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Wednesday, 28 April 2004


High Court Hears 'Enemy Combatant' Cases
from All Things Considered, Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Lawyers for Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla maintain the United States does not have the right to imprison American citizens indefinitely without holding a legal proceeding. Government lawyers argue that the Pentagon has determined the two men are being treated legitimately, saying the courts should not place impractical burdens on the military during a war. NPR's Nina Totenberg reports.

Can the President Imprison Anyone, Forever?
by Gene Healy
Gene Healy is senior editor at the Cato Institute.
Does the president have the power to order the military to seize an American citizen on American soil, declare him an outlaw to the Constitution, and lock him up for the duration of the war on terror -- in other words, forever? That's the stark question the Supreme Court will be examining today, April 28, when it hears oral argument in Padilla v. Rumsfeld.
Padilla, an American born in Chicago, was arrested by federal agents at O'Hare International Airport in May 2002, and held on a material witness warrant. Two days before a hearing in federal court on the validity of that warrant, the president declared Padilla an "enemy combatant" plotting a "dirty bomb" attack in the United States, and ordered him transferred to a naval brig in South Carolina, 700 miles away from his lawyer. Padilla has been held there for nearly two years without charges or meaningful access to counsel.
There's little in Padilla's background to suggest he's an innocent man wrongly accused -- he's a violent ex-con with apparent ties to Al Qaeda. But "the innocent have nothing to fear" is cold comfort and poor constitutional argument. The very principle that imprisons the guilty can be used to seize the innocent.
And the principle the government is advancing is broad indeed. It amounts to the assertion that the executive branch can serve as judge, jury, and jailer in cases involving terrorist suspects. Of all the powers claimed by the president since September 11, that power is the one most to be feared -- not least because, due to the nature of the war on terrorism, it's a power unlikely ever to be relinquished.
Moreover, it's a power that cannot be found in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights does not come with an asterisk reading "unenforceable during time of war." As the Supreme Court declared in Ex Parte Milligan (1866), rejecting the military trial of a civilian during the Civil War, "The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times."
Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus under very narrow circumstances "when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." But Congress has made no such attempt here -- instead the president has unilaterally stripped Padilla of his rights, holding him without even a semblance of due process.
The government justifies its confinement of Padilla by citing a five-and-a-half-page "Declaration" by Michael Mobbs, an obscure Pentagon bureaucrat who has never been cross-examined by Padilla's attorneys. A look at the Mobbs Declaration reveals just how far down the rabbit hole we've traveled. Of the confidential informants who fingered Padilla, the declaration notes: "Some information provided by the sources remains uncorroborated and may be part of an effort to mislead or confuse U.S. officials.... In addition, at the time of being interviewed by U.S. officials, one of the sources was being treated with various types of drugs to treat medical conditions." Again, that's not to suggest that Padilla is innocent. It's to highlight the starkly extra-constitutional nature of these proceedings -- in which Padilla is not permitted to test the government's evidence in open court.
The government's brief relies heavily on the president's constitutional powers as "Commander-in-Chief" of the U.S. military. But as Justice Jackson put it in a 1952 case delineating the president's wartime authority, "the Constitution did not contemplate that the title Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy will constitute him also Commander-in-Chief of the country, its industries and its inhabitants." The Bush administration has repudiated that theory of limited executive power in favor of one that is essentially limitless.
Thus far, President Bush has wielded this vast power sparingly. But he will not be the last president to wield it. The proponents of this sweeping claim of executive power have no answer to that, save to urge us to elect good men. Our entire constitutional structure is based on a repudiation of that fond notion.
Arguing before the Supreme Court in the Milligan case, James Garfield, who would later serve as 20th president of the United States, declared that a decision to uphold the constitutional limits on executive power would show the world "that a republic can wield the vast enginery of war without breaking down the safeguards of liberty." A decision that denies Padilla his day in court will have the opposite effect. It will declare that the articles in the Bill of Rights are mere peace provisions in an era of permanent war. That's a terrifying concept indeed.

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Hamdi and Habeas Corpus
by Timothy Lynch

Timothy Lynch, director of the Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice, filed an amicus brief on the behalf of Yaser Hamdi.
The Supreme Court is poised to consider the most important constitutional controversy that has arisen in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks: Can a U.S. citizen be deprived of all access to a lawyer and family and imprisoned for as long as a president insists? Can the president, in effect, override the ancient writ of habeas corpus?
Today, April 28, the Court will hear the appeal of Yaser Hamdi, a U.S. citizen who is being held in a military brig in Charleston, South Carolina. For almost two years, Hamdi has been held incommunicado -- no contact with visitors, including his lawyer. The Bush administration has maintained that legal counsel is unnecessary because Hamdi has not been charged with a crime; he is instead being held as an "enemy combatant."
On the surface, the Hamdi case appears to be a no-brainer. Hamdi was apparently one of the Taliban fighters captured in a combat zone in Afghanistan. And his claim of U.S. citizenship is about as thin as it gets -- his parents were Saudi citizens who happened to be in the United States on a temporary work visa at the time of Hamdi's birth. Furthermore, the U.S. military has always captured and held enemy fighters in all of our previous wars. Thus, Hamdi's legal appeal seems to be devoid of merit.
A close examination of the Hamdi case, however, shows that the constitutional stakes could not be higher. That's because the Bush administration has been using the Hamdi case to advance a sweeping theory of executive branch power. According to this theory, the president can deprive anyone in the world of his liberty and hold that person incommunicado indefinitely. The president need only be careful to issue an "enemy combatant" order to his secretary of defense, not the attorney general. The president's legal advisers have made it clear that it does not matter if the prisoner is seized on a battlefield overseas or in some sleepy town in the American heartland. And it does not matter if the prisoner is a foreign national or an American citizen. It is because the courts are being asked to approve this broad claim of executive power that Hamdi's case is considered pivotal. This is not just about the imprisonment of one man.
To fully understand the implications of the administration's "enemy combatant" theory, one must first consider the constitutional procedure of habeas corpus. The Constitution provides that "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." The writ of habeas corpus is a venerable legal procedure that allows a prisoner to get a hearing before an impartial judge. If the jailor is able to supply a valid legal basis for the arrest and imprisonment, the prisoner will simply be returned to his prison cell. But if the judge discovers that the imprisonment is illegal, he has the power to set the prisoner free. For that reason, Joseph Story once described the habeas writ as a "great security" for individual liberty.
Speed up to today: Hamdi's father filed a petition on his son's behalf. The Bush administration responded to that petition by urging the district court to summarily dismiss the petition because the courts may not "second-guess" the president's "enemy combatant" determination. That assertion strikes at the heart of habeas corpus. If the judiciary could not "second-guess" the executive's initial decision to imprison a citizen, the writ never would have acquired its longstanding reputation in the law as the "Great Writ."
Once the Justice Department admits, as it must, that the writ of habeas corpus has not been suspended, the law is clear. Habeas proceedings are habeas proceedings. And that means the prisoner has to be able to meet with his attorney to adequately prepare for their "day in court," where they will have an opportunity to persuade a judge that a mistake or abuse has occurred. It is outlandish to suggest that habeas petitions can be filed, so long as the courts throw the petitions out.
The lower court dismissed Hamdi's habeas petition too casually simply because Hamdi himself has not been heard from. Thus, the Supreme Court should remand the case to the district court for further proceedings. On remand, Hamdi must be allowed to consult with his attorney in private. An evidentiary hearing should then be held and the prisoner should have an opportunity to address the Court and his counsel must have an opportunity to rebut the government's allegations at the hearing. The government must also be given an opportunity to defend the legality of its actions. If it can persuade an Article III judge that this detention is lawful and proper, Hamdi should be returned to the military brig.
The al Qaeda terrorist network is an evil organization that must be vanquished. But as we go about that task, we must not lose sight of what we are defending. Free societies do not "just happen." Freedom in America rests upon a framework of checks and balances that was designed by men who were steeped in history and political philosophy. If that framework is neglected, constitutional guarantees will become nothing more than hollow promises on pieces of paper.

This article was published in The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2004. Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal ? Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

ACLU Reveals Secret Suit Over FBI Powers
Wed Apr 28, 6:23 PM ET Add U.S. National - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Gail Appleson
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) disclosed on Wednesday it had secretly sued the government over a provision of the Patriot Act that allows the FBI (news - web sites) to demand customer records from businesses without court approval.
The ACLU said it initially filed the civil lawsuit under seal on April 6 because it could have been prosecuted for violating a gag order contained within the Patriot Act. It said it chose to make the case public after the government agreed on Wednesday it would not seek a penalty against the ACLU.
But many details of the case, filed in Manhattan federal court, must remain secret.
The defendants include Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) and FBI Director Robert Mueller. A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office had no comment.
At issue is the power the FBI has to execute what is known as a "National Security Letter," a form of administrative subpoena used to demand confidential financial records from companies as part of terrorism investigations.
Legislation signed by President Bush (news - web sites) in December expands the definition of companies from which information can be obtained and allows FBI agents to send out the letters without first obtaining a judge's approval.
"The National Security Letter provision allows the FBI to demand the sensitive records of innocent people in complete secrecy, without ever appearing before a federal judge," said Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU staff attorney.
"Before the Patriot Act, the FBI could use this invasive authority only against suspected terrorists and spies," Jaffer said. "Now it can issue National Security Letters to obtain information about anyone at all. This should be disturbing to all of us."
The suit argues that the National Security Letter provision violates the constitution because it authorizes the FBI to force disclosure of sensitive information without adequate safeguards.
The FBI no longer has to show a judge there is a compelling need for the records and it does not have to specify any process that would allow a recipient to fight the demand for confidential information.
Prior to December, the letters could only be sent to certain financial institutions. However, the definition of "financial institution" in the new law is expanded to include such businesses as insurance companies, pawnbrokers, dealers in precious metals, the Postal Service, casinos, and travel agencies.
The law also bars subpoenaed businesses from revealing to anyone, including individuals who may be under investigation, that the FBI sought records of their transactions or that businesses have turned over their records. A company faces criminal penalties if it breaches the gag order.


Why Japan went ballistic
By Tomohiko Taniguchi

TOKYO - It has gone largely unnoticed that Japan now occupies a premier seat within a unique American defense club, a club of two - Washington and Tokyo.
The reason for this is not because Japan is the second largest economy still committed to having its armed forces deployed in Iraq, but rather because Japan has decided to do what few other allies of the United States could. That is to follow the US in its controversial missile defense program. At present, practically no other nation is in a position to follow suit. It is only the US and Japan that constitute an exclusive club of ballistic missile defense (BMD).
On March 26, top military brass as well as civilian officials at Japan's Defense Agency (JDA) rejoiced to see the Diet (Japan's parliament) pass the budget for the fiscal year 2004 that starts in April. They were happy as the government-proposed budget went into effect unscathed and uncut. And therein was the plan for Japan to deliver its first round of BMD programs.
In fiscal 2004, the JDA will spend a gross total of 4.9 trillion yen (US$45 billion), which is, as usual, about a hundredth of the nation's economy. Out of the defense budget, 2 percent or 106.8 billion yen ($981 million) will cover the cost for BMD. Divided into three parts, 34 billion yen ($312 million) will go to Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force to be used to equip one Aegis-type destroyer with the "Standard" missile system SM-3; 58.2 billion yen ($534 million) to the Air Defense Force to procure a ground-to-air missile system known as Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3); and 14.6 billion yen ($134 million) will be spent to upgrade the relevant BADGE (Base Air Defense Ground Environment) systems.
The Aegis system is a precious commodity for the US as it has kept its core technologies secret. It is also costly both in economic and political terms. True, Spain does have some Aegis capability, but it has only one Aegis-type destroyer, making it largely irrelevant, for in order to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, three is the minimum number required. Israel, South Korea and Taiwan all aspire to have at least one Aegis-type destroyer, but currently have none. Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force by contrast currently has four, and will soon have six such vessels, all home-built with loaned Aegis technologies, enabling Japan to make the first entry into the BMD club by equipping itself with a sea-based mid-course defense (SMD) capability. It aims at hitting enemy missiles mid-course.
The entry fee, as it were, goes in large part to the US defense industry: Raytheon (Waltham, Massachusetts) doubtless being the clearest winner as it manufactures both SM-3 and PAC-3. Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, Maryland) will also benefit as the sole provider of radar and missile systems that make up the core of the Aegis system. While this could be a boon to the Bush campaign to secure votes from the military-industry complex, that is not the only reason why Howard Baker Jr, US ambassador to Japan, on March 1 boasted about the nation's move, saying that Japan's decision to go BMD along with the US was simply great, a sign that Japan has now "matured".
More to the point, Japan's action is hardly an isolated one. Saying that it goes hand-in-hand with the US will not even suffice. It is closely embedded into, and makes part of, the overall BMD that the US has just started this year.
On the US side, a program called Block 04 is being implemented. Designed as the first increment, or the first "block", of layered missile defenses, "Block 04" calls on the US in the years 2004 and 05 (hence the name "Block 04") to build up the following: a) Ground-based mid-course defense; b) Sea-based mid-course defense; c) Patriot Advanced Capability-3. Already, the US Seventh Fleet has put one SMD-capable Aegis-type destroyer on patrol in the Sea of Japan, with the obvious purpose of deterring North Korea.
Indeed, Japan is about to commence the sea-based and the Patriot defense, and the key weapon systems Japan is procuring from Raytheon et al are exactly the same as those that the US will adopt. In short, Japan is co-building Block 04 with America.
"Block 06" and "Block 08" are scheduled to follow, as the US is taking an evolutionary "spiral" approach, thereby upgrading its BMD capabilities step-by-step. It is also projected that Japan will follow suit, at a substantial cost - rumored to amount more than $8 billion in five years - to the taxpayer.
BMD for Japan primarily means a missile-shield against North Korea. Pyongyang gave a wake-up call to the Japanese on August 31, 1998, by test-launching one of its long-haul missiles TaepoDong across the Japanese archipelago into the Pacific Ocean. Since then, even the Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition party, has come to acknowledge that BMD should at some point be introduced. The Japanese are still outraged by the communist regime not releasing Japanese abductees and their family members, which may have also helped pass the defense budget more smoothly than the government anticipated.
Yet the US-Japan joint BMD has another tacit target. That is China, which is rapidly developing its missile-strike capabilities: both submarine-based and ground-based. This is the reason why Beijing is furious at Japan going BMD. Also for this reason, the pro-China camp among Diet members, regardless of their party affiliations, remained extremely cautious about missile defense. Concerns toward Pyongyang overwhelmed all that, resulting in a surprisingly early implementation of the defense program. Seen from the government perspective, the timing seemed so ripe that they had to capture it. And it worked.
That the budget went into force without any amendment is another testimony to how far Japan has come since Junichiro Koizumi became prime minister on April 26, three years ago this week.

(Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

Living with a nuclear North Korea
By Ehsan Ahrari
As evidence mounts that North Korea already possesses nuclear weapons, United States President George W Bush's entire machismo about disallowing the possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by radical regimes faces a serious challenge.
The source of a key nuclear weapons report on North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons is Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, the father of its nuclear weapon, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has admitted selling his nation's secret nuclear weapons technology. North Korea, Libya and Iran are the nations he reportedly named as having received nuclear technology. He is also reported to have told his Pakistani interrogators that he had seen three nuclear devices during one of his visits to North Korea.
Strangely enough, no serious question about the credibility of that assertion was raised at a time when Dr Khan's claim was publicized early this year, nor was it questioned while US Vice President Dick Cheney was visiting East Asia recently. Perhaps the silence was due to the fact that Khan's claims were exactly what the US wanted to hear.
Through Cheney's visit to Asia, the US sought to convey to the world that it is serious about negotiating with North Korea. However, in the Asia-Pacific region in general, no one can forget that Bush, after raising the level of rhetoric during the past two years about his resolve to disallow possession of WMD radical regimes, has done nothing to restart the negotiations, even after the inconclusive end of six-party talks with North Korea. Aside from Pyongyang and Washington, the other four parties are China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.
What is especially disconcerting about possible possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea is the potential that Pyongyang would sell those devices to a terrorist group like al-Qaeda. As preposterous as this suggestion sounds in principle, no US president can sit around cavalierly and do nothing regarding such a potential threat. More to the point, if Japan and South Korea were to become fully convinced that North Korea is armed with nuclear weapons, they might start insisting on developing their own respective minimum credible deterrence, thereby initiating a nuclear arms race in East Asia.
The present situation, though, says nothing about Bush's extant policy options regarding North Korea. The fact that he has already insisted on the possibility of invoking preemptive military actions against a nuclear-armed "rogue" state is on everyone's minds. The question is when would that option become a live one for the US. The answer: it depends on what happens next when the US approaches North Korea's main interlocutor, China, on the issue. Washington remains hopeful that the leaders in Beijing might be able to use their influence on North Korea to persuade the leadership to be reasonable and begin dismantling its nuclear weapons programs, in return for energy, economic and other compensation.
Exit Dick, enter Jong-il
Just after Cheney left China on April 18, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il came calling, and China must have received the latest policy positions by both sides. The next round of Beijing-sponsored six-party talks is expected to take place some time before July, but a date has not been set. The only sure thing is that talks will continue.
In all likelihood, diplomacy will be given a chance between now and next January, when a new US president assumes office. However, considering that North Korea remains highly suspicious of Bush, the chances of any diplomatic breakthroughs are minimal.
Ironically, Bush would want Kim to believe him when he tells the Pyongyang regime and the world that he wants to resolve the nuclear conflict peacefully. However, Kim also knows that if he were to give up his nuclear option, his regime would become highly vulnerable to the preemption option in the next four years, especially if Bush remains in office.
So, from North Korea's perspective, only a change of regime in Washington - from Bush to John Kerry - would provide Kim with adequate, though not necessarily sufficient, guarantees to give up the nuclear program.
The trouble with the nature of the relationship between the US and North Korea is that one can envision a Kerry administration taking a hard look at the preemption option, possibly during his first term, as did president Bill Clinton in 1994. Kim also remembers that Clinton reality quite vividly. While Kerry and Bush differ in some regards on the approach to North Korea, Kerry might appear preferable, but certainly would not be a dream candidate for Pyongyang.
If Kim, indeed, has developed nuclear weapons, the likelihood of his totally abandoning his nuclear program - a la South Africa - are slim-to-none. Thus, the world had better get ready to live with a nuclear North Korea, unless the US decides to give nuclear brinkmanship a chance. The international community also remembers, or should, that in the last military conflict involving the Korean Peninsula, China was not a neutral party. And this time as well, China is fully engaged in the six-party talks.
In the final analysis, the international community might have to determine whether nuclear brinkmanship is a feasible option, the alternative being living with a nuclear North Korea.
Ehsan Ahrari, PhD, is an Alexandria, Virginia, US-based independent strategic analyst.

(Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)
Inside Bush's Indian Bureau
by Wayne Barrett with special reporting by Jennifer Suh
April 27th, 2004 12:20 PM

Wayne Smith: Acknowledging that it was a mistake to bring a friend to breakfast, he wound up becoming a feast for Stone.
(photo: Bill Burke/Page One)
When Wayne Smith began walking the huge corridors at the Department of Interior a few months after George Bush took office in 2001, he felt like he'd finally hit the big time. In the '90s, he'd been chief deputy to California's Republican attorney general. But now, at 52, he was assistant deputy secretary at Interior, managing the $3.5 billion budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and overseeing the hotly politicized Indian casino industry. What he didn't know was that, within nine months, he would be gone--vanquished by the insider culture consuming Bush's Washington.
Smith's mother was raised on a destitute Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota, where his grandfather was chief. Memories of the "appalling poverty" he saw on family visits to the reservation inspired him in his new job--which he got on the recommendation of a colleague from his AG days, Sue Wooldridge, top aide to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton. Neal McCaleb, who was Smith's immediate boss and ran BIA, put him in charge of gaming, a business where government decisions, not markets, turn molehills into jackpots--recognizing tribes, taking land in trust for new casinos, manufacturing designated millionaires.
Smith was no babe in the woods. He'd started a California lobbying firm himself in 1999, but he was unprepared for the incestuous intrigue at BIA. In the Clinton era, the Democrats dunned tribes for unrestricted amounts of campaign wampum, and the departed BIA chief was found in the parking lot signing backdated documents three days after the Bush inaugural. The Bush team immediately tossed the tardy decisions. But, as this Smith saga will make clear, BIA remained a bureaucratic land where the only chiefs are buttoned-down lobbyists, raking in millions from tribes whose casinos are virtually franchises to print influence-peddling largesse.
Smith was troubled early on when Republican lobbyist Scott Reed told him that the Democrats had long had free reign at the agency and that now it was "our turn"--a charge a Reed associate denies though his firm has attracted a dozen gaming clients since 2001. Smith felt uneasy when his office was lobbied on behalf of two tribes by Diane Allbaugh, the wife of Joe Allbaugh, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the 2000 national campaign manager for Bush. Diane Allbaugh, who worked at a firm headed by former Republican National Committee chair Haley Barbour, appeared on behalf of a Louisiana casino developer under contract with the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians and the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots, a Connecticut tribe then tied to Donald Trump. McCaleb urged Smith to take her calls, explaining that he and Joe Allbaugh were old Oklahoma friends and that Allbaugh had "helped convince the White House" to install him at BIA.
The Washington Post would later do stories about the awesome influence of Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, who combined to drain $45 million in reported lobbying fees from four tribes in the first three Bush years, prompting an ongoing investigation by Senator John McCain. Abramoff's top political allies were House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed.
But no one noticed that Bill Jarrell and Jennifer Calvert, two lobbyists who'd worked with Abramoff prior to 2001, left him within days of the election to form their own company, Washington Strategies, immediately attracting tribal clients. Jarrell, like Scanlon, was once a top DeLay staffer. Smith says Jennifer's husband, Chad Calvert, while he was Interior's deputy director of legislative affairs, introduced her to him, left documents from her in his office, and joined the two of them at lobbying lunches--recollections the Calverts only partially deny. When Chad Calvert was recently promoted, the Interior press release said he'd been "coordinating department legislative policy" for "the assistant secretary for Indian affairs" for three years. Jennifer Calvert's bio says her "lobbying expertise focuses on Native American issues," one of those marvelous coincidences of inside-the-beltway life.
The lobbyist who concerned Smith more than any other, however, was never even seen in Interior's crowded corridors. His was a name McCaleb whispered to Smith. Like Chad Calvert, he'd been on the transition working group for Interior, staffing the agency. The dark force of Indian gaming, retained as a hidden consultant by tribes and developers across the country, was Roger Stone, a veteran of eight Republican presidential campaigns and star of the Miami/Dade recount shutdown. Scott Reed is often his up-front lobbyist face.
So, too, are William Brack and Chris Changery, onetime lobbyists with Brownstein, Hyatt, the Denver-based firm that employed Norton. Changery had been a press spokesman for Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the Colorado Republican who chairs the Indian Affairs committee. Brack is counsel to the Nighthorse Foundation, a recent invention of the retiring senator. Stone threw a fundraiser for the senator at his Miami estate. Though Brack and Changery left Brownstein in 2003, Stone still gets tribes to hire them "for the specific mission of inserting our language" in a Campbell bill, according to a Stone memo. Though the two recently orchestrated a Campbell-sponsored technical correction helpful to a Stone project, neither filed as lobbyists. The language, which deliberately omitted the tribe's name, was quietly withdrawn after Voice inquiries about it.
Smith did not realize, when he began to review the Sacramento-area office's decision in a factional fight involving the Buena Vista Rancheria of the Me-Wuks, that he was on a collision course with Stone and his usual coterie of sidekicks--Reed, Brack, and Changery. Remarkably, the Buena Vista faction that paid Stone a six-figure retainer and guaranteed him 7.5 percent of annual tribal revenue consisted entirely of DonnaMarie Potts and her two adult children. The opposing faction consisted of a single Me-Wuk. Deep-pocket developers on both sides were spending millions bankrolling a legal war that, in December 2001, suddenly turned against Potts.
The mostly Democratic insiders around Potts picked Stone as the Republican player who could, as Buena Vista attorney John Peebles put it, "reverse the area director's order" that dislodged Potts as tribal chair. The strategy was to try to get Smith to yank the Buena Vista issue out of the ordinary appeals track--where it faced delay and likely defeat--and resolve it himself.
So Reed began leaning on Smith in late January 2002. Smith even got a note supporting the Stone faction from the Republican leader of the California state senate, Jim Brulte. Stone had recommended the retention of a consulting firm owned by Brulte's former chief of staff, Tom Ross, and Ross wrote the memo summarizing the Buena Vista case that Brulte enclosed. Later in 2002, Stone would host a fundraiser for Brulte at his 40 Central Park South apartment and take Brulte to visit Stone's longtime client Donald Trump. The Brulte intervention sent a particularly strong message to Smith because he'd attended a 2001 Palm Springs meeting involving Karl Rove and a dozen tribes, where Brulte was introduced as "the administration's main man in California--especially for Indian matters."
Smith agreed to a February 19 breakfast in Sacramento with Reed partner John Fluharty, Potts, attorney Peebles, and Russ Pratt, president of the development company. Smith was staying at the home of his old friend and former business partner Phil Bersinger, who drove him to the restaurant and joined the breakfast. A memo Stone prepared at the time contends that Bersinger "participated fully in the discussion" of the tribe's "current policy issues"--a contention dismissed by Smith, Peebles, and Pratt, but key to the subsequent saga Stone spun.
While it's unclear who initiated the next contact, Bersinger wound up talking to both Peebles and Reed by phone. On March 23, Bersinger, Peebles, and Pratt had an "amiable" lunch and discussed retaining Bersinger as a Buena Vista consultant. Bersinger, who used Smith's name as his calling card, promised to call back with a price. Strangely enough, Smith's appointment diaries indicate he had a morning meeting with Reed on March 22, giving him a final no. Nonetheless, Bersinger came to Peebles's office on April 4 seeking a monthly retainer and percent of revenue, ostensibly to influence a decision Smith had already announced. Stone says he advised Peebles to ask Bersinger to put it in writing and Bersinger faxed a bland request without specifics.
Stone, who calls this "the most naked attempt at extortion I've ever seen," was already collecting other Bersinger solicitations. One was a February letter Bersinger had written another tribe celebrating his access to Smith and seeking a $1,000-a-month retainer. The other was sent after Stone advised a lawyer for the tribe, Phil Thompson, to ask Bersinger to turn his oral pitch into a written proposal. Stone had already put Thompson on the Buena Vista payroll. Then Stone, by his own account, assembled the letters in a press package for selected reporters, using an associate named Mike Copperthite as the pass-through to Time magazine.
By April 11, Time's reporter was on the phone with Smith citing, and then faxing, another ostensible Bersinger letter--one that demanded a $250,000 payment from a Louisiana tribe, the Coushattas. Everyone, including Stone, would eventually agree that the third letter was a fabrication, so instantly discredited that Time never mentioned it in the April 15 story. Not only does the addressee, Coushatta vice chair William Worfel, say it's a phony, but he says he met Stone for the first time two weeks before it was written. "We exchanged cards," Worfel recalls, adding that federal investigators who questioned him said they'd found his card in the offices of Buena Vista. Stone says he "has no memory of ever seeing the Louisiana letter." Copperthite, who was not involved in the Smith dispute, says "Stone handed me that package with that phony letter in it."
The other two letters raised damaging enough issues, as Stone points out, and within four days of Time's piece, New Jersey senator Bob Torricelli wrote Norton seeking a Smith investigation. Stone says he "probably" got his old friend Torricelli to do it. Several fake faxes about Smith started arriving at Interior--one from Brulte's office--and Stone allies at the Thompson tribe wrote letters deriding Smith. The Interior inspector general started an investigation, but the White House--where staff assistant Jennifer Farley had pressed Smith to side with Buena Vista--forced Smith out shortly after the probe began. The IG finished its report by August 2002, but has yet to release it though Smith, Peebles, and Pratt want it released.
While Stone believes Smith and Bersinger "were running a scam operation," McCaleb, Peebles, and Pratt say they are "unconvinced" that Smith knew what Bersinger was doing. Peebles says he thinks Smith is "a decent guy," adding that he doesn't believe Bersinger and Smith "had this grand, synchronized conspiracy" and that "a lot of things were spun that I don't think are accurate." Smith's successor, Aurene Martin, is a former aide to Senator Campbell recommended for BIA by Reed and Fluharty. On Smith's way out the door at BIA, he saw Buena Vista lobbyists Brack and Changery, the old Campbell duo, on their way in.


Research assistance: Catrinel Bartolomeu, Molly Bloom, Andrew Burtless, Adam Hutton, Catherine Shu, Jessie Singer, and Andrea Toochin


The Royal Treatment
Anti-Semitism, that is.

By Steven Stalinsky
The Saudi royal family has been on the forefront of espousing an extreme position of hatred toward Jews, influencing the kingdom's educational system, media, and mosques, as well as its foreign and domestic policy.
In its first attempt to attract tourists to the country, Saudi Arabia's tourist commission, under the control of Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz launched an official website in March 2004. The website listed those not allowed into the kingdom: "Israeli passport holders or those whose passport has an Israeli arrival/departure stamp; those who do not abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behavior; those under the influence [of alcohol]; and Jewish people."
The Saudi embassy's Washington, D.C. spokesman, Nail Al-Jubeir, said he was "stunned" when he saw the website; and the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said he was "embarrassed." According to a press release by the Saudi embassy, "the information on the website was not correct and as a consequence the erroneous material was removed."
The ambassador's father, Prince Sultan, who serves as secretary general of the tourism commission, said in a statement that the controversy was "blown out of all proportions" by U.S. media seeking to portray the kingdom as anti-Semitic. He added, "...It is all part of a smear campaign meant to tarnish Saudi Arabia's image."
Prince Sultan -- who is also second deputy prime minister, defense and aviation minister, and inspector general of Saudi Arabia -- has been making statements against Jews for years. Following a ceremony at the Saudi Public Institution for Military Industries in June 2002, when asked about U.S. criticism of Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan replied to the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, "It is enough to see a number of congressmen wearing Jewish yarmulkes to explain the allegations against us." More recently, the Saudi royal family website 'Ain-Al-Yaqeen, quoted Prince Sultan as saying that the U.S. media, which is "under the Jewish influence," is using the U.S. reform initiative to widen the gap between Arab countries and the U.S.
Saudi Minister of the Interior Prince Naif bin Abd Al-Aziz, Sultan's brother, has also made accusations against the Jews. In what has since become an infamous interview reported in Ain-Al-Yaqeen a year after 9/11, Naif explained that Arabs were not involved in the attacks: "We put big question marks and ask who committed the events of September 11 and who benefited from them. Who benefited from events of 9/11? I think they [the Jews] are behind these events."
Saudi kings have also been known for holding extreme anti-Semitic views. Saudi Princess Fahda bint Saud ibn Abd Al-Aziz -- who's been described as "the daughter of King Saud and the historian of her father's reign" and who appears occasionally in the Saudi media -- has written that her father's views on the Jews and Israel still serve as inspiration for the Arab and Muslim world. In one article, she explained that King Saud called the Jewish state a deadly disease that would never be accepted by Arabs. "...King Saud made the right diagnosis: 'The Zionist threat is like cancer -- in dealing with it neither medicine nor surgery will do any good.' This royal statement was meant to emphasize that the Arabs do not, and will not, accept an Israeli state amidst them." The article added that under the leadership of King Saud, the Saudi Representative to the U.N. called for the establishment of a U.N. agency "to help resettle Jews [now in Israel] in their former European homes."
The late King Faisal was also notorious for his anti-Semitic statements. In 1972, he told the Egyptian magazine al-Musawwar, "While I was in Paris on a visit, the police discovered five murdered children. Their blood had been drained, and it turned out that some Jews had murdered them in order to take their blood and mix it with the bread they eat on that day." The following year, in an interview with the Lebanese Al-Sayyad Faisal said that in order to comprehend the crimes of Zionism it's necessary to understand the Jewish religious obligation to obtain non-Jewish blood.
The Saudi royal family's hatred of the Jews is now influencing its next generation. Saudi Prince Amr Muhammad Al-Faisal writes often in the Saudi press to warn American Jews that their compatriots will eventually turn against them. In one article he declared: "Dear cousins, if you hear a snap in two or three years, it will probably be the sound of the trap shutting on your collective necks. You have been warned."
Given that the Saudi royal family controls its country's media, mosques, and textbooks, there's no doubt they're responsible for the kingdom's reputation as a breeding ground for anti-Semitism.

-- Steven Stalinsky is executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

OSCE conference urges unity against rising anti-semitism
Reuters in Berlin
Thursday April 29, 2004
The Guardian
Anti-Semitism is on the rise and to defeat it will take coordinated action by many countries, speakers told an international conference on the subject on Wednesday.
"It is not good that a conference on this theme has to take place in 2004, and that it should deal with current problems, not historical questions," President Johannes Rau of Germany told the anti-semitism conference in Berlin of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
"Nobody should close their eyes to racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism," he urged around 500 delegates.
The two-day meeting of representatives from north America, Europe and central Asia aims to agree measures to counter anti-Jewish violence and propaganda.
The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, and the Israeli president, Moshe Katsav, were the highest-profile guests.
"We share the burden of fighting anti-semitism in our states. That is the most important message of this conference," the German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, said.
Jewish groups have complained that European governments have been late to respond to a revival in anti-semitism in the past few years, which has coincided with rising Middle East violence.
A recent EU report showed that attacks on Jews increased in several member states in 2002, compared with 2001. The biggest rise was in France, where they increased six-fold.
Mr Rau told the conference that racists had seized on the Middle East conflict and the policies of Israel's government.
"Everyone knows that massive anti-semitism is behind some of the criticism of the Israeli government's politics in the last decades," he said.
However, Brian Cowen, the foreign minister of Ireland, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, warned that criticism of Israeli government policy should not automatically be labelled anti-semitic.
"The exploitation of race for political purposes by any government or any politician, be it an offensive weapon or as a shield to fend off criticism, is quite simply unacceptable."
An Anti-Defamation League report on Monday said anti-semitic views were on the wane in most EU states, but distrust of Israel was rising.


GAO Questions U.S. Nuclear Security
Posted April 28, 2004
By Thom J. Rose
The Department of Energy (DOE) acknowledges that defending U.S. nuclear facilities is a vastly different project than it was before Sept. 11, 2001, but some observers say the department is changing its methods much too slowly.
The threat of organized suicide attackers has turned nuclear security on its ear, Robin Nazzaro, a director at the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, told a Tuesday hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform.
"In the past we had determined that someone would have to get in and out [of a nuclear facility to do damage], and now we've determined that all they have to do is get in," Nazzaro said.
DOE weapons experts told a 2002 Senate hearing that if terrorists were able to breach a nuclear site containing the proper materials, they might be able to assemble and detonate a 1 kiloton bomb capable of killing thousands in several minutes.
That possibility has precipitated fundamental changes in the way nuclear sites are required to be protected.
A directive issued April 5 orders sites containing the most dangerous class of nuclear materials to assume a heightened "denial" level of defense designed not only to prevent terrorists from stealing material, but also to keep them from even entering the sites, Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight told the committee.
That directive comes in addition to a new "Design Basis Threat" nuclear-security standard that DOE created after Sept. 11 in response to changing security concerns. That new standard has attracted controversy, however, and is strongly criticized in a GAO report released last Thursday.
The report begins by questioning the two years DOE took to create the standard after Sept. 11. "During this extended period, [the department's] sites were only being defended against what was widely recognized as an obsolete terrorist threat level," the GAO report says.
"We certainly said that two years is a long time to do this," Nazzaro added.
The report goes on to question the content of the new Design Basis Threat standard, which House subcommittee Chairman Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said some observers think "might be more accurately called the 'Dollar Based Threat,'" since some believe it compromises security to save money.
The GAO report also says the new standard does not pay enough attention to the improvised nuclear bombs the department's weapons experts said terrorists might be able to put together in minutes. It says the new standard should put more emphasis on the potential for radiological, chemical and biological sabotage as well.
"We're really concerned that [DOE] is not treating nuclear materials in the way they are treating nuclear weapons," Nazzaro said.
Linton Brooks, the administrator of DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration disagreed, saying, "We believe that the highest level of defense should be reserved for nuclear weapons."
The GAO report goes on to say that some U.S. nuclear sites will not be able to meet the new standards for up to several years and should be required to put in place additional provisional measures in the meantime.
Both the existence of sites that won't be able to meet the news standards and the implementation of provisional security measures have attracted controversy.
Brian said some nuclear sites were built when security concerns were completely different and will have to be completely rebuilt or abandoned in response to current threats. "It's simply impossible for these facilities, as they exist, to implement these requirements," Brian said.
Shays said, "Faced with the new security imperative to deny access, not just contain or catch intruders, it should have been immediately obvious [the department] has too many facilities housing nuclear materials, and those facilities are old, above ground, scattered and cluttered World War II-era plant configurations not buffered by adequate setback space."
Consolidating U.S. nuclear materials in more secure sites is a stated DOE goal, but Shays said the department has so far made little progress in that direction.
The department's latest plans to improve nuclear security include moving nuclear material out of one Nevada test site and possibly from other sites, but the efforts have met with continued resistance.
Brian said some of that resistance comes from site operators who fear their importance will diminish when their most dangerous material is gone. "The people in charge of implementing [the Nevada move] seem to have a different agenda than" Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, who ordered the move, Brian said.
While consolidation and fortification efforts remain incomplete, sites are increasing their use of guards. That practice, which was widespread after Sept. 11 and continues at sites that are more difficult to protect, worries some observers, who say the additional guarding capacity comes mainly in the form of overtime worked by current employees. Too many hours of overtime, especially for guards expected to remain vigilant, can lead to substandard performance, Brian and others say.
Brooks said his department does face a range of challenges in protecting nuclear sites, but added that he believes all nuclear material in the United States is adequately protected. "The people looking for soft spots would be ill-advised to come to the facilities for which I am responsible," Brooks said.
Thom J. Rose is a correspondent for UPI, a sister news organization of Insight magazine.

"Abort Bush"
The activists at the March for Women's Lives take partisan shots--and extol the joys of abortion.
by Erin Montgomery
04/27/2004 12:00:00 AM

"ABORT BUSH IN THE FIRST TERM." A group of women on the National Mall displayed a banner with these words during last Saturday's March for Women's Lives, while a throng of fellow abortion-rights demonstrators marched by, nodding their heads in approval. The banner's message couldn't have been more clear, or a more glaring example of sordid wordplay--unless you consider another sign displayed at the march: "KEEP BUSH OUT OF MY . . ."
Led by the ACLU, the Black Women's Health Imperative, the Feminist Majority, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the National Organization for Women, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the march featured a lengthy list of speakers. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Gloria Steinem, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ted Turner were just a few of the many proponents of abortion rights who urged the crowd to take back the country and elect John Kerry in November.
When actress Camryn Manheim took the stage during the afternoon portion of the rally, she joked, "CNN [is reporting that this] is the largest march in the history of the universe. Of course, Fox is saying there's no one here." News reports now say that the event drew about 500,000 people, making it one of the largest abortion-rights demonstrations ever held on the Mall. The March for Women's Lives website says the crowd numbered 1.15 million.
But unconfirmed numbers (the U.S. Park Police no longer provide estimates) don't tell the full story behind the marchers. In terms of age, race, and gender, the marchers were diverse, and some were scared. "I spend half my day in class, half doing activist work," Niva Kramek, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the student group Penn for Choice, said. "I'm terrified of what's going to happen [if Bush is reelected]."
As I made my way through piles of hot pink Planned Parenthood signs and dodged the Texas Mamas for Choice, I stumbled into Brenda Beckett. A 52-year-old from Seattle, Beckett explained that in 1975 she had had an abortion as a 25-year-old married woman. "I haven't regretted it once," she said. What she does regret is the "eight hours of orientation"--doctor going over alternatives, such as adoption--she sat through beforehand. "I never had any children cause I never wanted any," she said. Her husband at the time supported her decision; they are no longer married.
"Even though Bush says he believes in non-intrusive government, he is being intrusive," protestor Priscilla Balch said. An abortion-rights activist since her teens, Balch, 60, is "very upset to see that we're going backwards." John McKenna, a senior at Ohio University, has been a part of other pro-choice marches, though this was his first in Washington. He was raised Catholic and attended an all-boys Catholic high school in Cleveland. He has been able to reconcile his religious upbringing with his pro-choice beliefs, stressing that the march is not just for women.
By and large, the marchers were gleeful and unapologetic, sometimes leading to contradictory acts of protest: parents placed pro-abortion stickers on their newborn babies' clothing, and women went topless as a way to get others to take the cause more seriously. Juxtapose them with the counter-protestors who marched in a dignified manner on Pennsylvania Avenue. Silent No More, a group of women who underwent abortions and regret their decision, almost didn't make it to the march when they were denied a permit to stand on the outer sidewalks of Madison and Jefferson streets, directly across the street from the rally on the Mall.
Leading a group of women carrying "I REGRET MY ABORTION" signs, Silent No More co-founder Georgette Forney said, "It's ironic that they are marching to protect women's right to choose and at the same time [are] working to deny us our right to talk about the pain abortion caused us. We are the faces of the choice they promote." After having their permit denied, the women gathered under a permit issued to the Christian Defense Coalition, 16 members of which were arrested when they moved out of their designated area on Pennsylvania Avenue and into the area intended for marchers at Fourth Street and Madison Drive.
Meanwhile, I listened to Forney, 43, tell me about the abortion she had at age 16. She went through a healing process in 1995 and shared her secret with her church in 1998. She also began to correspond with other suffering, post-abortive women over email. Forney says her healing process started with an epiphany. "I came across my old high school yearbook one day. I was holding my yearbook, and it felt like my baby. All of a sudden, I knew she [I just sensed she was a girl] was there. I could feel her spirit, and knew she was awesome."
Erin Montgomery is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.

? Copyright 2004, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.


