lengths to dispose of the evidence," he said.

"We have had six or seven credible reports of Iraqi weapons being moved into Syria before the war," a senior administration official tells Insight. "In every case, the U.S. intelligence community sought to discount or discredit those reports."

This January, after he returned to Washington from Iraq, where for six months he had served as the CIA's top gun with the Iraq Survey Group hunting for Saddam's banned weapons, David Kay said he had uncovered evidence that weapons material had been moved to Syria shortly before the war. "We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he told the Sunday Telegraph in London. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD program. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."

Another piece of this puzzle was provided by a Syrian intelligence officer in letters smuggled to an antiregime activist living in Paris named Nizar Nayouf. In one letter the source identified three locations in Syria where WMD materials had been buried under an agreement between the Syrian and Iraqi leadership. Two of the sites were specially dug underground bunkers and tunnels. The third site was a factory operated by the Syrian air force in the village of Tal Sinan, located between the cities of Hama and Salimiyyah. In a follow-up letter dated Jan. 7, Nayouf's source provided more details on these locations, along with a map, and alleged that some of the weapons had been moved out of Iraq in ambulances.

So are Saddam's WMD stockpiles in Syria? When Insight asked the CIA if it was investigating these and other reports, a spokesman acknowledged there was "some evidence that way" and that the United States was "looking at all types of possibilities," but vigorously discouraged further inquiries. Administration officials tell Insight that the refusal to report on Syria's complicity with Saddam's regime stems from a "pro-Syria bias in the State Department and some elements of the intelligence community, whose threshold for evidence on Syria is suspiciously high."

Shoshana Bryen regularly escorts groups of retired U.S. military flag officers (admirals and generals) to Israel for meetings with senior Israeli political and military leaders, as well as intelligence officials. "We went to Israel just before the war and just after," she tells Insight. "Both times, Israeli intelligence officials told us, yes, WMD were definitely in Iraq, and that they had been sent to Syria." The Bush administration was trying to downplay these reports, she believes, "because if Iraqi weapons are in Syria, we're going to have to do something about it, and they don't want another war."

Return to "Saddam's WMD Have Been Found"

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight.
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Chinese diplomats rush past lab guards

By Bill Gertz

Two Chinese diplomats, away from their Los Angeles consulate improperly, recently sped their vehicle past a Los Alamos National Laboratory guard post near classified facilities in what U.S. officials think was an intelligence mission, The Washington Times has learned.
The diplomats, identified as Hua Yu and Bo Lai, were on an intelligence-gathering mission that is raising new worries of Chinese nuclear spying against the United States, according to U.S. officials familiar with the incident.

According to an incident report, the diplomats sped a white Ford Escort past a guard post at the New Mexico facility at about 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 26.
Security guard Joseph Chavez was at the post at the time and reported that the car "ran his post at a high rate of speed," the report said.
The white Escort, rented in Colorado, was stopped a short distance from the post by three Los Alamos security police on Pajarito Road. The diplomats were questioned, and their car was searched.
Mr. Hua and Mr. Bo identified themselves as Chinese diplomats posted to the consulate in Los Angeles.
"At this point, we briefed the gentleman on the fact that Pajarito Road was closed to the general public, and [they] were escorted out of the area," the report states.
Kevin Roark, a spokesman for Los Alamos, confirmed that the incident took place and said no apparent compromise of security occurred.
Pajarito Road also is the site of two sensitive facilities, Mr. Roark said. One is the Critical Assembly Facility known as Technical Area-18, and the other is the Plutonium Research Facility, known as Technical Area-55.
Both facilities are used for classified nuclear-weapons activities at Los Alamos, part of the Energy Department's nuclear-weapons program.
"They were asked for identification. They were briefly questioned as to what they were up to. Their vehicle was searched, and after that, they were promptly escorted off the road," Mr. Roark said.
He declined to comment on whether the FBI was notified. An FBI spokesman could not be reached for comment.
A State Department official said the Chinese diplomats did not notify the department's Office of Foreign Missions before the visit to Los Alamos, a violation of U.S. rules.
Chinese diplomats are barred from traveling outside a 25-mile radius of their embassy or consulate and must obtain permission from the State Department before any other travel.
Xiao Mei, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, said the two diplomats were visiting New Mexico in preparation for the visit to Santa Fe by a Chinese official.
Miss Xiao said she did not know whether the two men had gone to the Los Alamos laboratory, but they might have been trying to visit a museum at the facility.
"We all know this is a sensitive area," she said. "But the museum is public."
Los Alamos was the scene of a major U.S. nuclear-spying scandal in the late 1990s when Chinese-American nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, who worked at Los Alamos, was accused of supplying nuclear secrets to China.
Mr. Lee denied being a spy but was convicted of mishandling classified information, including top-secret computer tapes that were never found.
A CIA damage assessment later concluded that the Chinese had obtained secrets on every U.S. nuclear warhead, including the W-88, a small warhead that U.S. intelligence thinks has been copied for use on China's new short-range and long-range missiles.
U.S. officials said the incident involving the two diplomats was an intelligence-gathering mission, with the men probably testing Los Alamos security to see how guards react. Such information is useful for other intelligence-gathering activities, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The diplomats also might have been trying to recover material left by an agent or planning to meet with an agent, the officials said.
Mr. Roark said the guard post was one of several recently added to the Los Alamos complex as part of post-September 11 security upgrades.
It was the second time in the past six months that Chinese diplomats based in Los Angeles ended up in legal trouble.
Late last year, a Chinese official posted to the Los Angeles consulate was charged with speeding as he drove more than 100 mph in San Bernardino County. The incident resulted in a diplomatic protest note being sent to the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
One U.S. official said Washington expelled neither that Chinese official nor the two diplomats in the Los Alamos incident because of concerns that doing so would trigger expulsions of U.S. intelligence personnel in China.
A classified U.S. intelligence report produced in 1998 stated that China was one of the most aggressive intelligence threats against U.S. nuclear facilities.
"China represents an acute intelligence threat" to the Department of Energy, the report said. "It conducts a 'full-court press' consisting of massive numbers of collectors of all kinds, in the United States, in China and elsewhere abroad."
The report noted that Chinese intelligence gathering at the nuclear-weapons laboratories usually involves exploiting "natural scientist-to-scientist relationships."
"Chinese scientists nurture relationships with national laboratory counterparts, issuing invitations for them to travel to laboratories and conferences in China," it said.
U.S. officials said there has been no change in the report on Chinese activities targeting nuclear facilities.

10 U.S. Contractors in Iraq Penalized

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ten companies with billions of dollars in U.S. contracts for Iraq reconstruction have paid more than $300 million in penalties since 2000 to resolve allegations of bid rigging, fraud, delivery of faulty military parts and environmental damage.
The United States is paying more than $780 million to one British firm that was convicted of fraud on three federal construction projects and banned from U.S. government work during 2002, according to an Associated Press review of government documents.
A Virginia company convicted of rigging bids for American-funded projects in Egypt also has been awarded Iraq contracts worth hundreds of millions. And a third firm found guilty of environmental violations and bid rigging won U.S. Army approval for a subcontract to clean up an Iraqi harbor.
Seven other companies with Iraq reconstruction contracts have agreed to pay financial penalties without admitting wrongdoing. Together, the 10 companies have paid to resolve 30 alleged violations in the past four years. Six paid penalties more than once. But the companies have been awarded $7 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts.
"We have not made firms pay the price when they screw up," said Peter W. Singer, a former Pentagon official who worked on a task force overseeing military and contract work in the Balkans.
"But it's not the company's fault if it has a dumb client. I'm not blaming the companies, I'm blaming the government," said Singer, now a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
The contracts are legal because the Bush administration repealed regulations put in place by the Clinton administration that would have allowed officials to bar new government work for companies convicted or penalized during the previous three years.
Spokesmen for the companies defended the contracts, saying the penalties often were for violations committed years ago or by subsidiaries unrelated to the ones working in Iraq. Spokeswoman Pamela Blossom said AMEC, the convicted British firm, wrote new company ethics rules after its punishment.
"None of the people involved are with the company any more," said Blossom, whose firm paid $1.2 million in fines for contract fraud on projects in California and Missouri. "We're a much better company now."
Federal regulations require government contractors to have a "satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics." The government can ban unethical companies from getting new contracts through a process called debarment.
Companies often avoid debarment by agreeing to settle misconduct cases and pay penalties without admitting guilt. AMEC was the only one of the 10 punished Iraq contractors ever debarred, and it was banned for just one year.
If a U.S. company is not on the list of banned firms, it can compete for Iraq work, said Army Maj. Gary Tallman, a spokesman for the Iraq contract management office.
"If they pay their fine or do what they have to do to get off a debarment list, they are back in good standing and eligible to compete," Tallman said.
The Clinton administration tightened contracting rules shortly before leaving office in 2001, instructing officials that repeated violations of federal laws would make a company ineligible for new contracts. Officials still would have been able to award contracts to punished companies for overriding reasons such as national security.
The Bush administration suspended the new rules during its first three months in office, and revoked them in December 2001. Business groups had objected to the Clinton changes, arguing it was unfair to deny contracts for reasons unrelated to how well a firm could do the work.
The two largest government contractors in Iraq, Bechtel Corp. and Halliburton Co., have paid several penalties in the past three years.
Halliburton paid $2 million in 2002 to settle charges it inflated costs on a maintenance contract at now-closed Fort Ord in California. Vice President Dick Cheney's former company did not admit wrongdoing.
Halliburton took in $3.6 billion last year from contracts to serve U.S. troops and rebuild the oil industry in Iraq. Halliburton executives say the company is getting about $1 billion a month for Iraq work this year.
Federal authorities also are investigating whether Halliburton broke the law by using a subsidiary to do business in Iran, whether the company overcharged for work done for the Pentagon in the Balkans and whether it was involved in an alleged $180 million bribery scheme in Nigeria. The company admitted in 2003 that it improperly paid $2.4 million to a Nigerian tax official.

Bechtel paid more than $110,000 to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department in 2000 and 2001 to settle alleged safety and environmental violations. Bechtel has prime construction contracts in Iraq worth more than $2 billion.
"We were chosen on ability and cost," Bechtel spokesman Howard Menaker said.
Bechtel also hired three subcontractors in Iraq that have been fined more than $86 million in the past four years, though none had been banned from getting new contracts. Bechtel spokesman Francis Canavan said the company would reject subcontractors that are on the no-contracts list.

Other punished contractors include:

-American International Contractors Inc., which paid $4.7 million in fines in 2000 after pleading guilty to bid rigging on a U.S.-funded water project in Egypt. AICI has part of a $325 million contract to rebuild Iraq's transportation systems, has a share of a $500 million contract for emergency construction needs in the Pentagon's Central Command region, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan, and is in a partnership that has a $70 million construction contract at Al-Udeid air base in Qatar, used to support troops in Iraq. An AICI official who spoke to the AP declined to comment or give his name.

-Fluor Corp., which paid $8.5 million to the Defense Department in 2001 to settle charges it improperly billed the government for work benefiting its commercial clients. The company did not admit guilt. Fluor and AMEC created a joint venture that has $1.7 billion in contracts to rebuild Iraq's electricity, water, sewer and trash removal infrastructure.

-Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., which paid a $969,000 fine in 2002 for environmental damage in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Bechtel awarded the company a subcontract to clear the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock also pleaded guilty to price fixing on Army Corps of Engineers contracts in 1988. A company spokesman did not return messages seeking comment. Bechtel's Canavan said Bechtel told the Corps of Engineers it planned to hire Great Lakes Dredge & Dock when it applied for the contract.

- Northrop Grumman Corp., whose Vinnell Corp. subsidiary was awarded a $48 million contract to train the new Iraqi Army last year. Northrop Grumman has been penalized $191.7 million in the past four years, including $750,000 paid to the Pentagon in 2000 in a case involving allegations of providing faulty replacement parts for the JSTARS airborne surveillance system. A Northrop Grumman spokesman referred questions to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which said it excludes only companies banned by the federal government.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Justice Department to Investigate Judiciary Memo Scandal

By Jesse J. Holland Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 26, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department on Monday asked the new U.S. attorney in New York to investigate how Republicans got access to Democrats' computer memos in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A report by the Senate sergeant-at-arms earlier this year faulted two of committee chairman Orrin Hatch's former employees for the intrusion into the Democrats' computer documents. It says 4,670 files were found on a GOP aide's computer, "the majority of which appeared to be from folders belonging to Democratic staff."
Democrats have called for an outside investigation, and the Justice Department on Monday sent the case to David Kelley, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Kelley, a Democrat, took James Comey's position as U.S. attorney after Comey left to become deputy attorney general, the No. 2 job at the Justice Department.
Kelley is "an experienced prosecutor of the highest integrity and independence," said Assistant Attorney General William Moschella in a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. "We are confident the investigation will be handled in a thorough, fair, impartial and professional manner."
The Justice Department would not comment beyond the letter to Leahy.
"This is a serious matter that deserves and requires careful investigation," said Leahy, who requested the investigation. "The Senate sergeant-at-arms made a good start with his investigation and report. With the powers available to a federal prosecutor, this matter can now be more thoroughly investigated, so that those who engaged in criminal conduct may be brought to justice."
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called the appointment "a very good first step" and said Kelley is "independent" and "without conflicts."
"The only thing missing is for (Attorney General) John Ashcroft to recuse himself to avoid any potential conflict of interests," Schumer said.
Added Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas: "If there is to be an investigation, I'm encouraged to know that the decision will be made by professionals, not partisans. Now, perhaps, the Senate Judiciary Committee can get back to work."
The report by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle's office blamed the intrusion on former GOP aides Manuel Miranda, who worked for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, and Jason Lundell, a clerk who worked on nominations for Hatch. Miranda resigned during the dispute. Lundell left last year.
"The matter had to be referred to someone to review. I expect that any fair-minded, apolitical law enforcement professional will quickly conclude what legislators could not:...that no crime was committed," Miranda said. "I hope that this referral includes the charges of corruption filed against Democrat senators with the DOJ Office of Public Integrity."
Conservatives say the memos prove the Democrats colluded with liberal groups over which Bush nominees to block. One ethics complaint has been filed against Democrats Sen. Richard Durbin, of Illinois, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, of Massachusetts, based on the leaked information.

AP-ES-04-26-04 1904EDT
N. Korea Won't Open Border for South Aid

Associated Press Writer

DANDONG, China (AP) -- North Korea balked Monday at opening its heavily armed border to relief trucks from rival South Korea, even as international aid groups sought more help for thousands injured or made homeless by a massive train explosion.
As a cold rain fell on the devastated community of Ryongchon, relief workers warned that more food, blankets and medicine were needed immediately in the impoverished nation.
Video released by the United Nations showed patients squeezed two to a bed in shabby hospitals, with compresses over their eyes and facial injuries from being struck by a wave of glass, rubble and heat in Thursday's blast.
Aid workers said North Korea was short of even basic equipment like sutures and intravenous drips, and that donated goods were being used up as quickly as they could be supplied.
The Red Cross distributed a three-month supply of antibiotics, anesthetics and bandages to North Korean hospitals over the weekend, but "according to the hospitals, they have already used these medical supplies and have requested more," said Niels Juel, an official for the agency who is based in Beijing.
The casuality toll stood at 161 dead and more than 1,300 injured by the explosion of oil and chemicals, aid agencies said.
"The overall health system ... is very strained," said Brendan McDonald, a U.N. aid coordinator in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Electrical power and water supplies are "all inadequate," he said.
The Red Cross launched an emergency appeal Monday for $1.25 million in aid for North Korea. "Some families have lost all their belongings," Juel said. "Also, the water and sanitation system in that area would need to be restored."
Days after the catastrophe, details were still only trickling out from the secretive, communist North. Aid workers who first arrived in Ryongchon on Saturday described seeing huge craters, twisted railroad tracks and scorched buildings.
Nearly half of the dead were children in a school torn apart by the blast, and the disaster left thousands of residents homeless, the aid workers said.
One worker who toured a hospital in the nearby city of Sinuiju said that injured children lay on filing cabinets because there weren't enough beds. The hospital was "short of just about everything," said Tony Banbury, Asia regional director for the U.N. World Food Program, after his visit Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday the United States will give financial assistance to North Korea in response to the disaster but gave no further details.
The Bush administration is working with the United Nations and "we will be making an offer," Powell said.
Japan, Russia, Australia are among the countries that have already offered to send supplies. Neighboring China dispatched truckloads of tents, blankets and food across its border over the weekend.
But North Korea's border with South Korea remained sealed.
At a cargo depot near Seoul, Red Cross trucks loaded with medical supplies, bottled water, clothes and packages of instant noodles were awaiting the green light. But North Korea was hesitant Monday about allowing them across the Demilitarized Zone that has separated the two Koreas for over half a century.
The Pyongyang government also didn't respond to a South Korean offer to unload ships carrying relief goods at ports near Ryongchon.
Officials from North and South Korea planned to meet in the northern city of Kaesong on Tuesday to discuss relief operations.
"It is most important to have the relief goods arrive in the site of the explosion as quickly as possible," said South Korean Prime Minister Goh Kun. "By land or by sea, a quick means of transportation should be found."
The South Korean public has also mobilized, with civic groups and the news media launching donation campaigns.
The Koreas were divided at the end of World War II. Their border remains sealed after the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended without a peace treaty.
North Korea's Communist government relaxed its normally intense secrecy as it pleaded for international help. It has blamed the disaster on human error, saying the cargo of oil and chemicals ignited when workers knocked the train cars against power lines.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

North Korea Vows It Won't Transfer Nukes

Associated Press Writer
BEIJING (AP) -- North Korean officials angrily denied U.S. accusations that they might sell nuclear weapons to terrorists and offered to freeze a plutonium-based nuclear program in exchange for aid, an American researcher who visited the North said Saturday.
However, the officials wouldn't confirm whether Pyongyang has a second, uranium-based weapons program, a key sticking point in talks with the United States and other governments, said Selig S. Harrison of the Center for International Policy in Washington.
The comments, similar to previous North Korean offers, did not appear to represent any new concession that might revive progress in the six-nation talks aimed at persuading the North to eliminate its nuclear program.
North Korean leaders criticized U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's suggestion during a visit to China this month that the North might sell weapons to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network or other terror groups, Harrison said.
Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun said North Koreans "denounce al-Qaida," said Harrison, who returned from Pyongyang on Saturday and was en route to Washington.
"We are opposed to all types of terrorism and will never transfer our nuclear material to anyone else," he quoted Paek as saying. "Our nuclear program is solely for our own self-defense."
Harrison also met this week with Kim Yong Nam, the country's No. 2 leader; Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan and Lt. Gen. Ri Chan Bok, chief military liaison officer at the Demilitarized Zone on the border with South Korea.
According to Harrison, Kim Yong Nam said North Korea trades in missiles, but would never allow a transfer of nuclear material to al-Qaida or anyone else.
Harrison, a specialist in North Korean affairs, has visited the North six times since the 1980s.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Iraqis Want Sovereignty Restored but Welcome U.S. Security Assistance, Iraqi Minister Says

By Edith M. Lederer Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 26, 2004

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Iraqis want "complete sovereignty" restored on June 30 but will welcome U.S. assistance for security and will seek additional help through the United Nations, Iraqi Governing Council member Nesreen Berwari said Monday.
Berwari, the minister of public works who was the target of an assassination attempt last month, said Iraqis must take control and make decisions on "day-to-day life," including budgets and "how to move the country politically."
But they will need help with security, stabilization and building democratic institutions, and are seeking such assistance from the United Nations, she said.
"The situation so far doesn't look positive on the readiness of the world to support Iraqi security. The only country who is committed is the United States, and we're going to take that commitment and we welcome others. We need others to take part of it, too," Berwari said.
The shape of an Iraqi interim government expected to take power from the U.S.-led coalition on June 30 is still being formulated with help from U.N. special adviser Lakhdar Brahimi, who is scheduled to brief the Security Council Tuesday on his recent trip to Baghdad.
Brahimi has called for disbanding the 25-member U.S.-picked Governing Council on June 30 and replacing it with a government led by a prime minister, president and two vice presidents.
The council is expected to start debating a new U.N. resolution dealing with the interim government next month, and a number of potentially contentious issues already have emerged, including how much sovereignty that government will have.
Another issue is whether the Security Council will need to authorize the continued presence of the U.S.-led coalition force now in Iraq as well as a new, separate force whose sole job would be to protect returning U.N. staff. The United States recently started soliciting countries to contribute to this U.N. protection force.
"It's very important that the Iraqi people receive complete sovereignty," Berwari said. "What that means is decisions at local level should be done by Iraqi people. National decisions should be done by the national government. There are some issues that the Iraqi people will need support with, like security, like stabilization, and democratization."
But Chile's U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz said that regardless of the name, "there will be limited sovereignty anyhow because this will be a government that will be chosen as part of a political agreement and not as a result of direct elections."
The government's main duty will be to oversee the election process "so Iraqis can vote freely in January," he said.
Berwari said she was "very happy and positive" about the way a caretaker government was being selected. But she added that Iraqis should not have too many expectations about the new government and should focus instead on electing a permanent government in January.
She said the temporary laws adopted by the Governing Council to guide the transition need more details and shouldn't be scrapped or changed as some have suggested, stressing that this would be "a mistake that will cause us time and energy."
The coalition made "mistakes" a year ago in the critical area of security, including delaying giving responsibilities to Iraqis to handle security and disbanding the Iraqi army, Berwari said.

AP-ES-04-26-04 2023EDT


FBI Agent Says Plastic at Bombing Scene Matched Barrels Found at Terry Nichols Home

By Tim Talley Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 26, 2004

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) - Charred bits of plastic that fell from the sky after the Oklahoma City bombing are chemically similar to plastic barrels found at the home of Terry Nichols, a federal investigator testified Monday at Nichols' murder trial.
Four of the 55-gallon barrels sat within arms' length of Nichols' jury as FBI agent Richard Buechele, who worked at the agency's crime lab in Washington when the bombing of the federal building occurred, testified about their chemical composition.
Buechele said the plastic shards and the barrels found at Nichols' Kansas home days afterward were both high-density polyethylene plastic.
FBI agent Gregory Carl said investigators found the small pieces of plastic in debris on top of the Journal Record Building, located across a parking lot from the federal building, four days after the bombing.
The April 19, 1995, bombing killed 168 people. The convicted mastermind, Timothy McVeigh, was executed in 2001.
During Monday's testimony, the jury got a close look at wreckage of the truck used in the bombing.
Jurors leaned forward in their chairs and stood to view the twisted and charred parts, including sections of the truck's frame, a 250-pound chunk of the rear axle and pieces of the vehicle's shattered engine.
Nichols, 49, was convicted in 1997 on federal charges in the bombing and was sentenced to life in prison. He is now on trial in Oklahoma state court on murder charges that could bring the death penalty.
Prosecutors have said they expect to rest their case on May 3 or 4.
Nichols' attorneys are expected to put the FBI crime lab itself on trial and argue that the forensic testimony in unreliable because of laboratory contamination and mishandling of evidence.

AP-ES-04-26-04 2033EDT


State could save $150 million from Medicare discount card

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The state's prescription-drug program for low-income elderly will save up to $150 million over the next two years from Medicare's new discount drug card program, officials said.
The Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly - or PACE - will automatically enroll about 150,000 recipients who qualify for a discount card sponsored by the program.
"We will save about $150 million between June 2004 and March 31, 2006, on spending of $1 billion," said Tom Snedden, the director of PACE. "That's not bad."
The cards provide percentage discounts on the price of some medications, but the additional feature that stands to benefit PACE is a $600 credit toward purchase of medications for low-income cardholders.
The savings will allow PACE to waive some $6 co-payments that the low-income recipients otherwise pay to the state program. Qualifying individuals make less than $12,569 per year, and couples less than $16,862.
Cards are free to low-income Medicare beneficiaries. While higher-income people can be charged up to $30 per year for a card, Snedden said the state will offer a drug card free to every Pennsylvanian on Medicare.
Gary Miller, a spokesman for the Department of Aging, said PACE officials were not ready to detail those plans, but would do so in the coming days.
Beginning Thursday, the Medicare Web site will provide drug price comparisons and tell Medicare recipients where they can use the various cards. The same information will be available from operators at 1-800-MEDICARE.
Enrollment begins May 3, and the discount cards can be used starting in June. Different pharmacies will accept different cards and companies can start marketing the drug cards in May.
The cards are intended as a temporary measure until prescription drug insurance under Medicare begins in 2006. The Bush administration says Medicare clients who use the cards should save 10 percent to 25 percent off their prescription drug costs. Critics say the percentages will be much lower.
In Pennsylvania, 17 companies plan to offer discount cards that will provide savings through the end of the year. In the last six weeks of the year, Medicare beneficiaries can choose to either renew their cards or select one from a different company for discounts during 2005.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Israel Identifies New Hamas Leader

Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Mahmoud Zahar, a 53-year-old Egyptian-trained physician whose son was killed in an Israeli airstrike, was identified by Israel on Monday as the new Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip. Israeli officials signaled he won't be targeted for death if the militant group halts suicide attacks.
Hamas, however, refused to reveal the name of its leader for fear he will be assassinated like his two predecessors.
Late Monday, two Palestinians were killed in an incident near the Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza. Palestinian security officials said there was an explosion followed by machine gun fire. First reports said the two were killed when a rocket they were setting up exploded prematurely. The Israeli military said it had no forces in the area.
Also Monday, Israeli troops killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy and seriously wounded a 15-year-old girl near Israeli settlements in Gaza. The girl, described as mentally retarded, had wandered into a restricted area.
The Palestinian attorney general said he would speed up prosecution of dozens of suspected collaborators with Israel and search for those who helped Israel kill Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi on April 17. Fifty-three alleged informers are in Palestinian custody awaiting trial.
Rantisi, the successor of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin, himself assassinated by Israel, had taken extreme precautions, but Israel spotted him when he made a rare visit home and killed him in with a missile attack.
Hamas declared after Rantisi's death that it would not disclose the name of his replacement. However, speculation centered on Zahar - Rantisi's deputy, Yassin's personal physician and for years one of the most visible and uncompromising Hamas spokesmen.
Three Israeli newspapers on Monday identified Zahar as the group's new leader. Several days ago, Zahar told reporters Hamas would not disclose the name of the new leader but did not deny he had the title.
Israel's military chief, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, told the Yediot Ahronot daily the new Hamas leader had inherited the post "automatically" and reluctantly accepted the position. Yaalon also signaled Israel would avoid attacking him as long as the group remains quiet.
"He doesn't want it, and he is apparently avoiding making decisions, and he is apparently avoiding terrorism," Yaalon said. "Anyone who doesn't use terrorism against us, we do not deal with."
Yaalon did not identify the Hamas leader, but military officials said he was referring to Zahar. The officials said it is impossible to identify the leader with certainty because of Hamas' fluid leadership structure.
Zahar has escaped two Israeli attempts on his life, most recently in September when his eldest son and a bodyguard were killed. Zahar rejects any settlement with Israel and compromise with the Palestinian Authority.
In Washington, the CIA declined to comment on whether Zahar is the new Hamas leader.
In the Gaza violence, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the back by Israeli army fire and died, Palestinian medical workers said. The boy was among several youths who had climbed sand dunes to watch soldiers deployed around the Israeli settlement of Nissanit in northern Gaza.
Witnesses and Palestinian security officials said the boys were about 700 yards from an Israeli watchtower when the teen was killed.
Military officials said soldiers used non-lethal means to disperse stone throwers near a settlement and did not know about a boy who was shot.
Medical workers also said a 15-year-old, mentally handicapped girl was seriously wounded after approaching the Israeli settlement of Morag near the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza.
Military officials said soldiers saw a woman running toward the settlement in an area off-limits to Palestinians, assumed she was attacking the settlement and opened fire after she ignored calls to stop and warning shots. They said the settlement has been a frequent target of Palestinian militants.
Morag and the other 20 Jewish settlements in Gaza and Israeli military installations would be removed under Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "unilateral disengagement" plan. However, Palestinians suspect Sharon's real agenda is to trade the small settlements in Gaza for a permanent hold on most of the West Bank, where 90 percent of Israeli settlers live.
In an interview Monday on the Al-Arabiya satellite TV channel, former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians should not cooperate with the Israeli withdrawal.
He also harshly criticized President Bush, who gave backing to the main points of Sharon's plan.
"America has now no credibility at all," Abbas said.
On Sunday, members of Sharon's Likud Party vote in a referendum on the withdrawal plan. Polls indicate that the outcome will be close.
Interviewed on Israel TV during an independence day broadcast Monday evening, Sharon was confident that by this time next year, "we will be in the midst of disengagement from Gaza. This is good for Israel, good for Israel's security, good for the economy and good for peace, which I believe will come one day."
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Oily energy promises

By Milton R. Copulos

Burger King says, "Have it your way." But where energy and the environment are concerned, John Kerry goes them one better. He says, "Have it both ways."
Mr. Kerry's promises are certainly impressive. For example:

* Mr. Kerry says he will cut U.S. oil use by 2 million barrels per day by raising the CAFE standard -- the federal government's mandatory fleet fuel efficiency rule for cars and light trucks -- to 36 miles per gallon by 2015.
* He says he will provide $2 billion a year in new incentives for alternative fuels and advanced automotive technologies. He says he will spend $1 billion a year on new "clean coal" technologies and will have the U.S. generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
*And that's not all. He will make "Big Oil" foot the bill.
It all seems too good to be true -- because it is.
Take for example, Mr. Kerry's claim he will eliminate 2 million barrels a day of oil use -- roughly equivalent, he is quick to note, to our Persian Gulf imports -- by improving automobile mileage. For several reasons, the numbers don't compute.
First, most cars on the road in 2015 will be incapable of achieving the 36 mpg Mr. Kerry wants. The median lifespan of automobiles in the U.S. is 16.9 years. This means, at best, only around 16 percent of the fleet would be affected.
Second, Americans have increasingly opted for larger vehicles like SUVs. To achieve Mr. Kerry's target, either enormous gains would be needed on SUV fuel efficiency, or the buying public must forgo the beloved behemoths.
Third, Mr. Kerry does account for growth of the automotive fleet -- the reason oil consumption for transportation has jumped 46.4 percent over the past three decades despite doubled fuel efficiency. Autos are nearly twice as efficient, but there are more than twice as many on the road.
So what's the bottom line?
Assuming Mr. Kerry's target is met, the best we could do is to reduce transportation-sector oil consumption by a little less than 890,000 barrels per day -- assuming no new automobiles or light trucks are added to the fleet.
The math on Mr. Kerry's incentives for new automotive technologies and clean coal is just as wrong. He says he will use oil and gas royalties to pay for his incentives. Unfortunately, they're already spoken for.
In 2003, $150 million in federal oil and gas royalties went to the Historic Preservation Fund. Almost $172 million went to the Indian Tribes. Another $899 million went to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and more than $753 million to the Reclamation Fund. More than $1 billion went to the states.
In some years, there was still enough left in the federal share of royalty income after such payments to underwrite Mr. Kerry's $3 billion in proposed incentives. But in many others, there was not. Moreover, if the federal share of royalty income is diverted from general treasury revenues to other purposes, it would have to be made up from somewhere.
Also, Mr. Kerry insists he will continue restrictions on drilling offshore, in Alaska and in other "environmentally sensitive" areas. He doesn't seem to understand that if you don't drill, there is no oil or gas production to generate royalties.
This contradictory approach to energy and the environment also extends to coal, which Mr. Kerry would promote with incentives while calling for restrictions on carbon emissions that would make burning the fuel difficult if not impossible.
In supporting his claims about shifting to renewable energy for electricity generation, Mr. Kerry proudly points to California, which, he notes, gets more than 13 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. While this is true, the reason is that California is one of the largest consumers of hydroelectric power from the huge federal dam system. Almost 90 percent of its "renewable" electric power generation comes from this source. With geothermal power included, they account for 99.9 percent of California's "renewable" electricity generation.
But geothermal sites are limited, and last I looked no one is building a new Hoover Dam. That leaves wind, solar and biomass. Electricity from these sources, however, is between 2 and 5 times more expensive than conventional technologies. Mr. Kerry doesn't mention that. Nor does he mention routine environmental opposition to wind power projects.
In the final analysis, Mr. Kerry's energy and environmental plan is long on promises, short on practical solutions. It brings to mind an old Wendy's burger slogan: "Where's the beef?"

Milton R. Copulos was a member for 12 years of the National Petroleum Council, the top-level advisory body on oil and gas, and has been an adviser to four energy secretaries.

Posted by maximpost at 10:05 PM EDT
Sunday, 25 April 2004

Investigate the United Nations Oil-for-Food Fraud
by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips
Backgrounder #1748

April 21, 2004 | |

There is mounting evidence that the United Nations Oil-for-Food program, originally conceived as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, was subverted by Saddam Hussein's regime and manipulated to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam's dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated $10 billion from the Oil-for-Food program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq--all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats. The members of the U.N. staff administering the program have been accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity with the Iraqi regime in perpetrating the biggest scandal in U.N. history.

The Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) has already started its own investigation into the United Nations' handling of Oil-for-Food, headed by Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British businessman and political adviser. Hankes-Drielsma has commissioned KPMG International, a private accounting firm, to sift through the mountains of evidence and report its findings. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), has instructed all CPA offices to cooperate with the probe and preserve all Oil-for-Food paperwork.

The U.S. Congress has also begun to investigate the Oil-for-Food scam.1 The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held initial hearings on April 7. The House International Relations Committee and the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations will also hold hearings.

The hearings, combined with the IGC probe, have prompted U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to call for an "independent" inquiry, appointed by Annan himself. He has appointed a three-man commission headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, with South African Judge Richard Goldstone and Swiss lawyer Mark Pieth as the other two members.

While this is a step in the right direction, however, there is no guarantee that this inquiry will be fully independent or impartial. Nor will the commission have the power to bring criminal charges or force U.N. member states to cooperate. It bears all the hallmarks of an elaborate paper tiger with no real teeth.

What is required is a Security Council-appointed investigation mandated by a U.N. resolution, with powers of criminal prosecution. In addition, the Bush Administration should launch its own investigation of the Oil-for-Food program and link it to a sustained U.S.-led campaign to reform the United Nations.


The Security Council should appoint an independent investigation into Oil-for-Food, completely separate from the U.N. bureaucracy and staffed by non-U.N. personnel. Kofi Annan's handpicked commission of inquiry, while led by distinguished figures, lacks real power and credibility. The U.N. Secretary General should not be in a position to select members of a commission investigating allegations against his own organization.
The United States and Great Britain should take the lead by putting forward a U.N. resolution calling for a Security Council-appointed investigation. France and Russia may initially try to block such a resolution, since French and Russian politicians and businessmen have been heavily implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal. However, the U.S. is likely to gain majority support in the Security Council: France and Russia will find it politically difficult to exercise their veto power.
A leading international accounting firm with no previous ties to the U.N. should be hired to help conduct the investigation, alongside top criminal investigators. Investigators should be drawn from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Interpol, Scotland Yard, and other leading criminal investigative units.
If the Security Council investigation recommends that criminal charges be brought against U.N. employees, those identified should be suspended pending resolution of the charges and have their diplomatic immunity waived to permit trial. U.N. officials and individuals implicated with criminal activity in the Oil-for-Food fraud should then be extradited to face trial in Iraq. Since the Iraqi people were the victims of the Oil-for-Food scam, it is appropriate that the Iraqi legal system try to sentence those responsible. If convicted, their U.N. employment should be terminated.
The Bush Administration, backed by Congress, should launch its own separate investigation into the United Nations' handling of the Oil-for-Food program. The United States should call for fundamental reform of the U.N. system, an annual external audit of the world body, and a Security Council-imposed code of conduct for all U.N. employees. Long-term U.S. funding of the United Nations should be made dependent upon widespread and satisfactory reform within the U.N.
History of the Oil-for-Food Program
The Security Council established the Oil-for-Food program in 1995 "as a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people" while economic sanctions remained in place.2 Of Iraq's population of 24 million, 60 percent were dependent on food shipments administered through Oil-for-Food.

Oil-for-Food was the United Nations' biggest program anywhere in the world. As Claudia Rosett pointed out in The Wall Street Journal, the U.N. oversaw "a flow of funds averaging at least $15 billion a year, more than five times the U.N.'s core annual budget."3 Oil-for-Food was administered by 10 U.N. agencies employing over 1,000 staff internationally and in New York, as well as 3,000 Iraqi nationals. The U.N. collected a 2.2 percent commission on every barrel of oil sold, generating more than $1 billion in revenue.

Until 2001, all Iraqi oil revenues were held in an escrow account run solely by Banque Nationale de Paris. The money was later kept by several unnamed international banks, all approved by Saddam's regime.

The program was shrouded in secrecy, with little transparency or public accountability. There was no system of external auditing or publishing of accounts. The identity of the banks holding the Iraqi funds was kept secret. Oil-for-Food became a cash cow for the U.N. and a lucrative source of contracts for Russian and French companies. The Times of London calculated that from 1996 to 2003, Russian companies received $7.3 billion of business through Oil-for-Food, and French firms earned $3.7 billion.4

Oil for Corruption
In the 12 months since the fall of the Iraqi dictatorship, a clear picture has emerged of how Saddam Hussein abused the United Nations' Oil-for-Food program. The Iraqi Governing Council has begun to release critical information detailing how, in the words of The New York Times, "Saddam Hussein's government systematically extracted billions of dollars in kickbacks from companies doing business with Iraq, funneling most of the illicit funds through a network of foreign bank accounts in violation of United Nations sanctions." In effect the program was little more than "an open bazaar of payoffs, favoritism and kickbacks."5

Between 1997 and 2002, the Oil-for-Food program generated over $67 billion in revenues for the Iraqi regime. With little U.N. oversight, the Iraqi dictatorship was able to circumvent and exploit the program. It is suspected of selling Iraqi oil at bargain basement prices that benefited numerous middlemen while overpaying for various imports, which rewarded suppliers. The Iraqis then demanded kickbacks from both groups. The program was officially ended in November 2003.

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that the Saddam Hussein regime generated $10.1 billion in illegal revenues by exploiting the Oil-for-Food program, including $5.7 billion from oil smuggling and $4.4 billion in "illicit surcharges on oil sales and after-sales charges on suppliers."6 The scale of the fraud was far more extensive than the GAO had previously estimated.

According to the GAO, the oil was smuggled by pipeline into Syria, by ship through the Persian Gulf, and by truck across the borders of Turkey and Jordan. Oil purchasers were charged a surcharge of up to 50 cents per oil barrel, with an added commission of 5 percent to 10 percent of the commodity contract. A U.S. Department of Defense study cited by the GAO evaluated 759 contracts administered through the Oil-for-Food program and found that nearly half had been overpriced by an average of 21 percent.7

An International Network of Beneficiaries
Emerging from the evidence is a mosaic of international corruption involving a patchwork of politicians and businesses across the world that benefited from the Oil-for-Food program and helped to keep Hussein in power. The Iraqi Oil Ministry recently released a partial list of beneficiaries: 270 names of individuals, political entities, and companies from across the world who received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein's regime, allegedly at below-market prices.8

The list includes former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, the "director of the Russian President's office," the Russian Communist Party, the Ukraine Communist Party, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the son of Lebanese President Emile Lahud, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, and George Galloway, a British Member of Parliament.

Ominously, the list also implicates U.N. Assistant Secretary General Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Oil-for-Food program, who has stringently denied any wrongdoing. Sevan, a longtime U.N. bureaucrat with close ties to Kofi Annan, has taken an extended vacation, pending retirement later this month.

Kofi Annan's son Kojo may also be implicated in the mushrooming scandal. Kojo Annan had ties to Cotecna Inspection SA, a Swiss-based company that received a contract for inspecting goods shipped to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food program. The younger Annan worked for Cotecna in the mid-1990s and became a consultant to the company until shortly before it won the Oil-for-Food contract.9 Cotecna, reportedly implicated in earlier bribery scandals, did not disclose this potential conflict of interest, and neither did the United Nations.

France, Russia, and Saddam
No fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names appear on the Iraqi Oil Ministry list.10 The Russian government is alleged to have received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein.

The close ties between French and Russian politicians and the Iraqi regime may have been an important factor in influencing their governments' decision to oppose Hussein's removal from power. They also highlight the close working relationships between Moscow and Baghdad and between Paris and Baghdad, and the huge French and Russian financial interests in pre-liberation Iraq.

Prior to the regime change in April 2003, French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime that covered roughly 40 percent of the country's oil wealth. French oil giant Total Fina Elf had won contracts to develop the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields in southern Iraq, which contain an estimated 26 billion barrels of oil (25 percent of Iraq's oil reserves). Russian company Lukoil had won the contract to develop the West Qurna field, also in southern Iraq, which has an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil.11

Political and military ties between Moscow and Baghdad were extensive. Documents found in the bombed-out headquarters of the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi intelligence service under Hussein) reveal the full extent of intelligence cooperation between the Russian and Iraqi governments. According to reports in the London Sunday Telegraph:

Russia provided Saddam Hussein's regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders. Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for "hits" in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries.12
The Russians are also believed to have sold arms to Iraq illegally right up until the outbreak of war with the United States in March 2003. The Bush Administration has accused Russian arms dealers of selling anti-tank guided missiles, electronic jamming equipment, and thousands of night vision goggles to the Iraqis in open violation of U.N. sanctions.13 During Hussein's dictatorship, Russia reportedly provided him with $14 billion worth of arms shipments.14

Evidence has also come to light of intimate political cooperation between Paris and Baghdad in the period leading up to the U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein. Documents found in the wreckage of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry reveal that "Paris shared with Baghdad the contents of private transatlantic meetings and diplomatic traffic from Washington."15

Officials in the French Foreign Office reportedly shared information with their Iraqi counterparts on a sensitive meeting between former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Details of talks between French President Jacques Chirac and President George W. Bush were also reportedly passed on to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry by the French ambassador in Baghdad.

A Security Council Investigation
As the most powerful member of the U.N. Security Council, the United States, together with its closest ally, the United Kingdom, should call for a wide-ranging and in-depth independent investigation into the way in which the U.N. handled the Oil-for-Food program.

The investigation should be appointed by the Security Council but should be completely independent of the United Nations and made up of non-U.N. employees. Great care should be exercised by the United States and Great Britain to prevent such an investigation from being unduly influenced by other Security Council members who may have a vested interest in protecting their own officials.

The Security Council should appoint an international team of special criminal investigators to head the inquiry. They should work alongside a specialist team of auditors drawn from a leading accounting firm without ties to the United Nations. The team of special investigators should be drawn from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and international bodies such as Interpol. Nations that are heavily implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal should be excluded from contributing investigators.

Prosecution of U.N. Officials in Iraqi Courts
After the handover of power in Iraq on June 30, the Iraqi courts would be the appropriate venue for trying and sentencing individuals found to have been implicated in criminal wrongdoing by a Security Council-appointed investigation. The United Nations should suspend--and, if they are convicted, terminate the employment of--U.N. officials who are alleged to have received kickbacks from the Saddam Hussein regime.

Those charged should be stripped of diplomatic immunity and subject to extradition to Iraq, upon request of the new Iraqi government. The Coalition Provisional Authority should work closely with the Iraqi Governing Council to prepare for possible trials. Anyone convicted should be stripped of all U.N. pension rights.

In addition, the United States should press other governments to extradite their citizens who are guilty of criminal activity related to the Oil-for-Food program so that they may face trial in Iraq.

Reform the United Nations
The Oil-for-Food scandal underlines the need for fundamental reform of the United Nations.16 The investigation into the Oil-for-Food fraud should prompt major reform in how the U.N. is managed and how the United States funds the U.N. A thorough external audit of the United Nations is needed. The U.N. must provide accountability, transparency, and value for money.

Since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, the United States has been the biggest contributor to the U.N. The U.S. currently contributes 22 percent of the U.N.'s regular budget. In contrast, France contributes 6.4 percent, Britain 5.54 percent, China 1.53 percent, and Russia 1.2 percent. Total U.S. contributions to the U.N. system in 2001 totaled $3.5 billion, including $612 million in assessed contributions to the U.N. regular budget, $712 million toward U.N. peacekeeping, and $2.2 billion in voluntary contributions.17

The United States should reconsider its level of U.N. funding and link it directly to the pace of U.N. reform. The Bush Administration should call upon other leading member states, such as France, Russia, and China, to bear a larger share of the financial burden.

What the U.S. Should Do
The U.S. should push for action in 10 areas:

A Security Council resolution. In order to be effective, an independent investigation should be appointed by the Security Council. The U.S. and the U.K. should put forward a joint resolution calling for an exhaustive independent investigation into the Oil-for-Food scandal. France and Russia should be shamed into supporting such a resolution. Washington and London should closely coordinate their strategy at the U.N.
No quid pro quo. The Bush Administration will be under heavy pressure from some Security Council members to back away from calling for a more in-depth investigation in return for a new U.N. resolution supporting U.S.-British plans for the handover of power in Iraq. The United States must stand firm on the Oil-for-Food issue and separate it from the debate on an Iraq resolution.
Opening of U.N. accounts. U.N. Oil-for-Food accounts should be opened to full public scrutiny by private-sector auditors in order to uncover possible financial and other irregularities. Individuals and businesses that profited illegally from the Oil-for-Food program should be held responsible.
Investigation of U.N. officials. Senior U.N. bureaucrats with responsibility for running the Oil-for-Food program should be investigated and held accountable for their actions. In particular, the role played by Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Office of Iraq Programs, should be carefully scrutinized. All U.N. officials implicated in criminal activity by special investigators should be suspended, stripped of diplomatic immunity, subjected to extradition, and have their employment terminated without pension rights if they are convicted.
Extradition to Iraq. The United States should press the Security Council to recommend waiving diplomatic immunity for certain crimes involving the Oil-for-Food program. The U.S. should also encourage individual governments to extradite to Iraq those of their citizens who have committed crimes relating to the Oil-for-Food program, to the same extent they would extradite citizens for any other serious crime.
The role of Kofi Annan. A Security Council-appointed investigation into Oil-for-Food should examine the Secretary General's role in overseeing the program and his failure to halt the widespread abuse. Annan must bear ultimate responsibility for the program's massive failings. If he is found to have deliberately turned a blind eye to the corruption and criminal activity, the United States should call for his resignation.
U.N. reform. The congressional investigation into Oil-for-Food should act as a catalyst for long-overdue reform of the U.N. system. Future U.S. funding of the United Nations must be dependent on substantial, not cosmetic, reform of the organization. Failure to prosecute U.N. officials implicated in wrongdoing should also result in reduced U.S. funding.
Future sanctions regimes. The mismanagement of the Oil-for-Food program raises serious doubts about the U.N.'s ability to manage future programs of a similar scale. The United Nations should never again administer an international sanctions regime.
A code of conduct for U.N. officials. The Oil-for-Food scandal reinforces the need for the Security Council to impose a code of conduct on U.N. employees. The "anything goes" approach that is pervasive across the U.N. system is unacceptable and should no longer be tolerated.
Limit the role of the U.N. in Iraq. The huge scandal surrounding the U.N.'s handling of the Oil-for-Food program clearly demonstrates that the U.N. cannot be entrusted with a major management role in Iraq. The United States was right to exclude the U.N. from a key role in administering post-war Iraq--the U.N. was clearly incapable of performing such a function. Handing political and military power over to the U.N. in Iraq now would be a huge strategic error.
The abuse of the Oil-for-Food program was the result of a staggering management failure by the United Nations and has raised troubling questions about the U.N.'s credibility and competence. The Oil-for-Food debacle reinforces the need for sweeping reform of the U.N. bureaucracy and the need for an annual external audit of its accounts.

Overall responsibility for one of the biggest financial scandals of modern times should lie with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The U.N.'s inability to manage the Oil-for-Food program successfully is a spectacular failure of his leadership.

The links between Saddam Hussein's regime and leading European companies and politicians were extensive. The Pentagon was correct to bar companies from countries that had opposed regime change in Iraq, such as France and Russia, from bidding for U.S.-funded contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq. Russian and French companies, in particular, benefited from the exploitation of the Oil-for-Food program.

The Oil-for-Food fiasco reinforces President Bush's point that the U.N. is in danger of becoming an irrelevance on the world stage. The United Nations continues to decline as a credible international force and will go the way of the League of Nations unless it is radically reformed and restructured.

The U.N.'s reputation has been heavily scarred by its handling of the Oil-for-Food program and its failure to support Saddam Hussein's removal from power. The United Nations as an organization will have to work extremely hard in the coming years to mend its battered image and restore the faith of both the Iraqi and American peoples, as well as that of the wider international community.

Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., is Fellow in Anglo-American Security Policy and James Phillips is Research Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation. The authors are grateful to Heritage Research Fellow Brett Schaefer for his advice and recommendations.


1. For background, see Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips, "The UN Oil for Food Scam: Time for Hearings," Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 438, March 1, 2004, at

2. U.N. Security Council Resolution 986, April 14, 1995, at

3. Claudia Rosett, "Oil, Food and a Whole Lot of Questions," The New York Times, April 18, 2003, at

4. James Bone, "Saddam's Billions from Oil for Food Corruption," The Times (London), April 23, 2003.

5. See Susan Sachs, "Hussein's Regime Skimmed Billions from Aid Program," The New York Times, February 29, 2004, at

6. Joseph A. Christoff and Davi M. D'Agostino, "Recovering Iraq's Assets: Preliminary Observations on U.S. Efforts and Challenges," testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives, March 18, 2004, at

7. Ibid.

8. The names were published in January in the Arabic Iraqi newspaper Al Mada and subsequently reported on in Therese Raphael, "Saddam's Global Payroll," The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2004.

9. Claudia Rosett, "Turtle Bay's Carnival of Corruption: Digging Deeper into the Scandalous Oil for Food Program," National Review, March 21, 2004, at

10. For a full list of names by nationality, see Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli, The Saddam Oil Vouchers Affair, Middle East Media Research Institute, February 20, 2004, at

11. See Carrie Satterlee, "Facts on Who Benefits from Keeping Saddam Hussein in Power," Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 217, February 28, 2003, at

12. David Harrison, "Revealed: Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam," The Sunday Telegraph (London), April 13, 2003, at www.telegraph.

13. Peter Slevin, "3 Russian Firms' Deals Anger U.S.," The Washington Post, March 23, 2003, at A13057-2003Mar23.

14. Harrison, "Revealed: Russia Spied."

15. Matthew Campbell, "Dossier Reveals France Briefed Iraq on U.S. Plans," The Sunday Times (London), April 27, 2003.

16. For information on the issue of U.N. reform, see Nile Gardiner and Baker Spring, "Reform the United Nations," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1700, October 27, 2003, at

17. Figures cited in Vita Bite, UN System Funding: Congressional Issues, Congressional Research Service, September 10, 2003. Voluntary contributions go toward specialist U.N. programs such as the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations Development Program.

? 1995 - 2004 The Heritage Foundation
All Rights Reserved.
The United Nations Oil for Food Fraud: How the U.S. Should Respond
by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D.

April 21, 2004 | printer-friendly format |

Statement of Nile Gardiner, Ph.D.,[1]Fellow in Anglo-American Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation[2], to the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, on April 21, 2004

There is mounting evidence that the United Nations Oil for Food program, originally conceived as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, was subverted by Saddam Hussein's regime and manipulated to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam's dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated ten billion dollars from the Oil for Food program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq, all under the noses of UN bureaucrats. The UN staff administering the program are accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity in allowing the Iraqi regime to perpetrate the biggest scandal in UN history.

The Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) has already appointed its own investigation into the United Nations' handling of Oil for Food, headed by Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British businessman and political adviser. Hankes-Drielsma has commissioned the private accounting firm KPMG International to sift through mountains of evidence and write a report summarizing its findings. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), has instructed all offices of the occupying authority to cooperate with the probe and preserve all paperwork related to the Oil for Food program.

Congress has also begun to investigate the Oil for Food Scam[3], with initial hearings held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 7. Further hearings are being held by the House International Relations Committee and the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations.

The hearings, combined with the IGC probe, have prompted UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to call for an `independent' inquiry, appointed personally by Annan himself. The three-man commission is to be headed by former United States Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who will be joined by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, and Swiss lawyer Mark Pieth. While this is a step in the right direction, there is no guarantee that this inquiry will be fully independent or impartial. Nor does it possess the power to press criminal charges or force the cooperation of UN member states. It bears all the hallmarks of an elaborate paper tiger with no real teeth.

What is required is a Security Council-appointed investigation mandated by a UN resolution, with powers of criminal prosecution. In addition, the Bush Administration should launch its own investigation into the Oil for Food program, and link it to a sustained U.S.-led campaign to reform the United Nations.

An independent investigation into Oil for Food must be appointed by the Security Council, and be completely independent of the UN bureaucracy, and staffed by non-UN personnel. Kofi Annan's hand-picked commission of inquiry, while led by distinguished figures, lacks real power and credibility. The UN Secretary General should not be in a position to select members of a commission investigating allegations against his own organization.
The United States and Great Britain should take the lead by putting forward a UN resolution calling for a Security Council-appointed investigation. France and Russia may initially try to block such a resolution, as politicians and businessmen from both nations are heavily implicated in the Oil for Food scandal. The U.S. is though likely to gain majority support in the Security Council, and Paris and Moscow will find it politically difficult to exercise their veto power.
A leading international accounting firm with no previous ties to the UN should be hired to help conduct the investigation, alongside top criminal investigators. Investigators should be drawn from the FBI, Interpol, Scotland Yard and other leading criminal investigative units.
If the Security Council investigation recommends that criminal charges be brought against UN employees, those identified should be suspended pending resolution of the charges and have their diplomatic immunity waived to permit trial. UN officials and individuals alleged by the investigation to have participated in criminal activity in relation to Oil for Food should then be extradited to face trial in Iraq. As the Iraqi people were the victims of the ruthless exploitation of the Oil for Food program, it is appropriate that the Iraqi legal system try and sentence those responsible. If convicted they should also have their UN employment terminated.
The Bush Administration, backed by Congress, should launch its own separate investigation into the United Nations' handling of the Oil for Food program. The United States should call for fundamental reform of the UN system, an annual external audit of the world body, and a Security Council-imposed code of conduct for all UN employees. Long-term U.S. funding of the United Nations should be made dependent upon widespread and satisfactory reform within the UN.
History of the Oil for Food Program

The Oil for Food program was established by the United Nations Security Council through Security Council Resolution 986 in 1995 "as a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people" while economic sanctions remained in place. Of Iraq's population of 24 million, 60 percent were dependent on food shipments administered through Oil for Food.

Oil for Food was the United Nations' biggest program anywhere in the world. As Claudia Rosett pointed out in The Wall Street Journal, the UN oversaw "a flow of funds averaging at least $15 billion a year, more than five times the UN's core annual budget."[4] Oil for Food was administered by 10 UN agencies employing over 1,000 staff internationally and in New York, as well as 3,000 Iraqi nationals. The UN collected a 2.2 percent commission on every barrel of oil sold, generating more than $1 billion in revenue.

Until 2001, all Iraqi oil revenues were held in an escrow account run solely by Banque Nationale de Paris. The money was later kept by several unnamed international banks, all approved by Saddam's regime. The program was shrouded in a veil of secrecy, with little transparency or public accountability. There was no system of external auditing or publishing of accounts. The identity of the banks holding the Iraqi funds was kept secret. Oil for Food became a cash cow for the UN and a lucrative source of contracts for Russian and French companies. The Times of London has calculated that over the period 1996 to 2003, Russian companies received $7.3 billion of business through Oil for Food; French firms earned $3.7 billion.[5]

Oil for Corruption

In the twelve months since the downfall of the Iraqi dictatorship, a clearer picture has emerged of how Saddam Hussein abused the United Nations Oil for Food program. The Iraqi Governing Council has begun to release critical information detailing how, in the words of The New York Times, "Saddam Hussein's government systematically extracted billions of dollars in kickbacks from companies doing business with Iraq, funneling most of the illicit funds through a network of foreign bank accounts in violation of United Nations sanctions." In effect the program was little more than "an open bazaar of payoffs, favoritism and kickbacks."[6]

Between 1997 and 2002, the Oil for Food program generated over $67 billion in revenues for the Iraqi regime. With little oversight from the UN, the Iraqi dictatorship was able both to circumvent and to exploit the Oil for Food program. It is suspected of selling its oil at bargain basement prices that benefited numerous middlemen while overpaying for various imports, which allowed it to reward suppliers. The Iraqis then demanded kickbacks from both groups. The program was officially brought to an end in November 2003.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that the Saddam Hussein regime generated $10.1 billion in illegal revenues by exploiting the Oil for Food program. This figure includes $5.7 billion from oil smuggling, and $4.4 billion in "illicit surcharges on oil sales and after-sales charges on suppliers."[7] The scale of the fraud was far more extensive than the GAO had previously estimated.

