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Thursday, 30 September 2004


Posted by maximpost at 1:27 AM EDT
Monday, 27 September 2004

N. Korea `ready' to fire off missile

WASHINGTON--North Korea may be bluffing, but it appears ready to launch one or more Rodong ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan anytime it wants, according to a senior U.S. official.
On the other hand, Pyongyang's posture may simply be aimed at gaining leverage in future negotiations, the official told The Asahi Shimbun here Thursday.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said latest U.S. intelligence showed that preparations for a launch of the medium-range missile appear complete.
``My understanding is they right now could shoot it anytime they want,'' the official said. ``They are pretty well prepared to do it. There might be a few more steps they have to take, but they will not take long.''
The official's comments suggest North Korean technicians have filled rockets with liquid fuel. Thus, it would only be a matter of hours before a missile was ready for launch. The official suggested that the technicians may only need to conduct final checks before blast-off.
Washington, like Japan, is stepping up surveillance of the Korean Peninsula to try to ascertain whether Pyongyang is bluffing in an attempt to gain concessions at six-way talks on its nuclear development programs, or in fact is getting ready to fire a missile.
The U.S. official said the intelligence was gleaned from satellites and monitoring of telecommunications. He said the Pentagon is fairly certain that Pyongyang is preparing to launch or test-fire a Rodong missile.
The official noted that the North was well aware its moves are being monitored by the United States. He indicated that launch preparations are being done at sites easily visible from the sky, not at mobile launch pads hidden in forests.
Some in Washington believe North Korea ``expects us to go running to them, begging them to stop,'' the official said. This, he theorized, might be a North Korean gambit to gain concessions from the international community in return for its agreement to freeze its nuclear and missile programs.
The official said Washington is not ruling out the possibility the North is ``actually preparing for a launch.''
He noted that Pyongyang expressed its hope during recent six-nation talks that the United States and other participants-Japan, South Korea, Russia and China-would reward North Korea for shelving its nuclear and missile ambitions.
The official said the United States would not be intimidated, adding there is no possibility of Washington altering its position that North Korea abandon its programs in a verifiable manner.
Meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday warned North Korea not to break the extended moratorium on missile launches it promised Japan in 2002.
``I think it would be very unfortunate if the North Koreans were to do something like this and break out of the moratorium that they have been following for a number of years,'' Powell told a news conference in New York after meeting with South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki Moon.
Powell called such a development ``a very troubling matter'' for China, Russia and Japan.(IHT/Asahi: September 25,2004) (09/25)


Prospect of North Korean Missile Launch 'Alarming' to Seoul
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 24, 2004; Page A19
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 -- South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon said Thursday that intelligence indicating a possible launch of a North Korean ballistic missile is "very much alarming" and that it could set back diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
"We have gotten that intelligence report that North Korea appears to be preparing to launch a missile," Ban said in an interview. "We are very concerned about the North Korea activities. We hope that they will not launch this kind of missile at this time."
Ban said a missile launch would have an "immensely negative adverse impact on the ongoing six-party dialogue process," referring to the six-nation talks over North Korea's nuclear program, "as well as the ongoing South-North relationship. And I think their relationship with Japan will be very much affected in a negative way."
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, attending meetings on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, told reporters that "it would be very unfortunate if the North Koreans were to do something like this and break out of the moratorium that they have been following for a number of years." But Powell said a missile launch would not "change our approach to dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem."
Ban said he did not understand why North Korea would appear to be scheduling a missile launch, except to alarm countries in the region and gain "an upper hand" in the nuclear talks. A fourth round of talks was set for this month, but North Korea has balked at attending.
A U.S. military officer who monitors Asia said the missile in question is believed to be a new intermediate-range model detected in North Korea in the past year. U.S. analysts have said the land-launched missile is derived from the Soviet SS-N-6, a 1960s-era submarine-launched model. Some reports estimate its range at more than 3,500 kilometers -- enough to reach Guam, a U.S. territory with a large military presence.
Adding to the tension, North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper declared Thursday: "If the United States ignites a nuclear war, the U.S. military base in Japan would serve as a detonating fuse to turn Japan into a nuclear sea of fire."
In 1998, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean. After receiving the new intelligence, Japan was reported to have sent two destroyers and a surveillance aircraft to the Sea of Japan to monitor North Korea's activities.
Ban said South Korea is "very much frustrated" that another round of talks appears unlikely soon. He said he recently told his North Korean counterpart that "they should not wait for the U.S. presidential election -- that whoever will be elected, Republican or Democrat, there will be no fundamental changes in addressing the issue."
Democratic candidate John F. Kerry has said he would allow direct talks with North Korea, but Ban noted that such talks have already taken place during the six-nation discussions, so he does not know whether there is "any substantial difference."
Staff writer Bradley Graham contributed to this report.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company

Son of N. Korean Leader Arrives in Beijing?
A figure assumed to be the eldest son of North Korea leader Kim Jong-il arrived at Beijing International Airport on Saturday.
The man, who asserted himself to be the son of the "North Korean leader," wore a dark blue sports jacket, white shirt, and sunglasses, insisting to reporters in Korean, "I'm Kim Jong-nam."
A man believed to be Kim Jong-nam who arrived in Beijing on Saturday (left) and the real Kim Jong-nam (right)
Making use of a flight other than a flight from Pyongyang, which arrived at Beijing in this morning, he said he had traveled to several countries since being deported from Japan in 2001 after he tried to enter the country on a fake passport.
He didn't say which country he had passed through on his way to China, and when asked about Koh Young-hee, the wife of Kim Jong-il, who was rumored to have died recently, he said "I don't know."
He was alone, and nobody picked him up. "I will stay at a hotel in Beijing," he said as he took off in a taxi.
The son of the late former actress Song Hye-rim, Kim Jong-nam was busted and deported by Japanese authorities after he tried to enter Narita International Airport with two women and a four-years old boy in May 2001. It is surmised that he has wandered about various regions including Moscow and Beijing.
( )

US offers to sell F-16s to Pakistan
By Joshua Kucera JDW Staff Reporter
Karachi, Pakistan
Additional reporting by Michael Sirak JDW Staff Reporter
Washington, DC
The US is offering to sell 18 F-16 fighter aircraft to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pending Congressional approval: one of several such deals in the works after years of US-led defence sanctions against Pakistan, the PAF Chief of Staff has disclosed.
"[The Americans] have indicated that they are ready to give us F-16s," said Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Kaleem Saadat. "This is not a rumour; it is from the American government."
Pakistan said it hopes the deal is the beginning of greater US co-operation. "Eighteen I consider to be the first instalment of what would follow," ACM Saadat told JDW. Approval from Congress, however, is not likely to come until after the US elections in November, he said.
Pakistan is asking that the F-16s be equipped with Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs). Along with additional fighter aircraft, Pakistan has also outlined a requirement for a beyond-visual-range missile, which the AMRAAM would meet.
In 1988-89, Pakistan arranged to supplement its stock of 40 F-16A/Bs - about 32 of which remained in service as of 2003 - by ordering an additional 71 aircraft. Lockheed Martin began producing them, but then the US Congress imposed sanctions in 1995 that barred military sales to the country unless the US president could certify that Pakistan was not pursuing nuclear weapons.
As a result, only 28 of the 71 were ever built and none of them were delivered to Pakistan. Instead they were kept in storage in the US until the Bush administration reimbursed the Pakistanis financially and assigned 14 aircraft each to the US Air Force and Navy in June 2002 for training and testing purposes.
The episode still rankles in Pakistan and the renewed possibility of acquiring F-16s is seen partly as making amends in thanks for Pakistan's efforts as an ally of the US in the wake of 9/11.
"Right from day one, we have been impressing upon the US government what symbolic value the F-16 has for the Pakistani people and the Pakistani nation," ACM Saadat said. "So it's not as if 10, 15, 20 aircraft would make a world of difference in our operational capability, but it's a symbol in the sense that the people of Pakistan think that if they give us this then they are really sincere in helping us."

Russia's new pre-emptive strategy
Kremlin generals have studied US doctrine
Borrowing a leaf from the current US military manual and responding to the massacre of the Beslan school children, General Yuri Baluevsky, the Russian Chief of General Staff, announced last week that his country's military now reserved the right to "launch pre-emptive strikes on terrorist bases... in any region of the world".
No Western government publicly responded to this Russian statement. Yet, privately, Western military planners are beginning to worry about what the official shift in Moscow's policies may actually mean. Moscow's claim that it is fighting the same war on terrorism as the United States is not taken seriously. The people who belong to Al-Qaeda and who struck at the US three years ago, rejected everything America stood for: its economic prowess, its technological advances and its notions of society. For Osama bin Laden, the war is an apocalyptic clash of civilisations, a global confrontation between religions.
The terrorism that faces Russia today is of a different variety. It was born out of a war for the liberation of one ethnic group. The militants who attacked the US were foreign; those who attacked Russia were, nominally, its own nationals. Furthermore, Al-Qaeda rejects the concept of the Western world, whereas the Chechens want to join this world, albeit as a separate nation.
The Chechens are not fighting in the name of Islam, although they happen to be Muslim. They fight for the nationalist aspiration of independence. Al-Qaeda and its allies cannot be negotiated with, even if they were to give up violence. But, at least in theory, there is an answer to the Chechen problem, namely that of granting independence to this Russian province. The conclusion, therefore, is that the Russian government's threat to deploy its armed forces around the world represents nothing more than an attempt to avoid discussing the real issue: the future of the Chechen nation.
Furthermore, unlike the Americans, who had to deal with a country like Afghanistan that shielded terrorists, there is no government that supports Chechen terrorists. Even Russia's claims that it is facing an international terrorist movement are doubtful. Immediately after the terrorist attacks on a theatre building in Moscow two years ago, the Russians asserted that Arab fighters were involved. Not a single Arab was subsequently produced as evidence; all turned out to be local Chechens. The same claim was made after the horrific massacre in the school. Even before all the bodies of the murdered children and adults were identified, Russia mysteriously already claimed to know that 10 of the attackers were Arabs. But, yet again, the evidence never appeared. The reality is rather simple: although some links with other terrorist organisations may exist, the bulk of Chechen terrorism has always been home-grown.
What are the Russians up to?
So, why are the Russians still insisting on their own doctrine of military pre-emption against alleged overseas terrorists? There are two reasons. The first is long term and remains strategic. Ever since the end of the Soviet Union, the Russians have wanted to maintain control over the oil-rich and strategically important Caucasus region and especially over the neighbouring republic of Georgia. The Georgian government, now assisted by the presence of some US military personnel, has always resisted these Russian advances. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Russians now hope to reimpose control over Georgia. It is rather convenient that they can do so by using the same justification that the Americans are using elsewhere in the world. But, more importantly, Russia's pre-emption doctrine represents a free-for-all for its secret agents. For years, the Russian government demanded the extradition of Chechen political leaders who sought asylum in other countries, claiming that they were terrorists. Without exception, courts in Western countries rejected these claims as unfounded. Well before the school massacre, however, the Russian security services adopted a new technique -- that of simply assassinating such people. The former Chechen president was assassinated in the Gulf state of Qatar in February and further assassinations are sure to follow. Yet again, the Russian authorities will claim that they are doing nothing different from what the US Central Intelligence Agency has done. In practice, however, the Russians are targeting all those Chechens with whom a peaceful deal to the crisis can still be negotiated -- far from eliminating terrorism, they are eliminating the chances for any political settlement.
Our prediction: Wholesale assassinations of Chechen protagonists and Russian bullying of Georgia. Do not expect Western governments to say anything about it either.

Ukraine arms Cuba and Venezuela
Ukraine's arms exports last year stood at US$530-550m, an increase on the year before when they were officially recorded at $440m. JID's regional analyst looks at the implications of Kiev's weapons policy.
Ukrainian experts analysing this highly secretive sector of Ukraine's foreign trade believe that the volume of military exports could rise to an annual maximum of $700m. Of course, these figures do not include the large volume of unofficial trade in weapons. Since 1992, Ukrainian arms have ended up in many conflict zones around the world, including Peru, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
This year's figures for military exports will be heavily boosted by the establishment of two new markets namely Cuba and Venezuela. Sources involved in preparing the contracts have informed JID that the first shipments of military equipment to Cuba and Venezuela are scheduled to take place sometime during September and October.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has recruited officers with Spanish language fluency. These experts have been promised additional increments on their low salaries in return for travelling with the shipments to Cuba and Venezuela. The officers who are set to accompany the shipments will include language experts and interpreters, as well as specialists able to train the Cubans and Venezuelans in the use of the military equipment being supplied. During September and October it is expected that the military equipment will be installed on site in both countries.
The volume of equipment to be sent by the oddly-named Ministry of Machine Building (Ministerstvo mashinostroeniya), which is heavily involved in Ukraine's military exports, will be equally divided between both countries. The bulk of the military equipment being sent to Cuba and Venezuela is light to medium equipment. This includes light infantry weapons coupled with small and medium sized military vehicles. JID has learned that negotiations are underway for Ukraine to supply more sensitive and strategically important military equipment to both Cuba and Venezuela.
Throughout the summer, hundreds of pages of documents to accompany the weapons shipments have been translated into Spanish and English. These documents include operating manuals, an inventory and the contracts. It is understood from sources involved in organising the shipment that the contracts are for the supply and maintenance of the military equipment, in addition to training, for between five to 10 years.

17 June 2004
Ukraine's missing missiles
Since March, Ukraine's defence minister, Yevhen Marchuk, has been searching for missing missiles and other weapons that could have fallen into terrorist hands or been sold to rogue states. JID investigates why this potentially catastrophic situation is only now being brought to light.
Marchuk raised a domestic storm when he publicly revealed that the Defence Ministry had no unified accounting system. Nor has a comprehensive inventory of military equipment in Ukraine ever been carried out. It is unknown what weapons the Defence Ministry actually possesses or what it inherited from the former Soviet Union.
When Marchuk became defence minister in June 2003 he ordered two inventories that indicated US$170m of military stock was probably missing. These results were so shocking that Marchuk ordered a new team of investigators to conduct an additional check using different methods. They uncovered that additional equipment, worth $20m, was missing.
Ukraine's officially declared revenue from the sale of military equipment is $3bn. This, according to JID's inside sources, only represents a small fraction of the real volume of Ukraine's military exports. Meanwhile, Marchuk has complained that there is no data available to him regarding the quantity of military equipment Ukraine inherited after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
The sheer scale of what appears to be missing equipment is astounding, as demonstrated by just one example. In 1990-1991, on the eve of the break up of the Soviet Union, 1,942 S-185 rockets were delivered to the Zhytomir military base, west of Kiev. These rockets were to be dismantled.
In fact, only 488 of the 1,942 rockets can actually be accounted for. The missiles could have been sold to unknown groups or countries. Or their scrap metal, gold, platinum and silver could have been sold separately with the proceeds being transferred to offshore accounts.
"We are looking for several hundred missiles. They have already been decommissioned, but we cannot find them," complained Marchuk.

JTIC briefing: Hizbullah's escalating role in the Palestinian intifada
By David Eshel
Lebanese Hizbullah is taking advantage of the present power vacuum in the West Bank and Gaza to expand its involvement in supporting the intifada, Israel security officials fear. JTIC examines evidence of recent Hizbullah activity in the Palestinian Territories.
Since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa intifada in 2000, Israel has expressed growing concern over what it claims is the involvement of Lebanese Hizbullah in supporting the activities of Palestinian militant groups. Indeed, the group's leadership itself has openly declared its support for the Palestinian 'resistance' in the form of money, propaganda and 'popular participation'.
There is firm evidence that Hizbullah's initial activities particularly involved provision of propaganda support to the Palestinians using their television and internet news outlets. However, since 2001 it has become apparent that not only has Hizbullah's assistance become increasingly operational in nature, but that the group and its sponsors may be attempting to establish themselves as major power-brokers in the Territories, at a time when much of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is in disarray and the main militant groups have been largely forced onto the back foot by sustained Israeli counterterrorist pressure.
Establishing the exact nature and true extent of Hizbullah's present involvement in the intifada is a difficult undertaking given the abundance of disinformation surrounding the issue from both Israel and the Arab world. However, a steadily growing body of information now points toward an intimate involvement by Hizbullah in training, arming, and attempting to gain some influence over domestic Palestinian militant groups. Israeli intelligence sources insist that Hizbullah, thanks to its Iranian patronage, is providing significant funds to the militants, training their cadres at Hizbullah camps in South Lebanon and smuggling operatives into the Occupied Territories to provide bomb-making and other operational expertise.
What is Hizbullah's objective? If Ariel Sharon proceeds with his plan to completely withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005, then the ultimate security nightmare for Israel, government officials warn, would be a repeat of the 2000 Israel Defence Force (IDF) pullout from the 'buffer zone' it occupied in South Lebanon.

from the September 27, 2004 edition -
Israel sends Syria tough message with Hamas strike
The killing of a Hamas operative Sunday underscores Israel's intolerance for radicals in Syria.
By Ben Lynfield
JERUSALEM - Widening its pursuit of Hamas beyond the occupied territories, Israel reached into Damascus Sunday, dealing a blow to both Hamas and Syria.
Even as part of official Israel declined to comment Sunday on the death of Izz el-Deen al-Sheikh Khalil, a Hamas operative killed in a car bomb, Israeli security sources told the Associated Press and the Haaretz newspaper that Israel was indeed responsible.
After last month's double bus bombing in the southern city of Beersheba, claimed by Hamas, Israeli army Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon had said that Israel would "deal with those who support terror" including those "in terror command posts in Damascus."
But Israeli analysts say the killing of Mr. Khalil was more than retribution. Operationally, it deprives Hamas of a key military leader, they say, while it also sends a tough signal to Syria that Israel will not tolerate its hosting of Hamas and other radical groups in Damascus.
"Khalil was the Salah Shehadeh of Damascus," says a former security official who requested anonymity. He was referring to the chief military leader of Hamas in Gaza who was assassinated by a one-ton bomb dropped on his residence in Gaza City two years ago.
The former official says that Khalil was responsible for smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egypt and for organizing armed operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "The capability of Hamas to activate attacks in the West Bank and Gaza from outside will be reduced for a while," he says.
"Also," he continues, "this attack inside Syria's capital shows the authorities in Damascus that it cannot be used as a hiding place. This is a blow to the prestige of the regime."
In Damascus, a neighbor of Khalil who identified himself only as Nabil said, "He said good morning to us like he did everyday and walked to his car. He got into his car and then the phone rang. When he took the call we heard the explosion. We rushed toward his car and found pieces in the back seat."
Ahmad Haj Ali, an adviser to the Syrian information minister described the bombing as a "terrorist and cowardly action."
Ghazi Hamed, editor of the Hamas-affiliated al-Risala weekly, faults Washington for the bombing. "Israel would not do this without American permission," he says. "The United States is threatening Syria that 'Israel will attack you if you don't do what we want.' "
Khalil was the latest in a string of Hamas leaders to die at Israel's hands, the others better known than he was. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movement's founder, was assassinated by a helicopter gunship in March as he left a mosque after prayers and acting leader Abdul-Aziz Rantissi was killed a month later.
"Following the killing of Yassin and Rantissi, the leadership outside became much more important," says Reuven Paz, director of the PRISM research institute in Herzliya, near Tel AviV. He estimates that there are 20 to 30 Hamas officials in Damascus that deal with foreign relations, finance, and directing military operations.
But Mr. Hamed says the Damascus headquarters is political and not military: "Israel believes that if it cuts the legs and hands of Hamas outside, then it will impact on Hamas here. I don't think so."
He says the armed wing in the occupied territories is independent and does not receive its orders from outside. Asked about Khalil, Hamed said he did not know what positions he held. He recalled that Khalil was deported to Lebanon along with 414 other Hamas figures in 1992, but, unlike the others, he did not to return to the occupied territories when they were allowed back.
Damascus, according to Mr. Paz, is no longer a safe place for Hamas not only because of Israeli military action but because of American pressure on Syria to oust radical groups headquartered there.
"Regimes like the Syrian regime might think that they are next after Iraq," he says. "And maybe [President] Bashar Assad would like to renew peace negotiations with Israel. He could easily sell out the Hamas leadership to improve his situation with the US or Israel."
Paz believes that despite the Israeli military strikes, Hamas is a highly durable organization inside the occupied territories.
"This is not just a terrorist organization, it has a well-organized social, educational, and cultural infrastructure which is seen as incorrupt. They might take a break now [from attacks] to invest more efforts in the municipal elections" beginning on Dec. 9, in which Hamas will field candidates, he says.
But Sami Abu Zahari, the Hamas spokesman in Gaza, pointed toward revenge.
"This crime expands and enlarges the struggle into Arab lands. The reply is obvious: escalating the attacks. We count on our Arab and Moslem youth to take action," he told Al Jaazera in an interview Sunday.
* Wire services contributed to this report.