The Other JFK

Nina J. Easton Reporter for the Boston Globe, co-author, John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography: By the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best (Public Affairs, 2004)
Brian C. Mooney Reporter for the Boston Globe, co-author, John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography: By the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best (Public Affairs, 2004)
Michael Kranish Reporter for the Boston Globe, co-author, John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography: By the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best (Public Affairs, 2004) detail the life of John Kerry


Kerry Gets a Pass?
The Democratic candidate for president keeps profiting from Enron and Halliburton.
By Sam Dealey
In late January, the Washington Post reported that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry raised more money from special interests and lobbyists over the previous 15 years than any of his Senate colleagues. But of all money Kerry has raked in from these donors -- from oil and gas companies, HMOs, and the pharmaceutical industry, for example, and from his brother's Boston law firm and its related lobbying shop -- two of the most politically profitable have been Enron and Halliburton.
Of course, current and former executives at those companies might not see it that way. Both Enron and Halliburton have been reliable whipping boys for Kerry for much of his presidential campaign -- the former for obvious reasons, the latter for no apparent reason at all.
Last September, for example, Kerry told Iowans that "seniors have had their retirements stolen by Enron and WorldCom, by financial scandal and a marketplace where this president licenses a creed of greed."
Just before that state's caucuses in January, Kerry rallied the Des Moines faithful against Halliburton and its ties to Vice President Dick Cheney. "We need to end an administration that lets companies like Halliburton ship their old boss to the White House and get special treatment while they ship American jobs overseas." (Those off-shored jobs, incidentally, are Americans rebuilding Iraq.)
And he's often lumped them together. "George Bush and his crowd, they are the world champions in terms of special interest giveaways -- the drug companies, the oil companies, Halliburton, the Enron Scandal, the WorldCom scandal," Kerry claimed on CNN this February.
These kinds of lines play well with the liberal base, and Kerry gets considerable political mileage from them. But now it turns out that both Enron and Halliburton were financially profitable for Kerry, too.
Personal financial disclosure forms filed with the Senate show that on December 11, 1995, the marital trust held by Kerry and his wife purchased Enron stock valued anywhere from $250,001 to $500,000. (The Senate requires only rough valuations for assets and liabilities.) The stock returned between $5,000 and $15,000 in dividends in 1996, and another $5,001 to $15,000 in 1997. Capital gains realized from the sale of Enron stock that year totaled anywhere from $15,001 to $50,000. All in all, the Kerrys made between $25,003 and $80,000 off their Enron buy.
Likewise, financial forms on file with the Senate show the Kerrys made money off of Halliburton. On May 13, 1996, the marital trust purchased between $250,001 and $500,000 of stock in the company. Just seven weeks later, the stock was sold. The trust reported earning $1,001 and $2,500 in dividends and $5,001 and $15,000 in capital gains. Add it up and the gains were anywhere from $6,002 to $17,500.
Granted, these gains represent just a drop in the bucket relative to all of the Kerrys' assets. But like Barbra Streisand, who simultaneously bashed Halliburton while profiting from its success, Kerry seems to want to have it both ways.
Before Enron's corruption was exposed -- and of which there's no evidence that the Bush administration sought to mitigate the criminal responsibilities of its directors -- the senator and his wife, like many investors, turned a tidy profit from the company. Halliburton, meanwhile, receives the lion's share of reconstruction contracts in Iraq by dint of its expertise -- not Cheney's past stewardship. Indeed, it was both the company's and Cheney's expertise that Kerry and his wife banked on for seven weeks in 1996.

-- Sam Dealey is a writer in Washington, D.C.

Terrorists Cheer Kerry's Rhetoric
Posted April 28, 2004
By J. Michael Waller

Sen. John Kerry?s increasingly shrill challenge of President Bush is grinding down the image of the United States abroad and playing directly into the hands of anti-U.S. extremists.
Exploiting the liberties of free societies, terrorists are using the mass media to sow divisions among and within the democracies, terrorism experts report. The March bombing of the Madrid subway proved that low-budget terrorist attacks could be used to influence democratic elections and, by virtue of Spain's sudden military withdrawal from Iraq, to drive wedges between the staunchest allies in the international antiterrorism coalition. Senior Spanish and U.S. officials now believe al-Qaeda will plan more attacks in the United States to try to force President George W. Bush from office.
Playing directly into the terrorists' hands is Bush's increasingly shrill challenger, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). Democracies long have been vulnerable to manipulation by hostile foreign powers. President George Washington foresaw this in his Farewell Address of 1796. Though the popular notion is that the main point of the address was to warn against entangling alliances, the most persistent theme of Washington's speech was to warn against foreign subversion of America's democratic process. In his words, "It is easy to foresee that from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken, many artifices employed," to undermine the national identity and sense of purpose. Specifically, Washington feared that foreign adversaries would use the new democratic system to turn Americans against themselves.
Even now, external enemies are attacking the political fortress of the United States and its democratic allies through propaganda by word and deed. In his taped statement aired on the Wahhabi satellite TV network Al-Jazeera on April 15, Osama bin Laden not only sought to divide Europe from the United States by offering a "truce" with European countries that pull out of the coalition in Iraq, the al-Qaeda leader also explicitly feasted on the feeding frenzy among bickering American politicians about whether President Bush was to blame for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Good propagandists will turn their enemies' words against them, and the best will sow suspicion and division among them. This is happening now in the United States, where the terrorist enemy and its allies are using the rhetoric of the current presidential campaign in their jihad against the nation. Previous cautions against rash campaign words that provide aid and comfort to the enemy were thrown out the window long ago. Kerry steadily has become more and more shrill in his denunciations of the president as a leader, a man and a politician. Straying from legitimate policy differences with Bush or a healthy national debate about how best to fight the terrorist enemy, the Democratic nominee in waiting has yanked off the safety and fired full auto at the president.
Al-Jazeera and other anti-U.S. propaganda outlets have been quick to magnify whatever Kerry says in an attempt to show what a failure the United States has become under the Bush presidency. Kerry's increasingly strident and careless statements on the campaign trail reverberate abroad. His foul-mouthed interview with Rolling Stone became part of an Al-Jazeera feature on March 16. Although Kerry voted to let the Iraq war go forward, the Wahhabi-owned TV network noted, "He has suggested Bush's handling of the campaign is 'f-ed up.'"
"Bush misled Americans on the degree Iraq posed a threat," Kerry said in the Al-Jazeera broadcast, and the president is not "working closely enough with the international community." Bush's exclusion of France and Germany from competition for U.S. taxpayer-funded contracts to rebuild Iraq, Kerry said, was "dumb and insulting." Al-Jazeera rebroadcast, in Arabic, Kerry's allegation that in combating terrorist structures inside the United States, Bush and the Department of Justice have smeared "innocent Muslims and Arabs who pose no danger."
Such words, one of Kerry's former Senate colleagues says, grind down the image of the United States abroad and damage Washington's efforts to maintain allies and supporters in the Arabic-speaking world. With near-daily doses of extreme and careless quotations from the anti-Bush camp, Arab audiences are led to believe the worst about U.S. intentions and policies in the war on terrorism. Rather than helping the war effort with positive alternatives to counterterrorist policies they consider flawed, Kerry and other politicians are fanning the flames of hostility in the Islamic world.
The government-controlled press in Syria generally ignored President Bush's State of the Union address in January, "but on its front pages highlighted criticism that came in its wake, particularly Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's calling Bush's [foreign] policy 'arrogant and inept,'" according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors Middle Eastern news and propaganda organizations and publishes translations and analyses in English. Even in Jordan, an Arab kingdom that has been an ally in the war against the terrorists, the editor of the Al-Arab Al-Yaum newspaper commented, "When President Bush gave his address, to hearty applause by his party in Congress, the Democrats shook their heads in condemnation."
The Kerry campaign, meanwhile, is reported to have e-mailed messages to foreign media outlets, pledging to "repair the damage" that President Bush allegedly has inflicted on the world. The Tehran Times, an English-language newspaper in the Iranian capital, reported Feb. 8 that unnamed Kerry staffers sent an e-mail to the Tehran-based Mehr News Agency apologizing for the conduct of the United States in the war on terrorism and saying that Kerry is the man to make things new again. "Disappointment with current U.S. leadership is widespread, extending not just to the corridors of power and politics but to the man and woman on the street as well," the message said. "We also remain convinced that John Kerry has the best chance of beating the incumbent in November and putting America on a new course that will lead to a safer, more secure and more stable world."
The Kerry campaign has claimed that all of this was the work of overseas Democrats and cannot be laid at the door of its candidate.
But recent statements from Sheik Moqtada al-Sadr, the extremist Iran-backed Shiite cleric whose guerrilla army has been killing U.S. soldiers and Marines, appear to echo this and some of Bush's other Democratic critics. Within 48 hours of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's (D-Mass.) first major characterization of Iraq as "another Vietnam," al-Sadr picked up the theme.
Soon after Kerry denounced Halliburton, the oil company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, bin Laden singled out the firm. "I stopped briefly at a gas station," Kerry said on March 30. "If prices stay that high, Dick Cheney and President Bush are going to have to carpool to work. Those aren't Exxon prices, they are Halliburton prices." In his recording released two weeks later, according to a MEMRI translation, bin Laden denounced major corporations but named only Halliburton: "This war makes millions of dollars for big corporations, either weapons manufacturers or those working in the reconstruction [of Iraq], such as Halliburton and its sister companies."
Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) observed in a recent Washington Post commentary: "Instead of trying to chart a path of progress, many of the president's critics have devoted themselves to fomenting public despair over a war, which they keep repeating, should never have been fought. At the same time critics of the Bush administration insist it should have done more to combat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan before Sept 11." Thompson added, "They miss the more profound lesson that national tragedy should have instilled: that the only deterrent to terrorism is strength and that weakness - real and perceived - is an incitement to further attacks."
The steady, daily attacks on the war and the motivations behind it, Thompson warns, risk undermining the strong international position of the United States and turning it into one of weakness.
"Weakness is when America's leaders compare Iraq to Vietnam, announcing to the world a faltering resolve to see our mission through." This signal, Thompson argues, causes wartime allies to lose heart. "To our allies in the Middle East and beyond, these predictions of defeat send a clear and chilling message to hedge their bets, because the United States cannot be counted on. And to our enemies, they can send an equally clear message: You can win."

The Madrid Model

Al-Qaeda may be planning to influence the American presidential elections this November, replicating the "Madrid model" of staging bloody terrorist attacks to intimidate voters into ousting leaders who aggressively fight terrorism. Some observers believe that its March 11 subway bombings in Madrid, which created an electoral backlash against Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar three days later, validated a model by which the terrorists could influence democratic societies to get rid of their tough-on-terrorism leaders.
Among the United States' staunchest European allies, Aznar was one of the original European supporters of ousting Saddam Hussein. All pre-electoral polls showed his party winning re-election against Socialist Party candidate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. But the subway bombings, which killed nearly 200 and injured more than 1,800, shook the confidence of the Spanish people and was the single largest factor in Zapatero's surprise victory.
"The terrorists won," according to Bob Brinker, a financial analyst and host of the syndicated radio program MoneyTalk. Watching how political events shape the markets, Brinker coined the term "Madrid model" in expectation of future attacks designed to manipulate the outcome of elections. In Brinker's view, under the Madrid model the terrorists attack a democratic society, change the government and gain a military victory in Iraq by helping democratic antiwar politicians come to power. Brinker calls Zapatero an "al-Qaeda-installed prime minister."
"Can you imagine the empowerment that al-Qaeda feels today?" Brinker said on his April 18 program. He predicted a repeat performance for the U.S. presidential election in November: "This is the last thing in the world you want to see happen."
Neither Kerry nor his ally Kennedy seems to have learned from his own Vietnam experiences, say critics, when both used extremist rhetoric to sow defeatism at home even though U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were destroying the communist enemy on the ground.
As in Vietnam, the Kerry camp seems not to care. The very day bin Laden's tape was broadcast, Kerry stood in East Rutherford, N.J., accusing the president of manipulating the war for personal political gain. "Everything he did in Iraq, he's going to try to persuade people it has to do with terror even though everybody here knows that it has nothing whatsoever to do with al-Qaeda and everything to do with an agenda that they had preset, determined," Kerry said.
Islamist forces are not alone in using Kerry's words against the United States. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, whose regime is on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, also favors a new American president. The regime's mouthpieces, including the Communist Party daily Rodong Sinmun, have been using Kerry's statements as propaganda to discredit the U.S. government.
"North Korea has been paying keen attention to the U.S. presidential election in recent weeks, reporting Democratic presidential primaries and various opinion polls through its state media," the English-language Korea Times, published in Seoul, reported in February. "Most of the reports are focusing on the criticism against Bush and Sen. John Kerry's surge as viable presidential candidate." Rebecca MacKinnon, former Beijing bureau chief for CNN and now a media fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, says that North Korea's state-controlled media have been portraying Kerry "in a positive light."
As the Financial Times reported in February, "In the past few weeks, speeches by the Massachusetts senator have been broadcast on Radio Pyongyang and reported in glowing terms by the Korea Central News Agency [KCNA], the official mouthpiece of Mr. Kim's communist regime. ... 'Senator Kerry, who is seeking the presidential candidacy of the Democratic Party, sharply criticized President Bush, saying it was an ill-considered act to deny direct dialogue with North Korea,' said the news agency. ... Pyongyang's friendly attitude toward Mr. Kerry contrasts with its strong anti-Bush rhetoric."
Like other wartime enemies of the United States, al-Qaeda is relying on presumably unwitting allies in the international peace movements. In his April 15 tape, bin Laden called the antiwar demonstrations a "positive interaction" and cited "opinion polls which indicate that most European people want peace." He appeared to view the Spanish public's ouster of conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in favor of an anti-U.S. socialist, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, as a sign of weakness in the West.
That component of strategy is nothing new. The North Vietnamese regime relied heavily on American antiwar protesters to undermine the national will and defeat the U.S. military through political means, in ways that Hanoi could not win on the battlefield. The present North Korean regime is following suit, propaganda specialists say. Providing the ideological inspiration for a strong section of the antiwar movement through its loyal political allies in the United States and elsewhere, the regime of Kim Jong-il continues to use the old Soviet active-measures model of international political warfare. The Workers World Party (WWP), a small, numerically insignificant but organizationally superior group based in New York City, slavishly supports the policies of the North Korean government, and its leaders frequently visit Pyongyang. One of its front groups, International ANSWER, coordinates the largest peace protests in the United States [see "Marching for Saddam," March 4-17, 2003].
Pyongyang continually exhorts the peace movement around the world. On Feb. 4 the official North Korean Communist Party paper Rodong Sinmun said, "The antiwar struggle is the main form of the struggle for world peace at present and its principal target is the United States."
The paper continued, "It is impossible to avert a war and achieve the world peace without a struggle against the U.S. imperialists. ... The people of all countries of the world should lift their antiwar, anti-U.S. voices and bind Yankees hand and foot to keep them from starting a war." Later in February, in a more subdued tone, Rodong Sinmun cited Kerry as a more preferable leader than Bush. U.S. national-security leaders have long recognized how the terrorists exploit our democratic system, but have been slow to counter it effectively. Insight obtained a copy of a U.S. Army intelligence briefing titled Al-Qaeda's Use of the Mass Media in Infowar/Netwar. Referring to information warfare (IW) - the use of information and information systems as instruments of conflict - and the social or societal IW medium called netwar, the Army report is based on two years of assessments of more than 200 documents.
Little secret intelligence is needed to understand al-Qaeda's strategy. Open-source information can meet up to 85 percent of the terrorists' intelligence-information needs, according to the report. Public information "provides understanding of strategic plans and intentions [and is] especially useful in forecasting cultural turmoil and societal upheavals, and in planning/conducting IW operations," according to the Army briefing. "AQ [al-Qaeda] is familiar with the art of war, but U.S. military has ignored past lessons in favor of technology, and is ignorant of its current foe," the report says.
Part of al-Qaeda's "counterpropaganda strategy," according to the Army report, is to "turn people's eyes toward their leaders to put enemy [U.S. and coalition partners] on defensive, and take the initiative to affect public opinion."
That is nothing new to students of history and statecraft. George Washington devoted much of his Farewell Address to the need to defend the country against foreign subversion designed to corrupt the national identity. He recognized the difficult situation that "real patriots" who resist foreign intrigues "are liable to become suspected and odious," while those espousing "pretended patriotism" - what he called "tools and dupes" of foreign interests - "usurp[ed] the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests."

J. Michael Waller is a senior writer for Insight.

Mystery surrounds timing of rail blast in N. Korea and Kim visit

Special to World
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
[Click here to zoom.] A satellite photo of the North Korean city of Ryongchon taken May 13, 2003 shows the train line running from the top left of the image to the bottom center.
SEOUL - The devastating explosion involving railroad cars carrying chemical and fuel products has raised questions about the timing of the blast and that of the passage along the same tracks by the North Korean leader.
The explosion occurred in the rail junction town of Ryongchon, 12 miles south of the North's Yalu River border with China. Pyongyang's Korea Central News Agency attributed the blast to "carelessness during the shunting of wagons loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer and tank wagons." Electrical contact from overhead wires had triggered the blast, causing damage that KCNA acknowledged was "very serious."
Was the ammonium nitrate was for fertilizer, as claimed by North Korea, or for rockets and other weaponry manufactured in and around Ryongchon, an industrial community of more than 300,000, many of them in the armed forces or military industries or both.
Another question was whether Kim Jong-Il had passed through the town nine hours earlier, as had widely been reported by Western news agencies, or had been there closer to the blast.
Ruined houses in Ryongchon, North Korea, on April 26, following a huge train blast on April 22 in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency.
Because at least 76 of the 161 people killed were children, speculation has arisen that they had been marshaled to wave at Kim and his 40-man entourage as they sped by in a special train enroute to Pyongyang. Kim's train had crossed the bridge over the Yalu River early that morning, taking him on the final homeward leg of a journey to Beijing that had begun the previous weekend.
"That's part of the mystery of the whole situation," said Norbert Vollertsen, the German physician who spent more than a year ministering to North Koreans until he was expelled three years ago for crusading for human rights. "Many military and government people were there as well as students."
The immediate explanation was that the schoolchildren were just pouring out of a nearby school, flattened in the blast along with an agricultural college and the railroad.
They were at the epicenter of an explosion that aid workers said destroyed almost everything within 500 meters, creating a number of craters, destroying 129 public buildings and nearly 2,000 homes and tearing down buildings as far away as 4 kilometers.
While the government said there was no sign of sabotage, the South Korean gossip mill was rife with rumors about an attempted plot against Kim. Many here found it difficult to believe the blast was not a botched attempt on the "Dear Leader's" life by discontented military officers.
The rumors intensified as the hours and days passed after the blast with Kim Jong Il failing to make any public appearances. "North Korean Leader Not Seen in Public Since Train Blast," said the headline over one report by Yonhap News Agency.

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Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.
U.S. to set up new Iraqi chain of command by June
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
BAGHDAD - The U.S. military plans to establish an Iraqi military and security force chain of command over the next two months.
U.S. officials said the military and security chain of command will be the priority of the Iraqi Defense Ministry. They said such a command would ensure discipline within the new U.S.-trained Iraqi forces.
"In the coming months, we will steadily strengthen our security partnership, placing increasing responsibility in the hands of Iraqis," CPA administrator Paul Bremer said. "By June 30, Iraqi soldiers in the ranks will report up through an Iraqi chain of command to Iraqi generals."
Officials said the U.S.-led coaltion continues to train members of the Iraqi security forces despite the flight of about half of the Iraqi military security forces during the Shi'ite and Sunni revolt in early April. They said the forces would now include former members of the Ba'ath Party, the ruling party under the Saddam Hussein regime, after screening to ensure that they did not participate in atrocities.
Over the next few months, the United States plans to accelerate the training and equipping of the Iraqi police, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, the Border Police, the Infrastructure Protection Service and the new Iraqi army. Officials said the training would be integrated into a chain of command for Iraqi forces. They said the Iraqi units that fought best against Sunni and Shi'ite insurgents in April were those with what officials termed a good, clear Iraqi leadership.
On April 18, Defense Minister Ali Alawi announced his appointment of the top Iraqi generals in the new Iraqi army. They included a chief of staff and his deputy as well as the senior military adviser to the ministry.
Officials said that 70 percent of senior Iraqi military and security officers would come from the army under Saddam. They said this would include the return of senior officers under the Saddam regime who did not serve in the top three layers of the Ba'ath Party or the top four layers of any ministry.
"You cannot pull generals out of thin air; you cannot recruit and train generals in a matter of weeks or a couple of years," CPA senior adviser Dan Senor said. "These are people who have to have tremendous experience."

Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.

SPIEGEL ONLINE - 28. April 2004, 17:43
Todesfahrt nach Bagdad

Union will Fischer vernehmen
Von Matthias Gebauer
Im Fall der beiden auf der Fahrt nach Bagdad get?teten GSG-9-Beamten w?chst die Kritik am Au?enminister. Die Opposition will wissen, warum die Sicherheitsm?nner nicht auf dem Luftweg reisen konnten. Nach SPIEGEL-ONLINE-Informationen waren erst drei Tage vor der Todesfahrt zwei andere GSG-9-Beamte per Flugzeug in die irakische Hauptstadt gelangt.

Get?tete GSG-9-Beamte: Leichen noch immer verschwunden
Berlin - Im Innenausschuss des Bundestags nahm am Mittwoch Minister Otto Schily zu der Todesfahrt der beiden deutschen Elitepolizisten Stellung. In einem ausf?hrlichen Vortrag schilderte der Politiker nach Angaben von Sitzungsteilnehmern die bisherigen Erkenntnisse. Demnach ist sich die Bundesregierung sicher, dass die beiden Beamten, die am 7. April auf der Strecke von Amman in Jordanien nach Bagdad unter Beschuss von Aufst?ndischen gekommen waren, nicht mehr am Leben sind.
Die Suche nach den beiden Leichen der Beamten blieb bisher erfolglos, berichtete der Minister. Die Botschaft in Bagdad habe sowohl den Roten Halbmond, die amerikanische Armee, die Zivilverwaltung und auch mehrere unabh?ngige Organisationen um Hilfe gebeten. Bisher aber sei die Lage rund um den Anschlagsort n?rdlich der Rebellenhochburg Falludscha zu unsicher f?r die Bergung der Leichen. Trotzdem will die Bundesregierung alles tun, um die Leichen zur?ck nach Deutschland zu holen.
Schily sprach erstmals ?ber Details des Anschlags. Demnach h?tten die drei GSG-9-Beamten, die Bagdad heil erreichten, von bis zu 70 Angreifern mit Feuerwaffen und Raketenwerfern berichtet. Die jordanischen Fahrer sprachen gar von bis zu 400 Heckensch?tzen, die ?ber eine Strecke von fast zwei Kilometern auf der Umleitung um den Ort Falludscha das Feuer auf den Konvoi aus mehreren gepanzerten Fahrzeugen und einigen jordanischen Lasttaxis er?ffnet h?tten.