According to the GAO, the oil was smuggled by pipeline into Syria, by ship through the Persian Gulf, and by truck across the borders of Turkey and Jordan. Oil purchasers were charged a surcharge of up to 50 cents per oil barrel, with an added commission of 5 to 10 per cent of the commodity contract. A Department of Defense study cited by the GAO evaluated 759 contracts administered through the Oil for Food program, and found that nearly half had been overpriced, by an average of 21 percent.[8]

An International Network of Beneficiaries
A mosaic of international corruption is emerging in the patchwork of politicians and businesses across the world that benefited from the Oil-for-Food program and helped keep Saddam Hussein in power. The Iraqi Oil Ministry recently released a partially complete list of 270 names of individuals, political entities and companies from across the world who received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein's regime, allegedly at below-market prices. [9]

The list of beneficiaries includes former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, the "director of the Russian President's office", the Russian Communist Party, the Ukraine Communist Party, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the son of Lebanese President EmileLahud, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, and George Galloway, a British Member of Parliament. Ominously, the list also implicates UN Assistant Secretary-General Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Oil for Food program, who has stringently denied any wrongdoing. Sevan, a longtime UN bureaucrat with close ties to Kofi Annan, has taken an extended vacation, pending retirement later this month.

Kofi Annan's son Kojo also may be implicated in the mushrooming scandal. Kojo Annan had ties to Cotecna Inspection SA, a Swiss-based company that received a contract for inspecting goods shipped to Iraq under the Oil for Food program. The younger Annan worked for Cotecna in the mid 1990's and became a consultant to the company until shortly before it won the Oil for Food contract.[10] Cotecna, which reportedly had been implicated in earlier bribery scandals, did not disclose this potential conflict of interest, and nor did the United Nations.

Russia, France, and Saddam

No less than 46 Russian and 11 French names appear on the Iraqi Oil Ministry list.[11]The Russian State is alleged to have received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein.

The close ties between French and Russian politicians and the Iraqi regime may well have been an important factor in influencing their governments' decision to oppose the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. They also highlight the close working relationship between Moscow, Paris and Baghdad, and the huge financial interests which both France and Russia maintained in pre-liberation Iraq.

Prior to the regime change in Baghdad in April 2003, French and Russian oil companies possessed oil contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime which covered roughly 40 percent of the country's oil wealth. French oil giant Total Fina Elf had won contracts to develop southern Iraq's Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields, estimated to contain 26 billion barrels of oil, or 25 percent of Iraq's oil reserves. Russian company Lukoil had won the contract to develop the West Qurna field, also in southern Iraq, containing an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil.[12]

Political and military ties between Moscow and Baghdad were extensive. Documents found in the bombed-out headquarters of the former Iraqi intelligence service (Mukhabarat) in Baghdad reveal the full extent of intelligence co-operation between the Russian and Iraqi governments. According to reports in the London Sunday Telegraph, "Russia provided Saddam Hussein's regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders. Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for `hits' in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries."[13]

The Russians are also believed to have illegally sold arms to Iraq right up until the outbreak of war with the United States in March 2003. The Bush Administration accused Russian arms dealers of selling thousands of night vision goggles, as well as anti-tank guided missiles and electronic jamming equipment to the Iraqis in open violation of UN sanctions.[14] During the course of his dictatorship, Russia reportedly provided Saddam with $14 billion worth of arms shipments.[15]

Evidence has also come to light of intimate political co-operation between Paris and Baghdad in the period leading up to the U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein. Documents found in the wreckage of the Iraqi foreign ministry in the aftermath of the liberation of Iraq, and reported on by the London Sunday Times, reveal that "Paris shared with Baghdad the contents of private transatlantic meetings and diplomatic traffic from Washington." Officials in the French Foreign Office reportedly shared information with their Iraqi counterparts on a sensitive meeting between former French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Details of talks between French President Jacques Chirac and President George W. Bush were also reportedly passed on to the Iraqi foreign ministry by the French ambassador in Baghdad.[16]

A Security Council Investigation

As the most powerful member of the UN Security Council, the United States, together with its closest ally, the United Kingdom, should call for a wide-ranging and in-depth independent investigation into the way in which the UN handled the Oil for Food program.

The investigation should be appointed by the Security Council, but should be completely independent of the United Nations and made up of non-UN employees. Great care should be exercised by the United States and Great Britain to prevent such an investigation from being unduly influenced by other Security Council members who may have a vested interest in protecting their own officials.

The Security Council should appoint an international team of special criminal investigators to head the inquiry. They should work alongside a specialist team of auditors, drawn from a leading accounting firm without ties to the United Nations.

The team of special investigators should be drawn from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Department of Justice, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as international bodies such as Interpol. Nations who are heavily implicated in the Oil for Food scandal should be excluded from contributing investigators.

Prosecution of UN Officials in Iraqi Courts

After the handover of power takes place in Iraq on June 30,the Iraqi courts should be the appropriate venue for trying and sentencing those individuals found guilty of criminal wrongdoing by a Security Council appointed investigation.

The United Nations should suspend (and if convicted, terminate) the employment of its officials who are alleged to have received kickbacks from the Saddam Hussein regime. Those charged should be stripped of diplomatic immunity and be subject to extradition to Iraq, should the new Iraqi government request it. The Coalition Provisional Authority should work closely with the Iraqi Governing Council to prepare for possible trials. Anyone convicted should be stripped of all pension rights

The United States should press other governments to extradite their citizens who are guilty of criminal activity related to the Oil for Food program, to face trial in Iraq.

Reform the United Nations

The Oil for Food scandal underlines the need for fundamental reform of the United Nations.[17] The investigation into the Oil for Food fraud should prompt major reform in terms of how the UN is managed, and how the United States funds the UN. A thorough external audit of the United Nations is needed. The UN must provide accountability, transparency and value for money.

No nation in the world contributes more to the work of the United Nations than the United States. Since its creation in 1945, the United States has been the world's biggest contributor to the United Nations. The U.S. currently contributes 22 percent of the UN's regular budget. In contrast, France contributes 6.4 percent, Britain 5.54 percent, China 1.53 percent, and Russia 1.2 percent. Total U.S. contributions to the UN system in 2001 totaled $3.5 billion, including $612 million in assessed contributions to the UN regular budget, $712 million towards UN peacekeeping, and $2.2 billion in voluntary contributions.[18]

The United States should reconsider its level of funding for the United Nations, and link it directly to the pace of UN reform. The Bush Administration should call upon other leading member states, such as France, Russia and China, to make a greater contribution to the UN budget, with a larger share of the financial burden.

Key Recommendations

A Security Council Resolution
In order to be effective, an independent investigation should be appointed by the Security Council. The U.S. and UK should put forward a joint resolution calling for an exhaustive investigation into the Oil for Food scandal. France and Russia should be shamed into supporting such a resolution. Washington and London should closely coordinate their strategy at the UN.
No Quid Pro Quo
The Bush Administration will be under heavy pressure from some Security Council Members to back away from calling for a more in-depth investigation in return for a new UN resolution supporting U.S.-British plans for the handover of power in Iraq. The United States must stand firm on the Oil for Food issue, and separate it from the debates over an Iraq resolution.
Opening of UN Accounts
UN Oil for Food accounts should be opened to full public scrutiny by private sector auditors in order to uncover possible financial and other irregularities. Measures should be taken against individuals and businesses that illegally profited from the Oil for Food program.
Investigation of UN Officials
Senior UN bureaucrats with responsibility for running the Oil for Food program should be investigated and held accountable for their actions. In particular, the role played by Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the Office of Iraq Programs, should be carefully scrutinized. All UN officials found to be involved in criminal activity by special investigators should be suspended from employment from the world body, stripped of diplomatic immunity, subject to extradition and, if convicted, have their employment terminated without pension rights.
Extradition to Iraq
The United States should press the Security Council to extradite UN officials found guilty of criminal wrongdoing to face trial in Iraq. The U.S. should also encourage individual governments to extradite to Iraq those of their citizens charged with crimes relating to the Oil for Food program.
The Role of Kofi Annan
A Security Council-appointed investigation into Oil for Food should examine the role played by the UN Secretary General in overseeing the program, and his failure to halt its widespread abuse. Mr. Annan must bear ultimate responsibility for the program's massive failings. The United States should call for Annan to step down from his post if he is found to have deliberately turned a blind eye to corruption and criminal activity.
UN Reform
The Congressional investigation into Oil for Food should act as a catalyst for long-overdue reform of the UN system. Future U.S. funding of the United Nations must be dependent upon substantial, not cosmetic, reform of the organization. Failure to prosecute UN officials found guilty of wrongdoing should also result in a potential reduction in U.S. funding.
Future Sanctions Regimes
The mismanagement of the Oil for Food program raises serious doubts about the UN's ability to manage future programs of a similar scale. The United Nations should never again be placed in charge of the administration of an international sanctions regime.
A Code of Conduct for UN Officials
The Oil for Food scandal reinforces the need for a Security Council imposed code of conduct for UN employees. The `anything goes' approach which is pervasive across the UN system is unacceptable and should no longer be tolerated.
Limit the Role of the UN in Iraq
The huge scandal surrounding the UN's handling of the Iraq Oil for Food program demonstrates clearly that the world body cannot be entrusted with a major management role in Iraq. The United States was right to exclude the UN from a key role in administering post-war Iraq - the UN was clearly incapable of performing such a function. A handover of political and military power to the United Nations would be a strategic disaster.

The abuse of the Oil-for-Food program was the result of a staggering management failure on the part of the United Nations and has raised troubling questions about the credibility and competence of the world organization. The Oil for Food debacle reinforces the need for sweeping reform of the United Nations bureaucracy and the need for an annual external audit of its accounts.

Overall responsibility for the program's failure should lie with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who allegedly turned a blind eye to one of the biggest financial scandals of modern times. The UN's inability to successfully manage the Oil for Food program represents a spectacular failure of leadership on the part of Mr. Annan.

The links between Saddam Hussein's regime and leading European companies and politicians were extensive. A huge part of Saddam's strategy for staying in power involved the bribing of European political and business entities. The Pentagon was correct in its decision to bar companies from nations who had opposed regime change in Iraq, such as France and Russia, from bidding for U.S.-funded contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq. Russian and French companies in particular benefited from the exploitation of the Oil for Food program.

The Oil for Food fiasco reinforces the point made by President Bush that the UN is in danger of becoming an irrelevance on the world stage. The United Nations continues to slowly decline as a credible international force, and will go the same way as the League of Nations unless it is radically reformed and restructured.

The UN's credibility as a global institution has been heavily scarred by both its handling of the Oil for Food program and by its failure to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. The United Nations as an organization will have to work extremely hard in the coming years to mend its battered image, and restore the faith of both the Iraqi and American people, as well as that of the wider `international community'.

Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., is Fellow in Anglo-American Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation.


[1]The author is grateful to Heritage Foundation Research Fellows James Phillips, Paul Rosenzweig and Brett Schaefer for their advice and suggestions.

[2]The Heritage Foundation is a public policy, research, and educational organization operating under Section 501(C)(3). It is privately supported, and receives no funds from any government at any level, nor does it perform any government or other contract work. Members of The Heritage Foundation staff testify as individuals discussing their own independent research. The views expressed are their own, and do not reflect an institutional position for The Heritage Foundation or its board of trustees.

[3] For background, see Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips, The UN Oil for Food Scam: Time For Hearings, Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 438, March 1, 2004. wm438.cfm

[4]Claudia Rosett, `Oil, Food and a Whole Lot of Questions', The New York Times, April 18, 2003. in_the_media_show.htm?doc_id=218141

[5] James Bone, `Saddam's Billions From Oil for Food Corruption', The Times of London, April 23, 2003.

[6]See Susan Sachs, `Hussein's Regime Skimmed Billions From Aid Program', The New York Times, February 29, 2004. middleeast/29FOOD.html

[7]United States General Accounting Office, Recovering Iraq's Assets: Preliminary Observations on U.S. Efforts and Challenges, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Financial Services, House of Representatives, by Joseph A. Christoff and Davi M. D'Agostino, March 18, 2004.

[8] Ibid.

[9]The names were published in January in the Arabic Iraqi newspaper Al Mada.

[10] Claudia Rosett, `Turtle Bay's Carnival of Corruption: Digging Deeper Into the Scandalous Oil for Food Program,' National Review, March 21, 2004. rosett200403212155.asp

[11] For a full list of names by nationality, see Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli, The Saddam Oil Vouchers Affair, The Middle East Media Research Institute, February 20, 2004.

[12] See Carrie Satterlee, Facts on Who Benefits From Keeping Saddam Hussein in Power, Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 217, February 28, 2003.

[13] David Harrison, `Revealed: Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam', The London Sunday Telegraph, April 13, 2003. /2003/04/13/wrus13.xml

[14] Peter Slevin, `3 Russian Firms' Deals Anger U.S.', The Washington Post, March 23, 2003.

[15] Harrison, `Revealed: Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam'

[16] Matthew Campbell, `Dossier Reveals France Briefed Iraq on U.S. Plans', The London Sunday Times, April 27, 2003.

[17] For information on the issue of UN reform, see Nile Gardiner and Baker Spring, Reform the United Nations, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1700, October 27, 2003. BG-1700.cfm

[18]Figures cited by Vita Bite in UN System Funding: Congressional Issues, Congressional Research Service, September 10, 2003. Voluntary contributions go towards specialist UN programs such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

? 1995 - 2004 The Heritage Foundation
All Rights Reserved.

Posted by maximpost at 8:53 PM EDT


Sex and the Capital City

From Richard A. Clarke's suspicious "bachelorhood" to Hester Prynne's sin, Americans have been too willing to sexualize politics

Nick Gillespie

If you were in Washington, D.C. last week (as I was), the big nudge-nudge-wink-wink rumor was about how the Bush administration was going to out Richard A. Clarke as part of their scorched-earth rebuttal of the former counterterrorism czar's incendiary charges regarding the White House's pre- and post-9/11 policies. Everyone I talked with, it seemed, was laying odds on whether such a revelation might hurt the Bush or Kerry people more (for most D.C. denizens, until the November election, every revelation, disaster, or event matters only to the extent it impacts the presidential race). Forget that no one had any reliable--or even "semi-reliable"--sources that could be named in substantiating claims that Clarke is in fact gay or that the Bushites were about to out him. Such technicalities were less important than mooning over Clarke's possible predilections and how his highly media-genic saga might play out.

Whether Rummy or Condi or Dick or some low-level flunky is actually going to try to name Clarke as a bridesmaid at the secret wedding of Keanu Reeves and David Geffen remains to be seen, but it's not a stretch to figure that a president--even or perhaps especially one who is a former cheerleader--who supports an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment would figure that calling somebody homosexual would somehow discredit their foreign policy expertise.

Another reason the rumor, totally unsourced, seemed so eminently plausible is that political operatives have always been quick to make charges of "sexual deviancy" in order to shut people up, tear people down, or toss people aside. Forget about the 1990s, the barely repressed Decade of the Penis, which started with talk of Long Dong Silver, Clarence Thomas, and Anita Hill, and ended with tutorials on Peyronie's Disease, Bill Clinton, and short-lived Speaker of the House Bob Livingstone's phone-sex compulsion. (What is it that former interns say about the '90s? If you weren't exposed to a hostile workplace situation, you weren't really there?)

No, instead, go read Allen Drury's surprisingly neglected 1959 political potboiler Advise and Consent, which holds the record for longevity on the The New York Times bestseller list and whose plot turns on a revelation of homosexuality. Or recall Whittaker Chambers, whose testimony against Alger Hiss was challenged in part because of a gay past. Or consider Roy Cohn, the aide to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, whose alternative sexuality provided the subtext for the Army-McCarthy hearings that spectacularly ended Tailgunner Joe's career).

In fact, what might be called the sexualizing of political dissent is in fact such an All-American trope that it predates the U.S. Constitution by a century and a half. The ur-text here is what some schoolkids still learn about as "The Antinomian Controversy of 1636-38," the trial of religious dissenter Anne Hutchinson in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hutchinson, the subject of a new biography well worth reading, essentially accused the theocrats running Massachusetts of acting Catholic by teaching a "a covenant of works" rather than a "covenant of grace." In colonial America, those were fighting words and John Cotton, John Winthrop, and other rulers put Hutchinson on trial, eventually expelling her (she ended up settling in Rhode Island, under the protection of that other great New England dissenter and advocate of toleration, Roger Williams).

In today's America--where even anti-Papist evangelicals flock to see a hard-core Catholic version of The Passion of the Christ--the doctrinal disputes at play in Hutchinson's trial are less relevant than charges of sexual deviance. From the start--and without evidence--her accusers smeared her as an advocate of free love and other carnal improprieties. As Salon's Laura Miller notes in a review of Eve La Plante's American Jezebel, "The fact that [Hutchinson] was willing to stand before the court and debate religious matters got somehow mixed up with whorishness in the mind of more than one male observer." Indeed, at one point the colony's elders actually dug up one of Hutchinson's miscarriages, convinced that it would somehow prove she'd had relations with the devil himself.

Strangely, even Hutchinson's admirers sexualized her challenge to reigning political power: Most famously, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the guilt-ridden descendant of Salem witch-burners, transformed Hutchinson into arguably the best-know female protagonist in American letters, The Scarlet Letter's Hester Prynne. Pace Henry Kissinger, power may or may not be the "ultimate aphrodisiac," but it's clear that threats to power often give way to dirty talk in a way that shines a harsh light on the American political tradition. Here's hoping that Richard Clarke's challenge to White House policy is evaluated on its merits--or lack of them--and not on some other tawdrier, inconsequential grounds.

Nick Gillespie is Reason's editor-in-chief.

>> ALBANY...

Minimum access for nonplayers

First published: Monday, April 19, 2004

Lawmakers may have little to show in the way of new laws that will improve the lives of New Yorkers, but they have succeeded in making their campaign treasurers happy so far this session.

The 212 members of the Legislature, all up for re-election this year, have held or scheduled 146 fund-raisers (plus one each for Gov. George Pataki and Comptroller Alan Hevesi) between Jan. 12 and May 19 in which millions of dollars will be raised at an average of $323 per event per person.

For a comparison, one might use the $5.15-an-hour minimum wage. Lawmakers, who are stalled on a bill to raise the minimum to $7.10, get in for free. But for those who do pay for an evening with the elected officials, the average cost of $323 is $117 more than a full-time minimum-wage worker earns in a week.

The average entry fee also is $39 more than a full-time worker would make at $7.10 an hour, as the Assembly has proposed.

The get-togethers at such places as the Fort Orange Club, Sign of the Tree and Crowne Plaza almost all occur on session days in Albany. The biggest here was the Senate Republican Campaign Committee's shindig at The Desmond on Feb. 23. Run by people who have held up a vote on raising the minimum wage, it cost $1,000 to attend.

The soaring costs of the events may contribute to lobbying spending in Albany, which climbed to $120 million last year, and add to the difficulty small-budget interest groups have in getting access to politicians, reform groups say.

"They contribute to the fact that there is no minimum-wage increase. It's a pay-to-play system here. If you can't afford to play with the big guys, then your voice isn't heard here in Albany," says Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director of the League of Women Voters. She said the schedule of fund-raisers will expand in late May and June "when the real money" is made.

A lawyer and lobbyist for Caesars Entertainment has concluded the Temporary State Commission on Lobbying has no right to subpoena his client for information on visits by New York legislators to company hotels and casinos.

James Featherstonhaugh said the commission won't be getting information from his client. Upon review, he said, the commission's subpoenas "aren't legitimate based on any inquiry currently under way."

The commission sought the information as an offshoot of its probe of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's January 2002 stay at one of Caesars' luxury suites in Las Vegas at the government rate of $109 per night instead of the top rate of $1,500.

While there, Silver and his wife had dinner with a Caesars lobbyist and her husband, but the Assembly Democratic leader says no lobbying occurred. Caesars has casino interests with the St. Regis Mohawks, who need legislation to ratify a gaming compact.

Caesars is still considering the commission's demand.

"It would be premature to say we have decided on a course of action. Our lawyers are in touch with their lawyers," Caesars spokesman Robert Stewart said.

The commission declined comment.

Contributor: Capitol bureau reporter James M. Odato.

Got a tip? Call 454-5424 or e-mail



Pill Sham

A man seeking pain relief gets 25 years for drug trafficking

Jacob Sullum

Here's a bit of legal information that may interest Rush Limbaugh: Under Florida law, illegally obtaining more than 28 grams of painkillers containing the narcotic oxycodone--a threshold exceeded by a single 60-pill Percocet prescription--automatically makes you the worst sort of drug trafficker, even if you never sold a single pill. Even if, like Richard Paey, you were using the drugs to relieve severe chronic pain.

Although prosecutors admitted Paey was not a drug trafficker, on April 16 he received a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for drug trafficking. That jaw-dropping outcome illustrates two sadly familiar side effects of the war on drugs: the injustice caused by mandatory minimum sentences and the suffering caused by the government's interference with pain treatment.

Paey, a 45-year-old father of three, is disabled as a result of a 1985 car accident, failed back surgery, and multiple sclerosis. Today, as he sits in jail in his wheelchair, a subdermal pump delivers a steady, programmed dose of morphine to his spine. But for years he treated his pain with Percocet, Lortab (a painkiller containing the narcotic hydrocodone), and Valium prescribed by his doctor in New Jersey, Steven Nurkiewicz.

When Paey and his family moved to Florida in 1994, he had trouble finding a new doctor. Because he had developed tolerance to the pain medication, he needed high doses, and because he was not on the verge of death, he needed them indefinitely. As many people who suffer from chronic pain can testify, both of those factors make doctors nervous, since they know the government is looking over their shoulders while they write prescriptions.

Unable to find a local physician who was comfortable taking him on as a patient, Paey used undated prescription forms from Nurkiewicz's office to obtain painkillers in Florida. Paey says Nurkiewicz authorized these prescriptions, which the doctor (who could face legal trouble of his own) denies.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office began investigating Paey in late 1996 after receiving calls from suspicious pharmacists. Detectives tracked Paey as he filled prescriptions for 1,200 pills from January 1997 until his arrest that March.

At first investigators assumed Paey must be selling the pills, since they thought the amounts were too large for him to consume on his own. But the police never found any evidence of that, and two years after his arrest prosecutors offered him a deal: If he pleaded guilty to attempted trafficking, he would receive eight years of probation, including three years of house arrest.

Paey initially agreed but then had second thoughts. His wife, Linda, says he worried that he could go to prison if he was accused of violating his probation. More fundamentally, he did not want to identify himself as a criminal when he believed he had done nothing wrong. He has since turned down other plea deals involving prison time.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have pursued Paey in three trials. The first ended in a mistrial; the second resulted in a conviction that the judge threw out because of a procedural error; and the third, which ended last month, produced guilty verdicts on 15 charges of drug trafficking, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, and possession of a controlled substance.

A juror later told the St. Petersburg Times he did not really think Paey was guilty of trafficking, since the prosecution made it clear from the outset that he didn't sell any pills. The juror said he voted guilty to avoid being the lone holdout. He suggested that other jurors might have voted differently if the foreman had not assured them Paey would get probation.

The prosecutors, who finally obtained the draconian sentence that even they concede Paey does not deserve, say it's his fault for insisting on his innocence. "It's unfortunate that anyone has to go to prison, but he's got no one to blame but Richard Paey," Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis told the St. Petersburg Times. "All we wanted to do was get him help."

Paey's real crime, it seems, is not drug trafficking but ingratitude. "My husband was so adamant, and so strongly defending this from the very beginning, that it might have annoyed them," says Linda Paey. "They were extremely upset that he would not accept a plea bargain. They felt that anyone who had any common sense would....But he didn't want to say he was guilty of something he didn't do."

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use (Tarcher/Putnam).

More than a Blip
It's a supply-side recovery.

By Victor A. Canto

The March employment report marked a turning point in the economy. Prior to its release there was a decoupling in the data -- real GDP growth and employment gains didn't match up. Those who were partial to President Bush's economic program argued that the recovery was for real and that low employment gains were due to high workplace productivity. More, they argued that if the economy continued expanding the employment gains would follow.

In contrast, the critics argued that last year's surge in real GDP growth was a mirage -- a blip that could be largely explained by the surge in defense spending. Their implication was that the economy would roll over with the drop-off in spending. The critics also argued that low monthly employment gains confirmed the view that the surge in economic activity was not sustainable.

Both sides placed their bets on the employment report. In fact, I argued that we were only one payroll report away from a major market rotation. That report finally came at the end of March; a jobs gain of 308,000 rocked the markets. The report has also, once and for all, settled the recovery debate: This economic recovery is for real and stronger than most people expected.

Although there may be some dispute as to the origins of the resurgence of the economy, there is no mistake as to the timing and the acceleration of the pace of economic activity. Real GDP grew at 1.97 percent during last year's first quarter, 3.09 percent during the second, 8.2 percent during the third, and 4.14 percent in the fourth. In spite of the acceleration of economic activity, U.S. inflation came in at a modest 1.8 percent with core inflation at 1.1 percent -- the lowest in 40 years.

The cause of the recovery, however, remains something that economists love to debate, but it is clear that the war in Iraq and the passage of the Bush tax-rate cuts (as well as an accommodative Greenspan Fed) had a lot to do with it. It is quite interesting that both Keynesians and supply-siders agree on the importance of the war and the tax cuts on the resurgence of the U.S. economy -- however they do so for different reasons.

Within the textbook Keynesian model, government spending and tax revenues are two sides of the same coin. One increases aggregate demand; the other reduces it. Hence, increases in defense spending and tax cuts are alternative ways to stimulate aggregate demand. Since both war and tax cuts increase demand in the economy, it follows, within the Keynesian framework, that the two have had a hand in the past year's surge in economic activity.

Supply-siders argue this much differently. They contend that lower tax rates increase the incentives to work, save, and invest. As Bush lowered tax rates, Americans worked more, saved more, and invested more, putting the economy back on track.

So, while the separate schools specify two distinct mechanisms by which government actions affect the economy, it is apparent that both agree on the simulative effects of the government actions. But the conceptual differences between the schools remain very important.

Within the Keynesian model, the revenue impact of a tax is all that is needed to determine its impact on the economy. It does not matter in this scheme whether a tax rate is temporary or permanent, only the magnitude matters. This is quite important (lawmakers wrestling over whether or not to make the Bush tax cuts permanent should take note). If no allowance is made for the disincentives of higher tax rates, the effect of a rate change on the tax base is assumed to be nonexistent. This thinking is what gives us static revenue estimates.

The simple Keynesian framework also does not take into account government budget constraints. Deficit-financing implies future tax liabilities; a forward-looking taxpayer would anticipate future taxes, negating the aggregate-demand effects that Keynesians claim deficit-financing generates. Supply-siders counter that there is no income effect once one takes into account government budget constraints. All that remains is the substitution effect, or incentive effect, that the Keynesians ignore.

The simple discussion of income and substitution effects allows one to set up a simple test as to the source of the recovery. Economists who emphasize the impact of the war effort on the economy's aggregate demand forecast a much slower economy when the spending subsides. Those who focus on the incentives of the Bush tax-rate cuts point out that the effects of those rate cuts are longer than a one-year horizon.

Hence, the Keynesian model predicts a temporary blip in economic activity that subsides with the drop in defense spending, while the supply-side model argues that tax-rate cuts provide a continuous incentive to save, invest, and produce. And here we are back in the spring, a year after the stimulus of war and tax relief went into effect, holding a March employment report indicating 308,000 new jobs.

Other indicators make the long-run, bullish economic picture even clearer. The November industrial production index had its strongest increase in four years. Accelerating capital-goods investment provided the catalyst that led the ISM index to post a twenty-year high. Business investments, meanwhile, are turning progressively stronger.

The trend in productivity gains is partially responsible for the slow employment recovery, yet all indicators point to significant increases in employment during the coming months. But the latest payroll gain clearly supports the view that this economic recovery is for real -- as the supply-siders have argued all along.

-- Victor Canto, Ph.D., is the founder of La Jolla Economics, an economics research and consulting firm in La Jolla, California

Limited Sovereignty For Iraq Is Described
They Charge War Crimes
How John Kerry et al. have defamed the American serviceman in Vietnam

By Mackubin Thomas Owens

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article appears in the May 3, 2004, issue of National Review.

Vietnam is the war that just won't go away. And for many Americans, especially those in the media, nothing says "Vietnam" quite like "atrocity" and "war crime." Indeed, it is the conventional wisdom that My Lai, the darkest chapter of America's war effort, was merely a microcosm of the war.

This belief that Vietnam was one big atrocity explains why most reporters, even those too young to remember it, are predisposed to believe the worst about America's role in Indochina. As everyone now knows, a young John Kerry, testifying before the Senate in April 1971, gave credence to the charge that U.S. policy in Vietnam violated the laws of war and that individual service members routinely committed war crimes and atrocities. Some have defended Kerry by arguing that only a small part of his testimony dealt with atrocities and war crimes; unfortunately for them, there is something called the Internet that permits people to read Kerry's testimony in full, and to see that that characterization is wrong. Others have embraced Kerry as a hero for refusing to accept what former anti-war activist Tom Hayden called the "fabrications, delusions, and fantasies" Americans had embraced to assuage their guilt about Vietnam. In a touching defense of his ex-wife in The Nation, Hayden wrote: "It will be easier, I am afraid, for those Americans to believe that Jane Fonda helped torture our POWs than to accept the testimony by American GIs that they sliced ears, burned hooches, raped women, and poisoned Vietnam's children with deadly chemicals." And Lawrence O'Donnell said, on MSNBC on February 11, that "everything that John Kerry has said about the Vietnam War was true. It was an unjust war for American interests. . . . There was not a worthy moment of American military intervention in Vietnam."

With all due respect, these people have no idea what they are talking about. There are two issues here. The first is the broad claim that the U.S. conducted the Vietnam War in violation of international law. The second is that U.S. servicemen committed atrocities regularly. The evidence doesn't support either claim. As Guenter Lewy observed in his indispensable book America in Vietnam, these charges for the most part were "based on a distorted picture of the actual battlefield situation, on ignorance of existing rules of engagement, and on a tendency to construe every mistake of judgment as a wanton breach of the law. Further, many . . . critics had only the most rudimentary understanding of international law and freely indulged in fanciful interpretations of conventions and treaties so as to make the American record look as bad as possible."

Catastrophic Concessions
The Coalition dances with the devil.

By Michael Rubin

Local humor reflects society. Within Iraq's Shia community, there is a popular joke: Saddam dies and enters a special prison in hell for worst 100 offenders of all time. Residents are assigned cells according to relative degree of evil: Cell # 100 is for the absolute worst. One day at lunch, prisoners see Saddam has joined them. "Who are you, and what cell are you in?" one asks. "I am Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq, and I am in cell 97," Saddam replies. "Wow! You must have been evil," the other prisoner responds. "I'm in cell 35, and all I did was kill Imam Hussein."

Imam Hussein is Hussein bin Ali, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, and a revered figure among Shia Muslims. The martyrdom of Hussein is central to Shia theology and practice. Hussein was cut down on the battlefield of Karbala in 683 A.D., his head sent back to the caliph Yezid in Damascus. That Iraqi Shia would suggest that Saddam Hussein -- a man whose Baath party was responsible for the death or displacement of several hundred thousand of them -- might be more evil than Hussein's murderer is significant.

One of L. Paul Bremer's first actions as administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority was to order the de-Baathification of the Iraqi government. The May 15, 2003, order was popular: It fulfilled the Iraqi desire for moral clarity and firmness of direction. Until Bremer's arrival, mixed messages confused Iraqis. Coalition figures spoke of freedom, but many Iraqis remained scarred by their abandonment to Saddam's death squads in the aftermath of the 1991 uprising. The initial failure of the CPA to remove the four huge busts of Saddam from atop the Republican Palace fueled conspiracy theorists, who pointed to the busts as proof that the U.S. was going to once again abandon Iraqis to the Baath party. Several career diplomats reestablished warm relations with Baathist contacts they had known while serving in Baghdad in the 1980s. Frequent meetings between Bremer predecessor Jay Garner and Saad al-Janabi, a close associate of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamal, also fueled Iraqi speculation that the U.S. was not willing to adhere to its promises.

The Baath party was no ordinary political organization. Founded in 1944 by Michel Aflaq, Baathism was based upon contemporary Italian fascism and German Nazism. The party is ethnically chauvinist, blatantly advocating discrimination against Iraq's sizeable non-Arab communities. Baathism was the ideological basis for the Anfal ethnic-cleansing campaign, in which senior Iraqi army officers directed the slaughter of over 100,000 Iraqi Kurdish civilians. Under the Baath party, Shia were second-class citizens.

In Iraq, the structure of the Baath party was hierarchical. There may have been two million Baath party members, but de-Baathification applied only to the top 70,000 individuals out of a total population of 24 million. De-Baathification did not target the innocent; no educator could reach one of the top four tiers without actively reporting on peers and students. Teachers' pay slips show the result: Some received Iraqi government gifts inflating their salary by up to 700 percent over that of their peers.

Proponents of re-Baathification -- most of whom are not Iraqi -- argue that CPA Order Number One deprived Iraq of technocrats and experienced educators. This is a myth. Under Saddam Hussein, government technocrats received promotions not on their merit, but rather on their political loyalty to the dictatorial regime. Skilled technocrats who happened to be Shia, Kurdish, or Turkmen were disqualified from most top-level ministry positions. De-Baathification did not ban top-tier Baathists from employment; they remained free to work in the private sector. No one is entitled to a government job.

De-Baathification likewise did not hamper the Iraqi education system. Upon liberation, there was a glut of unemployed schoolteachers, many of whom had never compromised themselves with Baathist membership. Now these newly hired educators will be thrown onto the street, as Saddam's henchmen reclaim jobs. Iraqis will pay the price for years to come, as corrupt Baathist teachers exact revenge upon students, failing -- as they did before -- those who do not regurgitate Baathist interpretations or pay hefty bribes.

The reverberations of the Coalition's decision to rehabilitate Saddam's support network will be long lasting and will lead to the deaths of Coalition soldiers. "Death to the Baath Party" banners hang throughout southern Iraq. Anti-Baath passion runs high among the vast majority of the Iraqi people. Eighty percent of the Iraqi population is not Sunni Arab, and the majority of the Sunni Arabs also welcomed liberation from 35 years of Baathist dictatorship. Many Iraqis see the U.S. as abandoning them yet again. We risk losing the silent majority. Iraqi Shia, most of whom viewed America as a liberator, will curse us for abandoning them to their oppressors. The sense of betrayal runs deep: Shia remember how the British government disenfranchised them following World War I. After decades of oppression, Iraq's Shia want assurance. Democracy provides it; rehabilitating Baathism does not. We risk driving Iraq's 14 million Shia into the arms of the Iranian government, which will claim to be their protector.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has based its decision not on consultations with Iraqis, but rather on discussions with regional rulers and military officers in other countries in its sphere of operations. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain all have significant Shia populations (in Bahrain, they're the majority), but also Sunni leaders who fear full enfranchisement and democracy. Many career diplomats seconded to the CPA are openly hostile to President Bush's emphasis on democracy, and instead seek to establish a "benign autocracy" more acceptable to regional states like Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Rather than ease the pressure upon Coalition troops, Bremer's flip-flop will increase it. The CPA should not allow violence to win concessions. Nor will de-Baathification appease Iraq's Arab Sunnis, many of whom also suffered under the Baath party. Had antagonism over the firings of Baathists been the cause of violence in Fallujah, then the Coalition would also see concurrent uprisings in Tikrit, Samarra, and Baquba. Short-term appeasement will not bring peace. It never does.

-- Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Myth or Reality?
Will Iraq work? That's up to us.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Myth #1: America turned off its allies. According to John Kerry, due to inept American diplomacy and unilateral arrogance, the United States failed to get the Europeans and the U.N. on board for the war in Iraq. Thus, unlike in Afghanistan, we find ourselves alone.

In fact, there are only about 4,500-5,500 NATO troops in Afghanistan right now. The United States and its Anglo allies routed the Taliban by themselves. NATO contingents in Afghanistan are not commensurate with either the size or the wealth of Europe.

There are far more Coalition troops in Iraq presently than in Afghanistan. As in the Balkans, NATO and EU troops will arrive only when the United States has achieved victory and provided security. The same goes for the U.N., which did nothing in Serbia and Rwanda, but watched thousands being butchered under its nose. It fled from Iraq after its first losses.

Yes, the U.N. will return to Iraq -- but only when the United States defeats the insurrectionists. It will stay away if we don't. American victory or defeat, as has been true from Korea to the Balkans, will alone determine the degree of (usually post-bellum) participation of others.

Myth #2: Democracy cannot be implemented by force. This is a very popular canard now. The myth is often floated by Middle Eastern intellectuals and American leftists -- precisely those who for a half-century damned the United States for its support of anti-Communist authoritarians.

Now that their dreams of strong U.S. advocacy for consensual government have been realized, they are panicking at that sudden nightmare -- terrified that their fides, their careers, indeed their entire boutique personas might be endangered by finding themselves on the same side of history as the United States. Worse, history really does suggest that democracy often follows only from force or its threat.

One does not have to go back to ancient Athens -- in 507 or 403 B.C. -- to grasp the depressing fact that most authoritarians do not surrender power voluntarily. There would be no democracy today in Japan, South Korea, Italy, or Germany without the Americans' defeat of fascists and Communists. Democracies in France and most of Western Europe were born from Anglo-American liberation; European resistance to German occupation was an utter failure. Panama, Granada, Serbia, and Afghanistan would have had no chance of a future without the intervention of American troops.

All of Eastern Europe is free today only because of American deterrence and decades of military opposition to Communism. Very rarely in the modern age do democratic reforms emerge spontaneously and indigenously (ask the North Koreans, Cubans, or North Vietnamese). Tragically, positive change almost always appears after a war in which authoritarians lose or are discredited (Argentina or Greece), bow to economic or cultural coercion (South Africa), or are forced to hold elections (Nicaragua).

Myth #3: Lies got us into this war. Did the administration really mislead us about the reasons to go to war, and does it really now find itself with an immoral conflict on its hands? Mr. Bush's lectures about WMD, while perhaps privileging such fears over more pressing practical and humanitarian reasons to remove Saddam Hussein, took their cue from prior warnings from Bill Clinton, senators of both parties including John Kerry, and both the EU and U.N.

If anyone goes back to read justifications for Desert Fox (December 1998) or those issued right after September 11 by an array of American politicians, then it is clear that Mr. Bush simply repeated the usual Western litany of about a decade or so -- most of it best formulated by the Democratic party under Bill Clinton. Indeed, we opted to launch that campaign in large part because of Iraq's work on WMDs.

No, the real rub is whether Iraq will work: If it does, the WMD bogeyman disappears; if not, it becomes the surrogate issue to justify withdrawing.

Myth #4: Profit-making led to this war. Then there is the strange idea that American administration officials profited from the war. Companies like Bechtel and Halliburton are supposedly "cashing in," either on oil contracts or rebuilding projects -- as if any company is lining up to lure thousands of workers to the Iraqi oasis to lounge and cheat in such a paradise.

This idea is absurd for a variety of other reasons, too. Iraqi oil is for the first time under Iraqi, rather than a dictator's, control. And the Iraqi people most certainly will not sign over their future oil reserves to greedy companies in the manner that Saddam gave French consortia almost criminally profitable contracts. Indeed, no Iraqi politician is going to demand to pump more oil to lower gas prices in the country that freed him. Some imperialism.

All U.S. construction is subject to open audit and assessment. A zealous media has not yet found any signs of endemic or secret corruption. There really is a giant scandal surrounding Iraq, but it involves (1) the United Nations Oil-for-Food program, in which U.N. officials and Saddam Hussein, hand-in-glove with European and Russian oil companies, robbed revenues from the Iraqi people; and (2) French petroleum interests that strong-armed a tottering dictator to sign over his country's national treasure to Parisian profiteers under conditions that no consensual government would ever agree to. The only legitimate accusation of Iraqi profiteering does not involve Dick Cheney or Halliburton, but rather Kofi Annan's negligence and his son Kojo's probable malfeasance.

Myth #5: Israel has caused the United States untold headaches in the Arab world by its intransigent policies. The refutation of this myth could take volumes, given the depth of daily misinformation. Perhaps, though, we can sum up the absurdity by looking at the nature of West Bank demonstrations over the past few months.

The issues baffle Americans: Some Arab citizens of Israel, residing in almost entirely Arab border towns and calling themselves Palestinians, were furious about Mr. Sharon's offer to cede them sovereign Israeli soil and thus allow them to join the new Palestinian nation. Others were hysterical that two killers -- who promised not merely the "liberation" of the West Bank, but also the utter destruction of Israel -- were in fact killed in a war by Israelis. Both of the deceased had damned the United States and expressed support for Islamicists now killing our soldiers in Iraq -- even as their supporters whined that we did not lament their recent departures to a much-praised paradise.

Elsewhere fiery demonstrators were shaking keys to houses that they have not been residing in for 60 years -- furious about the forfeiture of the "right of return" and their inability to migrate to live out their lives in the hated "Zionist entry." Notably absent were the relatives of the hundreds of thousands of Jews of Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, and other Arab capitals who years ago were all ethnically cleansed and sent packing from centuries-old homes, but apparently got on with what was left of their lives.

The Palestinians will, in fact, get their de facto state, though one that may be now cut off entirely from Israeli commerce and cultural intercourse. This is an apparently terrifying thought: Palestinian men can no longer blow up Jews on Monday, seek dialysis from them on Tuesday, get an Israeli paycheck on Wednesday, demonstrate to CNN cameras about the injustice of it all on Thursday -- and then go back to tunneling under Gaza and three-hour, all-male, conspiracy-mongering sessions in coffee-houses on Friday. Beware of getting what you bomb for.

Perhaps the absurdity of the politics of the Middle East is best summed up by the recent visit of King Abdullah of Jordan, a sober and judicious autocrat, or so we are told. As the monarch of an authoritarian state, recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual American aid, son of a king who backed Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, and a leader terrified that the Israeli fence might encourage Palestinian immigration into his own Arab kingdom, one might have thought that he could spare us the moral lectures at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club -- especially when his elite Jordanian U.N. peacekeepers were just about to murder American citizens in Kosovo while terrorists in his country tried to mass murder Americans with gas.

Instead we got the broken-record Middle East sermon on why Arabs don't like Americans -- as if we had forgotten 9/11 and its quarter-century-long precursors. Does this sensible autocrat -- perhaps the most reasonable man in the region -- ever ask himself about questions of symmetry and reciprocity?

Is there anything like a Commonwealth Club in Amman? And if not, why not? And could a Mr. Blair or Mr. Bush in safety and freedom visit Amman to hold a public press conference, much less to lecture his Jordanian hosts on why Americans in general -- given state-sponsored terrorism, Islamic extremism, and failed Middle Eastern regimes -- have developed such unfavorable attitudes towards so many Arab societies?

What then is the truth of this so-often-caricatured war?

On the bright side, there has not been another 9/11 mass-murder. And this is due entirely to our increased vigilance, the latitude given our security people by the hated Patriot Act, and the idea that the war (not a DA's inquiry) should be fought abroad not at home.

The Taliban was routed and Afghanistan has the brightest hopes in thirty years. Pakistan, so unlike 1998, is not engaged in breakneck nuclear proliferation abroad. Libya claims a new departure from its recent past. Syria fears a nascent dissident movement. Saddam is gone. Iran is hysterical about new scrutiny. American troops are out of Saudi Arabia.

True, we are facing various groups jockeying for power in a new Iraq; and the country is still unsettled. Yet millions of Kurds are satisfied and pro-American. Millions more Shiites want political power -- and think that they can get it constitutionally through us rather than out of the barrel of a gun following an unhinged thug. After all, any fool who names his troops "Mahdists" is sorely misinformed about the fate of the final resting place of the Great Mahdi, the couplets of Hilaire Beloc, and what happened to thousands of Mahdist zealots at Omdurman.

So, we can either press ahead in the face of occasionally bad news from Iraq (though it will never be of the magnitude that once came from Sugar Loaf Hill or the icy plains near the Yalu that did not faze a prior generation's resolve) -- or we can withdraw. Then watch the entire three-year process of real improvement start to accelerate in reverse. If after 1975 we thought that over a million dead in Cambodia, another million on rickety boats fleeing Vietnam, another half-million sent to camps or executed, hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving in America, a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, an Iranian take-over of the U.S. embassy, oil-embargos, Communist entry into Central America, a quarter-century of continual terrorist attacks, and national invective were bad, just watch the new world emerge when Saddam's Mafioso or Mr. Sadr's Mahdists force our departure.

This war was always a gamble, but not for the reasons many Americans think. We easily had, as proved, the military power to defeat Saddam; we embraced the idealism and humanity to eschew realpolitik and offer something different in the place of mass murder. And we are winning on all fronts at a cost that by any historical measure has confirmed both our skill and resolve.

But the lingering question -- one that has never been answered -- was always our attention and will. The administration assumed that in occasional times of the inevitable bad news, we were now more like the generation that endured the surprise of Okinawa and Pusan rather than Tet and Mogadishu. All were bloody fights; all were similarly controversial and unexpected; all were alike proof of the fighting excellence of the American soldiers -- but not all were seen as such by Americans. The former were detours on the road to victory and eventual democracy; the latter led to self-recrimination, defeat, and chaos in our wake.

The choice between myth and reality is ours once more.


Pentagon purchases armor for Iraqi forces

Friday, April 23, 2004
The United States has decided to provide Iraqi security forces with body armor.

The Defense Department has awarded an Iraqi company a contract for the production and supply of body armor vests for the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps. The $10.3 million contract for Al Hashimite Co, based in Baghdad, was awarded on Feb. 18 and marks the first U.S. major deal with an Iraqi defense contractor.

Under the contract, Al Hashimite will provide 25,200 Level III body armor vests and ceramic plate sets for the Iraq Civil Defense Corps. A Pentagon statement said work will be performed in Britain and was expected to be completed by June 25, 2004.

The statement said contract funds will not expire at the end of fiscal 2004. The Pentagon said an unspecified number of bids were solicited in November and in all 59 bids were received.

The Pentagon said the Coalition Provisional Authority Contracting Activity will oversee the contract. The award came after U.S. combat soldiers in Iraq received body armor.

In a related development, an Israeli defense firm has won a contract to supply armor to the U.S. military in Iraq. MDT Armor has won a $1.1 million contract for supplying armored vehicles for U.S. operations in Iraq.

The company, a subsidiary of Arotech Corp., will provide armor for the Land Rover Defender SUVs. "These vehicles join the other armored vehicles that we have already delivered to Iraq," Arotech chairman Robert Ehrlich said. "It is clear that those serving and working in Iraq continue to need armored protection, and we are working diligently and proudly to serve them."

MDT armor was said to protect against assault rifles and bomb blasts. The company has installed armor on vans, buses, ambulances and a range of jeeps.

Earlier, MDT Armor won a contract to supply four armored vehicles for clients in Iraq as well as a five-year contract for armoring vehicles for the U.S. government. MDT, based in Lod, Israel, was said to be a major supplier in the armored vehicle market in Isrel. The company has supplied armor to vehicles in contracts awarded by Israel's Defense Ministry for both civilian and military applications in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The company has sought to introduce its light armor technology to the U.S. market. It has already established a factory in Auburn, Ala.

In December 2003, Arotech announced that it was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Communications Electronic Command for the supply of zinc-air non-rechargeable batteries. The order was estimated at $5.2 million.

Industry sources said Israeli companies were expected to sell $100 million in products in Iraq during 2004. They said that almost all of the sales would be through U.S. prime contractors.

All Ears
By Jeffrey Gedmin
Published 4/22/2004 12:04:04 AM
BERLIN -- The Captain Renaults of old Europe expressed "shock" in late February over allegations that the British had bugged the conversations of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Tony Blair responded by saying (a) the UK abides by domestic law; (b) Great Britain adheres to international law; and (c) London does what it must to protect the interests of the nation. Bingo. Word last year was that the Bush administration was up to the same sort of thing. Imagine. Spying at the U.N. How shocking.
Don't get me wrong. Spying can be unpleasant. The CIA was once set up to bug the suite of a friendly Arab leader at a Gulf summit when, at the last minute, there was a change of rooms and the U.S. president ended up residing in the pre-wired space. But let's face it, indignation over spying is pretty silly. Most of us find this spying stuff intriguing, even entertaining. Search Google for "weird spy stories" and you get 156,000 hits. Try "How to Become a Spy" and there are 1,280,000 entries. "Is My Friend a Spy" gets you 1,360,000 items to peruse. They say spying is the second oldest profession. There are at least 100 mentions of spying in the Bible. Historians date spying at least as far back as 500 B.C. Google yields 4,410,000 hits for Ian Fleming's character James Bond. We celebrate the mystery and, yes, the deception. So do those Renaults, I bet.
There are different kinds of spying, of course, with countless methods, both "legal" and "illegal." Ethically there are a thousand shades of gray. Companies spy daily on employees to make sure they are not using work time to play computer video games or download porn. As a student I once sold books for Time-Life over the phone. I quit after day one when I learned that my phone calls -- to maintain "customer quality control" -- were being "monitored." Things are getting more complicated. Now Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags may help you, through use of a simple card, to gain entrance to your office. Or surveil your activity if you keep the card in your wallet.
True, there's also a form of innocent spying -- call it harmless snooping -- of which nearly everybody is at one time or another guilty. Like peering for a moment at the screen of the fellow's laptop across the aisle on the plane. I once sat behind Strobe Talbott, Madeleine Albright's deputy secretary of state, on a flight from Washington to Frankfurt. Strobe was on his way to Russia. Only my sterling character kept me from sneaking peeks as the Deputy typed away. (Was it a memo to his friend the President on a new bold arms control initiative?)
We Americans are funny about these things. In some states, "fuzz busters" for cars are legal. A 1971 New York lawsuit prevents police today from going into a Mosque under cover, even if the imam has been spewing pro-bin Laden rhetoric. You see, we can act preemptively in Iraq, but in New York the crime needs to be committed first before law enforcement can respond.
Among nations, the most curious spying is called "friendly spying," what we allies do to one another. A few years ago our European friends fumed over allegations that the U.S. was using intercepted phone calls and e-mails to advantage American companies. The French have a similar system, which intercepts around three million messages per minute. First class seats on Air France have always been thought to be bugged (with tidbits of business gossip passed on to hungry French competitors). In 1971 a former French spymaster actually admitted in his memoirs that Paris, having learned that the U.S. was about to devalue the dollar, used the information to profit handsomely by currency speculation.
Now America has a special relationship with Israel. We spy on Israel. Israel spies on us. Ditto Germany. During the Clinton administration I stayed in a Berlin hotel that sources later reported was bugged by the German government. That explained why our German friends just knew too much, too precisely, during trade negotiations, the day after the American team had stayed up all night privately, it thought, plotting strategy in its suite. Shocking. What? Gambling in Las Vegas?
Jeffrey Gedmin is director of the Aspen Institute Berlin. His "Letter From Europe" runs each month in The American Spectator. This column is taken from the April issue.


No Law-Making Power for Interim Body
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 23, 2004; Page A11

The United States wants to limit the sovereignty of the temporary Iraqi government scheduled to take power July 1 by denying it the authority to pass new laws, Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.
"The interim government," he said, "should not have a law-making body. We don't believe that the period between the first of July and the end of December should be a time for making new laws."
President Bush and his top aides continue to describe June 30 as the day sovereignty passes from the United States to a still-to-be-named Iraqi government in Baghdad. But senior administration officials, in appearances before Congress this week, have described important limitations on the authority the new government would have, starting with security, over which the United States will retain control.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and Grossman made clear to the House and Senate Armed Services committees earlier this week that U.S. military commanders will continue to exercise final authority over not only the 160,000 U.S. and coalition troops, but also all Iraqi police, security and army units.
Grossman said, however, that "in many, many, many other parts of Iraqi life, there will be a very important Iraqi face on an Iraqi government."
Yesterday, Grossman hinted at other limitations on Iraqi authority as he disclosed that a supplement to the well-publicized transition administrative law is being drafted and will spell out just where the new government can and cannot operate. That work is being done by a committee chaired by Adnan Pachachi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, with participation from the occupation authority.
"The structure of the government should be effective, simple and, in order to avoid deadlock, should not be overly large," Grossman said.
The goal of the drafting committee is to incorporate the ideas of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's special adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, for the interim government, and grant it the authority to prepare for national elections in January for an assembly that will select a second, temporary government and write a constitution. Meanwhile, many of the regulations and orders promulgated by administrator L. Paul Bremer would remain the law.
The group that will take over in about 70 days will consist of an executive branch made up of a prime minister, a president and two deputy presidents, and a council of ministers that will report to the prime minister. After the group takes power, a conference of selected Iraqis will choose an advisory body that will "serve alongside the executive but not have legislative authorities," Grossman said.
A senior U.S. official familiar with the plans for Iraq said recently that there is a disconnect between "sovereignty" and how much power Iraqis will have after June 30. While sovereignty may be limited at first, it would be gradually extended as Iraqis prove that they are capable of managing themselves, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Although a main job of the transition government is to prepare for elections, Grossman said preparations will be made in conjunction with the United Nations, which has recommended the establishment of an independent election commission. That group, and apparently not the new government, would create the rules and regulations for the elections, he said.
Asked whether anti-American candidates would be allowed to run, Grossman responded: "That's why we're going to have an embassy there, and it's going to have a lot of people and an ambassador. We have to make our views known in the way that we do around the world." The new government will also have authority "to lead Iraq into the community of nations," according to Grossman, including the freedom to establish diplomatic relationships with its neighbors.
When Sen. Jon S. Corzine (D-N.J.) asked what the Bush administration would do "if they start doing things that are in contradiction to what American foreign policy might be," the undersecretary responded as he had earlier, saying that is "why we want to have an American ambassador in Iraq."
The senators were told that contracting authority for the still-unobligated part of the $18.7 billion appropriated by the United States for reconstruction in Iraq will continue to belong to the administration, except for any amounts given directly to support the Baghdad government.
Grossman said he believes officials of the transitional government would be able to contract for the development of their oil fields because that would involve their money. "Iraqis will take control of the Development Fund for Iraq," he said, referring to the money generated by oil sales. "It will be their money."
Staff writer Glenn Kessler contributed to this report.

? 2004 The Washington Post Company
Saudis Aided in Iraq More Than Thought

Associated Press Writer

April 24, 2004, 10:39 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- During the Iraq war, Saudi Arabia secretly helped the United States far more than has been acknowledged, allowing operations from at least three air bases, permitting special forces to stage attacks from Saudi soil and providing cheap fuel, U.S. and Saudi officials say.

The American air campaign against Iraq was essentially managed from inside Saudi borders, where military commanders operated an air command center and launched refueling tankers, F-16 fighter jets, and sophisticated intelligence gathering flights, according to the officials.

Much of the assistance has been kept quiet for more than a year by both countries for fear it would add to instability inside the kingdom. Many Saudis oppose the war and U.S. presence on Saudi soil has been used by Osama bin Laden to build his terror movement.

But senior political and military officials from both countries told The Associated Press the Saudi royal family permitted widespread military operations to be staged from inside the kingdom during the coalition force's invasion of Iraq.

These officials would only talk on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity and the fact that some operational details remain classified.

While the heart of the ground attack came from Kuwait, thousands of special forces soldiers were permitted to stage their operations into Iraq from inside Saudi Arabia, the officials said. These staging areas became essential once Turkey declined to allow U.S. forces to operate from its soil.

In addition, U.S. and coalition aircraft launched attacks, reconnaissance flights and intelligence missions from three Saudi air bases, not just the Prince Sultan Air Base where U.S. officials have acknowledged activity.

Between 250 and 300 Air Force planes staged from Saudi Arabia, including AWACS, C-130s, refueling tankers and F-16 fighter jets during the height of the war, the officials said. Air and military operations during the war were permitted at the Tabuk air base and Arar regional airport near the Iraq border, the officials said.

Saudis also agreed to permit search and rescue missions to stage and take off from their soil, the officials said.

Gen. T. Michael Moseley, a top Air Force general who was a key architect of the air campaign in Iraq, called the Saudis "wonderful partners" although he agreed to discuss their help only in general terms.

"We operated the command center at Saudi Arabia. We operated airplanes out of Saudi Arabia, as well as sensors, and tankers," said Moseley in an interview with the AP. He said he treasured "their counsel, their mentoring, their leadership and their support."

Publicly, American and Saudi officials have portrayed the U.S. military presence during the war as minimal and limited to Prince Sultan Air Base, where Americans have operated on and off over the last decade. Any other American presence during the war was generally described as humanitarian, such as food drops, or as protection against Scud missile attacks.