Arab Nations Fail to Support Lebanon
By Luke Thomas
Sep 17, 2004
In an appalling but all too common display of despotism and indifference, Arab nations throughout the Middle East failed to condemn Syria's suppression of Lebanese sovereignty.
As the Digital Freedom Network observed on Friday, September 10:
On September 3, the Lebanese parliament, under intense pressure from the Syrian government, approved an amendment to the Lebanese constitution that will allow current president Emile Lahoud to service a second term of three years.
Following the passage of this amendment, the United Nations (UN) passed resolution 1559 which called for full national sovereignty for the Lebanese and respect for Lebanon's constitution while also calling for the removal of all foreign troops without specifically mentioning Syria.
In addition to international condemnation from the U.S. and European Union (EU), local press and various religious and political leaders widely castigated the move. Four members of parliament under chief Druze MP, Wahlid Jumblatt, resigned in the aftermath.
The general expectation of behavior for Syria's Arab neighbors following its regrettable maneuvering of power was if not outright condemnation, certainly nothing indicating praise or approval. Unfortunately, approval was all that was to be found.
According to reports from The Daily Star, "Egypt appeared to have stood with Damascus Wednesday, as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reportedly rejected international condemnation of Syria's domination of Lebanese politics."
Ironically, Syria's official news agency, SANA, reported that Mubarak and Syria's leader, Bashar Al-Asad, called for "total Lebanese sovereignty" and repudiated UN Resolution 1559.
There are indications that "strong initial warnings" by Egypt, Jordan and Arab Gulf States for Syria to not interfere in the Lebanese electoral and constitutional affairs were altered or removed after intense lobbying from Syria.
Presumably, Syria introduced a goal of mutual interest that could be achieved given that there was unanimity between Arab parties. Forcing further U.S. difficulties in the increasingly dangerous Iraq is arguably chief among those.
With respect to Resolution 1559, Syria and Egypt deflected attention from the political arm-twisting by noting the need for a "realistic and political framework that would lead at the same time to the end of the Israeli occupation of all Syrian and Lebanese territory."
Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid reiterated that position, according to The Daily Star, by observing, "Lebanon was being asked to deal with the issue of the national anti-Israel resistance without bearing in mind that there is Lebanese land still under Israeli occupation."
Also there is the shared history of Syria and Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War where both countries ceded territory to Israel in an overwhelming military defeat. While Egypt officially made peace with Israel under the leadership of the late Anwar Sadat, Syria still believe it is entitled to those lands (the Golan Heights), though has neither the means nor the real desire to attempt any recapture.
Michael Young of Reason Magazine and The Daily Star argues any serious implementation of Resolution 1559 is difficult, especially in the context of Syria's ties to Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Recall that recent Israeli threats against Damascus came in the form of Syrian government approval of Hamas offices in Syrian territory, operating unfettered and to nearly full capacity. Israel argues it has the right to attack those targets, even if they exist in foreign territory. Young observes, "It's difficult to imagine either the U.S. or Israel agreeing to new Syrian-Israeli talks unless Syria severs its ties with Hezbollah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad." As long as Syria is tethered to these extremist groups, any negotiations over the Golan territory, and thus the implementation of Resolution 1559 as both Israel and Syria withdraw from occupied territory, remains somewhat of a pipe dream.
In fairness to the complexities of international diplomacy and history, both Israel and Syria maintain that occupation of West Bank and some Lebanese territory, respectively, is necessary to counterbalance the presence of the other.
On Wednesday, September 15 Syria criticized the U.S. Congress resolution that was passed two days earlier, condemning Syria's record on human rights abuses and calls for the U.S. government to combat the problem. The Daily Star reports as follows:
Syria's Information Minister Ahmad Hassan dubbed the resolution "worthless," adding that it bears the clear mark of the Zionist lobby in the U.S. congress.
House Resolution 363 called for the condemnation of the "continuing gross violations of human rights" and demanded support for the "civil liberties of the Syrian people by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic."
The resolution passed unanimously without hesitation, thus rendering Syria's claim of surreptitious Zionist influence little more than baseless assertions.
In a very telling sign of the state of failure in Arab States, former Lebanese President Amin Gemayal, a member of Christian opposition, told The Daily Star Resolution 1559 "is different from all previous UN resolutions pertaining to Lebanon" and "it is the first time that a UN resolution intervenes in the internal relations among Arab states."
Gemayal added "this shows the failure of Arab states to resolve their problems internally."
So what does all this mean?
If one were to combine Syria's hand wrangling of Lebanese affairs, lobbying of foreign Arab governments for support, repudiating of international criticism, repudiating of domestic and Lebanese concerns, flippant attitude toward UN resolutions, deflecting of attention back to the U.S. and Israel away from its' failures, what we find is the unfortunate, but thoroughly unsurprising reality of politics in the Middle East.
Once again, Arab regimes have failed to come to rescue of fellow Arab nations by shamefully supporting ghastly actions of neighborhood dictators (there is also the gross failure to uphold the much heralded Pan Arabism). Again, this is not surprising. It is in many ways very unreasonable to expect Mubarak to outright condemn Syria while he presides over a police state. In his view, Assad's situation is nearly tantamount to his with respect to attitudes from Washington, although Mubarak is not accussed of having and likely has no ties to terrorism. Regardless, a man whose sole interest is power cannot be expected to exhibit forthcoming behavior on issues of disclosure and morality.
What it will take to alter the climate of Arab politics is unclear, but it unquestionably must involve massive amounts of concessions and negotiations. Given the actions of Egypt and other Arab nations, such a prospect is little more than a glimmer in the eye.
Copyright ? 1997 - 2004 Digital Freedom Network


China Detains N.Y. Times Researcher
Friday, September 24, 2004; Page A22
BEIJING, Sept 23 -- China has detained a researcher working for the New York Times on suspicion that he helped break news that aging leader Jiang Zemin planned to retire from politics this month, sources familiar with the case said Thursday.
Zhao Yan, a former reporter for the magazine China Reform, was arrested by state security agents on Sept. 17. Jiang stepped down from his post as head of the military on Sept. 19, during the annual meeting of the ruling Communist Party's Central Committee.
Earlier this month, the newspaper quoted sources as saying Jiang would hand the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission to Hu Jintao, his successor as president and party chief, at the plenum, completing a leadership transition that began at a party congress in 2002.
Zhao was taken into custody on suspicion of illegally providing state secrets to foreigners, according to a copy of an arrest document issued by the Beijing state security bureau and dated Sept. 21.
State security "suspect him to be the source of the Jiang Zemin story," said a source speaking on condition of anonymity. Zhao has worked for the New York Times since May.
The Times's foreign editor, Susan Chira, denied the charges and said the paper was "deeply concerned" about the case.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company


U.N.derwhelming Response
The U.N.'s approach to terrorism.
By Anne Bayefsky
In the weeks immediately following 9/11 there is another anniversary -- that of the U.N.'s response to the global threat of terrorism. On September 28, 2001, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1373, which requires states to take steps to combat terrorism.
That resolution has proved, however, to be the high-water mark. Despite Senator Kerry's repeated calls for greater U.N. involvement in the war on terror, the organization's contribution has gone downhill ever since.
Three years after resolution 1373 was passed, the U.N. still can't even define terrorism. Member states are essentially divided into two camps. In one corner is the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) composed of 56 states insisting that terrorism excludes the "armed struggle for liberation and self-determination." More precisely, blowing up Israelis of all ages in cafes, synagogues, buses, and discotheques is considered legitimate. In the other corner is the rest of the world.
For eight years the U.N. has been struggling to adopt a comprehensive convention against terrorism. But it cannot finish the task because the OIC continues to hold out for an Israeli exclusion clause. Another round of bogus negotiations is scheduled for early October. No U.N. member state is prepared to change the rules and insist that a vote be called in the absence of consensus.
The upshot is one line on the U.N. website devoted to the definition of terrorism. It refers interested parties to the ongoing discussion over a terrorism convention that "would include a definition of terrorism if adopted."
The U.N.'s inability to identify a terrorist has real-life implications. In the last month, the Security Council has been faced with terrorist acts in Beslan, Russia, and in Israel. A recent bombing in Beersheva, Israel, claimed 16 lives and wounded 100 from a population of under seven million. The hostage-taking in Russia left 326 dead and 727 wounded out of a population of over 143 million. Proportionally, the trauma was as great in Israel.
The Security Council deadlocked over the Beersheva attacks and no unified presidential statement was possible. Instead there was a statement to the press saying council members (read: some, not all) condemned the bombings along with "all other acts of terrorism" (code for "Israel engages in terrorism too"). During the debate, Security Council members Algeria and Pakistan maintained a position of "principle" -- there should be no double-standards, no singling out of one act, no selective condemnation. That was August 31.
On September 1 the Security Council adopted a presidential statement on behalf of the council as a whole concerning Beslan. It strongly condemned the attack, expressing the deepest sympathy with the people and government of Russia and urging all states to cooperate with Russian authorities in bringing to justice the perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of the terrorist acts.
Of course the council couldn't mirror such calls when it came to Israeli victims, since the perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of Palestinian terrorism start with Yasser Arafat and end in the protectorates of Damascus and Tehran. What happened to Resolution 1373?
The resolution's legal requirements are impressive: to "refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts"; to "take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts"; to "deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts"; and to "prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against other States or their citizens..."
To implement these obligations, 1373 gave birth to a Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). The CTC then spawned 517 state reports about all the steps being taken to implement the resolution. Among them is the most recent report from Syria -- headquarters of Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and others featured on the State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations. It informs the Security Council about "procedures and measures adopted and in force in the Syrian Arab Republic aimed at the suppression....and prevention of terrorist crimes, and...the denial of safe haven, refuge, assistance or any form of help in the territory of...Syria."
A parallel universe, one in which the U.N.'s chief global response to 9/11 -- the Counter-Terrorism Committee -- has never managed to name a single terrorist organization or individual, or a singe state sponsor of terrorism.
Another U.N. committee was created in 1999 under Security Council Resolution 1267, in response to al Qaeda and the Taliban. This so-called sanctions committee has never agreed about which states have failed to comply with their obligations, nor has it given the council a list of delinquent states for further action.
Meanwhile, almost all of the rest of the world stands paralyzed, intimidated, or furiously giving campaign speeches about U.N. multilateralism as the sensitive way forward in the war against terror.
-- Anne Bayefsky is an international lawyer and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Options for Prosecuting Forgery Exist, but Appear Unlikely
By Robert B. Bluey Staff Writer
September 20, 2004
( - Tampering with government records is a felony under the Texas Penal Code, but prosecutors in Taylor County said they are not likely to pursue a case, even if the controversial CBS memos on President Bush were sent from a Kinko's fax machine in Abilene.
Prosecuting a forgery in Texas under section 37.10 would be just one of several options available under state, federal or military law. But the likelihood of any criminal charges being brought against an individual or CBS are remote, based on interviews conducted by
"I know some documents were faxed from Abilene that were purported to be fraudulent, and that's all I know," said James Eidson, the district attorney for Taylor County, which includes Abilene. "We're not an investigative agency. It would have to be turned over to us by some other agency."
The law enforcement agency most likely to look into the matter - fraud investigations are handled by the Texas Department of Public Safety - has not heard from any Texas prosecutor who might be willing to take the case, according to a spokeswoman.
"On certain things, we won't pursue investigating a case unless we have a letter from whoever the prosecutor would be," said Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the department. "We don't want to expend investigative resources and time and money on a case that a prosecutor might not pursue."
According to the Texas statute, anyone who "makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record" could be charged with a felony.
Even though CBS has refused to disclose the source of the documents that it aired on the Sept. 8 episode of "60 Minutes II," there are clues that indicate they may have come from Texas. The records were about Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, and one CBS source, former National Guard officer Robert Strong, said they bore the stamp of the Kinko's in Abilene.
The transmission of forged documents via a fax machine could result in a prosecution under the federal wire fraud statute, according to University of Texas law professor Samuel W. Buell, who worked as a federal prosecutor for 10 years. But he warned that even if that was the case, money would have likely had to be involved.
After researching federal laws that might pertain to the CBS matter, Buell said most statutes applied to forging currency as opposed to falsifying government records.
"There are a set of federal forgery statutes limited to certain matters that are within the jurisdiction of the federal government," Buell said. "For example, currency obligations, treasury certificates, bonds, postage meters and generally things that have monetary value."
Federal statutes referring to military records also make no reference to memorandums like the ones obtained by CBS, Buell said. Penalties would apply, he said, in cases of forged discharge certificates and military identification cards.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas, which covers Abilene, referred to the Department of Justice. The department declined to comment on the matter.
A third option - besides a state or federal prosecution - involves military law. But it would likely be the most remote choice given the type of crime, said Margaret D. Stock, a law professor at the U.S. Military Academy. Stock offered her personal assessment to
"A minor case of someone altering a document might never even go to a court martial," Stock said. "It might be handled administratively with a reprimand."
A military prosecution becomes complicated, Stock explained, because it could involve bringing a retired military officer onto active duty.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice, which applies to the National Guard as well as other military branches, has a provision on forgery that punishes anyone who "utters, offers, issues, or transfers such a writing, known by him to be so made or altered."
Any active duty officer today could lodge a complaint if the source of the documents turned out to be associated with the military, Stock said. But the chance of anything materializing would be slim in her opinion.
"It would be more likely that the [U.S. attorney] would prosecute than the military because it's easier for them to get jurisdiction," she said. "I would think it would be easier for the federal civilian prosecutor to handle the case rather than a military prosecutor."
And while an individual may face little threat of prosecution, according to legal sources, CBS has far greater protection under the First Amendment, said media law professor Rick J. Peltz, who teaches at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He said he wasn't aware of any legal precedent involving a media organization charged with criminal fraud.
"Even besides actual malice, the constitutionality of criminal defamation laws is highly suspect," Peltz added. "I'm not sure I can see a theory for criminal liability."

Pentagon think tank sees Iran nukes by 2005
Friday, September 24, 2004
A leading Pentagon-funded think tank has determined that Iran could be as little as a year away from producing its first nuclear bomb.
The report by the Washington-based Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Education Center provided the harshest assessment yet of Iran's nuclear weapons program. The report, partly funded by the Pentagon, also reviewed U.S. responses to Iran's program, but ruled out a military strike.
On Tuesday, Iran said it has begun converting 37 tons of raw yellowcake uranium for enrichment by gas centrifuges, Middle East Newsline reported. U.S. officials said the announcement reflected Teheran's intention to accelerate its nuclear weapons program.
"Iran is now no more than 12 to 48 months from acquiring a nuclear bomb, lacks for nothing technologically or materially to produce it, and seems dead set on securing an option to do so," the report, released on Sept. 13, said.
The assessment by the center came only weeks after the intelligence communities in Israel and the United States concluded that Iran sustained a setback in its race to achieve nuclear capability. In August, Israel's intelligence community asserted that International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities prompted a suspension of uranium enrichment and the transfer of such equipment from civilian to military bases.
Iranian engineers need between one to four years to develop nuclear warheads, the report said. The think tank said Iran has the equipment to produce nuclear weapons fuel, the expertise to assemble bombs and the missile delivery systems.
The study was drafted with the help of leading U.S. experts on Iran, the Middle East, and nuclear weapons. The experts warned that a nuclear Iran would increase its support for organizations deemed terrorist, boost the price of oil and spark an arms race in the region.
"With Hamas in decline, Iran has already been seen to be increasing its support to groups like Hizbullah in Israel and Lebanon who want to liberate Palestine from 'Israeli occupation,'" the report said. "Increasing this aid certainly would help Iran take the lead in the Islamic crusade to rid the region of Zionist and American forces and thereby become worthy of tribute and consideration by other Islamic states. Also, bolstering such terrorist activity would help Teheran deter Israel and the U.S. from striking it militarily."
The report said U.S. and allied policy-makers have been drafting plans to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The think tank said the two most widely-examined choices were to bomb or bribe Iran.
"Neither, however, is likely to succeed and could easily make matters worse," the report said. "Certainly, targeting Iran's nuclear facilities risks leaving other covert facilities and Iran's nuclear cadre of technicians untouched."
"As for eliminating Iran's nuclear capabilities militarily, the U.S. and Israel lack sufficient targeting intelligence to do this," the report added.
"As it is, Iran could have already hidden all it needs to reconstitute a bomb program assuming its known declared nuclear plants are hit."
Instead, the report recommended that the United States lead naval exercises throughout the Persian Gulf. The exercises should seek to improve allied capability to clear mines, protect merchant ships, seize nuclear cargo and ensure traffic in the Straits of Hormuz.
Another recommendation was that the United States offer missile defense systems to allies in the Middle East. The think tank warned that such an offer must ensure that recipient states could not use these systems for offensive purposes.
The study warned that a nuclear Iran would spark similar programs in a range of Middle East states. Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey -- all signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- were the most likely to seek nuclear weapons, the study said.
In early 2004, the report said, senior Saudi officials announced they were studying the possibility of acquiring nuclear weapons from China or Pakistan. At the same time, Egypt announced plans to develop a large nuclear desalinization plant and could have received sensitive nuclear technology from Libya.
"Egypt, Algeria, Syria, and Saudi Arabia will all claim that they too need to pursue nuclear research and development to the point of having nuclear weapons options and, as a further slap in Washington's face -- and Tel Aviv's -- will point to Iran's 'peaceful' nuclear program and Israel's undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal to help justify their own 'civil' nuclear activities," the report said.
The report said Israel's role was crucial to any U.S. response to a nuclear Iran. The think tank recommended that the United States and its allies -- prior to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in May 2005 -- persuade Israel to take unilateral steps meant to dampen the prospect of a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East.
"Israel should announce how much weapons usable material it has produced and that it will unilaterally mothball -- but not yet dismantle -- Dimona, and place the reactor's mothballing under IAEA monitoring," the report said. "At the same time, Israel should announce that it will dismantle Dimona and place the special nuclear material it has produced in 'escrow' in Israel with a third trusted declared nuclear state, e.g., the U.S."
"It should make clear, however, that Israel will only take this additional step when at least two of three Middle Eastern nations -- Algeria, Egypt or Iran -- follow Israel's lead by mothballing their own declared nuclear facilities that are capable of producing at least one bomb's worth of weapons usable material in one to three years," the report said.
Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.

Europe loses patience with Iran over arms
(Filed: 25/09/2004)
France's foreign minister, Michel Barnier, insisted yesterday that Iran must assure the world that it does not plan to acquire atomic weapons as European nations lost patience with Teheran over its nuclear programme.
Diplomats close to negotiations in which Britain, France, and Germany are trying to persuade Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment programme said the Europeans might soon be ready to support American demands to refer it to the United Nations Security Council.
Iran said this week it had begun processing raw uranium to prepare it for enrichment, a process that can be used to develop nuclear bombs.
Mr Barnier said Iran urgently needed to reassure the world about its nuclear programme, which Teheran says is purely for nuclear energy.
Iran, Impossible?
Nope. The mullahs will go the way of the Evil Empire.
After years of baffling silence, George Will has finally written about Iran. His guide is the justly celebrated Azar Nafisi, but her one-liner Will used to portray contemporary Iran -- "What differentiated this revolution from the other totalitarian revolutions of the twentieth century was that it came in the name of the past" -- demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of the past (the F?hrer's movement was every bit as anti-modern as Khomeini's) and thus of the future (both forms of fascism being quite capable of asserting a terrible revolutionary claim on the destiny of all mankind and unleashing their murderous hatred on a global scale).
Worse, Mr. Will tosses off a dismissive pronunciamento so absolute and categorical that he implies it is writ in the very nature of things: "There is no plausible path to achieving (regime change in Iran)." Why? Because "the regime-changers have their hands full with the unfinished project next door to Iran."
He'd have done better to concentrate his great talent and energy on preventing major-league baseball from reaching Washington, D.C. The claim that the United States cannot possibly bring about the fall of clerical fascism in Tehran is as silly as similar claims directed at Ronald Reagan when he set about bringing an end to the evil Soviet Empire. Indeed, skepticism about our determination to defeat Soviet Communism was far more justifiable than doubts about the thoroughly plausible path to end the Iranian mullahcracy. For only a small minority of the oppressed peoples of the Soviet Empire were ever willing to openly challenge the Kremlin -- as, for that matter, were the people in the Philippines under the Marcos kleptocracy, or in Yugoslavia under the mad Milosevic. Yet all came crashing down, defeated by their own people, who were inspired and supported by Americans.
In Iran today, upwards of 70 percent of the population is openly hostile to the regime, vocally desirous of freedom and democracy, and bravely supportive of the Bush Doctrine to bring democratic revolution to the entire region.
If we could bring down the Soviet Empire by inspiring and supporting a small percentage of the people, surely the chances of successful revolution in Iran are more likely. By orders of magnitude. "No plausible path," my derriere! (as Senateur Kerry might put it). Ask Comrade Gorbachev about the power of democratic revolution before you write off the Iranian people.
I think that Mr. Will got it wrong because he assumes that regime change implies military conquest. But we don't need armies of fighting American men and women to liberate Tehran; the foot soldiers are Iranians, and they are already on the ground, awaiting good leadership with a clear battle plan. The war against the Iranian terror masters will be political, not military. The weapons that will end the dreadful tyranny -- so well described by Mr. Will and Mrs. Nafisi -- are ideas and passions, not missiles and bullets. To our great shame, we have failed to support the Iranians' battle against their hated regime, but that is a failure of will, not a failure of means.
Mr. Will believes it inevitable that Iran will become a nuclear power in the near future, and this may well be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Surely the United Nations, the British, and the Europeans are doing everything possible to bring it to fulfillment. But this is a fallacy of "static" thinking in a rapidly changing world. South Africa and Ukraine were members of the nuclear club when they were oppressive tyrannies, but scrapped their nukes when they became free. It is certainly true that the current Iranian regime will stop at nothing until they have atomic bombs, but a free Iran might well make a different choice.
Most importantly, there is a huge difference between atomic bombs in the hands of fanatical mullahs, and atomic bombs controlled by a pro-Western and democratic country. Mr. Will says it is "surreal" for Condoleezza Rice to discuss the Iranian nuclear program in terms of what we can "allow" Iran to do, I suppose because he is convinced we have no plausible path to prevent it. That may or may not be true; I don't know if there is a politically acceptable military option, and I agree that diplomacy cannot possibly derail the mullahs' mad atomic march. But it is at least equally "surreal" to dismiss the prospects of democratic revolution in Iran, and thereby join the ranks of the appeasers.
If Reagan had listened to this sort of criticism -- and there was no shortage of it in the early '80s -- Gorbachev would still be managing the gulags and funding Communist movements all over the world. If Bush accepts George Will's view of Iran, we will soon see the world's primary sponsor of terror armed with atomic bombs.
It is not inevitable. We can beat them. Delay costs lives, both ours and those of the brave Iranians who challenge clerical fascism.
Faster, please.
-- Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen is Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.