T?dliche Verwechslung
Sicherheitsexperten gehen mittlerweile davon aus, dass der Angriff eigentlich einem amerikanischen Truppentransport galt. Der deutsche Konvoi sei von einem Sperrfeuer ins n?chste gekommen, sagte Schily. Wie allerdings der "Toyota Cruiser" der beiden get?teten Beamten getroffen worden sei, konnte bisher nicht genau gekl?rt werden. Ein britischer Reporter hatte nach dem ?berfall Fotos von einer Leiche und einem ausgebrannten Toyota ver?ffentlicht. Ob diese Bilder jedoch tats?chlich einen der beiden GSG-9-Leute oder deren Fahrzeug zeigen, ist bisher unklar.

Innenminister Schily: Dienstaufsicht beim Ausw?rtigen Amt
In ersten Berichten ?ber den Anschlag war von einem Bus die Rede, der quer auf der Fahrbahn stand. Beim Passieren dieser Sperre sollte der Wagen der beiden Beamten besch?digt worden sein. Nach den neuesten Erkenntnissen allerdings haben alle Wagen die Sperre erfolgreich durchbrochen. Wo der Jeep der beiden am Konvoi-Ende fahrenden Beamten schlie?lich h?ngen geblieben sei, ist noch unklar. Laut dem Bericht des Ministers sei ein Fahrer des Botschafters kurz nach dem ?berfall die Strecke noch einmal abgefahren, habe aber den wei?en Toyota nicht gesehen.
Trotz des ausf?hrlichen Berichts blieben im Ausschuss viele Fragen zu der T?tung der beiden Staatsdiener offen. Minister Schily soll den Mitgliedern des Gremiums erkl?rt haben, er untersuche zwar den Angriff des Transports, aber nicht die vorausgegangene Planung. Mehrmals verwies der Minister auf die Zust?ndigkeit des Ausw?rtigen Amts (AA), welches die GSG-9-Leute als Schutz angefordert habe. Der Vorlauf des Transports falle deshalb in die Verantwortlichkeit des Au?enamts. Trotz der dringlichen Bitte der Opposition war am Mittwoch kein Verantwortlicher des Ministeriums von Joschka Fischer erschienen.

Fragen an den Au?enminister

F?r die Opposition stellt das Schweigen des AA "einen Skandal" dar, sagte der Innenpolitiker Hartmut Koschyk nach der Sitzung am Mittwoch. Die Union forderte Joschka Fischer deshalb pers?nlich auf, in der kommenden Woche im Ausschuss zu erscheinen. "Wir haben noch viele Fragen zum Vorlauf des Transports", sagte Koschyk. Vor allem will die Union wissen, warum die GSG-9-Leute bei der bekannterma?en gef?hrlichen Lage rund um Falludscha nicht nach Bagdad fliegen konnten - entweder mit einer privaten Maschine oder der jordanischen Airline Royal Jordanian oder gleich direkt aus Deutschland mit der US-Armee.
Mittlerweile mehren sich die Zweifel an den Darstellungen des AA. So hatten Sprecher erkl?rt, bei den privaten Airlines h?tten die Elitepolizisten ihre Waffen nicht mitnehmen k?nnen. Diese Tatsache wurde allerdings von den Airlines dementiert. So transportiert Royal Jordanian immer wieder Sicherheitspersonal, das seine Waffen dann als Ladung aufgibt. Am Mittwoch wurde auch bekannt, dass am 4. April - drei Tage vor dem t?dlichen Landtransport - zwei GSG-9-Beamte zur Verst?rkung der f?nf regelm??ig in Bagdad stationierten Polizisten auf dem Luftweg nach Bagdad reisten.

Bagdad-Botschafter Ellner: Gefahr untersch?tzt?
Das AA hatte auf Nachfrage stets betont, ein Transport der Elitepolizisten samt Waffen und Ausr?stung mit Maschinen der US-Luftwaffe von Deutschland aus in den Irak sei von den Amerikanern abgelehnt worden. Selbst Minister Schily ?u?erte am Mittwoch im Ausschuss daran Zweifel. So vermutete er vor den Abgeordneten, dass sich die Amerikaner bei einer Anfrage "vermutlich positiv" ge?u?ert h?tten. Ob es aber ?berhaupt eine solche gegeben habe, konnte Schily nicht sagen.
AA hatte nie bei den USA angefragt
Recherchen der ARD belegen nun, dass eine dementsprechende Anfrage vom Au?enamt an die Amerikaner nie stattfand. Ein Sprecher der US-Botschaft in Berlin best?tigte laut Angaben des Senders vom Mittwoch, dass die Deutschen niemals um einen Transport der Polizisten gebeten hatte. ?ber die Gr?nde f?r die nicht erfolgte Anfrage konnte die Opposition nur spekulieren. "Vielleicht hielt es Fischer f?r nicht opportun, bei den Amerikanern anzufragen und sich einen Korb zu holen", sagte Hartmut Koschyk, "doch f?r die Sicherheit der deutschen Beamten h?tte es tun m?ssen."
Auch zur Sicherheitslage bleiben f?r die Union einige Fragen offen. Schily best?tigte Recherchen des SPIEGEL, nach denen der Transport zuerst wegen einer Panne, dann wegen eines Sandsturms und dann erneut wegen einer Grenzsperrung um vier Tage verz?gert aufbrach. Zur Absch?tzung der Sicherheitslage berichtete er lediglich, das O.k. zur Fahrt sei zwischen dem deutschen Botschafter, dem get?teten GSG-9-Mann Thomas H. und seinem Vorgesetzten abgesprochen worden.

St?hler?cken um die Verantwortung

Au?enminister Fischer: Vorladung in den Ausschuss
Unklar blieb aber, ob auch Expertisen der deutschen Sicherheitsbeh?rden, des Geheimdienstes und auch der US-Truppen vor der Abfahrt eingeholt wurden. Die beteiligten jordanischen Fahrer hatten Tage nach dem ?berfall gegen?ber SPIEGEL TV gesagt, sie h?tten die Botschaft mehrmals vor und auch w?hrend der Fahrt ?ber die Gef?hrlichkeit der Route gewarnt. Trotzdem sei die Kolonne aber am 7. April gestartet.
In der kommenden Woche soll nun erneut ?ber den Vorgang beraten werden. Eins aber wurde aber bei der Sitzung am Mittwoch klar: Zwischen dem Innen- und dem Au?enministerium hat bei der Verantwortlichkeit f?r die beiden Todesf?lle ein heikles St?hler?cken begonnen. Keiner der beiden Ministerien will am Ende als Schuldiger dastehen. Das AA wird nun zusehen m?ssen, wie es die Widerspr?che bei den eigenen Darstellungen erkl?ren kann. Die Union jedenfalls wird nicht m?de werden, den Fall aufzukl?ren.

Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Vervielf?ltigung nur mit Genehmigung der SPIEGELnet GmbH


Chief of Staff: Syria may have hidden Iraqi WMD

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
TEL AVIV - Israel's military leader has for the first time publicly asserted that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction might have been sent to neighboring Syria.
Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon explained the failure of the U.S.-led coalition to find WMD in Iraq by saying Saddam Hussein's biological and chemical weapons might have been transferred to Syria.
"Perhaps they were transferred to a neighboring country, such as Syria," Ya'alon told the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot on Monday. "We very clearly saw that something crossed into Syria."
Ya'alon said another possibility was that Iraq buried its WMD arsenal, Middle East Newsline reported. He said he would have conducted the search for Iraqi WMD differently, but did not elaborate.
It was the first time a high-level Israeli military official asserted that Iraqi WMD could have been transferred to Syria. Last year, a similar assertion was issued by the head of the U.S. National System for Geospatial-Intelligence, Lt. Gen. James Clapper.
The Israeli chief of staff said the Saddam regime modified Iraqi aircraft for CW attacks against Israeli targets in 2002. He said the aircraft included Soviet-origin fighters as well as unmanned air vehicles.
"We identified them: UAVs, Tupolev-16s and Sukhoi," Ya'alon said. "They were specially fitted for these kinds of missions - dispersing chemical weapons. We are talking about dozens or no more than hundreds of kilograms of material."
Ya'alon said the U.S. military located the Iraqi modified aircraft by the second day of the war in March 2003. The chief of staff said Israel had relayed information critical to that mission.
Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.

Terrorists killed in Syria attack
By Albert Aji

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Gunmen attacked a former United Nations office in a diplomatic quarter of Damascus yesterday, setting off a battle with police that pelted nearby buildings with bullets and grenades.
The fighting killed two attackers, a policeman and a civilian, the government said. But witnesses said three attackers were killed and a fourth was captured.

The gunbattle follows closely on stepped-up terrorist activity in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, both U.S. allies, but comes as a surprise because of frosty U.S. relations toward Syria, which is suspected of allowing radical Islamists to enter Iraq to fight American forces.
Syria has not seen such violence since the 1980s, when the government put down an insurgency by Islamic militants.
The vacant building formerly was occupied by the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force, which oversees an agreement between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights. It was extensively damaged by fire during the gunbattle.
"Unidentified terrorists attacked a U.N. office building in Damascus, and this office is surrounded by many embassies as well," Syria's ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha, said.
Mr. Moustapha said it was too early to know the motivation of the attackers or whether they were Islamist.
"There was a random exchange of fire, and probably every building in that area was hit by a grenade or a bullet" before security forces surrounded the area and returned fire, he said.
Syria's official news agency, SANA, quoting a security source, called the attackers "a terrorist band."
The Al Arabiya television network said there were four attackers. It said three were killed and one wounded. The report could not be confirmed.
After the gunbattle, large crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the damaged building. Youths drove by honking car horns, waving pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and chanting pro-Syrian and pro-Assad slogans.
In New York, Marie Okabe, a U.N. spokeswoman, said all U.N. staff and facilities were safe and accounted for.
The U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, the capital of neighboring Iraq, was bombed twice after the U.S.-led war last year. The first, on Aug. 19, killed 22 persons, including top U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Witnesses, who said the violence started at about 7:20 p.m. and lasted 70 minutes, gave different reports.
One witness said four gunmen came out of a white van on the main Mazza Boulevard in front of the Canadian Embassy and started shooting indiscriminately. A police car on patrol in the area rushed to the scene and came under fire. The police shot back, and other police and plainclothes security forces arrived, the witness said.
Three gunmen were killed and a fourth was taken into custody, the witness reported. Five cars were gutted, and there was a fire at the building where the United Nations used to have offices. Police explosives experts were brought to the scene to examine the bodies of the dead gunmen to make sure they were not booby-trapped.
Another witness said the attackers were riding in two cars. Two explosions were first heard, and a heavy exchange of fire ensued. More than 15 explosions followed, the witness said.
Syrian political analyst Imad Shuaibi said two men "attacked with hand grenades and gunfire near the Iranian and Canadian embassies."
Mazza, on the western edge of Damascus, is home to the British ambassador's home, offices of the Iranian state news agency, the Iranian Embassy and the Canadian Embassy.
British and Iranian diplomatic officials said their embassies were not targeted in the attack, which might fit into a wider pattern of violence in the region.
Jordanian state television on Monday aired a videotape of four men admitting they were part of an al Qaeda plot to attack the U.S. Embassy and other targets in Amman using a combination of conventional and chemical weapons.
A commentator on the tape said the suspects had prepared enough explosives to kill 80,000 people.
Jordan disclosed the plot earlier this month and said it had arrested several suspects. Four other terror suspects thought to be linked to the conspiracy died in a shootout with police in Amman last week.
In Saudi Arabia, a suicide car bomber destroyed a security-forces building in the capital, Riyadh, six days ago, killing four persons and wounding 148.
A Saudi official said authorities had foiled five other terrorist attacks within the previous week. Suspected Islamic militants also killed at least five Saudi policemen this month, and a manhunt is under way for gunmen who have fought police.
Syria has been on the U.S. State Department's list of terror-sponsoring nations for its support of groups such as 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 such as al Qaeda.

EU vs. Hamas
Israel's doing what so many other nations signed on to do.

By Joshua Muravchik

Israel's assassination earlier this month of Hamas chief Abdel Aziz Rantisi stirred gusts of indignation from European governments. As in previous cases, the critics largely rested their case on international law, a refrain also heard often from the continent's critics of American counterterror measures and of the war in Iraq.
British Foreign Minister Jack Straw asserted that "targeted killings of this kind are unlawful [and] unjustified." The French foreign ministry issued a statement saying that Israel's right to self-defense "should not be exercised against international law." The foreign minister of Ireland, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, declared that "extrajudicial killings are contrary to international laws." Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson called Israel's action "illegal and disgusting." Spokesmen for the governments of Germany, Italy, Austria, Portugal, and Russia made similar comments.
If the law is what these Europeans say it is, then, as Dickens's Mr. Bumble put it, "the law is a ass" because the moral case for Israel's counterattacks on Hamas is overwhelming. But even in strictly legal terms, Israel's actions have sound justification. Ironically and shamefully, it is not Israel but these very critics of Israel who are in flagrant dereliction of their legal obligations.
Each of these European states is a party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Unlike, say, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the genocide convention is a treaty, with the force of law. It is one of the oldest, and perhaps the most widely subscribed piece of international human-rights legislation, and arguably the one with the soundest legal foundation, codifying what the Nuremberg tribunal and the U.N. General Assembly in its very first session found to be existing customary law.
Article One of the convention obligates every party "to prevent and punish" genocide as "a crime under international law." The convention goes on to define genocide as, inter alia, "killing" intended "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."
By this definition, it is clear that Hamas is an organization devoted to genocide and has been working busily at this mission for years. Hamas's goal is the complete destruction of the Jewish state. As the late Rantisi himself affirmed: "By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine." Nor did Rantisi leave doubt about what would become of these Jews. Asked by an interviewer "what do you see ultimately happening to the people [of] Israel?" Rantisi replied: "They killed thousands of Palestinians.... so I think it is just to do with them as they did with us."
Nor are Hamas's intended targets limited to Israeli Jews. Hamas's covenant boasts: "HAMAS regards itself the spearhead and the vanguard of the circle of struggle against World Zionism [and] the fight against the warmongering Jews." It makes clear that there is to be no end of killing: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: 'O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.'"
In short, Hamas's and Rantisi's platform is as clearly formulated a project of genocide as we have had since Mein Kampf. And indeed, Hamas has expressed a solicitousness for Hitler's project. As Rantisi put it, to compare Zionism to Nazism is "an insult to Nazism."
Nor can this all be dismissed as mere rhetoric. Hamas sends a constant stream of bombers to blow up buses, restaurants, markets, any place, in short, where Jews can be slaughtered. For every one whose murderous deed is achieved, handfuls of others are stopped along the way by Israeli security.
What this means is that France, Sweden, and the rest are under a legal obligation to do what they can to destroy or cripple Hamas and to assist in the arrest and prosecution of its leaders and members. What have they done to fulfill this responsibility?
Until six months ago, the EU allowed Hamas to work freely in Europe, as if it were just another NGO. The rationale was a specious distinction between the organization's "political" and "military" wings, much like the distinction between Hitler's Nazi party and his storm troopers. (Indeed, this distinction was drawn, leading the Times of London to applaud the "night of long knives" on the grounds that Hitler was bringing the "radicals" in his movement to heel.)
Only late last year were French objections overcome in the face of a particularly deadly bombing, and Hamas was banned in the EU, its financial assets frozen. But under the genocide convention, Europe's legal obligations (and those of all the other parties to the treaty) go well beyond belatedly closing its own territory to Hamas operations. They include doing what can be done to bring a halt to the genocide and punish the perpetrators. By killing the likes of Rantisi and Yassin, Israel is doing what all the other nations ought by law to be doing, too. Since they are blithely indifferent to their own solemn undertakings, Israel is left alone to defend the law and itself.

-- Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is author of Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism and, most recently of, The Intifada and the Media.

Russia gold-digging in Japan
By Sergei Blagov

MOSCOW - For decades, Russia and Japan have been divided by their territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, and the still unsigned post-World War II peace treaty. Now, yet another contentious issue has been raised that could further complicate bilateral ties: a dispute over gold worth billions of dollars that belonged to Russia's last tsar.
Russia plans to initiate discussions with Japan on the return of the tsarist gold that allegedly ended up in Tokyo almost a century ago, the Foreign Ministry says. Russia has made "certain inquiries to the Japanese side" on the issue, ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko announced. The issue of the gold "is not a matter of diplomatic negotiations between our countries for now. But this does not mean the Russian Foreign Ministry is ignoring the issue," Yakovenko said.
The gold was shipped to Japan by anti-Bolshevik leader Admiral Alexander Kolchak in 1920. Russian researcher Vladlen Sirotkin, in his four books, argues that the gold was given to Japan in exchange for weapons, but Kolchak never received any military hardware. Sirotkin estimates that, coupled with interest for the time the gold has been in Japan, it would now be worth US$80 billion. He claims that the gold is now held at Japan's Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.
Sirotkin claims that Japan seized 200 tons of Kolchak's gold, as well as "stole" 5.5 tons from the private coffers of the last tsar, Nikolas II, while it was in transit to Britain in March 1917. Sirotkin now argues that a "package solution" is needed for both territorial claims and the gold dispute between the countries. Tokyo acquired the islands in dispute - the 10,360 square kilometers of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islets (Kurils) - in a treaty with Russia in 1875. The Soviet Union took them back in the closing days of World War II, a move that Japan has protested ever since as illegal.
Further, Moscow and Tokyo never signed a peace treaty at the end of World War II in 1945 because of Japan's claim over the four Kuril Islands. Russia has suggested the signing of a treaty before solving the territorial dispute, but Japan objects.
In 1994, Russia unearthed documents testifying that Kolchak, who was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1920, had sent at least 22 boxes filled with gold ingots to Japan. However, a lack of solid evidence has prevented Russia from turning the matter into a big diplomatic row. Japan has not officially commented on the gold issue, although Russian media reports claim that Tokyo had allegedly acknowledged that $2.7 billion worth of the tsar's gold remained in Japan.
In April, Moscow's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, traveled to Tokyo to discuss bilateral economic ties, where Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told him that bilateral relations would skyrocket in the event of a resolution of the territorial dispute. Luzhkov reportedly conceded that bilateral trade remained negligible, even after growing 30 percent year-on-year in 2003 to $6 billion.
Russian analysts and media outlets have speculated that the issue of the gold, also raised during Luzhkov's trip to Tokyo, could be intended as Moscow's new response to Japan's territorial claims.
Moscow previously hoped that despite the continuing territorial dispute, Japan could still play a role in tapping the vast natural resources of Russia's Far East. But Tokyo has been reluctant to develop economic ties with Moscow because of the territorial dispute.
However, in a dramatic policy change, Ryutaro Hashimoto in July 1997 proposed a plan to improve bilateral relations. At the Krasnoyarsk summit in Siberia in November 1997, both nations decided to conclude a peace treaty by 2000, effectively separating the treaty from the territorial issue.
Until Hashimoto's policy turnaround, successive Japanese governments had said that there would be no expansion of large-scale investment in Russia without a solution to the territorial dispute. However, hopes to solve differences and sign a peace treaty before the end of the century failed to materialize - and now look even less promising than in 1997.
One of the recent Russo-Japanese summit meetings, between President Vladimir Putin and former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, took place in March 2001, in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. They signed a joint statement confirming a 1956 bilateral declaration as a "basis-setting legal document". In the 1956 declaration, in Article 9, Moscow pledged to return two islands - Habomai and Shikotan - once a peace treaty was signed.
In early February 2002, Tokyo claimed that the foreign ministers of both nations had agreed to conduct "two-track" or "dual" talks by separating talks on conditions for the return to Japan of the Shikotan and Habomai group of islets from those of the Kunashiri and Etorofu islands.
The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected using the so-called "two-track" approach. Some Russian officials have described Japan's hardline stance on the territorial dispute over the four islands as detached from reality. Russian officials have lashed out at Koizumi's "radical position" and aggressive style.
Nonetheless, Russia has been trying to rebuild relations with Japan based on economic ties and cooperation in international issues, such as North Korea. The Russian stratagem arguably involved diluting the importance of the territorial issue in the overall framework of relations with Japan.
In January 2003, a summit meeting in Moscow between Putin and Koizumi was supposed to work out ways to increase their economic and international cooperation, along with the talks for a peace treaty.
The bilateral action plan involved further diplomatic cooperation, presumably including North Korean issues. Both Russia and Japan are part of the six-party forum comprising the two Koreas, Japan, Russia, China and the United States, to discuss North Korea.
But a possible official dispute over the gold in Japan would do little in encouraging cooperation between Russia and Japan on North Korea. Now Moscow and Tokyo may face more difficulties in addressing North Korean issues of mutual concern unless they first make some headway in tackling their own bilateral problems.
Meanwhile, after recent strong Russian economic growth, Moscow has become less interested in Japanese economic assistance. Therefore, Moscow seems not to be interested in any of Japan's would-be economic incentives. By referring to the fate of the tsarist gold, Moscow might want to indicate that Russia is not likely to offer Tokyo any major concessions.