During the war, U.S. officials held media briefing about the air war from Qatar, although the air command center was in Saudi Arabia -- a move designed to keep from inflaming the Saudi public.

U.S.-Saudi cooperation raised eyebrows last week after it was disclosed that President Bush shared his Iraq war plans with Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan before the start of the war.

Some lawmakers have demanded to know why a foreigner was brought in on private war planning.

When asked about the briefing, Bandar played down the extent of Saudi help. "We were allies. And we helped our American friends in the way that was necessary for them. And that was the reality," he said.

U.S. and Saudi officials said Bandar was briefed several times before the war as part of securing Saudi assistance, and received regular updates as U.S. needs changed.

Preparations for U.S. operations inside Saudi Arabia started in 2002 when the Air Force awarded a contract to a Saudi company to provide jet fuel at four airfields or bases inside the kingdom, documents show.

When the war started, the Saudis allowed cruise missiles to be fired from Navy ships across their air space into Iraq. A few times missiles went off course and landed inside the kingdom, officials said.

The Saudis provided tens of millions of dollars in discounted oil, gas and fuel for American forces. During the war, a stream of oil delivery trucks at times stretched for miles outside the Prince Sultan air base, said a senior U.S. military planner.

The Saudis also were influential in keeping down world oil prices amid concern over what might happen to Iraqi oil fields. They increased production by 1.5 million barrels a day during the run-up to war and helped keep Jordan -- which had relied on Iraqi oil -- supplied.

Saudi officials said they also provided significant military and intelligence help on everything from issues of Muslim culture to securing the Saudi-Iraqi border from fleeing Saddam Hussein supporters.


Ex-Head of Oil-for-Food Says He'll Cooperate
Friday, April 23, 2004
UNITED NATIONS -- The former head of the United Nation's beleaguered oil-for-food program surfaced and said that he is willing to cooperate with investigators.
Benon Sevan (search), one of several top U.N. officials accused of receiving kickbacks from Saddam Hussein's government, ran the program for seven years but he went on vacation after the corruption and bribery scandal first broke.
After more than a month out of sight, Sevan returned to New York on Wednesday and met with Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) to discuss the allegations and cooperation with the investigation.
Officials said Sevan is retiring on May 31 but would remain available for the investigation.
"Benon has stated quite clearly that he is innocent," Annan said. "He has indicated he will cooperate as I expect all other staff members to cooperate."
Annan accused critics of the U.N. oil-for-food program (search) of treating allegations of corruption as fact and ignoring the program's role of providing aid to nearly every Iraqi family.
The U.N. chief declared Thursday that he was "very keen" for the three-member panel led by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker (search) to report "as soon as possible." And he promised that any U.N. official found guilty of accepting bribes or kickbacks would be dealt with "very severely."
The panel doesn't have subpoena authority and will rely on voluntary cooperation from governments, U.N. staff, members of Saddam's former government and current Iraqi leaders. They claim they have evidence that dozens of people, including top U.N. officials, took kickbacks from the $67 billion oil-for-food program.
Volcker refused to accept the chairman's post until the Security Council adopted a resolution calling on all countries to cooperate with the investigation. The council unanimously approved the measure on Wednesday.
Volcker received support Thursday from European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana (search).
"Be sure that all the European countries are going to participate and to cooperate on the investigation and clarify everything," Solana told reporters after meeting Annan.
The allegations of possible U.N. corruption first surfaced last January in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada. The newspaper had a list of about 270 former government officials, activists and journalists from more than 46 countries suspected of profiting from Iraqi oil sales that were part of the U.N. program.
The General Accounting Office (search), Congress' investigative arm, estimated in March that the Iraqi government pocketed $5.7 billion by smuggling oil to its neighbors and $4.4 billion by extracting kickbacks on otherwise legitimate contracts.
Annan launched an internal inquiry in February but canceled it in March to allow a broader, independent examination as allegations of massive corruption in the U.N. program grew, calling the world body's credibility into question.
He told reporters Thursday it is "unfortunate" that some allegations are "being handled as if they were facts," and that in the process the oil-for-food program's importance to Iraqis had been lost.
"The fact that (there) may have been wrongdoing by a few should not destroy the work that many hardworking U.N. staff did," he said.
Under the oil-for-food program, which began in December 1996 and ended in November, the former Iraqi regime could sell unlimited quantities of oil provided the money went primarily to buy humanitarian goods and reparations to 1991 Gulf War victims.
The program was launched to help Iraqis cope with U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Saddam's government decided on the goods it wanted, who should provide them and who could buy Iraqi oil -- but a U.N. committee monitored the contracts.
Annan said it is important to separate the oil-for-food investigation from the effort led by his special adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, to help Iraqis decide on a transitional government that will take power from the U.S.-led coalition on June 30.
Fox News' Jonathan Hunt and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
FOX News Channel,


U.S. doubts Kim's commitment to end nuclear standoff

By Nicholas Kralev
The Bush administration yesterday expressed skepticism about North Korea's commitment to resolving the nuclear standoff on the peninsula, despite this week's pledge by Kim Jong-il, the reclusive North Korean leader, to show "patience and flexibility" in negotiations.
Responding to Chinese and North Korean reports about Mr. Kim's visit to Beijing that ended Wednesday, the State Department said that actions, rather than words, would make a difference in the so-far unsuccessful six-nation discussions on the issue.
"As you know, the North Koreans have avoided any real commitments. And I'm not sure they've made any new ones," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.
"It's time to turn those reports and that support for the six-party process into a reality by North Korea agreeing to talks that can result in the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its programs," he said.
A senior State Department official said later that Washington will continue to be skeptical about any rhetoric from Pyongyang "until we see things manifested in some real way."
The six-party talks include the United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, China and Russia.
Mr. Boucher also said that recent revelations about secret cooperation between Pyongyang and Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, have helped to convince the North's neighbors that it was cheating on a 1994 agreement to freeze its nuclear activities.
"We have made clear that despite North Korean denials, we remain very firm in our understanding that North Korea had nuclear enrichment capabilities, and indeed the information coming out of A.Q. Khan indicates that he did transfer nuclear enrichment technology and equipment to North Korea," Mr. Boucher said.
In a statement similar to those the Chinese official news agency Xinhua issued on Wednesday, the North Korean agency KCNA reported Mr. Kim's trip to Beijing for the first time yesterday.
North Korea "would take an active part in the six-party talks with patience and flexibility and make contributions to the progress of the talks," the agency quoted Mr. Kim as saying.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said China and North Korea agreed to work together to promote a new round of six-party talks.
"It was a very important and successful trip," Mr. Kong said.
But, significantly, he acknowledged that "differences" between the two countries remained, although he did not elaborate.
In Seoul, South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said he sees a high possibility of progress at the next round of talks.
The North Korean press agency said Mr. Kim invited Chinese President Hu Jintao to visit North Korea and he accepted.
Although the United States has been working on the six-party process for more than a year, the first round of talks was not held until August. But the meeting, as well as the second one in February, achieved little beyond the reading of talking points prepared in advance.
* This article is based in part on wire service reports.

Kerry's `Misery Index' is just sad | John Kerry is working hard to emulate the successful Democrats who preceded him. He utters so many Kennedy-esque imperatives that the listener half expects him to put forward a real one ("Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"). Kerry has also developed a few presidential data points. His latest is a "misery index," an update of the one deployed by Jimmy Carter in his successful 1976 campaign against Gerald Ford. The Kerry version tracks seven factors to evaluate the quality of middle-class life: Healthcare costs, gas prices, college tuition, median wage, homeownership rate, bankruptcy rate and private-sector job growth. Up is good. Down is bad. Under Bill Clinton things were up spectacularly; George W. Bush's rating shows him erasing Clinton's gains.
It is worthwhile, however, to look back at that original index. It was devised by the late economist Arthur Okun, who added the inflation rate to the unemployment rate to arrive at his number. A high figure was bad (the opposite of the Kerry system). In 1975, this misery index hit 16, the highest rate in a quarter of a century. In 1980, it hit 20.
In fact, the 1970s and the early 1980s together were a purgatory. U.S. unemployment was in the 7% and 8% range, so far above Japan's and Germany's percentages that the difference looked permanent. Inflation combined with high taxes to scare the American innovator, so that many good ideas stayed on the shelf. Borrowing became a challenge, especially when Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker pushed interest rates up to record levels; retailers keeled over for want of credit. It no longer seemed certain that enterprise generally would be rewarded. Looking at the U.S., the world saw decline.
Against that backdrop, Kerry's decision to speak of misery seems a bit of a stretch. As the nonpartisan website fact points out, today the original misery index stands at 7.4, less than half of what it was in Carter's last year in office. The measure is only a smidgen worse than where it stood during Clinton's second term. This despite a recession and 9/11. Citizens today may be dissatisfied, but the majority aren't miserable.
Kerry's index provides a big contrast with the classic misery measure. It shows Bush failing on six of seven counts. How does Kerry work that magic? He fiddles with the categories. Instead of using straightforward unemployment rates, for example, the Kerry index considers a much more amorphous notion, new job creation. (Face it: If unemployment is heading south, does the party affiliated with organized labor really care whether those are old jobs or new?) As for tuition increases, notes that Kerry uses only data from public universities because including increases from private colleges would yield a less drastic number. Regarding wages: Sure, they are down. But when we measure the wage level after taxes and include the Bush tax cuts, the slight decline Kerry finds erodes to the point of insignificance. It has been said before: If you torture numbers enough, they will confess to anything.
But there are two other problems with the Kerry index.
The first is that, for a multifactor economic index, it misses quite a bit. What about America's crazy rate of litigation? What about the heavy burden of the payroll tax? These factors are slowing growth. The reason Kerry doesn't take them up is that it would be politically inconvenient for him to do so. Democrats need trial lawyers to fund them; lightening the payroll-tax burden means leading the charge on Social Security reform, not something that seems to interest Kerry.
The last problem with the Kerry index is more subtle. The old 1970s index had only two components. They were, arguably, about freedom and individual responsibility: the freedom to work and to trade in a relatively stable currency. Gas prices, for example, were not included, even though they were the great shock of the decade. Kerry's seven-category index represents a proliferation of wants. It says, essentially, that it used to take two things to make me happy, but now it takes seven.
It also suggests that government should have a role in satisfying those wants. What's more, many of the items in the Kerry index are about affordability -- the right to, say, cheap healthcare -- which is not the same as an outright entitlement but is close to it.
In short, the new JFK is saying government owes the people more. "Ask not what your country can do for you," indeed.
Kerry's thigh has shrapnel, records show
Wound sustained in Vietnam War
By and Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | April 24, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Senator John F. Kerry has shrapnel in his left thigh as a result of an injury sustained in the Vietnam War, according to medical records displayed by his presidential campaign yesterday. The records include notations for wounds for all three Purple Hearts, as well as for two bouts of pneumonia and "a minor non-specific urinary tract infection."

The shrapnel still in Kerry's thigh stems from a Feb. 20, 1969, attack for which he was awarded his second Purple Heart. Kerry has said none of the three Purple Heart wounds cost him more than a couple of days of service. Kerry was able to leave combat six months early under Navy regulations that allowed a thrice-wounded sailor to depart Vietnam early.

Asked yesterday whether the thigh bothers him, Kerry told reporters on his campaign plane: "Only when it rains."

The Kerry campaign removed a 20-page batch of documents yesterday from its website after The Boston Globe quoted a Navy officer who said the documents wrongly portrayed Kerry's service. Edward Peck had said he -- not Kerry -- was the skipper of Navy boat No. 94 at a time when the Kerry campaign website credited the senator with serving on the boat. The website had described Kerry's boat as being hit by rockets and said a crewmate was injured in an attack. But Peck said those events happened when he was the skipper. The campaign did not respond to a request to explain why the records were removed.

The medical records displayed by the campaign yesterday were shown to a small group of reporters and were not publicly released. The campaign arranged for Kerry's personal physician, Gerald J. Doyle, to analyze the records. Doyle, asked to characterize the severity of Kerry's injuries in Vietnam, said his opinions were based on medical records because he did not see the wounds at the time.

Of the wound that led to Kerry's first Purple Heart, in December 1968, Doyle said Kerry had shrapnel removed from his left arm above the elbow. Doyle noted that the shrapnel penetrated the skin but that there was no description of the size of the wound in the medical records.

As for the shrapnel still in Kerry's thigh, Doyle said removal of the shrapnel would have required a wide incision in the leg. "A decision was made to leave the shrapnel in place," Doyle said.

Kerry had two bouts of pneumonia recorded in the documents, and Doyle said Kerry has had pneumonia once in the last 18 years. Doyle said Kerry has a history of allergies -- pollen, mold, and hay fever, in particular -- and that people with allergies often are susceptible to developing illnesses that can lead to pneumonia.

According to Doyle's review of the medical records, Kerry also developed "a minor non-specific urinary tract infection" during his military service. It responded to antibiotics, Doyle said. Asked how Kerry developed the infection, Doyle said: "We discussed it. He had no recollection of it. It's not a very significant thing when you're 22 years old. It's something that can happen to anyone at any time."

Nearly a year ago, the Kerry campaign said it would not provide the senator's military medical records, saying Kerry would not cross what he considered to be a line of privacy. Kerry said Sunday that his military records were available and invited inspection of them at campaign headquarters. But the campaign reversed course Monday, saying no new records would be released. Following GOP criticism, the campaign has been releasing records since Tuesday.

? Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
Medicare Targets Drug Fraud
Scam Artists Sponge Off Prescription Program Before It Begins
By Brian Faler
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, April 23, 2004; Page A21
Medicare chief Mark B. McClellan announced a series of initiatives yesterday designed to help thwart hucksters and scam artists who he said have already begun preying on the government's new prescription drug program.
The program, which will initially offer most Medicare recipients a discount card for their prescription drugs, will not begin operating until June. Its second, larger phase that will offer much more wide-ranging benefits will not open for business until 2006. But McClellan said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has already begun receiving reports of people attempting to bilk the system and its potential participants.
Some, he said, have tried to sell fake discount cards. Others have posed as government officials, in hopes of prying private information from seniors that could be used to file false claims. In all, McClellan said, the agency has investigated 20 cases of potential fraud.
McClellan said his agency will begin monitoring and posting weekly updates on its Web site next month detailing the drugs and drug prices available through the system. The agency will also collect and respond to complaints from the public through the Web site (, its 1-800-MEDICARE telephone line and various affiliated groups across the country. The office will also conduct spot checks on the companies sanctioned to offer the cards to make sure they are following federal guidelines.
"We need to assume that there's going to be people out there who will, unfortunately, try to take advantage of every effort we make to help seniors, and we're going to do all we can to prevent it," McClellan said. "We've not seen any evidence of widespread fraud so far, and we intend to keep it that way."
He also warned that the government does not allow those companies sponsoring the cards to solicit customers through either "cold calls" or door-to-door visits. McClellan urged anyone who receives such offers to contact either the agency or local authorities.
His comments came at a news conference honoring eight whistle-blowers who, officials said, collectively saved the federal government about $3 billion involving Medicare billing practices, health care fraud and billing of defense contractors. Each was presented with an award by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), on behalf of a Washington-based group called Taxpayers Against Fraud.
"Make no doubt about it. These people fight the tough battles -- and they need to be recognized for it," Grassley said, referring to the whistle-blowers. "The awards that I'm presenting today recognize their integrity, recognize their independence and their tremendous sacrifice."
The whistle-blowers are James Alderson, Albert Campbell, Joseph Gerstein, Mark Jones, Luis Cobo, Robert J. Merena, Brett Roby and John W. Schilling. Grassley also received an award from the anti-fraud group, which cited his long-standing efforts to combat government waste.
Grassley used the occasion to press the Bush administration to create an interagency task force to focus on Medicare fraud.
"I'm taking this opportunity . . . that's provided by this fraud-busting crowd that we have in this room, to formally urge a federal interagency task force to directly and proactively target the fraud that could seep into Medicare's new prescription drug program," he said.
McClellan declined to endorse the plan but said he supports Grassley's goal of facilitating coordination of relevant agencies in the government to fight fraud.
"It's a great idea to make sure we're working closely together across agencies, and we're going to make sure that happens," McClellan said.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company


Al-Qaida plans high-sea terror
International hunt continues for Osama's 15-ship 'navy'

Posted: October 13, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Editor's note: Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of - a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.

? 2003

While al-Qaida continues to hide from international authorities 15 ships it has purchased, there are growing warnings around the world the next dramatic terror attack is more likely to come at sea than in the air.

Earlier this year, a chemical tanker, the Dewi Madrim, was hijacked by machinegun-bearing pirates in speedboats off the coast of Sumatra. But these weren't ordinary pirates looking for booty. These were terrorists learning how to drive a ship. They also kidnapped officers in an effort to acquire expertise on conducting a maritime attack, according to a report in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

This attack, reports G2 Bulletin was the equivalent of the al-Qaida hijackers who attended Florida flight schools before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

There is also evidence terrorists are learning about diving, with a view to attacking ships from below. The Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines kidnapped a maintenance engineer in a Sabah holiday resort in 2000. On his release in June this year, the engineer said his kidnappers knew he was a diving instructor - they wanted instruction. The owner of a diving school near Kuala Lumpur has recently reported a number of ethnic Malays wanting to learn about diving, but being strangely uninterested in learning about decompression.

Aegis' intelligence has turned up links between big criminal gangs in the area and terrorists, driven by the need for the latter to finance their operations. There have been at least 10 cases of pirates stealing tugs for no apparent reason. The concern is that they are to tow a hijacked tanker into a busy international port. On Sept. 16, 2001, the United States closed the port of Boston, fearing terrorists would attack the gas terminal in the port. To this day, gas tankers bound for Boston have to be escorted by the Coast Guard from hundreds of miles outside port.

G2B reported two weeks ago that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network has purchased at least 15 ships in the last two years.

Lloyds of London has reportedly helped Britain's MI6 and the U.S. CIA to trace the sales made through a Greek shipping agent suspected of having direct contacts with bin Laden.

The ships fly the flags of Yemen and Somalia - where they are registered - and are capable of carrying cargoes of lethal chemicals, a "dirty bomb" or even a nuclear weapon.

British and U.S. officials worry that one or more of these ships could attack civilian ports on a suicide mission.

The freighters are believed to be somewhere in the Indian or Pacific oceans. When the ships left their home ports in the Horn of Africa weeks ago, some were destined for ports in Asia.

The U.S. Department of State Friday warned citizens overseas that the threat of terror attacks did not end with the passing of the September 11 anniversary - specifically mentioning the threat of maritime terrorism.

"We are seeing increasing indications that al-Qaida is preparing to strike U.S. interests abroad," said the State Department's "Worldwide Caution."

"It is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing threat that they may be a target of terrorist actions, even after the anniversary date of the September 11 attacks and to add the potential for threats to maritime interests."

"Looking at the last few months, al-Qaida and its associated organizations have struck in the Middle East in Riyadh, in North Africa in Casablanca and in East Asia in Indonesia," the State Department said.

The report continued: "We expect al-Qaida will strive for new attacks that will be more devastating than the September 11 attack, possibly involving non-conventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents. We also cannot rule out the potential for al-Qaida to attempt a second catastrophic attack within the US. US citizens are cautioned to maintain a high level of vigilance, to remain alert and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness," the warning said.

G2B sources say other potential targets of the al-Qaida armada, besides civilian ports, include oil rigs. Another threat is the ramming of a cruise liner.

Some British navy officials have expressed concerns about not being able to patrol its coasts adequately against such a threat.

If a maritime terror attack comes, it won't be the first. In October 2000, the USS Cole, a heavily armed ship protected with the latest radar defenses, was hit by an al-Qaida suicide crew. Seventeen American soldiers died. Two years later, following the attacks on the Twin Towers, a similar attack was carried out against a French supertanker off the coast of Yemen.

The military's U.S. Pacific Command is trying to convince friendly nations in Asia to share intelligence on terrorism as part of a new regional maritime security policy. The policy envisions sharing information on ships' cargos and passengers as they travel the vast Pacific to help narrow the search for terrorists or dangerous or forbidden cargo. "The global war on terrorism is like watching water running downhill. Water always goes to the place of least resistance," explained U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Walter F. Doran.

As terrorists are flushed out of Afghanistan and Iraq from two successive U.S.-led wars "they tend to find themselves in Southeast Asia," Doran said.

He acknowledged it would be impossible to track the contents and intentions of every ship in the region but said the regional security policy would allow participating countries to better define the "gray" areas where they don't know what they don't know.

In December 2001 the Singapore government arrested nearly a dozen people with ties to al-Qaida allegedly planning to attack western targets, including a U.S. aircraft carrier that was scheduled for a port visit.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Ports Authority has raised the alert level at all Mindanao ports because of a supposed intelligence report indicating an alleged plot to bomb Manila-bound ships.

The PPA ordered port officials in Mindanao to implement the heightened alert in the wake of a threat allegedly issued by Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani.

The Abu Sayyaf is on the U.S. government's list of international terrorist groups and is believed to be linked to the al-Qaida network.

In addition, a Rand Corp. study released last month in London warns terrorists might use container ships in terror attacks meant to cause massive casualties.

The report warns cargo ships or shipping containers could be used to deliver weapons of mass destruction for terror groups such as al-Qaida.

The report, produced in cooperation with the European Commission, said: "The potential threat of terrorists using containers poses a large risk to our economies and to our societies. Ultimately, this means that the marine sector - and specifically the container transport sector - remains wide open to the terrorist threat."

Rand says the international community has not become sufficiently aware of al-Qaida's threat at sea, with most counter-insurgency efforts being focused on stopping an attack from the air.
Jordan kills foreign suspects in chemical attack plot

Thursday, April 22, 2004
AMMAN - Jordan killed three suspects in an Al Qaida plot to launch a chemical weapons attack against government installations.

The insurgents died during in a four-hour siege by security forces in Amman on Tuesday. The insurgents were described as foreigners, but their nationalities were not reported. Another three suspects were captured.

A police statement said security forces raided an insurgency hideout in eastern Amman, Middle East Newsline reported. An official said the security force targeted insurgents linked to an Al Qaida-aligned group that had plotted to use CW against government installations.

"Information made available to security authorities pointed to the presence of an armed group which had plotted to carry out terror attacks," the police statement said. "The gunmen were ordered to surrender but they opened fire on the security forces who returned fire, killing all three."

The Al Qaida targets were also said to have included the embassies of Israel and the United States. The plot was said to have been directed by Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian national and regarded as the most lethal Al Qaida-aligned insurgent in Iraq.

One of the insurgents captured was said to have been Abdul Al Fatah Al Jayusi. Al Jayusi was one of three insurgents who escaped capture in raids by Jordanian security forces earlier this month, in which three truckloads of weapons, ammunition and CW components were seized in northern Jordan.

The trucks were said to have come from Syria. Witnesses said the force that raided the insurgency hideout in the Palestinian neighborhood of Amman on Tuesday appeared to have been a special operations unit. The officers, who surrounded the house at 1 p.m. local time, were equipped with commando assault rifles, body armor and gas masks.

The insurgents opened fire on the Jordanian force and one officer was wounded, the witnesses said. They said one of those captured spoke Arabic with an Iraqi accent.


Sudan rebels take aim at Chinese troops oil workers

Friday, April 23, 2004
CAIRO - Sudanese insurgents have begun targeting Chinese forces and laborers in the Arab League state.

Sudanese rebel sources said rebel forces have sought to drive out the large Chinese presence in Sudan. China has sent thousands of people to operate the oil fields and protect them from insurgency attack.

Western diplomatic sources estimated that China has deployed 4,000 troops to protect Beijing's oil interests in southern Sudan. The troops were said to have guarded Chinese facilities and helped Sudan in regional defense.

At least four Chinese nationals were abducted by the rebels over the last month. They were identified as security guards from the North China Construction Co. Two of the Chinese workers were killed and the others were returned safely. The bodies, identified as those of employees of the Liaohe Oil Field Road Cosntruction Co., were found on March 27.

Beijing said the two workers had been drilling water wells near Buram city in western Sudan. But rebel sources said the Chinese were two of thousands of mercernaries for the Khartoum regime.

The sources said they did not have evidence that Sudan employed Chinese troops to quell the revolt in the Darfour province. On Thursday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch reported that Sudan used Arab militias to destroy African villages and kill their in Darfour.

Human Rights Watch said Arab militias and Sudanese military troops killed 136 African men in Darfour in March. The group said the victims were members of the Fur ethnic group who were rounded up and executed in two separate government and Janjaweed militia operations on March 5.

"The Janjaweed are no longer simply militias supported by the Sudanese government," Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director, said in a statement. "Operations carried out by the Janjaweed often enjoy air support from the government of Sudan, both aerial bombardment before operations and helicopter reconnaissance afterwards to ensure the area is empty."

Posted by maximpost at 1:43 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 25 April 2004 2:14 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 April 2004

Hunters and Gatherers: The Intelligence
Coalition Against Islamic Terrorism
The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the United States catapulted the intelligence services to the forefront of the

``war'' against international Islamicist terrorism. In responding to that threat, most governments in other vulnerable

regions of the world expanded their intelligence services, provided them with substantially increased resources, equipped

them with significantly augmented statutory powers, and vested them with high expectations.
Yet, by way of contrast with conventional interstate conflict situations, where adversaries are clearly identified and the

function of intelligence is to collect actionable information as to the intentions and capabilities of rival powers,

intelligence services faced extraordinary challenges in confronting this international Islamicist menace. Precisely because

of the global andfurtive character of Islamicist militant networks, intelligence for the war against terrorism has had to

address threats of unprecedented geographic scope emanating from a multiplicity of obscure and furtive belligerents. In

dealing with the international terrorist menace, intelligence has been transformed into a hunter as well as a gatherer: it

must seek out and identify hostile terrorist networks, cells, and individuals; garner information about hostile intentions

and capabilities; disrupt their Dr. Martin Rudner is Director of the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at

the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Prior to joining the

Carleton faculty in 1984, he taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Australian National University. President

of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS), he is also an economic and political advisor to

the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Rudner appears frequently as

a radio and television commentator on security matters.
International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 17: 193-230, 2004
Copyright # Taylor & Francis Inc.
ISSN: 0885-0607 print/1521-0561 online
DOI: 10.1080/08850600490274890
recruitment, training, planning, deployment, supply, and financial systems; provide threat assessments and early warning; and

thwart terrorist operations. Moreover, since in most jurisdictions terrorism is defined as a crime as well as a national

security threat, the hunting and gathering of intelligence should also serve to support law enforcement authorities in

bringing terrorists to justice.
That al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and cells embedded themselves in countries far afield--from the U.S. itself to Afghanistan,

Canada, Germany, Great Britain, France, Indonesia, Kuwait, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi

Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Tunisia, Yemen, and elsewhere--placed a premium on intelligence cooperation for countering this

globalized terrorist threat. Absent intelligence cooperation, the imminence of the threat would have prompted unilateral

operations in erstwhile friendly countries against terrorist networks, cells, and individual operatives. International

intelligence cooperation against terrorism created a collective security alternative to rampant clandestine warfare across

the globe.
So great was the complexity and magnitude of the task that even the world's preeminent superpower, the United States, found

itself impelled to seek cooperation with a large number of other countries in its intelligenceled war on international

Islamicist terrorism. While international cooperation in the intelligence domain is hardly a new thing--the United States has

itself been involved in closely knit alliances with selected partners for over fifty years--the wide geopolitical scope and

extent of collaboration and exchanges in the aftermath of 11 September amounts to a quantum leap toward cooperative security

through intelligence partnering. A broad coalition of some 100 countries has emerged, comprising a framework of many parts.

The emergent intelligence coalition has been characterized by different areas of cooperation, different degrees of

information sharing, different disciplines for partnering, and different specializations for exchanges among the various

participating countries. Nevertheless, the alliances and coalitions that were formed in the intelligence domain have since

then played a front-line role in the global counterterrorism effort, while also contributing substantively to the diplomatic

and military elements of the campaign.
The counterterrorism coalition that was formed in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks built on preexisting mechanisms

for international intelligence cooperation. These mechanisms in the domain of intelligence remain highly secretive as to

their actual names and descriptions, mandates, and country participants. Yet it is known that international
arrangements for intelligence cooperation have taken on multilateral,
plurilateral, and bilateral attributes:
a. Multilateral systems for intelligence cooperation comprise formal alliance arrangements which are characteristically

shrouded in secrecy. The multilateral essence of these arrangements is attributable less to the number of participating

countries (just the closest of like-minded allies) than to the intimacy, automaticity, and scope of their intelligence

relationship. These are partnerships tightly knit in the elements of burden sharing, technology sharing, targeting and

coverage, operational collaboration, accessibility to alliance intelligence assets, and a wholesale sharing of intelligence

b. Plurilateral cooperation, by way of contrast, typically occurs through more loosely structured, informal networks,

``groups'' or ``clubs,'' for intelligence sharing. Although plurilateral networks may involve a relatively large number of

arms-length allies, nevertheless, their information sharing mechanisms are somewhat more discretionary, or less automatic and

fulsome, than the alliance model, and tend to focus on specific threats or issue areas of common concern to the participating

c. Bilateral intelligence cooperation, for its part, proceeds through regular liaison or ad hoc mutual arrangements,

facilitating direct exchanges of intelligence information and specialized services that typically address particular issues

and threats. The retail terms of trade for these bilateral exchanges reflect the comparative advantages of the countries and

agencies involved in intelligence collection and=or threat assessment. International cooperation in intelligence plays a

significant, albeit an almost invisible role in collective security. A modest intelligence power like Canada, for example,

may be engaged in multilateral, plurilateral, and bilateral intelligence relations with nearly 150 countries.1 To be sure,

international cooperation can be a somewhat ambiguous matter in the intelligence domain. Cooperation might well enhance reach

and effectiveness, and liaison relationships can curtail some foreign intelligence operations within cooperating countries.

But, as it is said, ``There are no friendly secret services, only the secret services of friendly states.'' Intelligence

communities of even friendly countries tend to be reticent and secretive about anything to do with their respective

capabilities, methods, and sources, lest disclosure militate against any future strategic requirement or operational tasking.
Two significant multilateral alliance systems have been identified in the domain of intelligence. One is the United

Kingdom-United States Security
Agreement on communications intelligence cooperation (the UKUSA
alliance), which has been in existence for nearly sixty years.2 Little known and still highly classified, the UKUSA alliance

has provided a framework for multilateral cooperation that considerably extended the individual signals intelligence

capabilities of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The second multilateral system is an

incipient European alliance intended to develop an expanded and coordinated European capability in space-based intelligence.

This French initiative, joined by Germany and Italy, is open to other European Union member countries. Other alliance

arrangements for intelligence and security cooperation against international terrorism include the Shanghai-6, embracing

China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgysztan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, though little is known about its cooperative mechanisms

and activities. The former Soviet bloc had its own multilateral arrangement for intelligence cooperat ion among Communist

Eastern European governments, structured around a hub-and-spokes mechanism controlled by the KGB, but this no longer exists.

All these multilateral arrangements for intelligence cooperation were predicated on systematic burden sharing, technology

sharing, shared access to specified intelligence assets, a division of labor regarding targeting and geographic areas of

coverage, and a fulsome sharing of intelligence products.
The UKUSA Agreement had its origins in wartime Anglo-American SIGINT cooperation against Germany and Japan. In 1945 the

British government approached the United States to propose continued peacetime SIGINT cooperation, based on their shared

wartime experience of geographic specialization, coupled with product sharing. As discussions progressed, the British also

dispatched missions to Canada and Australia to elicit their participation in an expanded arrangement. A follow-up meeting in

London produced the British-USA agreement (BRUSA), whichis still classified, and which set out specific arrangements for a

SIGINT partnership among the United States, the UK, and the two self-governing Dominions (as they were then); New Zealand

entered the arrangement under the aegis of Australia.3
The diplomacy of intelligence cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United States proceeded through zigs and zags as

the two Great Powers reconciled their shared and unilateral interests and objectives in the early Cold War security

environment. During the winter of 1946-1947 the UK proceeded to convene a conference of the Dominions' signals intelligence

services with a view to setting up a Commonwealth SIGINT network under British leadership and with a global surveillance

capability. A Commonwealth SIGINT Organization (CSO) Agreement was signed in
1947, but the objective proved to be excessively ambitious. Nevertheless, these early consultations did nurture close, even

intimate, long-term operational relationships, particularly among the SIGINT organizations of the UK, Australia, and Canada.

Not to be outflanked, the United States moved swiftly to initiate separate bilateral communications intelligence cooperation

agreements with Canada (CANUSA) and Australia.
Faced with a mounting Cold War confrontation in Europe, the Americans and British resolved their differences and proceeded to

conclude, in June 1948, the UKUSA Security Agreement on communications intelligence cooperation. This Agreement did not take

the form of a single treaty, rather it comprised a set of Anglo-American memoranda of understanding and exchanges of letters

negotiated over the previous two years.4 Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, signed on along with the UK as ``Second

Parties'' to the UKUSA arrangement. Later, other countries were reportedly included in a somewhat looser, more limited

association as ``Third Parties,'' usually by virtue of bilateral arrangements with theBritish (e.g., Sweden) or Americans

(e.g., Norway).5 Details of all elements of the Agreement remain highly classified today.
Sharing Secrets
Available sources indicate that the UKUSA pact constitutes a framework mechanism for close collaboration between the United

States and Great Britain, as First and Second Parties to the Agreement, in technology development, targeting and operations,

and in the sharing of foreign intelligence products.6 From the start, the national SIGINT agencies of the United States and

Great Britain, respectively the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), served

as the core of this intelligence sharing arrangement, and were by far the major contributors of technology, operational

capacity, and strategic leadership. Other partners, the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), Canada's Communications

Branch of the National Research Council (CBNRC), later the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), and the New Zealand

Government Communications SecurityBureau (GCSB), served more like auxiliaries at the periphery of the UKUSA's global Signals

Intelligence collection effort. By virtue of this UKUSA Agreement, these five SIGINT agencies, known as the ``Five Eyes'' (as

in ``UKUSA Eyes Only'') constituted a uniquely intimateinternational intelligence partnership. Third Party countries like

Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, etc., were limited to a rather more restricted and discretionary access to

the UKUSA's SIGINT resources. An underlying principle of UKUSA was that the partner countries did not target one another or

their respective nationals to collect clandestine
intelligence. Although the UKUSA was very much a hub-and-spokes type arrangement, the partnership did allow middle powers

like Australia and Canada to have access to a global capability to collect and deliver realtime communications intelligence

on foreign targets of interest to their national security. As well, the UKUSA arrangement has given these middle powers a

place at the table for high level strategic deliberations on the part of their American and British allies, along with

privileged access to the most sophisticated technologies for intelligence and for defense generally.
The Targets
From the outset of the Cold War, the UKUSA partners concentrated their SIGINT efforts primarily on Soviet and Warsaw Pact

communications, with the highest priority going to communications relating to nuclear weaponry and its deployment. Soviet

espionage and diplomatic communications constituted second and third priorities. In attacking these priorities the UKUSA

arrangement provided for SIGINT burden-sharing among the ``Five Eyes'' in terms of geographic coverage and targeting. The UK

and U.S. assumed primary responsibility for monitoring Soviet and other Warsaw Pact communications and electronic signals in

central, southern and northern Europe, the Middle East and south=central Asia, and Southeastern and Eastern Asia. Australia

and New Zealand covered more specifically Southeast Asia and the Pacific, while Canada was charged with monitoring Soviet

military and scientific communications across the Arctic and Far East.
UKUSA partners were also successful in attacking the communications and cipher systems of many other countries. Countries

that still relied for their communications security on Hagelin-type encryption machines manufactured by the Swiss firm,

Crypto AG, were especially vulnerable. These machines were similar in design to the German Enigma, which had already been

overcome by British cryptanalysts during World War II. In order to shield its ongoing cryptographic efforts, British

intelligence kept secret its Ultra success for decades afterwards. From the 1970s onwards, a covert arrangement between the

NSA and Crypto AG effectively compromised the communications security of successive models of their encryption machines.7 As

a result, the ostensibly secure diplomatic and military communications of some 130 countries relying on Crypto AGencryption

machines were effectively accessible to the NSA and therefore to other UKUSA partners.8 NSA and GCHQ supposedly could read

the coded messages as fast or faster than the intended recipients.9 The methods utilized to intercept internal land-based

communications are obviously highly classified.10 But the U.S. and some of its UKUSA partners, including Britain's GCHQ and

Canada's CSE, are known to have acquired
some of the NSA's technologies for operations conducted out of their diplomatic or consular posts, in order to

surreptitiously intercept telephonic or digital communications from within foreign capital cities, sift them for messages to

or from targeted individuals or organizations, and decrypt the enciphered content. In Canada's case, the want of

cryptanalytical capability at that time, around the 1970s and 1980s, meant that the CSE was unable to process the ``take''

from its own external SIGINT collection efforts, but had to rely on its UKUSA partners to process this intelligence product.
Covering the World
The development of satellite communications technology since the late 1960s has led to a rapid expansion of international

telecommunications traffic, which in turn has prompted a dramatic (albeit highly classified) role expansion for the UKUSA

partnership. In 1971, Britain's GCHQ constructed a specialized ground station at Morwenstow, designed to intercept satellite

communications (SATCOM) relays from Intelsat satellites over the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The Morwenstow facility was

linked to a similar NSA station at Yakima, Washington, situated to intercept Pacific Intelsat relays. For a time, these two

sites were able to monitor all Intelsat traffic across the world.
Subsequent refinements to Intelsat satellite design, and the launching of communications satellites by the Soviet Union and

other countries, spurred the UKUSA partners to substantially improve the capabilities of the two existing facilities, while

also constructing a chain of suitably situated intercept stations around the world in order to maintain global coverage.11

Additional SATCOM interception stations were installed in Hong Kong (since dismantled) by GCHQ; at Kojarena, Western

Australia by the DSD; at Leitrim, Ontario by the CSE; at Waihopai in New Zealand's South Island by the GCSB; and at Sabana

Seca, Puerto Rico and Sugar Grove, West Virginia by the NSA. Another GCHQ station may have been set up during the 1990s on

Ascension Island to monitor the Atlantic Intelsats'southern hemisphere communications.
The interception of high-frequency radio and satellite-relayed communications is only one element of the UKUSA's capability

for global SIGINT surveillance. Other components include satellite-based signals intelligence collectors (spy satellites),

and covert devices that tap directly into land-based telecommunications networks. Soviet domestic telecommunications were

especially dependent on microwave networks, since its vast areas under permafrost and immense distances militated against

laying underground cables. Since microwave signals are not deflected by the ionosphere but radiate off into space, they were
vulnerable to interception by U.S. satellites positioned in an appropriate (usually geosynchronous) orbit to capture the

inevitable microwave spillage. In the event, so immense was the ``take'' from Soviet microwave circuits that the satellites

had to immediately download the collected communications intelligence to an earth station in line of sight.12 For two of the

three satellites, this required the construction of ground satellite stations outside the U.S.--at Menwith Hill in England and

Pine Gap in Australia. To distinguish between two modalities of satellite SIGINT is pertinent--between what may be described

as ``dishes-down'' or ``dishes-up'' capabilities. The former refers to SIGINT satellites designed for spacebased

interceptions of communications or other electronic emissions emanating from the ground, sea, or air; while the latter

relates to a ground-based facility for the interception of communications relayed by satellites in space.
In accordance with the terms of the UKUSA alliance, all ``Five Eyes'' were able to access and share in the products of these

satellite intercepts. So far, the United States remains the only country to have deployed space satellites for the

interception of internal (and inter-satellite) communications. SIGINT satellites and their ground-processing facilities are

exceptionally costly, with the latest classes costing approximately US$1 billion apiece. In the aftermath of the Falklands

War, Britain attempted to design its own SIGINT satellite, known as Zircon.13 But the cost of owning and operating a single

satellite would have increased GCHQ's budget by about a third in perpetuity; three such satellites would have been needed for

complete surveillance of the USSR, and this was simply unaffordable. Moreover, by then the NSA had already achieved

near-global coverage with its two existing classes of SIGINT satellites. In 1987, the British Cabinet decided, in great

secrecy, as with most matters regarding Zircon, to terminate the project. Instead, a secret agreement was reached in 1988 for

Britain to contribute $500 million toward the U.S. designed Magnum class of second-generation SIGINT satellites, the first of

which was launched in 1994.14 In return, Britain obtained a measure of operational control over these spacecraft. No

spacecraft were actually placed at Britain's disposal, however, and the highly sensitive technology has remained exclusively

in American hands.
Despite the sharing principle underlying the UKUSA, the orbital positioning and targeting of this constellation of satellites

remain under the control of the United States, with the NSA retaining the right to override GCHQ in tasking the satellites,

even during the British time share. While the U.S. has sometimes been willing to reposition satellites, so as to hover and

zero in on targets requested by its UKUSA allies, such requests have not been without their difficulties, and the response

continues to be entirely at American discretion.15
Working Together
From the outset, the several SATCOM interception and satellite ground control stations were linked together into functional

networks. By the 1990s, extensive refinements to the UKUSA's wide-area networking technologies made possible a virtually

seamless global operational capability for the various operational methodologies--HF (high frequency) radio, space-based, and

local in-country. The integration and meshing ofthese SIGINT modalities reached its zenith in the highly sophisticated and

very secret networking system known as Echelon.16 The Echelon system is actually a networked dictionary software, linked

together in an array of large-scale computers called ``Platform'' that enable the various UKUSA intercept stations to

function as parts of an integrated, virtually seamless SIGINT interception and processing network.17
Compared to the earlier SIGINT systems deployed during the Cold War, which were designed primarily to intercept diplomatic,

espionage, and military communications, Echelon had a broadbanded capacity to monitor virtually all types of electronic

communications among public and private sector organizations and individuals in almost every country. The Echelon network

facilitated reciprocal access to networked stations and a full exchange of intercepts among the UKUSA partners. At the

operational heart of this network are the Echelon ``Dictionary'' computers. These specialized computers, with the capacity to

store a comprehensive database on designated organizations or individuals, including names, topics of interest, addresses,

telephone numbers and other criteria for target identification, are located in certain Echelon-linked SIGINT facilities.

These Echelon Dictionary computers are said to be able to sort through vast flows of intercepted telecommunications traffic

in order to identify specifically targeted messaging. Given the closely integrated networking achieved under Echelon, each

participant's Dictionary computer contains not only its parent organization's designated keywords, but also a target list for

each of the other partners among the ``Five Eyes.'' The reciprocity arrangement under the UKUSA pact allowed partner SIGINT

organizations virtually automatic access to each other's interception facilities without the host country necessarily being

aware of their targets. In return, each of the ``Five Eyes'' gained access to the global capabilities of the Echelon system

of COMINT collection and processing. Available information indicates that each of the ``Five Eyes'' can access the Echelon

system solely for its own designated target list, and is not obliged to share any of the intelligence gathered with other

partners.18 Partners may request intelligence product from each other's Echelon Dictionary listings, but actual access is

effectively controlled by that agency. Intercepts are processed through the networked Echelon Dictionary computers, with the
take being forwarded automatically to the listing agency. These intercepts are then processed through technologically

advanced computer systems, programmed to search for specific telephone numbers, voice recognition patterns, or key words, and

to decrypt text. Under the prevailing UKUSA arrangement, each of the ``Five Eyes'' reportedly specializes in analyzing

particular types of communications traffic.19 The great challenge confronting UKUSA has been the tremendous influx of

intercepts, which overwhelms and exceeds existing capacity to synthesize and analyze raw communications intelligence take

into a readily usable product.
Technological Prowess
The technologies behind Echelon and other high capacity SIGINT collection and processing systems were mostly American in

origin. These technologies were so specialized and of such advanced complexity that only experienced U.S. defense contractors

and niche suppliers were capable of designing and manufacturing the purpose-built equipment for the NSA, and then only with

government technical and financial backing.20 Some of this equipment including Cray supercomputers, Echelon computer systems

and their miniaturized versions (Oratory) for outstations, miniaturized interception and processing equipment for

embassy-based interceptions, highcapacity= high-speed information retrieval devices, and high-speed traffic=topic analysis

search engines, inter alia, was made available by the NSA to other UKUSA partners. UKUSA partners also relied on NSA training

for their cryptanalytical and other technical specialists. Other UKUSA partners, among them GCHQ and the CSE, also endeavored

to promote technology development in niches where these countries enjoyed certain technological advantages. Over the years

the GCHQ demonstrated a strong in-house capacity to design, develop, and produce specialized hardware and software

applications for its own requirements, including signal processors, antennas and receivers, point-topoint links, and data

networks, and state-of-the-art cryptographic products.21 Both Britain and Canada sponsored research into speech recognition

The UKUSA's capabilities in technological interoperability and functional cooperation were revealed in the conduct of joint

operations. In one telling example in 1995, a combined Australian-NSA-GCHQ operation introduced highly sophisticated

eavesdropping devices into the new purpose-built Chinese Embassy in Canberra. The British contribution reportedly involved

specialized equipment for routing the intercepts to an American-equipped monitoring station.22 The operation exemplified the

interoperability of technologies and synergies of planning and execution among UKUSA partners.
The collaborative strength of UKUSA was further demonstrated in January 2000, when the NSA's main computer system crashed

calamitously for four days. What was described as a ``system overload'' shut down the computers used to process collected

SIGINT intelligencefrom 24-28 January, causing an unprecedented breakdown in the processing and analysis of raw intercepts.23

Nevertheless, SIGINT interceptions continued uninterrupted, thanks to the high degree of network integration under UKUSA.

This enabled the shunting of incoming raw intelligence to other components of the Echelon system, including, presumably,

GCHQ, for processing for the duration of the NSA outage. The robustness of UKUSA burden-sharing capabilities proved to be of

significant value even to the United States.
Combatting the Terrorists
SIGINT has played a significant part in the intelligence war on Islamist terrorism. With its global reach and sophisticated

interception and cryptanalytical capabilities, the UKUSA SIGINT effort was able to attack al-Qaeda telephone and data

communications, and also target its presence in various countries across Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.24 Awareness of

these SIGINT capabilities reportedly prompted al-Qaeda to rely for its communications on personal messengers and

sophisticated telecommunications, the Internet, and encryption technologies to try to outfox U.S. surveillance.25

Nevertheless, the ability of the NSA to provide significant and timely intelligence on terrorist threats was grievously

constrained by deficiencies in its technical capability to attack certain modern communications systems, tardiness in

translation and analysis of intercepts, and legal ambiguities regarding interceptions within the United States proper.26

Still, communications interceptions contributed to the identification and tracking of al-Qaeda and its affiliated networks

and cells, to early warning and prevention of terrorist attacks, to the monitoring and disruption of financial transactions,

and to the location and arrest of al-Qaeda leaders, including Khadar Sheik Mohammed, the alleged planner of the 11 September

Ambiguities in the functions of the UKUSA become apparent whenever the foreign policies of the five partners diverge over

issues of national significance. Thus, the New Zealand stance on nuclear weaponry aboard visiting warships provoked the

United States to limit that country's access to American intelligence assets. Similarly, an NSA request to its partner

``Eyes'' that they assist in the interception and analysis of diplomatic communications of members of the United Nations

Security Council (except the U.S. and UK, of course) during the debate on the proposed Resolution authorizing the use of

force to disarm Iraq, posed an acute
policy dilemma for the UKUSA partnership.28 Whereas at a strategic foreign policy level the U.S., UK, and Australia embraced

similar positions with regard to Iraq, Canada and New Zealand did not; and indeed the two countries adopted a quite contrary

standpoint. Thus, for the CSE or GCSB to have cooperated with their UKUSA partners in targeting the communications of

Security Council delegates would have compromised Canada's and New Zealand's own policy prescriptions and principles. The

2003 United Nations Security Council issue constituted one of the rare singularities wherein divergences in foreign policy

militated against thelongstanding propensity for SIGINT cooperation under UKUSA.
Franco-European Initiatives in Global Surveillance
As part of their respective international security efforts that preceded and followed the end of the Cold War, European

countries also pursued enhanced cooperation in intelligence. The breakup of the Soviet bloc witnessed profound political

changes and altered the structure and dynamics of international relations on the European continent and globally. What was

hitherto a stable, almost predictable balance of East-West power was now supplanted by a more fluid and volatile

international environment. Destabilizing trends in East and Central Europe, such as theconflict in the Balkans, large-scale

human migrations, transnational crime, and trafficking in weaponry of mass destruction posed heightened security risks for

both Western Europe and North America. Faced with mounting risks within Europe, and intensive competition to exercise a

presence internationally, the 1992 Treaty on the European Union--the Maastricht Treaty--initiated a security agenda that later

crystallized into a Common European and Security Policy.29 France, in particular, held to the view that Europe's ability to

conduct its own independent foreign policy depended upon the creation of an integrated intelligence capability comparable to

that of the United States.30
The French government responded to post-Cold War uncertainties by building up its intelligence capabilities. French security

doctrine emphasized the contribution of intelligence to the four main functions of France's defense policy: conflict

prevention, deterrence, protection, and force projection. In order to try to emulate the UKUSA global reach, France embarked

on a determined effort to develop a European spacebased SIGINT and imagery capability--which some have dubbed

``Frenchelon''--designed to induce inter-European cooperation in technology development, operational partnerships, and

financial burden sharing, while creating intelligence assets that could cover broad geographic swaths of interest to French

foreign and defense policy and to Europe's security requirements. Officially, the targets of France's
IMINT=SIGINT initiative related to conflict early warning and threat deterrence, counterterrorism, and the prevention of the

proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.31 There is little question, however, that France's SIGINT effort was also

directed at economic intelligence and industrial espionage.32
To be sure, France already possessed infrastructure for a space program at its Centre Spatial Guyanais launching complex at

Kourou in French Guiana, and the Ariane rocket was available as a launch vehicle. Satellite ground stations were established

at Kourou and Mayotte, both reportedly in cooperation with Germany's Bundesnachichtendienst (BND), in addition to the core

installation at Domme.33 France's satellite-based IMINT=SIGINT effort, managed by the Direction ge?ne?ral de la se?curite?

exte?rieur (DGSE) and operated by the Direction renseignement militaire (DRM), the military intelligence agency, involved the

building of intelligence partnerships with selected European allies, and the establishment of cooperation arrangements with

numerous countries across the world, especially for the placement of ground facilities.
While elements of partnership and cooperation have been put in place, the sharing process has not been especially smooth or

fulsome. Financial burden sharing has been partial, hesitant, and sometimes even tenuous. Thus, the initial Helios

photographic satellite program was estimated to cost some FF20 billion for two craft.34 France was able to elicit

cosponsorship of the Helios-1 program from Italy (approximately 14 percent) and Spain (approximately 7 percent) but Germany

and Great Britain withstood pressures and urgings, and declined to participate. Germany later agreed to cooperate on

Helios-2, a more powerful satellite with more refined optics and infra-red sensors scheduled for launching in 2003, in return

for a share in the tasking and products, and for French agreement to go ahead with the Horus (originally named Osiris) radar

imaging satellite which Germany particularly wanted. But subsequent budgetary constraints compelled the Germans to pull out

of Helios in 1997 and to abandon involvement in Horus.35 Lacking other partners to share further financial burdens, and faced

with spiraling costs, France finally decided to cancel its large-scale Zenon SIGINT satellite program, whose capabilities

lagged behind current American technologies anyway.
As its initial approach floundered, France refocused its effort on achieving functional complementarity among the space

programs of France, Germany, and Italy as regards areas of shared geographic and security priority, and building from there.

In June 2000, Germany agreed to cooperate with France on a military satellite program; Italy was then invited to incorporate

its planned Italian military-civil satellite project, SkyMED COSMO, into the Franco-German initiative.36 So determined was

France to bring about this cooperative effort that the French government was
even prepared to help share the cost of the SAR-Lupe satellites in order to encourage German participation. France considers

that such a tripartite European satellite intelligence system would represent a quantum leap forward in European global

intelligence capability. France's intelligence satellite effort also involved the creation of a worldwide network of ground

stations functioning around a central SIGINT processing site at DGSE headquarters at Noisy, in the Paris region, and a

control and interception complex at Domme, in the Dordogne Valley. Under the terms of the cooperation arrangement for

Helios-1, primary data reception stations were located in all three partner countries: at Colmar in France, Leece in Italy,

and Maspalomas on Spain's Canary Islands, while the main payload control facility was at Creil, France. Other stations in the

network include downlink and interception facilities located in the United Arab Emirates, which also provide IMINT=SIGINT

coverage of the Middle East; in New Caledonia, covering the Asia Pacific; and at Korou, covering the Americas.37 According to

available information, French SIGINT capabilities lack the global surveillance of Echelon, or even the reach of Britain's

GCHQ to collect and decypher massive intakes of signals intelligence from a diversity of communications modes--telephonic,

radio, and digital.38 But France is reported to have developed highly refined computer software capable of sifting through

massive volumes of intelligence throughput in order to identify items of political or commercial relevance.39
France's strategy of building intelligence alliances is complicated by a deeply ingrained ambivalence regarding the sharing

of intelligence. As the key operator and main contributor of resources to the IMINT=SIGINT enterprise, France has reserved

for itself the highest priority for tasking these satellites and has controlled access to the widest ``take.''40 Any

willingness to share has long depended on France's consideration of the target. Over time, France has cooperated more or less

fully with its partners, allies, and friends in intelligence efforts directed against the new global threats, such as

international terrorism, transnational crime, drug trafficking, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But

considerable reticence remains about sharing information regarding geographic areas of historical or geo-strategic

significance to France, like the Levant, and even a reluctance to share intelligence concerning its most intimate spheres of

regional interest in the Maghreb and Francophone Africa.41
Projected tripartite French-German-Italian cooperation in satellite-based intelligence collection is to be based on France's

Helios-2 photoreconnaissance craft launched in 2003, operating together with Germany'sSAR-Lupe all-weather radar satellites

(four or possibly six craft scheduled for launching this year) and Italy's four radar and three optical SkyMED COSMO

satellites during the next several months. The tripartite approach
intends to assign each of the satellite systems a more-or-less specific and complementary geographic role. Helios-2 is to

provide global coverage, as did the Helios-1 craft since their launch in 1995, while SAR-Lupe satellites are slated to

concentrate mainly on Central and Eastern Europe and SkyMED COSMOS on the Mediterranean region.42 Although the coverage is

likely to be somewhat less than comprehensive and seamless, France considers that this coordinated, tripartite satellite

system could achieve an extended capability and reach, and furthermore could set in motion a process of European

intelligence cooperation that might potentially rival the UKUSA. Other EU countries possessing significant SIGINT capability

are Denmark, Germany (which operates listening stations abroad in Spain, Lebanon, Taiwan, and at Pamir-Geburge, China, near

the sensitive Afghan border), Italy,43 and the Netherlands,44 as well as, of course, Great Britain.
In another initiative aimed at promoting European cooperation in spacebased technologies, the Western European Union

established in the 1990s a satellite imagery processing and interpretation facility at its Satellite Center at the Torrejon

Air Base near Madrid, Spain. This cooperative facility was designed for interoperability with Helios and other European

civilian imagery satellites, including Russia's.45 It concentrated mainly on crisis surveillance and environmental

monitoring, but its limited data processing capability seems to have been a severe constraint.
The French Helios-1A, launched in 1995, was a photo-imaging (IMINT) satellite whose purpose was to provide early warning of

threats and conflicts. Later disclosures revealed that the satellite piggybacked an experimental Ceris (Characterisation de

l' Environment Radio-e? lectrique par un Instrument Spatial Embarque? ) mini-satellite containing a Euracom SIGINT apparatus

designed to intercept Intelsat and Inmarsat satellite communication signals.46 But this device seems to have been deficient

in terms of its interception and relay capabilities. A second photo-imaging satellite, Helios-1B was launched in December

During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Helios-1A was used operationally for mission preparation and battle damage

assessments.47 Current French intelligence efforts are said to concentrate largely on IMINT and SIGINT, and are targeted

primarily at economic, industrial, technological-scientific, and financial intelligence,48 as well as counterterrorism.