Zarqawi's Jordanian roots
By Jon Leyne
BBC Amman correspondent
Zarqa is a dusty, dirty city. The houses sprawl over a series of brown, sun-blasted hillsides. It has a reputation for being the home to the car trade, and for crime.
It is also home to Iraq's most wanted man - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The name means, "the man from Zarqa".
Zarqawi himself has been on the run for years. But his wife and four children still live in a two-storey house on the edge of town. His brother-in-law Saleh al-Hami also lives across the road.
He was eager to put the record straight about his notorious relative.
Zarqawi is a good man, he insisted, a good Muslim, who has gone to Iraq out of principle to fight the American-led occupation.
He is a leader, he is strong, straight to the point, with a very strong personality
Leith Shubeilat, Islamic activist
This rough town provided inauspicious roots for a man the Americans credit with leading a large part of the Iraqi resistance.
When he was in his teens, it seemed that Zarqawi was destined for a life of petty crime. He was known as a bit of a thug, a lowlife.
But while few claim Zarqawi is a great intellectual, it appears he does have the ability to lead: the ability to persuade, or to bully, others to follow him.
"He is a leader, he is strong, straight to the point, with a very strong personality," says Leith Shubeilat, an Islamic activist imprisoned with Zarqawi in the 1990s.
Iraq opportunity
What sounds like an obsessive personality gradually turned Zarqawi from crime to the more dangerous pursuit of radical Islam, with its fiery mix of religion and politics.
He travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, although his relationship with Osama Bin Laden is disputed.
In 1993, Zarqawi was arrested in Jordan, after the authorities discovered rifles and bombs stashed in his house.
In the next years in prison, he turned to learning the Koran by heart.
Then in 1999, he was released by the Jordanians as part of a general amnesty.
The war in Iraq was just the opportunity he was looking for to harness his fanatical beliefs.
He is now believed personally to have carried out several of the recent, brutal, videotaped executions.
Though Zarqawi has become a mystery figure, unseen except in those gruesome videos.
Zarqawi's brother-in-law, Saleh al-Hami, had no apologies for the recent violence or kidnappings, such as the holding of the British man Ken Bigley.
"Why are the British worried about this one man, and not about the thousands of Iraqis who have been killed or injured?" asked Mr al-Hami.
Most ordinary Jordanians I spoke to in Zarqa insisted they did not support the current wave of kidnappings.
But they did point to that same double standard.
"All the people here in Jordan and the Middle East are against kidnapping the foreigners," said one man I spoke to outside a newspaper shop in Zarqa.
"Our religion does not want these things to happen in Iraq."
"But all the people want to dismiss Americans and British from Iraq, because Iraq is an Arabic country.
"The foreigners, they killed more people than the kidnappers. The American jets killed 200 or 300 daily."
Zarqawi cannot claim many followers in Jordan, though government buildings here are heavily fortified against any possible attacks from him or other Muslim militants.
But people here do understand what drives him, and most ordinary people I spoke to shared his hatred for America's occupation of Iraq and support for Israel.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/09/27 00:16:05 GMT

U.S. military intelligence: Saddam transferred WMD to Syria
Friday, September 24, 2004
The U.S. military continues to back its estimate that the former Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq transferred much of its weapons of mass destruction arsenal to neighboring Syria.
U.S. officials said that U.S. Army Intelligence does not share the conclusion that Saddam had abandoned his WMD program before the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003. They said military intelligence has attributed the U.S. failure to find Iraqi WMD platforms or munitions to Saddam's transfer of these systems to Syria in late 2002 and early 2003.
Over the last year, U.S. Central Command has helped the Iraqi Survey Group in the search for WMD in Iraq. The group has wound down its activities in Iraq without any success.
"The Iraqi Survey Group has yet to submit its final report," Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy chief of U.S. Central Command, said. "Besides, who knows what we will find in two years, who knows what was moved to countries like Syria. What we know for certain is that Saddam Hussein had carried out research into an array of weapons of mass destruction."
Smith said Syria was a major ally of Saddam before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He told a briefing in Qatar on Sept. 5 that Syria helped fuel the current insurgency war in Iraq by enabling the flow of combatants and weapons into Iraq to fight U.S. and allied forces.
The military's assessment that Syria has received Iraqi WMD has been shared by the Defense Department, officials said. They said U.S. reconnaissance satellites had detected the entry of Iraqi convoys of suspected WMD and missile cargo into Syria and Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in early 2003.
"It's a clear fact that the deposits of weapons of mass destruction have not been found since the end of the major combat operations," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "Another possibility is they gave them to some other country or hid them in some other country."
Officials said Saddam agents have sought to kill Iraqis with knowledge of the former regime's nuclear weapons program. They cited the assassination of Iraqi nuclear scientist Mohammed Toki Hussein Al Talakani on Sept. 4 in the Sunni city of Mahmudiya.
In contrast, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq said it failed to find evidence that Saddam had developed unmanned air vehicles capable of deliverying biological or chemical weapons. The agency said the UAVs found in Iraq did not violate UN restrictions.
"The information available to us doesn't indicate Iraq had these drones for the delivery of chemical or biological weapons agents, nor had they gone beyond the 150 kilometer range," UN commission spokesman Ewen Buchanan said. "But we're open to new information and looking forward to the Iraq Survey Group's findings."
Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.

Too much democracy - a mandarin's lament
(Filed: 25/09/2004)
Pity the sincere Europhiles. For many years, these well-bred, well-meaning and in some ways visionary people waged their lonely campaign against public opinion. Then, to their unfeigned delight, Tony Blair was elected, the first prime minister since Edward Heath who seemed willing to advance their agenda.
Mr Blair had an unassailable majority and a clear mandate: in his first speech as Labour leader, he promised: "Britain will never be isolated or left behind in Europe." For a short while, everything seemed possible. But, nearly eight years on, Mr Blair's majority has been squandered, his promise broken. No wonder the pro-Europeans sound so crotchety these days: they can see things slipping away from them.
Nowhere is this frustration more keenly felt than in Whitehall - or, to be precise, King Charles Street. For 40 years, our Foreign Office mandarins have seen themselves as almost sacerdotal figures, guardians of the sacred flame of Britain's European vocation. If you doubt this, read the late Hugo Young's history, This Blessed Plot. Written from a Europhile perspective, the book lays bare the way in which successive generations of FCO bureaucrats maintained a policy of closer European integration regardless of the declared will of their elected bosses.
Sir Stephen Wall, whom we interview today, was for a time the supreme inheritor and exemplar of this tradition. An erudite and respected man, he did his best to pursue a European policy that was wholly at odds with British public opinion. For a while, he saw Mr Blair as a natural ally; but he soon became disenchanted. Not that there was a hint of this while Sir Stephen was in his post: he was a proper and discreet civil servant to the last. Now, though, freed from the constraints of office, he has let rip.
Mr Blair, he says, played politics when he should have been making the case for the EU - and his Chancellor, Gordon Brown, even more so. Here is the authentic voice of the British ?narque: listen closely and you can catch that slight tetchiness at what diplomats think of as populism, but the rest of us would call democracy.
The issue over which Sir Stephen and Mr Blair fell out was the referendum on the EU constitution. Sir Stephen, true to the values of his caste, vigorously opposed the idea of consulting the public. He well understands that the EU would never have got where it is today if each new treaty had been referred to the voters for approval. He can see that people will probably vote "no" to the constitution - not only because of what they read in that document, but also as a surrogate verdict on 30 years of transfers of power to Brussels. For him, as for other Euro-enthusiasts, that is reason enough for not asking them. The EU, as it exists, is the creation of men like Sir Stephen: a bureaucratic construct with little room for democracy. That has been the objection all along.

? Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004


Aspiring powers fight for seat at UN top table
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
(Filed: 25/09/2004)
The quest by the United Nations to reform the Security Council has turned into a public brawl between aspiring powers seeking a permanent seat and a larger number of jealous neighbours seeking to keep them out.
The battle has been waged all week in New York, where world leaders and ministers are meeting for the annual opening of the UN General Assembly.
India, Germany, Japan and Brazil are united
India, Germany, Japan and Brazil have banded together to promote each other's membership. They have won support from Britain and France - which already hold permanent seats - but they are also facing determined opposition.
Pakistan opposes the entry of India, its nuclear rival. Italy has led the campaign against Germany's membership, while Argentina and Mexico are trying to prevent Brazil gaining a seat.
Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt have also made a case for a permanent seat.
The giants of the Security Council - the United States, China and Russia - have kept largely silent, apparently unwilling to support any attempt at reform, though China was scathing about Japan's ambitions for a permanent seat.
Iraq, terrorism, weapons proliferation, world poverty, climate change are all major issues for this year's General Assembly meeting. But for many at UN headquarters, the question which really animated diplomats was reform.
Almost everybody agrees that the present composition of the Security Council is outdated, reflecting the balance of power at the end of the Second World War.
The council has five permanent members with the power of veto - the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia - together with 10 countries elected for two-year terms.
All attempts to overhaul the membership in the past decade have failed. But Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, is now making a fresh attempt. Seeking to re-unite the UN after the deep rift caused by the war in Iraq, he has set up "high level panel" of international figures that will present its proposals in December.
The hope is that reforms will be approved by the General Assembly next year.
The panel will be trying to reconcile two opposing aims: to make the Security Council more legitimate in the eyes of the world by making its membership more representative; and to make it more effective in the eyes of America, which has shown its willingness to turn its back on the UN, by drafting new rules to deal with issues such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
The move has provoked frenzied lobbying and counter-pressure in the corridors of the UN.
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, said on Thursday: "Africa, whose issues occupy a substantial part of the Security Council's time, ought to be accorded priority consideration for permanent membership.
"And Nigeria, I strongly believe, is a well-qualified candidate."
The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, said the inclusion of India as a permanent member would be "a first step in the process of making the UN a truly representative body".
But Pakistan made plain its opposition to India's entry. "The overwhelming majority of states are against the creation of new centres of privilege," said President Pervaiz Musharraf.
Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, argued that creating new permanent members would "sow division".
Instead, he backed proposals to create a layer of semi-permanent members which would serve five-year terms.
Britain has said that any new permanent members of the Security Council should not have the power of veto.

Chernobyl Comes of Age
Melting Myths
By Roger Bate
Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2004
National Review Online
Publication Date: September 23, 2004
Eighteen years ago, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred. Newspaper reports at the time reflected the near-universal public hysteria: the Daily Mail filled half its front page with the words "2000 DEAD"; the New York Post claimed that 15,000 bodies had been bulldozed into nuclear waste pits. But the overreaction to the accident caused far more harm than the meltdown itself, as it mistakenly led to the halting of nuclear programs in most Western countries, including the United States.
As Chernobyl comes of age, now seems like a good time to take an adult assessment of the whole affair. UNSCEAR's (the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) website tells a surprising story: At 1:21 a.m. on April 25, 1986, the reactor crew at Chernobyl's number four reactor ran a test to see how long the turbines would spin following a power cut. It was known that this type of reactor was very unstable at low power, and automatic shutdown mechanisms had been disabled before the test. The flow of coolant water diminished, power output increased, and when the operator tried to shut down the reactor from its unstable condition arising from previous errors, a peculiarity in the design caused a dramatic power surge. The fuel elements ruptured and the resultant explosive force of steam lifted the cover plate off of the reactor, releasing fission products into the atmosphere. A second explosion threw out fragments of burning fuel and graphite from the core and allowed air to rush in, causing the graphite moderator to burst into flames. The graphite burned for nine days, releasing a total of about 12 x 1018 becquerels of radioactivity--about 30 to 40 times that of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It just could not be any worse: Corners had been cut from the very inception of the reactor's design, right through construction, operation, and maintenance. Training and safety procedures were negligible. The Supreme Soviet that routinely disregarded human life was as negligent in nuclear-reactor policy as it was in everything else. Even The Simpsons's woeful nuclear power-plant owner, Mr. Burns, would have been ashamed of it.
The complete destruction of the reactor killed 31 people, including 28 from radiation exposure, most of whom were firefighters working on the roof. A further 209 people on site were treated for acute radiation poisoning and 134 cases were confirmed (all of whom recovered). Since then, an increase in childhood thyroid cancer has been reported, although it is not certain that this is not due to increased surveillance. There has been no other increase in radiation-induced disease, congenital abnormalities, or adverse pregnancy outcomes.
If this had been an ordinary industrial accident, safety standards would have been improved, and that would have been the end of the story. For instance, who (apart from those directly affected) remembers the explosion at a fertilizer plant in Toulouse, France, in September 2001? It killed 30 people, injured more than 2000, and damaged or destroyed 3000 buildings.
No, the biggest tragedy of Chernobyl was that radioactivity was governed by preposterous safety regulations that forced the authorities to take extreme and damaging action against the very people they were trying to protect. Until very recently, radiological protection (and chemical regulations) depended on the linear no-threshold (LNT) theory. This says that, because high levels of exposure can cause death, there is no safe lower limit. If this sounds like a reasonable level of precaution, consider this: 750? F will cause fatal burns, while 75? F is a lovely summer's day. Vitamin A is an essential trace chemical in our diet but is toxic at high levels. The dose makes the poison, for chemicals and for radiation.
On the basis of this false assumption, nearly 400,000 people were forcibly evacuated from areas around Chernobyl where radiation was actually lower than the normal background levels in Cornwall and five times lower than at Grand Central Station in New York. To these poor unfortunates, there was damage done. Psycho-social effects among the evacuees are emerging as a major problem. Zbigniew Jaworowski, a medical adviser to the U.N. on the effects of radiation, estimates that nearly five million people in the former Soviet Union have been affected by severe psychological stress, leading to psychosomatic diseases. These include gastrointestinal and endocrinological disorders and are similar to those arising from those that accompany other major disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and fires. Perhaps saddest of all is that as many as 200,000 "wanted" pregnancies ended in abortion, in order to avoid non-existent radiation damage to the fetuses.
It may seem crass to talk about money in this context, but according to the UNDP and UNICEF, over $100 billion was spent just in the Ukraine on post-Chernobyl "public health" measures. Just imagine how much real good could have been done with that much money. Furthermore, Jaworowksi says that the cost to Belarus was about $86 billion. These are astonishing sums for relatively poor former Communist countries.
Apportioning blame between the media and the Supreme Soviet is a difficult task. But unfounded Western fears based on the LNT hypothesis undoubtedly encouraged the Soviet mass evacuation program. Yet that inaccurate LNT hypothesis still forms the basis of radiation thinking--and it's past time that was changed. Nuclear power has dangers, which are less in terms of actual deaths per unit energy produced than most other forms of energy generation. But as long as this exaggerated image of Chernobyl endures, people will continue to imagine the costs of nuclear energy to be far higher than they really are.
Roger Bate is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Iraq War Takes Toll on GIs' Mental Health
Friday, September 24, 2004
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos
WASHINGTON -- Early studies of the emotional ravages of the Iraq war on combat soldiers have spurred some veterans' health advocates to question whether Americans and the U.S. government are truly prepared for the devastating and far-reaching mental health effects of war.
"We are not prepared for the body count we are seeing, mental health or otherwise," said Sue Bailey, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs during the Clinton administration. "America's mood is not prepared for this."
"The [Veterans Administration] is not geared up and the [Department of Defense] is not geared up," said Rick Weidman, spokesman for Vietnam Veterans of America (search). "That's why some of us have been talking, and you are going to see a major front of veterans saying we need this fixed and we need this fixed now."
According to a study published July 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine (search), 15- 17 percent of combat soldiers surveyed upon their return from Iraq exhibited signs of anxiety, major depression or other mental health problems.
These numbers are significantly higher than in the Persian Gulf War (search), point out mental health and veterans experts. They attribute the lower numbers in 1991 to a shorter war -- 42 days -- and enemy engagement that came mostly from strategic air assaults, not urban warfare (search).
"Because of the nature of this war, there will be more people with mental problems than in the Persian Gulf War - it will be more like the Vietnam War (search)," said Lawrence J. Korb, former assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan and senior fellow for the Center for American Progress (search).
Government officials and some experts say that between the new mental health teams available to troops in Iraq, and a more proactive outreach to soldiers when they get home, the government is better prepared than ever.
"There have been real advances in having the capability to deal with things in real time, in combat," said Bailey.
"I can tell you we have been anticipating, or monitoring very closely, what we think the influx will be," said Alfonso Batres, chief officer for readjustment counseling services at the Veterans Administration (search). "What is different today is that we are really being proactive in trying to reach this group."
According to the NEJM study, during the war in Iraq, 95 percent of Marines and Army soldiers surveyed had been shot at, 56 percent had killed an enemy combatant and 94 percent had seen bodies and human remains.
"There are no clear enemy lines, non-stop pace, the war surrounds the soldier 360 degrees. The enemy can be man, woman or child. This is an extremely stressful situation," said Stephen Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center (search).
Robinson said men and women who in the past would have died in the field have survived thanks to advanced body armor, but in many cases the soldiers are living with severe, life-altering injuries or are watching their friends grapple with them. In other cases, many of the less injured are National Guard and Reservists who are being sent back to the theater two and three times.
According to the Pentagon figures on Monday, 1,032 men and women have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 7,245 have been wounded. Of those latter figures, more than half could not return to duty within 72 hours and many resulted in one or more amputations and head injuries due to roadside bombs and patrol ambushes, according to reports.
Several experts gathered in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14 to discuss what they call the "hidden toll" of the war -- men and women suffering from symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (search). Symptoms can range from chronic fatigue and confusion to violent mood swings and serious depression.
Though PTSD is as old as war itself - as recently as World War I it was called "shell shock" - veterans' advocates blame the government for not learning its lessons, particularly after Vietnam.
"When we start seeing homeless veterans on the streets, self-medicating, families starting to break up - the toll - you won't be able to hide that. It will be felt by families across America," said Robinson.
"The military and the Veterans Administration are there and ready to support the veterans coming home and we will continue to do so," said Dr. Thomas Burke, an Army colonel and head of mental health policy under the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
Batres added that the VA starts seeing soldiers when they are still convalescing in the military hospitals and even have former Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers conducting outreach services in new peer-to-peer counseling.
He said the VA has met with 10,262 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Of that number, 4,314 came to them through local VA centers, and of that number, 25 percent had symptoms of PTSD.
Kaye Baron, a clinical psychologist who has worked with about 75 returning Iraq veterans through her private practice outside of Ft. Carson Army Base in Colorado, said she fears a stigma is still attached to mental health care, and therefore, an unwillingness remains to make mental health services more accessible.
"I have some very significant concerns about us being prepared, or more importantly, being aware or honest as a society to acknowledge that these soldiers are going to have problems, whether they admit it or not," she said.
Baron and others said the NEJM report underestimates the numbers of soldiers affected by the war and the traumatic experiences they've been through. They also complain that despite claims otherwise, the military and VA are not effectively reaching out to soldiers. And without such efforts, most soldiers will not seek help, but will turn to other more destructive outlets.
"The military wants to deny that war hurts people and the society wants to deny that war hurts people," Weidman said.
Burke told that multiple levels of mental health services are available before, during and after a soldier is deployed overseas, which not only take into consideration the myriad war-related effects on a soldier, but the need to reach out to those who might be hesitant to seek help.
Thus, a new program that allows soldiers to seek help online and through a toll-free hotline number.
"We strongly encourage soldiers to take advantage of the resources available to them," said Burke, who called the NEJM study important, but "not surprising" given the level of combat exposure cited.
Baron said the report suggested that about 25 percent of returned soldiers were drinking excessively. "I know from walking and talking to people that more like 75 percent are indulging in excessive alcohol to self-medicate, to escape," she said.
Barbara Critchfield, a long-time counselor at Shoemaker High School, where nearly 80 percent of the student body has parents deployed overseas through nearby Fort Hood, Texas, said students have begun to talk about returning parents' behavior.
"Some talk about fathers, who all they want to do is drink and sleep -- we know there is PTSD," she said. "I don't know how far-reaching it is, they might be isolated incidents, I don't know."
She said community mental health services are scrambling to hire more personnel and do more. "I think no one was expecting it to be what it is," she said. and FOX News Radio