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Captores Reciben 500 Millones de D?lares al A?o

Latinoamericanos no denuncian los secuestros
Am?rica Latina es la regi?n del mundo donde m?s secuestros se producen al a?o. S?lo en el 2003 se produjeron alrededor de 7.000. Dado que muchos secuestros no son reportados a las autoridades, la cifra se queda bastante corta. El pa?s que registra el mayor n?mero de secuestros es Colombia, que desde finales de la d?cada pasada experimenta un aumento considerable, con un promedio anual de 3.000 retenciones.
Juan Carlos Becerra
Especial para Tiempos del Mundo
"En el negocio en el que la mercader?a es el secuestrado y los plagiadores cuidan de ?l hasta concretar el intercambio, pocas son las v?ctimas que pueden contarlo. La mayor parte prefiere el herm?tico silencio antes que ocupar las primeras planas de los diarios", reflexionaba Samuel Doria Medina, pr?spero empresario boliviano del cemento y de las hamburguesas, secuestrado durante 45 d?as por miembros del Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru de Per? (Mrta), en 1995.
"No s? d?nde he estado. No s? si era en un primer piso, un segundo piso o un s?tano. Solo s? que era un cuartucho ac?sticamente protegido, donde me sent? enterrado vivo", dec?a una vez liberado por sus captores despu?s de haber pasado varios d?as en cautiverio. "Lo peor era no saber lo que me iba a pasar: si me iban a matar o se trataba de un secuestro. Durante ese tiempo reflexion? que lo importante era la libertad, descubr? el valor de la libertad, de la comunicaci?n y del calor de estar con la familia".
Jam?s imagin? que despu?s de celebrar el quinto cumplea?os de su tercer hijo, Fabi?n, el 1? de noviembre de 1995, vivir?a las horas m?s dram?ticas y desesperantes de su vida. Aquel d?a hab?a asistido a la licitaci?n de una f?brica de cemento en Per?, donde la oferta de su empresa, la Sociedad Boliviana de Cemento (Soboce) hab?a sido de 28 millones de d?lares. Eran las 11:30 horas de la noche cuando a dos kil?metros de su oficina, ubicada casi en pleno centro de la ciudad de La Paz, seis hombres con uniforme militar y armas de fuego de grueso calibre interceptaron su veh?culo y lo detuvieron, no sin antes emplear la violencia. De all? lo llevaron a la ciudad de El Alto, a unos 12 kil?metros de La Paz, donde fue introducido en un cuartucho completamente cerrado que no superaba un metro por dos, donde lo ?nico que hab?a era un catre con una frazada y una bacinilla.
A partir de ese momento, tendr?a que subsistir con apenas una raci?n diaria de arroz, unas veces con carne, otras con huevo o sardina enlatada. "Fueron instantes de tensi?n insoportable. Sent? un escalofr?o desde la cabeza hasta la punta de los pies, como si fuera condenado a muerte. Hab?a momentos en que quer?a dormir d?a y noche, para escapar de aquella realidad pat?tica que viv? durante 45 d?as", dice. Militantes del Mrta peruano, al adjudicarse el plagio, exigieron una recompensa de seis millones de d?lares por su libertad, a tiempo de prevenir a sus familiares a no involucrar a la Polic?a. Las gestiones entonces fueron encargadas a un grupo negociador. Entre los estira y afloje, los extremistas, dirigidos por Mart?n Serna Ponce, lograron alzarse la friolera de $ 1.600.000, pagados por familiares del industrial.
El dinero, seg?n confes? el guerrillero posteriormente, sirvi? para financiar la toma de la embajada del Jap?n en Lima, Per?, el 17 de diciembre de 1996. Hace poco sali? en libertad, despu?s de m?s de cinco a?os de reclusi?n en Chonchocoro, una de las prisiones de m?xima seguridad del pa?s.
"Despu?s de mi retiro de monje (que quiso ser), ahora acepto que hay cosas que no tienen explicaci?n l?gica. Pero que existen, existen. Hoy doy menos importancia al dinero, a pesar de que resuelve problemas, pero es menos importante que la libertad", comenta Doria Medina, asegurando que dedica m?s tiempo a su familia y tiene el compromiso de devolver, con su trabajo, la solidaridad que recibi? de la ciudadan?a, en esos momentos dif?ciles.
Una industria en crecimiento
El secuestro es unas de las actividades delictivas m?s frecuentes en Am?rica Latina en la actualidad. En algunos pa?ses, se cuentan por millares los secuestrados. Seg?n expone el libro El negocio del secuestro, publicado por el Centro de Pol?tica Exterior (CPE), con sede en Londres, Inglaterra, Am?rica Latina es la regi?n del mundo m?s afectada por esta industria, que depara a los captores alrededor de $ 500 millones al a?o.
El pa?s que registra el mayor n?mero de secuestros es Colombia, que desde finales de la d?cada pasada experimenta un aumento considerable, con un promedio anual de 3.000 retenciones. En ese sentido, el a?o pasado result? especialmente turbulento en relaci?n al secuestro de extranjeros en este pa?s.
Los casos m?s destacados por la prensa tuvieron que ver con ocho turistas secuestrados el 12 de septiembre por el Ej?rcito de Liberaci?n Nacional (ELN) y el de tres estadounidenses que fueron retenidos el 13 de febrero, luego de que su avi?n cayera a tierra en una zona de influencia de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc). Los primeros fueron liberados poco despu?s, pero los norteamericanos continuaban retenidos al cierre de esta edici?n.
El miembro de la Fundaci?n Pa?s Libre, Juan Francisco Meza, aseguraba hace unos meses que en Colombia no se pod?a deslindar el secuestro del crecimiento del conflicto. "El n?mero de secuestros ha crecido tanto porque las Farc y el ELN, lo han definido como estrategia para su financiaci?n, validando as? una actividad que a todas luces es deleznable y condenable.
Entonces, en la medida en que ellos han crecido, los secuestros han aumentado y han logrado un enriquecimiento paulatino y sistem?tico". Mafias de narcotraficantes, guerrilleros y delincuentes comunes utilizan el plagio para conseguir recursos. El m?vil econ?mico ha reemplazado a la reivindicaci?n pol?tica de otros tiempos. Las sumas de dinero que se piden por un rescate van desde 1.000 hasta varios millones de d?lares.
En M?xico, el secuestro afecta en particular a las clases medias y altas, pero no existen cifras confiables. Existen datos de la Procuradur?a General de la Rep?blica, pero se quedan cortos ante la proliferaci?n del `secuestro express', que consiste en retener a la persona unas cuantas horas y pedir cantidades f?cilmente accesibles para los familiares o el tiempo que sea necesario para sacar todo el dinero posible de las tarjetas y cuentas bancarias de la v?ctima. Estos plagios rara vez son reportados por temor a represalias o desconfianza hacia las autoridades.
En Am?rica Central este fen?meno se intensific? durante los tres ?ltimos a?os, especialmente en Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador. Son muchos los casos reportados, aunque se estima que ciertas familias prefieren tratar directamente con los captores en lugar de avisar a la polic?a.
Temor en el norte
El pasado 3 de marzo, la Oficina de Asuntos Consulares del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos public? una `Advertencia de Viaje' (`Travel Warn-ing'), para'recordarles' a los ciudadanos estadounidenses que tienen intenci?n de viajar a Colombia el "evitar" hacerlo, debido a la situaci?n de inseguridad y violencia que se vive en el pa?s suramericano, especialmente en lo relacionado a los altos ?ndices de secuestros.
"La violencia del narcoterrorismo y otros elementos criminales contin?a afectando todas la partes del pa?s, urbanas y rurales", advierten en su escrito las autoridades.
Una de las principales inquietudes del gobierno de Washington --como dice textualmente el documento-- es que "los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos y de otros pa?ses contin?an siendo v?ctimas de amenazas, secuestros y otros tipos de violencia".
El Departamento de Estado asegura que desde el a?o 2000, unos 28 ciudadanos estadounidenses fueron reportados como secuestrados en varias partes de ese pa?s. Entre las v?ctimas destacan periodistas, cient?ficos, misionarios, trabajadores de los derechos humanos, personas de negocios, empleados del gobierno, turistas y ni?os peque?os. En muchos casos, los raptados fueron liberados tras haberse pagado cuantiosas sumas de dinero por su rescate.
"Los secuestros por recompensas ocurren m?s frecuentemente en Colombia que en cualquier otra parte del mundo y afectan a todas las ?reas del pa?s, especialmente las zonas rurales", se?ala la Oficina de Asuntos Consulares.
El documento oficial especifica que la mayor?a de los secuestros de estadounidenses en Colombia han sido cometidos por las Farc, el ELN y las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), que han sido designadas como "Organizaciones Terroristas Extranjeras" por la secretaria de Estado. Tambi?n se advierte que "al ser pol?tica de Estados Unidos el no hacer concesiones o tratos con terroristas, la capacidad del gobierno estadounidense para asistir a sus ciudadanos secuestrados es limitada".
Se han dado casos en que los rehenes de los grupos subversivos terminan siendo v?ctimas de homicidios, como el de los tres estadounidenses secuestrados por las Farc que fueron asesinados en marzo de 1999.
Colombia es la ?nica naci?n latinoamericana que integra la lista de 26 pa?ses en torno a los cuales el gobierno estadounidense ha emitido un `Travel Warning' y "no recomienda" a sus ciudadanos viajar. La mayor?a de los pa?ses incluidos en dicha lista est?n ubicados en ?frica y Oriente Medio.
Pero este temor por los "peligros que conlleva Am?rica Latina" trasciende a las autoridades de Estados Unidos. No son pocas las empresas norteamericanas y europeas que dejan entrever una fuerte preocupaci?n cada vez que tienen que enviar personal a esta parte del mundo, en particular cuando se habla de Bogot?, S?o Paulo, Ciudad de M?xico y Caracas.
A veces la estrategia que utilizan estas empresas es emplear a profesionales locales y realizar las reuniones en lugares m?s seguros, caso de Miami, por ejemplo.
Expertos en seguridad sostienen que los trabajadores que est?n en una ciudad extranjera deben aprenderse sus rutas hacia y desde su trabajo, clubes, centros comerciales y otras paradas rutinarias, pero siempre evit?ndolas para evitar ser controlados. Tambi?n es importante conocer la ubicaci?n de las estaciones de polic?a, hospitales, edificios gubernamentales y otras instalaciones a lo largo de las rutas comunes que puedan brindarles un refugio seguro o ayuda en caso de una emergencia.
?Pagar o no pagar?
La forma m?s radical para combatir el secuestro es no pagando el rescate. Hay pa?ses que lo han puesto en pr?ctica y ciertamente el n?mero ha disminuido radicalmente. En unos lugares, aparte de congelar las cuentas bancarias de los familiares, incluso se contempla como delito pagar el rescate.
En Colombia, la industria del secuestro genera el 22 por ciento de los ingresos de la guerrilla --alrededor de $ 100 millones anuales-- gracias a los secuestros. Esto ha generado movimientos en otras partes del orbe que tienden a ver el no pago como una forma de frenar este problema.
El Banco Mundial asegura que las multinacionales han pagado alrededor de $ 1.000 millones por extorsiones y seguros contra secuestro. Esto, sin embargo, no ha garantizado de ninguna manera la liberaci?n de la v?ctima ni la seguridad de una empresa, pues persona y bienes quedan supeditados al capricho del victimario.
Es f?cil discutir el dilema entre pagar o no en un art?culo period?stico o en el calor del hogar, pero no suele resultar tan f?cil para aquellas personas a las que un plagiador amenaza con matar a uno de sus seres queridos. Algunos estudios sostienen que la solidaridad que se tiene con un secuestrado al pagar por su libertad, se convierte en falta de solidaridad con los dem?s miembros de la sociedad, pues lo ?nico que hace es aumentar la rentabilidad del negocio y, por consiguiente, el riesgo de secuestro para m?s gente.
El caso es que el secuestro no s?lo afecta a la v?ctima sino a la familia en general; ya que ?stos son sometidos a lo que los psic?logos, que trabajan el duelo, conocen como el proceso de la `muerte suspendida', que es la angustia que caracteriza al secuestro y que se suma a lo que los juristas llaman la `p?rdida de libertad'. Desorienta y tiende a provocar inacci?n y un sentimiento de impotencia en los afectados.
Lo que corresponde es conseguir un buen negociador que logre detectar qu? elemento traer? al reh?n a casa en la forma m?s r?pida y segura. Esto no significa que haya que pagar lo que piden. De hecho, si se paga r?pido hay una gran posibilidad de que la persona no regrese, porque dejar? una sensaci?n de que se tiene m?s dinero. Lo mejor es no entregar el dinero y trabajar con un verdadero experto en negociaciones que sepa cu?ndo hacer un movimiento de dinero, para evitar tragedias mayores.
En Paraguay, por ejemplo, los delincuentes ya est?n eliminando a la v?ctimas, tal como ocurri? en octubre del a?o pasado con Rodolfo Alliana Rodr?guez, de 24 a?os, quien fue ultimado de tres balazos.
Alliana era hijo de un conocido y acaudalado ganadero de la ciudad de Pilar, capital del departamento de ?eembuc?.
La ciudadan?a a?n est? incr?dula. La violencia se ha apoderado de las calles y la inseguridad va en r?pido aumento. Desde el primer secuestro que se hizo p?blico en este nuevo milenio, a fines del 2001, situaci?n de la que fue v?ctima Mar?a Edith Bord?n de Debernardi, se sucedieron muchos otros como los de Mari?ngela Mart?nez Houstin, Katia Mar?a Riquelme, Graciela D?valos viuda de Pereira, Mar?a Mercedes Elizeche, Oscar Arturo Barboza (asesinado) y el de Gilda Mar?a Estela Vargas, secuestrada el 22 de agosto del 2003 y a?n con paradero desconocido. Se estima que los actos delictivos en el pa?s aumentan en un promedio de 12 por ciento cada a?o. En el 2003 se registraron 11.252 hechos punibles, pero las autoridades se muestran especialmente preocupadas por el aumento de los secuestros.
El resurgimiento de esta industria comenz? con el sonado caso de Mar?a Edith Bord?n de Debernardi, quien estuvo secuestrada m?s de 60 d?as y fue liberada previo pago de un mill?n de d?lares. El hecho ocurri? en noviembre del 2001. De ah? en m?s siguieron los secuestros, incluso a gente conocida, como la ex modelo Mar??ngela Mart?nez, secuestrada en marzo del 2003 y liberada previo pago de $ 300.000; o Mar?a Mercedes Elizeche, en agosto del a?o pasado, quien pudo huir de sus captores.
En este momento, el caso de secuestro m?s importante para la administraci?n de Nicanor Duarte Frutos, presidente de la Rep?blica, es el de Gilda Mar?a Estela Vargas (59).
Por ella sus familiares pagaron m?s de $ 60.000, en dos entregas, pero los secuestradores no liberaron a la v?ctima.u
Colaboraron en esta investigaci?n Mart?n Brakenridge (Paraguay), Alexandra Farf?n (Colombia), Carlos Becerril (M?xico) y Pedro Frisneda (Estados Unidos).


No hay pa?ses en calma
Isidro L?pez
Tiempos del Mundo

MANAGUA. Nicaragua podr?a considerarse como uno de los pa?ses del continente americano menos peligroso, donde cualquier ciudadano nacional o extranjero puede transitar por las calles y carreteras, inclusivas las m?s alejadas, sin riesgo de ser secuestrado por motivaciones econ?micas o de otra ?ndole.
Son espor?dicos los casos de secuestros que se han registrado en los ?ltimos a?os en el pa?s, seg?n los informes suministrados por las autoridades policiales.
Los pocos casos que reporta la polic?a y que ha divulgado la prensa local se han producido en zonas alejadas, principalmente de la parte norte de Nicaragua, y sus v?ctimas son peque?os finqueros dedicados al cultivo del caf?, la actividad ganadera o la producci?n de granos b?sicos.
Durante el a?o 2003 se registraron un total de 18 secuestros. La mayor?a de las v?ctimas fueron plagiadas cuando se encontraban en sus casas de habitaci?n. Solo cuatro casos ocurrieron cuando transitaban en la v?a p?blica, seg?n el informe policial del a?o pasado. La industria del secuestro tuvo su auge en Nicaragua entre 1990 y 1995 cuando en el pa?s, pese al proceso de pacificaci?n, surgieron grupos integrados por antiguos "contras" antisandinistas y por ex militares sandinistas.
Esas bandas de rearmados adem?s de combatir al ej?rcito, por diferencias de car?cter pol?tico tambi?n se dedicaron a asaltar y a asesinar a campesinos opuestos a su lucha, as? como a secuestrar a grandes y medianos productores agr?colas, a fin de exigir rescates para financiar sus actividades irregulares.
Las bandas de secuestradores operaron principalmente en zonas monta?osas de los departamentos de Jinotega y Matagalpa (norte del pa?s), Juigalpa y Boaco (centro) y en el tri?ngulo minero de Siuna, Bonanza y Rosita, en la Regi?n Aut?noma del Atl?ntico Norte (Raas).
"Pr?cticamente el auge de la industria del secuestro ya es asunto del pasado", afirm? un alto oficial de la polic?a en declaraciones a Tiempos del Mundo. Los secuestros por motivaciones pol?ticas de mayor relevancia o que recuerde la poblaci?n, ocurrieron a mediados de la d?cada de los noventa, cuando en Managua, un grupo de ex militares sandinistas alzados en armas, retuvo por varios d?as a una veintena de l?deres pol?ticos nicarag?enses, incluido el entonces vicepresidente de la rep?blica, Virgilio Godoy.
La acci?n de los ex militares sandinistas fue en respuesta al secuestro que d?as antes hab?an perpetrado ex "contras" rearmados contra una delegaci?n de diputados y funcionarios que visitaba la zona de Quilal? (norte de Nicaragua) para indagar la situaci?n b?lica que se viv?a entonces en esa regi?n.
Ambos secuestros masivos culminaron sin derramamiento de sangre despu?s de la oportuna mediaci?n del cardenal Miguel Obando y Bravo, principal jerarca de la iglesia cat?lica en Nicaragua.
Pese a que en Nicaragua los casos de secuestros son espor?dicos, las autoridades policiales y militares del pa?s unen esfuerzos con sus pares del resto de Centroam?rica para combatir a las bandas que se dedican a esa actividad il?cita.
La industria del secuestro no es tan alta como en Guatemala, El Salvador y Honduras. Seg?n datos de la polic?a, los secuestros en Nicaragua son pr?cticamente rurales.
El m?s reciente secuestro en una ciudad del pa?s se registr? el a?o pasado, cuando una banda internacional liderada por el guatemalteco Jorge Eli?cer Hern?ndez Gonz?lez, recientemente capturado en Managua con m?s de medio mill?n de d?lares, plagi? durante varios d?as a un ni?o, hijo de un ciudadano guatemalteco, cuando sal?a del colegio donde estudiaba.
Adem?s, la polic?a revel? que en Nicaragua ya comenz? tambi?n a practicarse la modalidad del `secuestro express'.
Otro tipo que tambi?n se ha registrado, aunque no con mucha frecuencia, es el autosecuestro, sobre todo entre empleados de empresas que comercializan productos en veh?culos, con el fin de quedarse con el dinero de la venta del d?a.


Contra los secuestros masivos
BOGOT?. El presidente colombiano ?lvaro Uribe pidi? al Ej?rcito que capture a los guerrilleros de las Farc que viven en Neiva, en el sur del pa?s, y reiter? que el compromiso del Estado es derrotar al terrorismo.
As? lo asegur? Uribe a los periodistas durante un consejo de seguridad en dicha poblaci?n, capital del departamento del Huila, a 300 kil?metros de Bogot?. Seg?n el presidente colombiano, buena parte de los rebeldes de la columna m?vil `Te?filo Forero' de las Farc, "que tanto da?o hace en Colombia, residen aqu?, en Neiva." Uribe dijo que conf?a en que los organismos del Estado puedan "dar gratas noticias al Huila y al pa?s desarticulando esta organizaci?n", acusada de secuestros masivos. (EFE)


Los secuestradores sufren metamorfosis

Julio Medina Murillo
Tiempos del Mundo
TEGUCIGALPA. El combate abierto que ha desarrollado el gobierno en contra de las bandas de secuestradores ha obligado a estos delincuentes a emprender una metamorfosis en su actividad y dejar a un lado la b?squeda de v?ctimas `grandes' en la c?pula empresarial del pa?s, para apostar por el `volumen' de varios golpes contra miembros de la poblaci?n com?n. Los `secuestros express' son ahora el dolor de cabeza para las autoridades nacionales. Luego de una exitosa reducci?n del 72 por ciento en el n?mero de plagios cometidos en los ?ltimos 12 meses, en comparaci?n con las cifras que se ven?an dando desde el a?o 2000, los funcionarios de Seguridad P?blica enfrentan ahora una amenaza mucho m?s dif?cil de combatir.
En este tipo de casos los delincuentes secuestran a una persona por unas horas o un par de d?as y la liberaci?n se produce luego de la entrega de una cantidad relativamente baja. Generalmente los pagos de dinero que se mueven en estas operaciones son de 10 mil y hasta 50 mil lempiras (de $ 560 a $ 2.800). "Esta es una cifra oscura que todav?a no se conoce, no se tiene un n?mero determinado de personas afectadas", afirm? el vocero de la Polic?a Preventiva, Leonel Sauceda, ya que las v?ctimas prefieren sufrir la pena en el anonimato para no ser v?ctimas de la venganza de los malhechores. Las bandas que realizan estas operaciones est?n integradas por hondure?os y extranjeros, sobre todo salvadore?os y guatemaltecos que, a pesar de la seguridad, han mudado sus actividades a la clase media y media baja.
Su modus operandi es casi el mismo. Interceptan a una familia saliendo de un centro comercial y obligan al patriarca a retirar dinero de los cajeros autom?ticos a cambio de la libertad de sus dependientes.
En otros casos se da en supermercados, donde ante un descuido de los padres, los delincuentes sustraen a sus hijos y piden, a cambio de su liberaci?n, el uso de su tarjeta de cr?dito para comprar alimentos o para obtener efectivo en los cajeros autom?ticos.
Tambi?n atacan a peque?os empresarios realizando `mini secuestros' en contra de alg?n miembro de su familia y pidiendo a cambio de su libertad cantidades que no sobrepasan los $ 3.000 ? $ 4.000.
El ministro de Seguridad, Oscar ?lvarez, consider? que los ?ltimos plagios ocurridos en Honduras fueron cometidos con la asesor?a de secuestradores salvadore?os y guatemaltecos. Cuerpos de Inteligencia, como la Polic?a Internacional (Interpol), han alertado que el secuestro se ha convertido en una "industria", especialmente luego de la "guerra fr?a" cuando se desmovilizaron muchos grupos guerrilleros, sobre todo en la regi?n centroamericana, y hoy d?a mueve cantidades millonarias. Para el caso, en Honduras en el a?o 2000, cuando se registraron 47 plagios --el mayor n?mero ocurrido en lo que va del presente siglo--, se report? que las familias de los plagiados pagaron alrededor de 43 millones de lempiras ($ 2,4 millones), por el rescate de sus parientes.
De acuerdo con la Direcci?n General de Investigaci?n Criminal (Dgic), los plagiarios ?ltimamente no respetan posiciones econ?micas, ya que se han pagado rescates de hasta tres millones de lempiras ($ 170.000), pero en otros casos se cancelaron 60 mil lempiras ($ 3.300).