Indeed, France is said to have institutionalized its approach to industrial espionage, with the DGSE responding to requests

from French firms to deploy its resources to obtain specific items of economic or corporate intelligence.49 French economic

intelligence operations are widely believed to involve not only SIGINT, human sources, and moles placed in foreign firms, but

the express targeting of foreign business visitors to France.50
Intelligence is a game to be played against all comers, and no partnership on ``friendly relationship'' gives anyone total

immunity.--Bradley F. Smith51
Groups of countries, when confronted by a common security threat that transcends existing military or defense arrangements,

have demonstrated a propensity to form networks to facilitate intelligence cooperation. Rarely do these plurilateral

networks, which may constitute intelligence ``groups'' or ``clubs,'' extend beyond the sharing of information. To be sure,

actual intelligence collection, analysis, assessment, and dissemination remain privy to the partner agencies, so that the

sharing of information comes at the sovereign discretion of participating governments. Similarly, international organizations

like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United Nations do not have their own organic intelligence

capabilities, even for peace support and peacekeeping missions, so that their intelligence requirements likewise depend on

the degree of information sharing by participating countries. The parameters of plurilateral information sharing will

determine the effectiveness of the collective security provided by these informal ``clubs'' and international organizations.
In the late 1960s, the CAZAB club (as it later became known) was formed at the instigation of the then-head of Central

Intelligence Agency (CIA) Counterintelligence, James J. Angleton. Its goal was to promote the sharing of counterintelligence

information about Soviet espionage, tradecraft, and operations among the five UKUSA members. CAZAB (Canada, Australia,

[New]Zealand, `America', Britain) comprised a mechanism for annual consultations among the heads of the five intelligence

organizations responsible for security and counterintelligence, thereby facilitating cooperation and exchanges of security

intelligence parallel to the UKUSA alliance for signals intelligence. Yet, unlike the SIGINT arrangement, the sharing of

security intelligence within the CAZAB framework seems to have been rather more constrained and discretionary, both

institutionally and politically. Despite the tradition of close cooperation, each government and agency was at some point

constrained in responding to its partners' requests for intelligence sharing. Sometimes these constraints arose from

differing priorities in tasking or in allocating investigatory resources, or divergent national policies regarding the target

or security issue, or because of domestic statutory restrictions or privacy rules. Thus, the United States and Canada tended

to move slowly, if at all, in responding to British requests for action against Irish Republican Army and Provisional Irish

Republic Army fund-raising and
other activities supportive of terrorism in Northern Ireland. More recently, Canada reportedly eschewed responding to certain

direct U.S. requests for security information on Arab and Muslim residents, out of respect for its own domestic principles of

law enforcement. The U.S. was asked to file its requests through Interpol, where they could be handled properly, albeit

slowly. In the event, the information flow may ultimately have been expedited through informal back channels.
The hub-and-spokes flow of shared intelligence within CAZAB emanated mostly from the partners in the periphery toward the

center--the United States--which considered itself to be especially vulnerable, first to Soviet espionage, and now to Islamic

terrorism, as compared to the UKUSA where SIGINT flowed preponderantly from the NSA to its partner ``Eyes.'' Precisely

because of the delicate sensibilities associated with human source intelligence, this disparity in the direction of

information flows created a conundrum for CAZAB. Intelligence cooperation even among the closest international partner

countries was doubly vulnerable: to the urgency of some partners' national security requirements, and to other partners'

policy prescriptions and statutory obligations. As a result, intelligence cooperation through these secret, informal

networking arrangements was at once urgent operationally but sensitive politically, expeditious in security terms but

problematical for law enforcement. Whereas the failure to cooperate in the sharing of urgent intelligence may well jeopardize

a participating country's national security and discredit the entire network, any wholesale sharing of intelligence with

others could passi passu compromise the coherence and integrity of the accessory government's policies and laws.
NATO Special Committee
NATO does not possess a significant intelligence collection capability of its own, except in particular domains of military

intelligence. But the Alliance instituted a Special Committee, composed of representatives of member countries' security

services (not foreign intelligence services), with a mandate to encourage the sharing of security intelligence (as distinct

from military intelligence). Following the attacks of 11 September, the NATO Special Committee created an analytical unit to

provide the North Atlantic Council with regular assessments of threats to Alliance security and the national security of

member countries from militant Islamic organizations, based on intelligence received from member country security services.52

The Special Committee also considered more intensified cooperation with Russia to be directed against international

The NATO Special Committee also organized meetings of the intelligence services of forty-six Euro-Atlantic Partnership

Council (EAPC) countries, as
par t of the NATO EAPC Ac t i o n Pl an 2000-2002.5 4 These meetings facilitated joint consultations to assess international

terrorism and responses.
Intra-European Groupings
The Club of Berne, dating from 1971, is a forum for the heads of the security services of European Union (EU) member

countries.55 Highly secretive, th Club meets annually to consider specific agendas reflecting shared European security

concerns and interests. Thus, the agenda for 1999 related to terrorism, communications interception, encryption, and

cyberterrorism. For 2000, the agenda concentrated on the evolution of the various intelligence services in the context of the

ongoing European integration. The Club maintains its own dedicated communication system to disseminate situation reports and

share information. Informal contacts also take place between smaller sub-groupings. The Club has no statutory mandate;

neither does it report to any authority within the EU framework. Following the attacks of 11 September 2001, the EU Council

on Justice and the Interior tasked the Club of Berne with providing guidance to Europol on counterterrorism. Toward this end,

the Club established a consultation group, composed of directors of its component counterterrorism units, which meets four

times a year, to provide intelligence guidance to Europol's law enforcement effort against terrorism. During the 1970s, and

again in the mid-1980s, Western Europe was wracked by a firestorm of terrorist violence. Attacks, bombings, and

assassinations were carried out by revolutionary extremists in Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium, and by militant

separatists in Spain and Northern Ireland.56 Terrorism assaulted public and private institutions and prominent individuals,

and tore at the very fabric of democratic societies. Faced with an onslaught of terrorism which seemed to exploit open

friendly borders and sanctuaries in neighboring countries and in the Middle East, Western European countries became sharply

aware of the importance of intelligence-sharing for their respective counterterrorism efforts. The intuitive reticence of

national security intelligence services gave way to the formation of the Trevi [``Terrorisme, Radicalisme, Extre? misme et

Violence Internationale''] group, a plurilateral European networking arrangement for consultations and information

In October 2001, in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September, the security services of EU members, plus Norway and

Switzerland, moved to set up a dedicated grouping for cooperation against international terrorism: the Counter-Terrorism

Group.58 This group meets every three months, in order to improve operational cooperation with respect to intelligence

collection and the prevention of terrorism.
Other Groups and Clubs
In 1977, an upsurge in Arab terrorism prompted the formation of the Kilowatt group, composed of Belgium, Canada, France,

(West) Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, the United

Kingdom, and the United States--an intelligence-sharing arrangement addressing the international dimensions of that threat.59

Today, the group reportedly consists of the services of twenty-four countries, including recent additions to the EU. A

similar group, Megaton, was set up to deal with other (non-Arab) threats from radical and anarchist terrorists. These highly

secretive groups--their names may have been changed following publication--were backed by integrated data banks on terrorist

organizations, operatives, methods, and links, which are accessible by participating security services. While these

plurilateral groups constitute, in essence, information and communication networks, they serve to facilitate intelligence

sharing on a nonreciprocal basis and thus enhance the counterterrorism capabilities of both the individual participating

countries and the group as a whole.
The Egmont group was established in 1995 as a consultative and networking framework for national financial intelligence

units, with a focus on money laundering. The group grew out of a process initiated by the Financial Action Task Force on

money laundering set up at the 1989 G-7 Economic Summit, which led in turn to the creation of financial intelligence units in

various countries to collect, analyze, and manage financial intelligence and information on the proceeds of crime and money

laundering. The formation of the Egmont group was intended to create an international mechanism for cooperation and

information sharing on money laundering and, more recently, terrorist financing.60 Currently, some sixty-nine financial

intelligence agencies participate in the group, which supports their efforts at expanding and systematizing the sharing of

financial intelligence, improving the expertise and capabilities of personnel engaged in financial intelligence, and

fostering improved communications among national financial intelligence units.61
Other regional level intelligence cooperation clubs include the Middle Europe Conference, bringing together the security and

intelligence services of several Western and Central European countries, which now addresses operational cooperation and

information sharing against terrorism;62 the new Southeast Asia Center for Counter-Terrorism set up under the aegis of the

ASEAN Regional Forum;63 and Trident, involving Israel, Turkey, and Iran (until the Islamic Revolution),64 now lapsed and

replaced by an emergent security and intelligence entente between Israel, Turkey, and India directed at ``world jihad,'' as

well as mutual intelligence and operational support against local terrorist threats.65
The attacks of 11 September highlighted the danger of reticence in matters of intelligence-sharing. The ensuing war on global

terrorism witnessed a vastlyexpanded cooperation in intelligence about al-Qaeda and its affiliated militant Islamicist

organizations. Democracies were impelled by the international terrorist threat to accept a more extensive sharing of personal

data on terrorist suspects. This has prompted an extension of operational cooperation to intelligence services of countries

in the Middle East, Southern Asia, and elsewhere. By early 2003, some 100 countries were said to be cooperating with the

United States as part of its global coalition against international Islamicist terrorism and its networks and cells.66 Yet,

in this era of global terrorism, elements of insecurity in any one country can impinge upon the security of all others.

Terrorism is a threat to both public safety and the international interests of all open societies. U.S. uneasiness about

insecure borders in the aftermath of 9=11 resonated sharply northward to Canada and southward to Mexico, and to other

countries around the world. The notion of a secure perimeter is not just territorial, but extends further to the security of

those identifiers of personal status--official documents and processes--and to cargoes and movements of monies. Any perceived

insecurities in, for example, customs or immigration or banking procedures, could--and probably would-- redound against the

sense of security of the United States.
Recent expressions of Washington's concern about the entry into the U.S. of travelers from certain Middle Eastern and South

Asian countries conveyed this security dilemma clearly. Any perceived laxness on the part of neighboring or other congenial

countries is likely to be exploited by international terrorist networks to gain false documentation to infiltrate the United

States.67 Thus, Islamic extremists used forged Saudi Arabian passports to enter Canada, since no visas were required for

Saudi visitors prior to 2002, and were able to establish ``sleeper'' cells in Canada as part of the al-Qaeda network.68

Intensive cooperation has taken place between U.S. and Canadian security and intelligence authorities to identify these

sleeper cells and disrupt their operations.69 Yet, coalition partners have sometimes desisted from sharing intelligence on

individuals--where this would compromise domestic privacy legislation--or from extraditing suspected terrorists to countries

like the United States, where they could face the death penalty.70 As well, there could be concern that the sharing of

intelligence about nationals suspected of complicity with terrorist organizations, albeit without violating domestic law,

could possibly lead to their being arrested when traveling abroad under the more draconian antiterrorism legislation of some

other jurisdictions. To be effective, counterterrorism has to be not only robust but must also reflect the core
values of the international comity of nations, so as to enlist international cooperation in intelligence and meet the ethical

standards of law enforcement.
Countries engage in liaison relationships with others with which they share intelligence-related concerns. International

liaison relationships serve to facilitate a bilateral exchange of intelligence information regarding specific security

threats among the countries concerned. These days they tend to focus on international terrorism, transnational crime, drug

trafficking, money laundering, financial fraud, people smuggling, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Canada, for example, has over 100 liaison arrangements in place, but many are considered to be dormant, i.e., inactive. In

Canada's case, much of its intelligence liaison is taken up with immigration matters and visa security screening.71 The

establishment of liaison relationships may have helped to curtail foreign intelligence activities in otherwise open

societies, at least on the part some protagonists. The UKUSA=CAZAB arrangements provide for the posting of allied liaison

representatives to their counterpart agencies in each country, in order to facilitate exchanges of information, assessments,

and products. Partners supply a substantial share of the foreign intelligence requirements of middle powers like Australia,

Canada, and New Zealand. Liaison relationships help shape the intelligence assessments that inform their respective foreign

and security policy perspectives. While liaison representatives can participate in partner-country intelligence assessment

deliberations, the U.S. and UK are somewhat more restrictive. Thus, the UK Joint Intelligence Committee may sometimes exclude

allied officers, even those from the U.S., from discussions of certain sensitive matters, particularly issues relating to

European affairs.72 Notably, allied involvement in intelligence assessments within the Alliance framework seems to be

remarkably asymmetric. The U.S. often responds to requests for comment on partners' intelligence assessment products, but

does not seek allied input into its own production. The UK gives feedback to its partners, and occasionally requests comment

on its assessment products. Australia rarely requests, but sometimes provides, feedback on partners' material. New Zealand

infrequently shares either assessments or feedback. Of course, there is a risk that intelligence cooperation may not merely

serve to inform allied and partner governments, but that the shared intelligence may be manipulated and tailored to shape and

influence the direction of policy. Nevertheless, when shared intelligence has, on occasion, seemed to be flawed, as

reportedly with regard to U.S. sources of information about prewar Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities,

allied agencies like Australia's Office of National Assessments have not shrunk
from indicating their skepticism and communicating this to their government.73 Liaison relationships operate within the

framework of each partner's foreign and domestic policies and legal systems.74 Distinctions between intelligence and law

enforcement are nowhere more difficult to define than on urgent issues of national (or international) security, causing

liaison relations to be sorely tested. A country responds to foreign requests forcooperation in information sharing in

accordance with its national policies and legal precepts. Requests that imply violations of statutory principles, privacy

laws, or the bases on which target groups or activities are legitimate in the host country, will not be honored, even among

allies. Sometimes, the host country's intelligence and security services may notrespond to otherwise acceptable requests,

due to resource constraints or other operational priorities in the deployment of investigative personnel. This can complicate

intelligence cooperation.
Requests for information on emigre? dissidents or homeland communities can be especially sensitive. Thus, Egypt and Jordan

have complained thatthe UK has not acted on requests for intelligence cooperation against locally resident emigre? militants

whom they accuse of waging terrorist campaigns against them, while the British uphold their position in conformity with UK

law and policing principles. Different standards of human rights observance, even among democracies, can complicate bilateral

cooperation in counterterrorism: thus, allies like Britain, France, Germany, and Spain have refused to extradite suspected

al-Qaeda terrorists to the United States, where they might face capital punishment. The Canadian Security Intelligence

Service curtailed its liaison activities with two foreign counterpart agencies, in one case because of human rights concerns,

and in the other because of doubts about the organization's reliability and stability.75
In this age of global terrorism, elements of insecurity in any one country can impinge upon the security of all others. For

countries like Canada, dependent as they are on openness and international trade, terrorism represents a threat to their

global interests, as well as to domestic public safety. Immediately after 11 September, Washington's uneasiness about an

insecure perimeter resonated sharply in Ottawa and in Canada's border communities. Urgent remedial action was taken to

institute a ``smart border'' that would expedite cross-border traffic of vital importance to Canada's economy and to the

multi-faceted Canadian connectivity with the United States. Yet, the notion of a secure perimeter is not just territorial,

but extends further to the security of those identifiers of Canadian status--official documents and processes--that serve to

define Canada's presence even beyond its borders. Any perceived insecurities in, for example, the issuance of passports and

visas, or in immigration
procedures, could--and probably would--redound against the security of Canadian status anywhere and everywhere in the world.

Whereas intelligence cooperation implies that partners desist from undertaking operations on one another's territories, the

insecurities associated with the threat of terrorism sometimes set aside that principle, which can complicate bilateral

relations, even between close friends and allies. U.S. doubts about the capacity of Norwegian police to infiltrate local

Muslim communities led to the granting of special permission for CIA personnel to operate in Norway against suspect Islamic

groups.76 U.S. operatives reportedly penetrated Muslim organizations, monitored activities, and investigated suspicious

individuals, with little, if any, control on the part of Norwegian authorities, and but limited accountability to the

National Police Security Service (PST). Norway's foreign intelligence service, the Norwegian Joint Defence Intelligence

Service (FOE), for its part was reported to have reacted most negatively to this rampant intervention into Norway's national

security affairs.
Recent expressions of Washington's concern about the entry into the United States of Canadian citizens and landed immigrants

from certain Middle Eastern and South Asian countries conveyed this security dilemma clearly. Any laxness in policies and

procedures are likely to be exploited by international criminals and terrorist networks to access a safe haven's

documentation and=or territory in order to infiltrate neighboring and friendly jurisdictions.77 Thus, Islamic extremists used

forged Saudi Arabian passports to enter Canada, since no visas were required for Saudi visitors prior to 2002, and were able

to establish ``sleeper'' cells as part of the al- Qaeda network.78 Intensive cooperation has taken place between U.S. and

Canadian security and intelligence authorities to identify these sleeper cells and disrupt their operations.79 A robust

approach to national security is warranted in order to effectively prosecute the campaign againstinternational terrorism

and, at the same time, to avoid compromising the secure status of legitimate travelers and traders.
Coalition-Building Against International Terrorism
The 9=11 attacks prompted a deepening and widening of international cooperation in the intelligence domain. Intelligence

cooperation with traditional friends and allies has intensified, leading to a more extensive reach, and a more global

approach to counterterrorism. Some of this cooperation has been simply synergetic--collaborating on operational matters,

sharing information, harmonizing law enforcement. But, the post-11 September mobilization against terrorism has prompted an

escalated effort at intelligence cooperation based more firmly on the respective comparative advantages of the participating

intelligence agencies, thus
enhancing overall capabilities. All intelligence agencies enjoy certain comparative advantages. In some cases, these may

derive from functional, tradecraft, or technical attributes--largely based on specialized expertise, knowledge resources, or

technological solutions. In other instances, the comparative advantage of intelligence agencies may derive from geography,

where they enjoy a locational advantage, or from socio-cultural affinity. The dynamics of comparative advantage, coupled with

the synergy of cooperation, have since 9=11 led to the building of a coalition of unprecedented scope and interaction in the

intelligence domain, directed specifically against international Islamicist terrorism. So far, this coalition has not yet

ranged against other terrorist elements, at least not quite to the same extent--to the considerable consternation of affected

countries like Russia (over Chechnya) and India (over Kashmir).
At the core of this coalition-building effort has been the strengthening of existing frameworks for intelligence and security

cooperation among the United States and its closest allies. The U.S. and Canada reinforced their existing liaison and

intelligence sharing arrangements, bolstered by the 2001 Smart Border Accord, and by the establishment in December 2002 of a

new bi-national Planning Group on Security Cooperation. A 2002 agreement between the U.S. and the EU allowed the American

authorities access to personal data from Europol law enforcement agencies on terrorist suspects, and facilitated the setting

up of joint investigatory teams and interrogations.80 In April 2003, the United States and Great Britain formed a bilateral

working and contact group on international terrorism, intended to facilitate sharing and to develop effective practices in

counterterrorism, including border controls, passport controls, cybersecurity, and the tracing of chemical, biological, and

nuclear weapons.
Branching Out with Mixed Results
International cooperation in countering terrorism has also embraced the active involvement of countries other than close

allies. Sensing its own vulnerability, even the U.S. found itself impelled toward the augmentation of intelligence

cooperation with countries with which such security relationships and information-sharing would hitherto have been

unthinkable.81 In part, this reliance on international cooperation was driven by the dynamics of comparative advantage. This

stemmed from Washington's predilection for technical means of intelligence collection at the expense of clandestine

operations with human sources, compounded by an acute lack of culturally attuned operatives, analysts, and linguists to deal

with the emergent threat from hitherto unfamiliar origins. U.S. intelligence experienced considerable difficulty penetrating

the tightly knit cells and amorphous networks built up by militant Islamicist organizations.82
By contrast, the security and intelligence services of countries like Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, and Pakistan have

demonstrated some success in infiltrating these terror networks and accessing sources. U.S. intelligence cooperation with

Morocco has reportedly been highly effective, based on intelligence and law enforcement exchanges between the two countries,

even prior to the May 2003 terror attacks on Casablanca.83 Reports surfaced that ``rogue'' regimes like Iran, Libya, and

Syria were also prepared to exchange intelligence on terrorist targets, thereby ingratiating themselves with a vulnerable but

infuriated United States.84 Syrian intelligence was said to have alerted Canada to an al-Qaeda cell planning spectacular

assaults on Canadian and U.S. government institutions.85 No less a personage than Syrian president Bashir Assad claimed

publicly that his country's security services have made valuable contributions to intelligence cooperation with the United

States against al-Qaeda networks across the Middle East and elsewhere.86 Responding to criticism of ongoing Saudi financing

of Islamic terrorism, Saudi Arabia agreed in August 2003 to the setting up in that country of an unprecedented joint task

force with the U.S. to combat fund-raising and money transfers to suspected terrorist organizations.87
This ``excessive'' U.S. dependence on foreign partners--and most particularly the security and intelligence services of Arab

and Muslim countries--to overcome its own operational deficiencies has come in for criticism by a congressional joint inquiry

into 9=11, among others.88 Bilateral intelligence cooperation within the coalition framework has extended beyond mere

information-sharing. Countries, other than traditional alliance partners, are now cooperating operationally with the United

States in joint investigations, interrogations, analysis, and threat assessments. Yet, for all the emphasis placed on

international cooperation, the actual yield in terms of actionable intelligence was said to be decidedly ``mixed,'' at least

prior to 11 September.89 Though willing to trade information, foreign intelligence services were previously somewhat less

commited to counterterrorism generally, and to targeting the al-Qaeda network in particular. But when terrorist threats

became imminent, even countries that had hitherto been complacent responded by suddenly and sharply reenergizing their

counterterorrism efforts. However, disparities in capabilities and tradecraft have tended to militate against the real

effectiveness of cooperation with some foreign services' contributions. Nevertheless, according to congressional critics,

this heavy reliance on cooperative efforts in counterterrorism has served, paradoxically, to alleviate some of the persistent

pressures on the U.S. Intelligence Community to refocus itself more on the development of its own unilateral HUMINT

The sheer scale and complexity of the terrorist threat has impelled most targeted countries to seek external assistance from

specifically skilled, better equipped, and experienced counterpart agencies from friendly governments. Following the October

2002 terrorist attack in Bali, which caused high casualties among Australian and other tourists, as well as among

Indonesians, Jakarta's law enforcement and intelligence agencies invited Australian assistance and cooperation into the

investigation of suspected Jemaah Islamiah and al-Qaeda culpability.90 Police specialists from Britain's Scotland Yard,

Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were also called in.91 Subsequently,

Australian Federal Police forensic specialists were dispatched to the Philippines to help in the investigation of a terrorist

bomb attack in Davao City.92 Likewise, the United States assigned FBI specialists to assist Saudi Arabia's investigation of

the al-Qaeda terror attacks on residential compounds in Riyadh in May 2003.93 Shared vulnerabilities have generated a renewed

impetus for cooperation, based on the comparative advantage of utilizing the various countries' intelligence and law

enforcement services.
The propensity of al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates, like Jemaah Islamiah in Southeast Asia, to strike at ``soft'' targets

in hitherto complacent countries, like Indonesia or Morocco, has impelled greater cooperation among security intelligence and

law enforcement agencies across various regions. In the surveillance and investigation of suspect groups and individuals, the

U.S. intelligence services have provided much of the coordination and leadership. Yet, some countries, like Malaysia, have

remained steadfastly opposed to any external intervention in regional and national counterterrorism matters, largely because

of domestic sensitivities, coupled with ambivalence about the coalition campaign and its perceived implications for the

Muslim world.94 Most Southeast Asian intelligence services, even of countries whose geographic location or social composition

rendered them particulary exposed to Islamic terrorist threats, have seemed to lack operational capacity or political will

for sustained counterterrorist efforts. Only Singapore is considered to have an efficient and capable security intelligence

service.95 Yet, faced with a globalized terrorism, vulnerable governments now seem prepared to set aside narrow

considerations of sovereignty in order to seek the comparative advantages of international cooperation to help deal with the

Tracking Terrorists
In prosecuting the war on international Islamicist terrorism, the U.S.-led intelligence coalition has demonstrated

considerable agility in identifying, monitoring, and tracking terrorist suspects. This was amply demonstrated
by the capture of Riduan bin Isamuddin, known as ``Hambali,'' an al-Qaeda leader and Jemaah Islamiya commander considered

culpable of plotting terrorist attacks across Southeast Asia. Extensive cooperation and information-sharing among the

Indonesian, Malaysian, Philippine, Singaporan, and Thai security intelligence services and their U.S. counterparts resulted

in Hambali being arrested in a joint U.S.-Thai operation in Ayutthaya, Thailand in August 2003, and his transfer for

interrogation under United States auspices.96 In this instance, at least, the globalization of terror was countered by the

globalization of intelligence cooperation.
Whereas the U.S. has sought coalition cooperation in the monitoring, tracking, and apprehension of terrorist suspects, the

American intelligence services have not been disposed to allow their parners to participate directly in the ensuing

interrogations, even when they have participated operationally in the capture. Thus, following his capture Hambali was

transfered to a secret location for interrogation by the Americans. Their Australian and Southeast Asian partners were

refused direct access to the interrogation, despite their interest in the information being sought, though they could submit

lists of questions to be put.97
The American counterterrorism effort has taken advantage of certain ambiguities in U.S. law, and in relations among the

intelligence coalition to pursue more aggressive methods of interrogating terrorist suspects. Indeed, to allow itself such

latitude, the United States established a detention center for captured al-Qaeda and Taliban combatants at Guantanamo Bay,

Cuba, and the CIA reportedly set up secret interrogation facilities abroad at Bagram (Afghanistan), Diego Garcia, and at

other undisclosed locations for similar purposes. Whereas the administration of justice in countries like the United States

and Canada imposes strict rules on detention and interrogation of suspects, and precludes the use of coercive techniques to

extract information, these extraterritorial bailiwicks allow more rigorous detention and interrogation procedures, conducted

wholly in camera, subject only to the exingencies of the intelligence war against international terrorism. Even if the

information extracted is considered tainted from a judicial evidential perspective, it still constitutes value-added

intelligence for counterterrorism purposes. The sophisticated data bases available to the counterterrorism coalition make it

possible to acquire intelligence insights by cross-checking leads obtained from interrogations in one country against

information divulged by captives in another.
The United States has also turned to the intelligence and security services of coalition partners to interrogate suspected

al-Qaeda operatives. In one such case, a Canadian citizen of Syrian descent, Maher Arar, was reportedly detained on arrival

at an airport in New York and transferred
to Syria for close interrogation of suspected connections to al-Qaeda.98 According to reports, Syrian counterterrorism

efforts and interrogations have yielded valuable intelligence, which has been shared with other governments.99 Some countries

like Iran and Indonesia have likewise transferred suspected al-Qaeda operatives for interrogation in Afghanistan, Egypt,

Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, doubtless aware that the information obtained would be readily shared with the U.S.

Intelligence Community and others in the counterterrorism coalition.100
The Question of Probity
Occasionally, hardened terrorist suspects have been given over to ``extraordinary renditions,'' through which they are

transferred from the jurisdiction where they were caught, usually with U.S. assistance but without resort to the process of

law, to a third country--typically one with a reputation for harsh detentions and interrogations. In practice, the terrorist

suspects are handed over to these other security services, along with a list of questions to which answers are wanted.101

Syria, one of the destinations for extraordinary renditions, is certainly notorious for the brutality of its security

apparatus, and torture is reportedly used in interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects.102 Syria has reportedly provided the U.S.

and Canada with the products of interrogations of numerous al- Qaeda suspects, helping to defeat several planned terrorist

plots.103 Yet, according to U.S. intelligence officials, captured terrorists were rendered over to coalition partners for

interrogation, not so much for their coercive techniques as for the cultural affinities that enable them to reach out and

induce, or goad, the captives into talking.104
Be that as it may, in a world where security trumps most other policy principles, the intelligence obtained through

extraordinary renditions can come at a high cost in terms of probity. In return for sharing the results of interrogations,

tough-minded regimes might demand reciprocity in the form of sensitive information about political exiles or dissident groups

resident abroad, or intelligence snippets about third countries.105 Faced with non-state or asymmetric ``threats,''

intelligence cooperation with authoritarian regimes could lead to woefully compromising transactions. In one notorious

instance revealed by captured Iraqi documents, France colluded with Iraq's intelligence service by helping to disrupt a Paris

conference of the prominent human rights organization Indict in April 2000.106 In the charged atmosphere of counterterrorism,

intelligence relationships, even among democracies, could sometimes run afoul of government liaison and foreign policy.107

The imperative for intelligence cooperation that can sometimes make strange international bedfellows, could also foster

bizarre trade-offs.
The counterterrorism effort of a coalition implies a somewhat different, more offensively proactive and globalized role for

intelligence in the asymmetric kind of warfare being waged against al-Qaeda and its affiliated Islamic terrorist networks.

Precisely because their consuming hatred of the West and its values, their asymmetric deployment of weaponry of mass

destruction, their obscure command structure and embedded cellular network, their widespread transnational linkages and

self-sacrificing ethos, al-Qaeda and its affiliates present a security threat of exceptional complexity, resilience, and

peril to open and democratic societies in Europe and North America,107 to ethnically plural developing countries in East

Africa and Asia, and to the established authorities in the Arab and Muslim lands.108 To be sure, countries like Great

Britain, Israel, Spain, and Turkey, among others, have had considerable experience combatting terrorism, with some measure of

success. While there may be lessons to be learned from those essentially internal struggles with terrorism, the international

Islamicist terrorist threat is far more expansive, more stealthy and furtive, and potentially more devastating than anything

hitherto encountered.109 The globalization of terrorism and the catastrophic escalation of threats place a dual onus on

coalition intelligence. Offensively, the function of the coalition intelligence effort is to supply information and

assessments that enable each nation's civil and military authorities to effectively counteract and defeat the terrorist

menace. From a defensive perspective, the role of coalition intelligence services is to support government and law

enforcement agencies in protecting persons, institutions, lawful activities, and political cultural ideals of democratic

communities. Clearly, not all countries participating in the antiterrorism coalition are democracies, but the ethos of the

counterterrorism effort is ultimately the protection of democratic, secular values. In responding to the international

Islamicist threat to these principles, intelligence must play the role of hunter as well as gatherer.
Some Preventive Interventions
Public reports point to the success of the coalition's intelligence-led counterterrorism effort in dismantling many of the

al-Qaeda networks and sleeper cells, capturing and interrogating their leaders and operatives, disabling their

communications, undoing their financing, and disrupting their operations in various countries and continents. Enhanced

vigilance by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, coupled with the ongoing coalition effort to hunt down al-Qaeda

adherents and supporters, appeared to have weakened, but not eliminated, its capacity to undertake large-scale terror

attacks. Since 11 September 2001, a string of potentially deadly
terror attacks was reportedly averted, among them an attempted radiological attack in the United States; a major assault on

Canadian and U.S. government institutions; a hijacked aircraft strike at a Parisian target; truck bombings aimed at U.S.,

Australian, British, and Israeli diplomatic and other facilities in Singapore; maritime assaults on shipping in the Gibraltar

straits; a missile attack on flights at London's Heathrow airport; a cyanide gas attack on the London Underground; chemical

attacks on water supplies in Italy; and an aerial attack on the U.S. consultate in Karachi. The general failure of al-Qaeda

to launch retaliatory terror attacks on the United States and United Kingdom or their allies during the war in Iraq, despite

the audiotaped threats made by Osama bin Laden, seemed indicative of the effectiveness of worldwide counterterrorism efforts

in crippling its networks and operations.110 But bombings in Indonesia and India, and, in August 2003, at the United Nations

headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, demonstrated that al-Qaeda or its allies remained capable of significant assaults and

lifetaking. Nevertheless, international efforts to curtail terrorist fund-raising, money-laundering, and financing activities

were reported to have resulted in a 90 percent reduction in al-Qaeda's income, as compared to before 11 September.111
Transparency and Other Issues
International intelligence cooperation presents a delicate quandary as between secrecy and transparency, sovereignty and

cooperative security, especially in relation to collaboration among democracies. Admitedly, the imperative for secrecy in the

intelligence domain, as regards sources, methods, technical capabilities, and operational procedures, remains strong. Yet,

international intelligence cooperation, as a facet of statecraft and national security policy, has generally been shrouded in

the highest levels of secrecy in nearly every instance, at most times, by virtually all governments. This propensity for

secrecy in international intelligence cooperation militates against the principles of transparency and accountability in

governance. Transparency and accountability are also vital for intelligence policy, in as much as they contribute to the

building of public confidence in national security policies and institutions, help curb transgressions of policy and law, and

help to elicit positive responses and support from legislators and civil society for the national security agenda. The

secrecy that cloaks intelligence cooperation can also pose dilemmas for national sovereignty and cooperative security. While

cooperation might mean a lessening of the risk that ``friendly'' intelligence services operate in one's country, the sharing

of intelligence information and collaboration in intelligence operations may imply compromises in certain attributes of

sovereignty in the interest of cooperative security. Secrecy detracts from accountability in crafting and managing these

compromises, and can thus
taint the lawful authority of intelligence cooperation. Intelligence cooperation in democracies should not only come under

lawful authority, but should be seen to be conducted with lawful authority.
An Element of Risk
The propensity for intelligence cooperation and coalition-building demonstrates many of the attributes of risk management.

Intelligence and law enforcement services allocate their scarce resources as between selfmanaged or cooperative approaches to

security in accordance with their respective assessments of risk, and their inherent interest in minimizing potentially

catastrophic consequences. International terrorism poses grave risks to the national security of vulnerable countries. Three

analytically distinct paradigms apply to security risk management: (1) the insurable risk paradigm, which assesses actuarial

risks and cost ramifications; (2) the materiality risk paradigm, which assumes actuarial risks to be low, but any damage as

potentially catastrophic; and (3) the asymmetric warfare risk paradigm, which deems actuarial risk irrelevant, but assesses

probabilities to be high, and consequences catastrophic.
Whereas the insurable risk paradigm could be appropriate for dealing with criminal and natural perils, and the materiality

risk paradigm can guide security responses to a remote or outlying menace, the probability of attacks by international

Islamic terrorists resembles an asymmetric warfare situation, which thus implies an Asymmetric Warfare Risk Paradigm (AWRP).

This paradigm is especially conducive to international cooperation, since the sharing of information and operational

collaboration not only foster burden-sharing, but also reduce or minimize the risk of failure in trying to prevent attacks

from elusive, embedded Islamicist terrorist networks.
1 Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC Report 2000-2001 (Ottawa: SIRC 2001); CSIS Public Report 2000=01, op. cit.
2 Christopher Andrew, ``The Making of the Anglo-American SIGINT Alliance,'' Hayden Peake and Samuel Halpern, eds., In the

Name of Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Walter Pforzheimer (Washington, DC: NIBC Press, 1994) and For the President's Eyes

Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (New York: HarperPerennial, 1996), see p. 163.;

Jeffrey T. Richelson and Desmond Ball, The Ties That Bind: Intelligence Cooperation Between the UKUSA Countries (London:

Allen & Unwin, 1985); James Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War

Through the Dawn of a New Century (New York: Doubleday, 2001).
3 Stephen Dorril, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service (New York: The Free Press, 2000),

pp. 54-55. Australia likewise consented to being represented in the alliance by Great Britain, while New Zealand was treated

initially as a SIGINT adjunct to Australia. See also Christopher Andrew, For the President's Eyes Only, pp. 162-163, and his

more detailed study of ``The Growth of the Australian Intelligence Community and the Anglo-American Connection,''

Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1989, pp. 223-224.
4 On the origins and structure of the UKUSA agreement see Andrew, ``The Making of the Anglo-American SIGINT Alliance'';

Jeffrey T. Richelson and Desmond Ball, The Ties that Bind, pp. 142-143 et passim. Jeffrey T. Richelson, The US Intelligence

Community (New York: Ballinger, 1989), esp. chapter 12.
5 ``Third party'' countries are listed in Jelle van Buuren, Making Up the Rules: Interception versus Privacy (Amsterdam: Buro

Jansen and Jannsen Stichtung Eurowatch, August 2000)[URL:]. See also Steve

James, ``Revelations about Echelon Spy Network Intensify US-European Tensions,'' World Socialist Website, 12 April 2000

[]. Among the other countries said to have had some affiliation to

UKUSA or bilateral arrangement with the NSA are China and Japan. It seems that the U.S. and UK divided responsibility for

managing bilateral relations in the COMINT domain with Scandinavian countries: Olav Riste, The Norwegian Intelligence

Service, 1945-1970 (London: Frank Cass, 1999), p. 227.
6 One of the rare explicit official references to the UKUSA agreements was made by the Deputy Clerk, Security and

Intelligence, Privy Council Office, in testimony before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence

and Veterans Affairs, 2 May 1995.
7 Duncan Campbell, Interception Capabilities 2000, The Report to the Director- General for Research of the European

Parliament (Brussels: European Parliament, Scientific and Technical Options Assessment Program Office, 1999), paragraphs

8 Jelle van Buuren, Making Up the Rules, chap. 4.
9 Duncan Campbell, Interception Capabilities 2000, paragraphs 41.
10 Very little has been disclosed about these activities. For some insights into known operations see Interception

Capabilities 2000, paras 49-52. A rare glimpse into U.S. submarine tapping internal communications cables in the Sea of

Okhotsk, Barents Sea, and the Mediterranean is provided by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold

Story of American Submarine Espionage (New York: PublicAffairs, 1998).
11 For one of the earliest descriptions of the UKUSA satellite communications interception network and its expansion during

the 1980s and early 1990s, see Nick Hager, Secret Power: New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network (Nelson, NZ:

Craig Potton Publishing, 1996), chap. 2.
12 Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha, chap. 5.
13 Ibid., esp. chap. 5.
14 Ibid., pp. 63-64.
15 For an account of the British experience in persuading the U.S. to reposition its SIGINT satellite to provide intelligence

coverage at the time of the Falklands war see Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha, p. 57.
16 Very little has been revealed officially about Echelon by any of the UKUSA signatories. Much of the available information

is derived from Interception Capabilities 2000 and the disclosures in Nick Hager, Secret Power, esp. chap. 2 and ``Exposing

the Global Surveillance System,'' Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1997.
17 Michael Smith, The Spying Game: The Secret History of British Espionage
(London: Politico's, 2003), esp. pp. 318-319.
18 Nick Hager, ``Exposing the Global Surveillance System.''
19 Nick Hager, Secret Power, chap. 2.
20 One of the rare descriptions of contemporary SIGINT equipment is provided in the Technical Annex to Interception

Technologies 2000.
21 For an indication of GCHQ capabilities in the design and production of SIGINT-related technologies see the official GCHQ

Website and the descriptions of the attainments on the ``Technology'' page at the URL:
22 Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha, p. 243.
23 ``NSA System Inoperative for Four Days.''
24 Cf. Duncan Campbell, ``How the Plotters Slipped the U.S. Net,'' The Guardian UIK, 27 September 2001; J. Michael Waller,

``A Wartime Window of Opportunity,'' Insight on the News, London, 2 April 2002; Andrew Buncombe, ``Intercepted Call Linked

Saddam to al-Qa'ida Terror cell,'' The Independent, London, 7 February 2003.
25 Cf. Robert Fisk, ``With Runners and Whispers, al-Qa'ida Outfoxes U.S. Forces,'' The Independent, London, 6 December 2002.
26 Final Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9=11 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 10 December

2002), Part 1: Findings an Conclusions, paras. 5, 7, 8.
27 Cf. Patrick Tyler, ``Intelligence Break Led U.S. to Tie Envoy Killing to Iraqi Qaeda Call,'' The New York Times, 6

February 2003; Mark Husband and Mark Odell, ``Rise in Terrorist `Chatter' Led to Troop Deployment,'' Financial Times, London,

12 February 2003; Desmond Butler and Don Van Natta, Jr., ``Qaeda Informant Helps Trace Group's Trail,'' The New York Times,

17 February 2003.
28 Peter Beaumont in Amman and Gaby Hinsliff, ``The Spies and the Spinner,'' The Guardian, UK, 8 March 2003.
29 Cf. A European Intelligence Policy, a report submitted on behalf of the Defence Committee, Assembly of the Western

European Union, Doc. 1517, 13 May 1996. Initiatives for European cooperation in intelligence are reviewed in
Klaus Becher et al., Toward a European Intelligence Policy (Paris: WEU, 1997); Charles Grant, Intimate Relations: Can Britain

Play a Leading Role in European Defence--And Keep its Special Links to US Intelligence?, Centre for Policy Reform Working

Paper, London, 2000, esp. pp. 13-18 [URL:]; John Nomikos, Intelligence Policy for the European Union: Dilemmas

and Challenges, Research Institute for European and American Studies, Athens, Greece, 1 June 2000 [URL:].
30 France's determination to enhance its intelligence capabilities was triggered by the undoubtable frustration experienced

as a result of its near total dependence on U.S. technical and satellite sources during the first Gulf crisis and war; see

Percy Kemp, ``The Fall and Rise of France's Spymasters,'' Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1994, p.16; see

also Charles Grant, Intimate Relations, p. 9.
31 Francois Roussely, Chief of Staff at the French Ministry of Defense, cited in Le Point, 20 June 1998.
32 Kenneth N. Cukier, ``Frenchelon: France's Alleged Global Surveillance Network and Its Implications on International

Intelligence Cooperation,'' Communications Week International; Jack Nelson, ``FBI Warns Companies to Beware of Espionage,''

International Herald Tribune, 13 January 1998; U.S. National Intelligence Center, Annual Report to Congress on Foreign

Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, Washington, DC, July 1995.
33 ``Espionage, Comment la France e? coute le monde,'' Le Nouvel Observateur,
5 April 2001, No. 1900.
34 Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha, p. 65.
35 See Senator Nicolas About, in the Journal Officiel de la Re?publique Franc aise, 31 October 1996, cited in Kenneth N.

Cukier, ``Frenchelon.'' See also Jean Guisnel, Les pires amis dans le monde (Paris: Editions Stock, 1999); Charles Grant,

Intimate Relations, p. 11.
36 J.A.C. Lewis, ``France, Germany and Italy Set to Make Space Pact,'' Jane's Defence Weekly, 19 June 2000.
37 Jerome Thorell, ``Frenchelon--France has Nothing to Envy in Echelon.'' Echelon Special, ZDNET, 30 June 2000 [URL:]
38 Jacques Isnard, ``Le Royaume-Uni au coeur dispositif en Europe,'' Le Monde, 22 February 2000; Jerome Thorell,

``Frenchelon--France has Nothing to Envy in Echelon.''
39 Jean Guisnel, ``Espionnage: Les Franc ais Aussi Content Leurs Allie? s,'' Le Point, 8 June 1998.
40 World Space Guide, Space Policy Project, Helios, Federation of American Scientists website, updated 10 December 1999, p. 2

41 Percy Kemp, ``The Fall and Rise of France's Spymasters,'' pp. 16-17.
42 J. A. C. Lewis, ``France, Germany and Italy Set to Make Space Pact.''
43 Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Security Services and Official Secrets, The Role of the

Information and Security Services in the
`Echelon' Affair, Chamber of Deputies and Senate, 13th Parliamentary Term, 19 December 2000, submitted to the European

Parliament, Temporary Committee on the Echelon Interception System, 22 January 2001 (PE 294.998), pp. 8-9.
44 Duncan Campbell and Paul Lashmar, ``Revealed: 30 More Nations with Spy Stations,'' The Independent, London, 9 July 2000.

An official memorandum from the Dutch Minister of Defense, acknowledging that UKUSA and other countries engage in SIGINT

interceptions, was cited in the Rotterdam newspaper NRC Handelsblad, 20 January 2001.
45 World Space Guide, Space Policy Project, Europe and Image Intelligence, Federation of American Scientists Website [URL:]
46 Le Point, 20 June 1998. See also Jerome Thorell, ``Frenchelon--France Has Nothing to Envy in Echelon,'' Echelon Special,

ZDNET, 30 June 2000 [URL:]
47 World Space Guide, Space Policy Project, Helios, p. 3.
48 Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha, p. 234; Kenneth N. Cuiker, ``Frenchelon''; Jerome Thorell, ``Frenchelon--France has Nothing to

Envy in Echelon.''
49 ``The New Cold War. Industrial Espionage'' and ``The French Connection,'' Info-Security Magazine, April, 1998 [URL: securecomputing=1998_04=cover=cover.html]. John Fialka, War by Other Means: Economic Espionage in America

(New York: W.W. Norton, 1997) describes French espionage against American firms, such as IBM, Corning,and Texas Instruments,

including the insertion of moles in IBM headquarters. For an assessment of the utility of industrial espionage see Melvin

Goodman, ``The Market for Spies,'' Issues in Science and Technology Online, 1996, [URL:].
50 Jean Guisnel, ``Espionnage''; Joseph Fitchett, ``Eavesdropping by the French Is Worldwide, Magazine Says,'' International

Herald Tribune, Paris, 16 June 1998.
51 Bradley F. Smith, Sharing Secrets with Stalin: How the Allies Traded Intelligence, 1941-1945. (Lawrence: University Press

of Kansas, 1996) p. 235.
52 BVD--(Dutch) General Intelligence and Security Service, Annual Report 2001 (The Hague: General Intelligence and Security

Service, July 2002), para 9.3.2.
53 Ibid.
54 Ste? phane Lefebvre, ``International Intelligence Cooperation: Difficulties and Dilemmas,'' paper presented to the

Colloquium on Intelligence and International Security, Universite? Laval, Institut que? be? cois des relations

internationales, Que? bec City, 20 March 2003 [mimeo.] p. 11.
55 BVD, Annual Report 1999 (The Hague: General Intelligence and Security Service, July 2000); see also Ste? phane Lefebvre,

``International Intelligence Cooperation,'' pp. 8-9.
56 On the upsurge of European revolutionary terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s, see Christopher Dobson and D. Dobson Payne, War

Without End (London and
New York: Hyperion, 1986), pp. 67-133. European revolutionary terrorists
like the (German) Red Army Faction, (French) Action Directe, and (Italian) Red Brigades drew on the earlier experience of and

links with Palestinian terrorists, and many of their combatants received training at Palestinian camps in Lebanon.
57 BVD--(Dutch) General Intelligence and Security Service, Annual Report 2001,
op. cit.
58 Ibid., para 9.3.1.
59 Richard Friedman and David Miller, The Intelligence War: Penetrating the World of Today's Advanced Technology Conflict

(London: Salamander Books, 1983).
60 Ste? phane Lefebvre, ``International Intelligence Cooperation,'' pp. 11-12.
61 ``The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units,'' URL: [].
62 BVD, Annual Report 2001, para. 9.3.1
63 ``KL To Go Ahead with Anti-Terrorism Centre,'' Straits Times, Singapore, 3 April 2003.
64 Shlomo Shpiro, ``Intelligence, Peacekeeping and Peacemaking in the MiddleEast,'' in Ben de Jong, Wies Platje, and Robert

David Steele, eds., Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emergent Concepts for the Future (Oakton, VA: OSS International Press, 2003),

pp. 106-107. Dr. Shpiro suggests that Sudan was also party to the Trident arrangement. See also Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv, A

Hostile Partnership: The Secret Relations Between Israel and Jordan (Tel-Aviv: Meitam, 1987), pp. 28-37.
65 Amos Harel, ``Israel, Turkey Sign Joint Anti-Terror Accord,'' Ha-Aretz, Tel-Aviv, 27 May 2003; Ilan Berman, ``Israel,

India and Turkey: Triple Entente?,'' The Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 9, Fall 2002.
66 Bob Woodward, ``50 Countries Detain 360 Suspects at CIA's Behest,'' The Washington Post, 22 November 2001.
67 Tom Blackwell, ``More Criminals Allowed into Canada,'' The National Post, 5 November 2002.
68 Dana Priest and DeNeen Brown, ```Sleeper Cell' Contacts Are Revealed by Canada,'' Washington Post, 25 December 2002.
69 Ibid.
70 ``Blunkett: No Extradition in Capital Cases,'' Daily Telegraph, London, 5 April 2003.
71 Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), SIRC Report 2000-2001.
72 Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha.
73 Tom Allard, ``Canberra Was Warned on Spy Reports, Says Analyst,'' Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 2003.
74 The Netherlands is probably unique in having a clause, Article 59 of its Intelligence and Security Services Act 2002,

providing a statutory basis for the conduct of ``relations with the appropriate intelligence and security services of other

75 SIRC Report 2000-2001.
76 Hanne Dankertsen and Geir Selvik, ``US Agents Spying on Norwegians,'' Nettavisen, Norway, 22 May 2003.
77 Tom Blackwell, ``More Criminals Allowed into Canada,'' The National Post, 5 November 2002.
78 Ibid.
79 Dana Priest and DeNeen Brown, ```Sleeper Cell' Contacts Are Revealed by Canada.''
80 Ian Black, ``EU Agrees to Pass on Intelligence to FBI,'' The Guardian, Manchester, 20 December 2002.
81 James Risen and Tim Weiner, ``3 New Allies Help CIA in Its Fight Against Terror,'' The New York Times, 30 October 2001;

Fouad Ajami, ``The Sentry's Solitude,'' Foreign Affairs, Vol. 80, No. 6, 2001; Malcolm Rifkind, ``Why the US Must Rely on

Arab Intelligence,'' The Times, London, 8 November 2001. Malcolm Rifkind was formerly Foreign Secretary in the British

Government. See also Nicholas Nasif, ``Tenet Given Assurances that No al-Qa'ida Cells Infiltrated Lebanon,'' Al-Nahar,

Beirut, 28 November 2002.
82 Final Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9=11, Part 1: Findings and Conclusions, para. 11.
83 Dana Priest and Susan Schmidt, ``Al Qaeda Figure Tied to Riyadh Bombings: U.S. Officials Say Leader Is in Iran with Other

Terrorists,'' The Washington Post, 18 May 2003.
84 Bob Woodward, ``50 Countries Detain 360 Suspects at CIA's Behest.''
85 Alan Sipress, ``Syrian Reforms Gain Momentum in Wake of War: US Pressure Forces Changes in Foreign, Domestic Policy,''

TheWashington Post, 12May 2003.
86 Neil MacFarquhar, ``Syria Repackages Its Repression of Muslim Militants as Antiterror Lesson,'' The New York Times, 14

January 2002.
87 Douglas Farah, ``US-Saudi Anti-Terror Operation Planned,'' The Washington Post, 26 August 2003.
88 Final Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9=11, Part 1: Findings and Conclusions, paras 11, 15. See also

William Odom, Fixing Intelligence: For a More Secure America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003).
89 Final Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9=11, Part 1: Findings and Conclusions, para. 15.
90 Matthew Moore, ``Australia Leads the Way in Hunt for Bombers,'' Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2002; Anna Fifield,

``War on Terror Creates Unlikely Allies,'' Financial Times, London, 18 August 2003.
91 ``Number Helped to Unravel Bali Plot,'' The Australian, 9 May 2003.
92 ``Aussie Role in Bomb Case,'' The Australian, 6 April 2003.
93 Steven Weisman and Neil MacFarquhar, ``US Agents Arrive to Join Saudi Bombing Investigation,'' The NewYork Times, 16 May

94 ``Mahathir Says `No' to Australia's Anti-Terror Squad,'' Straits Times, Singapore, 21 May 2003.
95 ``Friends Like These,'' Foreign Report, 20 August 2003.
96 Alan Dawson, ``Caught! The Man Who Wasn't Here--Analysis=War on Terrorism,'' Bangkok Post, 16 August 2003.
97 Kimina Lyall, ``Australia Denied Access to Hambali,'' The Australian, 22 August 2003.
98 Daniel Wakin, ``Tempers Flare After US Sends a Canadian Citizen back to Syria on Terrorism Suspicions,'' The New York

Times, 11 November 2002.
99 Alan Sipress, ``Syrian Reforms Gain Momentum in Wake of War.''
100 Jon Ungoed-Thomas, ``Beating the Terrorists: Egypt Used Torture to Crack Network,'' The Times, London, 25 November 2001;

Walter Pincus, ``CIA Touts Success in Fighting Terrorism,'' The Washington Post, 1 November 2002; Guy Dinmore and Mark

Huband, ``Iran Tells US It Has Detained Terror Suspects,'' Financial Times, London, 23 May 2003.
101 Dana Priest and Barton Gellman, ``US Decries Abuses but Defends Interrogations,'' The Washington Post, 26 December 2002.
102 Peter Finn, ``Al Qaeda Recruiter Reportedly Tortured,'' The Washington Post, 31 January 2003.
103 Alan Sipress, ``Syrian Reforms Gain Monentum in Wake of War.''
104 Dana Priest and Barton Gellman, ``US Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations.''
105 Cf. Bob Woodward, ``50 Countries Detain 360 Suspects at CIA's Behest.''
106 Alex Spillius and Andrew Sparrow, ``French Helped Iraq to Stifle Dissent,'' Daily Telegraph, London, 28 April 2003.
107 Final Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9=11, Part 1: Findings and Conclusions, para. 15.
108 Cf. Ahmed Rashid, ``Al Qa'eda Has Learned to adapt to Adversity,'' Daily Telegraph, London, 16 October 2002; David

Johnston, Don Van Natta Jr., and Judith Miller, ``Qaeda's New Links Increase Threats From Global Sites,'' The New York Times,

15 June 2002.
109 Paul Wilkinson, Terrorism and Liberal Democracy (London: Macmillan, 1999).
110 Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, ``Spy Agencies' Optimism on al-Qaeda is Growing. Lack of Attacks Thought to Show Group Is

Nearly Crippled,'' The Washington Post, 6 May 2003.
111 ``Al-Qaeda Income Cut, Says Foreign Office,'' Daily Telegraph, London, 7 April 2003.

Posted by maximpost at 11:02 PM EDT

Seeking Information
Ben Padilla

Date of birth: 1953
Place of birth: USA
Height: 6'2"
Weight: Unknown
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown
Complexion: Light
Sex: Male
Remarks: Padilla is a United States citizen from the State of Florida

Information is sought on the whereabouts of American citizen Ben Padilla, last seen at Luanda de Fevereiro International Airport on May 25, 2003. Although Mr. Padilla has been charged with no crime by the FBI, more information can be found on the FBI website ( If you have information about Mr. Padilla, please contact the nearest American Embassy or consulate or follow the instructions on the FBI's website.

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2003
U.S. Embassy, Office of Public Affairs

Information is sought on the whereabouts of American citizen Ben Padilla, last seen at Luanda (4) de Fevereiro International Airport on May 25, 2003. Although Mr. Padilla has been charged with no crime by the FBI, more information can be found on the FBI's website. If you have information about Mr. Padilla, please contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or follow the instructions on the FBI's website.

Para Divulga??o Imediata
23 de Julho de 2003
Embaixada dos E.U.A., Sec??o de Imprensa e Cultura

Procura-se informa??es em torno do paradeiro do cidad?o Americano, Ben Padilla, visto, pela ?ltima vez, no Aeroporto Internacional 4 de Fevereiro em Luanda, no dia 25 de Maio de 2003. Embora o Sr. Padilla n?o tenha sido formalmente acusado de algum crime pelo Bureau de Investiga??o Federal (FBI), informa??es adicionais podem ser encontradas no website do FBI. Caso tenha em sua posse informa??es sobre o Sr. Padilla, queira, por favor, contactar a Embaixada ou o Consuldao Norte-Americano mais pr?ximo ou ainda seguir as instru??es inseridas no website do FBI.

Letter from Joseph Padilla looking for his brother Ben Charles Padilla posted on various web forums on the internet.

I am Joseph B. Padilla, SR.
I live in Pensacola, Florida - U.S.A.
I am the Brother of Ben Charles Padilla Jr.
He is suspected to be the Pilot of the Missing Boeing 727 Plane that left the Airport in Angola on May 25 2003.
I am trying to reach news organizations to help me locate anyone that has seen or heard anything about this missing plane or my brother.

I appeared on ABC's, Good Morning America alone with my Sister Benita Padilla-Kirkland on June 19, 2003 in hopes to get the story out and to Locate my brother.
We both also appeared on CNN's Morning show, American Morning on June 24 2003.

Can you please help me by broadcasting a story or by your website news or newspaper?
I have a lot of information about the disappearance of the plane and my brother.
You can contact me at : 850-944-9688 or either by e-mail -

I hope that you will give me your help in hopes that someone seeing the story will either know something about the disappearance of the plane and my brother or know someone that does.