The Big Mahatma
From the October 4, 2004 issue: Laurence Tribe and the problem of borrowed scholarship
by Joseph Bottum
10/04/2004, Volume 010, Issue 04
SUPPOSE you were doing a little research into the history of Supreme Court nominations, and you learned from one book that Grover Cleveland "bested Benjamin Harrison by almost 100,000 votes in the election of 1888, but the vagaries of the electoral college caused him to lose the election" (p. 130).
And then, browsing through a later book on the topic, you read that Harrison is remembered for "losing the popular election in 1888 by 100,000 votes and still managing to take the Oval Office from incumbent President Grover Cleveland through the vagaries of the Electoral College" (p. 63).
Perhaps you'd think it merely a matter of curious--but not impossible--chance that both authors had used the same, memorable phrase: "vagaries of the Electoral College."
Suppose, however, more curiously, that further along in the newer book was the following description of the controversy surrounding Harry Truman's 1949 nomination of Sherman Minton to the High Court: "several Senators called on Minton to appear before the Judiciary Committee. Minton declined the 'invitation' and said that he would stand on his record as a Senator and a federal appellate judge" (p. 84).
Those ironic quotation marks around the word "invitation" might seem familiar. And, sure enough, there they are--and then some--in the earlier book, as well: "Republican Senators Homer Ferguson of Michigan and Forrest C. Donnell of Missouri requested that Judge Minton appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to respond to questions. He declined the 'invitation,' noting that he would stand on his record as a Judge and Senator" (p. 231).
By now, of course, your radar would be fully active, and you'd be scouring both books for telltale, otherwise inexplicable parallels. Like the phrase "Holmes mold," which appears in the later book as: "The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator George Norris, immediately made it clear to President Hoover that he and his fellow committee members, mostly Democrats and Progressive Republicans, would insist upon a liberal jurist in the Holmes mold" (p. 80).
In the earlier book, the same sentence can be found almost verbatim: "But almost at once the Chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, George W. Norris, made it plain to the President that he and his fellow committeemen, largely Democrats and Progressive Republicans, would insist on a judicial liberal in the Holmes mold" (p. 191).
It would no longer seem just a coincidence that both books refer to Truman's "buddies" benefitting from a "crony appointment" (p. 224 in the older book and p. 68 in the newer)--followed by "Truman . . . liked them; he liked their politics" in one, and "Harry liked his friends, and he liked their politics" in the other (p. 224 and p. 69).
Or that the earlier book recounts how "Others were rather more specific" when they "urged Hoover to nominate Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals"--since, after all, the later book recounts much the same thing, in much the same language: "Others were more specific" when they "urged Hoover to nominate Chief Judge Benjamin Cardozo of the New York Court of Appeals" in the newer (p. 191 and pp. 80-81).
And what if, finally, you were to discover an identical nineteen-word passage in both books: "Taft publicly pronounced Pitney to be a 'weak member' of the Court to whom he could 'not assign cases'"? (p. 164 and p. 83). The conclusion would then seem unavoidable: The later book is doing wholesale borrowing from the earlier.
Or, to make things rather more specific: In 1985, Harvard University's Laurence H. Tribe, the most famous and widely cited constitutional law professor in the United States, signed his name to a book called God Save This Honorable Court that now appears--how shall we say it?--perhaps "uncomfortably reliant" on a 1974 book called Justices and Presidents by the University of Virginia's Henry J. Abraham.
POOR HARVARD seems to be going through a spate of such incidents. A national news cycle was generated in 2002 when THE WEEKLY STANDARD broke the story that Doris Kearns Goodwin--a member of Harvard's Board of Overseers and a former professor of government at the school--had done some serious copying for her 1987 book, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, and then bought off one of the authors from whom she lifted her material.
Next, in a more complicated case, Harvard law school's Alan Dershowitz was accused of overusing a single secondary source for his 2003 book, The Case for Israel.
Finally, just a few weeks ago, on September 3, Charles J. Ogletree, Harvard's Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, admitted on the university's website that the assistants who'd actually prepared his new All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education lifted six consecutive paragraphs from a 2001 book by Yale's Jack M. Balkin.
ODDLY ENOUGH, Laurence Tribe plays a role in two of these stories. (And peripherally touches the third, if one counts the thanks he offers Dershowitz, his "friend and colleague," in the preface to God Save This Honorable Court.)
When the Goodwin incident prompted Harvard's undergraduate newspaper, the Crimson, to call for her scalp--"Goodwin's plagiarism of sentences, nearly verbatim, from source materials is inexcusable. . . . [S]he should recognize that her action is unbecoming an Overseer and resign her post immediately"--Tribe wrote a letter in the next issue expressing "great sadness" at how "mindlessly" the students' editorial had attacked her.
Goodwin "had not the slightest intention to deceive, to claim originality for thoughts that were unoriginal, or to appropriate another's deathless prose in hopes that she might be credited with a literary gift that belongs in truth to someone else," Tribe insisted. Oh, he admitted, she had "erred in following her own paraphrased handwritten notes without checking back in every last one of the 300 or so books she cited." But Goodwin's work was "documented with something like 3,500 footnotes," which according to Tribe proved both her commitment to scholarship and her "personal integrity."
Then, this year, Tribe initially appeared willing to excuse Charles Ogletree's plagiarism altogether, telling the Boston Globe: "It clearly represents the fact that because he so often says yes to the many people all over the country who ask for his help on all kinds of things, he has extended himself even farther than someone with all that energy can safely do."
Challenged about this apparent absolution, however, he later offered a rather different analysis. In an email posted on a blog about legal topics run by Lawrence R. Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, Tribe wrote, "What I told the Boston Globe about the way in which [Ogletree] has overextended himself was not intended to be a complete explanation or justification." And there is more to say, he allowed: "The larger problem"--the "problem of writers, political office-seekers, judges and other high government officials passing off the work of others as their own"--is "a phenomenon of some significance" and worth exploring.
THAT SEEMED a little rich for one reader of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, a law professor who suggested we take a look at Tribe's own God Save This Honorable Court if we wanted to explore the "problem of writers . . . passing off the work of others as their own."
And so we did, and the result is . . . well, what? It's awkward to name what Laurence Tribe has done in God Save This Honorable Court. In his letter to the Crimson about Doris Kearns Goodwin, Tribe proudly called himself a "scholar who values his own integrity and reputation for meticulous attribution as much as anyone could."
But even Goodwin's discredited book, by Tribe's own account, contained "something like 3,500 footnotes" citing "300 or so" other works; God Save This Honorable Court, by unflattering contrast, contains no footnotes at all--nor any other sort of "meticulous attribution." Instead, at the end of God Save This Honorable Court, we find a two-page "Mini-Guide to the Background Literature," which lists Henry Abraham's Justices and Presidents as merely the twelfth of fifteen books (including two of Tribe's own previous works) that "an interested reader might wish to consult."
And against even this tiny hint of Tribe's use--the only appearance of Abraham in the book--one must set Tribe's preface, which explains the lack of footnotes by claiming: "much of what this book contains represents the culmination of more years of research and reflection about the Supreme Court and its role than I care to confess. Thus I cannot hope to trace here all the roots of the ideas that appear in these chapters--or to allocate credit or blame among the many who share indirect responsibility for the thoughts I have expressed."
GOD SAVE THIS HONORABLE COURT appeared in 1985 from Random House, selling well and receiving generally laudatory notices--and when the Wall Street Journal ran a less-praising review, Tribe took issue in a letter to the editor. A reviewer in the Los Angeles Times, Dennis J. Mahoney (author of this year's Politics and Progress, an interesting history of the academic discipline of political science in America), seemed to hint at the reliance on Abraham's book, "from which Tribe apparently borrowed most of his examples," but at the time, no one took particular notice.
No one, that is, but Henry J. Abraham himself. Abraham's Justices and Presidents: A Political History of Appointments to the Supreme Court first appeared from Oxford University Press in 1974. A second edition followed in 1985, a third in 1992, and Rowman & Littlefield brought out a fourth edition in 1999, retitled Justices, Presidents, and Senators.
(In his "Mini-Guide," Tribe refers to Abraham's second edition, published in 1985, the same year as Tribe's book. Did Tribe have the second edition while he was actually writing God Save This Honorable Court? His preface is dated January 1985, which makes it at least questionable. Thus, all references here are to Abraham's 1974 first edition instead. For those with later editions, Abraham's discussions appear roughly ten pages later in the second edition and about forty pages earlier in the oversized paperback of Rowman & Littlefield's "new and revised" edition.)
CALLING HENRY ABRAHAM a venerable historian of the courts hardly does justice to his stature. Now retired as an emeritus professor of government at the University of Virginia, the eighty-three-year-old scholar is the author of such standard works as 1962's The Judicial Process: An Introductory Analysis of the Courts of the United States, England, and France, 1965's The Judiciary: The Supreme Court in the Governmental Process, and 1967's Freedom and the Court: Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States.
Gary McDowell--a professor of political science at the University of Richmond who was Abraham's research assistant from 1977 to 1979--is thanked along for his help with Justices and Presidents in the 1985 edition. But when I asked him about the phenomenon of professors like Charles Ogletree pushing their assistants to write their manuscripts, he pointed to the hundreds of endnotes in Justices and Presidents and said that research assistants "never wrote passages" for the author: "One of the things that distinguishes Henry Abraham is that he's always done his own work."
Colgate's Stanley Brubaker, another former assistant thanked in the preface, laughs and says, "There's not a word in that book that didn't come from Henry's pen."
Abraham himself understands the lure. "The temptation of busy people, big deals, to turn the material over to assistants is very strong," he told me when we spoke last week. But the "annoying" practice must be stopped, he said--partly because the assistants lack the judgment that the professor is supposed to have, but mostly because it's wrong: unscholarly and unprofessional.
Discussing the dependence of God Save This Honorable Court on Justices and Presidents, Abraham is less than forgiving. "I was aware of what Tribe was doing when I first read his book," he said. "But I chose not to do anything at the time. I've never confronted him--and I was wrong in not following it up. I should have done something about it." Tribe's work probably derived from "a combination of being lazy and making a little money. I'm sure his book sold better than mine," Abraham added. But "he's a big mahatma and thinks he can get away with this sort of thing."
INDEED, the now over sixty-year-old Tribe is the big mahatma of American law as well as the great legal champion of the Democratic party. He's argued thirty-six cases before the Supreme Court, an astonishing number, and they include such landmark cases as the 2000 Bush v. Gore. He just represented the losing side before the Florida Supreme Court in John Kerry's effort to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot. He's produced the bestselling textbook American Constitutional Law, now in its third edition. He's written such books as the 1985 Constitutional Choices and the 1991 Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes. In addition to holding his chair at the law school, Tribe was recently named one of Harvard's rare "University Professors," replacing Archibald Cox, who died this spring.
From providing the talking points with which Senator Edward Kennedy went after William Rehnquist when he was nominated to be chief justice in 1986 to being named counsel for the team on call should John Kerry need lawyers to represent him during a recount this year, Tribe has clearly been a dominant figure for some while.
He was the big mahatma back in 1985, for that matter. The preface to God Save This Honorable Court thanks the powerful Democratic campaign specialist Bob Shrum, "my good friend," for suggesting that the book be written, and praises the assistance given by future Democratic party legal talents such as Ronald Klain. (Interestingly, Klain, who would go on to work in the White House as Vice President Gore's chief of staff, was then only a first-year student at Harvard law.)
SO WHY WOULD Tribe bother producing such a book--and introduce his young assistants to this kind of academic practice?
Part of the answer was the public purpose the book served. Thoughtful observers in the early 1980s could see what Tribe labeled the "greying of the Court," as the sitting members grew old together and potential replacements could be caught in battles between Republican presidents and Democratic senators.
In 2001 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tribe himself described the 1985 God Save This Honorable Court as "defending an active role for the Senate in the appointment of Supreme Court Justices" and setting in place the argument that burst into public view two years later: "it wasn't until the 1987 resignation of Lewis Powell and the confirmation battle later that year over Robert Bork that the concrete stakes in this otherwise abstract controversy came to life for the great majority of the American public."
This judgment about the book seems nearly universal. "Tribe's arguments provided the intellectual blueprint for the anti-Bork forces," the New York Times explained in 1987. "And, as the hearings approached, he played the role of the nominee in mock question-and-answer sessions held in the living room of Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee."
"Klain spent most of his time with Tribe working on Tribe's book God Save This Honorable Court," the Legal Times added in 1993. "The book, which was published in 1985, became a kind of intellectual road map for Democrats as they worked to defeat Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination two years later. Many of Klain's friends and former colleagues say that he wrote large sections of the book, a claim that Tribe disputes."
BUT THERE SEEMS more to the production of Tribe's book than its public purpose. We enter here into what the novelist (and sometime WEEKLY STANDARD contributor) Thomas Mallon calls the "peculiar psychology" of famous people who want also to be authors.
Mallon has written, in addition to his novels, the 1989 Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism, declared "the definitive book on the subject" by the New York Times. And so I telephoned him to ask what he thought of the kind of systematic paraphrasing that God Save This Honorable Court uses.
But he seemed interestingly unwilling to subsume the practice entirely under the genus of plagiarism. Of Tribe's particular case, Mallon rightly said he didn't know the details. But even of the general form, he thought a distinction might need to be made in some cases. Still, Mallon concluded, "authors do not have a license to paraphrase forever." And pushed to decide, he offered this formulation as a good rule: "Constant paraphrasing without at least semi-regular attribution constitutes a form of plagiarism."
THE MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION'S Guidelines for Documentation proves a little sterner, condemning the practice as "plagiaphrasing" and likening it to the dishonesty of plagiarism: "Plagiarism (the unacknowledged borrowing of words or ideas) is a serious violation of academic honesty. So is 'plagiaphrasing': rewording a quote without putting the idea in your 'voice.'"
Mallon's gentler definition might conceivably let off Doris Kearns Goodwin. But not Tribe, whose noteless text provides nothing resembling "semi-regular attribution." So perhaps the MLA's ugly coinage "plagiaphrase" is the best term to describe what Tribe and his assistants did with God Save This Honorable Court.
The historical sections of the book typically consist of a long passage from Abraham crunched down by rephrasing and the elimination of detail--as one might expect when Abraham's 298 pages of material are made to provide the facts around which Tribe builds his own thesis in 143 pages of text. The repetition of "Taft publicly pronounced Pitney to be a 'weak member' of the Court to whom he could 'not assign cases'" (Tribe, p. 83; Abraham, p. 164) is straightforward copying. But more often, the reader will find the kind of plagiaphrasing that the MLA condemns.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, on page 64, Tribe writes: "Although he rose to the Presidency in 1908 as Teddy Roosevelt's handpicked prot?g?, Taft was far more conservative and much less decisive than his political mentor."
Abraham rendered it as: "Although he was elected to and embarked upon the Presidency as Roosevelt's handpicked prot?g?, William Howard Taft's conception of the office differed dramatically from his predecessor's in style as well as substance"--and then, after two hundred words of detail, adds: "Taft was far more conservative than T.R., cautious and at home with the G.O.P.'s conservative leadership" (pp. 154-155).
The repetition of "handpicked prot?g?" and "far more conservative" make the source clear. Tribe has simply eliminated the intervening detail and lightly rephrased (improving it, in fact, by correcting Abraham's dangling modifier).
In the next paragraph, Tribe continues: "Taft made a record six Supreme Court appointments in his single term in office. He put five new men on the Court and elevated Justice White to the position of Chief Justice. Although he was not as dogmatic in his conservatism as the late nineteenth-century Presidents, Taft was determined to avoid nominees of the liberal stamp of Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, or Benjamin Cardozo. Taft regarded these potential candidates as nothing less than 'destroyers of the Constitution'" (p. 65).
Abraham continues in his own next paragraph, "In his single term Taft appointed six Justices to the Court, including one Chief Justice--at the time more than any President since George Washington." And then, after perhaps seventy-five words of further detail, he concludes that Taft "wanted no 'liberals' of the stamp of Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, or Benjamin Cardozo, potential candidates whom he regarded as 'destroyers of the Constitution'" (p. 155).
THE RELIANCE rolls and rolls along. Abraham has it that Caleb Cushing was "unquestionably highly qualified and possessed of a superb mind" (p. 121). Tribe inverts the clauses to say that Cushing was "possessed of a fine mind and undoubtedly highly qualified" (p. 88).
Abraham writes, "Hoover continued to demur. . . . Now, however, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican William E. Borah of Idaho, whose support Hoover needed on other fronts, got into the act" (pp. 191-192). Tribe renders it: "When Hoover demurred, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator William Borah--whose support Hoover needed on other matters--paid a visit to the White House" (p. 81).
ONE OF THE BEST PLACES to spot this kind of systematic cribbing is in quotations. A perfect match in ellipses and stripping almost always means the author hasn't gone to look at the original source but is merely copying.
Thus, Tribe tells us that "One periodical characterized [Tom] Clark as a 'second-rate political hack who has known what backs to slap and when,' and sarcastically concluded that it was appropriate that 'the least able of Attorneys General of the United States should, as a result of raw political favoritism, become the least able of the members of the Supreme Court'" (p. 83).
Abraham identified the author and magazine--Harold Ickes in the New Republic--and says the article contended that "Truman was under no obligation whatsoever to this 'second-rate political hack who has known what backs to slap and when'; concluding that 'perhaps it was in keeping that the least able of Attorneys General of the United States should, as a result of raw political favoritism, become the least able of the members of the Supreme Court'" (p. 229).
Similarly, the repetition of mistakes in quotations is good proof of reliance. Abraham notes, "In Mr. Justice Cardozo's words: 'Marshall gave to the constitution of the United States the impress of his own mind'" (p. 75), while Tribe says, "As Justice Benjamin Cardozo wrote more than a century later, 'Marshall gave to the Constitution of the United States the impress of his own mind'" (p. 56).
But Abraham had it slightly wrong. In his 1921 Nature of the Judicial Process, Cardozo wrote, "He gave to the constitution the impress of his own mind." And once Abraham has mistakenly replaced the pronoun, Tribe followed along.
OCCASIONALLY, Tribe's plagiaphrasing leads him into difficulties. On page 83 in God Save This Honorable Court, he writes, "President Chester Arthur pioneered the merit system in national government appointments and authored the Civil Service Reform Act of 1883. But he had a relapse in 1882 and nominated his mentor and former boss, arch political spoilsman Roscoe Conkling, to the Court."
On pages 128 and 129 of Justices and Presidents, Abraham notes, "In 1881 on Garfield's death, Chester A. Arthur of New York came to the Presidency with almost everyone predicting doom and failure: his selection as Vice President had been steeped in political hacksmanship and spoilsmanship, nurtured by the nether Roscoe Conkling wing of New York's Republican party."
Abraham adds a long sentence of examples of Arthur's participation in corrupt politics, then continues, "Yet in what was one of the most dramatic character reversals in the country's history, President Arthur not only turned his back on his spoilsmen-cronies but authored the great Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883." After nearly a page of discussion about Arthur's good behavior as president, Justices and Presidents concludes, "But to the consternation of most observers, Arthur had a 'relapse' [in 1882] and offered the spot to his one-time political mentor and boss, Senator Roscoe Conkling."
Without Abraham's examples of bad behavior before and good behavior after, Tribe's noun "relapse" doesn't make much sense--unless you realize that it's actually Abraham's word and Tribe merely forgot to change it.
MEANWHILE, Abraham claims that under Cleveland and Harrison the Supreme Court became "a veritable bastion of economic laissez-faire" (p. 133), and Tribe has the Court become "the last bastion of laissez-faire capitalism" (p. 64).
Abraham explains that Harrison "was content to let the Republican party hierarchy dominate the affairs of state during his four years in office" as "an economic conservative" (p. 137), while Tribe thinks Harrison was "devoted to large business interests and willing to allow the party hierarchy to run his administration" (p. 63).
Abraham: "Before he was finally confirmed six weeks later by a vote of 46-9, Bradley came under heavy fire from Eastern 'hard money' interests who quite correctly regarded him as dedicated to a 'soft money' economic philosophy" (p. 119). Tribe: "Grant nominee Joseph Bradley's dedication to 'soft money' or greenbacks came under fire from Eastern 'hard currency' business interests before Bradley was confirmed in 1870" (p. 89).
Abraham: "Andrew Jackson's Democratic supporters in the Senate were not about to award the Supreme Court plum to a Clay Whig, and by a vote of 23:17 'postponed' the nomination in February 1[8]29, thus consigning it to oblivion" (p. 85). Tribe: "Crittenden's nomination, despite his alumnus status, was postponed--and thereby consigned to oblivion--in February of 1829, a few weeks before Andrew Jackson's inauguration" (p. 86).
Abraham: Cleveland was an "economic conservative of such intensity that Wilson had cause, if only half jokingly, to regard himself as the first President of the Democratic party since 1860" (p. 130). Tribe: Cleveland "was such a dogmatic economic conservative that President Wilson regarded himself as the first real Democrat to occupy the White House since 1860" (p. 63).
THE EXAMPLES go on and on, too numerous to count. Laurence Tribe is in some ways a better writer than Henry J. Abraham. God Save This Honorable Court snaps along as popular prose in a way that Justices and Presidents doesn't--which is why the mainstream Random House published Tribe and the scholarly arm of Oxford University Press published Abraham. But how exactly does that give the popularizing Tribe and his assistants the right to plunder a scholar like Abraham?
In fact, it's worse than the typical example of a popularizing author's reliance on other people's scholarship, for Laurence Tribe is supposed to be a scholar himself. A phone call to Tribe's Harvard office has not yet been returned. But his credentials are well known. He's the Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law and a University Professor at Harvard. If these aren't scholars' posts, what are? He's written over a hundred books and articles, according to a blurb on the Harvard website, and "helped draft the Constitutions for South Africa, Russia, the Czech Republic, and the Marshall Islands." His American Constitutional Law is "the legal text most frequently cited in the second half of the 20th century," Harvard declares--and quotes the Northwestern Law Review, which gushed: "Never before in American history has an individual simultaneously achieved Tribe's preeminence both as a practitioner and as a scholar of constitutional law."
IN OTHER WORDS, he didn't have to do this. He is a self-described "scholar who values his own integrity and reputation for meticulous attribution as much as anyone could." But the historians Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin did much the same thing and were pilloried mercilessly.
So what shall we say of Laurence H. Tribe when he does it--without the footnotes that he so condescendingly told the Harvard undergraduates exonerated Goodwin? If she deserves excuse because she "had not the slightest intention to deceive, to claim originality for thoughts that were unoriginal, or to appropriate another's deathless prose in hopes that she might be credited with a literary gift that belongs in truth to someone else," what excuse is deserved by Professor Tribe?
Perhaps the explanation for the whole thing is simply vanity, Tom Mallon's "peculiar psychology" by which the famous need constant reaffirmation of their fame. Or perhaps it's merely what Henry J. Abraham supposes: "He's a big mahatma and thinks he can get away with this sort of thing."
See Sidebars
Joseph Bottum is Books & Arts editor of The Weekly Standard.
? Copyright 2004, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Posted by maximpost at 2:16 AM EDT
Tuesday, 21 September 2004


Iraq's Electoral System - A Misguided Strategy
By Michael Rubin
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2004
Arab Reform Bulletin
Publication Date: September 1, 2004
With the conclusion of the Iraqi National Conference last month, the next milestone for Iraqi democracy will be the January 2005 elections for a 275-member Parliament. Already, the electoral system chosen for Iraq could dampen the prospects for a representative and democratic vote. On June 15, 2004, in response to a recommendation by Carina Perelli, director of the UN's Electoral Assistance Division, Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer decreed that Iraq would be a single electoral constituency, with seats allocated through proportional representation (PR) based on national lists. Perelli's decision to avoid multiple districts was colored by technical considerations. Treating all of Iraq as one district bypasses questions of internal boundaries and simplifies ballots. The entire nation would need only one ballot, rather than separate ones in each district.
Such a system is bad for Iraq. Voting is only one aspect of democracy; another is accountability. Under a PR system, parliamentarians are not tied to a specific district, but rather to a party list. Instead of being responsible to a town's voters, representatives will be loyal to party leaders. The pitfalls of such a system have led Poles to seek a constitutional amendment to replace PR with districts. While more than ninety countries use some form of PR, its application to single national districts is seldom without complication. Many Israelis complain that single-district PR allows radical small parties to hold their political system hostage. In Germany's Weimar Republic, single-district PR helped bring the Nazis to power.
In Iraq, PR will breed radicalism. It is easier to forbid women from taking certain jobs, for example, if a politician need not answer to women in his district. If elections are based on 275 different districts, then each district would have only 87,000 people. Representatives would be closer to the people. Districts already exist, although Iraqis are keen to reverse Baathist gerrymandering. Even in disputed areas like Kirkuk, Iraqis say they can reach consensus to put Kurdish, Arab, and Turkoman neighborhoods into different districts.
Failure to base elections on districts may mean that some areas have no representation. This could breed violence. Residents of Basra and Mosul accepted the former Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), for example, because IGC members hailed from their towns. Since Fallujah and Sadr City had no such political outlet, they more quickly turned to violence. Under the UN plan, if local candidates are not listed high enough on the party slate, whole towns may have no representation. Iraqis recognize the importance of geographical representation. It was geography, not personality, that led the Iraqi Governing Council to recommend Ghazi Al Yawar, a tribal leader from Mosul, over Adnan Pachachi, a former foreign minister, as its president. Any political body that did not include Iraq's second largest city had little chance of success.
While Perelli has said that a single national district would allow geographically "broken" communities to vote together, it is simplistic to assume that all religious or ethnic groups want to vote as a bloc. Such a system sets Iraq down the slippery slope toward Lebanese-style communalism. Multiple districts would still represent Iraq's diversity. Fallujah would elect Sunnis, and Najaf, Shiites. The real difference would be in protection of religious minorities. With local districts, Chaldeans would win seats in Al Qosh and Yezidis in Sinjar even if they chose not to run on a religious platform. Under a national district system, the risk of disenfranchisement would be greater. Because religious minorities divide themselves politically, they may not gain enough votes nationally.
The UN plan will also invite corruption. It is easier for outsiders to buy a party list than to channel money to 275 different candidates. When constituents know their candidates, it is harder to hide outside money.
Some specialists have argued for replicating in Iraq of what worked in Cambodia, East Timor, and Nigeria. But it is a mistake to treat Iraq as analogous. Iraqi history suggests that a system privileging party lists over independent candidates will be counterproductive. Older Iraqis blame political parties for inciting riots in the 1950s and 1960s. The younger generation associates organized politics with the abusive Baath Party. In Iraqi Kurdistan, many students say that corruption revolves around the party structure. Some polls suggest that only 3 percent of Iraqis have faith in parties. While the UN plan allows independents to run in theory, Iraqis saw how party machination and backroom deals marginalized independents at the Iraqi National Conference.
The Iraqi election commission--and not outsiders--should decide Iraq's election system. The UN choice is not the only option. After all, countries like Australia and Jordan combine multiple districts with proportional representation and bring representatives closer to the people. There is still time to listen to Iraqis.
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and editor of The Middle East Quarterly, spent seventeen months in Iraq between 2000 and 2004.
Source Notes: This article appeared in the September 2004 issue of the Arab Reform Bulletin
AEI Print Index No. 17318