Aumentan sanciones
Dentro de las reformas penales que se aprobaron para combatir el secuestro destacan las agravantes cuando el delito se cometa contra una persona mayor de 60 a?os, contra un menor de edad o cuando ya tienen al secuestrado y utilizan drogas o violencia para reducirlo o maltratarlo. Aunque tambi?n contienen atenuantes, que van desde el arrepentimiento de un secuestrador y proporcionar informaci?n a la polic?a hasta el buen trato al secuestrado. En esas circunstancias, el juez considerar?a rebajarle la pena. Adem?s, el gobierno cre? el Grupo Especial Antisecuestros (Geas), conformado por 53 integrantes, que se han apuntado varios ?xitos al liberar a personas secuestradas y capturar a los delincuentes.
Por ejemplo, de los tres secuestros reportados en lo que va del a?o, dos de las v?ctimas han sido rescatadas con vida y sus captores guardan prisi?n sin haber podido cobrar ni un centavo a sus familiares. Durante el per?odo 1995-2002, se registraron 195 secuestros de personas por diversos motivos y la mayor incidencia se tuvo en el a?o 2001, cuando se registraron 36.
Tomando como referencia los ?ltimos ocho a?os, el promedio de secuestros fue de 24 por a?o, es decir, un promedio de dos secuestros mensuales. Si bien en el 2002 se experiment? una reducci?n de secuestros en comparaci?n con el 2001, se mantuvo el promedio de dos plagios mensuales.
En el 2001 comenz? una reducci?n marcada en el n?mero de plagios, que desemboc? en una ca?da del 72 por ciento el a?o pasado, y en los primeros cuatro meses del 2004 s?lo se han reportado tres secuestros, dos de los cuales terminaron con la libertad de la v?ctima y la captura de los criminales.



Social Security Time Bomb, and the Candidates Aren't Talking

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

By Michael Tanner
Washington recently went into one of its periodic spasms of shock and indignation because of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's (search) comments that Social Security cannot continue to pay its promised level of benefits with its currently projected levels of revenue.
Greenspan was not saying anything new. But politicians of every stripe reacted as if he had announced that the sun was about to stand still in the sky.
Now, the Social Security (search) system's trustees have released their latest report on the program's finances and once more reaffirmed the truth of Greenspan's statements. In doing so, the trustees offer us another opportunity for an honest debate about how to reform Social Security and ensure that our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity for a safe, secure retirement.
The Trustees confirm that Social Security will begin to run a deficit by 2018, just 14 years from now, and the same date as in last year's report. Thus, while politicians dithered and tried to pretend the issue would go away, we moved another year closer to disaster. But the truly frightening numbers are found further into the report, and make clear the magnitude of the fiscal train wreck awaiting us.
The figure most cited in the media is the "present value" of Social Security's unfounded liabilities, $3.7 trillion, which represents the amount needed to cover shortfalls after the Trust Fund is exhausted in 2042. An additional $1.5 trillion would be needed to redeem the bonds in the trust fund, for a total unfounded liability of $5.2 trillion, on a present value basis. Present value calculations are an important number for economists and actuaries--they show the amount the government would have to set aside today (assuming it earned standard interest rates) to pay all promised benefits in the future. But, of course, the government cannot set aside $5.2 trillion today. That would be nearly half of our Gross Domestic Product (search).
Therefore, a better measure of Social Security's financial crisis is its actual cash deficit: the total amount that its expenditures will exceed its revenue from 2018 on. Measured in constant 2004 dollars, that shortfall is an astounding $26 trillion--$26,000,000,000,000.00.
To put this in context, in 2018, the first year that Social Security will run a cash deficit, that shortfall will be approximately $16 billion, or roughly the equivalent of the current budgets for Head Start and the WIC nutritional program. In another two years, Social Security's shortfalls will nearly exceed those two programs, plus the Departments of Education, Commerce, Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency. By 2030 or so, you can throw in the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs. And the biggest deficits would be still to come.
Or, if you would rather look at it in terms of taxes, in the first year after Social Security starts running a deficit, the government must acquire revenues equivalent to nearly $200 per worker. By 2042, the additional tax burden increases to almost $2,000 per worker, and by 2078 it reaches a crushing $4,200 per worker (in constant dollars). And it continues to rise thereafter. Functionally, that would translate into either a huge increase in the payroll tax, from the current 12.4 percent to as much as 18.9 percent by 2078, or an equivalent increase in income or other taxes.
And all of this doesn't even begin to consider Social Security's other problems: a poor and declining rate-of-return for younger workers; issues of fairness for minorities and working women; the impact on wealth creation; and the lack of legal ownership and control over one's benefits.
The American people would be right to hope, therefore, for an open and honest debate over how Social Security should be reformed. So far, however, they would be disappointed.
President Bush has been willing to discuss Social Security reform, at least conceptually. He would allow younger workers to privately invest a portion of their Social Security taxes through individual accounts. But, so far he has been unwilling to put any political capital behind such proposals. And, he has been maddeningly short of details on issues such as how big private accounts should be, or how he would finance short-term cash shortfalls during the transition to individual accounts.
Bush's Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, has so far defined his position primarily by what he is against. Campaigning in Florida, Kerry told a group of seniors, "I will never privatize Social Security. Never, never, never!" Kerry went on to say that he would never support any cuts in Social Security benefits either. "Not me. Not my party. Not ever." That's all very well--but then what is he for? As former President Bill Clinton pointed out, there are only three options for Social Security reform: raise taxes, cut benefits, or invest privately. Kerry seems to be taking benefit cuts and private investment off the table. Does that mean he supports tax increases? If so, he isn't saying.
At a time when politicians can expend so much time and energy on issues ranging from who gets married to the use of steroids in baseball, wouldn't it be nice for them to give us some straight forward answers about the ticking time bomb of Social Security?

Michael Tanner, director of the Project on Social Security Choice at the Cato Institute, is the editor of the new book, "Social Security and Its Discontents" (Cato Institute, 2004).

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Fixing the New Medicare Law #3: How to Build on the Drug Discount Card
by Grace-Marie Turner and Joseph R. Antos, Ph.D.
Backgrounder #1752

April 26, 2004 | |

Starting this June, America's senior citizens will begin to see the first tangible benefits of the new Medicare law. Medicare beneficiaries will be able to start using new Medicare-approved prescription drug discount cards that are expected to produce discounts of up to 25 percent. Additionally, subsidies of $600 a year will be available to low-income seniors to help with their drug purchases.
This Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Program already has sparked intense interest among companies seeking to participate. In January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) received 104 applications from prospective card sponsors, and in March, it approved 71 of them. The CMS rejected 29 applications that did not meet its standards.
Medicare beneficiaries will be able to enroll beginning in May 2004 and can start using the cards and subsidies in June. The Administration expects more than 7 million seniors to participate.
This is a temporary program that is designed to provide interim help until the full drug benefit program begins in 2006. However, both the level of interest in this program and its rational structure suggest that it could provide the basis for a permanent program. Such an arrangement could feature privately negotiated drug discounts and fixed subsidies for the purchase of routine medications. It could also offer protection against catastrophic drug expenses.

Critics have raised four major concerns about the temporary drug card program:

A single drug card may not cover all the drugs a Medicare beneficiary uses.
After senior citizens have signed up for the card, card sponsors may drop particular drugs those seniors need.
Card plans can change drug prices weekly even though beneficiaries are locked into their plans for up to a year.
Rising drug prices may erode savings from the Medicare card.
To answer the first point, this is a discount program, not a drug benefit. By design, the cards cannot cover every drug and still provide meaningful savings. The card plans will obtain discounts from manufacturers by shifting consumer demand from one product in a particular drug class to another in order to concentrate purchasing power. If the drug cards were required to cover every drug in every category, discounts would be minimal, defeating the purpose of the program.

Second, the program offers beneficiaries protection against the loss of discounts on drugs they need. Drug card plans are required to cover at least one drug in all therapeutic categories to ensure that seniors will be able to get the drugs they need.

Third, price increases will be monitored and limited to ensure that any increases reflect prevailing market costs. Arbitrary price increases or formulary changes would be highly unpopular with beneficiaries and federal overseers alike, and there will be strong market pressures on the card plans both to keep prices as low as possible and to provide as many choices as feasible. Most sponsors are well-established firms with reputations to protect, and a majority of them plan to offer a Medicare Part D benefit. Consequently, those sponsors will try to make their cards as attractive as possible to seniors. While some card sponsors might find short-term gains from dropping drugs and/or raising prices, in the longer term, they would lose enrollment and could face expulsion from the program.
Finally, early reports indicate that pharmaceutical companies are offering very generous discounts on the drug card plans while still coupling their existing patient assistance programs with the cards. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson says card sponsors are vying with each other to negotiate the lowest prices on drugs in order to gain the largest numbers of enrollees. Seniors will be able to compare the individual drug prices offered by each card by visiting the new Web site at or by calling 1-800-Medicare.
A new study by researchers from Harvard University estimates that the drug discount cards will save seniors who do not have other drug coverage an average of 17.4 percent off current retail prices--for a total of as much as $1 billion a year in savings. The researchers predict that sicker beneficiaries will see slightly higher savings and poorer beneficiaries will save somewhat more than wealthier beneficiaries. They also say that low-income beneficiaries "will see the largest reductions in out-of-pocket drug spending relative to their income" and also will benefit from an annual $600 subsidy that is not included in the study's savings estimates.1

What the New Medicare Law Says
Title I of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), enacted on December 8, 2003, creates the new prescription discount drug card and transitional assistance program.

Drug Discount Cards
The law requires the Department of Health and Human Services to implement a new program of Medicare-approved prescription drug discount cards. Senior citizens who participate in this voluntary program will receive access to discounts negotiated by the private card sponsor they select. HHS anticipates that those who use the drug discount cards will see savings of 10 percent to 25 percent on their prescription drug purchases,2 although some drug-card sponsors believe they can offer even larger discounts, especially for direct-mail purchases and generics.
Congress specified that the discount card program would take effect no later than six months after the date of enactment of the legislation. On December 10, 2003--two days after the legislation was signed--HHS published an "interim final rule" for the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card Program to notify prospective sponsors about the rules of participation. Seniors will be able to start using the Medicare-endorsed drug discount cards on June 1, 2004.
The cards are intended primarily for beneficiaries, regardless of income, who currently do not have outpatient prescription drug insurance. Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for the drug discount card program if they are enrolled in Parts A or B and as long as they are not receiving outpatient drug benefits through Medicaid.

Transitional Cash Assistance
A key part of the program is a cash subsidy of $600 per year for eligible lower-income beneficiaries to use in purchasing prescription drugs. The funds will be provided through the particular drug discount card program selected by the beneficiary. The provision was designed to provide immediate help for certain seniors and disabled people on Medicare until the new Medicare drug benefit is implemented on January 1, 2006.
Individuals whose incomes are less than 135 percent of the poverty rate may qualify for the cash subsidy. For singles, this means those making less than $12,569 per year; for married couples, it means those making less than $16,862 per year.3 Medicare beneficiaries who are also eligible to receive assistance for prescription drugs through Medicaid, TRICARE for Life,4 or an employer group health plan may not receive the cash subsidy.
For those eligible for this transitional assistance, the federal government will pay the annual enrollment fee for the drug discount cards and also will provide a subsidy on the drug discount card of $600 each year in 2004 and 2005.
The new law establishes two categories of recipients for whom assistance will be offered:
Those with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty rate would be responsible for prescription drug co-payments of 5 percent.
Those with incomes of 100 percent to 135 percent of the poverty rate would have 10 percent co-payments.
Legislators decided that even low-income seniors should pay at least something for their drugs so that they would appreciate the value of the benefit. Therefore, after selecting the drug discount card program of their choice, seniors will pay 5 percent or 10 percent of the costs of their medicines, depending upon their income category. The balance, or the remaining 95 percent or 90 percent of the discounted drug costs, will be subtracted from their $600 allowance.
Medicare beneficiaries currently without prescription drug insurance would pay about $1,400, on average, to purchase their drugs in 2004, absent the prescription drug card program. HHS concludes that the $600 subsidy, coupled with the drug discounts, will be of substantial help to them.5
Those eligible for transitional assistance will receive the full $600 subsidy for 2004 even though the program does not begin until mid-year. Significantly, any balance left over from the $600 subsidy at the end of 2004 may be added to the 2005 allocation. However, the legislation stipulates that both the temporary discount card program and the $600 subsidies will end in 2006, to be replaced by the full Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program. At that time, seniors can enroll either in one of the new subsidized Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans or in a Medicare Advantage plan to receive drug coverage.

Additional Assistance Through Private Programs
Most pharmaceutical companies plan to continue their existing discount programs, which provide drugs to low- and moderate-income seniors at lower prices, in conjunction with the transitional Medicare program. Many companies are working on initiatives that will enhance the value of the Medicare drug card to beneficiaries. For example:
Merck announced in February that it will provide its medicines free of charge for low-income Medicare beneficiaries who exhaust their $600 transitional assistance allowance (although there may be a fee to the pharmacist to dispense the drugs).6
Eli Lilly announced in January that it would make discounts available through its LillyAnswers program to lower- and moderate-income seniors using Medicare-endorsed drug cards. The Lilly program allows seniors with incomes below 200 percent of poverty without prescription drug coverage to pay a flat fee of $12 for a 30-day supply of any Lilly medication.7
Pfizer will continue its Share Card program, which charges $15 a month to fill any prescription for single Medicare beneficiaries who do not have drug insurance and who have incomes below $18,000, and for couples without drug insurance making less than $24,000. Pfizer will also partner with a Medicare drug card sponsor.
Other programs, such as the GlaxoSmithKline Orange Card and the Together Rx card offered by an affiliation of eight major drug companies, will continue to offer discounts of up to 40 percent on their medications to qualifying seniors.
Senior citizens may find that they can save money by enrolling in both the Medicare drug discount card program and one or more card programs offered by private vendors. While seniors can participate in only one Medicare-approved program at a time, there is no limit on their participation with other, non-Medicare-approved drug discount programs. Seniors who qualify for the $600 transitional assistance subsidy must sign up for a Medicare-approved drug discount card in order to receive this money.
Some of these private programs may provide savings superior to the Medicare-approved drug cards. For example, once their $600 subsidy is exhausted, seniors may decide to transfer back to those pharmaceutical company drug card programs that operate independently of the Medicare-approved drug cards. Getting a month's supply of Pfizer's Lipitor for $15, for example, is likely to be a better deal than the discounted price seniors would get through a Medicare-approved drug discount card. The $15 fee basically covers dispensing fees and program administration costs, with little or no payment for the drug itself. Therefore, charges from the private pharmaceutical company plans are likely to be lower than those from the Medicare discount card prices.

Beneficiaries will first select the discount card program of their choice when enrollment begins on May 3, 2004. Enrollment is voluntary. As mentioned earlier, the legislation specifies that beneficiaries may enroll in only one Medicare-approved drug discount card program at a time.
The legislation details the application processes for drug card programs, including a standard enrollment form for beneficiaries, and allows the sponsor to collect annual enrollment fees of up to $30. The beneficiary will fill out the enrollment form with basic information about his or her Medicare and Medicaid status.
If the beneficiary wants to participate in the $600 subsidy program, he or she will be required to submit information about income and other retirement and health benefits. HHS will verify information on beneficiary eligibility for the subsidy.
Medicare Administrator Mark McClellan says his agency is taking action to make it easier for low-income Americans to receive the $600 benefit. Some states will be able to automatically enroll low-income seniors in the Transitional Assistance Program, provided their laws allow state officials to sign enrollment forms on seniors' behalf. Medicare also will provide a standard enrollment form for the program on its Web site, eliminating the need for dozens of different low-income application forms for each drug plan.
Beneficiaries generally can switch to another approved plan only during the open enrollment period between November 15 and December 31, 2004.

Card Sponsors
Card sponsors can be pharmacy benefit management companies, wholesale and retail pharmacies, insurers, Medicare Advantage health plans, and partnerships of the above. In March, HHS approved 71 Medicare drug discount card applications. Of these, 28 were general card sponsors who will offer their discounts to beneficiaries enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare, either on a national or regional basis. Another 43 sponsors represent Medicare Advantage health plans that will offer the discount cards to their members.
The major pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), such as Advance PCS Health, LP, Caremark Advantage, Inc., Express Scripts, Inc., WellPoint Pharmacy Management, and Medco Health Solutions, Inc., will participate, along with major health plans such as Aetna Health Management, LLC, Humana Insurance Company, and United Healthcare Insurance Company.
CMS rejected 29 applications, demonstrating its prudence in protecting Medicare beneficiaries. The applications were rejected primarily because the companies seeking approval did not have adequate financial resources, because they did not offer drug discounts in all 209 therapeutic categories, or because their networks did not meet CMS's criteria for operating in a sufficient number of pharmacies.
Discount card sponsors must have sufficient participation by bricks-and-mortar pharmacies in the regions where they are offering the cards, in addition to offering mail-order services to enrollees. Express Scripts said in February that it already had signed up more than 40,000 pharmacies nationwide to participate in its card program. Seniors in a given area must have a choice of at least two discount card programs, offered by different sponsors. With at least 17 drug cards approved nationally, that legislative criterion was easily met.
Other service area specifications stipulate that 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries living in urban areas must have a participating pharmacy within two miles of their homes (five miles in suburban areas) and that 70 percent of those living in rural areas must have a participating pharmacy within 15 miles of where they live.
Drug card plans are required to cover at least one drug in each of 209 therapeutic categories. At least 55 percent of these categories must have a generic available, and pharmacists are required to notify beneficiaries if a lower-priced generic is available for the prescription they are seeking to fill. Card sponsors will be able to add or drop drugs from their formularies, and sponsors will be able to change the discounts available on individual pharmaceuticals. Price increases will be limited, however, ensuring that beneficiaries will face only those price increases prevailing in the market or that result from increases in the card plan's cost of operation.
Critics have charged that there will be mass confusion for seniors trying to sort through the offers, claims, and prices of so many discount cards. Indeed, it will be a challenge for companies to market their cards to customers and to distinguish their plans from their competitors' in such a short time frame once enrollment begins in May.
The CMS is planning to help by establishing a hotline (1-800-MEDICARE) and a Web site with information about the cards, including comparative pricing information on each drug for each card. The Web site will be updated weekly.
Impact of the Drug Card Provisions
Controversy continues to swirl around the new Medicare law, particularly with regard to the structure of the permanent prescription drug benefit, including the "doughnut hole,"8 whether government should "negotiate" drug prices, and questions about potential participation in 2006 both by seniors and by stand-alone prescription drug plans. This contrasts with the early acceptance and interest in the transitional drug discount card and the $600 subsidy.
Many companies that have applied to participate see the $600 subsidy as an attractive lure to enroll Medicare beneficiaries in their programs. These sponsors plan to market their cards actively and, in the process, educate seniors about this new assistance program.
The temporary discount card program may well turn out to be so popular that Congress could decide to extend it beyond 2005. As both the government and private sector gain more experience with the program, it could serve as a model for a larger Medicare drug benefit program. The $600 subsidy is essentially a defined contribution that gives seniors an incentive to get the best value for their money. Further, by participating in the discount card program, the money will go further than it would if seniors were paying the full retail price--as many without drug coverage currently do.
Reducing Prices and Maintaining Broad Access to Pharmaceuticals
The drug discount card program and the broader Part D benefit that becomes available in 2006 are designed to promote competition among private drug-only plans and comprehensive health plans (such as HMOs and PPOs) that offer a drug benefit to their members. The private plans will have an incentive to negotiate low prices from pharmaceutical manufacturers, which would be passed on to beneficiaries in the form of lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs. In addition to making their benefits financially attractive to potential enrollees, card sponsors and drug plans will offer customer conveniences, including a broad retail network of pharmacies, mail order service, telephone consultations, and the like.
The size of the discounts available to seniors who enroll in the Medicare drug discount card program depends on the ability of the plan sponsors to shift consumer demand from one product in a drug class to another. Pharmacy benefit managers have been successful in negotiating low drug prices for private insurance plans by using multi-tiered formularies that require lower copayments for preferred drugs and generics. A similar kind of financial incentive is possible for the Medicare discount card program, with sponsors of the discount cards offering larger discounts where they have negotiated better prices.
Using Private Competition to Deliver the Medicare Drug Benefit
The role of private competition has been a major point of contention in Congress. Critics of a competitive system argue that it could place beneficiaries at a disadvantage if plans change their formularies or discounts after the open enrollment period. Critics also assert that the government should exploit its market power and negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers, and that drugs should be imported from Canada to keep prices low for everyone.