Here is what I have so far about the story.
As in the beginning as I told ABC News on The Good Morning America Show that I appeared on in New York, I thought that the Boeing 727 Plane had been sitting there in Angola for 14 months unattended to and not maintained.
Now, I have found out that My Brother, Ben Charles Padilla, Jr. had been in Angola for 2 months overseeing a crew of aircraft mechanics re-working the plane from one end to the other.
A B-Check was done and it was found to be fine.
I talked to the owner of the plane, Mr. Maury Joseph, which is also the owner of Aerospace Sales And Leasing in South Florida.
I too live in Florida, Pensacola, Fl. and my brother too was born and raised here.
Maury Joseph told me that he was there in Angola two weeks before the disappearance to see how things were going with the re-build of the 727 and also talked to my brother 2 days before the plane became missing and he had sent my brother $43,000.00 for him to pay the fees to the airport there in Angola. My brother paid the airport and faxed Maury Joseph the receipt. This is what Maury Joseph told me this past Friday night during our two and a half hour phone conversation.
My brother was also in charge of the hiring of a pilot and co-pilot. He was to be the Flight Engineer for the flight out of Angola for the repossession of the Boeing 727 plane.
My brother is not licensed to fly a 727 and never has flown an aircraft this large.
He is a Licensed Aircraft Mechanic, Flight Engineer, and Pilot of smaller airplanes.
I was told that he had took the plane out to the end of the runway and ran the engines up to check to see how they performed.
I feel that when my brother was checking the engines, someone was on the plane and hijacked him.
My brother isn't a criminal nor has never done any wrong doings.
Maury Joseph told me that he trusts my brother and doesn't believe the reports of my brother stealing the plane.
Maury Joseph also told me that he had talked to the Airport there in Angola and had found out that the control tower had radioed the 727 and told them as they were headed out to the runway to take off, that they didn't have clearance nor permission to take off and the tower never received a response from the 727.
I talked to my brother Ben Padilla, Jr. back in either Jan. or Feb. and we talked about the Sept. 11 2001 ordeal and he himself told me that if this sort of thing ever happened to him, that he would down the plane in a New York Second.
So, with that said I really believe my brother was hijacked and taken prisoner and held against his will and possibly was killed.
My mother had a heart attack on Mothers Day and my brother was e-mailed about this and he responded to the e-mail he received from another brother of ours and told him that he would contact us as soon as he could and we haven't heard anything from him. So, that tells me that something isn't right since he would of contacted the family about our mother.
I have talked to the FBI and State Department in Washington, D.C. and all they are willing to tell me is that they have not found my brother nor the plane. So, I am trying to search for any information that I can get thru news organizations.
I find a lot of stories on the internet and try to get any of the news organizations to run this story.
I also include a couple of pictures of my brother so in case anyone knows anything or has seen him before, to please contact me.
I am including in this e-mail 2 pictures of him incase you run this story in which I hope you do.
I would like to include my e-mail address and phone number incase some one reads or sees this that they can contact me.
My phone number is, 850-944-9688 and my e-mail address is,
Our family has already lost 2 siblings and can not bear to lose another one.
I would appreciate any help you can give me.
If you need any additional information, Please don't hesitate to contact me.

Thank you so much for your time.
Joseph B. Padilla, SR.

Information from the web site.

MAY 25, 2003


Age: 50 years old Hair: Brown
Sex: Male Eyes: Brown
Height: 6'2" Race: White
Weight: Unknown Complexion: Light
Remarks: Padilla is a United States citizen from the state of Florida.


On May 25, 2003, at approximately 6 p.m. local time, an airplane took off from DeFevereiro International Airport in Luanda, Angola, with neither clearance nor a flight plan, and has not been seen since. The plane is described as a 200 series advanced 727 jet with a tail number of N844AA, and a serial number of 20985. It is unpainted silver in color with a stripe of blue, white, and blue. The plane was formerly in the air fleet of a major airline, but all of the passenger seats have been removed. It is outfitted to carry diesel fuel.

Law enforcement officials believe that Ben Charles Padilla may have been on board the plane at the time it disappeared. The FBI is interested in locating Padilla, as he may have information as to the whereabouts of the plane.


TELEPHONE: (202) 324-3000


Contact us:

Aapex Sunrides

Mail: Po Box 255, Uwchland Pa 19480

Launch: 1012 North Pottstown Pike, Chester Springs Pa 19425

Phone: 610-458-7050

Fax: 610-458-8735


Into thin air (Where on earth is Angola's missing 727? Is it now a bomb?)
The Telegraph, London via SMH ^ | August 15, 2003 | William Langley

Posted on 08/15/2003 6:55:38 AM PDT
A Boeing 727 has disappeared from Angola. Was it insurance fraud? Has a cartel of diamond smugglers got it? Or could it be in the hands of al-Qaeda? William Langley reports.
The old Boeing had done its duty well. It had served 26 loyal years in the colours of American Airlines, but its best days were long gone, and as the sun rose over West Africa on May 25 this year it sat forlornly on the greasy concrete apron of Luanda International Airport in Angola, apparently leased to Air Angola.

It hadn't flown for 14 months, and its sorry state seemed to tell a familiar story about African airports - unpaid bills, dodgy paperwork, token maintenance. Nevertheless, no one paid it much attention. But the 727 was about to become the centrepiece of one of the strangest mysteries in aviation history, one that would alarm Western governments and baffle investigators around the world.

There are only a few places where a 46.5 metre-long, 90,718 kilogram commercial airliner can take off without warning and simply disappear. Africa is one of them, and whoever was at the controls of the Boeing 727 - registration number N844AA - on the afternoon of May 25 must have known the possibilities of what pilots call the "gauntlet" - the vast, virtually uncontrolled airspace south of the Sahara Desert and north of the Limpopo River. For, at around teatime, the plane suddenly fired up its engines, rumbled down the runway, soared into the velvety dusk and vanished.

"In 22 years in this business, I've never come across anything like this," says Chris Yates, a security analyst for Jane's Aviation Service. "Even for Africa it's astounding." But who took the 727? Terrorists? Criminals? Joyriders?

From the moment the plane's disappearance was disclosed, the CIA and the secretive National Security Agency in the United States have been urgently trying to find out. British, French and Russian intelligence services have been co-opted into the search. Spy satellites have swept all potential landing places within the plane's range. Western diplomats throughout Africa have been ordered to keep their ears to the ground, and thousands of hours of air-traffic communications have been analysed in the search for clues.

Unconfirmed reports have come in of the plane making a clandestine landing in Nigeria, crashing off the Seychelles, and being seen, with a hasty new paint job, flying between Guinea and the Lebanon.

"Basically," says Phil Reeker, a spokesman for the US State Department, "we don't know where it is. But we really need to find out. This is a serious matter."

Underlining these fears was an updated advisory notice, issued by the US Homeland Security Department the month the plane went missing, saying that the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation had a "continuing fixation" with using large commercial aircraft for attacks. And that following the plane's purchase from American Airlines in late 2001, it was converted into a flying fuel-tanker. "It doesn't take a genius," says Yates, "to figure out that if you filled it up and stuck a couple of suicide pilots on board, you'd have a huge bomb."

Many threads remain to be unravelled in the mystery of the lost Boeing. Some may, indeed, lead back to al-Qaeda, and others, perhaps, to the culture of what passes for Angola's Civil Aviation Authority. But one thread seems clearly to lead to the brash figure of Ben Padilla, a 51-year-old "cowboy" cargo pilot who went missing, from his home in Miami, Florida, about the same time as the plane.

Padilla is a minor legend in the murky realms of Third World aviation, someone known as the man to turn to for difficult missions. A pilot, engineer, navigator and mechanic, he is, says a former colleague, "a guy who'll do anything. He sorts out the money problems, cuts through the paperwork, and brings your plane home."

His sister, Benita, says he is a "John Wayne type - intimidating. Like he's bulletproof". He is not, though, according to the US Federal Aviation Authority, certified to fly 727s. Nor is he given to vanishing acts.

Padilla arrived in Angola two months before the Boeing's disappearance. He knew who to look for. Helder Preza, director of the Angolan CAA, recalls Padilla telling him that he had come to take possession of the Boeing on behalf of its owners. "We told him that was no problem," says Preza, "as long as the fees owing on it were met." Padilla apparently promised to organise the money - $US50,000 ($76,000) - and, in the meantime, was allowed to do maintenance work on the plane.

Ascertaining the true ownership of aircraft - especially those in Africa - can be difficult. The FAA's database shows that after being "retired" by American Airlines in late 2001, the Boeing was bought by a Miami-based company called Aerospace Sales and Leasing for slightly less than $US1 million. But ASL appears to have no listed telephone number or corporate address and US press reports say the man who owns it, Maury Joseph, was barred from running a publicly traded company after being convicted in 1997 of defrauding investors.

Joseph will not speak about the Luanda episode, or anything else, but his son Lance, a Miami lawyer, says the 727 was leased to Air Angola - the country's ramshackle flag-carrier - which appears to be ultimately owned by the Angolan Army. The plane was converted to carry bulk fuel in sealed tanks to mining outposts in the country's remote interior.

But, says Lance, soon after entering the agreement Air Angola failed to keep up the payments. The plane ran up further bills sitting on the ground in Luanda, and ASL was trying to negotiate its repossession when it vanished. Lance says he "doesn't recall" the name of Ben Padilla and has no idea where the Boeing is now.

On the day it flew away the 727 took on 953,000 litres of jet fuel - enough to give it a range of about 2400 kilometres. Airport officials say two men - one of them thought to be Padilla - boarded the aircraft before the refuelling, and that at about 5pm the plane's three engines were started. In fading light, the aircraft suddenly taxied down the runway, spun around and took off. The men in the cockpit made no radio contact, and the plane's transponder, which allows it to be more easily tracked by radar, was switched off.

Luanda Airport - one of the world's more dilapidated - has enough trouble dealing with its daily handful of authorised flights. No system was in place to prevent an unauthorised one.

"The plane would have been lost within minutes," says Richard Cornwell, a senior researcher at the South African Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. "Basically, once you go north of South Africa there is no air-traffic control until you reach the Mediterranean coast. Radar over most of Africa is non-existent. This aircraft could have gone anywhere."

Early media reports say the plane finally broke radio silence far out over the Indian Ocean, to request landing permission in the Seychelles - more than 3200 kilometres from Luanda. Seychelles officials deny they ever heard from N844AA, and certainly the plane did not arrive.

To have even reached the vicinity of the holiday islands it would have needed to be refuelled somewhere on the African mainland - and no country admits having received it. Almost six weeks after the 727's disappearance an intriguing report surfaced of it having been spotted on the ground in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. Bob Strother, a Canadian pilot, says it appeared to have been given a hasty respray and a new Guinean registration number. "There's absolutely no doubt it's the same aircraft," Strother told a newspaper. "The old registration is clearly visible."

The Boeing was said to be in the hands of "a member of West Africa's Lebanese business community" who was using it to run goods between Conakry and Beirut. There is no doubt that the Lebanese diaspora in West Africa - which controls the diamond trade and much else - includes a number of canny and redoubtable operators. But would one go to the lengths of stealing a commercial jet at a time of extreme anti-terrorist security?

Before the question could be answered the plane vanished again. It has not returned to Guinea, and the US State Department says it is treating Strother's report "with caution". Reeker says, "Our position is that this aircraft remains unaccounted for."

So where is the plane? And where is Padilla? The missing pilot's brother Joe, speaking from his home in Pensacola, Florida, fears the worst. "The family has heard nothing," says Joe Padilla.

"Not since before he went to Angola. My understanding is that it was a legitimate mission. His job was to repossess the plane, make it airworthy and bring it out of there. My feeling is something bad happened while he was getting ready to leave. Someone forced him to do something against his will.

"Ben's an adventurer, and a great airman. He's worked in all the crazy places - Paraguay, Mozambique, the Philippines; the places other guys don't want to work. But he's not a criminal and he's certainly not a terrorist.

"The fact he hasn't been in touch tells me he is probably dead. I don't know how. Maybe the people who forced him to take off killed him later. Maybe if the plane wasn't fully ready to fly, it crashed somewhere. It's all a big mystery."

And so it may remain. The State Department says there is "no reason" to believe the Boeing has been taken by terrorists. But the apparent ease with which a purpose-built flying bomb can vanish is a sobering reminder of the kind of opportunity available to an outfit like al-Qaeda.

"African aviation is another world,' says Chris Yates. "Anything can happen there. And now it has."

US, Angola Seek Missing Boeing 727 Jet
Voice of America

Alex Belida
11 Jun 2003, 19:27 UTC

Authorities in Africa and the United States are looking for a Boeing 727 jet missing from Angola since late last month under suspicious circumstances.

The Boeing 727 has been missing since it took off under mysterious circumstances from Luanda airport in the southwest African country of Angola more than two weeks ago.

U.S. government officials tell VOA it was last heard of requesting landing permission in the Seychelles off the coast of East Africa but never arrived there. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the aircraft's disappearance looks like a criminal act.

But with memories still fresh of the bloody September 11 terrorist plane hijackings in the United States almost two years ago, the officials say they have to remain open to the possibility that terrorism may be involved in the case of the vanishing 727.

Authorities in Angola say the plane took off illegally on Sunday, May 25. The country's minister of transportation later indicated the aircraft's disappearance would lead to stepped up security at Luanda airport.

The plane was brought to Angola by a firm called Air Angola. According to VOA's Portuguese service, that firm is owned by a group of current and former high-ranking military officials.

However the Boeing 727 had been parked idle at the airport for more than a year for non-payment of some $4 million in fees to Angola's airport authority.

Some U.S. officials say they suspect the plane may have been flown off to avoid repossession. Others tell VOA they believe it may have been crashed for insurance purposes.

According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was built in 1975. Although it was originally operated by American Airlines, according to FAA records, its latest registered owner was an aircraft leasing firm based in Miami, Florida.

Efforts to contact the firm were unsuccessful. The telephone number for the company has been disconnected.

An FAA spokesman had no new information on the plane or the firm. He told VOA firms are legally obliged to inform the agency of address changes and any transfers in aircraft ownership. But the spokesman conceded that does not always happen and he could not rule out the possibility the plane may have been sold to foreign owners.

Curiously, despite the FAA records, other U.S. government officials said the plane belongs to an American who lives in South Africa who leased the aircraft to others. These officials provided no additional details.

July 07, 2003
That missing Boeing reappears
The Boeing 727 that the CIA and various other bodies have been searching for has briefly reappeared, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Actually, they report that the Guardian reported it, but I couldn't find the article on their website- must have only been in the print edition.

Mystery Boeing briefly resurfaces after disappearance
July 8 2003

A Boeing 727, whose sudden disappearance in Angola in May unnerved US intelligence agencies, reappeared last week in the Guinean capital Conakry before vanishing once again, British newspaper The Guardian reports.

Washington has been working with African governments in the past month in a frantic bid to hunt down the cargo plane, amid fears the aircraft could be used by terrorists in a repeat of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The paper said the plane was seen on June 28 by a Canadian pilot, Bob Strother, in Conakry, sporting a new coat of paint and a Guinean registration number.

But Mr Strother told the paper that two letters of the plane's old tail number - N844AA - were still showing, proving the aircraft was the same Boeing that was being sought by US diplomats throughout Africa.

"There's absolutely no doubt it's the same aircraft, the old registration is clearly visible," he was quoted as saying.

"Whoever owns it must have some important friends to get it reregistered in two days: going by the book, the whole process usually takes a couple of months," he added.

"We only saw it that one time, now it's gone."

The plane, which was converted into a fuel tanker, is owned by a member of West Africa's Lebanese business community and was being used to carry goods between Beirut and Conakry, said Mr Strother.

The 28-year-old jetliner was stolen from under the noses of the control tower at the airport in the Angolan capital Luanda on May 25 and until now had not been sighted. It had been parked at the airport for 14 months.

Angolan state radio said shortly after its disappearance that it had been chartered by the Angolan airline Airangol but was grounded after being banned from overflying Angolan territory on account of a series of irregularities.

While US officials are concerned the plane could have been stolen by terrorists, the most likely scenario is that the aircraft was stolen as part of a business dispute or financial scam, said a western diplomat in Sierra Leone, quoted by The Guardian.



Hunt For The Missing
Boeing 727 'Flying Bomb'
By Gordon Thomas

An international hunt is on to find a flying bomb a stolen Boeing 727 which led to British Airways cancelling all flights to Saudi Arabia last week.

The plane is a fuel tanker that MI6 and other spy agencies fear is in the hands of al-Qaeda.

The search is being coordinated by Richard Dearlove, director of MI6, and George Tenet, the CIA chief. Both President Bush and Tony Blair, on holiday in Barbados, are being kept updated on the search one of the most difficult in aviation history.

Hidden somewhere in the vast Sahara desert of East Africa an area the size of Europe the spy chiefs believe the Boeing was poised to launch its attack on a British airliner as it began its descent over Saudi Arabia into Riyadh airport.

Suspected al-Qaeda terrorists spotted outside the airport last week are now believed to have been using sophisticated electronic equipment to track British airways flights.

They escaped before Saudi police could arrest them.

The international agencies involved in the hunt for the Boeing are MI6, Mossad, the CIA and NSA, America's spy in the sky. All have confirmed the feasibility of the flying bomb destroying a British Airways commercial plane.

The attack would require no more than two pilots.

"Al-Qaeda have a number of such pilots who were trained in Iran. We have been hunting them for some time in Africa, said a Mossad source."

The area where the Boeing is believed hidden has little or no radar cover making it almost impossible to track as it took off on its deadly mission.

"We are certain that the flying bomb will have been re-sprayed in the colours of one of the small airlines operating in central Africa," an intelligence officer involved in the hunt said. "That makes it even harder to spot as there are a lot of old 727s flying in Africa, bought cheap from major airlines."

The Boeing's own navigation system would enable it to intercept a British Airways flight as it descended into Riyadh airport. "The crew would be relaxing after their long flight being almost over. They would not be looking out for an attack coming across the Red Sea from Africa. At a closing speed of almost 900 miles, they would have no chance to avoid the flying bomb, said international security expert Ted Gunderson in Washington.

The Boeing fuel tanker can carry twice the amount of jet fuel which caused the fireballs that toppled the World Trade Centre in New York. America's Homeland Security Agency which coordinates all intelligence for President Bush sent out an urgent warning that al-Qaeda "has a continuing fixation to use a large plane to launch a spectacular to mark the second anniversary of 9/11."

Christopher Yates, a security analyst with Jane's Aviation Service in London said: "it doesn't take a genius to figure out if you filled up the Boeing tanker to capacity you would have a huge bomb." It was that threat which led to MI6 sending a "red alert to British Airways. America's National Security Agency (NSA) has moved one of its satellites in the Middle East to begin to quarter the Sahara. Intelligence officers have been authorised to pay substantial sums to nomadic Arabs who roam the Sahara for any clues as to where the Boeing is hidden.

The last sighting was made two months ago by a Canadian pilot, Robert Strothers.

Taking off from Comakry, the seaport capital of Gunea, he claimed he saw the Boeing parked inside a hanger.

"It had been re-sprayed. But the old registration was still visible," Strothers has told MI6.

By the time an MI6 officer from adjoining Sierra Leone had arrived in Guinea, the 727 had gone. It was next reported to have landed at Ndjamrna, an airport in Chad. The country adjoins Sudan. The Sudanese deny the aircraft entered their air space and hinted it had flown north to the Middle East.

Last week, the State Department in Washington which has asked all its diplomats in the region to "mobilise their resources" said that "finding the plane is now a top priority."

Another urgent concern is to discover the fate of Ben Padilla, the 51 year old American "bush pilot" who was at the controls of the 727 when it suddenly took off from Luanda airport in Angola on May 25. That afternoon, a still unidentified man had paid for 14,000 gallons of jet fuel with US dollars.

Shortly before 5pm, Padilla climbed on board with the man. He was later described as "Middle Eastern."

Padilla had been at the airport for some weeks. He claimed he represented a Miami company called Aerospace and Leasing, ASL. The company later denied he was working for them. The Luanda airport manager, Helder Preza, said the Boeing had ran up ?30,000 of charges while being parked at the airport after being sold on by American Airlines to ASL.

Padilla guaranteed payment on ASL notepaper. He was then allowed to carry out essential aircraft maintenance to fly the plane back to Miami.

On that May afternoon, he announced to Luanda Air Traffic Control he was going to do engine tests. He fired-up all three engines and rolled the 727 out to the runway.

Suddenly, remembers Helder, "the plane took off. Padilla and the mystery man were on board. The radio was turned off. The transponder, which would have allowed radar to track the plane, was turned off. In minutes it was gone."

Padilla's brother, Joe, who lives in Pensacola, Florida, believes his brother was "forced to fly some place and is now dead."

From Edward O'Finnegan

Does anybody believe that this 727 isn't carrying tracking devices? I'd expect them to have several - at least one of them a 'secure' high-tech device and still functioning, by satellite or overfly. Are they playing games?

Missing Boeing: Race against time
20/06/2003 23:00 - (SA)

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Kenya: Terror warning

Missing 727 could spell terror

Mystery Boeing in African skies

Ziegfried Ekron

Cape Town - Western intelligence services are racing against the clock to find a passenger aircraft somewhere in Africa.

The Boeing 727 was stolen in Angola earlier and there were fears that it could be used in an attack similar to the 9/11 disaster.

The American CIA started searching for the aircraft more than a month ago after it was stolen at an airport in Luanda.

Interpol in South Africa had also conducted a search, but to no avail.

The aircraft disappeared on May 25 after leaving the Luanda airport without permission. The Boeing, which can carry 150 people, had been standing at the Luanda airport for more than a year.

Reports said the Boeing was the property of an American company, which hired it out.

Superintendent Mary Martins-Engelbrecht, Interpol's South African spokesperson, said the Angolan government contacted police two weeks ago to investigate reports that the aircraft could be in South Africa.

Engelbrecht said: "We investigated every possibility, but found that it wasn't in South Africa."

The search in South Africa was called off, but the CIA requested British and French intelligence services to help conduct a search on the African continent.

American spy satellites were used to photograph airports where the aircraft could have been hidden.

Sapa reported that the aircraft might be used for smuggling purposes. Western countries, however, fear that the aircraft might be used in a deadly attack.

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that American authorities were concerned that the aircraft could be used against American targets in Africa.

The aircraft's seats had apparently been removed to make room for huge fuel tanks for flights to remote destinations.

Missing 727 could spell terror
18/06/2003 14:19 - (SA)

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'Flying bomb' missing

Washington - The United States and several African nations are busy looking for a Boeing 727 passenger jet stolen in Angola last month, fearing it could fall into terrorist hands, The Washington Post said on Wednesday.

The Central Intelligence Agency and the state department have joined in the continent-wide search for the aircraft US authorities said was likely stolen from the airport in the capital Luanda as part of a business dispute or financial scam.

A less likely, but far more chilling scenario, is that the plane was either stolen by terrorists or could end up in their hands for a possible September 11-type attack somewhere in Africa, US officials told the daily.

The 28-year-old jetliner was stolen from under the noses of Luanda airport's control tower on May 25 and has not been sighted since. It had been parked at the airport for 14 months.

US spy satellites have taken pictures of remote airstrips throughout Africa, including those at a half-fuel-tank's distance from Luanda's "4 de Fevereiro" airport. US diplomats have travelled across Africa seeking the aircraft.

"I haven't come across this before in 22 years in this business," said Chris Yates, a civil aviation security analyst for the private Jane's Aviation service.

"It is not a stretch to think this plane could end up in the hands of terrorists. A number of companies involved in gun running 'other crimes' in Africa have indirect ties to various terrorist groups," he added.

Flown by American Airlines for decades, the 47m 90 700kg jetliner was later owned, leased or subleased by a number of people and companies, with the Miami-based Aerospace Sales and Leasing Co its current owner.

Angolan state radio said shortly after its disappearance that it had been chartered by the Angolan airline Airangol but was grounded after being banned from overflying Angolan territory on account of a series of irregularities. - Sapa-AFP


In Angola, A Jetliner's Vanishing Act
Boeing 727 Is Subject Of Search, U.S. Worry
By John Mintz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 18, 2003; Page A01

The Boeing 727 had not budged from its parking place at the airport in Angola's capital city for 14 months, so when the jetliner started taxiing down the runway, the men in the control tower radioed the pilot for an explanation. There was no reply from the cockpit, even after the plane rumbled to a takeoff into the African skies.

The plane has been missing since it took off from the Luanda airport around dinnertime on May 25, setting off a continent-wide search for its whereabouts that includes the CIA, the State Department and a number of African nations. Their fear is that terrorists could stage a replay of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, using the plane in a suicide attack somewhere in Africa.

U.S. authorities say it is likely the airplane was filched as part of a business dispute or financial scam. But even so, they say, there is a danger that unscrupulous people in control of a plane that size could make it available to arms or gem smugglers, guerrilla movements or terrorists.

It has been a commonplace for decades in Africa for the paperwork on commercial aircraft, especially small and mid-sized planes, to be dodgy, and for regulation to be extremely lax, industry officials said. Planes continually change ownership, and the aprons of some African airstrips are littered with wrecked aircraft stripped for parts.

But losing a 153-foot, 200,000-pound aircraft is no common occurrence.

"I haven't come across this before in 22 years in this business," said Chris Yates, a civil aviation security analyst for the private Jane's Aviation service. "It is not a stretch to think this plane could end up in the hands of terrorists. A number of companies involved in gun running [and other crimes] in Africa have indirect ties to various terrorist groups."

In the post-Sept. 11 world, even the possibility that terrorists could obtain a large aircraft prompts intensive government scrutiny. U.S. officials are alarmed because large swaths of Africa are under heightened alert for terrorism. Last month, 42 people, including 13 terrorists, died in a series of orchestrated suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco. In November, 16 people, including three terrorists, died in the bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa, Kenya.

Western intelligence officials say al Qaeda operatives are known to be casing possible targets in Kenya and other East African nations. On May 15, British officials suspended flights to and from Kenya after raising the perceived threat to its commercial flights there to the highest level, "imminent."

Homeland Security Department officials said that given the likelihood that thieves and not al Qaeda are behind the 727's disappearance, there is no cause for grave alarm.

"Yes, there is concern, and an ongoing search, but it is not one that could be described as a desperate search," said Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.

U.S. spy satellites have snapped pictures of remote airstrips throughout Africa, starting with ones that are within half a fuel tank's distance from Luanda's "4 de Fevereiro" International Airport. The 28-year-old 727 had taken on 14,000 gallons of A-1 jet fuel shortly before it departed.

U.S. embassy personnel are traveling around Africa to ask host aviation ministries for any sign of the aircraft. "They haven't seen hide nor hair of it," said one government official. "It's so odd."

A large number of people and companies have owned, leased or subleased the aircraft in recent years. U.S. officials say that a few have been involved in shady endeavors. One firm recently involved in owning or leasing it, a U.S. official said, "has a history of allowing aircraft to be used by people for illegal things."

According to the private Airclaims airplane database, the 727's current owner is a Miami-based firm called Aerospace Sales & Leasing Co., which bought it in 2001 after it was flown by American Airlines for decades. In 1997, Aerospace Sales's president, Maury Joseph, was barred from running any publicly traded firm after he was convicted of forging documents and defrauding investors by exaggerating the profits of another company he ran, Florida West Airlines.

Joseph's son, Lance Joseph, said the company has committed no wrong. He said a firm that had leased the plane from Aerospace Sales -- a company whose name he said he couldn't recall -- had removed the seats and replaced them with fuel tanks. It flew the 727 to Luanda with a plan to deliver fuel to remote African airfields, he said.

According to the Airclaims database, a company called Irwin Air had planned to buy the 727 last month. No more information could be learned about the company.

Helder Preza, Angola's aviation director, told the Portuguese radio network RDP that the plane arrived in Luanda in March 2002, but that authorities prevented it from flying on because "the documentation we held did not pertain to the aircraft in question."

Angolan officials also demanded stiff ramp fees as well as settlement of private liens on the 727, Joseph said. Aerospace Sales was settling the disputes and planning to repossess the aircraft and fly it away when the 727 -- one of about 1,100 worldwide -- disappeared, he said.

Joseph also said that in recent months a former Aerospace Sales associate with whom he has had bitter financial disputes, Miami aircraft broker Mike Gabriel, had been in Africa stating that he planned to stop the plane's repossession and make a claim on it.

In the 1980s, Gabriel was convicted of importing 5,000 pounds of marijuana. He did not return messages left at his office requesting comment, and his attorney, Jack Attias, declined to comment.

Preza, the Angolan official, said that "the owner of the aircraft contacted us saying he wished to fly out of Angola." Then, he added, a man who presented himself as "the legitimate representative of the aircraft's owner'' -- a man Preza described as a U.S. citizen but whom he declined to name -- entered the aircraft. Moments later, Preza said, the man flew the plane away.

"The person who flew out the plane was no stranger to the aircraft," Preza said.

Another twist in the case is that the State Department is asking its diplomats in Africa, in searching for the 727, to ask host governments whether they have any information about two men that its cables say "reportedly" own the plane -- Ben Padilla and John Mikel Mutantu. The men are not listed as owners on any public database, and no other information about them was available.

Aviation expert Yates said the plane might never be located. "I suspect it's disappeared into the murky world of African aviation," he said.

Staff researchers Margot Williams and Mary Louise White contributed to this report.

? 2003 The Washington Post Company
Rogue Missile?
Intensive Search Under Way for Airliner Missing for Nearly a Month

By Pierre Thomas

June 10
-- The U.S. government has secretly launched an intensive campaign to find a Boeing 727 passenger jet that mysteriously disappeared in Africa three weeks ago, sources told ABCNEWS.

Intelligence agencies have used satellites to try to locate the plane, the CIA is working its human sources in Africa, and embassies in Africa have been informed of the disappearance and asked to provide any information they may come across, sources said.

The plane's status is discussed every morning in meetings at various intelligence agencies and congressional intelligence committees. A number of government officials told ABCNEWS everyone is frustrated.

"When an aircraft of this size has been missing for so long it does raise some questions as to where it is and what it's being used for," said Chris Yates, editor of the London-based specialist publication Jane's Civil Aviation Security.

The Boeing 727 is 153 feet long and weighs 191,000 pounds.

Many Options

The plane disappeared out of Angola on May 25. But a government official says the Angolans do not know whether it was bound for Burkina Faso, South Africa, Libya or Nigeria. It's also not clear how many people were on board.

Some U.S. officials believe the plane may have been stolen to run drugs or guns. Others suspect it may have been crashed for insurance money.

American officials have so far turned up no evidence the disappearance is related to terrorism, but no one knows for certain, but the plane's disappearance raises some troubling security questions.

"It's extraordinarily troubling that you can literally disappear off the face of the Earth once you are airborne and fly across a continent like Africa," Yates said.

Other issues that officials cite include:

The lack of security at many African and Third World airports.

The limited oversight of flights in some African countries. Preliminary research shows some countries don't require flight plans.

The security of the international aviation market. Could this plane resurface in legitimate aviation without anyone knowing, or change hands on the black market? How secure are we when an airliner can go unaccounted for?

The most worrying possibility is that the plane might be used as a flying missile against a U.S. target in the manner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"An aircraft could be either stolen or hijacked overseas, fly to the U.S., on schedule, and it wouldn't be seen on FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] radar, if it didn't want to be seen, until the very last minute," said Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar.

The chance of that happening is slim, Clarke said. "The government believes the plane would not have enough fuel to reach the U.S."

But that doesn't rule out an attack on a U.S. embassy or facility overseas in Africa -- making U.S. officials no less intent on finding the missing airliner.

Copyright ? 2004 ABC News Internet Ventures.


Posted by maximpost at 10:40 PM EDT
Wednesday, 21 April 2004


Monumental Rip-Off?
Allegations of Widespread Corruption Involve Saddam Hussein, U.N. Senior Officials
By Brian Ross
April 20-- At least three senior United Nations officials are suspected of taking multimillion-dollar bribes from the Saddam Hussein regime, U.S. and European intelligence sources tell ABCNEWS.

One year after his fall, U.S. officials say they have evidence, some in cash, that Saddam diverted to his personal bank accounts approximately $5 billion from the United Nations Oil-for-Food program.
In what has been described as the largest humanitarian aid effort ever undertaken, the U.N. Oil-for-Food program began in 1996 to help Iraqis who were suffering under sanctions imposed following the first Gulf War.

The program allowed Iraq to sell limited amounts of oil, under supposedly tight U.N. supervision, to finance the purchase of much-needed humanitarian goods.

Most prominent among those accused in the scandal is Benon Sevan, the Cyprus-born U.N. undersecretary general who ran the program for six years.

In an interview with ABCNEWS last year, Sevan denied any wrongdoing.

"Well, I can tell you there have been no allegations about me," he said. "Maybe you can try to dig it out." And in a Feb. 10 statement, Sevan challenged those making the allegations to "come forward and provide the necessary documentary evidence" and present it to U.N. investigators.

But documents have surfaced in Baghdad, in the files of the former Iraqi Oil Ministry, allegedly linking Sevan to a pay-off scheme in which some 270 prominent foreign officials received the right to trade in Iraqi oil at cut-rate prices.

"It's almost like having coupons of bonds or shares. You can sell those coupons to other people who are normal oil traders," said Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British adviser to the Iraq Governing Council.

Investigators say the smoking gun is a letter to former Iraqi oil minister Amer Mohammed Rasheed, obtained by ABCNEWS and not yet in the hands of the United Nations.

In the letter, dated Aug. 10, 1998, an Iraqi oil executive mentions a request by a Panama-based company, African Middle East Petroleum Co., to buy Iraqi oil -- along with a suggestion that Sevan had a role in the deal. "Mr. Muwafaq Ayoub of the Iraqi mission in New York informed us by telephone that the abovementioned company is the company that Mr. Sevan cited to you during his last trip to Baghdad," the executive wrote in Arabic.

A handwritten note indicated that permission for the oil purchase was granted by "the Vice President of the Republic" on Aug. 15, 1998.

The second page of the letter contains a table titled "Quantity of Oil Allocated and Given to Mr. Benon Sevan." The table lists a total of 7.3 million barrels of oil as the "quantity executed" -- an amount that, if true, would have generated an illegal profit of as much as $3.5 million.

"Somebody who is running the Oil-for-Food program for the United Nations should not be receiving any benefit of any kind from a rogue dictator who was perpetuating terror in his country," said Hankes-Drielsma.

Full Investigation Announced

The United Nations, at first, dismissed the allegations about Sevan, but this week, Secretary General Kofi Annan said there would be a full investigation led by the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Paul Volcker.

"We are going to investigate these allegations very seriously," Annan said during a press conference.

In addition, Congress is scheduled to begin hearings into the bribery scandal this week.

As for Sevan, when news of the scandal first broke earlier this year, he took a long vacation to Australia.

He declined to answer questions when ABCNEWS found him last week staying at a luxury casino resort.

A U.N. spokesman says Sevan, who makes $186,000 a year, has submitted his retirement papers, effective May 21. The spokesman said Sevan would remain on full salary through the course of the U.N. investigation, which is expected to last at least three months.

Oil Contracts for Political Support

The inquiries into the United Nations Oil-for-Food program result from the release in January of a list of 270 individuals, companies and institutions that allegedly received lucrative oil contracts from Saddam Hussein's former regime in return for political support.

The list was published by an Iraqi independent newspaper which claimed the document was discovered in the files of the former Iraqi Oil Ministry in Baghdad.

Oil vouchers were allegedly given either as gifts or as payment for goods imported into Iraq in violation of the U.N. sanctions.

The following are the names of some of those listed as receiving Iraqi oil contracts (amounts are in millions of barrels of oil):

The Companies of the Russian Communist Party: 137 million
The Companies of the Liberal Democratic Party: 79.8 million
The Russian Committee for Solidarity with Iraq: 6.5 million and 12.5 million (two separate contracts)
Head of the Russian Presidential Cabinet: 90 million
The Russian Orthodox Church: 5 million

Charles Pasqua, former minister of interior: 12 million
Trafigura (Patrick Maugein), businessman: 25 million
Ibex: 47.2 million
Bernard Merimee, former French ambassador to the United Nations: 3 million
Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club: 17.1 million

Firas Mostafa Tlass, son of Syria's defense minister: 6 million

Zeynel Abidin Erdem: more than 27 million
Lotfy Doghan: more than 11 million

Megawati Sukarnoputri: 11 million

Ali Ballout, Lebanese journalist: 8.8 million

The Socialist Party: 22 million
Kostunica's Party: 6 million

Arthur Millholland, president and CEO of Oilexco: 9.5 million

Father Benjamin, a French Catholic priest who arranged a meeting between the pope and Tariq Aziz: 4.5 million
Roberto Frimigoni: 24.5 million

United States
Samir Vincent: 7 million
Shakir Alkhalaji: 10.5 million

United Kingdom
George Galloway, member of Parliament: 19 million
Mujaheddin Khalq: 36.5 million

South Africa
Tokyo Saxwale: 4 million

Shaker bin Zaid: 6.5 million
The Jordanian Ministry of Energy: 5 million
Fawaz Zureikat: 6 million
Toujan Al Faisal, former member of Parliament: 3 million

The son of President Lahoud: 5.5 million

Khaled Abdel Nasser: 16.5 million
Emad Al Galda, businessman and Parliament member: 14 million

Palestinian Territories
The Palestinian Liberation Organization: 4 million
Abu Al Abbas: 11.5 million

Hamad bin Ali Al Thany: 14 million

Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem: 1 million

Foreign minister of Chad: 3 million

The October 8th Movement: 4.5 million

Myanmar (Burma)
The minister of the Forests of Myanmar: 5 million

The Social Democratic Party: 8.5 million
The Communist Party: 6 million
The Socialist Party: 2 million
The FTD oil company: 2 million


On Kerry's Honor
The symbols of service should mean something.

By Kate O'Beirne

"I've had thorns from a rose that were worse," says Grant Hibbard, John Kerry's former commanding officer about the wound the senator received on December 2, 1968, that earned him his first Purple Heart award. Earlier this month, the Boston Globe reported that Hibbard is among the Vietnam veterans who are questioning the awards that sent John Kerry home early from Vietnam. The controversy prompted Tim Russert to ask Kerry this past Sunday whether he would release all of his military records, including medical records and his officer evaluations. Kerry assured Russert that they're already publicly available at his headquarters. But they're not. And the tragic suicide of the Navy's Admiral Mike Boorda in 1996 is a reminder of why the media should be clamoring for their release.

The Boston Globe took Kerry at his word and headed to his campaign office to look at the records the senator claimed would be available, only to be told nothing further would be released. "All" of the military records Russert asked about would not be made available after all, including the medical records from his second and third purple hearts, and his officer evaluations. The newspaper recalled that the White House released 300 pages of documents on President Bush's National Guard service earlier this year.

In a press release this week, Tour of Duty author Douglas Brinkley announced that he thinks questions about whether Kerry legitimately earned those Purple Hearts are unseemly. Allowing that maybe he is "na?ve, or too pro-veteran," Brinkley declares: "Only somebody craven -- or with a political agenda -- could stoop so low." But, it's veterans who are raising questions. The ribbons we civilians admire as colorful adornments represent far more to veterans. Admiral Boorda recognized the importance of an award's integrity to men in uniform.

In 1996, a left-wing news service raised questions about two small "V" clips that the chief of Naval operations wore over two of the medals on his chest full of them. The clips are awarded for valor under fire, and there was some doubt about whether Boorda's two tours in Vietnam aboard combat ships qualified him for the awards, although the Washington Post reported that a 1965 Navy manual appeared to support Boorda's right to wear the clips. Unlike Kerry, the awards did not provide grounds for Boorda to shorten his tours of duty.

Hours before he was scheduled to meet with Newsweek reporters to discuss the controversy, the admiral went to his home at the Navy Yard and shot himself in the chest. The CNO had been in command of the Navy during a troubled period and his leadership was being criticized by its senior officers. Still, among the notes he left was one to "the sailors" expressing his fear that the controversy over his decorations might harm the Navy. Boorda had lied about his age to join the Navy and was the first CNO to rise through the enlisted ranks.

Evan Thomas, then Newsweek's Washington bureau chief who was scheduled to interview the Admiral, explained that he was devastated by his death, but defended his magazine's pursuit of the combat award story. "We've got to do our job," he said. "Part of that job is checking on the truthfulness of people in positions of power. Like the admiral." And, like a prospective president. So far, Newsweek has ignored the controversy over John Kerry's awards.

It might well be that the release of all of Kerry's military records would refute the criticisms of some of those who served with him. But, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, craven or partisan motives shouldn't be attributed to Vietnam veterans who honor the symbols of honorable service.

Posted by maximpost at 11:09 PM EDT


M. Powell avait mis en garde M. Bush contre une invasion de l'Irak
LE MONDE | 19.04.04 | 13h31 * MIS A JOUR LE 19.04.04 | 16h07
Un livre raconte le m?canisme de la marche ? la guerre et les conflits internes qui l'ont accompagn?e.
Washington de notre correspondant
Un nouveau livre de Bob Woodward raconte, vus de l'int?rieur de l'?quipe dirigeante am?ricaine, les ?v?nements qui ont abouti au d?clenchement de la guerre d'Irak, le 19 mars 2003. Le m?canisme de la marche ? la guerre et les conflits internes qui l'ont accompagn?e sont expos?s pour la premi?re fois de fa?on aussi compl?te, si l'on en juge par les "bonnes feuilles" que le Washington Post a commenc? ? publier, dimanche 18 avril.
Enqu?teur vedette du Washington Post depuis le scandale du Watergate, il y a trente ans, Woodward avait d?j? b?n?fici? d'un acc?s sans ?gal aux acteurs et aux documents de la Maison Blanche pour son livre pr?c?dent, Bush at War (Bush s'en va-t-en guerre, ?ditions Deno?l), qui portait sur les attentats du 11 septembre 2001 et sur leurs suites. Pour Plan of Attack("Le Plan d'attaque", ?dit? chez Simon & Schuster), il a pu interroger 75 responsables de l'administration Bush, mais seuls les propos du pr?sident lui-m?me, avec lequel il a eu trois heures et demie d'entretiens au total, sont rapport?s au style direct.
Woodward raconte que, le 21 novembre 2002, George Bush a demand? au secr?taire ? la d?fense, Donald Rumsfeld, de mettre en route la pr?paration de plans pour une op?ration en Irak. La guerre n'?tait pas termin?e, alors, en Afghanistan. Le pr?sident am?ricain a donn? consigne ? M. Rumsfeld de faire en sorte que ces pr?paratifs se fassent en secret. Il s'en explique en disant que s'ils avaient ?t? rendus publics, ces plans auraient provoqu? "une angoisse internationale et une sp?culation int?rieure ?normes".
Cinq semaines plus tard, le 28 d?cembre, quand M. Bush a re?u, dans son ranch de Crawford, le g?n?ral Tonny Franks, chef du Commandement central, l'?tat-major comp?tent pour cette partie du monde, l'entretien a port? enti?rement sur l'Irak, mais ils ont affirm? ? la presse qu'ils avaient parl? de l'Afghanistan.
Lors de sa tourn?e en Europe et en Russie, fin mai 2002, le pr?sident am?ricain a d?clar? qu'il n'avait "pas de plans sur -son- bureau" pour agir militairement contre Saddam Hussein, alors que l'?tat-major y travaillait depuis six mois. Selon Bob Woodward, ce travail de planification a cr?? une dynamique en faveur de la guerre, quand bien m?me M. Bush affirmait n'avoir rien d?cid?. Cette dynamique ?tait aliment?e par le vice-pr?sident, Richard Cheney, et par ceux qui partageaient son point de vue, c'est- ?-dire M. Rumsfeld et, plus encore, le secr?taire adjoint ? la d?fense, Paul Wolfowitz, et le sous-secr?taire charg? de la politique, Douglas Feith.
L'auteur ?crit qu'aux yeux du secr?taire d'Etat, Colin Powell, oppos? ? l'option militaire, M. Cheney faisait "une fixation malsaine" sur l'Irak. M. Powell soup?onnait le vice-pr?sident et ses partisans d'avoir constitu? un gouvernement parall?le. Il donnait au groupe d'analystes du renseignement constitu? par M. Feith le surnom de "Gestapo".
M. Powell a mis en garde M. Bush, ? plusieurs reprises, contre une invasion de l'Irak. Au cours d'un d?ner ? la Maison Blanche, le 5 ao?t 2002, avant que le pr?sident ne parte en vacances, le secr?taire d'Etat lui a dit qu'il ne devait pas se laisser entra?ner dans cette entreprise. "Vous allez ?tre le fier propri?taire de 25 millions de personnes, de leurs espoirs, de leurs aspirations et de leurs probl?mes", a-t-il pr?venu.
Le secr?taire d'Etat est revenu plusieurs fois, par la suite, sur ce que son adjoint, Richard Armitage, appelait "la r?gle de Pottery Barn", du nom d'une cha?ne de magasins de vaisselle : "Ce que vous cassez vous appartient." La tension entre M. Powell et M. Cheney ?tait telle que c'?tait ? peine s'ils se parlaient.
Woodward raconte que, le 21 d?cembre, M. Bush s'est fait pr?senter les ?l?ments dont disposait la CIA (Agence centrale de renseignement) sur les armes de destruction massive que Saddam Hussein ?tait accus? de d?tenir. Etonn? de la faiblesse de ce qui lui ?tait montr?, il a interrog? le directeur de la CIA, George Tenet, qui lui a affirm? : "Ne vous inqui?tez pas, c'est un slam dunk !" Ce terme de basket-ball d?signe un point tellement facile que le joueur qui le marque se suspend un instant au panier pour narguer l'adversaire.
C'est au tout d?but janvier 2003, selon Woodward, que le pr?sident a pris la d?cision d'employer la force, mais en essayant d'obtenir l'accord du Conseil de s?curit? de l'ONU, parce que le premier ministre britannique, Tony Blair, y jouait sa survie politique.
Le 11 janvier, M. Cheney a inform? l'ambassadeur d'Arabie saoudite ? Washington. M. Powell l'a ?t? le 13, de peur qu'il ne l'apprenne par le diplomate saoudien. "Etes-vous avec moi l?-dessus ?", lui a demand? M. Bush au cours d'une entrevue de douze minutes. "Je ferai de mon mieux. Oui, Monsieur, je vous soutiendrai", a r?pondu le secr?taire d'Etat. Ancien militaire, ancien chef d'?tat-major interarmes, M. Powell a jug? qu'il ne pouvait pas d?missionner au moment o? son pays allait partir en guerre.
Patrick Jarreau

>> AHEM...

Woodward book contradicts CIA director
By Andrew Tully
WASHINGTON - Two months ago, United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet gave a public response to the growing concern about the quality of US intelligence preceding the Iraq war. His remarks came amid questions about whether the administration of President George W Bush had pressured the US intelligence community to help make the case for war, by presenting evidence that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat.
But Tenet said CIA analysts never portrayed Saddam as an imminent threat to the region, the world, or the US. And he directly countered claims that Bush policymakers influenced how the CIA interpreted its own intelligence: "The question being asked about Iraq, in the starkest terms, is, 'Were we right or were we wrong?' In the intelligence business, you are almost never completely wrong or completely right. That applies, in full, to the question of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction," Tenet said.
But that is not how Tenet is characterized in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward of the Washington Post newspaper.
Woodward's reporting contributed to the resignation of president Richard Nixon three decades ago after the Watergate scandal. In his latest book, Plan of Attack, he writes that during a crucial meeting with Bush, Tenet twice reassured a wary president that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Woodward writes that in December 2002 - three months before the war began - Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin, gave Bush what the president hoped would be a convincing case against Saddam - convincing enough to prevail in a court of law.
According to the book, McLaughlin gave a detailed presentation with charts and photographs. But when he was done, Bush said it was not convincing. The US president is quoted as saying, "I've been told all this intelligence about [Saddam] having WMD, and this is the best we've got?"
Woodward writes that Tenet described the case as foolproof, literally calling it a "slam-dunk". When Bush again expressed skepticism, Tenet reiterated his conviction that the evidence against Saddam was sound.
During three-and-a-half hours of interviews with Woodward for the book, Bush recalled that Tenet's reassurance about the quality of the intelligence was "very important" in influencing his decision to go to war.
How to explain the two apparent faces of Tenet - one brashly confident of the case for war; one wary and defensive about the CIA's intelligence?
Retired US Army General Edward Atkeson said in an interview that he found the passage from Woodward's book very troubling on several levels. Atkeson served as an intelligence officer in Europe during the Cold War and several times was temporarily transferred to the CIA.
Was the head of the CIA truly surprised by the failure to find WMD in Iraq? If so, says Atkeson, his initial confidence is unsettling. Also, Atkeson says, Woodward's account presents Tenet in a way that is almost cavalier, and not consistent with the typical intelligence-community methods:
"I wouldn't have expected him to just pristinely lay the thing on the president's desk and say, 'That's it, and if you have any questions, give me a call.' Nor would I expect him to give a kind of a 'slam-dunk' kind of a demonstration," Atkeson said.
In fact, Atkeson says he is bothered by Tenet's demeanor as it is described by Woodward. He says analysts may speak in sports slang when discussing work-related matters among themselves in unguarded moments, but no one, not even the CIA director himself, would dare to speak so casually to a president, especially a president who has a reputation for demanding proper behavior from everyone.
"That's out of character for anybody in the business, so far as a presentation of some gravitas [is concerned]. That's unprofessional. If I were the president, I'd say, 'Go back to your office and call me when you're ready to give me a professional presentation,'" Atkeson said.
Atkeson also says he finds Woodward's account troubling because of its sourcing. Although the writer claims to have spoken to 75 officials close to the case, nearly all of them are unnamed. Only material from the Bush interviews is fully attributed to the president.
Atkeson says he questions how skeptical Bush really was about the intelligence regarding Saddam's suspected weapons arsenal. He also wonders whether Karl Rove, Bush's senior political adviser, may have urged the president to portray himself as reluctant to go to war.
"[Bush] may have Rove sitting right behind him saying, 'Tell [Woodward] this, tell him that.' That would fit in with the popular view of the way [Bush's] staff works - you know, where they're always trying to minimize damage and put the best light that they can on things," Atkeson said.
Tenet says his agency currently is evaluating whether it served the country well in the way it gathered and presented intelligence to the president. He has said the evaluation will be thorough, and the American people must be patient in awaiting the verdict.
But with Woodward's book putting the CIA on the defensive, it appears a reckoning may come sooner than anybody may have thought.
Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036.

(Copyright 2004 RFE/RL Inc.)


Lawmakers Press Administration for Detailed Iraq Plan
Wolfowitz, Myers Appear Before House Committee

By Pauline Jelinek
The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 21, 2004; 1:29 PM

Lawmakers will keep pressing the Bush administration until they get a detailed explanation of its strategy in Iraq, a senator said Wednesday, opening a second day of sometimes contentious hearings on the increasingly violent occupation.
Citing a host of questions about the planned transfer of power in Baghdad June 30, Sen. Dick Lugar said his Senate Foreign Relations Committee "will be persistent in asking these questions and others because the Americans should have the opportunity to understand the administration's plan and to carefully monitor its progress."
Later Wednesday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz appeared before another panel of lawmakers, a day after he irritated some senators with a half-hour speech on how brutal Saddam Hussein was, and how much better off Iraq was without him.
Wolfowitz's testimony Tuesday opened three days of hearings that senators hoped would shed light on the administration's strategy for the increasingly troubled campaign in Iraq -- information that Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike say the administration has consistently denied them.
"What we've been given is a series of just glossy overstatements ... and how bad Saddam Hussein is ... really, really bad," Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota said sarcastically some three hours into a four-hour hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We have a right to know, and we should be told, what is going on over there, in factual terms, in military terms."
On Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee, Wolfowitz focused more on answering questions that have been raised, though he gave few new details.
"Some say we have no plan. We have a plan," he said referring to U.N. suggestions for forming an interim government to take over from occupation authorities. Senators want to know more -- exactly who those people will be, how they will be picked, what happens if fractious Iraqis cannot agree on their selection before the handover?
Appearing with Wolfowitz, Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee Wednesday that recent violence -- and the resulting extension of tours of duty for some 20,000 troops -- "is going to cost us more money" than budgeted.
He said defense officials are studying their budget now to determine how much. "We're in the middle of that analysis right now," he said.
Wolfowitz was attending two of five sessions planned before three separate panels this week -- military panels in the House and Senate and Lugar's foreign relations panel.
Former officials and think tank experts have made up the witness list the first two days. Lugar had strong words for the administration Tuesday when it appeared Wolfowitz was refusing to testify at the senator's hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Saying success in Iraq depends on the administration's credibility, Lugar noted that over the past year and a half the administration has "failed to communicate" its plans to Congress and the American people. But he announced Wednesday that Wolfowtiz had phoned him -- said he could not come to due to a family wedding -- and was sending another Pentagon official.
Some lawmakers have said that they not only want to hear more about the administration's plans for any problems in the transition of sovereignty back to Iraq, but they want to know what the pricetag will be for a continuing U.S. presence there.
"In this year's budget that we're voting on, for 2005, they haven't asked for one single penny for next year for Afghanistan and Iraq. Give me a break," Sen. Joseph Biden, ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday on NBC"s "Today" show.
"They already know that it's going to cost a minimum of $60 billion to keep the troops there," the Delaware Democrat said.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said on the same show that lawmakers want the administration "to be honest with the Congress. Be honest with the American people. ... It's going to be $50 to $75 billion in additional money."
The administration previously has relied in large part on so-called supplemental spending bills -- emergency legislation that is apart from the regular budgeting process -- to meet war costs.
Wolfowitz told the armed services panel that Iraq has seen the beginnings of a "tremendous transformation" in the year since the invasion, with improvements in health care, schools and other services as well as work toward forming a new government.
"I'm not here to paint a rosy picture or to view this through rose-colored glasses," he said, conceding there are "enormous problems." Officials need to speed up reconstruction work as well as the training of Iraqi forces to be responsible for their own security, he said.
He also noted the violence, in which 100 American troops have been killed fighting insurgencies this month.
During the violence, many lawmakers were in their home districts for spring recess and heard rising voter concerns about the violence.
Senators on Tuesday asked how the transfer of power in Iraq could be accomplished in so little remaining time, what the Pentagon would do if more troops are needed and what it would cost financially.
They also criticized the administration, saying too few troops were sent for the job; there was a lack of planning for postwar operations; troops are being overtaxed by repeated and extended deployments; and that unilateral action has left the United States bearing the bulk of the burden with little hope of getting more international troops to help.
? 2004 The Associated Press

Constituents' Iraq Worries Growing, Lawmakers Say

By Helen Dewar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2004; Page A04
Lawmakers returning from their spring break say constituents are increasingly concerned about what they see as a lack of progress toward stability in Iraq, and want President Bush to spell out a clear strategy for victory.
They also found their constituents to be troubled by hearings on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, although many seemed more upset by outbursts of partisanship in the proceedings than by revelations of failure to prevent the attacks.
Together, people's reactions to the bloody insurgency in Iraq and the contentious hearings at home showed an American public that is growing more restive over Washington's response to its concerns -- an anxiety reflected in hearings that opened in the Senate yesterday on the outlook for Iraq.
As the Foreign Relations Committee launched the first of three hearings, both Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and ranking Democrat Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) urged the administration to be more forthcoming about its strategy for returning Iraq to the control of its people.
The Bush administration has sometimes failed in the past to "communicate its Iraq plans and cost estimates to Congress and the American people," Lugar said, and "must recognize that its domestic credibility on Iraq will have a great impact on its efforts to succeed."
Biden was more critical. U.S. forces in Iraq "may soon be confronted by an untenable situation . . . caught between hostile Iraqi populations that they were sent to liberate and an increasingly skeptical American public," Biden said. "No foreign policy can be sustained in this country without the informed consent of the American people, and there has not been an informed consent yet because we have not leveled with them."
At an Armed Services Committee hearing, Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) warned that the United States needs to be prepared for more violence as the June 30 deadline for transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government approaches. He cautioned against raising expectations too high.
Committee member Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) said she is concerned about the strain on reservists and National Guard members, and their families, because of longer-than-expected deployments. The 94th Military Police Company, which has a detachment based in her state, has been deployed more than half of the past four years, she said.
To a large extent, these senators' views mirrored what other lawmakers heard during Congress's spring recess -- one week for the Senate, two for the House. They held hundreds of town-hall-style meetings that were often dominated by concerns over Iraq. This, in itself, was unusual because such sessions are usually devoted to domestic concerns, such as the economy and health care.
The sentiments expressed by lawmakers appeared to signal the likelihood of increased pressure from Congress for a more definitive statement of strategy from the administration, including steps for an orderly transfer of power.
At home during the recess, lawmakers found that constituents are not ready to "cut and run" from Iraq, despite uncertainty about what lies ahead. Nor do many people disagree with Bush's broad objectives for promoting democracy in the country. But they are beginning to lose patience because they do not understand where U.S. policy is headed and when U.S. troops can expect to come home, Republicans and Democrats said.
"As long as people can see a reasonable [prospect] of Iraq as a functioning democracy, they will continue to support the sacrifice. But the lack of a well-defined plan for how to get there is getting to be more of a problem," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.).
"People inherently want to support the commander in chief, but they also want assurance that America's purposes are being achieved and that the troops are coming home," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).
"It's the idea of a commitment without an end or a strategy that is troubling," said Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).
Some Democrats said they encountered a more impatient and disapproving response from their constituents.
"People would like to know there is a strategy that will bring Americans home, but the situation appears to be going in the opposite direction," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.).
People express "dismay mixed with some puzzlement about how we got into this . . . varying degrees of anger and blame and widespread dismay," said Rep. David E. Price (D-N.C.).
Durbin said he believes Bush is being hurt politically, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) sees a "drip, drip, drip" effect that is gradually eroding support for the president. But Price said the "political fallout is not clear" and "it's not clear how much Bush is being held responsible."
Others, especially Republicans, said support for Bush remains strong -- an assessment that dovetails a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that the president has gained strength politically despite widespread doubts over the success of his policies on Iraq.
Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, was struck by how his constituents have been "mesmerized" by Iraq. "Some are very supportive of the president, some are extremely skeptical, but they are all thoughtful," he said.
"All the talk about grittiness is not setting well with much of the public," Leach said. "People want a strategy for withdrawal, not a strategy for long-term commitments."
The latest concerns were triggered by a number of factors, including the increased violence, the desertion of some Iraqi security forces and disarray on the Iraqi Governing Council, said Rep. Thomas E. Petri (R-Wis.). "People are asking: Where are the democrats? Where is the democracy?" he said.
By contrast, lawmakers found a mixed reaction to testimony taken while they were home by the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.
"People seem to see it as a partisan contest," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). But Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) found people to be deeply concerned about the adequacy of U.S. intelligence.
People tend to see the government's lack of preparation as resulting from "multiple failings," Bayh said. "It's hard to assign blame to any one person," he said. "People want to focus on keeping it from happening again."
Staff writer Josh White contributed to this report.