Teach Iraq to Fish
Learning to cooperate is the key to reconstruction.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT
John Kerry has decided to make Iraq a major focus of his campaign, and today President Bush will speak to the United Nations on Iraq and the larger war on terror. But don't expect to hear too much detail on what Iraq needs until after the election. That's because one thing essential for Iraq's progress is something that doesn't fit into a sound bite very well: for its people to see the benefits of mutual cooperation. To this end Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, dropped by The Wall Street Journal's offices recently and told us about one example that has played out with disastrous results in Iraq.
During Saddam Hussein's reign, not surprisingly, Baghdad and its No. 1 resident had priority when it came to basic services. Baghdad has no power generators to speak of, so generators in outlying cities had to feed the capital, often at the expense of their local residents.
After Saddam fell, many power engineers and local politicians apparently decided they'd opt out of the national power grid. Gen. Strock thinks that more than a few attacks on power lines have been deliberate attempts to isolate cities that generate their own power from the rest of the country; residents there no longer want to send power off to Baghdad while the lights in their own homes flicker and go out.
Like the blackout that struck the American Northeast and Midwest last year, unplugging a city from the national grid results in systemwide power failures. It doesn't matter that the total amount of electric power in Iraq is now exceeding prewar levels, or that it is much more equitably distributed. Thus electricity is a metaphor for the larger problem of Iraqi reconstruction: If Iraqis don't come to believe that working together is in their own self interest, then the country may indeed plunge into chaos.
It is in this light that we should assess "Progress or Peril? Measuring Iraq's Reconstruction," a largely critical recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The study did not address the question of mutual cooperation directly, but an underlying theme is that Americans cannot simply "rebuild" Iraq and instead must make it possible for Iraqis to come together to solve their own problems. Instead of thinking and defining success in terms of "nation building," the study recommends thinking in terms of "nation jumpstarting"--getting Iraq to the point where enough people have the skills necessary to crank up functional economic, social and political institutions.
The study, based partly on interviews with hundreds of Iraqis, finds five areas in which progress is critical: security, participation in government, economic opportunity, services (electricity, sewage, etc.) and "social well-being" (access to education, healthcare etc.). "Iraqi optimism and patience have somehow endured," the study found, but they "must be harnessed because they could easily be fleeting, particularly if the Iraqi government is no more successful than the CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] was in righting the course in Iraq."
American forces can build schools, hospitals, sewage-treatment plants and power stations, but ultimately Iraqis must run them. Iraqis need jobs, and they need elections if they are going to feel they have a stake in their country's progress. Security is the most obvious area where international help is needed, but even here there must be more than just an "Iraqi face" put on the effort. The study finds that what Iraqis want is for their own security forces "to play a leading role" and that American officials underestimated the amount of nationalism in the country. An American-led coalition removed Saddam, but Iraqis want Iraqis to come together to defeat the insurgents.
None of this will come as a disappointment to American soldiers on the ground. The Corps of Engineers hires local contractors to complete many of its projects, and often there are only a few American engineers on the ground, with additional expertise available via satellite conferencing. Indeed, Gen. Strock relayed a story of importing equipment to rebuild and run a power-generating turbine in Iraq and then leaving it there for the now trained Iraqi workers to use in rebuilding another turbine nearby--proving there is power in giving Iraqis the tools they need instead of doing everything for them.
Mr. Miniter is assistant editor of His column appears Tuesdays.


Flash flood of guns left Iraqis armed and dangerous
Monday, September 13, 2004
LONDON -- The Small Arms Survey said millions of firearms pillaged from the military and security forces of the Saddam Hussein regime have flooded Iraq over the last year.
The survey said the collapse of the Saddam regime precipitated one of the largest and fastest transfers of light weapons ever recorded.
The survey said at least one in every three Iraqis possesses a firearm. In all, about eight million firearms are in the hands of Iraqis, with the actual number believed to be considerably higher, Middle East Newsline reported.
Another threat raised by the survey comes from what the institute termed the proliferation of man-portable surface-to-air missile launchers.
Insurgency groups have used such weapons in efforts to knock out airliners, such as the firing of an SA-7 missile toward an Israeli passenger jet over Mombasa, Kenya in December 2002.
"Iraq now poses a regional proliferation risk," Keith Krause, the survey's program director said. "That's going to be with us for years to come," Krause said. "The consequences of the great Iraqi small arms abandonment may endanger stability in much of the Middle East for years to come," the survey said.
The annual survey, coordinated at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and financed by Western governments, said the pool of such weapons could fuel instability throughout the Middle East.
The survey cited the dramatic rise of shooting deaths in Baghdad in 2003.
Finland, however, has the highest ratio of firearms per person.
"We do not know what proportion of these weapons are military style."
Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.


The Volcker Oil-for-Food Commission: Is It Credible?
by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips
WebMemo #569
September 20, 2004
It has been almost six months since United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the appointment of the U.N.'s commission of inquiry, headed by Paul Volcker, into the Oil-for-Food scandal.[1] So far, few details have emerged regarding the Commission's modus operandi, its staff, or its overall effectiveness. The Commission's operations are shrouded in secrecy, with little transparency or external oversight. For a commission designed to unearth corruption and malpractice on a huge scale, it is strikingly opaque. Its spartan official website contains little information of value, not even a mailing address.[2]
The Volcker Commission is likely to issue its report in a year's time (though no firm deadline has been set). Its investigation could cost $30 million in all.[3] The Commission bears all the hallmarks of a toothless paper tiger, with no subpoena power, and is clearly open to U.N. manipulation. It bears no enforcement authority (such as contempt) to compel compliance with its requests for information and has no authority to discipline or punish any wrongdoing it discovers.[4]
Who Is Staffing the Commission?
The "Independent Inquiry Committee into the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program," as it is officially termed, is top-heavy with distinguished luminaries but short on detail regarding its actual workforce.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker heads a three-person committee, which includes South African judge Richard Goldstone and Mark Pieth, a professor from the University of Basel in Switzerland. So far, the names of ten senior staff have been released, including Reid Morden, former Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and Swiss magistrate Laurent Kasper-Ansermet.[5]
However, no details have thus far been released regarding the remaining staff (currently around 40 in number, and likely to rise further) that will actually be doing the investigating and handling the huge volumes of documents. The key questions remain: How many U.N. staff and former staff are involved with the Commission? What assurances are there that U.N. officials implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal will not interfere with or unduly influence this supposedly independent investigation? A truly independent inquiry into U.N. corruption should not be staffed by U.N. employees, former U.N. employees, or those with any significant ties to the U.N.
It is therefore surprising to discover that the official spokesman for the Commission, Anna Di Lellio, is a former United Nations official. Moreover, Ms. Di Lellio, who is Director of Communications for Paul Volcker, has publicly expressed contempt for the U.S. president. In an interview with the London newspaper The Guardian on the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Ms. Di Lellio launched into a vicious tirade against the U.S. and Italian governments, implicitly comparing President George W. Bush and key U.S. ally Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to Osama bin Laden:
What I do feel is a sense of powerlessness against the changes which are potentially lethal for our civilization. But I see the major threats coming from ourselves, rather than the east. I find deeply unsettling both the ascendance of George Bush and his puppeteers to the U.S. government, and the mix of self-serving hypocrisy and incompetence prevailing in European governments.
I don't like it that the two nations whose citizenship I hold, Italy and the U.S., have leased their institutions to a couple of families. With defenders like W and Berlusconi, largely unchecked by a sycophantic media, who needs Bin Laden to destroy culture, personal freedom, respect for other human beings, integrity, and the rule of law--all the things that make our lives worthwhile?[6]
Such extreme opinions do not sit well with the Volcker Commission's claim to impartiality and will impede the establishment of a constructive relationship between the Commission, the U.S. Congress, and the executive branch of the United States.
Anna Di Lellio's appointment brings into question the judgment of the Volcker Commission in hiring its staff. It casts a shadow of doubt over the Commission's ability to provide what Mr. Volcker refers to as "the truly definitive report on the administration of the Oil-for-Food program." Di Lellio's appointment raises serious questions regarding the role of current and former U.N. officials in an inquiry that is purported to be completely free of influence from the U.N. It also strongly suggests that the U.N. is, in effect, controlling the message being communicated by the Volcker Commission to the world media.
Volcker's Refusal to Cooperate with Congressional and Federal Investigations
In meetings on Capitol Hill on July 13, Paul Volcker "rejected requests from members of Congress for access to review documents and to interview United Nations officials being scrutinized by his panel," reports the New York Times.[7] Congressional sources have confirmed that the Volcker Commission refuses to grant access to internal reports on the Oil-for-Food program produced by the U.N.'s Office of Internal Oversight Services and is unwilling to share documentation that it holds in Baghdad. It also refuses to guarantee that it will release documents relating to the Oil-for-Food program even after it has filed its final report. This hostile approach seriously undermines the credibility of the Independent Inquiry Committee.
Four congressional entities are investigating the U.N.'s administration of the Oil-for-Food program: the Senate Subcommittee on Government Affairs (chaired by Sen. Norm Coleman), the House Subcommittee on Government Reform (chaired by Rep. Christopher Shays), the House International Relations Committee (chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde), and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (chaired by Rep. Joe Barton). In addition, there are three federal investigations underway: by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Treasury.[8] The Volcker Commission has so far refused to cooperate significantly with any of these investigations.
What Congress Should Demand
Congress has a vital role to play in forcing the Volcker Commission to operate in an open, transparent manner. Moreover, it is likely that Congressional and federal investigations will be far more effective ultimately than the U.N.'s own commission of inquiry. Congressional leaders and the Bush Administration should demand:
Full access to all U.N. documents relating to Oil for Food.
There should be no monopoly over documentation held by the U.N. The U.N. should also provide a full list of documents currently in its possession that relate to Oil for Food.
Freedom to interview U.N. officials implicated in the scandal.
Federal and Congressional investigators should be able to question U.N. officials under investigation by the Volcker Commission.
A complete list of names of all staff working on the Volcker Commission.
The Volcker Commission should be completely independent of the U.N., and there should be no conflicts of interest involving its staff.
External oversight of the workings of the Volcker Commission.
The Commission should be open to public scrutiny and should include third-party representatives seconded from bodies such as the FBI and Interpol.
Monthly progress reports from the Volcker Commission to Security Council members.
All members of the U.N. Security Council should be furnished with regular updates on the investigation.
A firm date for publication of the Volcker Report.
The final date of publication must not be open to political manipulation by the U.N. in an attempt to limit potential damage.
The Volcker Commission's refusal to share documentation with congressional investigators demonstrates not only breathtaking arrogance but also complete disrespect for Congress and the American public that helps fund the Commission through the United Nations. If it is to be treated seriously and respected as something other than an elaborate but costly whitewash exercise, the Commission will need to implement major changes, both in its operations and in its approach. Above all, transparency and accountability will be needed if the Independent Commission is to avoid becoming yet another example of mutual back scratching at the U.N.
Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., is Fellow in Anglo-American Security Policy, and James A. Phillips is Research Fellow in Middle Eastern Affairs, at The Heritage Foundation.
[1] For background on the Oil for Food issue, see Nile Gardiner Ph.D., James A. Phillips, and James Dean, "The Oil for Food Scandal: Next Steps for Congress," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder no. 1772, June 30, 2004, at
[3] Susan Sachs and Judith Miller, "Under Eye of UN, Billions for Hussein in Oil for Food Plan," The New York Times, August 13, 2004.
[4] The authors are grateful to Paul Rosenzweig, Senior Legal Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, for his observations on the legal powers of the Commission.
[5] Paul A. Volcker, "A Road Map for our Inquiry," The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2004.
[6] The Guardian, "Interview with Anna Di Lellio," September 11, 2002, at
[7] Judith Miller, "UN and Congress in Dispute Over Iraq Oil for Food Inquiries," The New York Times, July 28, 2004.
[8] For further detail, see Thomas Caton, "Investigators Crawl Over Iraq's Oil Billions," Financial Times, July 6, 2004.
? 1995 - 2004 The Heritage Foundation
All Rights Reserved.