Bait and Switch
First, let us consider the concern that plans might bait and switch--advertising prices that are too good to be true and then raising prices after seniors are locked into the plan. HHS anticipated this possibility and built safeguards into the regulations. It will monitor price changes and allow them only within a limited range that reflects increases in a drug's average wholesale price or changes in the card sponsor's cost of operation.
Another requirement is that discounts, rebates, or other price concessions from pharmaceutical manufacturers or pharmacies must be accounted for in any proposed price increase to beneficiaries. In addition, HHS must be notified if the sponsor proposes to drop a drug from its formulary. HHS will then post the prices and formulary changes on its Web site.
Card sponsors clearly recognize that arbitrary price increases or formulary changes would be highly unpopular with beneficiaries and federal overseers alike. Card plans that do not meet reasonable consumer expectations will lose enrollment and could face expulsion from the program.
The risk of bait-and-switch tactics would be greater if drug card sponsors had only a short-term interest in the Medicare program, so that the loss of market share after the first year would be of little consequence. But most, if not all, prospective sponsors of the Medicare discount card are well-established firms with reputations to protect, and the majority of them are considering continued involvement with Medicare through the Part D benefit. For such sponsors, bait-and-switch practices would be bad business, placing them at a competitive disadvantage.
The Impact of Private Negotiations on Drug Prices
There is heated controversy over whether the government should be allowed to "negotiate" prices with pharmaceutical companies since, the argument goes, the government would be able to obtain lower drug prices than private firms. But government doesn't negotiate.9 It is a monopsony purchaser that dictates prices because it controls such a large customer base: Seniors consume about half of all prescription drugs sold in the United States.
Government would surely dictate prices that would shrink payments to pharmaceutical companies--payments that fund their investment in research and development, estimated to be more than $800 million for every new drug that comes to the market.10 The result would be less money, a less hospitable business climate for research, and fewer new drugs.
Further, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin wrote a letter on January 23, 2004, to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) concerning the provision in the Medicare law that prohibits the government from negotiating prices with drug companies.11 The CBO concluded that:
striking that provision would have a negligible effect on federal spending ... because CBO estimates that substantial savings will be obtained by the private [drug] plans and that the [HHS] Secretary would not be able to negotiate prices that further reduced federal spending to a significant degree.
Drug Importation from Canada
Some critics of the new Medicare law argue that it would be better and cheaper simply to allow seniors to import drugs from Canada, where price controls prevail. The temporary drug card program provides a much safer and legal alternative for seniors than importing drugs from Canada or other countries. The Food and Drug Administration has found numerous safety problems involving prescription drugs sent to customers who order over the Internet from the United States.12
If wholesale importation were permitted, retail prices paid in the U.S. would decline only modestly because manufacturers would limit sales to Canadian wholesalers, and middlemen would eat up much of any price differences that arose. If importation occurred on a large scale, supply disruptions in other countries could threaten the worldwide distribution of pharmaceuticals. 13
Using the legal route of privately negotiated drug discounts from reputable, government-approved firms, with the added benefit of the $600 subsidy, is a much safer alternative for seniors.
How to Improve the Medicare Drug Card Provisions
Every Congress for years to come will be forced to address Medicare and, particularly, the prescription drug benefit. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and others already have introduced legislation that would significantly amend the MMA. For example, they want to permit U.S. residents to purchase medications from Canada; to allow the federal government to "negotiate" lower drug prices; to fill the "doughnut hole" in the new Medicare drug benefit; and to restrict or eliminate the pilot test in which private health plans would compete against traditional, fee-for-service Medicare in six areas of the country beginning in 2010. Such proposals would be ineffective, costly, and damaging to health care innovation, and would shorten the time frame within which Medicare's financial crisis can be solved.
Conservatives will continue to be on the defensive against these and other initiatives unless they have ideas of their own to propose. They should start by calling for the temporary drug card program to be made permanent. They should also consider improving the benefit available in a permanent drug card program and allowing Medicare Advantage plans greater flexibility in offering a drug benefit to enrollees.

Proposal #1: Make the Drug Card Permanent for Beneficiaries Who Want It
The drug discount card program, and particularly its $600 subsidy for lower-income seniors, should not expire at the end of 2005 but should be allowed to continue. The funded drug card provides an excellent model for delivery of the drug benefit.14 Providing part of the benefit through a cash subsidy creates a defined contribution that gives government certainty over at least some of its program costs and rewards seniors for making prudent drug purchasing decisions.
Early experience with consumer-directed health benefit programs has demonstrated that consumers are more careful in their spending on health care needs when they are purchasing medical goods and services from a dollar-denominated account, particularly if they are allowed to roll over any savings to subsequent years.15 The rollover provision for the temporary drug card could be a particularly good incentive if the card program were to continue: Instead of the use-it-or-lose-it benefit structure under current Medicare, seniors could roll over unspent balances in their $600 account, giving them the opportunity to conserve resources for the future.
However, because the program is temporary, there is little incentive for seniors to save and every incentive to make sure they drain every dollar from the account. This occurs every December when workers, who have put pre-tax wages into a Section 125 flexible spending account, purchase designer prescription sunglasses or whatever other items they don't really need in order to make sure they don't just lose the money. Congress could avoid repeating this mistake by making the funded drug card a permanent program and allowing rollover of the balance in a senior's account from year to year.
One reason such a large number of companies applied to participate in the drug discount and transitional assistance program is that they want to establish a customer base for the full drug benefit in 2006. They will have made a significant investment in creating their temporary drug card programs and, if they find that the funded drug card is appealing to consumers, should have the option of continuing to offer the permanent benefit based upon a similar structure.

Proposal #2: Improve the Permanent Drug Card Option
The Medicare drug discount card program offers a limited benefit from which low-income seniors derive the greatest benefit and that was intended to serve only as a temporary bridge to a more generous benefit in 2006. If the drug discount program were to be made permanent, it would not be attractive compared to the more generous Part D benefit. But improvements could be made that would make a permanent funded discount drug card program a realistic option for more beneficiaries.
It is reasonable to give seniors the choice of a subsidized discount card account. The added resources available in 2006 could allow the account to be funded more generously and to be coupled with private catastrophic insurance.
The subsidy could be increased above the current $600 limit and could be extended to middle-income seniors who are not currently eligible for any subsidy in the discount card program. Seniors at higher income levels also could be allowed to participate, possibly with more modest subsidies to their card accounts than would be provided to low- and moderate-income seniors, but with the provision that they could make their own tax-deductible contributions to the accounts.
The funded drug card also could be coupled with private catastrophic drug insurance to make sure that seniors are protected against large drug expenses--something the temporary program lacks. To avoid attracting only the healthiest seniors into the permanent drug card program, subsidies could be adjusted for risk, and high risks could be pooled across all private plans (including Part D plans).
Seniors should be given the opportunity to continue to participate in this funded discount card program if they prefer it to the permanent Medicare drug benefit program.

Proposal #3: Integrate the Drug Card Into the Medicare Advantage Program
Beginning in 2006, the new Medicare Advantage health plans can incorporate the permanent prescription drug benefit created by the legislation into their benefit structures. The legislation gives the new plans limited leeway, however, in how they structure the drug benefit. Although they may want to build a benefit on the model of the temporary drug discount and assistance program, the legislation as currently drafted does not provide the needed flexibility. Congress could fix this. Seniors who prefer a funded drug card should be able to have it as an integral part of their overall health plan.
It is important to bring drug and medical benefits into the same plan. When health plans and drug plans are separate, there can be an incentive to push costs onto the other payer, potentially compromising patient care. An integrated plan can weigh the full costs and benefits of different treatment strategies rather than focusing on only part of the treatment. That reduces the chances that treatment decisions will be biased by the way benefits are financed.
Congress has provided a good start on a properly structured drug benefit through its transitional drug card program with funding for certain low-income beneficiaries. Drug discounts will be privately negotiated by competing drug plans, and seniors will have a wide range of plans from which to choose, each offering different menus of drugs.
Establishing a fixed contribution on the drug discount card enables government to know its costs while the prices--and savings--on drugs are visible to seniors. Experience with consumer-directed health plans shows that participants are likely to be more cost conscious when they are purchasing drugs from a cash account. Consumers also are more likely to consult with their doctors about how they can get the best value from their drug spending.
If the transitional drug discount program were improved and made permanent, seniors would have the power to save for future drug needs and would have more control over spending to get the drugs they need--whether generic or brand-name.
Involving consumers in their own health care spending decisions will be the next revolution in health care reform in the United States. By structuring the drug benefit so that consumers direct their own spending, Congress could, for once, keep Medicare abreast of the times and give seniors the power and resources to shape the pharmaceutical marketplace around their needs, both today and in the future.

Grace-Marie Turner is President of the Galen Institute, and Joseph R. Antos, Ph.D., is Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.

1. Juliette Cubanski, Richard G. Frank, and Arnold M. Epstein, "Savings from Drug Discount Cards: Relief for Medicare Beneficiaries?" Health Affairs Web Exclusive, April 14, 2004.
2. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, "Overview: Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Program," at
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "The Facts About Upcoming New Benefits in Medicare," at www.medicare. gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11054.pdf.
4. TRICARE for Life is the health insurance program for military retirees and dependents.
5. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, "Overview: Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Program."
6. Merck Corporate News, "Merck to Provide Free Medicines to Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries Who Exceed Discount Card Cap," February 12, 2004, at
7. Eli Lilly and Company, "Lilly Unveils Participation in Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Program," January 21, 2004, at www.prnewswire. com/cgi-bin/,+2004.
8. Beneficiaries would have 75 percent of their drug spending covered by Part D for the first $2,250 after satisfying a $250 deductible. Those spending more than $2,250 would receive no additional reimbursement until they have spent $3,600 out of pocket. The gap in coverage is called the "doughnut hole."
9. Gail Wilensky, "How to Curb Spending on Drugs," The Washington Post, February 15, 2004, p. B7.
10. Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, " Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development Pegs Cost of a New Prescription Medicine at $802 Million," November 2001.
11. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director, Congressional Budget Office, letter to the Honorable William H. Frist, M.D., Majority Leader, United States Senate, regarding the CBO's estimate of "the effect of striking the `noninterference' added by P.L. 108-173, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003," January 23, 2004, at
12. Letter from Mark B. McClellan, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, to Diane C. Gorman, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, February 12, 2004.
13. John E. Calfee, "The Grim Economics of Pharmaceutical Importation," American Enterprise Institute Health Policy Outlook, November 2003.
14. The funded drug discount card is part of an idea proposed by the authors in 2001, called the Prescription Drug Security Plan. For more information, see
15. "Consumer Choice Health Care: Reports from the Field," a congressional briefing sponsored by the Galen Institute's Center for Consumer Driven Health Care, February 11, 2004, at

? 1995 - 2004 The Heritage Foundation
All Rights Reserved.

Posted by maximpost at 11:02 PM EDT


Burning with anger: Iraqis infuriated by new flag that was designed in London
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad and David Usborne in Baghdad

28 April 2004
For many Iraqis it was the final insult. Again and again they expressed outrage yesterday that Iraq's United States-appointed and unelected leaders had, overnight, abolished the old Iraqi flag, seen by most Iraqis as the symbol of their nation, and chosen a new one.
"What gives these people the right to throw away our flag, to change the symbol of Iraq?" asked Salah, a building contractor of normally moderate political opinions. "It makes me very angry because these people were appointed by the Americans. I will not regard the new flag as representing me but only traitors and collaborators."
The outburst of fury over the flag highlights the extraordinary ability of US leaders and the Iraqi Governing Council to alienate ordinary Iraqis, already angered by the bloody sieges of Fallujah and Karbala. And yesterday, in the hotbed of Iraqi rebellion, the flag was burnt in public in a demonstration of public anger.
When, as expected, the controversial new flag is hoisted inside the security of the Green Zone in Baghdad today, there is little prospect that the flag will be fluttering over other Iraqi cities. When security officers at the United Nations undertake the daily ritual this morning of raising the standards of the 191 member countries up the white poles arrayed outside UN headquarters in New York's First Avenue, for Iraq it will be the familiar flag of Saddam Hussein's rule that is unfurled.
"So far, we haven't received anything about this from Baghdad," said Igor Novichenko, who is in charge of such matters in the UN's protocol unit. For now, he added, the old Iraqi flag of green and black, with "God is Great" in Arabic script across it, will retain its place outside UN headquarters.
That is not to say that the new version may not be fluttering on First Avenue one day. There are no great formalities involved in changing a country's flag. All that is required is for the mission of that country in New York - and the Iraqi mission is still open - to inform the UN of the new design.
But in Iraq greater problems loom where insurgents will be able to strengthen their patriotic credentials by sticking with the old and popular Iraqi flag and portraying the new one as a sign of subservience to foreign occupiers.
Already anti-US guerrillas are adopting the old red, white and black banner as their battle flag, tying it to their trucks and sticking it in the ground where they have their positions. This blend of nationalism and religion has proved highly successful in spreading resistance to the occupation.
It is increasingly unlikely that the Allies will have any legitimate Iraqi authority to whom they can transfer power on 30 June, as President George Bush has promised.
As the security situation deteriorates in Baghdad, Iraqis are more often refusing to reveal their family names when interviewed. Jassim, standing behind the counter in his grocery shop, said: "That flag is not Saddam's flag. It was there before Saddam and it represents Iraq as a country. The whole world knows Iraq by its flag."
A further reason for popular anger is that many Iraqis are convinced that their new flag is modelled on the Israeli flag. It is white with two parallel blue strips along the bottom representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers with a yellow strip in between symbolising the Kurds. Above the stripes is a blue crescent to represent Islam. Iraqis say the blue stripes are suspiciously like those on the Israeli flag. They also ask why the Kurds have a stripe in the new flag but not the 80 per cent of Iraqis who are Arabs. Could it be because the Kurds are the only Iraqi community fully supporting the US?
The old Iraqi flag was modified but was otherwise unchanged by Saddam Hussein. It had red and black bands across the top and bottom and three green stars on the white stripe separating them. Just before the 1990-91 Gulf War the words "Allahu Akbar",God is Great, were added to boost the religious credentials of Saddam Hussein's secular regime.
The flag won the loyalty of many Iraqis who did not support the old regime. Dhurgham, a 23-year-old student, said: "We cheered Iraqi footballers under that flag for a long time. I feel it represents me as an Iraqi. I don't like this new flag. It does not look Iraqi. It is more like the Turkish or Israeli flags. The main reason I don't like it is that it comes from the Americans."
When the idea of getting a new flag was first talked about last year, it stirred up strong feelings against change. But the Iraqi Governing Council, made up of former opponents of Saddam Hussein and Iraqis in exile during his rule, has a well-established reputation for being wholly out of touch with Iraqi opinion. The council approved the new flag, only asking the artist to make the crescent a deeper blue.
"This is a new era," said Hamid al-Kafaei, the spokesman for the Iraqi Governing Council yesterday. "We cannot continue with Saddam's flag." The new flag is the work of an Iraqi artist resident in London called Rifat Chadirji whose design was the best of those considered. He is also the brother of Nassir al-Chaderchi, the chairman of the IGC committee charged with choosing a new flag for Iraq. "I had no idea about a competition to design the flag. My brother just called me and asked me to design a flag on behalf of the IGC. Nobody told me about a competition," Mr Chadirji told The Independent yesterday.
A cogent reason for changing the flag was that it was said to be unacceptable to Kurds who saw it as a symbol of oppression. But Mahmoud Othman, an independent Kurdish member of the governing council, said yesterday that the leadership should have waited until a parliament was elected before a decision on the flag was made.
* American aircraft and tanks attacked Fallujah last night, just hours after a US deadline expired for rebels to hand over their heavy weapons.
In the holy city of Najaf, 64 fighters loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr were killed hours after Washington issued an ultimatum to him to clear his militia and their arms from mosques there, a US spokesman said.

GAO Cites Cost Risks in Undefined Iraq Contracts

By Mary Pat Flaherty and Jackie Spinner
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 28, 2004; Page A15
The U.S. Army has yet to reach a final agreement on price or the exact work to be done under nearly $1.8 billion worth of contracts for Iraq reconstruction projects that are already underway, a situation that exposes the government to cost risks and reduces the chance for savings, according to a draft report by the General Accounting Office.
The work encompasses oil fields, the electrical grid, training for the Iraqi army and support for the occupying authority, the draft report states.
GAO auditors also found several instances in which Defense Department contracting officers "overstepped" their authority and ordered millions of dollars of no-bid reconstruction work that appears unrelated to the contracts, according to a copy of the draft obtained by The Washington Post.
The draft cites problems with oversight, including on work done as part of a $24 million contract in which some experts hired to advise occupying authority officials and Iraqi ministries failed to report for duty, did not do the work as expected or had stopped working.
The draft concludes that federal agencies "generally complied" with the laws and regulations governing no-bid or limited-bid contracts -- an issue that has drawn congressional attention. But the GAO reviewers do note shortcomings in the tasks ordered under various existing contracts.
The GAO review covers nearly $3.7 billion worth of private contracting work committed to as of last September -- a sliver of the $20 billion that Congress has appropriated for rebuilding since April 2003. The auditors attribute some failures to pressures to start reconstruction quickly in a hostile and shifting setting. The report says that both the military and contracting staff were short-handed and were working 15-hour shifts.
The report says that some challenges have been overcome, but that staffing and security remain "major concerns" that could ultimately affect reconstruction efforts.
GAO spokesman Jeff Nelligan said yesterday that his office will discuss only the final report, which is set to be released in May and could include changes after the various agencies have a chance to comment on the draft. Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Diane Battaglia said the Army does not usually comment on drafts, a position echoed by Lt. Col. Joseph M. Yoswa, a Pentagon spokesman for the occupying authority.
Among other shortcomings cited by the GAO is a $1.9 million no-bid deal with KBR made in November 2002 -- four months before the war in Iraq -- to develop a contingency plan to repair Iraq's oil pipelines. Work done by KBR -- formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root -- has been a flashpoint on Capitol Hill during several hearings on the reconstruction efforts. KBR is a subsidiary of Halliburton Co., which Vice President Cheney headed between 1995 and 2000.
The contingency plan was ordered under a preexisting super-contract that KBR has to supply support services to the U.S. military worldwide. But the GAO auditors say that umbrella contract -- which was competitively bid -- would not have covered the no-bid contingency plan award.
KBR's work on the contingency plan, in turn, positioned it to win a subsequent no-bid contract from the Army Corps of Engineers in March 2003 to control oil fires and do emergency pipeline repairs in Iraq, the GAO report says. The company has been given $2.5 billion in work under that contract as of last month -- paid for mainly with Iraqi funds.
Wendy Hall, a spokeswoman for Halliburton, said fighting the oil fires is part of its expected work for the Pentagon in the event of war. "We were selected for this work because of our unique combination of business experience in defense contracting, engineering and construction and oilfield services," she said.
The draft GAO report does not address allegations now under criminal investigation that KBR overcharged the U.S. government for meals that were never served to troops and for fuel from Kuwait that was purchased at excessive cost.
The GAO criticizes two contracts awarded to Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) of San Diego: The $24 million contract for expert advisers -- which has drawn criticism from the Pentagon's inspector general -- and an $82 million contract to establish a media network for Iraq.
Under the media contract, the draft states, SAIC bought about $7 million in unauthorized equipment and services, including an H-2 Hummer and a pickup truck. The work was done "in compliance with the direction of government officials," said Ron Zollars, an SAIC spokesman.
He added that previous criticisms of the contract were "baseless or taken out of context."
A spokeswoman for Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) -- a critic of no-bid Iraq contracts, particularly those awarded to Halliburton -- declined to comment yesterday.
David Marin, a spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), who held the first hearing to review Iraq contracting, said Davis will not comment on the specifics of the draft, but he said it is his understanding "that GAO will paint a predictable good-news, bad-news picture. . . . At the end of the day, Davis anticipates this report supporting what he's been saying all along. That procurement in a war zone, where lives are literally at stake, is a tremendously complex matter prone to mistakes."
Marin added: "As things improve on the ground in Iraq, we'll see fewer and fewer sloppy acquisitions -- and less reliance on emergency procedures."