? 2004 The Washington Post Company


Pentagon official: Iraq work to cost more than expected
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Increased violence in Iraq is pushing the cost of the war over budget, possibly by as much as $4 billion by late summer, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday. And billions more will be needed for the rest of the year.

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers testifies Tuesday before a Senate panel.
Richard Myers, Getty
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the recent decision to extend the stay of some 20,000 troops will cost roughly $700 million more over three months. The White House is keeping open the possibility it will seek additional funds before the end of this election year.
"When the service chiefs last talked about this, there was, I think, a $4 billion shortfall," Myers told the House Armed Services Committee. "We thought we could get through all of August. We'd have to figure out how to do September."
The war is costing an estimated $4.7 billion a month, officials said. Defense officials are studying their current budget, which runs through Sept. 30, to determine whether some money can be moved from purchase programs or other Pentagon accounts, Myers said.
Lawmakers expect to have a defense bill in place by the time the new budget year begins Oct. 1. But the version President Bush proposed had no money for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, legislators say the Pentagon could use money from that bill until extra money for the war is provided.
White House officials have already said they would propose a separate bill after this fall's elections -- costing up to $50 billion -- to pay for the two wars.
But Wednesday, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said the final decision on what was needed -- and when -- would be "based on what the commanders in the field feel is necessary." McClellan said Pentagon officials have assured the White House they have the money they need.
On a day when nearly 70 people were killed by suicide bombers in Iraq's southern city of Basra, Myers and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz testified for a second day on Capitol Hill. American troops this month have endured the worst casualties of the year-old campaign, with 100 killed.
At the hearings this week, lawmakers also have asked what the Pentagon would do if more troops are needed; Myers said the military is working up a plan for who could go. Lawmakers hoped more foreign troops might come to Iraq, but Wolfowitz said not many would while the violence continues.
Some lawmakers complained the Bush administration consistently has denied them information about Iraq over past 18 months.
Because of increased costs, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he plans to add $20 billion for the current budget year to the 2005 defense bill now being considered.
Several lawmakers complained anew that the administration's 2005 budget request for the Defense Department was sent to them with no money in it for Afghanistan or Iraq.
Administration officials have acknowledged they will need $50 billion for those wars. But the officials said they would not ask for it until after January -- and after the presidential election in November.
"The administration would be well served here to come forward now, be honest about this, because the continuity and the confidence in this policy is going to be required to sustain it," Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said in a television interview. "And that means be honest with the Congress, be honest with the American people."
"They are simply trying to conceal the cost of this operation until after the election," said Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
Republican lawmakers planned to meet on Thursday with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Capitol for an update on developments in Iraq.
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

U.S. sees Syria 'facilitating' insurgents

By Rowan Scarborough
Syria is "facilitating" the movement of foreign fighters into Iraq and helping supply them with arms, according to U.S. military officials with access to intelligence reports.
The sources said the reporting has not been clear on whether hard-line Syrian President Bashar Assad is involved directly in ordering the aid. But they say he has much to lose if Iraq becomes a pro-U.S. democratic country.
Foreign fighters from Syria have become a major stumbling block to stabilizing Iraq and turning over sovereignty by June 30.
The bloody fighting in Fallujah, for example, is inspired, in part, by well-armed foreign jihadists who crossed the Syrian border and have committed some of the most gruesome attacks against Americans and their allies.
Officials said Syrian help includes facilitating their border crossing, arming them and allowing them to return for fresh supplies.
Asked how conclusive U.S. intelligence is on Syrian aid, one official said, "No doubt about it."
It is not clear, however, whether Damascus is actively organizing the influx. Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, has urged his followers to travel to Iraq to kill Westerners.
Publicly, the Bush administration has stopped short of accusing Mr. Assad's socialist Ba'ath Party regime of facilitating the terrorists' migration. But it has accused Syria of inaction in stopping the flow of foreigners along its 600-mile border with Iraq.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell last week sent a strong message to Mr. Assad through the U.S. ambassador in Damascus.
"It urged Syria to work closely with the rest of the international community to promote a stable Iraq," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. "It also made clear to Syria that it needs to control the transit of its border by terrorists and people supporting the insurgents in Iraq.
"It is a message that we have delivered to Syria in the past. What prompted it now, I think, is that it's an ongoing problem. It's something that we feel needs to be reiterated until it's taken care of, and it's not taken care of yet."
Mr. Powell said last week, "Our message to President Assad is that it is in our mutual interest to deal with this problem. It is not in Syria's interest to be seen as a base from which infiltrators can come across -- come across to kill innocent Iraqis or to kill coalition troops."
Mr. Powell faces a decision soon on whether the administration will slap economic sanctions on Syria. Congress gave the White House that power last fall in legislation that condemns Syria's support for terror organizations and its occupation of Lebanon.
For nearly 25 years, the United States has labeled Syria a state sponsor of terrorism. Syria gives help to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, a Shi'ite terror group set up and sustained by Iran, which also is accused of sending agents into southern Iraq to help radical cleric Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr.
Officials said Syrian agents are aiding the Iraqi insurgency because it is not in Damascus' interest to have a pro-U.S. country on its border. Mr. Assad fears that a free Iraq could spur a wave of democracy in his country, jeopardizing his rigid socialist rule, officials say.
Mr. Assad also realizes that Washington is limited in how it can react. The U.S. military is overcommitted globally. It would be politically difficult for President Bush to launch military strikes, thus opening up yet another front in the war on terrorism.
"The Syrians know America can bark a lot, but what else can we do?" said one military source.
The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force last month took over control of western Iraq from the 82nd Airborne Division. The Marines promptly committed more troops to the border area and have engaged in a series of deadly firefights in the border town of al Qaim and at other points.
The United States has also sent military personnel into Syria on reconnaissance missions.
"To stop the source, the Marines did put a very intense effort, and it still continues up there," said Maj. Gen. John Sattler, chief of operations for U.S. Central Command. "We had an extreme amount of success on the front side, meaning that we did find, fix and ultimately finish a number of cells that were out there, that were facilitating this type movement."
The State Department's yearly report on global terrorism states, "Syrian and Iranian support for Hezbollah activities in the south [Lebanon], as well as training and assistance to Palestinian rejectionist groups in Lebanon, help permit terrorist elements to flourish."

General: Much of Iraq's Forces Have Quit

Associated Press Writer
Bush says coalition forces have been facing a ruthless enemy in Iraq. (Audio)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- About one in every 10 members of Iraq's security forces "actually worked against" U.S. troops during the recent militia violence in Iraq, and an additional 40 percent walked off the job because of intimidation, the commander of the 1st Armored Division said Wednesday.
In an interview beamed by satellite from Baghdad to news executives attending The Associated Press annual meeting, Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey said the campaign in Iraq was at a critical point.
"We have to get this latest increase in violence under control," Dempsey said. "We have to take a look at the Iraqi security forces and learn why they walked."
The militia violence aggravated underlying troubles in Iraq's new military and police forces - the unfulfilled desire for "some Iraqi hierarchy in which to place their trust and confidence" and a reluctance by Iraqis to take up arms against their countrymen, Dempsey said.
"It's very difficult at times to convince them that Iraqis are killing fellow Iraqis and fellow Muslims, because it's something they shouldn't have to accept," he said. "Over time I think they will probably have to accept it."
The failure of Iraqi security forces to perform is significant because it could hurt the United States' overall exit strategy from Iraq, which is dependent on moving U.S. troops out of the cities and handing authority to Iraqis. Officials have said the U.S. military would delay its withdrawal from parts of Iraq until Iraqi forces were ready to take control.
In one example of the problems, on April 5, a newly created Iraqi army battalion of several hundred soldiers refused to join U.S. Marines in their offensive against insurgents in the city of Fallujah.
Dempsey maintained in the interview that popular support for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq is still "very solid."
But he acknowledged "a form of descending consent" for the U.S. military presence occurring among Iraqis as time passes.
"There is a point where it doesn't matter how well we're doing, it won't be accepted that we have a large military presence here," he said. "We're all working very diligently trying to figure out where that point is."
Dempsey was asked about the remarks of two other U.S. commanders who questioned the wisdom of banning former Baath Party members from government jobs when their skills are needed in the reconstruction effort.
"History is going to have to decide whether that was right or not," he said.
Dempsey recalled receiving a warning from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah that the coalition forces would find it tough to bring order to Iraq after dissolving the country's only two powerful institutions - the army and the Baath Party.
"So part of me says our jobs may have been easier had we just found a way to keep some of the Baath Party in place," Dempsey said, echoing comments by Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste and Brig. Gen. Carter F. Ham published in The New York Times on Wednesday.
But Dempsey added: "On the other hand, the entire part of the population that was disenfranchised during these 35 years, largely the Shiite population, absolutely has no trust in any former member of the Baath Party. So we found ourselves exactly in the middle of this."
On the security forces, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said he is sending Maj. Gen. David Petraeus back to Iraq to oversee the training and equipping of all Iraqi security forces, including those who had been the responsibility of the State Department or the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Dempsey said efforts are under way to ensure Iraqi security forces that there will be Iraqi authorities in place to back them up after U.S. troops leave.
During the recent militia attacks, "about 50 percent of the security forces that we've built over the past year stood tall and stood firm," he said.
"About 40 percent walked off the job because they were intimidated. And about 10 percent actually worked against us," said Dempsey, describing that group as infiltrators.
Dempsey commands the Army division in charge of Baghdad. He has been in Iraq for more than a year, focusing on intelligence gathering and combatting terrorism as he works to help Iraqi security forces take over those tasks.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.


U.S.-Saudi Relations Show Signs of Stress
Reformers Labeled 'Agents of America'

By David B. Ottaway
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2004; Page A16

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general here, waited outside a restaurant for evening prayers to end so she could enter. Suddenly, a Saudi religious policeman barred her way, pointing out that she was not wearing an abaya, the black cloak required of Saudi women in public.
She was a U.S. diplomat, she told him. He spit in his hand and rubbed it on the sole of his shoe. "This is what I think of your diplomatic status," he said, Abercrombie-Winstanley recounted in a recent interview.
Abercrombie-Winstanley, 46, an ebullient career diplomat, was undeterred. She began meeting with Saudi reformers who were impressed by stories of last year's encounter, which gave her a taste of the realities they face.
Last month, it was the Saudi government that tried to block Abercrombie-Winstanley's path, warning the reformers in Jiddah to stop meeting with her and other U.S. diplomats. On March 22, the Saudi interior minister, Prince Nayef, delivered blunt words at a meeting of about a dozen reform leaders, according to two Saudi reformers who were there.
Disparaging the reformers as "agents of America," Nayef said: "The government is not weak and the United States will not protect you," according to one of them, who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name because he feared arrest.
Nayef's warning was one of the latest signs of friction between the two countries. The relationship has grown more tense since the Bush administration began in late 2002 to push for political, social and economic change in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement last month, Nayef confirmed that about a dozen reformers had been arrested on the eve of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's visit on March 19 in part because of their contacts with "foreigners," though he did not specifically mention Abercrombie-Winstanley or the United States. The Saudis also justified the arrests by citing the reformers' calls for a constitutional monarchy and an independent human rights commission.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington and the identification of 15 of the 19 hijackers as Saudis, testimony at congressional hearings has portrayed the kingdom as a center of terrorist financing and an extremist strain of Islam.
Tough new visa restrictions have also ended easy access for the thousands of Saudis who enter the United States every year. No new major U.S. military weapons deals have been announced. A plan for U.S. companies to play a major role in developing the country's energy sector has collapsed. The two governments are at odds over oil prices, Israel and the Palestinians, and Iraq, whose instability is a major concern here.
Officially, Saudi and U.S. spokesmen insist that all is well with the relationship. Both sides point to their increasingly close cooperation in the struggle against Islamic terrorists -- the CIA and FBI now provide raw intelligence to Saudi security authorities.
"The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is not based on personalities. It's based on interests," said Adel Jubeir, foreign affairs adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah, the kingdom's de facto ruler. "I don't think it's ever been as strong as it is now."
Powell, at a news conference in Riyadh last month after his meeting with the crown prince, also repeatedly described ties as "quite strong."
Yet in a rare discordant note, Powell and his counterpart, Prince Saud Faisal, publicly aired U.S.-Saudi differences over the arrests of the reformers.
"We have concerns when people who are trying to express their views and do it in an open way, and a democratic way, are unable to do so," Powell said.
Saud retorted: "These people sought dissension when the whole country was looking for unity and a clear vision, especially at a time when it is facing a terrorist threat. This is not the time to seek dissension."
A more ominous development was the failure of U.S. firms to win Saudi contracts in early March, the first time in 30 years that foreign companies were allowed back into the kingdom to explore for new gas deposits. Saudi Aramco, the largest state oil company in the world, signed deals with Russian, Chinese and European firms.
The Saudis initially intended to give Exxon Mobil Corp., the U.S. oil giant, the leading role in the deal, viewing the move as part of a larger strategy to revitalize the entire U.S.-Saudi relationship. But nearly five years of negotiations unraveled in June for reasons still being hotly debated -- the post-Sept. 11 chill, U.S. policy in the Middle East and squabbles over profit margins.
"I think this carries political implications as well as commercial implications for the United States," said Robert Ebel, energy program chairman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based in Washington.
These implications have become clear as U.S. gasoline prices have increased. Saudi Arabia was blamed for the higher costs, and the topic quickly became an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.
No issue currently rankles the Saudi royal family more than the Bush administration's talk of promoting political reform. President Bush's latest plan, the Greater Middle East Initiative, is scheduled to be formally unveiled in June at the summit of the Group of Eight leading industrial powers in Sea Island, Ga.
"For 30 years, the U.S. worked to buttress the status quo in Saudi Arabia," Saleh Mani, a political scientist at King Saud University in Riyadh, said at a conference at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University in late January. "Now it wants regime change. It's not the status quo policy it used to be."
During a visit to neighboring Yemen in late March, Prince Saud, the foreign minister, said that U.S. "ideas and proposals" amounted to "flagrant accusations against the Arab countries and people."
"These initiatives look good from outside, but they are malicious in essence . . . as if we are waiting to receive direction from abroad to look into issues concerning our citizens."
U.S. administrations have for decades worried that the Saudi royal family would not institute reforms fast enough to stay in power and fend off Islamic extremists and Arab radicals. The former U.S. ambassador to the kingdom, Robert Jordan, who left Riyadh last fall, expressed the concern that has haunted every U.S. administration since the 1960s. "They are making progress," he said in a telephone interview last month. "The question is: What is the pace going to be?"
Last October, the Saudi government announced plans to elect half of the seats on municipal councils. Since then, it has allowed the creation of a human rights commission and an association of journalists. And it is making changes in its religiously oriented school curriculum.
But it has not announced a date for the voting, and it has rebuffed reformers' demands to elect one-third of the 120-member consultative Shura Council. The Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan, recently said that the royal family wanted to "select people who are efficient, educated and cultured" for the council, and not "people without proper qualifications."
Nayef made similar comments to the reformers last month. "The country is not ready for elections because the people will either elect tribal leaders or those who can neither read nor write," according to the account of one participant.
The restaurant encounter involving Abercrombie-Winstanley never appeared in the government-controlled press but quickly became the talk of Jiddah. She might never have met Mohamed Saeed Tayeb were it not for the religious keepers of Saudi public morality, known as mutaween.
Tayeb, an Arab nationalist, has been agitating for political reforms for years, which has frequently landed him in jail.
Despite his well-known anti-Americanism, Tayeb was so appalled when he heard about the consul general's misadventure at the restaurant in Riyadh in February 2003 that he apologized to her for the mutawa's behavior.
In December, Tayeb invited Abercrombie-Winstanley to his regular Tuesday night political salon, where as many as 70 Saudi intellectuals, academics, writers and businessmen of a reformist bent gathered to quiz her.
"There are lots of questions from Saudis" about U.S. support for reform, Abercrombie-Winstanley said. "Can we be trusted? What is it we want to do? I always with great sincerity say: 'It isn't for us to say what we want to do. . . . While we intend to be as supportive as possible, we can't just tell you how to do it. It's got to be appropriate for Saudi Arabia.' "
The king's son, Abdelaziz bin Fahd, showed up half an hour after she had left to defend the kingdom's record on reform. Abercrombie-Winstanley later heard that he said it was "inappropriate" for an American diplomat to attend Tayeb's political meetings.
On March 16, three days before Powell's visit, Tayeb was arrested and held for two weeks.

? 2004 The Washington Post Company

U.S. Goals for Middle East Falter
Peace Plan, Arab Reforms Prove Elusive

By Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 21, 2004; Page A16
A year ago, the Bush administration had a grand strategy for the Middle East, betting real progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and removal of Iraq's Saddam Hussein would allow the United States to launch a bold initiative for democratic reform across the region.
Today, Washington faces growing Arab backlash for endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral plan for Gaza and the West Bank, symbolized by the abrupt cancellation by Jordan's King Abdullah of a meeting with President Bush today. The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq is still searching for a formula to create a government to assume sovereignty on June 30, with other countries also reviewing their troop commitments. And prospects for the democracy initiative to get support from an Arab League summit are rapidly dimming, with fears that Arab resolutions may instead criticize Washington, U.S. officials say.
In all three areas, Washington is looking for direction, bailouts or leadership from others -- the United Nations, Iraqis, Israelis, Arabs and Europeans -- to generate movement that U.S. officials have been unable to achieve since the hopes were unleashed last spring.
"Our interests in the Middle East are more vital, more complex and larger than ever before, but our political capital has never been lower," said Walter Russell Mead, a Council on Foreign Relations fellow just back from the region.
Bitterness in the 22-nation Arab bloc has deepened particularly over the past month, Arab leaders warn, with Iraq deteriorating and Sharon's visit followed by Israel's "targeted killing" of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.
"After what has happened in Iraq, there is unprecedented hatred and the Americans know it," said President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, a stalwart U.S. ally, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde published yesterday. "There exists today a hatred never equaled in the region."
"What's more -- they see Sharon act as he wants, without the Americans saying anything," Mubarak added.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell insisted yesterday that U.S. commitments on Iraq, a Palestinian state and democracy in the Middle East are unwavering -- and will eventually produce results.
"People will see over time that the United States is committed to the welfare, benefit and the hopes and dreams and aspirations of the Arab nations, and especially the hopes and dreams and aspirations of the Palestinian people," Powell told reporters in an appearance with Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher.
"I hope, as people understand that and see progress in all of these areas, the difficulties we're having with Arab opinion toward the United States will change," Powell added.
In a bid to shore up allied support on Iraq, Powell said yesterday that he had talked to the foreign ministers or leaders of almost every country in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq within the previous 24 hours. "I'm getting solid support for our efforts, commitments to remain and finish the job that they came to do," he told reporters after a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
At the same time, the Bush administration is relying on the United Nations to complete a new plan to create a provisional Iraqi government next month, after two of its own proposals were rejected by Iraqis. Washington hopes U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will return to Baghdad around May 1 to begin a final round of negotiations that will result in the appointment of a new president, prime minister and two vice presidents by mid-May, U.S. officials say.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage is today wrapping up a tour of Gulf states to win support for the U.N. plan and seek Arab help to win over Iraq's Sunni Muslims, the main political holdouts and security challenge.
On the Israeli-Palestinian front, U.S. officials appeared to be rolling back from Bush's agreement last week that Israel could keep some West Bank settlements and that Palestinian refugees from 1948 should not expect to return to Israel.
Powell told reporters yesterday that Bush's position on the Middle East peace process "is unchanged," and that he "is committed to the proposition that all final settlement issues have to be resolved between the two parties."
But the reality, foreign policy experts and diplomats say, is that the administration has largely subcontracted its Arab-Palestinian policy to Sharon to break the deadlock on the "road map" for peace launched at two major summits attended by Bush in June.
"A year ago, you had the Sharm el-Sheik and Aqaba summits and a new Palestinian prime minister, and frankly a lot of hope existed at the time," said Nabil Fahmi, Egypt's ambassador to the United States. "But in terms of the peace process, we've moved backwards."
On the Greater Middle East Democracy Initiative, the Bush administration still plans on rolling out an ambitious plan for political and economic liberalization at three summits with European and NATO allies in June -- and making the Arab world part of the dialogue, U.S. officials say. "We are anxious to work with the Arab nations on their ideas for reform within the region," Powell told reporters after his meeting with Muasher.
But the United States is counting on approval from European allies to get that initiative off the ground because suspicion of U.S. motives is so deep among Arabs. They recently postponed the annual Arab League summit in part because of a split over two resolutions -- one endorsing regional reform and the other renewing a peace overture to Israel.
The summit is tentatively rescheduled for late May, which U.S. officials admit may be too late -- and dangerous in light of recent events.
"The big question is what will come out of it. We are hoping they will focus on issues important to us in a positive way, but there are also a lot of negatives that could come out of it," said a State Department official involved in Middle East policy.
On all three key planks of U.S. policy, momentum that was sparked by bold U.S. initiatives is now running against the United States, said Geoffrey Kemp, a Reagan administration National Security Council staffer and now a Nixon Center fellow.
"Whether you're talking about the situation in Iraq or the unilateral agreement with Sharon or the wildly mishandled democracy initiative, it's very hard to pick up a head of steam once you lose credibility in your overall stated goals," he said.
To regroup, Kemp added, the administration will need to "go back to the drawing board" on the tactics of stabilizing Iraq, promoting the logic of democracy in the region and promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

? 2004 The Washington Post Company

Bush Would Not Tolerate Iranian Nuclear Weapon
Washington, 21 April 2004 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush says the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran would be "intolerable."
Bush told American newspaper executives in Washington today that any effort by Tehran just trying to produce a nuclear weapon would be dealt with, first by the United Nations.
"One of my jobs is to make sure they [the International Atomic Energy Agency and European leaders] speak as plainly as possible to the Iranians and make it absolutely clear that the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran is intolerable and a program is intolerable; otherwise, they will be dealt with, starting through the United Nations," he said.
The president said Iran's stated objective is the destruction of the state of Israel. Iran has denied charges that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons, saying its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.
Meanwhile, in Paris, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said today that instability in Iraq is a threat to Iran's security.
Kharrazi also said Iran wants to help make the upcoming transfer of power in neighboring Iraq succeed. He is to have talks later today with UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who favors dissolving the U.S.-backed Governing Council and setting up a caretaker government.
Kharrazi made the remarks after talks with French President Jacques Chirac. Brahimi is in Europe this week to outline his proposal for transferring power in Iraq on 30 June from U.S. occupation authorities to a caretaker Iraqi government. Chirac will meet with Brahimi on Saturday in Paris.

Iranian government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh said on 20 April that the "principal aim of the cabinet reshuffle is to give it cohesion and create greater coordination in the government's economic team," IRNA reported the same day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 April 2004). "The government is considering these changes to attain its economic aims in the remaining year and a half of activity." The Economic Affairs and Finance Ministry, he said, has faced problems over "the provision of basic laws on how to collect revenues and allocate resources," whence the nomination of a new candidate, Safdar Husseini, currently labor and social affairs minister. Ramezanzadeh described Husseini as "educated in economics" and with "a successful record of executive experience" in various state bodies. The head of the Management and Planning Organization will not change, he said. "The cabinet reshuffle may be considered as over." Parliament must approve the president's nominees. VS

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi met with his Belgian counterpart Louis Michel on 20 April and called on Europe to recognize Iran's right to develop nuclear power, reported the same day. "Iran has had a sincere and fully transparent cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and Europe, and expects the opposite parties to recognize and respect Iran's rights." The agency cited Michel as saying that Brussels "will cooperate with Iran at the next session of the [IAEA] board of governors." Iran has promised to allow UN inspectors to check its nuclear activities, which the United States and Israel fear might be used to make nuclear bombs. Iran insists its program is peaceful. Kharrazi was expected to visit France on 21 April for talks with the French president and foreign minister, reported, citing AFP. The agency cited a French official as saying that "Paris will this week ask Tehran to increase its cooperation with the IAEA. That is the best response to America's growing criticisms." VS

Parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karrubi on 20 April expressed Iran's opposition to stated U.S. plans to democratize the Middle East and said it must leave Iraq, IRNA reported. The "current American government" has shown its hostility to the Islamic world, he said, adding that "any of its plans are against the interests of regional peoples and governments, and we have explicitly declared our opposition to these plans." Karrubi warned U.S. forces not to enter the "sensitive, important, and sacred" Iraqi city of Al-Najaf in pursuit of Shi'a insurgents. "The occupiers have been warned to be careful lest there is a crisis in this and other holy cities in Iraq. Any unfortunate consequences of [entering the cities] will concern the American occupiers, who have complicated matters with their aggression." Karrubi is currently visiting Syria, a strategic ally since the 1979 revolution in Iran. He repeated Iran's backing for Palestinians fighting Israel. "Tehran's clear and transparent policy is the formation of an independent Palestinian state and the return of refugees to their real homeland." VS

Moseley: Warplanes perform sharpshooter roles

By John Solomon
Associated Press
U.S. warplanes are running about 150 flights a day inside Iraq to conduct combat operations, provide air support to ground troops and gather intelligence to help crush pockets of resistance by extremists, a top Air Force general says.
Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the vice chief of staff for the Air Force, cited the nontraditional, post-combat flights as one example of how the military has adapted its tactics in the Iraq and Afghan wars to create a flexibility that will be key for future conflicts.
For instance, the Pentagon has experimented with unmanned airplanes armed with conventional weapons previously reserved for piloted aircraft, such as traditional bombs or air-to-air missiles capable of shooting down enemy planes, he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
With little public attention, Air Force planes also have been used in anti-terror operations from the Horn of Africa to Yemen since the Sept. 11 attacks, the four-star general said Tuesday.
"It is not like classic conduct of warfare," Moseley said. "It's a lot like a sharpshooter sitting on a piece of high ground ... and picking off people or a group of people singularly."
Moseley said groundwork for the new military tactics began to take shape during the mid-1990s combat in the Balkans and came to fruition as the Pentagon mapped plans to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.
He said the key to success is vastly improved coordination and communications between Marines, soldiers and special operations trops on the ground and the Navy and Air Force's warplanes, which can be called in for precise strikes within seconds if a valuable target -- such as fleeing terrorists or enemy commanders -- is identified.
Many times, he said, special operations soldiers on the ground "acted as sensors for us" to detect high-value targets in remote Afghan and Iraqi areas and called in precision strikes.
"A perfect example is our airmen with the special ops on horseback with a laptop and satellite connectivity to the CAOC (Command Air and Operations Center) so that you close in in real time at the speed of the light," he said.
Last week alone, Air Force planes flew more than 750 sorties as Iraqi rebels stepped up resistance during a month in which they have killed more than 100 soldiers and threw in doubt the planned transition of power from the United States to Iraqis this June.
Moseley said that during recent intense fighting between Marines and Iraqi rebels in Fallujah, Air Force F-16s and F-15s and Navy F-14 fighters interchangeably delivered strikes.
"Who would have thought three or four years ago that we would be at this level of jointness, where the battlefield airman is hooked with the land element on the ground and no one even knows the difference between whether it is Navy, Marine or Air Force airplanes that are delivering the effect," he said.
However, Moseley said, the evolving strategy was not without growing pains, citing Operation Anaconda in March 2002, when U.S. forces lost several soldiers and a helicopter during attacks on al-Qaida hideouts in the Shah-i-Kot mountains of eastern Afghanistan.
"We learned some interesting lessons there about orchestration and inclusion in planning that reinforce the notion that it is always better to be inclusive in your planning, and it is always better to have a full joint multidimensional plan," he said.
Moseley also said:

* Two-thousand-pound precision-guided bombs used in Iraq proved accurate enough to hit targets within the range of their 12-foot length.

* The Air Force has tested dropping 80 smaller 500-pound guided bombs in a single pass, with each bomb hitting within 4 feet of its intended target.

* At least 75 percent of current Air Force personnel are now combat-experienced, the highest level since World War II.

Moseley predicted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) -- which before 2001 were used only for intelligence gathering -- will play an increasing role in warfare, allowing military commanders to put flights up for periods of time beyond human endurance and to conduct surveillance with the ability to fire missiles.
CIA and military officials have confirmed they have used an armed Predator to fire air-to-ground missiles and kill al-Qaida figures.
Moseley said the Air Force retrofitted one of its Predators to fire an air-to-air missile that could be used against enemy aircraft, and that it fired once at an Iraqi aircraft shortly before the war last year, startling the enemy pilot.
Moseley said the Pentagon is also retrofitting and testing the next generation of an unmanned aircraft known as the X-45 UCAV to carry small, conventional bombs.
"I love UAVs," he said. "It is the equivalent of a low-altitude satellite. It just parks itself out there except that you can task it in a different way than a satellite."
He cautioned, however, that unmanned aircraft probably won't save the Pentagon from having to send humans into dangerous combat.
"There is the human limit. If you want to keep it up there for 30, 40 or 50 hours, then take the human out of it. The other reason you might want to be uninhabited is that you think the threat is such that you don't want to lose the pilot," he said. "That one I'm not as convinced because we have never found a threat array that we couldn't penetrate."

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Marines in Afghanistan welcome arrival of big guns

By Christian Lowe
Times staff writer
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- The big guns have arrived.
The Marines looked like expectant fathers as they watched an M198 155 mm howitzer roll off the ramp of a KC-130 Hercules aircraft and onto a dusty runway here.
"It's like delivering a baby," said a Marine walking by, clutching an instant camera to commemorate an event that perhaps only Marines would find so special.
The arrival of the howitzers, their huge barrels slathered in grease to stave off rust from the salty sea air, symbolized the Marines' entry into this warring country. More than 400 miles inland from their ships, the leathernecks of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are glad to have the big guns ashore.
Officials here say the 155s are the biggest guns in the Afghan theater, an obvious point of pride to these Marines, who arrived nearly three weeks ago. The artillerymen, and even some of the infantrymen, are quick to mention that they are the stewards of the fiercest indirect firepower this side of the Hindu Kush mountain range.
The two guns delivered here from the ships of the Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group, sailing in the northern Indian Ocean, will be deployed to the MEU's forward operating base near Kandahar. With a range of more than 18 miles, the guns will provide long-range security for the base and for grunts humping through the steep hills and remote villages that pepper their new domain.
Most of the artillerymen with Golf Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, have been split into provisional rifle platoons, since most of their guns are still aboard ship. A 14-man team will man the guns at the base, while the rest of the battery will provide security for vehicle convoys during the MEU's three-month deployment here. The stint in Afghanistan comes during the 22nd MEU's regularly scheduled six-month deployment from Camp Lejeune, N.C.
As the artillerymen struggled to lift the howitzer's muzzle break and thread it onto the end of the barrel, Gunnery Sgt. William Frye of Richmond, Va., explained that as soon as they get to the forward base, his men are going to send some rounds down range.
"That way we can, you know, let everyone up there know we're here," the battery gunny said with a grin.
Clearly, subtle diplomacy isn't an artillery Marine's strong suit.
Christian Lowe is covering U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.


>> AHEM 2...

Iraq's doomed disarmament deal
By Ron Synovitz

Even as US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that the chances for a political settlement of the armed standoff in the Iraqi city of Fallujah were "remote" because insurgency leaders probably won't surrender, fresh clashes erupted there on Wednesday.
And in Basra in the south, suicide bombers killed at least 60 people and wounded hundreds, many of them children, in coordinated attacks on four police stations. Near-simultaneous explosions rocked three police stations in Basra and one in the town of Zubair, 25 kilometers south of the mainly Shi'ite city, the British military confirmed.
In the Sunni city of Fallujah, residents said that Marines and guerrillas traded mortar, machinegun and rocket-propelled grenade fire in clashes that broke out early Wednesday morning and were still raging in the city's Golan district hours later.
US and Iraqi representatives had agreed on a preliminary plan for a full ceasefire in the embattled town. After three days of indirect talks, US military officials agreed that they would call off offensive operations at the town provided that local leaders could persuade insurgents to hand over their heavy weapons to Iraqi police.
The accord tasks a seven-man leadership council in Fallujah with convincing the fighters in the town to participate. The chief spokesman in Iraq for the US-led coalition, Dan Senor, described the disarmament obligations of the fighters in Fallujah.
"The parties agreed to call on citizens and groups to immediately turn in all illegal weapons. Illegal weapons are defined as mortars, [RPGs - rocket propelled grenade launchers], machine-guns, sniper rifles, [improvised explosive device-]making materials, grenades, and surface-to-air missiles and all associated ammunition. Those who give up their weapons voluntarily will not be prosecuted for weapons violations," Senor said.
In return, Senor said, up to 50 Iraqi families will be allowed to return to Fallujah each day. Also, sick or injured Iraqis will have a chance to receive treatment at hospitals in Fallujah. But Senor stressed that any delays on disarmament by the insurgents will cause the deal to collapse. "We've been very clear that time is running out. There is only so much longer we can continue this process before we have to re-engage and reinitiate operations," Senor said.
Senor says that the coalition also wants to see Iraqi investigations launched as soon as possible into criminal acts committed in Fallujah in recent weeks - including the killing and mutilation of four US contractors on March 31 and an attack on an Iraqi police station in February.
The deputy commander of coalition military operations in Iraq, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, also has warned that US Marines will resume military operations if the insurgents fail to meet the disarmament obligations of the agreement.
However, as with a series of earlier, unofficial ceasefires announced in the Sunni stronghold since the US launched a major assault there two weeks ago, some fighters continued to attack US positions.
Reports say some of the thousands of civilians who fled fighting in Fallujah earlier this month were starting to trickle back. But although a few displaced civilians were allowed to walk back to the town, Marine checkpoints were still turning away vehicles.
More than 600 Iraqis - including many women, children and elderly people - have been reported killed in the fighting. But the US military says it is impossible to verify the figure.
Nearly 100 US soldiers have died in combat in Iraq since the start of April.
Meanwhile, Iraqi police who are to collect weaponry in Fallujah have confirmed that they are preparing to re-enter the town. At a US military base near Fallujah, a Reuters correspondent spoke to an unnamed Iraqi police commander who was training his officers for the mission:
"The police are going to enter the city [of Fallujah] and efforts are under way to facilitate the return of families. I think that two families have already been allowed into the city. Negotiations are going on to facilitate the return of families and there are no problems," the police commander said.
Some experts are questioning whether the fighters in Fallujah will be willing to surrender their weapons. Ian Kemp, the editor of the London-based publication Jane's Defense Weekly, told RFE/RL that the disarmament effort is unlikely to succeed.
"It seems highly unlikely that the militant groups are actually going to turn over their weapons. There's been no incentive for the militant groups to actually come forward and disarm. So it seems the repeated threat of military action is not going to compel these groups to disarm," Kemp said.
Even if some fighters participate, Kemp says it will be difficult for the US-led coalition to confirm how many weapons remain. "One of the difficulties for the coalition is [that] they have no idea how extensive the holding of weapons are. During the Saddam [Hussein] regime, small arms in particular - and that includes such things as rocket-propelled grenades - were very widely distributed," Kemp said. "And, of course, it is these rocket-propelled grenades [and] artillery ammunition being used to create improvised explosive devices that really concern the coalition. So long as that weaponry is widely distributed or hidden, it is always going to pose a risk to the security forces [whether they are Americans or Iraqi police.]"
Kemp said that any kind of local ceasefire deal in Iraq would seem to be at odds with the overall US strategy of "defeating and disarming" militants. But he acknowledged that the Fallujah deal would be in line with that strategy as long as fighters actually handed in their weapons.
Kemp also says intelligence sources suggest most of the anti-coalition fighters are former members of Saddam's military rather than foreign terrorists.
"It is worth noting that the intelligence services of some of the coalition forces believe there are foreign fighters there, but that the hard core of the opposition is actually composed of former Iraqi service personnel who have received their training from the Iraqi army. They might have been in other elements of the security forces at the time that Saddam was overthrown. But really, these former Iraqi security service personnel actually constitute the hard core of the resistance movement. And the sort of weapons that they are using, the sort of tactics they are using, would be consistent with that sort of military training," Kemp said.
Hachem Hassani, a Sunni Muslim politician who represented the Iraqi Governing Council in the Fallujah negotiations, says he agrees with Kemp's assessment. Hassani, who has traveled to the town every day during the past week, says most of the people attacking US Marine positions are residents of Fallujah, rather than foreign fighters. Thus, Hassani concludes, it is possible that local officials could have enough influence to calm the situation.
Ron Synovitz covers Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq as well as economic transition and human rights issues.
Copyright (c) 2004, RFE/RL Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20036


>> AHEM 3...

9-11: The big question remains unasked
By Jack A Smith
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.
The 9-11 Commission hearings in Washington these last weeks, for all the sound, fury, and front-page headlines, seem to have been constructed to produce a foreordained and narrow conclusion about only one aspect of the events of September 11 - the government's lack of preparedness to detect the attack plan before it was executed.
Entirely omitted from the probe, and from the presidential elections as well, is the other big question about September 11 - what was the real reason the attacks took place?
The omission is hardly unintentional. The commission members, evenly balanced between highly powerful Democrats and Republicans, may take partisan shots at each other during the hearings, but they are entirely agreed on leaving this crucial question unasked and unanswered.
The hearings have produced some fruitful movements, such as testimony from retired anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, based on his new book, Against All Enemies that the Bush administration was monomaniacal about invading Iraq from the day it took office. This wasn't new, but it provided important inside substantiation. Another interesting disclosure was the text of a memo to President George W Bush a month before September 11 informing him that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization was planning an attack in the US with hijacked airplanes, but this actually proves nothing.
In all probability, the hearings will conclude that the reason for the September 11 hijacking attacks in Washington and New York City by 19 members of the fundamentalist fringe of Islam was "intelligence failure" by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Reforms will ensue, civil liberties will be further abridged in the name of homeland security, and hundreds of billions of dollars more will be invested in a long "war on terrorism" ostensibly against a few underground organizations that may have a total of 1,000 committed members.
Why is the question about the reasons for the attack not asked or answered? So far, the conventional political wisdom from Washington seems to be that the cause of September 11 is that, to paraphrase, "the terrorists are uncivilized and are motivated by a hatred for democracy and an envy of the American way of life". Such nonsense conveys the inescapable suggestion that the bipartisan Democratic-Republican political power structure ruling America would prefer not to probe too deeply into this question lest it be found complicit in creating a profound and not illogical antipathy to the United States on the part of most people in the Middle East and the world.
In our view, there are four reasons in combination why a small group of fanatics were willing to commit suicide to destroy the three symbols of US power in the world - the World Trade Center (financial power), the Pentagon (military power), and the White House, which evidently was spared because the final hijacked aircraft crashed before reaching its target (political power).
The primary reason for September 11 is the product of US policy and actions in the Middle East since the end of World War II - a policy based on exercising control over the world's greatest known reserves of petroleum. This has led Washington to continuously intervene in the region to support backward feudal monarchies and repressive, undemocratic regimes at the expense of social and political progress. The three secondary reasons involve the Afghan civil war (1978-1995), the first US-Iraq war (1990-2003), and one-sided US support for Israel (mainly 1967-2004).
Until the implosion of the USSR in 1990, the US was in a frenzy to prevent the Soviets from gaining influence in the region. Since 1990, Washington has sought to secure total hegemony throughout the entire Middle East, culminating in the Bush administration's plan to "re-make" the principal countries of the region into "democracies" subordinate to White House domination, by force if necessary, beginning with Iraq.
In some cases throughout these years the White House made deals with conservative religious regimes, such as with the royal family in Saudi Arabia soon after World War II. At the time Washington extended its military and political protection to the House of Saud in Riyadh in return for guaranteed access to oil and for support in keeping the USSR out of the region. The deal, which insures the suppression of democratic elements in Saudi Arabia, remains in place to this day.
In other instances, the White House ordered the CIA to overthrow democratically elected progressive governments, such as happened in Iran in 1953 when left-leaning president Muhammad Mossadegh was dispatched. The result was a quarter-century of repressive rule by the Shah of Iran, a US puppet finally overthrown by Shi'ite fundamentalists, who established another backward religious regime. The reason that only the religious faction was in a position to seize power was that Iran's sizable secular left and democratic forces had been killed, imprisoned or exiled by the Shah, with US approval.
The CIA repeatedly intervened in Iraq from 1958, when progressive General Abdul Karim Kassem overthrew the British-installed monarchy, until 1963 when he was overthrown with US help. Many thousands of leftists and communists were killed along with Kassem. This ultimately led to rule by the secular and at the time pan-Arab Ba'ath regime. In 1979, General Saddam Hussein gained control of the Ba'athist government, purged and killed any remaining leftists, and within a year launched an unjust war against Iran that was supported by the US until ending in a stalemate in 1988.
Over 50 years of constant American intervention - whether in Iran or Iraq, Egypt or Jordan, Lebanon or Syria, Saudi Arabia or Yemen, Oman or Kuwait, or across the Red Sea in Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia - have led to a plethora of ill fortune in the region. This includes the existence of weak, reactionary regimes dependent on the US; governments in thrall to religious factions; poverty amid great wealth; the violent destruction of left and progressive forces; the stultification of social progress; the rise of extreme religious fundamentalism as a means of establishing social and political power (particularly since the secular left has been repressed in so many of these countries); Arab disunity; and a deep sense of frustration and anger against the outside forces who have created most of these conditions, whether it be old style British and French colonialism or, since 1945, US imperialism.

Three more ingredients must be added to this witch's brew to concoct September 11:

1. The Afghan civil war (1978-1995): It was during this period that extremist Islamic fundamentalism became a serious military force, in large part because the US invested billions of dollars in training and equipping such a force, as well as providing bases and financing for fundamentalist religious schools in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden played an important role in the CIA's schemes for several years.

Washington was responding to a military coup in April 1978, principally led by left forces including progressive military officers determined to enact major social and political reforms to bring Afghanistan into the 20th century. The ruling People's Democratic Party began to introduce extensive reforms and to establish close relations with the neighboring Soviet Union. This was unacceptable to Washington.
Afghanistan's warlords and fundamentalist religious forces had immediately opposed the reforms for fear they would upset traditional power relations, and also because they guaranteed the equality of women. The reformers were in Kabul only a few months before president Jimmy Carter ordered the CIA to support the opposition forces, largely based in the vast countryside. When it was apparent a few months later that US-backed right-wing forces might overthrow the left government, the USSR sent thousands of troops to defend the progressive forces, withdrawing them in 1988.
The left government continued in power until it was crushed in 1992, followed by a horrendous three-year civil war between rival reactionary factions that was finally won by the Taliban in 1996, which was deeply indebted to bin Laden and the mujahideen "freedom fighters" responsive to his extreme fundamentalist leadership.
In 1998, Carter's national security adviser during the war, Zbigniew Brzezinski, finally acknowledged Washington's role and bragged that the US virtually induced the USSR to send soldiers to Afghanistan in order that it stumble into its own "Vietnam". He brushed aside any concern about the Taliban or their powerful mujahideen allies.

2. The first US-Iraq war (1990-2003): Iraq invaded the tiny, oil-rich principality in neighboring Kuwait in August 1990, presumably under the naive impression the US would not intervene, perhaps as a reward for exhausting Iran in a long war. Rejecting repeated Iraqi offers of a negotiated withdrawal, the regime of George Bush the First gradually built up a huge invasion force and massively retaliated in January 1990. Iraq's entire civilian infrastructure was destroyed - electricity, water supplies, factories, transportation, communications, bridges and so forth, along with its retreating army and many thousands of civilians. Extensive sanctions, which killed over a million people, along with frequent air attacks, continued until 2003, when George Bush the Second launched a new invasion.
In the eyes of Arabs and Muslims around the world, including those critical of Saddam, the first US war had turned into a nightmare of genocide, poverty and humiliation for the Iraqi people, further eroding Washington's credibility and enlarging on strong anti-American sentiments that had been building during previous decades of intervention in Middle Eastern affairs.
In addition, bin Laden, the leader of the mujahideen movement that emerged from Afghanistan, was outraged by the government of his native Saudi Arabia, which had allowed the "infidel" Americans to establish a military base on Arab/Muslim soil to attack another Arab/Muslim country. At around this time he dedicated himself to two goals: pushing the US out of the region and getting rid of the House of Saud.

3. One-sided US support for Israel (1967-2004): The US has been devoted to Israel as a surrogate for American military power in the region since the June 1967 war, though it has supported the Zionist state since its inception in 1948.

As far as the Arab world is concerned, these last 37 years that Israel has occupied much of the territory mandated to the Palestinians have been a period of great tragedy. Arabs view the Palestinians as refugees in their own country, oppressed by a violent colonial state supported by the US. Many Arabs have also expressed the conviction, shared by a number of progressives in the US, that the Bush administration's attack on Iraq - based on a plan emanating from the neo-conservative branch of right-wing reaction - was in part motivated by a desire to destroy Israel's principal opponents in the region, with Syria and Iran as potential targets as well.
Every time Washington vetoes a UN Security Council resolution seeking justice for the Palestinians, Arab anger mounts against the US. Every time Israeli tanks and soldiers fire at stone-throwing boys, the anger mounts further. Middle Eastern public opinion does not expect Washington to turn on Israel and embrace the Palestinian cause, but it cannot countenance America's total support for Israel at the expense of simple justice for millions of Arabs.
The latest example of Washington's indifference to the dreadful plight of the Palestinians is Bush's April 14 declaration of support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's devious scheme to dismantle some unwanted Jewish settlements in Gaza for the right to permanently keep large settlements in the West Bank. In addition, Bush agreed that Palestinian refugees did not possess a "right to return" to their homes in what is now Israel. Both issues had been important Palestinian bargaining points with Israel, now swept off the negotiating table by the long arm of the White House.
These four examples of Washington's imperial deportment in the Middle East for a period of more than half a century have created great antagonism toward America on the part of the Arab masses. In the process, White House policies have unintentionally generated a small, extreme fringe of Islamic fundamentalism dedicated to visiting violent retribution on the US, which it accomplished on September 11, 2001.
The Bush administration's subsequent "war on terrorism" is wrong on two main counts: 1. It is much more intended to extend US hegemony than to track down the relatively few people involved in September 11 and al-Qaeda. Elsewise, why attack Iraq - which was innocent of complicity in the incident and with the target organization - or threaten similarly uninvolved Cuba, Iran and Syria, among others? 2. It is focused on symptoms, not causes, and thus cannot succeed in its stated objectives regardless of how many more billions of dollars are spent on homeland security and foreign wars.
What then will make mighty America - the most powerful military state in world history - more secure from the threat of another terrorist attack from a small fringe group? Treat the cause, not the symptoms. Change the outrageous imperial policies and actions that have created this situation. Here's how, for starters:
Deal with the people of the Middle East and the basis of equality and respect. Stop interfering in the politics and economy of the region. Discontinue the practice of supporting reactionary regimes and destroying progressive and leftist movements and governments. Instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the "war on terrorism", invest that money in repairing the damage caused by over 50 years of intervention, oppression and exploitation in the region. Get out of Iraq now and permit these beleaguered people to resolve their own problems. Stop military interventions and close down the Pentagon's many military bases in the region. Adopt a balanced stance vis-a-vis the Palestine-Israel question, starting with the demand - backed by the threat of withdrawing Washington's annual subsidy, if necessary - that Sharon withdraw all troops and settlements from the occupied territories.
Of course, those who rule America have no intention of doing anything of the kind. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are dedicated to continuing the policies that have allowed the US to exercise economic, political and military hegemony over the region and in the world. Yes, a derivative of these policies has resulted in September 11, but despite the official hand-wringing about terrorism, it is apparently well worth the inconvenience in order to extend US domination over the Middle East and the liquid gold beneath its burning sands.
Anyway, isn't it just a matter of getting better "intelligence" from the FBI and the CIA?
Jack A Smith was the former chief editor of the now defunct US progressive newsweekly The Guardian, and presently the editor of a newsletter devoted to political activism. He resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York in the US.

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.
Kim ends secretive China visit
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has completed a highly secretive visit to China where he reportedly discussed his country's nuclear standoff with the US.
There was official silence about the visit until it ended, but diplomats said China urged Mr Kim to soften his stance on the nuclear issue.
Mr Kim also reportedly discussed Pyongyang's ailing economy and visited a model farm at the end of his stay.
China is a key ally of North Korea and a mediator in the nuclear standoff.
Jiang Zemin told him the possibility of the US invading North Korea is very slim, indirectly suggesting he should change North Korea's tough line
South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo
Mr Kim is believed to have arrived in China on Monday, but there was no mention of his visit in China's official media until Wednesday, when state broadcaster CCTV said the two countries had reached a "broad consensus" on a range of issues, including the nuclear crisis.
China's Xinhua news agency said the two sides had agreed to "continue jointly pushing forward" for six-party talks aimed at resolving the crisis, though it gave few further details.
"Leaders of the two parties and the two countries, amid a cordial, friendly and candid atmosphere, briefed each other on their respective domestic conditions, and exchanged views and reached wide-ranging consensus on further developing the relations between the two parties and the two countries, international and regional situations and the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula," Xinhua said.
During his stay, Mr Kim held talks with China's president and military officials, including ex-president Jiang Zemin, who remains in charge of the military.
Mr Kim voiced doubts about whether he would win the security guarantees he wants in return for stopping his nuclear programme, the South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo said.
"Jiang Zemin told him the possibility of the US invading North Korea is very slim, indirectly suggesting he should change North Korea's tough line," it reported.
Model farm
Multi-party talks on the issue have made little progress on how North Korea's programme could be dismantled, or how Pyongyang's energy and security concerns would be addressed.
In February, China said North Korea had agreed to push towards a third round of international talks.
Xinhua quoted Mr Kim as saying North Korea would continue to take part in the talks, and that its approach would be "patient and flexible".
Discussions on North Korea's economy also figured prominently during Mr Kim's visit, his first since a new leadership was installed in Beijing last year.
The North Korean leader asked China's leaders for help with reforms and for aid, South Korean media said.
Mr Kim's party reportedly visited a model farm near Beijing on Wednesday, before he started a 15-hour journey back home on his special train.
The farm, which used to be poor but is now one of the richest in the country, pursued a rapid modernisation programme in the 1980s, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The secrecy surrounding Mr Kim's visit was not unusual.
His two previous known trips to China since 2000 were confirmed by the two governments only after he returned home.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/04/21 10:53:36 GMT


Russia: High-Level EU Delegation Travels To Moscow To Discuss WTO Bid
By Ahto Lobjakas

A high-level European Commission delegation headed by President Romano Prodi heads to Moscow tonight for two days of talks with President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials. EU officials in Brussels say the visit will center on Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Although recent progress has been made on the issue in talks between Moscow and Brussels, Russia might still have to wait before getting a green light from the EU.
Brussels, 21 April 2004 (RFE/RL) -- EU officials today downplayed speculation that a deal is about to be made on Russia's WTO membership.
Speaking in Brussels today, Matthew Baldwin, a top European Commission trade official, said Russia appears interested in speeding up talks, and may be hoping to strike a deal in time for the EU-Russia summit in May.
He said the EU is willing to support Russia's WTO timetable but cautioned that Brussels will not compromise on important issues simply in order to meet tight deadlines.
Baldwin indicated a breakthrough on the contentious issue of energy pricing may not be too far off. He said Russia has retreated from its earlier insistence that energy policy remain outside the WTO talks.
Arancha Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the EU's trade commissioner, Pascal Lamy, said the EU has made clear it is not trying to force a particular energy policy on Russia.
Instead, she said, the bloc is simply concerned with what it sees as preferential treatment given to Russian operators in the energy field in comparison with their EU counterparts.
"Energy is not the issue," Sanchez said. "It's trade-related energy questions that are the issue. As Matthew [Baldwin] said, we're not trying to regulate, through the WTO entry of Russia, what kind of energy policy they need to have. That's their own sovereign decision. If you talk about export duties on energy, export duties is clearly an issue that is regulated at the WTO. If you talk about freedom of transit, this is clearly an article of the WTO-GATT [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade] agreement. "
The EU is concerned by Russia's policy of charging EU companies four or five times more for gas than Russian counterparts are expected to pay.
"Some very tough things are out there, some very big political issues surrounding things like aircraft tariffs, car tariffs." -- Matthew Baldwin, a top European Commission trade officialBaldwin today said this practice gives Russia's industrial enterprises an unfair advantage over their EU competitors.
He said, however, that Russia has "in principle" accepted that an increase in domestic energy prices is inevitable. The question that remains is to what level and how fast.
Baldwin also underlined the importance for the EU of an energy partnership with Russia. Some 25 percent of the bloc's total gas consumption comes from Russia, as does 20 percent of its crude-oil imports.
Baldwin said the main issue for the 22-23 April meetings is customs tariffs -- a complex question that is likely to play a decisive role in EU-Russia talks overall.
"We've had complexities arising also from Russia's desire to protect its growing tax base -- and obviously you cut tariffs, you reduce your tax base. Now, our guys in Russia have been working very hard on this during the course of this week. We hope to make progress; some very tough things are out there, some very big political issues surrounding things like aircraft tariffs, car tariffs. That is the tough [issue] this week, and depending on how all that goes we'll have more or less a sense of how long the whole negotiation can go," Baldwin said.
Baldwin said talks are stalled on a number of issues. He mentioned financial sectors such as insurance and banking, where the EU wants its companies to be able to branch directly into Russia without having to set up local subsidiaries. Another key concern is the telecommunications sector. The EU has rejected recent Russian attempts to establish a monopoly on long-distance phone services.
Russia's WTO talks with the EU are complicated by a number of other important outstanding issues, such as the extension of the EU-Russia partnership to the bloc's new member states. Russia's unwillingness to sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming is another obstacle.
Apart from the EU, Russia will also need to negotiate deals with its other major trade partners -- such as the United States and China -- before it can enter the WTO.



Health Savings Accounts: How To Broaden Health Coverage for Working Families
by Nina Owcharenko
WebMemo #481

April 16, 2004 | printer-friendly format |

Embodied in the recently enacted Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 were provisions to establish Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for the general population. These accounts, while not directly related to reforming the troubled Medicare program, do offer a new health care coverage option for the non-Medicare population. HSAs offer a variety of unique benefits, including more choice, greater control, and individual ownership.

There are two key components to a Health Savings Account: (1) a high-deductible health plan and (2) a tax-preferred savings account. However, in order to qualify for the tax-preferred savings, a high-deductible health plan must accompany the account. The law establishes some basic parameters for both of these design features:

High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). A high-deductible health plan is a health plan that establishes a higher deductible for an individual to meet before the insurance plan begins to pay. Such plans help to reduce the premium but still provide protection from unexpected, catastrophic health care expenses.

To qualify for an HSA, a high-deductible plan must have a minimum deductible of $1,000 for an individual policy and $2,000 for a family policy. The maximum annual out-of-pocket spending (including deductibles and co-pays) can be no more than $5,000 for an individual and no more than $10,000 for a family. Such HDHPs are able to have first-dollar coverage for preventive care and allow for higher out-of-pocket payments (co-pays and co-insurance) for non-network services.

Tax-Preferred Savings Account. A tax-preferred savings account allows an individual to make deposits and distributions for health care expenditures "tax free" without a tax penalty. An individual may establish this tax-preferred savings account in conjunction with the HDHP.

The law establishes several basic rules for contributing to such an account. The maximum that can be contributed is the lesser of (1) the amount of the high deductible or (2), as specified by law, $2,600 for an individual and $5,150 for a family. Besides the individual owner of the account, an employer and others can contribute on behalf of the individual. "Catch-up" contributions are allowed for individuals who are 55 and older; however, contributions must stop once the individual is eligible for Medicare.