The Oil-for-Food Scandal: Next Steps for Congress
by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., James Phillips, and James Dean
Backgrounder #1772
June 30, 2004
The Oil-for-Food fraud is potentially the biggest scandal in the history of the United Nations and one of the greatest financial scandals of modern times.1 Set up in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the U.N.-run Oil-for-Food program was subverted and manipulated by Saddam Hussein's regime--allegedly with the complicity of U.N. officials--to help prop up the Iraqi dictator.
Saddam's dictatorship was able to siphon off an estimated $10 billion from the 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.
Members of the U.N. staff that administered the program have been accused of gross incompetence, mismanagement, and possible complicity with the Iraqi regime. Benon Sevan, former executive director of the Oil-for-Food program, appeared on an Iraqi Oil Ministry list of 270 individuals, political entities, and companies from across the world that allegedly received oil vouchers as bribes from Saddam Hussein's regime.2
The U.S. General Accounting Office 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."3
Under intense pressure from Congress, the United Nations established its own "independent" commission of inquiry into the U.N.'s handling of the Oil-for-Food program, headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, South African judge Richard Goldstone, and Swiss lawyer Mark Pieth. The U.N. inquiry bears all the hallmarks of an elaborate paper tiger. The commission lacks subpoena power and cannot force the cooperation of U.N. member states. It has also been dogged by allegations of interference by U.N. officials, and serious doubts exist as to whether the inquiry will deliver substantial results.
The Role of Congress
Congress is playing a vital role in ensuring that the Oil-for-Food fraud is thoroughly investigated and that U.N. officials who are guilty of criminal behavior or illicit profiteering are brought to justice. The U.N. decision to set up a commission of inquiry is a direct result of pressure from Congress.
Secretary General Kofi Annan has made some incidental concessions in response to moves by Congress but has yet to demonstrate a full commitment to get to the bottom of the issue. Congress should therefore maintain pressure to:
Strengthen the position of Paul Volcker and his commission of inquiry.
Ensure that the Iraqi interim government and congressional investigators are able to conduct an effective and exhaustive investigation into Oil-for-Food documents in Baghdad.
Push the Bush Administration to ensure that the Oil-for-Food scandal is thoroughly investigated.
Keep the international spotlight on Oil for Food, encouraging foreign governments to launch their own investigations into misdeeds that may involve their nationals.
Increase the likelihood of serious reform at the U.N., including significant safeguards to prevent repetition of its failures.
Limit the role of the United Nations in shaping the future of Iraq.
Withhold U.S. Funds from the U.N.
The Oil-for-Food fraud has become an issue of well-founded, serious concern on Capitol Hill. Three congressional committees--the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House International Relations Committee, and the House Subcommittee on National Security--have already held hearings into the Oil-for-Food scandal.
The most effective way to ensure that the United Nations fully cooperates with its own commission of inquiry, and with investigators in Washington and Baghdad, is to threaten to reduce U.S. funding for the U.N., specifically the United States' assessed contribution. In particular, the U.S. should target funds going to the U.N. Secretariat, the political arm of the U.N. system, that had responsibility for overseeing the Oil-for-Food program.
Congress should threaten to withhold a portion of U.S. funds for the U.N. unless it is completely satisfied that the U.N. is fully cooperating with the various Oil-for-Food inquiries and is undertaking effective measures to reform itself. Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have introduced bills (S. 2389 and H.R. 4284, respectively) that would move in the right direction and enjoy bipartisan support.4
Adoption of Senate Amendment 3440 (sponsored by Senator Ensign) to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2005 (S. 2400) was another important step. Specifically, Amendment 3440:
Requires key departments within the Administration to take steps to ensure that all documents needed to conduct investigations are collected and safely secured;
Requires the Department of Defense to secure documents in the hands of the (now-dissolved) Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA);
Requires heads of U.S. executive agencies to provide prompt access to documents and information to congressional committees with relevant jurisdiction;
Directs the Secretary of State to use American power at the U.N. to provide the U.S. with audits and vital documents related to the Oil-for-Food program; and
Requires the Comptroller General to review U.S. oversight of the Oil-for-Food program and underscores that the Comptroller General should have full and complete access to U.N. documents and financial data.
Senate Amendment 3440 was adopted unanimously following bipartisan consultations and modifications. It is critical that the conference committee, which will reconcile the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, include it in the conference report that will come back to the House and Senate for final approval.
Senator Ensign, Representative Flake, and the other Members of Congress who have contributed to the effort to get to the bottom of the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal should be commended for their efforts to date and encouraged to continue to apply pressure on both the U.N. and the Administration.
In light of the congressional hearings that have already been held concerning Oil for Food, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee should report the bills for debate and action by the full Senate and House. In addition, similar language should be included in the Senate and House annual appropriations legislation that provides funding for the United Nations.
Oil for Food and the U.N. Role in Iraq
The U.N.'s dismal and allegedly corrupt handling of the Oil-for-Food program should lay to rest any notion that the organization can be entrusted with shaping the future of the Iraqi people. Many Iraqis regard the U.N. with suspicion and as lacking both legitimacy and credibility. Iraqis have bitter memories of Secretary General Annan's February 1998 statement to reporters: "Can I trust Saddam Hussein? I think I can do business with him."
The Bush Administration's decision to give the U.N. a key role in picking the Iraqi interim government should not be a precedent for the post-June 28 era. While agreeing to a technical role for the U.N. in assisting the electoral process in Iraq, the United States should oppose a major administrative or military role for the U.N. in the country. The U.N. should not be given any say over U.S. military operations in Iraq, nor should it be allowed to turn Iraq into a glorified U.N. protectorate on the model of Kosovo.
Further Areas for Congressional Investigation
There are several key areas that Congress should investigate:
The lack of power given to the Volcker Commission of Inquiry,
Leaked U.N. documents and Kofi Annan's role,
The Benon Sevan letters,
The role of the Coalition Provisional Authority,
Security Council debates over the removal of Saddam Hussein,
Oil for Food and terrorism, and
United Nations reform.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry
The U.N. commission of inquiry is already underway, although it is not required to report by a set deadline. There are serious doubts emerging as to whether the commission can do its job effectively. It is operating amid a cloud of secrecy and confusion.
Congress should be seriously concerned about the commission's lack of subpoena power. In addition, it is unclear whether the U.N. is setting aside sufficient funds for the investigation and who will be staffing it. The commission's independence is also in doubt because of questions about whether it will be open to interference from the U.N. Secretariat and Secretary General Annan. Finally, the lack of transparency in the commission's operation is disturbing.
Leaked U.N. Documents and Kofi Annan's Role
Evidence was recently leaked that the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services conducted a detailed audit of the U.N.'s administration of the Oil-for-Food program in 2003, before the liberation of Iraq.5 The report was damning in its conclusions and highly critical of the U.N.'s dealings with the Swiss company Cotecna Inspection SA, which had won a $4.8 million contract to oversee the operations of the Oil-for-Food program. Kofi Annan's son Kojo worked for the company in the mid-1990s and was a consultant to the company until shortly before it won the Oil-for-Food contract. Bizarrely, Cotecna was awarded another contract, worth $9.8 million, almost immediately after the report's publication.
The leaked report is reportedly just one of 55 internal U.N. audits of the Oil-for-Food program. Its existence suggests that Secretary General Annan would have known about the rampant structural problems within the program's administration. At the very least, the leaked report indirectly suggests gross negligence on the part of the U.N.'s top official.
Congress should demand the immediate release of all 55 internal reports and should investigate the extent to which Secretary General Annan deliberately ignored their findings. Congress should also investigate whether Annan's decision to hire Cotecna was influenced by his son's affiliation with the company.
The Benon Sevan Letters
There is also some evidence that Benon Sevan, the former director of the Oil-for-Food program, interfered with congressional investigations. Specifically, Sevan wrote letters on official U.N. stationery warning some of the companies implicated in the scandal that they must first seek U.N. approval before releasing documents to investigators.6
Congress should both demand a full accounting from the U.N. Secretariat of the Sevan letters and express its concern that Sevan may be seeking to block efforts by Congress to establish the truth.
The Former Coalition Provisional Authority
The recently dissolved Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) appointed its own investigation into the U.N.'s handling of the Oil-for-Food program, headed by Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a highly respected British businessman and political adviser, and the leading international accounting firm KPMG. However, the CPA refused to fund the IGC investigation and launched its own inquiry, using the Ernst & Young accounting firm. As a result, the Oil-for-Food investigations in Baghdad are in a state of confusion, wasting precious time and resources, and there are growing concerns that vital documents may be lost or destroyed.7
On his return to Washington, Congress should ask former Ambassador Paul Bremer to clarify his actions in impeding Oil-for-Food investigations in Baghdad. Specifically, Congress should ask why the CPA refused to fund the IGC investigation and then launched its own investigation. The resulting confusion may seriously harm efforts in Iraq to establish the truth regarding Saddam Hussein's abuse of the Oil-for-Food program.
Congressional investigators should also examine whether the United Nations or Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. envoy to Iraq, have unduly influenced the Oil-for-Food investigations in Baghdad.
Security Council Debates over the Removal of Saddam Hussein
The heated U.N. Security Council debates before the U.S.-led war to liberate Iraq cannot remain separated from the Oil-for-Food program and the fact that influential politicians, major companies, and political parties from key Security Council member countries may have benefited financially from the program.
The Al Mada list of 270 individuals, political entities, and businesses across the world that allegedly received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein's regime included no fewer than 46 Russian and 11 French names. The Russian government alone allegedly received an astonishing $1.36 billion in oil vouchers.
The list of Russian entities accused of accepting bribes from Saddam goes to the heart of the Russian financial and political establishment and includes the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian Communist Party, Lukoil, Yukos, Gasprom, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the chief of the President's Bureau. The list of French names includes former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua.
The close ties between Russian and French 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 triangular working relationships among Paris, Moscow, 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.8
Without a shred of evidence, European and domestic critics have frequently derided the Bush Administration's decision to go to war in Iraq as an "oil grab" driven by U.S. corporations such as Halliburton. They ignore the reality that the leading opponents of war at the U.N. Security Council--Russia and France--had vast oil interests in Iraq, protected by the Saddam Hussein regime. The Oil-for-Food program and its elaborate system of kickbacks and bribery was also a major source of revenue for many European politicians and business concerns, especially in Moscow.
Congressional hearings on the financial, political, and military links among Moscow, Paris, and Baghdad will help to shed light on the tempestuous Security Council debates that preceded the war with Iraq and on the motives of key Security Council members in opposing regime change in Baghdad. The full disclosure of the Russian and French roles in trying to prevent Saddam Hussein's removal from power will have major implications for the future of U.S.-Russian and U.S.-French relations and should result in a more informed assessment of the long-term viability of political, intelligence, and military cooperation with the two countries.
Hearings would also shed light on the extent of strategic cooperation between Paris and Moscow in the Security Council and the long-term threat that the emergence of a Franco-Russian-German axis at the United Nations could pose to U.S. interests.
Oil for Food and Terrorism
In addition to propping up Saddam's regime and buying influence abroad, some Oil-for-Food revenues may have been diverted to funding terrorism. At least two shadowy entities--Asat Trust and al-Taqwa, which have been linked to al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other Islamic extremist organizations--profited from the Oil-for-Food program.9 Asat Trust, a firm that the U.S. and the U.N. later designated as a financial collaborator of al-Qaeda, was the legal representative of the Galp International Trading Establishment, a Liechtenstein-based subsidiary of Portugal's major oil company and one of Iraq's trading partners under the Oil-for-Food program after 1997.
Al-Taqwa (awe of God) was a group of financial institutions set up in the 1980s by prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti-Western Islamic organization founded in Egypt in 1928. According to a White House press release, al-Taqwa and its affiliates "raise, manage, invest, and distribute funds for al-Qaeda; provide terrorist supporters with internet service and secure telephone communications; and arrange for the shipment of weapons."10 A former FBI counterterrorism specialist also charges that al-Taqwa was used by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and several North African terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.11 According to a senior government official, "Al-Taqwa was the recipient of illicit funds from Iraq's Oil for Food program," and the money flowed "through al-Taqwa to al-Qaeda."12
Another reported recipient of Oil-for-Food largesse was Delta Services, a now-defunct subsidiary of Delta Oil, a Saudi oil company that had close relations with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Delta Oil was one of the prime movers pushing for the building of a pipeline from oil-rich Central Asia across Afghanistan to Pakistan. This scheme collapsed after al-Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa in August 1998, provoking an American cruise missile strike on al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.
Another target of retaliation for the embassy bombings was the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. Osama Bin Laden was suspected of owning at least part of the plant, although this has never been proven. However, according to Clinton Administration officials, the plant manager lived in a villa owned by bin Laden, and U.S. intelligence intercepted phone calls from the plant to the Iraqi official who ran Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program. Before being destroyed, the Al Shifa plant also received a contract for $199,000 under the Oil-for-Food program.13
Although much remains unknown about the precise flow of money from the Oil-for-Food program, there is a disturbing pattern emerging that connects the U.N.-administered program to a number of entities that are known to support or are suspected of supporting terrorism.
United Nations Reform
A congressional investigation into the Oil-for-Food scandal should seek fundamental and lasting reform of the United Nations. No other issue has as much power to shape the future of the United Nations in such a positive way. The Oil-for-Food investigations should not be interpreted as a campaign to damage the reputation of the U.N., but as a concerted effort to ensure that the U.N. is made more accountable, transparent, and effective.
The Oil-for-Food scandal reinforces the need for the Security Council to impose a code of conduct on U.N. employees. The pervasive "anything goes" approach at the U.N. is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. A thorough external audit of the U.N. is needed. The U.N. must provide accountability, transparency, and value for money to the U.S. taxpayer.14
What the U.S. Should Do
To respond effectively to this growing scandal, the U.S. can and should pursue several courses of action. Specifically:
Conference Committee Action. The conference committee for the National Defense Authorization Act should ensure that the Ensign Amendment is included in the committee's conference report.
Volcker Commission of Inquiry. The Bush Administration and Congress should press the U.N. Security Council to give real teeth to its own commission of inquiry. As it currently stands, the Volcker commission lacks real power and credibility. The Bush Administration should press for a Security Council-appointed investigation, with subpoena power and a team of special investigators drawn from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, and international bodies such as Interpol. The investigation should be completely independent of the United Nations and staffed with non-U.N. employees. Congress should continue to pressure the United Nations to cooperate fully with investigators in New York, Washington, and Baghdad and should call for Paul Volcker to give a firm date for the release of his report into Oil for Food.
Further Congressional Hearings. Further hearings are necessary to address growing allegations of U.N. interference with Oil-for-Food investigations and charges that the CPA impeded investigations in Baghdad. Hearings should also examine Kofi Annan's role in the scandal and how the Oil-for-Food program may have influenced Security Council debates over U.S. plans to liberate Iraq. Congress should also reassess the future U.N. role in Iraq in light of the U.N.'s administrative failure in the Oil-for-Food program.
U.S. Funding of the U.N. Future U.S. funding of the United Nations or U.N. specialized agencies should depend on substantial, not cosmetic, reform of the world body. Failure to prosecute U.N. officials implicated in wrongdoing should also result in reduced U.S. funding, particularly for the Secretariat, which had responsibility for overseeing the Oil-for-Food program. Withheld funds should be placed in an escrow account with the provision that they will be released only after firm evidence of major U.N. reform has emerged.
Securing Documents in Baghdad. The U.S. government should make every effort to ensure that key documents relating to Oil for Food in Baghdad and New York and around the world are preserved. In cooperation with the interim Iraqi government, copies of key documents should be sent to congressional investigators in Washington.
European and Arab Governments. The Bush Administration should urge European and Arab governments to launch their own probes of any citizens who are accused of accepting bribes from Saddam Hussein. British Prime Minister Tony Blair should be strongly encouraged to investigate the allegedly close relationship between former Labour MP George Galloway and Saddam Hussein. Similarly, the French government should be urged to investigate the allegations against politicians such as Charles Pasqua.
Kofi Annan. Overall responsibility for the U.N.'s management of Oil for Food lies with Secretary General Annan. If it is established that he ignored the damning findings of internal U.N. audits of the Oil-for-Food program, he should resign.
Prosecution of U.N. Officials in Iraqi Courts. Iraqi courts would be the appropriate venue for trying and sentencing individuals implicated in criminal wrongdoing by a Security Council-appointed investigation. The United States should press the Security Council to recommend waiving diplomatic immunity for U.N. employees implicated in crimes relating to the Oil-for-Food program. The U.S. should also encourage individual governments to extradite to Iraq anyone indicted for allegedly committing crimes relating to the Oil-for-Food program, to the same extent they would extradite citizens for any other serious crime.
U.N. Role in Iraq. The United Nations' failure to support removing Saddam Hussein from power, combined with its shameful record on Oil for Food, should exclude it from any leading role in crafting a democratic, free Iraq.
The abuse of the Oil-for-Food program was the result of a staggering management failure by the U.N. and raises troubling questions regarding the U.N.'s credibility and competence. Congress has played a crucial role in bringing the Oil-for-Food scandal to international attention by casting a bright spotlight on an issue the U.N. would prefer to forget. Congress needs to maintain relentless pressure on the U.N. to hold its own officials accountable for both their actions and their inactions.
The Bush Administration should play a bigger role in pressing for an effective, truly independent Security Council investigation. President George W. Bush should take the lead in condemning the abuse of the Oil-for-Food program and calling for U.N. officials and member states to cooperate fully with Security Council, congressional, and Iraqi investigations. The White House should make it clear that it fully supports congressional efforts to investigate the Oil-for-Food scandal and that effective reform of the United Nations is a priority issue for the United States.
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, and James Dean is Deputy Director of Government Relations, at The Heritage Foundation. The authors are grateful to Paul Rosenzweig, Senior Legal Research Fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, for his advice and recommendations.
1. For further background, see Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and James Phillips, "Investigate the United Nations Oil-for-Food Fraud," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1748, April 21, 2004, at
2. The list of names was originally published in January in the Arabic Iraqi newspaper Al Mada. For a translation, see Nimrod Raphaeli, "The Saddam Oil Vouchers Affair," Middle East Media Research Institute, February 20, 2004, at (June 21, 2004).
3. 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, GAO-04-579T, March 18, 2004, at (June 21, 2004).
4. The bills call for a 10 percent reduction in the U.S. contribution to the United Nations unless the President certifies that the U.N. is fully cooperating with all investigations.
5. The report was leaked to Mineweb, an international publication focusing on mining finance and corporate news. See United Nations, Internal Audit Division, Office of Internal Oversight Services, "Management of the Contract for Provision of Independent Inspection Agents in Iraq," OIOS Audit No. AF2002/32/1, April 8, 2003, posted by Mineweb, at (June 21, 2004). For analysis of the U.N. report, see Tim Wood, "Leaked UN Audit Proves Oil for Food Shambles,", May 19, 2004, at (June 21, 2004), and Fox News, "UN Audit Found Early `Oil-for-Food' Problems," May 20, 2004, at,2933,120391,00.html (June 23, 2004).
6. For analysis of the Sevan letters, see Claudia Rosett, "`We Have Other Priorities': Why Won't the UN Answer Questions About Its Iraq Scandal?" The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2004, and Editorial, "The Volcker Excuse," The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2004.
7. See Claude Hankes-Drielsma, testimony before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, April 21, 2004, at (June 21, 2004). For further background on the CPA's role in slowing the Oil-for-Food investigations in Baghdad, see Robin Gedye, "Bremer Office `Hampering Oil for Food Corruption Inquiry,'" The Daily Telegraph, May 17, 2004, at (June 21, 2004); Claudia Rosett, "Cover-Up Culture: When Will the Real Oil for Food Investigations Begin?" National Review Online, May 27, 2004, at (June 21, 2004); and Editorial, "Bigfooted in Baghdad," The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2004.
8. See Carrie Satterlee, "Facts on Who Benefits from Keeping Saddam Hussein in Power," Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 217, February 28, 2003, at
9. See Marc Perelman, "Oil for Food Sales Seen as Iraq Tie to Al Qaeda," Forward, June 20, 2003, at (June 21, 2004). See also Claudia Rosett, "Oil for Terror?" National Review Online, April 18, 2003, at (June 21, 2004).
10. The White House, "Terrorist Financial Network Fact Sheet: Shutting Down the Terrorist Financial Network," November 7, 2001, at (June 21, 2004).
11. Matthew Levitt, "Combating Terrorist Financing: Where the War on Terrorism Intersects the Roadmap," Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 3, No. 4 (August 2003), p. 3.
12. Scott Wheeler, "The Link Between Iraq and Al-Qaeda," Insight, October 14, 2003, at (June 21, 2004).
13. Stephen Hayes, "The Clinton View of Iraqi-Al Qaeda Ties," The Weekly Standard, December 29, 2003.
14. For further discussion of United Nations reform, see Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., and Baker Spring, "Reform the United Nations," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1700, October 27, 2003, at
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UN group defers to Iran, rejects U.S. deadline
Monday, September 20, 2004
LONDON - The International Atomic Energy Agency has rejected a U.S. effort to set a deadline for an end to Iran's uranium enrichment program.
Instead, the IAEA expressed concern over Iran's intention to introduce 37 tons of yellowcake, a milled uranium oxide regarded as the first element in the enriched uranium process. But the resolution did not threaten any measures against Teheran, Middle East Newsline reported.
The United States protested the decision.
"To wait until the IAEA finds the nuclear weapons is to wait until it is too late," U.S. chief delegate Jackie Sanders told the IAEA board.
"With every passing week, Iran moves that much closer to reaching the point where neither we, nor any other international body, will be able to prevent it from achieving nuclear weapons capacity."
The resolution set a Nov. 25 deadline for a review of Iran's nuclear program and called for the suspension of Teheran's uranium enrichment activities.
The resolution regarding Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was passed unanimously by the agency's 35-nation board of governors.
The resolution on Saturday called on IAEA director-general Mohammed El Baradei to submit a report in advance of the November board meeting regarding Iranian compliance. The El Baradei report would also address previous resolutions that called for a "full suspension of all [Iranian] enrichment-related and reprocessing activities."
"It [IAEA at November meeting] will decide whether or not further steps are appropriate in relation to Iran's obligations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement," the resolution said.
The latest resolution, which marked the end to the agency's board of governors meeting in Vienna, called for a halt to a range of Iranian nuclear activities.
"...Iran [should] immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities, including the manufacture or import of centrifuge components, the assembly and testing of centrifuges," the resolution said. "[The resolution] calls again on Iran, as a further confidence-building measure, voluntarily to reconsider its decision to start construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water."
At the same time, the resolution failed to set an automatic trigger that would send the Iranian nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. The agency, over U.S. objections, also insisted that the resolution contain a clause that reiterated Iran's right to administer a civilian nuclear program.
Iran has pledged to continue its nuclear program as well as uranium enrichment. But Iranian officials said Teheran would decide over the next week whether to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment.
For his part, El Baradei said inspectors have not found evidence that Iran was producing nuclear weapons. But the IAEA's latest report said inspectors required further study of Iran's nuclear program, including such issues as enriched uranium contamination, the scope of the P-2 centrifuge program and the timeframe of Iran's plutonium separation experiments.
U.S. officials said the resolution could mark a turning point in diplomatic efforts to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program. They said the agency was being ordered to end nearly two years of investigation by determining whether Teheran has been in compliance with the NPT.
Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.


Iranian Tales
An evil regime.
As our leaders, hypnotized by the cobra's fatal dance and entranced by the fakir's music, stand immobile while the mullahs complete their nuclear program, it may be useful for the rest of us to maintain a clear-eyed understanding of the nature of the most formidable terror regime in the world. Would that our oxymoronic intelligence community and the feckless foreign service paid attention, but that would be more difficult than liberating Iran itself. Two recent events provide the basic profile.
First is the story of Sheikh Rasini of Tehran, a religious leader of middling importance who attracted the attention of some of the more sober officials of the Revolutionary Guard in the mid-Nineties. It seems Rasini was spending a lot of time in the intimacy of young boys, and showed other signs of corruption. The Guardians of the Revolution objected, and took their complaints to the Ayatollah Milani, who duly issued a fatwa authorizing a violent death for the sheikh. But Rasini turned the tables on his accusers and had them thrown into the nightmarish Evin Prison in Tehran, where Milani and the others were killed.
Rasini continued his active support of gay marriage until, a couple of months ago, he was surprised en flagrante and hauled before an Islamic tribunal for his conjugal activities with one Amir. The situation looked grave for the sheikh until the mullahs came up with an imaginative solution. Amir was "converted" to the opposite sex by some of Tehran's finest surgeons, thereby removing -- quite literally -- the basis for the accusation.
Amir is now Zohreh, and she and her sheikh may well live happily for the foreseeable future.
Then comes the story of Mehdi Derayati, also of Tehran, whose midadventures were reported a couple of days ago by ILNA, the Islamic Labor News Agency. Mehdi Derayati is a young Iranian who worked for a while with some internet news sites that apparently published some stuff that offended the mullahcracy. Like hundreds of young Iranians who enrage the mullahs, Mehdi was summarily rounded up and carted off...who knows where. It's a very common occurrence in the country that our Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, calls a "democracy," and it would hardly be worth mentioning were it not for Mehdi's lineage. For he is the son of Mustafa Derayati, the personal adviser on clerical affairs to President Khatami.
Mustafa Derayati was so upset at the mistreatment of his boy that he gave a public interview. "All we have had is a few phone calls from him, we know he has been arrested but no law-enforcement authority is telling us where he is. They just say we have acted in accordance with our duties."
To which my pen pal Potkin Azarmehr neatly adds, "Well there you go. So much for Khatami's "Civil Society" which fooled so many gullible anti-Americans in Europe. Here is an example of an Islamic Civil Society where the president's adviser is unable to find out where his son is incarcerated. What hope for the ordinary Iranian parents searching for their abducted sons or daughters?"
When people ask me why the Iranian people so hate the regime, I begin telling them stories like these, because no list of adjectives, no amount of statistics on social misery, child prostitution, unemployment, corruption of the elite, or drug addiction can convey the horror of this murderous tyranny. If a mullah is caught committing an act that would automatically lead to the death penalty for an ordinary citizen, the problem is "fixed" by a sex-change operation on his partner. But even the son of a counselor to the president can be "vanished" without any accountability.
Can you imagine these creatures with atomic bombs? And yet the U.N. issues yet another "deadline" for the end of November, the European Union preens itself on its avoidance of conflict, even with evil, the president speaks bravely but does nothing to support freedom in Iran, and his challenger lets it be known that, if elected, he will offer the mullahs the same misguided nuclear deal that has already failed in North Korea.
-- Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen is Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.



Russia: Our Partner in the War on Terror?
By John Radzilowski | September 20, 2004
The horrific mass murder of schoolchildren and their families in Beslan, Russia, by Chechen terrorists has brought widespread sympathy from Americans for the victims and for the Russian people. Many Americans have also felt encouraged by the mass rallies in Moscow against terrorism and by Russian President Vladimir Putin's vow to take unilateral action anywhere in the world against terrorists. The hope has risen that, after opposing the U.S. in Iraq, Russia is now "on side" in the fight against militant Islam.
But the reality is far more complicated.
Russian foreign policy has long been opposed to fundamental American interests--before and after 9/11--despite official statements from the Putin government and the beliefs of many Russia experts in American academia and policy circles. And there is little indication that Russia's policies will change for the better. Even if they did, Russia has a poor record in waging low-intensity conflicts and any action it may take could easily backfire.
Russia has long been a key supporter of rogue states in the Middle East, even building a nuclear reactor for the atomic ayatollahs in Tehran. Only with Russian assistance has Iran been able to sustain its nuclear weapons program.
Russia played a crucial role in rearming Saddam Hussein after the First Gulf War. Russian contractors from companies with close links to the Russian military were meeting with Saddam and his inner circle almost until the very end of that corrupt and brutal regime. Russia not only provided basic weapons but also more sophisticated items, such as night vision equipment. Belarus, whose megalomaniac dictator is closely tied to Russia, was helping to rebuild Saddam's air defense system and providing a wide range of other weapons to the Iraqi dictator (many shipped through Syria). It is unlikely the Belarusans would have done this without tacit Russian approval.
In return, money from Saddam's oil for food program greased the wheels for Russian officials, both inside the government and in the semi-official channels where real power is distributed in Russia. Documents found in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam revealed that the largest number of payoffs went to Russian recipients, most of them of them governmental or quasi-governmental.
There is no indication that the massacre in Belsan will result in any change in a Russian policy that has paid such dividends for Russia's leaders. There may be tough talk and an increase in military activity along Russia's southern border, but real change is highly unlikely. Ordinary Russians, like those slaughtered in Beslan, will be the losers. (Though to be accurate, most of the victims of the school massacre were ethnic Ossetians.)
In a normal society, the government acts to protect its citizens. In America, 9/11 not only led to widespread outrage and anger, it forced our government to make major changes in an effort to prevent further attack. In Russia, the government simply does not care about its people. There, the people exist to serve the state, not the state the people. So while Russian leaders will use the murder of children in Beslan to further their own goals, fundamental change is unlikely.
The Russian leadership has traditionally seen its own people as expendable. During World War II, NVKD troops forced masses of raw recruits to charge at gunpoint across Nazi minefields to clear the way for Soviet tanks. This attitude was best summed up by seventeenth century Russian leaders who, after their massive army was wiped out in an attempted invasion of Poland, responded: "We have a lot of people."
Russian "help" in the fight against Islamic extremism is likely to hurt the U.S. and its allies. Russia's effort to suppress rebellious Chechnya has featured indiscriminate bombing of towns and cities, mass execution of civilians, torture, and countless other abuses. Furthermore, if history is any guide, Russia is likely to target moderate Chechens that can be easily located and shot rather than the hardcore fanatics responsible for the school massacre.
Chechyna today is a lawless wasteland where the innocent are punished because the guilty have fled to the hills with guns and it is too much trouble to root them out. Russian tactics have not only proven totally ineffective--demonstrating that they learned little from the Afghan fiasco in the 1980s--but have hardened Chechen resistance. Contrast this with the U.S. approach in both Afghanistan and Iraq: careful use of precision weapons, surgical ground strikes led by special forces, an emphasis on gathering local intelligence, quickly restoring civilian infrastructure, and training a cadre of local allies who have a stake in stabilizing the country.
Russia's fundamental interests include reducing American power and influence, and re-establishing control over neighboring countries that gained independence in the early 1990s. These goals have been open secrets for years and often politely ignored by American policymakers and their academic fellow travelers. Russia's pursuit of these interests can only increase regional instability and, if pursued aggressively enough, provide new breeding grounds for terror. It could also poison America's effort to bring some measure of stability to countries like Afghanistan.
Americans must be very careful about listening to government statements from Russian officials; they sound good but have little substance. As in France and Germany, such officials know how to play the American media like a fine violin, realizing it is the key to shaping American opinion. They must also be careful about the mainstream media's favorite Russia experts, many of whom are recycled Sovietologists whose ability to accurately assess events in Russia is infamously poor.
The internal discourse in Russia is quite different than what appears in official statements directed toward the West. The foreign policy and military establishment remains committed to re-establishing an empire, not combating terrorism. Many aspects of the Beslan massacre and the military's miscues during the rescue have been covered up to present a sanitized version of elite special forces doing their best to save the trapped children. The Russian public, however, is deeply skeptical of the official version of events. While outraged by the massacre, few believe their government has told them the whole truth. Russians are hardly uniting behind the Putin regime as Americans did behind George Bush in the wake of 9/11.
Under such circumstances, America must be very cautious in accepting Russia as a bone fide partner in the global war on terror. Naturally, real Russian help would be welcome, but while Russia continues its aid for Iran's nuclear ambitions and its opposition to America's effort to rebuild a stable Iraq, this is one "ally" we cannot afford to trust.
John Radzilowski, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Piast Institute, Detroit, and is the author or co-author of 11 books and numerous articles. He can be contacted at


Kerry's Flip-Flopping on Russia
By Vance Serchuk
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2004
The Daily Standard
Publication Date: September 16, 2004
In reaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement this week of plans to curtail democratic institutions in Russia and assert increased political control over the country from Moscow, Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry criticized President Bush for having "taken his eye off the ball--ignoring America's interest in seeing democracy advance in Russia," and promised that, under his administration, "The fate of freedom and democracy in Russia will once again be priorities of American foreign policy."
Fair enough--but for the fact that Kerry told the Washington Post in May that, as president, he "would play down the promotion of democracy in dealing with . . . Russia." Instead, the Senator pledged to focus "on other objectives . . . more central to the United States' security." He also rejected the idea--put forward last January by then-rival, now-running mate John Edwards--that Russia's membership in the G-8 should be linked to democratic reforms.
It seems that whatever the issue--be it Iraq, the war on terror, or now Russia--Senator Kerry has a hard time knowing his own mind.
Vance Serchuk a research associate, in defense and security policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.