? 2004 The Washington Post Company


More Armor Urged for U.S. Forces in Iraq
Wednesday, April 28, 2004; Page A22
As insurgents continue to use improvised bombs to attack U.S. military vehicles in Iraq, officials are growing increasingly concerned that the lack of heavy armored vehicles is putting U.S. forces at risk.
Defense officials said yesterday they are working to increase the number of armored Humvees for Operation Iraqi Freedom but said the 2,000 specially armored trucks there account for only half the Army's estimated requirements. Standard Humvees, considered utility vehicles similar to jeeps, are too vulnerable to attack, officials said.
Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday that every armored Humvee in the inventory has been sent to Iraq and more are being built. In a Pentagon briefing, Myers said the enemy's changing tactics have highlighted the need to shore up transport vehicles.
Myers and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld also responded to concerns raised by Gen. Larry R. Ellis at Army Forces Command. Ellis wrote the Pentagon that commanders in the field have found the armored Humvee "is not providing the solution the Army hoped to achieve" and that red tape could "fail our soldier and our nation." Ellis suggested the purchase of hundreds of eight-wheel Stryker combat vehicles instead.
Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said yesterday it is vital to the protection of soldiers to immediately increase the number of hardened vehicles in Iraq, whether that means more armored Humvees or Strykers. "Soldiers are dying because they're in a war zone," Simmons said, "but the risks they face increase when the equipment they have is inadequate for the threat."

-- Josh White

? 2004 The Washington Post Company


Canadians Allow Islamic Courts To Decide Disputes
Sharia Gains Foothold in Ontario

By DeNeen L. Brown
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 28, 2004; Page A14
TORONTO -- Suad Almad, her head wrapped in a blue silk scarf, was discussing her beliefs with a group of friends. She said fervently that she thought the lives of all Muslims should be governed by Islamic law, known as sharia.
"It's something nobody can change and we must follow," said Almad, who came to Canada from Somalia, then engulfed by war, more than 12 years ago. "We come to Canada and we become lost . . . We need our own court and we need our own law," she said, her voice strong and certain. "That's what I believe."
Almad and thousands of other Muslims, taking advantage of a provision of the law in the province of Ontario, can now decide some civil disputes under sharia, including family disagreements and inheritance, business and divorce issues, using tribunals that include imams, Muslim elders and lawyers. While it is less than full implementation of sharia, local leaders consider it a significant step.
Muslim promoters of sharia arbitration said that no cases had been decided but that the process is set. Islamic leaders created an Islamic Court of Civil Justice last fall and that organization, in turn, has chosen arbitrators, who have undergone training in sharia and Canadian civil law, according to organizers and participants.
Sharia is based on the Koran, which includes the teachings of Islam and revelations by the prophet Muhammad. According to Muslim beliefs, the Koran provides the divine rules for behavior, including rules about marriage, business and inheritance. Muslims must abstain from stealing, lying, killing, adultery and drinking alcohol.
Some Muslim leaders in Canada said that there should be no controversy about the new arbitration process, but some opponents expressed concern that people might feel coerced into accepting sharia-based arbitration. Government officials said that the decision to submit to such a process was subject to mutual consent.
A 1991 Ontario arbitration law permits such arbitration according to religious principles, just as rabbis in Jewish communities and priests in Christian communities help to resolve civil disputes, said Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ontario attorney general.
"People can agree to resolve disputes any way acceptable," Crawley said in an interview. "If they decide to resolve disputes using principles of sharia and using an imam as an arbitrator, that is perfectly acceptable under the arbitration act."
Crawley said the arbitration act establishes a number of safeguards, including the requirement that parties enter into arbitration only on a voluntary basis. Any decisions by arbitrators are subject to court ratification.
Canadian officials said that no criminal matters would be considered by sharia arbitrators and no corporal punishment could be imposed. Crawley said that legal provisions in other provinces also permit such tribunals.
Jewish courts, using the same methods, have been operating in Ontario for years. Such a court, called a Beit Din, deals with monetary, business and family disputes, but no criminal matters. "Jewish courts have been operating in Toronto for as long as Jews have been here, hundreds of years," said Rabbi Reuven Tradburks, secretary of the Beit Din of Toronto. He said he had not heard of cases decided by arbitrators in Jewish courts that had been overturned.
"A court will not enforce a decision in violation of the Charter of Rights," Crawley said, referring to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the nation's constitution. He also said there were limits to arbitrators' powers. They cannot, for example, rule on matters regarding third parties. "The rights of children cannot be arbitrated," he said.
Supporters say the tribunals in Canada will make official a process that is already happening informally among Canada's estimated 600,000 Muslims. But critics said they feared that recognizing the tribunals could lead to discrimination, and particular concerns were raised about the rights of Muslim women.
Alia Hogben, a board member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, said she opposes the religious tribunals. "It is difficult to speak up because we don't want to feed into anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic stuff that is developing now," she said. "We are religious Muslim women. We don't want to come across as anti-Muslim. On the other hand, we cannot be quiet about something that worries us."
Although advocates of the sharia process stressed that participation in the tribunal process would be voluntary, some critics expressed concern that many Muslims would be labeled disobedient if they refused participation in such sharia-based arbitrations.
"If I am a woman of faith, and the community of people who see themselves as leaders say that if I do not follow the sharia court here, the Islamic Institute, then I will be tantamount to blasphemy and apostasy," Hogben said in a debate shown on Canadian television. "And you know that in some countries, apostasy means death sentence."
Homa Hoodfar, a professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, complained that there was little public discussion before the tribunals were created. "This vague idea of sharia court is what bugs me," Hoodfar said. "Because having worked on sharia law and family law in the Middle East, I know there is no one set [of laws]. Which country will they use as a basis? They don't answer. But also, the Canadian government does not question. They think sharia law is written in the Koran. But sharia is the interpretation of the law and practices."
Hoodfar said she was concerned that recent female immigrants could be forced into participating in tribunals and possibly victimized because they don't speak English or are not aware of their legal rights. "It won't affect my life or educated women who know their rights," Hoodfar said. "It will affect the rights of women who are new and need protection. They are much more subject to community pressure.
"I just feel this is completely 'black box' and nobody knows what is in it, and yet the government is giving the go-ahead for it. They didn't consult the Muslim community. They didn't put out a discussion. Nobody knows what it is."
Syed Mumtaz Ali , the president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, began circulating the idea for the court two years ago. In a statement on his organization's Web site, he said that the tribunals would allow Muslims to practice freedom of religion. "Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim countries like Canada are like wandering Bedouins," he wrote. "Although they are free to live according to the Divine Law to practice their faith unhindered in their homes" and mosques, he said, "they have practically no say in the making of the laws of the land and governmental institutions do not cater to their needs."
Ali said the creation of the Islamic Court of Civil Justice would allow this "without violating any Canadian Law." Ali told the Canadian Law Times that sharia tribunals were important for practicing Muslims in Canada. He said that Muslims would no longer have an excuse not to follow sharia because it would no longer be impractical in Canada.
"The concession given by sharia is no longer available to us because the impracticality has been removed," Ali said. He has written that Muslims who choose not to be governed by sharia "for reasons of convenience would be guilty of a far greater crime." Ali said in a telephone interview that no tribunal cases have been heard yet. He would not elaborate.
"There has been a lot of fear and skepticism about it with regards to women's rights," said Ayesha Adam, a mediator in Toronto. "Islamic belief does not allow women to be treated badly," she said. "Islamic law is based on equality, fairness and justice. I don't see how people just take out something from a particular part of the Koran and not look at it holistically. There are certain things that can't be dealt with here. Criminal code is one thing, so it doesn't apply."
Adam said that Muslim women are among those being trained as arbitrators, and their presence should ease the concern that women might not be treated fairly.
Almad and the other members of the Somalia Women's Organization in Toronto said they preferred to live by laws based on their religious beliefs. "No stealing, no drugs, no sex without marriage. No pork. This is our law," said Hamida Ainshe, another of the Somali women. "A man may take a second or third wife if he is able to support them financially. Yes, there is jealousy, but it is allowed under sharia."
The women said they did not know much about the tribunal and had not heard any information about how it would be run, but said they still welcomed it. "We are Somali and we are Muslim. When we go to court, the judge understands the secular system, but doesn't understand sharia law," she said. "If we have a court that understands our Islamic beliefs, it is good."
"This is what we believe," Almad said. "If you cannot do what you believe, you become a flower."

? 2004 The Washington Post Company

Probe notes lapses in chemical arms disclosures

By Bill Gertz

Russia, China and Iran have failed to fully disclose details of their chemical weapons programs and arsenals that are to be destroyed under a 1997 treaty, raising proliferation risks, according to a congressional report.
Russia also is working on new chemical weapons that may circumvent the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), according to an investigation by Congress' General Accounting Office.

The report revealed that many of the 161 signatories to the convention, including Russia and the United States, will not meet a treaty deadline of 2012 for destroying all chemical weapons, such as nerve, blister and blood agents.
The report, to be made public this week and obtained by The Washington Times, was produced for Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Russia has failed to provide full details of its chemical agent and weapons inventory as required by the treaty, which mandates complete disclosures of production and development facilities and chemical agent and weapons stocks.
Without elaborating, the report added that Russia is thought to be working on "a new generation of agents that could circumvent the CWC and possibly defeat western detection and protection systems."
U.S. intelligence officials think that the threat of terrorists obtaining chemical weapons is growing.
"The lack of a credible Russian chemical weapons destruction plan has hindered and may further delay destruction efforts, leaving Russia's vast chemical weapons arsenal vulnerable to theft or diversion," the GAO stated.
The report said China "maintains an active chemical weapons research and development program, a possible undeclared chemical weapons stockpile, and weapons-related facilities that were not declared."
Iran also failed to provide accurate information on its chemical arms and "is seeking to retain and modernize key elements of its chemical weapons program," and Sudan has a program to develop chemical weapons indigenously, said the report, which credited the State Department with the information on the covert chemical arms activities.
The GAO noted that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is in charge of monitoring the treaty implementation, has had problems in conducting inspections at military and civilian chemical facilities.
Mr. Hunter said Moscow is abusing assistance in eliminating chemical weapons.
"The facility we have built them is sufficient to destroy their entire nerve gas stockpile," he said. "Instead, they look at the plant and see the large number of jobs it created. Some Russians keep arguing that U.S. taxpayers should duplicate the plant in other locations around Russia."
Russia has been offered $585 million for chemical destruction from the United States, Germany and other nations, the reports said.
As of September, Russia had one operational destruction facility and had destroyed 1.1 percent of its 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons. The United States has destroyed 25 percent of its chemical arms, said the report, noting that Russia and the United States hold more than 95 percent of the world's declared stocks.
Less than 40 percent of the signatories to the convention have passed laws that criminalize chemical weapons activities, the report said.

N. Korea Nuclear Estimate To Rise
U.S. Report to Say Country Has At Least 8 Bombs

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 28, 2004; Page A01
The United States is preparing to significantly raise its estimate of the number of nuclear weapons held by North Korea, from "possibly two" to at least eight, according to U.S. officials involved in the preparation of the report.
The report, expected to be completed within a month, would reflect a new intelligence consensus on North Korea's nuclear capabilities after that country's decision last year to restart a nuclear reactor and plutonium-reprocessing facility that had been frozen under a 1994 agreement. Among the evidence used in making the assessment is a detailed analysis of plutonium byproducts found on clothing worn by members of an unofficial U.S. delegation that was allowed to visit North Korean nuclear facilities several months ago.
The increase in the estimate would underscore the strides North Korea has made in the past year as the Bush administration struggled to respond diplomatically while waging a war against Iraq in an unsuccessful effort to search for such weapons there.
Intelligence officials also have broadly concluded that a separate North Korean uranium-enrichment program will be operational by 2007, producing enough material for as many as six additional weapons a year, one U.S. official said.
With Democrat John F. Kerry's presidential campaign planning to highlight the dangers of nuclear proliferation, the leap in Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities during President Bush's tenure could leave the administration vulnerable to charges that it has mishandled the North Korea crisis. Experts said an arsenal of eight weapons means that North Korea could use its weapons to attack neighbors, instead of merely deterring a possible attack.
But some Bush administration officials believe the new estimate will help pressure North Korea's neighbors to back the U.S. position that Pyongyang's weapons programs must be dismantled without concessions. During a tour of Asia two weeks ago, Vice President Cheney warned that time is running out for diplomacy as an increasingly cash-strapped North Korea might seek to peddle its nuclear technology or fissile material -- including, Cheney said, to terrorist groups.
The estimates are guesswork based largely on circumstantial evidence, and administration officials in several agencies have yet to agree on specific numbers. The Energy Department has pressed for a higher estimate of North Korea's weapons and the Defense Intelligence Agency believes the uranium program will be operational at the end of this year, but the State Department's intelligence arm has been the most skeptical. The differences in the estimates depend in part on determinations about the power and efficiency of the North Korean design.
Work on the report began late last summer, after the first round of six-nation talks on the North Korea crisis, when various government agencies sought a unified position on the extent of Pyongyang's programs. Much of the report will not be made public, but its conclusions will guide official statements on North Korean capabilities.
In many ways, the official U.S. estimate of "possibly two" weapons lags significantly behind private-sector reports.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies in London concluded this year that North Korea's nuclear arsenal could reach four to eight bombs over the next year and increase by 13 bombs per year by the end of the decade. The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington recently estimated that North Korea has a maximum of eight or nine weapons.
"It's long overdue for them to do something," David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said of the administration.
Albright said that the January visit of the unofficial delegation -- which included Siegfried S. Hecker, a former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory -- brought back evidence that North Korea has reprocessed all 8,000 spent fuel rods that had been held in a cooling pond under a 1994 agreement negotiated by the Clinton administration.
In late 2002, Pyongyang evicted international inspectors observing the pond after the United States suspended shipments of fuel oil because, officials said, North Korea had nullified the 1994 deal by having a clandestine uranium program.
In February, CIA Director George J. Tenet told Congress: "The intelligence community judged in the mid-1990s that North Korea had produced one, possibly two, nuclear weapons. The 8,000 [spent fuel] rods the North claims to have processed into plutonium metal would provide enough plutonium for several more." Tenet added that North Korea is "pursuing a production-scale uranium enrichment program" using technology provided by A.Q. Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist who recently admitted to making millions by providing nuclear equipment and know-how to other countries.
The delegation members provided samples of the clothing they wore during their tour of the Yongbyon facility, when the North Koreans showed Hecker a jar that they said contained recently reprocessed plutonium. Albright said traces of plutonium byproducts, such as americium, that collected on the clothing could be analyzed to indicate how recently the plutonium had been processed.
"I think it is generally accepted the North Koreans are probably telling the truth when they say some reprocessing activity took place," said Gary Samore, a weapons expert who was the principal author of the London institute's report.
The earlier estimate was based on calculations derived from the amount of plutonium North Korea was believed to possess -- about seven to 11 kilograms -- and the new estimate essentially reflects the number of additional weapons North Korea could produce from the plutonium derived from the 8,000 spent fuel rods. The calculation in part depends on determining how much plutonium is lost during reprocessing.
Albright said he reached his estimate of a maximum of nine weapons by calculating that North Korea possesses about 37 to 39 kilograms of plutonium and would need at least four kilograms per weapon.
U.S. officials have said Khan told interrogators that in the 1990s the North Koreans showed him three devices they identified as nuclear weapons. The report, which has not been confirmed, would suggest North Korea was more efficient in its use of plutonium than previously thought.
But Samore said he thought it was implausible that North Korea would show its weapons to an outsider, let alone keep them all in one place. He added that it was in Khan's interest to assert that North Korea already had nuclear weapons when he began supplying materials for the uranium-enrichment program.

? 2004 The Washington Post Company


General Says Missile Defense Could Be Ready Soon

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 28, 2004; Page A19
The general in charge of the Pentagon's missile defense programs said yesterday that upcoming flight tests are likely to have little bearing on plans to field a national antimissile system later this year.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, said top administration and military officials have yet to decide when to declare the system on alert -- that is, ready to engage ballistic missiles fired at the United States. But he said such a move could come as early as this summer, when the first missile interceptors are installed in newly built silos in Alaska.
By September, five interceptors are to be in place at Fort Greely near Fairbanks, Kadish said. By the end of 2005, 16 interceptors are slated for Fort Greely and four are planned for Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The interceptors, along with several ground- and ship-based tracking radars and an extensive network of electronic links, are intended to give the United States the ability to destroy enemy warheads in space by ramming into them. But the system has come under fire from some lawmakers, scientists, military specialists and others for being largely unproven.
Although eight intercept tests have occurred since 1999, all have involved surrogates for the interceptor. The first flight test of the actual interceptor -- which consists of a small "kill vehicle" attached to a large booster rocket -- is due this summer. Then comes the first intercept attempt using the system's actual components. Both tests have been delayed several months this year as a result of problems with a redesign of the kill vehicle.
"If they both fail, we've got big problems," Kadish told a breakfast meeting of journalists. He went on to express confidence that both tests would succeed but made it clear that successful outcomes are not necessary for proceeding with deployment. "They're parallel paths," he said of the testing and fielding efforts.
Voicing frustration with the charges of insufficient testing, Kadish said the main reason for building the Alaskan site was to allow for flight trials under more realistic conditions. President Bush later decided to turn the site into an operational one, while keeping its initial purpose as a "test bed."
"The criticism we get is that we're not operationally testing the system before we put it in place," the general said. "My response to that -- which people don't seem to want to accept -- is, you can't operationally test the system until you put it in place."
Kadish, who is due to retire this summer, said a large amount of information has been gathered through ground tests and flight trials of individual components. This has led to extensive computer modeling and simulations of likely system performance.
Although the Pentagon's chief weapons evaluator has questioned the validity of these models in the absence of more real data, Kadish said they have proven very accurate in predicting test results.
The Bush administration has attached considerable urgency to erecting the antimissile system, citing a growing threat from hostile states trying to acquire long-range missiles. Although two states -- Iraq and Libya -- are no longer the concern that they were, Kadish said the two most worrisome threats remain -- North Korea and Iran. He declined to discuss recent information about missile developments in either country.
Initially, the limited availability of tracking radars will restrict the interceptors in Alaska and California to countering only North Korean missiles.
The planned addition to the system next year of a radar in Britain will enable interceptors to go after missiles launched from the Middle East as well, Kadish said.

? 2004 The Washington Post Company

G.O.P. Protesters Plan to Infiltrate Convention as Volunteers
It is accepted as an article of faith among protesters planning to demonstrate against the Republican National Convention this summer that agents seeking to undermine their efforts have infiltrated their ranks. But now the protesters are talking about infiltrating the convention to undermine the event itself.
"Really?" said Kevin Sheekey, president of the New York City Host Committee, when told that protesters were talking about flooding the ranks of volunteers to disrupt convention operations.
The city is obligated to find a total of 8,000 New Yorkers to volunteer to help things run smoothly, and would-be protesters are hoping that by signing up, they can work from the inside during the convention, scheduled Aug. 30 through Sept. 2.
"A lot of people are talking about it in general," said William Etundi Jr., a founder of, a Web site that serves as a bulletin board for anti-convention activities. "The Republicans are coming to New York City, so maybe the real New York should come to them."
Until now, the host and the guest have been treating each other with kid gloves, each insisting that it is a relationship of choice that benefits everyone. As the convention preparations quicken and the organizers reach out beyond the city leadership with the volunteer drive, that sense of mutual advantage may be revealed as more wishful than actual.
It is hard to know exactly how much traction the idea of protesters posing as volunteers will have.
Still, there is evidence that the idea of volunteering, then not showing up, or showing up and using anti-Republican language has interested many people.
The biggest public proponent of the idea is a 37-year-old computer consultant from Philadelphia, David A. Lynn, who has created a Web site called It is calling on protesters to volunteer at both the Republican convention and the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Boston earlier in the summer. Mr. Lynn has issued press releases, and tried to sell his idea across the Internet, where it has picked up some momentum.
Boston appears largely immune to the tactic since the host committee there had signed up 12,000 volunteers by the end of March, the host committee said.
But New York, which has a long way to go to reach its target, has so far registered only about 1,400 potential volunteers. Marilyn Shaw, director of volunteer services for the host committee, said all volunteers would be vetted by law enforcement before they are signed up. She also said volunteers would be expected to attend many meetings before getting their volunteer shirts.
"I'll be honest with you," she said. "We meet and greet them so many times they become our best friends."
Some people are thinking more Trojan horse than friend.
"I think they don't understand either just how much of New York City is not prepared to welcome them," said Amanda Hickman, who described herself as a community gardener from Brooklyn. "I don't think that has clicked."
Hard feelings or not, the city host committee is going ahead with its recruiting efforts. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called last week on a predecessor, Edward I. Koch, to help recruit volunteers. But officials said they never considered the prospect that the effort might be co-opted by protesters.
"Those sort of things would harm the city," Mr. Sheekey said. "Those wouldn't be anti-R.N.C. protests. Those would be people protesting New York City."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

On the Friday before his MEET THE PRESS appearance, Dem presidential hopeful John Kerry flew his Washington, DC hairdresser to Pittsburgh for a touch-up, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
Cristophe stylist Isabelle Goetz, who handles Kerry's hair issues, made the trek to Pittsburgh, campaign sources reveal.
"Her entire schedule had to be rearranged," a top source explains.
A Kerry campaign spokesman refuses to clarify if Goetz flew by private jet on April 16 or on the official Kerry For President campaign plane.
The total expense for the hair touch-up is estimated to be more than $1000, insiders tell DRUDGE.
One source suggests the hairdresser was flown to Pittburgh on Teresa Heinz Kerry's 'Flying Squirrel', a Gulfstream V private jet.
[The 'Flying Squirrel' is worth about $35 million. A deluxe model; plasma TV, two bathrooms, fancy mahogany and burlwood paneling, gold-plated fixtures.]
"Senator Kerry thinks Isabelle does a superb job," a campaign source said.
Goetz grew up in a small town in eastern France. She also does Hillary Clinton's hair.

Filed By Matt Drudge

Posted by maximpost at 1:08 AM EDT
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.

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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.

What Do You Think? Message Boards


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.

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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

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