The law also establishes rules for distributions from account funds. Primarily, distributions can be made "tax free" if used for "qualified medical expenses" as described in existing law. They may not be used to pay for other health insurance except for (1) coverage while unemployed, (2) COBRA, and (3) qualified long-term care insurance. For those who are eligible for Medicare, the accounts may be used for the following: (1) Medicare premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses relating to Medicare and (2) the employee share of employer-based (retiree) coverage.
The Evolution of Health Savings Accounts

Even before the enactment of Health Savings Accounts, efforts to give individuals greater control of their health care spending were well underway. A variety of "consumer-directed" approaches still exist today, albeit with some awkward constraints. Health Savings Accounts attempt to overcome those constraints by combining the positive features of the existing approaches while making them more accessible and useful for consumers.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). These tax-advantaged account options, offered through an employer, allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars through salary reduction. The funds in these accounts can be used for medical and dental expense not covered by insurance. However, any funds left over at the end of the year are forfeited to the employer. Similar to FSAs, HSAs allow for the tax-preferred savings element, but they also permit an individual to carry over any unused funds from year to year, allowing those funds to accrue along the way.
Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). These employer-sponsored arrangements enable employers to make a financial contribution on behalf of their employees to help reimburse them for medical expenses. Any unused funds can be carried over from year to year but remain the property of the employer. Many employers combine these arrangements with a high-deductible health plan to ensure catastrophic protection. HSAs maintain the carry-over provisions of the HRA and require the high-deductible component; unlike HRAs, however, they grant ownership of the account and plan to the individual, not the employer, thereby giving the consumer full control and allowing for full portability.
Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs). These accounts, similar to the new HSAs, were strangled by excessive and restrictive regulations. Not only were the accounts temporary, but the number available was limited to 750,000, and they were offered only to businesses with fewer than 50 employees and/or self-employed. Furthermore, contributions could be made only by the employee or the employer, not by both, and could not exceed 65 percent of the deductible for an individual policy and 75 percent for a family policy. The minimum deductible was set at $1,700 for an individual and $3,450 for a family policy. These restrictions, among others, confined the access and market opportunities of the Archer MSAs. As outlined earlier, the HSA keeps the basic framework of the traditional Archer MSA but gets rid of the numerous regulatory and design obstacles challenging MSAs in order to create a more conducive and stable marketplace for HSAs.

While HSAs are now law, their practical implementation is still critical. Several steps can be taken to ensure the success of Health Savings Accounts. For example:

Further rulings by the U.S. Treasury Department should remain broad and flexible. A variety of issues, such as the interaction between HSAs and HRAs/FSAs, remain unresolved and will need attention. Thus far, Treasury has been particularly accommodating in establishing the parameters within which these accounts can exist. It is important that such interpretations continue in order to encourage a responsive marketplace for HSAs.
States must make all legislative and regulatory changes needed to ensure that HSAs have market access. In some instances, state legislative and regulatory changes may need to be made in order to accommodate the availability of HSAs. For example, states may need to change their tax laws to adapt to the tax-free accounts. Changes or an exemption from state-mandated benefits may also be in order to ensure that HDHPs are qualified in the state.
All employers should integrate an HSA option into health benefit offerings for their employees. HRAs open up opportunities for businesses of all sizes to offer their employees a new coverage option. This includes federal and state employee benefit plans. With health care spending on the rise, an HSA helps to re-engage employees with their health care spending while giving employers the ability to make the transition from a defined benefit system, with open-ended costs, to a defined contribution system in which health care spending can be better managed.
Policymakers should encourage HSAs for the uninsured since they offer an alternative to more costly first-dollar coverage policies. Uninsured individuals will find that, due to the high-deductible component, the monthly premiums will be much lower than premiums for traditional policies. The HSA design ensures that individuals remain protected against unexpected, catastrophic medical costs while allowing them to save for future health care expenses tax-free.

Health Savings Accounts offer Americans a new coverage option for their health care needs. They give them a new choice in coverage design, greater control of their health care spending, and the ability to own their own health care plans. These are all key features in moving America's health care system to a consumer-based system.

To build a true consumer market, individuals should have access to all available coverage options. There should be a level playing field between each option, whether it is an HSA, an HMO, a PPO, or another form of coverage. Individuals should be able to choose, without penalty or artificial incentives, the policies they feel best fit their needs. Members of Congress should continue to look for ways to facilitate a system of consumer choice that will allow individuals to select the plans that best suit their individual medical and financial needs.

Nina Owcharenko is Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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All Rights Reserved.
>> 4...

'Dying Diana' pictures set to spark outrage
April 22, 2004 - 11:30AM

Pictures of a dying Diana, Princess of Wales are due to be broadcast on television in the United States, it emerged today, in a move that is set to provoke outrage.
Clarence House declined to comment on the matter but the images will no doubt bring further distress to Princes William and Harry, who have faced continued conspiracy theories.
They have also had to contend with old video footage of the princess talking about her life that was recently aired on US TV.
The never-before-seen photographs will show the stricken princess moments after the 1997 car crash in Paris, which led to her death hours later.
The pictures will be shown on the US network CBS, which said it had attained a copy of the confidential French investigation report into the crash.
CBS's 48 Hours program has obtained thousands of pages of confidential documents, including the forensic analysis and post-mortem examination of the driver Henri Paul and analysis of the car.
A program spokeswoman said the show would also include images of Diana at the scene after the crash, and would look at persistent rumours that the Princess was pregnant when she died.
According to CBS, the report says Mr Paul was receiving money from an unknown source.
Diana's former protection officer Ken Wharfe and Patrick Jephson, her chief of staff, are interviewed on the show.
They tell of the great lengths they went to to hide Diana's marriage difficulties, and how she conducted extramarital affairs.
Diana and Dodi Fayed were killed in the crash, which also claimed the life of driver Mr Paul.
A spokesman for Mohamed al Fayed said Dodi's father was waiting to see what the broadcast contained but that the use of photographs of Diana in the aftermath of the crash would be "distressing and distasteful".
Chester Stern said: "I know he would be upset by this."
He added: "All we know of is the stills which appeared in newspaper offices that night in Britain which were not published by the editors.
"We have always believed that was the correct decision.
"It would be distressing and distasteful."
Mr al Fayed has staged a lengthy legal battle against paparazzi photographers who were following Diana and Dodi that night for invasion of privacy.
Mr al Fayed tonight accused CBS of cashing in on the tragedy.
He said: "This was a crime - the murder of two innocent people.
"CBS obviously don't care about the appalling effect of showing images of murder victims.
"They simply want to cash in on the tragedy.
"It is disgraceful and insensitive of them to do this.
"It is devastating for me and for Prince William and Prince Harry."



>> AHEM 5...

Blushes at the Bundesbank

Apr 21st 2004
From The Economist Global Agenda

The Bundesbank has a new president, to replace the disgraced Ernst Welteke. But does Europe have too many central bankers for its own good?

Welteke regrets
Get article background

OH, TO be a central banker! A monopoly supplier of a much sought-after commodity (money), you have no competitors to worry about and no voters to answer to. You get a month between meetings and, to hear the European Central Bank tell it, all your decisions are made by cosy consensus.

Axel Weber, a professor of economics based in Cologne and an independent adviser to the German government, is the latest recruit to this privileged guild. On Tuesday April 20th, he was named as the new head of Germany's Bundesbank, a position that will also give him a vote on euro-area interest rates at the European Central Bank. Desirable as his new job may be, Mr Weber will be careful not to enjoy it quite as conspicuously as the man he replaces, Ernst Welteke.

Mr Welteke resigned last Friday, to end a two-week controversy over a hotel bill for ?7,661 (then around $7,200), paid by one of the commercial banks the Bundesbank helps to supervise. Mr Welteke and his family ran up the bill at one of Berlin's fanciest hotels while attending a party to celebrate the introduction of euro notes and coins at the start of 2002. After the junket came to light in the German press, Mr Welteke apologised, and he and the Bundesbank repaid the money. But that was not enough to save his job. Officials will now hesitate before accepting such junkets and jollies in the future.

Mr Welteke did not go quietly. Trust between him and the finance ministry had been "destroyed", he complained in his angry resignation letter. False claims leaked to the media were assailing his integrity and that of the Bundesbank, he said.

Several German newspapers have speculated that the finance ministry had tipped off the press about the hotel visit, which the ministry strongly denies. It wanted Mr Welteke gone, so the speculation goes, because he was critical of the government's budget deficit and wanted to keep the proceeds from a possible sale of Bundesbank gold away from the finance ministry's hands. Certainly, Hans Eichel, Germany's finance minister, did not rush to defend his former colleague in the state government of Hesse. "I consider it is not acceptable that the chief representative of the Bank, which also has supervisory functions, should accept a holiday for himself and his family paid for by a bank which is under supervision," he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

This lack of discretion on the part of the Bundesbank's boss may have encouraged Gerhard Schr?der, Germany's chancellor, to look outside the bank for Mr Welteke's successor. Mr Weber is no monetary naif: he "knows the central banks in Europe like the back of his hand," said Klaus Zimmermann, president of the DIW, a Berlin think-tank, according to the Reuters news agency. But Mr Weber will step into his new role at the Bundesbank unencumbered by any of the rancour and bitterness of the Welteke quarrel.

He will also arrive at the ECB at a delicate moment for European monetary policy. Europe's recovery has not proceeded as smoothly or as strongly as the ECB must have hoped. Surveys of confidence and activity are patchy. Inflation is comfortably below the ECB's ceiling of 2%. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development thinks a rate cut might be necessary. On the other hand, the euro has come down from its highs at the start of the year, and inflation may have bottomed out. Mr Schr?der has already called on the ECB to cut rates. But fears that he would appoint a political flunky to the Bundesbank to carry out his bidding have proven unfounded. Mr Weber is widely seen as an independent figure.

Even if Mr Schr?der does not get the interest-rate cut he wants, he will still be grateful to be spared any more of Mr Welteke's sermons on fiscal policy. Mr Welteke used the "bully pulpit" of the Bundesbank to call for tighter belts and bolder reforms in Germany. His unceremonious fall may deter anyone else from mounting the pulpit any time soon. That may be a pity. Six of the single currency's 12 member states are this year forecast to run deficits above the ceiling of 3% of GDP set in the euro area's stability and growth pact. The European Commission, the guardian of the pact, was defanged by member states last November when it tried to sink its teeth into the two most egregious offenders, France and Germany. It thus falls more than ever to the ECB and its governors to promote whatever co-ordination is possible between the euro area's 12 independent fiscal policies.

The ECB has no formal powers or responsibilities in the fiscal realm, of course. But it can still employ "moral suasion" and the implicit threat of higher interest rates. In America, for example, budgetmakers in the White House and Congress go looking for the approval, however tacit, of the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan. He never gives his explicit endorsement, of course, but presidents and congressmen tend to claim it anyway.

Unfortunately, sermons on the virtues of lean government by Europe's central bankers ring hollow. The European System of Central Banks, as the ECB and the 12 national central banks are jointly called, is bloated and rife with duplication. The euro area employs twice as many central bankers as the United States, in proportion to their populations. Some of those monetary mandarins are also paid much more highly than their transatlantic equivalents. Mr Welteke, for example, earned more than twice Mr Greenspan's salary. He topped a Bundesbank payroll that, despite staff cuts last year, still exceeds 14,000--a number worthy perhaps of the bank's past role as monetary hegemon of Europe, but less suited to its new status as one of 12 "branch offices" of the ECB.

The slimming down of Europe's central banks should start at the top. At the moment, the ECB's monetary policy is made by 12 governors from the national central banks plus six ECB executives. Eighteen is already too many, argues Francesco Giavazzi of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a London think-tank. The rate-setting committee would become quite unworkable should the remaining 13 members of the enlarged EU join the single currency. The ECB has proposed capping the number of voting seats at 21. It would reserve six for ECB officials and four for Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Britain (should it adopt the euro). The remaining seats would rotate among the other euro members according to a complicated formula that ensures Luxembourg, a tiny country with a relatively large financial system, votes more often than Poland, a large country with a relatively small financial system. Such a committee, critics suggest, would be unfair as well as unwieldy: a rigged game of musical chairs.

The single currency's champions always argued that it would usher in a leaner, more efficient Europe, as national industries that used to duplicate each other consolidated and operated at a more efficient, euro-wide scale. Europe's system of central banks, guardians of the single currency, should embrace this beneficial trend. As Mr Giavazzi points out, a smaller rate-setting council would be more decisive and less tied to national governments. It would also have fewer hotel bills to pay.

Copyright ? 2004 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.
SPIEGEL ONLINE - 21. April 2004, 18:16
Aufruhr an Bundesbankpr?sidenten-Uni

"Achtung, alle Vorlesungen finden statt!"

Von Tim H?finghoff

Die Universit?t K?ln freut sich, dass mit Axel Weber einer ihrer Hochschullehrer neuer Bundesbank-Pr?sident wird. Einige Studenten bringt der Aufstieg des Professors aber in N?te: Sie f?rchten um ihre eigene Karriere.
"Summa cum laude: W?hrungswissenschaftler Axel Weber mit Finanzminister Hans Eichel
Das Telefon stand nicht mehr still. Im Sekretariat des Lehrstuhls f?r Internationale ?konomie an der Universit?t zu K?ln meldeten sich pausenlos besorgte Studenten. Alle hatten nur eine Frage: "Wie geht es mit meinem Studium weiter?" Am Dienstagabend war durchgesickert, dass der K?lner Wirtschaftsprofessor Axel Weber neuer Bundesbankpr?sident werden soll, nachdem Ernst Welteke wegen der Adlon-Aff?re von seinem Amt zur?ckgetreten war.
Die Mitarbeiter von Axel Weber beruhigten die Studenten und platzierten auf der Webseite des Instituts die Meldung: "Achtung: Alle Vorlesungen finden wie gewohnt statt!" Im H?rsaal wurde Axel Weber, der nach Berlin zu Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schr?der und Finanzminster Hans Eichel eilte, durch einen Assistenten vertreten.
An der Universit?t l?ste die Entscheidung, Weber f?r das Amt zu nominieren, Freude aus: "Wir sind sehr stolz", sagt Pressesprecher Wolfgang Mathias, "aber es ?berrascht uns nicht total." Grund: Schon h?ufiger seien Absolventen der WISO-Fakult?t sp?ter ber?hmt geworden. Bundespr?sident Karl Carstens studierte ?konomie in K?ln und seit 20 Jahren arbeiten immer wieder Professoren aus K?ln als Wirtschaftsweise im Sachverst?ndigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
Ein Ruf wie Donnerhall
Die Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakult?t in K?ln ist mit 9700 Studenten die gr??te in Europa. "Die Fakult?t ist sehr attraktiv, weil sie nicht nur eine hohe wissenschaftliche Reputation, sondern auch einen hohen Praxisbezug hat," sagt Mathias.
Juergen B. Donges, 63, Professor f?r Wirtschaftspolitik, nutzte die Weber-Wahl, um in seiner Vorlesung den Praxisbezug des K?lner Studiums anzupreisen: "Was man hier lernt, kann man auch in der aktuellen Wirtschaftspolitik nutzen."
Donges war bis 2001 Vorsitzender der Wirtschaftsweisen, bis ihn Axel Weber im Sachverst?ndigenrat abl?ste. "Wir freuen uns, dass es einer von uns ist", sagte Donges. "Ich habe mit allen gerechnet, aber Weber hatte ich nicht auf meiner Liste."
Weber werde ein Bundesbankpr?sident werden, der sich "nicht von der Politik in die Enge treiben l?sst", glaubt Donges. Er beherrsche die wissenschaftliche Argumentation auf hohem Niveau. Im Rat der Europ?ischen Zentralbank wird Weber die Bundesbank vertreten und die europ?ische Geldpolitik mitbestimmen.
Stationen in Gro?britannien, USA und den Niederlanden
Seit November 2001 lehrt Weber an der Universit?t K?ln Neue Internationale Makro?konomik und Au?enwirtschaftslehre. Zuvor war er Professor f?r Angewandte monet?re ?konomie an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universit?t Frankfurt am Main.
Weber studierte von 1976 bis 1982 Wirtschaftswissenschaften und Verwaltungswissenschaften an der Universit?t Konstanz und promovierte 1987 in Siegen mit "Summa cum laude". Nach Stationen in Gro?britannien, den Niederlanden und den USA habilitierte er sich 1994 an der Universit?t Siegen. Seit 1998 ist er Direktor des Center of Financial Studies in Frankfurt am Main und gilt als Experte f?r Geldpolitik und internationale Wirtschaftspolitik.
Nicht nur Professoren auch Studenten loben den designierten Bundesbankpr?sidenten: "Es ist sehr schade, das Weber nun f?r die Lehre ausf?llt", sagt der Vorsitzende der WISO-Fachschaft, Joscha Brun?en.
Unter den Studenten gilt Weber als f?higer Praktiker und Didakt. "Als Professor hat er gute Qualit?ten und kann den Stoff gut vermitteln", sagt Gloria Rose, 25, die im zehnten Semester VWL studiert. "Ich halte ihn f?r einen der besten Professoren an der Universit?t." Weber habe p?dagogische F?higkeiten, von denen sich andere Professoren noch viel abschauen k?nnten. Er sei gut vorbereitet und gehe immer auf spontane Fragen der Studenten ein. Es habe ihr Spa? gemacht, sich auf Webers Vorlesungen vorzubereiten, erz?hlt Rose. "Dieses Gef?hl hatte ich an der Uni sonst noch nie."
F?r das Amt beurlaubt
Philip Vogel, 26-j?hriger VWL-Student im neunten Semester, beschreibt Weber weniger schmeichelhaft: "Er wirkte auf mich, als ob er die Lehre nicht immer so ernst nimmt." Weber mache lieber einw?chige Blockveranstaltung, als Vorlesungen ?ber einige Wochen verteilt zu halten. "Manchmal glaube ich, er will Ruhe vor den Studenten haben." Andere Studenten bezeichnen Weber auch als eitel.
Ob exzellent oder eitel, die Universit?t K?ln muss sich schleunigst um einen Vertreter f?r Weber bem?hen. "Weber bleibt der Fakult?t erst einmal erhalten und wird f?r die Zeit bei der Bundesbank beurlaubt", sagt Pressesprecher Mathias. Aber nach der Zeit bei der Bundesbank komme Weber bestimmt wieder nach K?ln zur?ck.
Studentin Gloria Rose plagen andere Sorgen: "Die Nachricht, dass Weber geht, ist schockierend", sagt Gloria Rose. "Ich wollte bei ihm Diplomarbeit schreiben."

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Copenhagen Consensus

Curbing disease

Apr 15th 2004

Across the developing world, disease causes a vast toll of avoidable suffering

IN RECENT years, researchers have developed methods to confront a range of diseases--illnesses, in many cases, that put an especially heavy burden on the world's poor. Across much of the planet, but particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the costs of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are enormous. So it would seem that the opportunities to do good by spending money wisely on treatment and prevention are very promising. A Copenhagen Consensus* "challenge paper" by Anne Mills and Sam Shillcutt of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reviews the literature and tries to weigh the costs and benefits of different kinds of intervention.

The article concentrates on approaches that might be taken to control malaria and HIV/AIDS, and in addition on the economics of better basic health services. Malaria and HIV/AIDS cause enormous human and economic harm in developing countries, even though cost-effective methods for controlling them are well understood. There is also a strong case for looking at the broader issue of basic health services. This is because better services would not only directly reduce the burden of many treatable or preventable diseases, but also because some additional investment in these services may be necessary, or at the very least helpful, in improving the cost-effectiveness of interventions aimed specifically at malaria and HIV/AIDS.

The authors explain that the links between illness and economic loss are complicated. In the literature, two main approaches have been taken to study them. The first relies on microeconomic studies. Work of this kind looks at how disease affects individual households or people. One drawback of this approach, though, is that it neglects the broader effects of disease on the economy as a whole. As a result, this method may underestimate both the costs of disease and the benefits of combating it more effectively.

The second approach is to take a macroeconomic view: that is, to measure the influence of a disease on income at the level of the whole economy. This can be done by comparing different economies, to see how far high incidence of disease is correlated with lower incomes, other things being equal. This method is better in principle at capturing all the economic implications of disease, but it has problems of its own. Above all, of course, other things are never equal--so it is often difficult to be sure whether it is differences in the incidence of disease, or other influences, which are determining the differences in economic well-being.

The authors emphasise various shortcomings of the existing research. Differences in data and methods mean that comparing results across studies, countries and different periods is hit and miss. For some diseases, too little useful work has been done. Only two recent macroeconomic studies of malaria have been published, for instance, and thinking on methods and data is therefore at an early stage. Macroeconomic studies of HIV/AIDS are more plentiful, but give wildly differing results, "ranging from minimal impact on per capita income to a massive impact". Another difficult issue is that, in calculating health costs, it is sometimes necessary to put a value on life: the authors take a year of life to be worth a year's national income per head for the country concerned, a plausible working figure but nonetheless an arbitrary one. There are particular difficulties as well in expressing costs and benefits that are spread over time in a way that allows useful comparisons to be made.

Healthy and wealthy?

Nonetheless, the paper presses on, drawing where it may on an occasionally sparse and frequently inadequate literature, gleaning results from many different studies using many different methods of research. Despite all the complications and uncertainties, the answer that emerges is pretty clear: the best new investments in the control of communicable diseases would yield huge economic benefits. Across a wide range of interventions, and for all three categories of initiative under review--control of malaria, control of HIV/AIDS and improved basic health services--benefits typically exceed costs by a wide margin.

In some cases, the economic opportunities are simply spectacular. A programme to prevent HIV in Thailand, for instance, achieved a ratio of benefits to costs of 15 to one--a figure that governments could scarcely dream of achieving for typical public-investment projects in other economic sectors. A malaria-control programme in South Africa actually resulted in net cost savings, so that it paid for itself even before the benefits of the initiative were taken into account.

In its World Development Report of 1993, the World Bank proposed a package of health interventions, organised around the idea of scaling up basic health services. It included such efforts as expanding immunisation against measles, poliomyelitis, tetanus, whooping cough, yellow fever and hepatitis-B; AIDS prevention; school health programmes (aimed especially at treating intestinal worms); treatment of TB; treatment of sexually transmitted diseases; family planning; and so on. Considered as a package, the plan would be expensive by the standard of proposals in this area, but not so expensive, you might think, when seen in context: one estimate puts it at $12 per person in low-income developing countries and $22 in middle-income developing countries, for a developing-world average of $15 per person. This spending would, it is argued, reduce the economic burden of disease by some 32%, 15% and 25% respectively, with a net economic benefit on the order of $500 billion, and a ratio of benefits to costs of 2.6.

So far as establishing priorities among different health programmes is concerned, the authors conclude that it is unclear, given the present state of knowledge, whether better results can be gained from a concentrated effort to deal with specific diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS or from a strategy based on broader improvements in basic health services. To some degree, however, the two approaches overlap--and they are certainly not, in any case, mutually exclusive. In short, the evidence suggests that efforts to control disease offer an unusually good opportunity to spend aid productively.

* The Copenhagen Consensus project, organised by Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute with the co-operation of The Economist, aims to consider, and to establish priorities among, a series of proposals for advancing global welfare. The initiative was described in our Economics focus of March 6th. That article, along with other material, can be read here.

Copyright ? 2004 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.


Economics focus

A remedy for financial turbulence?

Apr 15th 2004
From The Economist print edition

In the first of a series of articles on the Copenhagen Consensus project*, we look at financial instability

THE severity and frequency of financial crises, especially the combined currency and banking collapses of the past decade, have made financial instability a scourge of our times, one that bears comparison with damage inflicted by famine and war. In a new paper for the Copenhagen Consensus, Barry Eichengreen, from the University of California, Berkeley, has reviewed the literature, attempted to count these costs, and to weigh them against the costs of a particular proposal for remedial action.

The costs can be reckoned in stalled growth and stunted lives. The typical financial crisis claims 9% of GDP, and the worst crises, such as those recently afflicting Argentina and Indonesia, wiped out over 20% of GDP, a loss greater even than those endured as a result of the Great Depression. According to one authoritative study, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 pushed 22m people in the region into poverty. For developing countries, currency crises are an important subset of financial crises. Mr Eichengreen, while cautioning against taking the precision of such estimates too seriously, reckons that the benefit which emerging-market countries would reap if such crises could be avoided altogether would be some $107 billion a year.

One ready way to secure those benefits, you might think, would be to stifle financial markets. In impoverished parts of Africa, for example, credit crunches are relatively rare, because credit is always hard to come by. But as a rule such a solution would be more costly than the problem. Wherever financial markets are absent or repressed, savings go unused, productive economic opportunities go unrealised and risks go undiversified. If India's banks and stockmarkets were as well developed as Singapore's, India would grow two percentage-points a year faster, according to one study.

To grow fast, and keep growing quickly, countries need deep financial markets--and the best way to deepen financial markets, most economists agree, is to liberalise them. Does this mean that countries must open their financial markets to foreign capital, thus exposing themselves to the risk of currency crises? Or should they impose capital controls, confining the perversity of financial markets to national borders, where the central bank retains the power to offset it? Foreign direct investment aside, China's capital markets are still largely closed to outsiders. Yet it has no shortage of credit. For other countries, though, the evidence is mixed. A fair reading of the studies, and there have been many, suggests that, for most countries, opening up to foreign capital will deliver faster growth in most years--punctuated by a damaging financial crisis about every ten years. Some economists argue that periodic credit crunches are the price emerging markets must pay for faster growth.

What might be done to make financial crises less common? The answer depends on the causes of financial meltdown. Governments bring some crises on themselves by pursuing fiscal and monetary policies that are inconsistent and unsustainable. Such self-defeating policies may be the symptom of deeper flaws in the body politic. If so, there is little outsiders can do. But some countries' financial fragility results simply from their need for foreign investment. In the most susceptible countries, firms and banks borrow heavily in dollars, while lending in local currencies. If the value of the local currency wobbles, this mismatch between domestic assets and foreign liabilities is cruelly exposed.

Why are the assets and liabilities of emerging markets so ill matched? Perhaps because poorly supervised and largely unaccountable managers have scant reason to be careful with other people's money. But Mr Eichengreen offers another reason. International investors are very choosy about currencies. Most consider only bonds denominated in dollars, yen, euros, pounds or Swiss francs. This select club of international currencies is locked in for deep historical and structural reasons. Thus, poor countries that want to borrow abroad must bear currency mismatches through no fault of their own.

If this is the problem, possible solutions follow naturally: either create a common world currency, used by rich and poor alike, or invent a liquid, international market for bonds denominated in the pesos, bahts and rupiahs that emerging markets are obliged to use. The first solution, even if it were desirable, is politically impossible; the second is merely very difficult. Mr Eichengreen spells out in his study an ingenious plan to make it a little easier. Briefly, he proposes the creation of a market for lending and borrowing in a synthetic unit of account, a weighted basket of emerging-market currencies. Such bonds would be popular with investors, since the currency would be more stable than the sum of its parts and, at first at least, carry attractive yields. Importantly, such a market, if it could be established, would eventually let emerging-market economies tap foreign capital without currency mismatches. This is because those, such as the World Bank, that issued such bonds would be keen to reduce their exposure to the basket by lending to the countries in that basket in their own currencies.

However, there is a cost: the extra yield that the Bank and others would need to offer to attract buyers of the new instruments. Mr Eichengreen estimates that this initial cost would be no more than $545m a year--a small sum compared with the $107 billion that would be saved if currency crises could be avoided.

* The Copenhagen Consensus project, organised by Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute with the co-operation of The Economist, aims to consider, and to establish priorities among, a series of proposals for advancing global welfare. The initiative was described in our Economics focus of March 6th. That article can be read here, along with other material, including an article on disease published only online this week.

Copyright ? 2004 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.

>> AHEM 6...

Le mythe de l'origine du sida li?e ? un vaccin polio contamin? r?fut?
LEMONDE.FR | 21.04.04 | 21h10
La th?orie qui attribue l'apparition du sida ? un vaccin polio oral contamin?, utilis? dans les ann?es 50 en Afrique, dans l'ancien Congo Belge, est "r?fut?e" par une ?quipe internationale conduite par un biologiste de l'?volution am?ricain, "preuve directe" ? l'appui. Leur recherche para?t dans la revue scientifique britannique Nature dat?e de jeudi.
Selon cette th?orie, persistante malgr? de solides arguments allant ? son encontre, rel?vent les chercheurs, la transmission du sida ? l'homme r?sulterait d'une contamination de ce vaccin par du virus du sida du singe (VIS). Michael Worobey, biologiste de l'?volution ? l'universit? d'Arizona, est retourn? sur place en 2003 en R?publique D?mocratique du Congo (RDC), dans la r?gion de Kisangani, Stanleyville ? l'?poque. Les chercheurs ont ainsi d?couvert un nouveau variant du virus du sida du singe - le VIScpzRDC1 (en Anglais SIVcpzDRC1) - parmi les chimpanz?s de cette r?gion.
La nouvelle souche de VIS n'est pas l'une de celles dont est issu le VIH-1, le virus responsable de la pand?mie du sida humaine, affirment les chercheurs, apr?s analyse g?n?tique. "Cette d?couverte apporte une preuve directe que ces chimpanz?s (de la r?gion en cause) ne sont pas la source de la pand?mie de sida humaine" et "r?fute la th?orie du vaccin" polio contamin?, ?crivent-ils.
Pour d?fendre leur point de vue, les chercheurs s'appuient en tout cas sur le fait qu'ils n'ont pas trouv? dans les 97 pr?l?vements de selles de chimpanz?s recueillis de virus apparent? ? celui du sida humain .
Deux journalistes am?ricains, Tom Curtis (1992, magazine Rolling Stone) et Edgard Hooper (1999, livre The River), ont mis en cause le vaccin anti-polio de l'Am?ricain Hilary Koprowski administr? de 1957 ? 1960 ? un million de personnes, en grande partie dans l'ex-Za?re (RDC).
Hooper a d?velopp? une th?orie reliant cette campagne de vaccination exp?rimentale et l'apparition du sida, arguant que des tissus de chimpanz?s, potentiellement contamin?s, auraient servi ? fabriquer cette ancienne version de vaccin oral. Les scientifiques sont d'accord sur un point : le virus du sida humain (VIH) a pour anc?tre un virus de l'immunod?ficience simienne (VIS) du chimpanz?. Mais reste ? d?terminer quand et comment ce virus de singe a franchi la barri?re d'esp?ce pour passer ? l'homme. Selon l'?tude, le nouveau virus du chimpanz? appartient ? une branche diff?rente de l'arbre g?n?alogique ("phylog?n?tique") des virus de chimpanz? apparent?s au VIH.
S'appuyant sur leur d?couverte et les analyses ant?rieures d'?chantillons du vaccin de l'?poque montrant l'absence de VIS, de VIH ou d'ADN de chimpanz?, les chercheurs estiment que l'hypoth?se reliant le sida ? ce vaccin contre la poliomy?lite "devrait ?tre abandonn?e". M.Worobey a poursuivi cette recherche en m?moire d'un confr?re britannique renomm?, Bill Hamilton, mort de paludisme en 2000 au retour de la premi?re exp?dition. Worobey d?sire maintenant "?tudier cette zone g?ographique, pr?lever plus d'?chantillons, comprendre comment le virus simien se maintient et se transmet parmi les chimpanz?s et comprendre pourquoi il (sa version humaine) est si pathog?ne pour l'Homme mais pas pour le chimpanz?". Ce travail est co-sign? par d'autres chercheurs za?rois, britanniques et am?ricains.
Avec AFP


L'imam salafiste de V?nissieux, favorable ? la lapidation, a ?t? expuls? pour "atteinte ? l'ordre public"
LE MONDE | 21.04.04 | 13h58
Abdelkader Bouziane ?tait sous le coup d'un arr?t? depuis le 26 f?vrier. Ses propos sur le droit de battre les femmes dans le mensuel "Lyon Mag" ont pr?cipit? son d?part mercredi.
Lyon de notre correspondante

Abdelkader Bouziane, 52 ans, a ?t? expuls?, mercredi 21 avril, au matin et plac? dans un avion en partance pour l'Alg?rie, son pays d'origine. Le ministre de l'int?rieur, Dominique de Villepin, avait d?cid? la veille d'appliquer imm?diatement l'arr?t? d'expulsion de cet imam salafiste de V?nissieux (Rh?ne), pris le 26 f?vrier par son pr?d?cesseur Nicolas Sarkozy.

La parution des propos de l'imam, qui avait d?fendu au nom du Coran la lapidation des femmes dans le num?ro d'avril du mensuel Lyon Mag a pr?cipit? son d?part.

M. Bouziane avait ?t? interpell? mardi apr?s-midi ? Lyon et conduit au centre de r?tention Saint-Exup?ry dans l'attente de son expulsion. Depuis vingt-quatre heures les propos de cet imam de la mosqu?e dite "de l'Urssaf" avaient soulev? une vive pol?mique. Dans un entretien paru d?but avril dans Lyon Magun mensuel lyonnais, le responsable musulman, avait justifi? au nom du Coran l'inf?riorit? de la femme, sa lapidation, la polygamie, et le pros?lytisme. "Battre une femme, expliquait-t-il dans le magazine, c'est autoris? par le Coran, mais dans certaines conditions, notamment si la femme trompe son mari. Dans ce cas, son mari peut la frapper."

L'imam posait juste une restriction, "ne pas frapper n'importe o?" : "pas au visage, mais viser le bas, les jambes o? le ventre". "Il peut frapper fort pour faire peur ? sa femme, afin qu'elle ne recommence plus", pr?cisait-il en affichant sans d?tours sa polygamie, avec deux femmes qui lui ont donn? seize enfants.

Premier responsable politique ? r?agir, le d?put? et maire communiste de V?nissieux, Andr? Gerin avait rendu public lundi 19 avril un courrier envoy? le jour m?me au ministre de l'int?rieur et au garde des sceaux pour leur demander si une enqu?te avait ?t? diligent?e et leur annoncer son intention de d?poser plainte "pour atteinte ? l'ordre public et ? la R?publique". Interrog? sur France 2, Dominique Perben avait assur? mardi 20 avril qu'il avait demand? d?s la parution du mensuel ? la direction des affaires criminelles du minist?re de la justice "d'examiner comment une action en justice pourrait ?tre engag?e". Dans l'apr?s-midi, le parquet de Lyon d?cidait d'ouvrir une enqu?te pr?liminaire tout en pr?cisant n'avoir re?u aucune instruction pr?cise de la Chancellerie.


En fait, le minist?re de l'int?rieur disposait, de son c?t?, de renseignements sur cet imam, surveill? depuis plusieurs mois. Une enqu?te administrative d?clench?e plusieurs mois avant son arr?t? d'expulsion, avait alert? la place Beauvau sur des pr?ches jug?s "contraires aux valeurs r?publicaines" d'Abdelkader Bouziane, qui s'?tait pos? en chef spirituel des groupes salafistes de la r?gion lyonnaise.Arriv? en France en octobre 1979, comme imam dans une mosqu?e de Ch?lons-sur-Marne, il aurait ensuite rejoint une mosqu?e de Villefranche-sur-Sa?ne, puis celle de la Duch?re ? Lyon avant de se former plusieurs mois en Arabie Saoudite, puis de s'installer ? V?nissieux. Portant barbe et gandoura, l'homme refusait d'?tre film? ou photographi?. Selon les policiers, il aurait lanc? des appels au djihad contre les int?r?ts am?ricains depuis le d?clenchement de la guerre en Irak.


Le minist?re de l'int?rieur redoutait qu'il favorise la constitution de groupes islamistes radicaux. Sa mosqu?e ?tait ?troitement surveill?e depuis l'arrestation d'un pr?parateur en pharmacie de V?nissieux, interpell? en m?me temps que l'imam Benchellali, le 6 janvier 2004. Le maire de V?nissieux a pr?cis? qu'il ne disposait, lui, d'aucune information particuli?re sur l'imam Bouziane :"Je ne le connaissais pas et je n'avais re?u aucune alerte sur ses pr?ches".

L'expulsion de l'imam ne cl?t pas l'enqu?te, m?me si les magistrats lyonnais restent sceptiques sur la possibilit? d'une action visant l'imam pour ses propos tenus dans Lyon Mag. L'enqu?te devrait faire la lumi?re sur les conditions de cette interview. Journal habitu? aux "coups" et ? la provocation, Lyon Mag affirme disposer de l'enregistrement de l'entretien, d'une dur?e d'une heure trente, dont seule une petite partie a ?t? publi?e. Interrog? avant son interpellation, mardi, l'imam a confirm? qu'il avait bien tenu ces propos mais seulement pour expliquer la loi du Coran. "La religion autorise cela, mais si la loi en France m'interdit de pr?cher de tel discours, je respecte la loi", a-t-il soutenu.

Les propos de l'imam ont en tout cas provoqu? un v?ritable toll? en France. Responsables politiques et religieux se sont relay?s pour s'indigner. Dalil Boubakeur le pr?sident du conseil fran?ais du culte musulman s'est dit lui "exc?d? d'?tre sans cesse harcel? par une m?diatisation compl?tement irresponsable autour de propos extorqu?s ? des imams frustres et ignorants qui alimente une islamophobie insupportable".

Sophie Landrin


"Des propos d'un autre ?ge"

Azzedine Gaci, le secr?taire g?n?ral du comit? r?gional du culte musulman de Rh?ne-Alpes a annonc? que cette organisation allait se r?unir mercredi pour ?voquer l'expulsion de l'imam de V?nissieux. Ce responsable de l'UOIF s'est dit tr?s "choqu?" par les propos de M. Bouziane, "des propos d'un autre ?ge, une lecture ultraminoritaire de l'islam, qui vont ? contresens du travail d'adaptation des musulmans fran?ais". M. Gaci estime que cet incident r?v?le l'urgence qu'il y a en France ? imposer des conditions dans le recrutement des imams, notamment la connaissance de la langue et de l'histoire fran?aise, et l'ind?pendance financi?re, politique et intellectuelle afin que l'islam en France ne soit plus dirig? par l'Arabie saoudite, ou des pays du Maghreb.


Posted by maximpost at 10:54 PM EDT

>> APRIL 28 2004...
North Korea Freedom Day
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

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Confronting Evil: North Korea Freedom Day
Chuck Colson (archive)

April 5, 2004 | Print | Send

In 1992, a North Korean television station aired a show that had a character singing a popular South Korean song.
Ji Hae Nam, who was part of the propaganda arm of North Korea's Workers Party, learned the catchy tune. Months later she was overheard singing the song and was arrested. Detained in a prison awaiting trial, she was beaten and sexually abused by the guards.
Then she was sentenced to three years of "rehabilitation-through-labor" at a brutal prison camp--all this for singing a South Korean song, or as the charge read, "disrupting the socialist order."
There are more than 200,000 prisoners in just five of the twelve North Korean Auschwitz-like camps. Conditions at those camps include systematic torture, arbitrary and cruel treatment of prisoners, extreme deprivation and starvation, and back-breaking forced labor that is so dangerous that accidents leading to disfigurement and death are commonplace.
One former prisoner reports, "At the camp, I witnessed public executions, forced labor, and other inhumane atrocities. A new prisoner in the North Korean political prison camps is taught not to consider themselves as human beings. The prisoners cannot complain of beatings or even murders. Even the children are subject to forced labor, and about one-third of them die of malnutrition and heavy labor."
Meanwhile, the Stalinist regime led by Kim Jong Il keeps itself in power through illegal arms sales, counterfeiting, and narcotics production and trafficking.
In addition, while North Korea receives more food aid than any other nation, more than 4 million North Koreans have starved to death since 1995, including those who have died in the camps. Why? Because food aid is diverted into military stockpiles and into gourmet delicacies, fine wines and liquor, and other luxury items for Kim and members of his elite.
In short, North Korea has what is probably the worst human rights record in the world. Because of the extreme isolation of North Korea , we only guessed at the atrocities until about two years ago. Now as a result of North Korea 's economic relationships beyond the Soviet bloc and a large enough group of refugees and escapees, the ugly truth is out.
In response, the Wilberforce Forum became a founding member of the North Korea Freedom Coalition in order "to bring freedom to the North Korean people and to ensure that the human rights component of U.S. and world policy toward North Korea receives priority attention."
On April 28, 2004 , the Coalition will sponsor "North Korea Freedom Day" here in Washington, D.C. The program includes a rally at the Capitol, congressional hearings, speakers, and music. Participants including North Korean defectors will also lobby on behalf of the North Korea Human Rights Act, a bill that seeks to bring about peaceful changes in North Korea on behalf of people who have suffered too much for too long. Call us here at BreakPoint (1-877-322-5527) or visit for more details about how you can be involved.
This is another example of how Christians need to take the lead in human rights, connecting a biblical understanding of humanity with practical and political efforts to confront intolerable evil.

For further reading and information:

Visit the website of the North Korea Freedom Coalition for more information on North Korea Freedom Day and other ways you can help. Also see its fact sheet on North Korea .

Jeff Jacoby, " The ordeal of a North Korean in Canada ," International Herald Tribune (from the Boston Globe), 8 March 2004 .

"Christians under dark reign of Kim Jong Il ," Asia News, 28 February 2004 .

Rich Lowry, " Out of the Dark Age ," National Review Online, 10 September 2003.

Read the Statement of Principles for U.S.-North Korean Relations signed by Charles Colson, William Bennett, Nicholas Eberstadt, Robert George, Michael Horowitz, and many others.

Kate Fowler, " Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying ," BreakPoint WorldView, January/February 2004.

Visit BreakPoint's resource and fact page on North Korea for more information.

Stand Today also provides other ideas for helping persecuted Christians abroad, including North Koreans .

Nina Shea, In the Lion's Den: Persecuted Christians and What the Western Church Can Do About It (Broadman and Holman, 1997).

Gary Haugen, The Good News about Injustice (InterVarsity, 1999).

John Stott, Human Rights and Human Wrongs (Baker Book House, 1999).

Chuck Colson is founder and chairman of BreakPoint Online, a member group.

?2004 BreakPoint Online
Christians under dark reign of Kim Jong Il

Rome (AsiaNews) - During the Beijing summit meetings regarding the North Korean nuclear program requests from many exiled North Koreans were ignored. They had asked to discuss the serious violations human rights and religious freedom occurring in their homeland.
The situation experienced by Christians in North Korea is emblematic of the brutal human rights conditions found in the country. News that manages to leak out of the country speaks of violent persecutions and tight government control of religious freedom and worship.
Such news comes form Christians and political dissidents who have managed to escape abroad, as well as from tourists, government employees, foreign journalists and Christian delegations, whose mobility is limited and mostly restricted to the capital of Pyongyang and immediate surrounding areas.
According to the testimony of a North Korean refugee reported by Forum 18 News Service, some elderly Christians were killed in a small town on the Chinese border. The motive for their killings, which occurred in the year 2000, was because they had refused to renounce their faith. Former North Korean citizens and prisoners, like Soon-Ok Lee, have said that Christians in reeducation camps and jails are treated worse than other prisoners.
Due to the reign of terror which has existed in North Korean, persons living in nearby regions have only discovered after ten years that they shared the same faith. Human Rights Without Frontiers says that in order to escape from police repression Christians meet secretly in groups of ten, often with members of the same family.
In recent years Pyongyang has grown worried about "spiritual pollution" of North Koreans and has attempted to persecute such "corrupt" citizens living abroad. In China, for example, where there are 100,000-300,000 North Korean refugees, Pyongyang has obtained support from Beijing to hunt the "fugitives" down.
A Japanese human rights activist has revealed that the North Korean government built a fake church in China (in Yanji, Jilin province), just 20 km from the border. Chinese police arrested many North Korean refugees there and had them sent back to North Korea. During long interrogations, North Korean government authorities ask the repatriated refugees what kind of contact they've had with South Korean missionaries working in China, if they read the Bible or attend church services. Those they who admit to contact with missionaries or any other religious affiliations and activities are imprisoned and condemned to death. The church's Protestant pastor, as some reports indicate, is being blackmailed by Pyongyang which holds his family hostage.
The situation is not much better in North Korea. In the capital there are only 2 Protestant churches in addition to one priestless Catholic church and a new Orthodox center of worship. Many foreigners who have attended religious services do not believe that the celebrations and faithful are "fake" or dramatized by the government, but all noted that sermons were filled with many political references. Others have said that government propaganda is found to exist within these churches and are not in constant use.
There are no exact figures on the number of faithful and places of worship existing in North Korea. In July 2002, at the request of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the North Korean government released brief and evasive information on the status of Christians living in the country. In terms of Catholic numbers authorities said there were 800 faithful in the country with 2 "centers of public worship" and one sanctuary.
The governments said there were around 12,000 Protestants in North Korea with 2 churches, "500 centers of worship for families" and 20 pastors. In Jan. 2004 an exponent of Baptist Church-run Cornerstone Ministries told the US Commission on Religious Freedom that there were 100,000 Protestant North Koreans.
According to certain estimates there are about 100,000 Christians out of a total population of 24 million in North Korea, of which 12,000 are Protestants and 4000 Catholics. It is said that since communists took over the government in 1953, some 300,000 Christians have disappeared and there are no longer priests or nuns in the country, all likely killed during times of persecution. (MR)


Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying
The Justice We Must Pursue,_Care_for_the_Dying.htm
By Kate Fowler

March 18, 2004

This article first appeared in the January/February 2004 issue of BreakPoint WorldView magazine. Subscribe today or order a gift subscription!
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.--Edmund Burke
Coming from a university setting where choosing dairy over soymilk at the independent, locally-owned latte shop suggested an alarming lack of character, I am well-acquainted with at least one, limited, understanding of social justice. Yet defining justice in terms of "compost vs. recycling" or "bike lanes vs. HOV lanes" falls far short of our calling as Christians to pursue and uphold true and lasting justice among people around the world.
The Christian's call to pursue justice emphasizes the dignity of man--a concern for the other--rather than seeking our own individual rights and "entitlements." It is critical to understand this call, given the countless, atrocious human rights violations around the world. For example, North Korea is deemed by many to be the worst human rights situation on the globe today. Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are imprisoned in forced labor camps; thousands more are desperately seeking asylum because of its famine and injustice. Their well being should matter to us because seeking and upholding justice is a fundamental principle of the Christian life.
In Isaiah 1:17, we are called to "seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." In James 1:27 we read, "Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Isaiah 61:1 says, "He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners." Thus, we are bound by the eternal, universal law of our Creator to administer justice and uphold human dignity.
Nonetheless, many evangelicals dismiss human rights initiatives as a political construct of the ideological left. There is merit in being cautious about social issues. As John Stott warns in his book Human Rights and Human Wrongs: "We will be wise not to blunder unprepared into the minefield of social ethics." He recalls a statement by the late John Mackay: "Commitment without reflection is fanaticism in action, though reflection without commitment is the paralysis of all action."
In his book The Good News about Injustice, Gary Haugen writes:
To say that God is a God of justice is to say that He is a God who cares about the right exercise of power or authority. God is the ultimate power and authority in the universe, so justice occurs when power and authority are exercised in conformity with His standards . . . justice occurs on earth when power and authority between people are exercised in conformity with God's standards of moral excellence.
Given Haugen's definition of justice on earth as an exercise of authority "between people," it is no coincidence that justice and injustice are most pronounced at the point in which human lives are touched. It is equally understandable why collective "social justice" is often co-opted into discussions about human rights. One of the most fundamental principles in God's universal law is that man is created in God's image. As such, we are endowed with a unique capacity and responsibility to be in relationship with God, with others, and with the earth.
It is important to keep in mind that, as Stott writes, "human rights are not unlimited rights, as if we were free to be and do absolutely anything we like. They are limited to what is compatible with being the human person God made us and meant us to be." Thus, human rights must always address, honor, and uphold man's freedom and responsibility as God's image-bearer. And evangelicals in recent years have made great progress in advocating this understanding of human rights.
Human Rights Today
Unlike other monuments that decorate the National Mall in Washington, D.C., marking man's victories, the United States Holocaust museum marks man's depravity in a fallen world. But it tells only one story, marks only one incidence, talks only about the past. Meanwhile, the same evil persists among nations and in individual lives around the world today.
In a Wall Street Journal opinion article, Oklahoma University professor Allen Hertzke drew public attention to contemporary atrocities. He also highlighted and defended the critical role evangelical activism has played in bringing justice and relieving oppression. He described the "massacres, ethnic cleansing, and enslavement by a despotic regime" endured by Christians in Sudan for more than twenty years and applauded evangelical leaders, laymen, and students for their role in the passage of the Sudan Peace Act in 2002. "This story of human rights activism offers one example among many of a new generation of evangelicals quite comfortable in forming coalitions with those they may oppose on some hot-button domestic concerns," Hertzke writes. When it comes to life-and-death issues, differing ideological stands diminish in relevance, and people come together to--as the hymn by Fanny Crosby goes--"rescue the perishing, care for the dying."
Hertzke also highlighted the evangelical-led, bipartisan coalitions that played a dominant and critical role in the passage of: the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998; the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2002, to protect women and children from the multi-billion dollar global sex trafficking industry; the Prison Rape Elimination Act signed by the president last September, to protect U.S. prisoners from rape and sexual assault; and the current initiative by evangelicals in coalition with other groups to bring freedom to the North Korean people under legislation called The Korean Freedom Act, which Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) introduced last fall.
The North Korean Freedom Act currently before Congress includes policy provisions that:
promote family reunification between North and South Koreans;
ensure direct aid and humanitarian relief reaches those in need;
protect refugees by amending and strengthening U.S. and UN immigration and refugee policies;
provide information to North Koreans by increasing the number of radios, newspapers, and democratic broadcasts;
engage South Korea in protecting its neighbor;
and raise public awareness about the situation in North Korea .
This initiative provides evangelicals with an incredible opportunity to pursue justice for North Korean citizens. Included by President Bush as part of the "Axis of Evil," the North Korean government has grossly abused its authority, oppressing its people in a land of darkness.
A Dark Country
Physically, North Korea is dark because economic disaster and chronic misuse of resources by its dictator, the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il, is so extensive that even in the capital city of Pyongyang, power is cut off entirely at intervals throughout the day. The dire economic conditions have also caused more than 4 million North Koreans to die of starvation or malnutrition since 1995, according to humanitarian relief experts. One North Korean, Chung Goo Nam, who successfully escaped over the Chinese border, recalls, "I remember I went to a warehouse [in North Korea] to catch rats. I caught two rats but they were so thin and with very little meat. One of the things that surprises me in China is that the rats are so fat and big."
North Korea is also a land of spiritual darkness. Its systematic oppression of North Koreans through propaganda and a complex system of government-run gulags is unsurpassed in the world today. Soon Ok Lee became a Christian after observing the faith of persecuted Christians in the prison camp where she labored for six years. She recalls her own suffering once she became a Christian:
You can't imagine the water torture. They forcefully poured ten liters of water into my body. They used a specially designed kettle and inserted the spout into my throat so it was wide open. When I resumed my consciousness, my stomach was full of water. While it was full, the guards put a wide wooden board on my belly and trampled on it to make me vomit. They repeated this procedure several times. Water gushed from my mouth, nose, genitals, and anus. Their twisted faces are bound in my memory as those of wolves and demons.
Soon Ok Lee was imprisoned for the so-called "political crime" of failing to use government funds to pay for her supervisor's personal dry cleaning. Her son and husband were also punished for her alleged crime, and though she was able to reunite with her son after he served five years in a forced labor camp, her husband is still missing. This systematic imposition of guilt-by-association punishment for up to three generations and the frequent application of lifetime prison sentences are both identified as "phenomenon of repression" in a recent report by the U.S. Committee on North Korean Human Rights.
Modest estimates indicate at least 200,000 North Koreans are housed in government-run gulags. But it is likely that as many as a million or more are incarcerated in camps and colonies that have not yet been accounted for, as Suzanne Scholte of the Defense Forum Foundation and other human rights experts attest. Each camp spans up to twenty miles in length and fifteen to twenty miles in width. Prisoners are forced to perform hard labor, such as mining, logging, textile manufacturing, and brickmaking under dreadfully harsh conditions. Prisoners typically work up to twelve hours a day on a daily food ration of eighty grams of cornmeal, lightly salted. "Political crimes" that have resulted in imprisonment include humming a South Korean or American pop song, owning a Bible, complaining about a lack of food, or criticizing the government. North Korea 's oppression depends heavily on its isolation from the rest of the world, giving its leaders the power to control the minds and lives of its people. "We believed unreservedly that we lived in paradise on earth," former presidential bodyguard Lee Young-kuk said of North Korea .
Action and Inaction
Human rights challenges provide evangelicals with a valuable faith lesson. As Gary Haugen recognizes, "In the end the battle against oppression stands or falls on the battlefield of hope." Christians rejoice in the knowledge that their faith alone offers sufficient hope to account for the suffering of the world--Christ's redemption and promise of restoration ensure that. Yet even with the progress of evangelical activism, in the policy realm it is still too often Christians who abandon these issues to the political left.
Stott explores this phenomenon in a section titled "The paradox of our humanness" in Human Rights and Human Wrongs: "We human beings have a unique dignity as creatures made in God's image and a unique depravity as sinners under His judgment. The former gives us hope, the latter places limits on our expectation." He illustrates this principle as the tendency of Christians to assimilate too easily to either a "right" or "left" political ideology, both of which inevitably distort the true balance and tension of our call to live God-honoring lives. "Each [extreme political ideology] attracts because it emphasizes a truth about human beings," he writes, "either the need to give free play to their creative abilities or the need to protect them from injustice. Each repels because it fails to take with equal seriousness the complementary truth. Both can be liberating. Both can also be oppressive."
While this observation affirms the legitimate tension Christians often feel when it comes to pursuing justice through tangible programs, it does not in any way excuse Christians from thoughtful political action and awareness. Instead of resisting this tension, he argues, by embracing the truth of this paradox and choosing instead to live within that tension, Christians can better learn how to view justice and human rights policy not simply as a means to an end, but as a tool to better inform and cultivate an understanding of God's call to seek justice.

In December 2003, Kate Fowler , government affairs specialist for the Wilberforce Forum, traveled to Boliviato minister to impoverished children and prostitutes. She holds a bachelor's in journalism from the Universityof Coloradoat Boulder.

The ordeal of a North Korean in Canada
Jeff Jacoby The Boston Globe
Monday, March 8, 2004

Fleeing Kim's tyranny

BOSTON If you have ever started to emerge from one nightmare only to find yourself plunged into a new one, you will find the ordeal of Ri Song Dae frighteningly familiar.
In August 2001, Ri entered Canada with his wife and their 6-year-old son, Chang Il. They were defectors from the monstrous dictatorship in North Korea and had come to Canada to seek asylum.
For 10 years, Ri had been a low-level trade functionary, periodically sent abroad to purchase foodstuffs. He had long known of the savage brutality of Kim Jong Il's regime, of course; no government official could fail to be aware of it. What finally prompted him to flee was seeing the horrible treatment meted out to escaped North Koreans who were caught and returned. According to human rights monitors, that treatment includes humiliation and torture, typically followed by slow starvation and slave labor in a prison camp - or public execution.
Ri filed a formal claim for refugee status for himself and Chang Il four months after arriving in Canada, but by then his second nightmare had begun. His wife, browbeaten by her Japanese parents for her "betrayal," attempted to commit suicide, then agreed to leave her husband and son and return to North Korea. She was executed in April 2002. Ri's father was executed as well, in keeping with the North Korean policy of ruthlessly punishing not only "criminals," but also their parents and children.
On Sept. 12, 2003, more than two years after Ri's plea for asylum was filed, Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board issued its ruling. It was an Orwellian stunner.
A board member, Bonnie Milliner, ruled that Ri's young son was entitled to stay in Canada, since he would face severe persecution if he were returned to Pyongyang. But Ri's appeal for refugee protection was denied, even though Milliner agreed that "he would face execution on return to North Korea." Why would Canada send a man back to his certain death? Because, Milliner wrote, "there are serious reasons for considering that (Ri) has committed crimes against humanity by virtue of his longstanding membership in the Government of North Korea."
In other words, Ri was deemed complicit in crimes against humanity solely because he had held a government job. Milliner acknowledged that there was no evidence he had committed atrocities. But Ri knew of the regime's savagery yet waited 10 years to defect. To the immigration board, that added up to a case for sending him back to be killed.
If the board's decision were to stand, Ri would be sent off to die, and his 6-year-old would be an orphan. His prospects grew even bleaker on Feb. 20, when Milliner's ruling was upheld by Canada's citizenship and immigration ministry. Canadians express pride in their country's humanitarian values, but it has been hard to detect any of those values as this case has moved through the Canadian bureaucracy.
Fortunately, Ri received a last-minute reprieve. On Wednesday, Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan granted him permission to stay in Canada indefinitely, since his life would be in danger if he were deported. Her decision effectively overruled the earlier decrees. Ri's long nightmare may at last be over.
Back in North Korea, however, there are no happy endings. News media coverage of Kim Jong Il's government has been focused on its illegal nuclear weapons program and its proliferation of missile technology. But even more ghastly is the suffering it inflicts on its own people.
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday on the use of political prisoners as chemical weapons guinea pigs. A senior North Korean chemist who escaped in 2002 described a testing chamber that was outfitted with a large window and a sound system so scientists could see and hear the victims' reactions when they were sprayed with the lethal poison.
"One man was scratching desperately," the defector testified. "He scratched his neck, his chest. . . . He was covered in blood. ... I kept trying to look away. I knew how toxic these chemicals were in even small doses." It took, he said, three agonizing hours for each man to die.
When I wrote in The Boston Globe last month about North Korea's concentration camps and gas chambers, many readers wrote to ask: What can I do? The first and most important step is to learn more. Three excellent sources of information on North Korea are The Chosun Journal (, the Citizens Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (, and the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea ( They should be the first stop for anyone for whom "never again" is not just an empty slogan.
Ri Song Dae and his son are safe, but 22 million North Koreans remain trapped, at the mercy of the most evil government on earth. Learn what is happening to them. Cry out in protest. This is not a time for silence.
Jeff Jacoby's column runs regularly in The Boston Globe.