No Peter the Great
Vladimir Putin is in the Andropov mold.
By Ion Mihai Pacepa
Vladimir Putin looks more and more like a heavy-handed imitation of Yuri Andropov -- does anyone still remember him? Andropov was that other KGB chairman who rose all the way up to the Kremlin throne, and who was also once my de facto boss. Considering that Putin has inherited upwards of 6,000 suspected strategic nuclear weapons, this is frightening news.
Former KGB officers are now running Russia's government, just as they did during Andropov's reign, and the Kremlin's image -- another Andropov specialty -- continues to be more important than people's real lives in that still-inscrutable country. The government's recent catastrophic Beslan operation was a reenactment of the effort to "rescue" 2,000 people from Moscow's Dubrovka Theater, where the "new" KGB flooded the hall with fentanyl gas and caused the death of 129 hostages. No wonder Putin ordered Andropov's statue -- which had been removed after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 -- reinstalled at the Lubyanka.
In the West, if Andropov is remembered at all, it is for his brutal suppression of political dissidence at home and for his role in planning the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. By contrast, the leaders of the former Warsaw Pact intelligence community, when I was one of them, looked up to Andropov as the man who substituted the KGB for the Communist party in governing the Soviet Union, and who was the godfather of Russia's new era of deception operations aimed at improving the badly damaged image of Soviet rulers in the West.
In early 2000, President Putin divided Russia into seven "super" districts, each headed by a "presidential representative," and he gave five of these seven new posts to former KGB officers. Soon, his KGB colleagues occupied nearly 50 percent of the top government positions in Moscow. In a brief interview with Ted Koppel on Nightline, Putin admitted that he had stuffed the Kremlin with former KGB officers, but he said it was because he wanted to root out graft. "I have known them for many years and I trust them. It has nothing to do with ideology. It's simply a matter of their professional qualities and personal relationship."
In reality, it's an old Russian tradition to fill the most important governmental positions with undercover intelligence officers. The czarist Okhrana security service planted its agents everywhere: in the central and local government, and in political parties, labor unions, churches, and newspapers. Until 1913, Pravda itself was edited by one of them, Roman Malinovsky, who rose to become Lenin's deputy for Russia and the chairman of the Bolshevik faction in the Duma.
Andropov Sovietized that Russian tradition and extended its application nationwide. It was something similar to militarizing the government in wartime, but it was accomplished by the KGB. In 1972, when he launched this new offensive, KGB Chairman Andropov told me that this would help eliminate the current plague of theft and bureaucratic chaos and would combat the growing sympathy for American jazz, films, and blue jeans obsessing the younger Soviet generation. Andropov's new undercover officers were secretly remunerated with tax-free salary supplements and job promotions. In exchange, Andropov explained, they would secretly have to obey "our" military regulations, practice "our" military discipline and carry out "our" tasks, if they wanted to keep their jobs. Of course, the KGB had long been using diplomatic cover slots for its officers assigned abroad, but Andropov's new approach was designed to influence the Soviet Union itself.
The lines separating the leadership of the country from the intelligence apparatus had blurred in the Soviet satellites as well. After I was granted political asylum in the United States in July 1978, the Western media reported that my defection had unleashed the greatest political purge in the history of Communist Romania. Ceausescu had demoted politburo members, fired one-third of his cabinet, and replaced ambassadors. All were undercover intelligence officers whose military documents and pay vouchers I had regularly signed off on.
General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, the Soviet gauleiter of Romania who rose to head the Soviet foreign intelligence service for an unprecedented 15 years, used to predict to me that KGB Chairman Andropov would soon have the whole Soviet bloc in his vest pocket, and that he would surely end up in the Kremlin. Andropov would have to wait ten years until Brezhnev died, but on November 12, 1982, he did take up the country's reins. Once settled in the Kremlin, Andropov surrounded himself with KGB officers, who immediately went on a propaganda offensive to introduce him to the West as a "moderate" Communist and a sensitive, warm, Western-oriented man who allegedly enjoyed an occasional drink of Scotch, liked to read English novels, and loved listening to American jazz and the music of Beethoven. In actual fact, Andropov did not drink, as he was already terminally ill from a kidney disorder, and the rest of the portrayal was equally false.
In 1999, when Putin became prime minister, he also surrounded himself with KGB officers, who began describing him as a "Europeanized" leader -- capitalizing, ironically, on the fact that he had been a KGB spy abroad. Yet Putin's only foreign experience had been in East Germany, on Moscow's side of the Berlin Wall. Soon after that I visited the Stasi headquarters in Leipzig and Dresden to see where Putin had spent his "Europeanizing" years. Local representatives of the Gauck Commission -- a special post-Communism German panel researching the Stasi files -- said that the "Soviet-German 'friendship house'" Putin headed for six years was actually a KGB front with operational offices at the Leipzig and Dresden Stasi headquarters. Putin's real task was to recruit East German engineers as KGB agents and send them to the West to steal American technologies.
I visited those offices and found that they looked just like the offices of my own midlevel case officers in regional Securitate directorates in Romania. Yet Moscow claims Putin had held an important job in East Germany and was decorated by the East German government. The Gauck Commission confirmed that Putin was decorated in 1988 "for his KGB work in the East German cities of Dresden and Leipzig." According to the West German magazine Der Spiegel, he received a bronze medal from the East German Stasi as a "typical representative of second-rank agents." There, in those prison-like buildings, cut off even from real East German life by Stasi guards with machine guns and police dogs, Lieutenant Colonel Putin could not possibly have become the modern-day, Western-oriented Peter the Great that the Kremlin's propaganda machine is so energetically spinning.
Indeed, on December 20, 1999, Russia's newly appointed prime minister visited the Lubyanka to deliver a speech on this "memorable day," commemorating Lenin's founding of the first Soviet political police, the Cheka. "Several years ago we fell prey to the illusion that we have no enemies," Putin told a meeting of top security officials. "We have paid dearly for this. Russia has its own national interests, and we have to defend them." The following day, December 21, 1999, another "memorable day" in Soviet history -- Stalin's 120th birthday -- Putin organized a closed-door reception in his Kremlin office reported as being for the politicians who had won seats in the Duma. There he raised a glass to good old Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Stalin, meaning "man of steel," was the dictator's nom de guerre).
Days later, in a 14-page article entitled "Russia on the Threshold of a New Millennium," Putin defined Russia's new "democratic" future: "The state must be where and as needed; freedom must be where and as required." The Chechens' effort to regain their independence was mere "terrorism," and he pledged to eradicate it: "We'll get them anywhere -- if we find terrorists sitting in the outhouse, then we will piss on them there. The matter is settled." It is not.
On September 9, 2004, Chechen nationalists announced a $20 million prize on the head of the "war criminal" Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of "murdering hundreds of thousands of peaceful civilians on the territory of Chechnya, including tens of thousands of children."
For his part, President Putin tried to divert the outrage over the horrific Breslan catastrophe away from his KGB colleagues who had caused it, and to direct public anger toward the KGB's archenemy, the U.S. Citing meetings of mid-level U.S. officials with Chechen leaders, Putin accused Washington of having a double standard when dealing with terrorism. "Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace?" Putin told reporters in Moscow.
Then Putin blamed the collapse of the Soviet Union for what he called a "full scale" terrorist war against Russia and started taking Soviet-style steps to strengthen the Kremlin's power. On September 13, he announced measures to eliminate the election of the country's governors, who should now be appointed by the Kremlin, and to allow only "certified" people -- that is, former KGB officers -- to run for the parliament.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, its people had a unique opportunity to cast out their political police, a peculiarly Russian instrument of power that has for centuries isolated their country from the real world and in the end left them ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of modern society. Unfortunately, up until then most Russians had never owned property, had never experienced a free-market economy, and had never made decisions for themselves. Under Communism they were taught to despise Western democracy and everything they believed to be connected with capitalism, e.g., free enterprise, decision-making, hard work, risk-taking, and social inequality. Moreover, the Russians had also had minimal experience with real political parties, since their country has been a police state since the 16th century. To them, it seemed easier to continue the tradition of the political police state than to take the risk of starting everything anew.
But the times have changed dramatically. My native country, which borders Russia, is a good example. At first, Romania's post-Communism rulers, for whom managing the country with the help of the political police was the only form of government they had ever known, bent over backwards to preserve the KGB-created Securitate, a criminal organization that became the symbol of Communist tyranny in the West. Article 27 of Romania's 1990 law for organizing the new intelligence services stated that only former Securitate officers "who have been found guilty of crimes against fundamental human rights and against freedom" could not be employed in the "new" intelligence services. In other words, only Ceausescu would not have been eligible for employment there. Today, Romania still has the same president as in 1990, but his country is now a member of NATO and is helping the U.S. to rid the world of Cold War-style dictators and the terrorism they generated.
Russia can also break with its Communist past and join our fight against despots and terrorists. We can help them do it, but first we should have a clear understanding of what is now going on behind the veil of secrecy that still surrounds the Kremlin.
-- Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former two-star general, is the highest-ranking intelligence officer to have defected from the Soviet bloc. His book Red Horizons has been republished in 27 countries.


U.N. nuclear agency asleep at the switch
By Bill Gertz
The United States stood by for years as supposed allies helped its enemies obtain the world's most dangerous weapons, reveals Bill Gertz, defense and national security reporter for The Washington Times, in the new book "Treachery" (Crown Forum).

Last of three excerpts
Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's new foreign minister, delivered a memorable address to the United Nations Security Council in New York on Dec. 16, 2003.
Zebari, an Iraqi Kurd, began his remarks by noting the historic capture, three days earlier, of Saddam Hussein. Then, after laying out a plan for Iraq to become a democracy, the foreign minister lowered the boom on the assembled diplomats.
"One year ago," Zebari said, "this Security Council was divided between those who wanted to appease Saddam Hussein and those who wantedto hold him accountable. The United Nations as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years, and today, we are unearthing thousands of victims in horrifying testament to that failure.
"The United Nations must not fail the Iraqi people again," he said.
It was clear to whom Zebari was referring: France, Germany, Russia and China, among others in the world body, fought U.S.-led efforts to end Saddam's bloody dictatorship.
But the organization's failure was far more significant than failing the Iraqi people. The United Nations had failed in its founding purpose: to preserve peace and international security.
It appeased Saddam for years before the United States called for decisive action.
And Saddam's Iraq is just one of many rogue regimes that the United Nations has failed to keep in check. Again and again, dangerous states have built up their militaries and weapons programs right under the world body's nose, despite sanctions and anti-proliferation agreements.
Sleeping watchdog
Three times, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency missed the covert nuclear-arms programs of rogue regimes, allowing those states to build deadly weapons capability under the guise of generating nuclear power.
Disclosures of the nuclear progress of North Korea, Libya and Iran came in rapid succession, within the space of about a year. If the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not detect these programs, one must wonder what purpose the U.N. branch serves.
The United Nations established the IAEA in 1957 to help countries build nuclear facilities for generating electricity. Its initial program, Atoms for Peace, quickly became "Atoms for Bombs." And not much has changed in the past five decades, except the size of the program.
Today, the IAEA has about 2,200 staff members at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, and at four regional offices in Geneva, New York, Toronto and Tokyo. Its budget for 2004 was $268.5 million.
The IAEA's statutory purpose is to assist in transferring expertise and equipment for the "peaceful" use of nuclear power. The international agency also is charged with making sure that nations do not divert equipment or material for nuclear-energy development into weapons programs.
Specifically, Section 5 of the empowering statute directs the IAEA to "establish and administer safeguards designed to ensure that special fissionable and other materials, services, equipment, facilities and information made available by the agency or at its request or under its supervision or control are not used in such a way as to further any military purpose."
But the IAEA has not administered appropriate safeguards. And as a result, it has been fooled again and again by states such as North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria and Iraq.
The centerpiece of the IAEA's work has been the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, which went into effect on March 5, 1970.
Korean threat
Rogue states generally sign international agreements only if doing so is expedient. Nothing better illustrates this point than North Korea.
The NPT provided cover for North Korea's secret nuclear-weapons programs, allowing Pyongyang to purchase equipment, train technicians and build reactors.
North Korea was one of the agreement's 188 signatories when, in the fall of 2002, the communist regime of Kim Jong-il revealed that it secretly had been developing nuclear weapons.
The IAEA failed to anticipate or uncover North Korea's nuclear-weapons program. The agency admitted as much last year, when it reported: "The agency has never had the complete picture regarding [North Korean] nuclear activities."
Pyongyang froze plutonium production as part of a 1994 pact with the United States known as the Agreed Framework. But the CIA noted in 1995, in a classified Special National Intelligence Estimate: "Based on North Korea's past behavior, the [intelligence] community agrees it would dismantle its known program [only] if it had covertly developed another source of fissile material."
Sure enough, North Korea's disclosure in October 2002 of its uranium-enrichment activity confirmed that Pyongyang was trying to build nuclear bombs. In essence, Kim and the North Koreans were announcing that membership in the NPT had been a ruse all along.
Still, the IAEA did not take a hard line with Kim. It responded to the disclosure by sending faxes requesting "clarification." The North Koreans ignored the request.
The IAEA adopted a resolution calling on Pyongyang to cooperate. The North Koreans responded with a letter saying that they rejected the U.N. agency's unfair and unilateral approach.
The director of North Korea's nuclear program, Ri Je-son, stated in a letter dated Dec. 4, 2002, that Pyongyang would resume nuclear work if the United States did not resume oil shipments to North Korea.
Then, on Jan. 10, 2003, North Korea unceremoniously abandoned its partners in the NPT. In a broadcast on Kim's state radio, government commentator Jong Pong-kil said the decision to pull out was a defensive measure:
"The United States trampled on the NPT and the [North Korean]-U.S. Agreed Framework and is trying to crush us by all means," Jong declared. "By even mobilizing the IAEA, the United States is compelling us to give up the right of self-defense. Under such conditions, it is clear to everyone that we cannot let the country's security and the nation's dignity be infringed upon by remaining in the NPT treaty."
Jong then added a threat: "If the U.S. imperialists and their following forces challenge our republic's withdrawal from the NPT with new pressure and sanctions, we will respond with a stronger self-defensive measure."
In other words, the North Koreans, who already had shown that their membership in the NPT was a ruse, were announcing that they would keep building nuclear arms.
The IAEA's response to Jong's announcement was tantamount to appeasement. Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian, said North Korea must return to the NPT.
Then, during a meeting with U.S. senators, ElBaradei said: "If North Korea were to show good behavior, they need to get some assurance as to what to expect in return for good behavior, and I think that's very important in articulation of what to expect in case of compliance."
It did not matter that the North Koreans openly admitted defying the IAEA for years; ElBaradei sent the message that the international arms-control agency would impose no penalty.
The matter was sent to the U.N. Security Council, but that body did little more than express "deep concern" for the violations. The United States picked up its diplomatic approach, which produced no results. North Korea continues its drive for nuclear arms.
Iran and Libya
The United Nations also failed to confront the nuclear threat from Iran, which, like North Korea, used the NPT to acquire equipment and materials to make nuclear bombs.
When Iran's weapons work was discovered, showing that the Iranians knowingly ignored obligations to their treaty partners, the IAEA essentially ignored the violations. The agency sought only an additional "protocol" from Iran as a new safeguard.
"This is a good day for peace, multilateralism and nonproliferation," ElBaradei declared after Iran signed the protocol. "A good day for peace because the [IAEA] board decided to continue to make every effort to use verification and diplomacy to resolve questions about Iran's nuclear program."
But "verification and diplomacy" failed to stop Iran from developing nuclear arms in the first place. Despite pressure from security officials within the Bush administration, ElBaradei refused to cite Iran for breaking its obligations.
Moreover, the IAEA did not keep careful watch over Libya's nuclear-weapons program, which was further along than both U.S. intelligence or the U.N. agency had known.
When Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi publicly disclosed his weapons program in December 2003, the IAEA knew nothing about it. The agency said Libya should have reported its activities to the IAEA.
The IAEA was happy to report Tripoli's decision to eliminate "materials, equipment and programs which lead to the production of internationally proscribed weapons."
But the agency tried to minimize its failure to discover the program. It noted that a Libyan official characterized his nation's uranium-enrichment program as "at an early stage of development" and that "no industrial-scale facility had been built, nor any enriched uranium produced."
Algeria long since had launched its own nuclear-arms program in response to the military buildup by neighbor Libya, with which it had tense relations, reflecting how weapons proliferation only breeds further proliferation.
U.S. intelligence agencies in the spring of 1991 detected the first signs that Algeria was developing nuclear weapons with the assistance of China.
'New urgency'
The ultimate threat to peace is nuclear weapons in the hands of international terrorists.
There is a real danger that terrorists could use nuclear materials in radiological attacks, or "dirty bombs." Worse, terrorists would use them in a nuclear blast that could kill thousands or even hundreds of thousands.
To his credit, the IAEA's ElBaradei has begun to worry about this threat.
"[Nuclear] source security has taken on a new urgency since 9/11," the U.N. arms agency's director general said in a speech last year. "There are millions of radiological sources used throughout the world. Most are very weak. What we are focusing on is preventing the theft or loss of control of the powerful radiological sources."
The fact is, al Qaeda and the world's other most lethal terrorist organizations are trying to acquire nuclear arms.
The United Nations' record of failure to detect and halt nuclear threats posed by rogue states, however, casts doubt on its ability to grapple with such arms in the grip of shadowy terrorist groups.


Envoy Hopes to Lift Lid on North Korean Human Rights Situation
By Patrick Goodenough Pacific Rim Bureau Chief
September 17, 2004
Pacific Rim Bureau ( - The newly-appointed U.N. special rapporteur (investigator) on North Korean human rights has expressed the hope that the authorities in the reclusive communist state will allow him to visit.
Vitit Muntarbhorn, a Thai law professor, is visiting South Korea where U.N. human rights officials have been participating in an international conference.
Muntarbhorn was appointed by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in July, in line with a resolution taken by the 53-nation body censuring Pyongyang for human rights abuses.
The resolution urged the country to allow independent access to provide for an accurate and independent picture of the situation.
It cited reports of widespread abuses, "including torture, public executions, extrajudicial and arbitrary detention, imposition of the death penalty for political reasons, the existence of a large number of prison camps and the extensive use of forced labor; all-pervasive and severe restrictions on the freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association; and continued violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women."
North Korea denounced the resolution, calling it a "U.S.-orchestrated plot," and threatened to withdraw from the UNCHR in protest.
Speaking in Seoul, Muntarbhorn said he planned later this month to formally ask North Korea, through its diplomats in Geneva, to allow him direct access to the country to carry out what he said would be a fair and independent probe into conditions there.
He is expected to report back at the UNCHR's next annual session, in March 2005.
Human rights campaigners have long been pressing for the international community to take a firmer line with North Korea. Activists have pressed the U.S. government to include discussions on human rights when meeting North Korean officials for talks about Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs.
In what may be a positive sign, the first British government minister to visit North Korea said this week that his hosts had admitted not giving human rights high priority in their policy making.
Junior Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell said in an article published in London Thursday that North Korean officials had also confessed the existence of labor camps for political prisoners.
It's believed to be the first time North Korea has admitted the existence of the dozen or so notorious camps, where researchers allege horrific abuses including torture, forced abortions, infanticide and even the testing of chemicals on inmates.
Hundreds of thousands of political prisoners and criminals are believed to be held in the camps, in remote parts of North Korea, and malnutrition, forced labor, and beatings are reportedly commonplace.
Last October, the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, a non-governmental organization (NGO), released a comprehensive report on North Korea's prison camp system, including satellite photographs and eyewitness accounts by defectors.
Among those sent to prison camps are defectors who managed to escape into neighboring China in the hope of eventually getting asylum in South Korea or another country, but were caught and repatriated by a fellow communist regime that does not recognize the North Koreans as refugees.
U.N. human rights commissioner Louise Arbour, who participated in this week's conference in Seoul, indicated at a press conference Thursday that Beijing should protect North Korean refugees rather than send them home.
Asked about China's policy of repatriating North Korean defectors, Arbour replied that "countries that ratified the 1951 convention on refugees have an obligation to protect persons who are in a vulnerable position."
The 1951 U.N. convention, to which China is a signatory, requires member countries to "not forcibly return asylum seekers who face persecution at home."
Human rights groups have in the past roundly criticized the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR for not pressing China sufficiently on this issue.
In its annual report on religious freedom worldwide, released this week, the State Department again named North Korea as a "country of particular concern" in this area.
The report said the state of human rights in the country was "deplorable," citing the repression of unauthorized religious groups and reports of the killing of members of underground Christian churches.
Ambassador John Hanford, head of the State Department's religious freedom office, told a press conference in Washington Wednesday that North Korea may well have "the largest religious prisoner population in the world."
The department said there were around 10,000 Protestants, 4,000 Catholics and 10,000 Buddhists in North Korea, a country of 22 million people.
South Korean NGOs believe the actual number is considerably higher.