Copyright ? 2003 The International Herald Tribune

Statement of Principles for U.S.-North Korean Relations

A repressive, powerfully armed communist regime headed by an odious despot creates a crisis in relations with the U.S. and the world's democracies. It does so by threatening nuclear war if the world's noncommunist powers fail to accede to its demands. The crisis manufactured by the regime results from its acute internal crisis of legitimacy and survival, and from the mounting collapse of its economy. The regime demands formal negotiations leading to economic assistance and broad support for its internal security. In particular, the regime demands formal U.S. and international recognition of the permanence of the borders under its control.
Faced with strong political pressures both at home and from U.S. allies to negotiate over the regime's "peace for security" demand, the president of the United States agrees to do so.
But the president takes a simple additional step; he broadens the negotiating agenda to make the regime's human-rights practices a legitimate item for discussion. Eager to begin negotiations over its "political-security basket" of demands, eager to establish trade relations and receive economic support, unable to sustain the public position that its internal security depends on the denial of basic human rights, and confident of its ability to repress human rights once its economy and security receive outside support, the regime accepts the president's negotiating proposal.


This scenario is neither contemporary nor fanciful. It describes events in which the dictator was Leonid Brezhnev not Kim Jong Il, and the regime the Soviet Union, not North Korea.

History will record President Nixon's 1972 agenda-broadening decision as one of the wisest of modern history--one that converted a blustering threat from a nuclear-armed regime into a major cause of its implosion. The decision trumped and negated the false but damaging charges then being made that the U.S. was indifferent to the specter of war with the Soviet Union. It placed on the bargaining table more than the appeasement-or-war, red-or-dead "choices" the Soviets sought to posit. It rescued the world's democracies from being defensive respondents to crisis and helped bring about widespread liberation.

Beginning with the Soviet Union's initial agreement to a Helsinki process, the Brezhnev demands culminated in the Helsinki Agreement of 1975. The Soviet Union gained what it had primarily sought, and what proved meaningless: formal recognition of the permanence of its Eastern European borders. Yet what it gave in return--formal acknowledgment of the legitimacy of such rights as the free exchange of people, open borders and family reunification--opened the floodgates of dissent and led to its collapse.

The animating insight of Helsinki was that by publicly raising human rights issues to high priority levels, the U.S. would set forces in motion that would undermine the legitimacy of the communist empire. And so it turned out to be.

At the nongovernmental level, such monitoring groups as Czechoslovakia's Charter 77, Poland's Solidarity and Russia's Helsinki Monitors emerged from the Helsinki Agreement--often fragile, frequently persecuted, but nonetheless real and, as we know today, deathly potent to their totalitarian targets. At the governmental level, Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe review mechanisms gave U.S. negotiators a means of achieving the release of significant numbers of named political prisoners. As a result, dissident artists and cultural leaders, rebellious students, Jewish refuseniks, Pentecostal ministers and other gulag victims became brave icons of hope within and without the Soviet Union. Their freedom liberated others to challenge the regime's authority.

The "rights basket" of Helsinki issues thwarted the Soviet Union's efforts to create and exploit great divisions within the West over how best to respond to nuclear blackmail. They also unified the Free World by illuminating to its people the fundamental values they shared.


Confronted today with significantly less potent threats from Kim Jong Il than those made by Brezhnev, the world's democracies are nonetheless faced, as they were in the early 1970s, with the zero-sum trap of either rewarding North Korea for violating its prior commitments or appearing indifferent to its threats of nuclear war.

Based on the lessons of Helsinki, we strongly believe that the U.S. must neither directly nor indirectly license a fragile and oppressive Pyongyang regime to commit heightened atrocities against its own people in exchange for yet another promise not to pose nuclear threats to the world order. We also believe that the U.S. can enter into formal negotiations with Pyongyang in a manner that promotes American and universal ideals and creates unity with our allies.

With that in mind, and acknowledging the complexity of all foreign policy decisions, we call upon President Bush to take the following steps:

Respond positively to Pyongyang's demand to negotiate with the U.S. over exchanging monitored renunciation of nuclear weaponry for a U.S. commitment of military "nonaggression"--but on condition that Pyongyang agrees to negotiate over allowing institutions that promote such human rights as the free exchange of people, religious liberty, open borders and family reunification.
Express willingness to negotiate an "economic basket" of issues in which the U.S. will consider lifting trade sanctions and offering economic assistance--but on condition that Pyongyang takes monitored steps that satisfy the president's newly announced "millennial standards" making U.S. foreign aid contingent on the adoption of market-based and rule-of-law reforms.
Announce, in simple, stark terms, that the central U.S. objective toward North Korea is the promotion of democracy so that its people can enjoy the same rights and progress enjoyed by the people of South Korea.
Significantly enhance U.S. public diplomacy toward North Korea. This can be achieved through steps including:
Greatly expanding the current, scandalously inadequate four-hour-a-day Korean-language Radio Free Asia broadcasts;
Investigating, compiling and disseminating the human-rights abuses of the regime through expanded satellite photography of gulags and broadly available computerized databanks; and
Paying special attention to the regime's religious persecution through expanded funding for investigations by the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom.
Give priority status to the plight of North Korean refugees and senior-level defectors. This can be achieved through many steps, including:
Pressing the Russian and, most particularly, Chinese governments to allow the reasonable processing of the refugee claims of North Korean escapees;
Strongly insisting that the U.N. High Commission for Refugees should invoke its express powers under a Dec. 1, 1995, China-UNHCR treaty to obtain binding international arbitration to resolve any dispute involving the failure of the Chinese government to give UNHCR personnel "at all times . . . unimpeded access to refugees."
Supporting the Brownback-Kennedy bill granting North Korean refugees the same Lautenberg Amendment rights to U.S. refugee status as are now provided to Cuban refugees;
Discreetly but actively encouraging senior-level defections by senior North Korean officials by aggressively countering the regime's disinformation campaign regarding the fate of post-collapse Soviet officials, and by offering financial support and amnesty for key defectors; and
Providing assurances to South Korea, China and Japan that the U.S. will assume a significant share of the financial costs of any collapse of the Pyongyang regime--thereby allaying a major if largely unacknowledged source of support for continuing the regime in power.


The lessons of Helsinki allow the crisis now created by the Pyongyang regime to be seen as an opportunity for, not a threat to, the free world. They allow the U.S. to focus the current debate on the regime's policies of persecution and starvation and to the massive failure of its economic policies. They allow the president to strengthen democracy and human rights throughout the world, to strengthen the bonds of alliances now temporarily strained by efforts to portray the U.S. as indifferent to Korean peninsular peace, and to maintain his determination never to allow rogue regimes to benefit from threats or broken promises.

We believe that little is lost, and much gained, by immediately broadening negotiations with the Pyongyang regime to include the plight of those who live under its rule. As such, we call on the president to do so--in furtherance of historic American values, and the national interests of the U.S., its allies and the world at large.


Leith Anderson William Bennett Charles Colson Nicholas Eberstadt Robert George Michael Horowitz Max Kampelman Penn Kemble Dianne Knippers Richard Land Richard Neuhaus Michael Novak Marvin Olasky Mark Palmer Nina Shea Radek Sikorski R. James Woolsey

This statement appeared in the Wall Street Journal on January 18, 2003.


For further information:

BreakPoint Commentary No. 030129, "Chips Worth Bargaining For."

Stand Today offers many ways citizens can help persecuted Christians in North Korea and elsewhere. Also see BreakPoint's list of human rights organizations.


Out of the Dark Age
A coalition floats a real Korean sunshine policy.

Will President Bush replicate one of Bill Clinton's worst foreign-policy failures?
The administration said last week that it will contemplate sending aid to North Korea before the nation has dismantled its nuclear program. At the end of this path is potentially the kind of deal Clinton cut, with Pyongyang gobbling up international goodies while, one way or the other, maintaining its weapons programs.
This approach will be celebrated by Bush's critics. It will allow them to bellow a delicious "told you so" about Clinton's Agreed Framework of 1994, casting it as the only realistic answer to the crisis, embraced by even the reluctant Bushies.
But there is another way in North Korea. A bipartisan coalition of conservatives, liberals, Christians, Korean Americans, and human-rights activists -- led by Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas -- is rising to promote an entirely different approach based on the premise that there can be no peace and security on the Korean peninsula without the collapse of the current regime in Pyongyang. The coalition's weapon in the struggle with the North is one of the most powerful the United States has -- the promise of freedom -- and it plans to wield it forcefully.
This will be considered inconvenient by South Korea. If there is a villain in the current Korean crisis besides the lunatic Kim Jong Il, it is Seoul. For the South Korean government, the worst threat isn't a totalitarian, nuclear-armed North, but the prospect of an enormous new line in its budget, with the fiscal strains that would come with the collapse of Pyongyang and reunification. South Korea thinks a good demilitarized zone makes for a good neighbor, even if the neighbor happens to be a prison camp.
South Korea calls its posture toward the North, in a perverse misnomer, "the sunshine policy" when it is really meant to keep the North plunged in darkness. The rising coalition wants a true sunshine policy, exposing the evil of the North, affording its people access to outside information, and offering the opportunity of escape.
A major bill that is set to be introduced in Congress would require the U.S. government to make reports on the North Korean human-rights situation, including releasing satellite photos of the gulag system, and to hold a series of hearings on persecution in North Korea. It would try to bring the outside world to the North, with extensive American radio broadcasting and the provision of transistor radios for North Koreans.
Importantly, the draft bill seeks to make it easier for North Koreans to leave the country. If North Koreans were allowed to vote with their feet, the Dear Leader would lose in a landslide. The model is Hungary and East Germany, where an immigration outflow in 1989 created the crisis that collapsed the Eastern Bloc.
There are an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 North Koreans already living in China. The bill would condition funding for the United Nations on its entering binding international arbitration with China over the status of North Korean refugees. China treats them as economic migrants who can be sent back to North Korea in the most brutal fashion possible, when they are really refugees who cannot be repatriated.
Meanwhile, U.S. immigration policy toward North Korea is shockingly stingy (if North Koreans were Mexicans, they would get much more generous treatment). The bill would make it possible for as many as 30,000 North Korean refugees to enter the United States this year, creating pressure -- by example -- on the South to honor its commitment to welcome North Korean refugees.
The bill's architects contemplate using an even more forceful stick: A provision would stipulate that South Korea gets no U.S. aid to handle the collapse in Pyongyang unless it has had a hand in helping bring it about. If all South Korea cares about is its budget, this at least should get its attention. And maybe one day again the South will understand that human rights, not bribes, is the answer in North Korea.

? 2003 by King Features Syndicate

-- Rich Lowry is author of the upcoming Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years.
>> IRAQ...

Second Thinking
What I got wrong about Iraq.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, April 19, 2004, at 11:04 AM PT

At least there's no question about the flavor of the week. It's a scoop of regime-change second-thoughts, with a dash of "who lost Iraq by gaining it?" Colin Powell, who has never been wise before any event (he was for letting Bosnia slide and didn't want even to move an aircraft carrier on the warning--which he didn't believe--that Saddam was about to invade Kuwait), always has Bob Woodward at his elbow when he wants to be wise afterwards. Richard Clarke has never been asked any questions about his insistence that the United States stay away from Rwanda. Many of those who were opposed to any military intervention now tell us that they always thought it should have been at least twice as big.

To give an example of the latter school: E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post has just instructed his readers that Fallujah and the Sunni triangle would more likely have been under control the first time around, except that we refused the offer of help from the Turks. Dionne, whose politics are an etiolated version of the Dorothy Day/Michael Harrington Catholic-pacifist school, is the soft-Left's William Safire in this thirst for Turkish power. At the time, I thought it was impressive that the United States refused Turkey's arrogant pre-condition, which was a demand that Turkish troops be allowed into Iraqi Kurdistan. Apart from the fact that there was and is no threat from that quarter, such a concession would have negated our "regime change" claims.

Now we hear on all sides, including Lakhdar Brahimi of the United Nations, that de-Baathification was also a mistake. Can you imagine what the antiwar critics, and many Iraqis, would now be saying if the Baathists had been kept on? This point extends to Paul Bremer's decision to dissolve the Baathist armed forces. That could perhaps have been carried out with more tact, and in easier stages. But it was surely right to say that a) Iraq was the victim of a huge and parasitic military, which invaded externally and repressed internally; and b) that young Iraqi men need no longer waste years of their lives on nasty and stultifying conscription. Moreover, by making it impossible for any big-mouth brigadier or general to declare himself the savior of Iraq in a military coup, the United States also signaled that it would not wish to rule through military proxies (incidentally, this is yet another gross failure of any analogy to Vietnam, El Salvador, Chile, and all the rest of it).

In parallel with this kind of retrospective brilliance, we continue to hear from those whose heroic job it is to keep on exposing the open secret. Fresh bulletins continue to appear from the faction that knows the awful truth: Saddam's Iraq was considered a threat by some people even before Osama Bin Laden became famous. I still recommend Kenneth Pollack's book The Threatening Storm as the best general volume here. Published well before the war and by a member of the Clinton NSC whose pre-Kuwait warnings had been overruled by the first Bush administration, it openly said that continuing coexistence with Saddam Hussein had become impossible and that the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, made it thinkable at last to persuade public opinion that this was so. More than any other presentation, this prepared the ground for the intervention. I remember it being rather openly on sale and being considered the argument that you had to beat.

Pollack rested more of his case than he now finds comfortable on the threat from Iraqi WMD. That these used to be a threat is no more to be denied than the cheerful fact that we can now be sure that they no longer are. (And being sure is worth something, by the way, unless you would have preferred to take Saddam's word for it.) So, should it now be my own turn? What did I most get wrong? Hell, I'm not feeling masochistic today. But come on, Hitchens, the right-thinking now insist that you concede at least something.

The thing that I most underestimated is the thing that least undermines the case. And it's not something that I overlooked, either. But the extent of lumpen Islamization in Iraq, on both the Khomeinist and Wahhabi ends (call them Shiite and Sunni if you want a euphemism that insults the majority), was worse than I had guessed.

And this is also why I partly think that Colin Powell, as reported by Woodward, was right. He apparently asked the president if he was willing to assume, or to accept, responsibility for the Iraqi state and society. The only possible answer, morally and politically, would have been "yes." The United States had already made itself co-responsible for Iraqi life, first by imposing the sanctions, second by imposing the no-fly zones, and third by co-existing with the regime. (Three more factors, by the way, that make the Vietnam comparison utterly meaningless.) This half-slave/half-free compromise could not long have endured.

The antiwar Left used to demand the lifting of sanctions without conditions, which would only have gratified Saddam Hussein and his sons and allowed them to rearm. The supposed neutrals, such as Russia and France and the United Nations, were acting as knowing profiteers in a disgusting oil-for-bribes program that has now been widely exposed. The regime-change forces said, in effect: Lift the sanctions and remove the regime. But in the wasted decade of sanctions-plus-Saddam, a whole paranoid and wretched fundamentalist underclass was created and exploited by the increasingly Islamist propaganda of the Baath Party. This also helps explain the many overlooked convergences between the supposedly "secular" Baathists and the forces of jihad.

When fools say that the occupation has "united" Sunni and Shiite, they flatter the alliance between the proxies of the Iranian mullahs and the Saudi princes. And they ignore the many pleas from disputed and distraught towns, from Iraqis who beg not to be abandoned to these sadistic and corrupt riffraff. One might have seen this coming with greater prescience. But it would have made it even more important not to leave Iraq to the post-Saddam plans of such factions. There was no way around our adoption of Iraq, as there still is not. It's only a pity that the decision to intervene was left until so many years had been consumed by the locust.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and a regular contributor to Slate. His most recent book is Blood, Class and Empire He is also the author of A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq.
>> IRAQ ...""
Postwar Constitution-Building:
Comparing America's Situation with Iraq's Yields a Dismal Picture of Iraq's Likely Future
Thursday, Apr. 15, 2004
The explosion of violence in Iraq has temporarily shifted the issue of "nation-building" off the front page. It has replaced that issue, instead, with the more pressing question of whether Iraq can be saved from utter chaos.
But assuming that the U.S.-led coalition can restore a semblance of order in the streets, the process of nation-building - its excruciating difficulty, and tantalizing hope - will regain its standing. In the end, that process will act as the ultimate test for whether history will judge the U.S. invasion as a wholesale disaster, albeit one mitigated by the removal of a terrible despot, or at least a partial success.
When this happens, a central focus will be the creation of a new Iraqi Constitution. Somehow this document, which is the subject of a raging debate, must provide the architecture for a democratic state that is hard even to imagine at the moment.
Rarely has a document had to bear such weight. With the disappearance of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as the raison d'etre for the war, the liberation of the Iraqi people and the creation of a model democratic state have become the Administration's chief justifications for U.S. involvement in Iraq. Naturally, a real working Constitution - not some Soviet-style parchment of extravagant but meaningless guarantees - is essential to the creation of such a democracy. Thus, the Iraqi nation's fate significantly depends on the success of the Iraqi Constitution's Framers.
With these stakes in mind, it seems worth comparing some of the challenges facing Iraq with those that faced the American colonies after our Revolutionary War. The results of this thought experiment - even if briefly indulged - are depressing indeed.
America's Experience: From the Revolution, to the Constitution
After the Revolution, the Founding Fathers faced four profound structural questions for the government they were redesigning through the Constitution -- the new document that would replace the Articles of Confederation, which had proved grossly inadequate.
First, the Constitution's Framers had to strengthen the federal government (which had proven too weak under the Articles), without unduly diminishing the power of individual states. Under the Articles of Confederation, the federal government had had little power. But under the Constitution, things were very different.
In the Constitution, the Framers established a federal government of enumerated powers, with sufficient flexibility to meet whatever contingencies might arise. Meanwhile, the states retained significant authority over matters that did not require a uniform national approach.
Second, the Framers had to find an appropriate balance of power between the small states and the larger states. They solved this problem by devising a bicameral legislature with one chamber organized by state according to population and the other chamber providing equal representation of all states.
Third, the Framers needed to come up with a system of effective government that would not be overly dominated by either the executive or legislative branches. They managed this, as is familiar, through a careful "separation of powers" among three "co-equal" branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial.
And fourth, the Framers had to figure out how to deal with the problem of slavery and the large slave population that existed in the South. Here, they decided on a rather ignominious course - outlawing the slave trade after a substantial period of years, treating slaves as "three-fifths" of a person for determining state representation, and otherwise remaining silent on this potentially explosive subject.
How America's Framers Confronted Constitutional Challenges -- and Nearly Failed
None of this political balancing act came easily. But the Framers were inordinately fortunate to count among their number the wisest and most innovative minds - James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and many others -- of a highly creative moment in history.
They also benefited from all the wisdom they could glean from the rich intellectual tradition of the Enlightenment, to which they were direct heirs. Locke, Montesquieu, and the other great thinkers of this tradition gave philosophical footing to the American nation-building enterprise.
Further, the Framers, and the fledgling nation on whose behalf they were acting, enjoyed the luxury that, for all the difference between a typical Virginian and a typical New Yorker, they had a wealth of shared colonial experience and were united by powerful bonds forged in the fire of the revolutionary struggle against Britain. In short, they had a shared idea about what kind of government they did not want, and enough common experience to find a shared vision for a better way.
Even with all these advantages, the ultimate success of the American experiment was a nearer run they we like to admit. In 70 years, the Constitutional compromise over slavery, having eaten away at the nation's connective tissue, finally split the nation, causing the Civil War. Had it not been for Lincoln's perseverance and a chance turn at the battle of Gettysburg, we might well be two countries now.
The Iraqi Constitution: Facing More Daunting Challenge than Our Own Framers Did
By comparison, the challenges facing the Framers of the Iraqi Constitution seem immeasurably more daunting. The Iraqis have structural problems in spades.
To begin with, the Iraqi Constitution will have to find a workable balance between the interests of the country's Shiite Muslim majority and its ethnic and religious minorities, including the Kurds, who seek a degree of autonomy that the Shiites do not want to yield.
No less important, the Iraqi Constitution will also have to find a path to religious pluralism through the minefield of those Islamic factions who would like to make the country a theocracy. Already the key Iraqi players are at loggerheads about what role to give religious law in determining the laws of the nation.
These potentially intractable issues, moreover, come on top of the usual blockbuster Constitution-writing dilemmas -- such as how much power to give the national government vis-?-vis the regional authorities, and how to divide power within the national government.
Iraq's Framers Lack the American Framers' Advantages
Unfortunately, in confronting these seemingly insurmountable problems, the Iraqis enjoy few, if any, of the advantages that blessed their American counterparts in 1789.
At least according to recent news accounts, there are no Madisons or Hamiltons on the horizon. Instead, the two main Iraqi rivals negotiating over the Constitution's content, Faisal Istrabadi and Salem Chalabi. Istrabadi is a medical malpractice lawyer from Indiana. Chalabi is the nephew of Ahmed Chalabi -- the former exile group leader whose suspect advice turns out to have misled the Bush Administration at just about every turn.
Worse still, it appears that Istrabadi and Chalabi both view the Constitutional drafting process not so much as a way of creating a enduring governmental structure, but as a way of ensuring greater power for their respective political patrons. Istrabadi's patron is Adnan Pachachi, who is likely to become the new Iraq's first president; Chalabi's, unsurprisingly, is Ahmed Chalabi, who is likely to become the new Iraq's first prime minister.
No wonder, then, that Salem Chalabi pushes for a weak presidency and strong prime minister's role: His patron (and uncle) is slated for the prime ministership, so of course he'd like that position to be as powerful -- and the presidency's powers as modest -- as possible.
No doubt such parochialism could be overcome if other stars were in alignment. But the Iraqis have no indigenous philosophical tradition - no modern day analogue to the Enlightenment principles that informed America's Framers- to guide their transition to democracy. Although Iraq, of course, has its philosophers, their subject has been religion, not nation-building.
Nor do the Iraqi Framers have the same kind of deep reservoir of shared experience that served the American Framers so well. To the contrary, the Iraqi Framers operate in the context of a near-civil war.
Remember, this is a country artificially created by outsiders only a few generations ago. Now, the various factions vying to shape the Iraqi Constitution are divided by a history of profound ethnic and religious animosity that only Saddam's brutality kept in check.
The Immense Difficulty of Crafting a Meaningful Constitution For Iraq
All this makes the process of writing a meaningful Constitution darn near impossible. Constitutions may reflect shared purposes, but they really can't be expected to create them.
Of course, the Iraqi people richly deserve democracy: Self-government should be every person's birthright. But entitlement and reality can be worlds apart - and bridging that gap will take nothing short of the Baghdad version of our "Miracle at Philadelphia."
What Do You Think? Message Boards

Edward Lazarus, a FindLaw columnist, writes about, practices, and teaches law in Los Angeles. A former federal prosecutor, he is the author of two books - most recently, Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court.

>> ...

Debate simmers on Saudi reform
By Peyman Pejman

RIYADH - Ever since Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, took power in 1995, many citizens have been anxiously waiting for the political reforms he has promised.
The question of the sincerity of the government in this highly conservative and tightly ruled kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, has been subject to unending debate.
Last month the government arrested half a dozen known reform activists. While a few have been released, others are still in custody, adding fuel to the arguments of those who say the government is not sincere about reforms that range from elections, greater involvement in day-to-day affairs, and voting by women, who do not have the right of suffrage in the oil-rich kingdom.
But many Saudis say they are convinced that the process has started and will not make an about-turn. It might not fly, but it will not grind to a halt, they say.
Khaled Batarfi, a political analyst in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's second-largest city, says what is being debated is not whether to proceed with the reform, but its details: to what end, in which direction and at what speed. "Imagine, all of us, the people of Saudi Arabia, are on a plane, flying from one destination to another. There is no question that all of us would like to reach some destination," he said in an interview.
"The question is, to what destination? Nobody says stop in midair because we know we will crash. Nobody is saying, 'Let's go back.' Nobody is saying, 'Let's throw some people out.' We want more influence on the route [we take]," he said. "What kind of route and what kind of speed. Do we go east or do we go west? Do we go as far Washington or do we stop in Europe?"
With approval from the ruling family, Saudi Arabia has held a number of "national dialogue" conferences, during which hundreds of people from all walks of life - women, Islamists, liberals, professionals - have debated what changes they want to recommend to their leaders for implementation.
"The kingdom is committed to reforms. But reforms will be carried out at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way so as to not disturb the peace and stability of the country," Crown Prince Abdullah said during a meeting last month with Saudi intellectuals.
Many Saudis, whether in the government or not, find themselves in a quandary. On one hand, they want to continue to push their government to remain committed to an acceptable pace of reform. On the other hand, they do not want to be perceived as taking those measures because of pressure from the outside world, especially the United States.
But even those who believe in the government's sincerity are warning that they will not wait forever. Khaled Maeena, an outspoken pro-reform advocate and editor of Arab News, one of the country's two English newspapers, says reform should take place for the sake of Saudis, and not with the purpose of appeasing foreign governments.
"I think we should go with our own speed, but at the same time evaluate that speed. If it is slow, we should push it to a certain decent and respectable speed. We need not be prodded by the West. We have to protect our own interests. But let us remember, time waits for no man," he said.
Maeena said one reason some Saudi Arabians in general, whether officials or ordinary citizens, are hesitant to enforce faster reform is that they fear an invasion of foreign influence in this conservative society. That fear, he said, is baseless.
"There are those amongst us who are afraid from change, saying foreign influence will come. Foreign influence will not come because wherever Islam went, it took: Indian culture, the culture in Spain, culture in Persia, the culture in all these places," Maeena said.
"The Muslims came from the desert but yet they built some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, which is that indication that when bab al-ijtihad, or reason and logic prevailed, then they were able to advance. But if we wallow in self-pity [and say] the cultural invasion in the West is out to get us, then I think we are harming ourselves," he said.
There are, however, those in Saudi Arabia who believe the government is not serious about changes in the first place. Mohsen Awaji, a former political-science associate professor who spent time in jail for Islamic and anti-government activities, admitted that the "reform train has left the station". But, he added, the Saudi ruling family will do anything to stop the progress.
Crown Prince Abdullah's government has promised that the country will hold unprecedented elections by October to choose half of the members of all local councils in the country. "Municipal elections will be the beginning of the Saudi citizens' participation in the political system," Crown Prince Abdullah told a recent session of the Shura Council, the country's unelected consultative assembly.
The foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, similarly remarked that Saudi Arabia "has reached a stage in our development that requires expanding political participation".
Pro-reform activists hope this will lead to holding nationwide elections, even with the participation of women, who currently do not have the right to vote.
Awaji said that if the government were serious about holding elections, it would have started preparing people for the process. But this, he said, has not happened so far.
"You see, election means they have to adopt the idea of elections before the propaganda. The idea of the elections means that they have to allow the people to participate in ruling this country," Awaji said.
Saudi officials have said the pace of the reform will be dictated by the country's social and political norms and culture. They say faster-than-needed reform will cause instability in the country and leave the doors open for increased activities by terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda, that have carried out a number of bombings in the country in the past year.

(Inter Press Service)

Malaysia's MSC: Super corridor or dead end?
By Ioannis Gatsiounis

KUALA LUMPUR - Nothing in Malaysia so embodies former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's vision for the nation than the 50-kilometer stretch of palm and rubber-patched plains between the airport and the capital. Known as the Multimedia Super Corridor and ballyhooing world-class infrastructure, it was intended to attract foreign capital, trigger a technological revolution and lead the nation to fully developed status by 2020.
To Mahathir it was the next logical leap. The economy under his feisty 22-year rule had transformed from agrarian-based to export-manufacturing-driven. Why stop there? The MSC is the superhighway Mahathir has paved for Malaysia.
A visit to the corridor's capital, Cyberjaya, though, suggests the dream hasn't entirely lived up to expectations. Five years after ground was broken, it appears as if the 21st century has come and gone. Or hasn't come at all. Weedy, barren fields await the arrival of construction crews. "Smart" condominiums boasting "broadband access" and "online shopping" are running at low occupancy. The main shopping complex is often eerily quiet, as are the wide, flat roadways beneath which lie kilometers of fiber optics.
Some heavy hitters of the information-technology (IT) world such as Fujitsu, Ericsson, and most recently Motorola, have come, lured by tax breaks, grants and other incentives. A creative college plans soon to relocate to Cyberjaya. And around the end of this month the government is expected to make a vote of confidence when it unveils Phase 2 of the MSC, which will link the corridor to other cities around Malaysia and the globe.
But with the Mahathir era fast fading, Malaysians and the world seem less impressed by the grandiosity of the MSC than they did a few short years ago, when Malaysia looked primed to become one of the few countries to make the elusive leap from developing to developed status. Indeed terms that sprinkle Cyberjaya's marketing brochures and landscape, such as "connected", "wireless", "borderless", and "E-ready" verge on passe. ("", the boom from which the dream spawned, has wisely gone missing.)
"Malaysia has fiber optics - so?" quipped one investor.
So do rivals India, Thailand and China, which while not exactly centers of innovation offer similar incentives, and in some cases much lower costs.
MSC officials point out that the corridor is home to 500 companies and since its inception seven years ago has employed 15,000 people, 87 percent home grown, and this surpasses targets. Sliding targets, perhaps - in 2000, officials said they expected the population of just Cyberjaya to surpass 20,000 by mid-2001. Regardless, numbers are rising, say MSC officials.
Mahathir, too, hasn't wavered much from the hard sell. "You are seeing beautiful buildings which are not empty but full of people working in there. That was what we expected," he said before retirement last year.
Others are less optimistic.
"Somewhere it lost a lot of steam along the way," opined Singapore-based economist Song Seng Wun, adding that too much emphasis has been placed on high tech and innovation, a call Malaysians haven't wholeheartedly stepped up to.
Responding to the concern last week, Technology and Innovations Minister Jamaludin Jarjis urged MSC companies not to overlap and duplicate research, calling this "wasteful".
The government has been loath, publicly at least, to acknowledge that the plan might need an overhaul - that would be to admit a US$17 billion blunder in the case of Cyberjaya alone. But it's becoming harder to ignore.
There's a growing sense around Malaysia that Mahathir's megaprojects may have hindered as much as hampered growth, and dealt as much in appearances as substance. By Mahathir's own admission, they were designed in part to woo potential investors. Two other Mahathir megaprojects make up the bookends to the MSC, the vitreous, streamlined airport to the south and the dazzling Petronas office towers in downtown Kuala Lumpur, until last year the world's tallest buildings; a high-speed express train shuttles passengers to and fro.
As a whole, the stretch pumped the spirit of Malaysia boleh, or "Malaysia can". Now when Malaysians utter the phrase it's more often than not with irony. In the case of the airport and twin towers they're starting to look a bit like eyesores, reminders of what once seemed possible; not much has come along to compliment their grandeur. And Malaysia is finding that it takes much more than a high-tech pipe dream to distinguish yourself, raising the unspoken: Is Malaysia plateauing? Must this stable, talented, functional, resource-rich nation rethink itself if it is to live up to its potential?
When Mahathir's deputy Abdullah Badawi took over as premier last October, a sense of optimism swept the country - in large part because he appeared set to diverge from his predecessor. He tabled a grand railway project and vowed to concentrate more on rural development. That and other promises catapulted his coalition to a huge if underhanded parliamentary election win last month. His vision, however, remains a puzzle.
"There's been talk about shifting priorities, but [the government] has not been clear what direction it's going to take," said economist Jomo K S, adding that rethinking a national strategy is overdue, but "it must be informed carefully".
Perhaps a hint lies in Biovalley, a 200-hectare site set to open near Cyberjaya in 2006, with the aim of attracting 150 biotech companies and $10 billion in investment by 2015. It might prove the equipoise Malaysia needs: a simultaneous investment in the MSC and a deviation from its original focus. Biotech - it almost sounds like a natural fit for Malaysia's fertile equatorial soil (see Malaysia's new dream: Biovalley, December 24, 2003).
The verdict on the MSC's fate is still out. And who knows, Phase 2 might capitalize on lessons learned and prove so brilliant as to silence skeptics.
Rob Cayzer, senior manager with the Multimedia Development Corp, the MSC's overseeing body, sees no reason not to be optimistic. "The talent in Malaysia is as good as it is in any other developing country: infrastructure's as good, and so is cost."
He may have a point, but as Malaysia is finding out the hard way, that's no guarantee investors will come.
(Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)


Defector describes Iran's massive intelligence operation in Iraq
Iranian intelligence has been operating at least 18 covert centers in Iraq, according to a former Iranian official in Teheran's intelligence community. The defector disclosed the first details on Iran's intelligence presence in Iraq and described efforts to target Shi'ites deemed as aligned with the United States in a nearly $1 billion effort to prevent the spread of democracy in that Arab country...
Memo to 9/11 Commission: Fidel's spy in DIA convinced U.S. Cuba posed no WMD threat ...
Khan account of secret underground N. Korean nuclear facility questioned

N. Korea constructs 'class education' halls around nation in ideological offensive against U.S....
N. Korea scraps food rations, tells people to go shopping...
North Korea selling Scuds to Burma, which may be planning reactor...

Pakistan: It's deja vu all over again
By Leonard Weiss

Pakistan's denials and duplicity over its nuclear weapons program, combined with a U.S. emphasis on short-term foreign policy goals, got it out of trouble before--and might again.
Berra's famous quote can certainly be applied to recent revelations about nuclear weapon-related transfers to Iran and Libya from a Pakistani-generated, worldwide nuclear-materials black market. The current story also includes a remarkable display of public insouciance by the current U.S. government to the worst case of conscious proliferation in history. [1]
But the larger story is no surprise to those of us who have followed Pakistan's nuclear activities for the past 25 years. There is a long history to Pakistan's nuclear mendacity and the U.S. abandonment of nonproliferation goals in South Asia for short-term advantage in other policy areas.
Pakistani nuclear assistance to Iran and Libya is nothing new. News reports in 1988 revealed that Pakistan was assisting Iran on nuclear enrichment technology; reports of a Pakistan-Libya nuclear connection appeared as early as 1979. [2] In 1987, a BBC documentary film revealed that Libya had provided financing for the Pakistani bomb project in 1973. The Saudis were also involved as bankrollers in those early days. [3]
Despite President Pervez Musharraf's claim that the nuclear transfers to Iran and Libya (and North Korea) are the result of personal greed on the part of "the father of the Pakistani bomb," Abdul Qadeer (A. Q.) Khan, who "confessed" and was immediately pardoned, no serious observer believes that Khan's was a "rogue" operation unknown to the highest levels of the Pakistani military. While the complete story is yet to be told, it is well to remember the words of Musharraf's predecessor, the late Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, who said: "It is our right to obtain [nuclear] technology. And when we acquire this technology, the entire Islamic world will possess it with us." [4] (Zia failed to mention that Pakistan would also be sharing its nuclear secrets with North Korea, but that was before North Korea could help Pakistan with missile technology as a quid pro quo.)
Zia's bold statement was itself a paraphrase of a statement by his predecessor, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who wrote in his 1979 memoirs: "We know that Israel and South Africa have full nuclear capability. The Christian, Jewish, and Hindu civilization have this capability. The Communist powers also possess it. Only the Islamic civilization was without it, but that position was about to change." [5]
Khan's early network
Khan's illicit nuclear trading activities are merely an extension of his activities in the 1970s and 1980s. He began by stealing blueprints for uranium-enrichment centrifuges from Urenco, a European consortium, and then set about buying the materials and components needed for manufacturing highly enriched uranium. Here is some of what Khan was able to purchase in the 1980s: [6]

* 6,200 tubes of maraging steel, used to construct centrifuges, from a firm in the Netherlands;

* vacuum valves and a gas feed system to regulate streams of uranium hexafluoride gas into and out of the centrifuge system from a company in Switzerland;

* inverters from companies in Britain, Germany, and the United States;

* other electronic equipment for centrifuges from firms in the United States by way of Canada and Turkey;

* a metal-finishing plant from Britain;

* special measuring equipment from the Netherlands;

* a tritium extraction plant, special steel and aluminum, optical equipment, and other sensitive goods from Germany;

* vessels and tanks for Pakistan's fledgling reprocessing plant from Italy; and

* precision equipment for a reprocessing plant from Switzerland.

These acquisitions enabled Pakistan to get maximum benefit from the nuclear weapon design and supplies of uranium it received from China in 1983. [7]
In the ongoing investigation of how Libya was able to obtain sophisticated sensitive components for its nuclear program from Malaysia and other countries, the Malaysian police's inspector general reported that "the supply of components by middlemen . . . involved suppliers from other countries to blur the source of the components. Some of the suppliers were believed to be aware that these components could be for uranium enrichment centrifuges. Generally, these suppliers, mostly from Europe, were those who had had dealings with [A. Q. Khan] since the 1980s, at a time when Pakistan was developing its nuclear technology." [8] Der Stern reported on March 21, 1989 that more than 70 German firms helped Pakistan get materials and equipment needed to manufacture the bomb.
Some of the firms from which Khan made his purchases in the 1980s may no longer be involved in the trade, but the ease with which Khan was able to find so many suppliers to satisfy his more recent nuclear demands shows that an international black market was readily created and has been sustained. This is the legacy of the many years during which the United States turned a blind eye to Pakistan's nuclear activities.
Pakistan's brazenness during the 1980s is illustrated by its attempts to purchase and export materials from the United States--5,000 pounds of zirconium metal in 1981, and electronic parts known as krytrons for use in nuclear triggers in 1984. In July 1984 a man named Nazir Ahmed Vaid was arrested for the latter crime, but despite the fact that the government was in possession, on the day of his arrest, of information showing clearly that the intended recipient of the krytrons was the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission, Vaid's indictment was rewritten to exclude any mention of the nuclear use of krytrons. He was then permitted to plea bargain to a reduced offense, thus avoiding a jury trial, and a gag order was placed on the case. He was found guilty of one count of export violation and quietly deported less than three weeks later. As in the current case with A. Q. Khan, the Pakistani government insisted that Vaid acted on his own, with no government authorization. [9] It was one of many denials of the obvious during the period.
No nuclear ambitions here
During the 1970s and 1980s, when all this illicit nuclear activity was going on, Pakistan denied to the West that it was developing nuclear weapons or had any interest in nuclear weapons. As President Zia told the Foreign Policy Association on December 9, 1982:
"I would like to state once again . . . that our ongoing nuclear program has an exclusively peaceful dimension and that Pakistan has neither the means nor, indeed, any desire to manufacture a nuclear device. I trust that this distinguished gathering will take note of my assurance, which is given in all sincerity and with a full sense of responsibility."
A. Q. Khan himself weighed in two years later in an interview on February 10, 1984, saying that "the 'Islamic bomb' is a figment of the Zionist mind."
Starting in the late 1970s, when the U.S. government became aware of Pakistan's nuclear weapon-related activities, I was engaged in seeking to stop or slow the program through congressional investigations and legislative action. My boss at the time was Ohio Democratic Sen. John Glenn, who gave me free rein to work on the issue and became the Senate's voice of protest against Pakistan's nuclear activities. Frustration was more often than not the end result of much of our work.
I either crafted or was otherwise involved in numerous legislative actions designed to stop the Pakistanis through the threat of sanctions. These actions were passed by Congress and dutifully signed into law by three presidents, but their implementation was nearly always blocked because of other foreign policy considerations.
It didn't start off that way. Pakistan had been cut off from economic and military assistance in 1979 under the Symington and Glenn amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act, after it imported unsafeguarded nuclear enrichment technology and equipment. (The Pakistanis said the cutoff stemmed from the influence of "Zionist circles" seeking to protect Israel from the Muslim world.) [10] The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan later that year changed U.S. priorities.
Cold War considerations
When Ronald Reagan arrived in the White House in 1981, his administration came with a desire to send arms to the Afghani mujahideen. They could only be delivered through Pakistan, and nonproliferation took a back seat to Cold War politics. The new administration was so intent on sending arms that as then-Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel later admitted, "There was no explicit agreement . . . no explicit quid pro quo" that in return for U.S. assistance Pakistan would not develop nuclear weapons. [11]
The Pakistanis got the message when there was no adverse U.S. reaction to a tough position articulated by Agha Shahi, then-foreign minister of Pakistan, in a meeting with James Buckley, then-U.S. undersecretary of state. On December 14, 1981, Shahi described the meeting to the Council of Pakistani Editors:
"We told Mr. Buckley that our program is only for peaceful purposes . . . and we are fully aware of the concerns of the United States over our atomic energy program, which we think to be baseless, unwarranted, unjustified. But we understand and we have taken note of this concern. So if we decide to carry out an explosion, then we would be prepared to forgo this [U.S. aid] program. That is a matter for our judgment, but we have given no undertaking to Mr. Buckley about explosions."
Despite Shahi's "in-your-face" position, James Buckley subsequently told Congress: "We believe that a program of support which provides Pakistan with a continuing relationship with a significant security partner and enhances its sense of security may help remove the principal underlying incentive for the acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability. With such a relationship in place we are hopeful that over time we will be able to persuade Pakistan that the pursuit of a weapons capability is neither necessary to its security nor in its broader interest as an important member of the world community." [12]
Sanctions lifted
One month after Buckley's testimony, Congress passed the first of a series of legislated waivers of penalties under the Symington Amendment that lasted until the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1990. Although the legislation stipulated that a cutoff could still occur if Pakistan were to explode a nuclear device, the Pakistanis did not act worried that U.S. opposition to nuclear proliferation would put their bomb program in jeopardy.
During the U.S. presidential election season in 1984, President Zia told the Wall Street Journal on July 10 that he was "confident that U.S. politics won't disrupt the flow of American weaponry to Pakistan." His confidence was not misplaced. Indeed, it must have been reinforced by the contemporaneous Vaid case, whose lesson to the Pakistanis could only be that the United States would bend over backwards to keep the arms flowing, even in the case of overt nuclear smuggling attempts by Pakistan from within the United States. It must also have satisfied him to read that Richard Kennedy, then-ambassador at large for nonproliferation, had said: "We accept President Zia ul-Haq's statement that Pakistan's nuclear program is devoted entirely to power generation." [13] Ironically, the State Department had written a secret memorandum the year before stating that the United States had "unambiguous evidence that Pakistan is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons development program. . . . We believe the ultimate application of the enriched uranium produced at Kahuta, which is unsafeguarded, is clearly nuclear weapons." [14]
The Solarz and Pressler amendments
As a result of the outrageous outcome of the Vaid case, Congress passed a law, known as the Solarz Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, prohibiting military and economic assistance to any non-weapon state that illegally exports or attempts to export U.S. items that would contribute significantly to the ability of that country to make a nuclear explosive device.
The Solarz and Pressler amendments were signed into law on August 8, 1985. The Pressler Amendment made continued military assistance to Pakistan contingent on an annual presidential certification that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear explosive device and that U.S. assistance would significantly reduce the risk that Pakistan would possess a nuclear explosive device. The Pressler Amendment was the last barrier to Pakistan's construction of a device, but the Pakistanis treated it with the same contempt they showed other efforts to condition U.S. assistance on nuclear restraint.
On September 12, 1984, a year before the Pressler Amendment was passed, President Reagan sent a letter to Zia warning the Pakistanis not to "cross the red line" of enriching uranium beyond 5 percent or face "grave consequences." [15] In response, President Zia pledged not to do so, and high-level officials kept repeating that pledge, which was itself repeated by administration spokesmen in congressional hearings. [16]
It was revealed some months later that the Pakistanis had already passed the 5 percent level at the time of Reagan's letter. Crossing the "red line" resulted in no action by the administration, and when Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto visited President George H. W. Bush in June 1989, the subject was not even mentioned. [17]
This undoubtedly reinforced the Pakistanis' feeling that they were under no limits by the administration save possibly for testing, and that Congress was equally feckless, with few exceptions. Attempts at smuggling materials from the United States continued, and another smuggler was caught in 1987. A Canadian citizen of Pakistani extraction named Arshad Pervez was arrested for illegally trying to buy and export a quantity of beryllium, along with 25 tons of maraging steel for centrifuges from an American manufacturer. He was ultimately convicted of the beryllium charge and of lying to investigators, but escaped conviction on the remaining charges on the grounds of entrapment, even though American intelligence officials found evidence that the Pakistani embassy in London was directly involved. [18] Pervez, who went to prison, admitted that he was working for a retired Pakistani brigadier general and that the final customer was the Pakistani nuclear program, thereby establishing a violation of the Solarz Amendment. But the U.S. government once again refused to sanction Pakistan, and the Pakistani nuclear program rolled on.
Pakistan gets the bomb
In an interview with Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar, A. Q. Khan admitted that Pakistan had enriched uranium to weapons grade, and added that Pakistan could build nuclear weapons. [19] In March 1987, Senator Glenn testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, arguing that "Pakistani nuclear weapons production will, sooner or later, whether by design or by espionage, result in the wider transfer of nuclear weapons technology to countries in the Middle East." Despite such warnings, and clear evidence that U.S. assistance was not reducing the risk that Pakistan would possess a nuclear explosive device, presidential certifications were issued in 1988 by Reagan and in 1989 by Bush. On November 26, 1987, a UPI story by Richard Sale quoted unnamed intelligence sources as saying that Pakistan had a workable nuclear device, although it was deemed too big "by those who have seen the new bomb" to be delivered by an F-16.
Too little and too late
By 1990, the fiction that Pakistan might not possess the bomb was completely unsustainable. The Soviets had left Afghanistan, so no certification was issued by President Bush and assistance was cut off. Having been the recipient of extreme indulgence for so long, the Pakistanis were surprised by the action, which halted a shipment of F-16s that they had already paid for. Nonetheless, 40 F-16s had already been delivered, at least some of which were being modified to carry nuclear warheads in contravention of the conditions under which the planes were originally transferred. Thus, in service to the Cold War, the United States suffered more than a decade of Pakistani lies and false promises about their nuclear activities, did not enforce its own laws or restrictions on Pakistan's nuclear program when it counted, and left Pakistan with a U.S.-made nuclear weapons delivery system.
Senator Glenn's response to this outrageous history was encapsulated in an op-ed: "The Reagan and Bush administrations have practiced a nuclear nonproliferation policy bordering on lawlessness. In so doing, they have undermined the respect of other countries for U.S. law and have done great damage to the nuclear nonproliferation effort. Keep this in mind the next time someone in the administration extols the need for military action to deal with some power hungry dictator who is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons in the Middle East or elsewhere." [20]
After 9/11
Unfortunately, the story did not end with the cutoff of 1990. Pakistan had the bomb, but it still had not tested a nuclear weapon. So, in a triumph of hope over experience, legislation was passed in 1994 requiring the imposition of draconian sanctions in the event of a test, in the hope of deterring both Pakistan and India.
When both countries exploded nuclear test devices in 1998, the severe economic sanctions in the law were automatically triggered. But once again, Congress removed them, in part because of domestic considerations involving agricultural exports. The prohibition on military assistance continued, however, until after 9/11, when the current Bush administration issued a waiver ending the implementation of nearly all other sanctions because of the perceived need for Pakistani assistance in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. This was the height of irony--it was U.S. support for Pakistan and the mujahideen in the 1980s that helped bring the Taliban and Al Qaeda to prominence in Afghanistan in the first place.
We are essentially back where we were with Pakistan in the 1980s. It is apparent that it has engaged in dangerous nuclear mischief with North Korea, Iran, and Libya (and perhaps others), but thus far without consequences to its relationship with the United States because of other, overriding foreign policy considerations--not the Cold War this time, but the war on terrorism.
But now there is a major political difference. It was one thing for Pakistan, a country with which the United States has had good relations generally, to follow India and produce the bomb for itself. It is quite another for Pakistan to help two-thirds of the "axis of evil," and the perpetrators of Pan Am 103, all of whom have, at one time or another, been accused of being sponsors of terrorism, to get the bomb as well.
The president's dilemma
The waivers given to Pakistan after 9/11 are only good with respect to past behavior. Anything the Pakistanis have done since the waivers were issued that is proscribed by law require new waivers to be issued. If the reports about the timing of Pakistan's exports are true--that some of the transfers occurred after the date of the most recent waivers--and the Pakistani government authorized the exports directly or indirectly, then Pakistan is in violation of U.S. laws and unprotected by past waivers. The same would be true if the Pakistani government was, as is likely, behind the recent incident of an Israeli businessman, operating out of South Africa, attempting illegally to buy and export nuclear trigger components for the Pakistani weapons program. [21]
No cutoff of the generous assistance that is being given and has been promised will occur unless and until the president makes a determination as to Pakistan's guilt. As in the 1980s with the Pressler Amendment, turning a blind eye means not having to make a difficult decision. And so far, the Bush administration appears to be pretending that Musharraf's claim of being the victim of a rogue operation headed by A. Q. Khan is the truth. It is reported that, in return, Musharraf has made some concessions facilitating the hunt for Osama bin Laden in northwest Pakistan. [22] But if the only concessions Pakistan makes because of the Khan case have to do with some immediate tactical advantage in the war on terror, and the nuclear program remains untouched, it is questionable whether U.S. national security has been enhanced in the longer term.
The president wants to be seen as not only a president fighting terrorism, but also as a staunch proponent of nonproliferation. Having gone to war with Iraq ostensibly to stop Iraq's possible proliferation, the president is now faced with a more serious violation of nonproliferation norms.
If the president does issue a new waiver for Pakistan, presumably on the grounds of the need for its support in the war on terror, he risks being accused of conducting business as usual. And, as indicated earlier, some will see this as a wholesale retreat from the nonproliferation rhetoric that fueled public support for the war in Iraq, and it will once again raise issues of U.S. credibility. A frequently voiced opinion abroad is that the United States does not oppose proliferation by its friends.
If, on the other hand, the president doesn't issue a waiver and pretends that no violation by the government of Pakistan has occurred, he risks being accused of misfeasance for having failed to carry out U.S. laws.
If the president wants to preserve U.S. credibility on nonproliferation, he can tell the Pakistanis that he is prepared to declare them in violation and impose sanctions unless they agree to a set of conditions that would cap their nuclear program and ensure the end of their illegal and immoral trade in nuclear weapons technology.
Among these conditions should be a demand that Pakistan sign a verifiable agreement to end its production of fissile material and make its nuclear trading records transparent to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so the world can know what they are doing and with whom they have been dealing. An interrogation of A. Q. Khan by the IAEA should also be part of the deal. These conditions, if met, could enable the United States, in concert with its allies, to roll up much of the current black market in nuclear materials and equipment.
The president should also announce that greater intelligence resources will be devoted to Pakistan's export activities, with interdiction ready to be carried out under the administration's new Proliferation Security Initiative whenever indicated. In return for Pakistan's cooperation, the United States should be willing to help the Pakistanis improve their own security in ways that do not exacerbate the tensions in the area and are not perceived as assisting their nuclear weapons program.
It's Santayana all over again
Some will argue that national pride would prevent Pakistan from accepting such terms and that the United States would lose a valuable ally in the fight against Al Qaeda if sanctions were imposed. Moreover, they will argue, sanctions could plunge Pakistan into economic and political chaos, with the possibility of takeover by a radical Islamic contingent that would then inherit Pakistan's nuclear weapons.
These arguments (just replace "Al Qaeda" with "communism") have been used for two decades in defense of a weak nonproliferation policy in South Asia that has brought nothing but grief. They do not take into account American credibility and the effect on other real or potential proliferators. It is true that Pakistan may be more prone to destabilization in response to economic stress than some other countries in the region, but it should be Pakistan's choice as to whether it wishes to belong to the community of responsible nations and receive the benefits it needs from that community. In any case, there needs to be an effective contingency plan for preventing Pakistan's weapons from falling into the hands of radical undemocratic elements in the country, something that could happen regardless of U.S. policy.
Pakistan presents a real and ongoing test of the seriousness of the Bush administration on the issue of nonproliferation. The choice between fighting proliferation or fighting terrorism is ultimately a false one. Sacrificing one for the other would have disastrous consequences for national security. George Santayana once wrote that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. In the case of Pakistan, we haven't forgotten, but the Bush administration insists on repeating it anyway.

Leonard Weiss, now a consultant, was a staff director on the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, a position he held from 1977-1999.

1. Seymour Hersh, "The Deal," New Yorker, March 8, 2004.
2. O. Gozani, "Pakistan 'Aiding Iran' in Nuclear Weapons Venture," Daily Telegraph, Nov. 26, 1988. See also Farzad Bazoft, "Iran Signs Secret Atom Deal," London Observer, June 12, 1988, p. 1; John Fialka, "West Concerned by Signs of Libyan-Pakistan A-Effort," Washington Star, Nov. 25, 1979.
3. E. Lenhart, "Saudis Offer to Help Zia Build H-Bomb," Sunday Times (London), Jan. 18, 1981.
4. Interview in Akhbar al-Khalij, March 13, 1986, p. F4. Translated by Foreign Broadcast Information Service, FBIS-SAS-86-053, March 19, 1986.
5. See F. Hassan, "An Analysis of Propaganda Against Pakistan's Peaceful Nuclear Program," Nawa-I-Waqt (Lahore), March 16, 1984. See also Robert Windrem, "Pakistan: 'The Crazy Soup,'" MSNBC, February 8, 2004; Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosny, "Pakistan," in The Islamic Bomb (New York: New York Times Books, 1981), pp. 161-226.
6. Congressional Record, October 20, 1981, p. 24505; Mark Hibbs, "German Firms Exported Tritium Purification Plant to Pakistan," Nuclear Fuel, February 6, 1989, p. 6.
7. K. Malik, Times of India, Jan. 13, 1989, p. 1.
8. Press Release, "Inspector General of Police (Polis Diraja), Malaysia, in Relation to Investigation on the Alleged Production of Components for Libya's Uranium Enrichment Program," February 20, 2004, p. 3.
9. Seymour Hersh, "Pakistani in U.S. Sought to Ship A-Bomb Trigger," New York Times, Feb. 25, 1985, p. 1.
10. R. Trumbull, "Pakistan Denies It Plans A-Bomb; Denounces Washington Aid Cutoff," New York Times, April 9, 1979, p. 1.
11. Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel, testimony before the South Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 14, 1995.
12. James Buckley, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, November 12, 1981.
13. Interview with Richard Kennedy, in Pakistan Affairs (newsletter), November 2, 1984.
14. U.S. State Department, Assessment of Pakistan's Nuclear Program, June 23, 1983. Declassified and released in March 1992 to the National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.
15. Simon Henderson, Financial Times, Dec. 7, 1984; Hedrick Smith, "A Bomb Ticks in Pakistan," New York Times Sunday Magazine, March 6, 1988, p. 38.
16. Simon Henderson, "Netherlands Drops Proceedings Against Nuclear Scientist," Financial Times, July 16, 1986, p. 3; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Peck, congressional testimony, July 31, 1987.
17. David Ottaway, "U.S. Relieves Pakistan of Pledge Against Enriching Uranium," Washington Post, June 15, 1989, p. A38.
18. Mark Hosenball and J. Adams, "A-Bomb Plot is Linked to Embassy," Sunday Times (London), July 26, 1987.
19. Shyam Bhatia, "Pakistan has the A-Bomb," London Observer, March 1, 1987, p. 1.
20. John Glenn, "On Proliferation Law, a Disgraceful Failure," International Herald Tribune, June 26, 1992.
21. David Rohde, "Pakistani Linked to Illegal Exports Has Ties to Military," New York Times, Feb. 20, 2004, p. 8.
22. Seymour Hersh, "The Deal."

? 2004 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Posted by maximpost at 12:24 AM EDT

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