Pork: The Other Security Threat
09/17/04 11:10 AM Congress is finally trying to "distribut[e] antiterrorism money on the basis of threat and risk, not pork-barrel politics." James Carafano has warned against using homeland security money "to put states on another federal dole," and a bill proposed by Christopher Cox (R-CA) would reduce the minimum portion of a $2.2 billion federal fund guaranteed each state from 0.75 percent to 0.25 percent. As Carafano notes, the current formula "translates to $5.03 per capita in California and $37.94 per capita in Wyoming...40 percent of funds are immediately tied up, leaving only 60 percent for discretionary allocations." Problems in the distribution of the Urban Area Security Initiative grants remain to be addressed. Intended for "high-risk areas," the fund's "formula seriously undervalues actual intelligence and known targets" according to Carafano and its monies are scheduled to be disbursed (and dispersed) among some 80 cities rather than the original seven.
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>> EU?

Arbitrary and Capricious
The Precautionary Principle in the European Union Courts
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2004
AEI Online (Washington)
Publication Date: September 17, 2004
Arbitrary and Capricious: The Precautionary Principle in the European Courts
By Gary E. Marchant and Kenneth L. Mossman
Killer cranberry juice? The government of Denmark thinks so. Using a new legal concept, "the precautionary principle," which is based on the idea that it is better to be safe than sorry, the Danish government has prohibited the marketing of Ocean Spray cranberry juice on the grounds that the added vitamin C could conceivably harm some individuals.
The same principle is now being used by the European Union (EU) to create restrictions on U.S.-grown beef, genetically modified foods, chemicals, and various other products. This new concept goes beyond the usual application of precaution that traditionally underlies all health, safety, and environmental regulations. Initially characterized as a general policy or guideline, it has now evolved into a binding legal rule in every jurisdiction in which it has been adopted.
Furthermore, because of its inherent ambiguity and arbitrariness, the precautionary principle can be used to justify unreasonable or protectionist measures.
In Arbitrary and Capricious: The Precautionary Principle in the European Courts (AEI Press, August 20, 2004), Gary E. Marchant and Kenneth L. Mossman, experts from the Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Law, Science, and Technology, provide factual support for the U.S. challenge to the European Union in the World Trade Organization.
Through a comprehensive empirical analysis of sixty court decisions in the EU, the authors demonstrate that the EU courts have failed to provide a consistent and clear definition of the precautionary principle. Instead, the precautionary principle is being applied in an erratic manner that appears to be based solely on the political and economic interests of the decision-maker.
Some of the specific findings of this study include:
Despite the fact that the precautionary principle is being used to decide regulatory issues of enormous consequence, neither the EU regulators nor the EU courts have defined or provided any specific formulation for it. The concept therefore remains ambiguous, which permits it to be applied (or not) depending on the particular decision-maker.
The precautionary principle is being used to justify absurd and unjustified regulations in the EU. For example, individual EU countries have invoked the precautionary principle to ban products such as Kellogg's Corn Flakes, caffeinated energy drinks, and fruit juice drinks. Only a few of these decisions have been overturned by the courts.
The precautionary principle is applied inconsistently by the EU courts. In some cases, the precautionary principle is applied as a draconian sledgehammer that results in overturning longstanding due-process principles. It is also used to ban products with no evidence of risk. When applied in this manner, the precautionary principle could result in the banning of any product to which it is applied. In other cases, the precautionary principle is given no weight at all by the EU courts, having no effect on the pre-existing regulatory criteria and regulatory outcomes.
In several cases, the precautionary principle has been applied by the courts and has resulted in direct conflicts with the recommendations of the EU's own official scientific advisory bodies.
The precautionary principle is now used in more than twenty international treaties and in more than twenty countries. In Arbitrary and Capricious: The Precautionary Principle in the European Courts, Marchant and Mossman confirm many of the fears that the amorphous precautionary principle has been applied in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner that can be used to support protectionist and other inappropriate measures. Through their comprehensive empirical analysis, they warn against one of the most significant and controversial innovations in international environmental, health, and safety policy over the past quarter century.

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Using Social Security Personal Retirement Accounts to Create Family Nest Eggs
by David C. John
Backgrounder #1785
September 10, 2004
A modernized Social Security could do much more than just provide stable retirement benefits. Low-income and moderate-income workers could use Social Security to create family nest eggs that could either enhance their own retirements or be passed on to their heirs under a system of Social Security personal retirement accounts (PRAs). Because this money would stay within the community, PRAs could become a significant source of capital for businesses in low-income communities. A new Center for Data Analysis (CDA) report1 shows that if the nest egg is passed on to the worker's heirs, it could help the family to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and keep money in the heirs' own communities.
In each of the 12 examples or case studies, every worker was able to build a nest egg through a PRA, even after using a part of the PRA to finance some of his or her monthly Social Security retirement benefits. (The government would finance the rest of the monthly retirement benefit.) The sizes of the nest eggs ranged from about three months' pay for low-income single workers to literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for moderate-income married couples.
The benefits of a PRA system that allows workers to create nest eggs include:
Inheritances would increase for all income levels. The modernized Social Security system would allow every worker at every income level the opportunity to leave a nest egg to his or her family. Currently, less than 13 percent of all households with annual incomes of less than $20,000 receive inheritances.2 Most of these workers never had the chance to build savings. Only among families with annual incomes over $100,000 does the frequency of inheritance exceed 25 percent. However, Social Security reform would not limit inheritances to the rich. People of all incomes could use their PRAs to build a cash nest egg, which they could leave to their heirs.
The system would be flexible and allow workers to control their retirement. Under the current Social Security program, workers receive only a lifetime annuity. Under a modernized Social Security program, workers could use their entire PRA for a monthly income or use only a portion of it for income and keep the rest in a family nest egg that they could use for emergencies or leave to their heirs.
Money would stay in the community and strengthen its economic base. Because the PRA is the worker's property, any money left over goes to the family. It remains in the community and is available to help it grow because the savings in those accounts could form the capital needed for new businesses. Under today's Social Security, any remaining money stays in Washington.
The reformed system assures a higher benefit than today's retirees receive under the current Social Security system. Today's system pays new retirees about $10,968 per year, while the reformed system would guarantee at least $17,960.
Workers would own their Social Security benefits. Rather than be at the mercy of politicians (who could change Social Security benefits at will), workers would own the money in their PRAs. Families could inherit that money if the worker dies before retirement or if additional funds are left over after retirement.
Workers would have a choice. No one is forced to invest in a PRA. Every worker can decide whether to have a PRA or to remain in the traditional Social Security system.
A well-designed retirement system includes three elements: regular monthly retirement income, dependent's insurance, and the ability to save. Today's Social Security system provides a stable level of retirement income and provides benefits for dependents, but it does not allow workers to accumulate cash savings to fulfill their retirement goals or pass on to their heirs. Workers should be able to use Social Security to build a cash nest egg that can be used to increase their retirement income or to build a better economic future for their families.
Inheritances should not be effectively limited to upper-income families. Moderate-income and lower-income families should be allowed to use Social Security to build a nest egg that they could leave to future generations.
Today's Workers Could Build a Nest Egg with a PRA
Today's workers would be able to develop a significant nest egg under Social Security in every case studied. For instance, a low-income single female could retire with a nest egg equal to over one year's pay, while a married double-income couple--with one earning an average income and the other one earning a low income--could retire with a nest egg that exceeds $50,000. In each case, if the money remains invested, the retirees could leave well over twice their retirement nest egg to their heirs. Appendix 1 provides details of these and other workers studied.
The study assumes that none of today's workers would have a PRA for their entire career because they would already be employed when the program is started. The oldest would be 43 when the hypothetical PRA program is established, while the youngest would be 27. This would especially limit older workers' ability to build significant nest eggs in addition to accumulating enough in their PRAs to finance a portion of their Social Security benefits.
Married couples, including those with only a single income, could build larger nest eggs than the single workers of either gender. The one exception was a single worker who dies at the age of 55 and leaves his entire PRA to heirs before using any of it to finance his retirement benefits. However, even among single workers, the nest egg is significant in virtually every case when compared to the worker's annual income. Even the worker with the lowest nest egg, an average-income single woman, manages to save an amount equal to about three months' pay. Both she and the other worker with the smallest nest egg are among the oldest workers studied. Both are 43 at the time PRAs first become available.
Workers who are already in the workforce when PRAs are established would find building a nest egg more difficult because they have less time to invest. The fact that all of the examples in the CDA study succeed in building a nest egg shows the program's immediate value.
Even Better Results for the Third Generation
Results get even better if workers have a PRA for their entire working lives. In most cases, workers in the 12 case studies build a significantly larger PRA than those who have a PRA for only part of their working lives. They reach even larger amounts when the workers' own contributions are supplemented by sums inherited from other family members.
The results show that workers at all income levels can create significant nest eggs through a PRA, even after using part of their PRAs to finance a portion of their monthly retirement benefits. While the study assumes that today's workers will participate in the PRA program for only part of their working lives (because they would already be employed when PRAs are established), their grandchildren would have these accounts from the first day that they enter the workforce. The results are especially good for those third-generation workers who invest their inheritances from their grandparents. The results are also quite good at almost all income levels for workers who build their PRAs from only their own savings. The money remaining at retirement (after financing their Social Security benefit) could be used to improve their retirement incomes, start a small business, help a grandchild to pay for college, or achieve a number of options--including just holding the amount until it is needed.
Again, PRAs work especially well in producing a significant nest egg for married couples. The only third-generation workers who do not produce significant amounts are single low-income workers who do not invest any of their inheritances. These workers' nest eggs at retirement are mostly under $10,000. However, even then, the nest eggs amount to between three and six months salary and are partially explained by the extremely low earnings levels used in this study.3 Furthermore, these workers always have a choice. They can choose to remain in the traditional Social Security system.
Real world experience shows that many, if not most, retirees are interested in both their own standard of living and in leaving a sum for their heirs. However, the state of their finances combined with the structure of today's Social Security may not allow them to leave an inheritance. The CDA study assumes that the first-generation workers will leave any remaining money in their PRAs to their grandchildren.4
Ideally, the grandchildren who inherit money would invest the entire amount and let it grow over time to an even greater sum. However, Appendix 2 shows results for both (1) investing the entire amount until retirement; and (2) spending the entire inheritance and funding retirement benefits from only their own PRAs. While the grandchildren have substantially more for retirement if they invest their full inheritances, the importance of a PRA that allows workers to build an inheritable nest egg is equally evident if the grandchildren spend their entire inheritances.
The Value of Building Nest Eggs
Family nest eggs can do far more than just help to fix Social Security. A growing body of research shows that they would also:
Allow moderate and low-income workers to leave a bequest to their families;
Help equalize assets between upper-income and lower-income families; and
Change the way that lower-income families view themselves and their connection to society.
Reform plans that allow workers the option of accepting a smaller monthly income and leaving a portion of their savings available for other uses are likely to be more popular than a plan that requires them to spend everything on an annuity. Several studies, both in the United States and elsewhere, show that retirees value plans that allow them to leave money to their families and keep assets available in case of an emergency over plans that provide a guaranteed lifetime income. One study found that retirees avoided purchasing annuities because they wanted to leave money to their families and have savings for emergencies.5 They also felt that annuities cost too much.
Similarly, another study found that only about 40 percent of Chilean workers choose a lifetime annuity when they retire.6 Originally, Chile's personal accounts system allowed retirees to choose either an annuity or a phased withdrawal plan. However, earlier this year the government announced that the system would also offer an annuity that allows workers to receive a slightly lower monthly payment in return for the ability to leave money to their families.7 As long as retirees under such a plan receive enough monthly income to live without government aid, there is no reason why an American Social Security reform plan should not include similar flexibility.
In addition to providing retirees with more control over their savings, family nest eggs could also reduce the gap between the assets owned by upper-income and lower-income families. Edward Wolff of New York University and the Levy Economics Institute found that even modest bequests from one generation to another tend to equalize the distribution of family assets. "Though wealth inequality has risen in the United States between 1983 and 1998, the increase may have been even greater were it not for the mitigating effects of inheritances and gifts."8 Over time, a Social Security reform that makes it easier to leave money to one's family would result in an even greater reduction in the gap between rich and poor families.
Research has also shown that that money left from one generation to another can result in important behavioral changes. Research indicates that people with even modest assets may be more future-oriented, prudent, confident about their prospects, and connected with their communities.9 Clearly, a Social Security system that gives workers the flexibility to leave bequests to their families can have much greater benefits than just reducing Social Security's financial woes. The long-term benefits of this improvement could encourage a much greater change in the way that their families approach the future and their role in society.
Today's Social Security Discourages Workers from Building Nest Eggs
Today's Social Security system has done a fine job of providing retirees with a stable level of retirement income. In addition, it also provides a level of protection against poverty caused by disability or the premature death of a parent. Unfortunately, it not only fails to provide workers with any way to build a family nest egg, it actually discourages savings by absorbing a large proportion of earnings that moderate-income and low-income workers could otherwise save for retirement or use for other purposes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, approximately 80 percent of Americans pay more in payroll taxes than they do in federal income taxes.10
Despite the presence of private methods to invest for retirement, in 2000, approximately one-third of retirees on Social Security received at least 90 percent of their income from Social Security. Almost two-thirds of them depended on Social Security for at least 50 percent of their retirement income.
Today's Social Security faces four major problems that threaten its ability to provide future retirees with the same type of retirement security that was available to their parents and grandparents. These are:
Massive future deficits. In 2018, Social Security's retirement program will begin to spend more in benefits every year than it receives in taxes. A few years after deficits begin, this amount will exceed $100 billion per year and will continue to grow. Social Security has a drawer full of government bonds labeled the "trust fund," but these are nothing more than a pledge to use ever-larger amounts of general revenue taxes to pay benefits. When it repays these bonds, the federal government will have to reduce spending on other government programs, increase income or taxes, or increase government borrowing. Sadly, in 2042, the drawer of paper promises will be empty, and from that point forward, promised benefits will be cut as required by law--first by 27 percent and then by ever greater amounts as Social Security's deficits grow larger.
A poor rate of return on their payroll taxes. Younger and lower-income workers receive relatively little in benefits for their Social Security taxes because they will pay substantially higher taxes than older workers do. A 25-year-old average-income male is predicted to receive a -0.82 percent rate of return on his Social Security taxes. In other words, he will pay more into the system in taxes than he will receive back in benefits. The situation is even worse for low-income workers. A 25-year-old male living in a low-income section of New York City will receive an estimated -4.46 percent rate of return on his Social Security taxes.11
No property rights to their benefits. This is a key flaw. Even if Social Security was reformed to allow workers to build a family nest egg, without property rights the government could reclaim that money at any time. Two Supreme Court cases dealing with Social Security confirm this lack of property rights.12 In both cases, the decision explicitly stated that workers have no level of ownership of their Social Security benefits.
No choice in how their benefits are paid. Under the current inflexible system, all workers receive a monthly payment that starts when they retire and ends when either they die or their spouse dies. This one-size-fits-all approach especially hurts the one-fifth of white males and one-third of African-American males who die between the ages of 50 and 70.13 These workers face the prospect of paying a lifetime of Social Security taxes in return for little or no benefits. A more flexible system would allow them the comfort of knowing that at least a proportion of their taxes will go to their families in the form of a nest egg.
Changing Social Security to Allow Workers
to Build Nest Eggs
In order to study how PRAs could allow workers to build nest eggs (in addition to providing for their retirement benefits), the CDA developed a composite plan that incorporates key features from a number of existing reform plans, as well as other ideas that have not been included in any specific plan.14 The plan is designed to illustrate how all workers, especially lower-income workers, could create a family nest egg and provide a reasonable level of retirement income for all future retirees.
The study assumes that workers under age 55 as of January 1, 2003, would have the choice of either investing some of their existing Social Security taxes in a PRA or remaining in the current system. The amount invested in a worker's PRA would depend on his or her income, ranging from 7 percent of income for the lowest-income workers to 2.5 percent of income for the highest-income workers. This progressive contributions structure is designed both to reduce administrative costs and to allow lower-income workers (who are less likely to have access to other savings vehicles) to build their accounts faster.
For the purposes of this study, the PRAs would be invested in a conservative portfolio of 50 percent stock index funds and 50 percent super-safe government bonds. Investments would be handled through a centralized investment manager similar to the existing Thrift Savings Plan, which serves federal employees. This account structure would earn an estimated 4.7 percent annually after inflation and annual administrative costs equal to 0.3 percent of the account.
For a worker with a PRA, the monthly retirement benefit would be a combination of a government payment and an amount financed from the worker's PRA. A person without minor children who has reached full retirement age would receive substantially higher benefits than workers who retire today. The sample plan would guarantee that single workers receive at least $17,960 annually and couples would receive at least $24,240. In 2002, the current system paid average benefits of only $10,968 to new retirees.
Once a worker purchases an annuity that pays for his or her share of Social Security retirement benefits, the worker could withdraw all or part of any remaining money in the PRA or leave it in the account and allow it to grow. Upon the worker's death, the remaining money could be left to a surviving spouse, grandchild, or any other beneficiary.
Failing to utilize Social Security PRAs' full potential cheats future generations. Social Security reform should be about much more than just reducing the system's coming financial problems. Giving workers additional control over their retirement future and ensuring that the system is flexible enough to meet their individual needs will pay major dividends for families and society. Money in those nest eggs would remain in the community and would provide new opportunities for local people. Rather than depending on Washington and its priorities, PRA nest eggs would allow local people to improve their lives and those of their neighbors. The ability to create a nest egg should not be limited to the wealthy. Every American deserves the choice of building a family nest egg that could be used to improve retirement or enable his or her family to break out of poverty.
David C. John is Research Fellow in Social Security and Financial Institutions in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Heritage Foundation intern Kyle Nasser compiled the appendices.

Appendix 1
How Today's Workers Could Build a Nest Egg with a PRA

Today's moderate-income and low-income workers could build a nest egg under Social Security reform according to the CDA report. The 12 case studies listed in Table 1 cover workers born between 1960 and 1976, who would already be working when a system of PRAs is hypothetically established in 2003. Workers who are already in the workforce when PRAs are established would find building a nest egg more difficult because they would have less time to invest. The fact that all of the examples in the CDA study succeed in building a nest egg shows the program's immediate value. These benefits will only grow larger for workers who have PRAs for their entire careers.
Each case study shows two examples of the nest egg that the worker or couple could produce. The first number is the amount that workers would have remaining after using a portion of their PRA to finance a part of their monthly Social Security benefits. This is money that would be immediately available to them for whatever purpose they wish. The second number is the amount they could leave to their heirs at their death if they leave the remainder invested. The second number is usually significantly larger because the money remains invested for an additional decade or more. The study assumes that this gross amount will be divided equally among three heirs.
All amounts are expressed in constant dollars that eliminate artificial growth due to inflation.

Appendix 2
Results for the Third Generation
Social Security PRAs would provide workers with an even larger family nest egg once the accounts are available for an entire career. They reach even larger amounts when the workers' own contributions are supplemented by sums inherited from other family members. The 12 case studies listed in Table 2 examine the grandchildren of the first-generation examples listed in Table 1. These cases mirror those of the first generation with one key change: All of these examples chose to open a Social Security PRA on the day they entered the workforce. Otherwise, each worker has the same income level--and the same employment gaps for raising children at home--as the example of the same number from the first-generation cases. Each case also has the same life expectancy as the first-generation case, with the exception of the two first-generation males who die at age 55 before they can retire. In both cases, their third-generation heirs live a full life and reach retirement age.
Each of the third-generation workers is assumed to inherit one-third of the amount that his or her grandparents had remaining in their family nest egg at the time of their deaths. Table 2 shows the effect on the grandchild's PRA if the worker: (1) invests 100 percent of the inheritance in his or her PRA; or (2) spends the entire inheritance.

1. William W. Beach et al., "Peace of Mind in Retirement: Making Future Generations Better Off by Fixing Social Security," Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No. CDA04-06, August 11, 2004.
2. Calculated by The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis using data from The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, "2001 Survey of Consumer Finances," at (August 2, 2004). In this analysis, any major inheritance, gift, or bequest is considered an inheritance. Income figures represent adjusted gross income.
3. For the purposes of this study, low income is defined as annual earnings of $9,280 (in 2004 dollars), while moderate income is defined as annual earnings of $25,417.
4. For workers who never marry, their PRAs are left to grandnieces or grandnephews. Of course, the money could just as easily be left to the workers' children as to grandchildren, but they would likely be at the middle of their working lives (or later) when they received the money. Assuming that the grandchildren inherit money in a PRA, the CDA study shows the maximum amount that a combination of inherited money and the worker's own PRA could reach.
5. James M. Poterba, "Annuity Markets and Retirement Security," presentation at the Third Annual Conference of the Retirement Research Consortium, May 17, 2001, at (January 26, 2004).
6. Olivia S. Mitchell, "Developments in Decumulation: The Role of Annuity Products in Financing Retirement," Pension Institute Discussion Paper PI-0110, June 2001, p. 26, at (January 26, 2004).
7. Social Security Administration, "Chile: Chile's Recent Pension Reform, Passed in February, Changes the Way Retirement Annuities Are Sold, Creates a New Type of Annuity, and Makes It Harder to Retire Early," International Update: Recent Developments in Foreign Public and Private Pensions, March 2004, pp. 2-3, at (August 2, 2004).
8. Edward N. Wolff, "Inheritances and Wealth Inequality, 1989-1998," The American Economic Review, Vol. 92, No. 2 (May 2002), p. 263.
9. Gautam N. Yadama and Michael Sherraden, "Effects of Assets on Attitudes and Behaviors: Advance Test of a Social Policy Proposal," Washington University Center for Social Development Working Paper No. 95-2, 1995, p. 8, at (January 26, 2004). As measures of personal behavior, Yadama and Sherraden used indices for prudence, efficacy, horizons, connectedness, and effort (based on longitudinal surveys developed by the Survey Research Center of the University of Michigan). They apply regression analysis to test three hypotheses: (a) More asset holding causes increases in the indices; (b) more income causes increases in the indices; and (c) higher values of the indices cause more asset holding. They find that the data best support the first hypothesis (pp. 11-13).
10. Congressional Budget Office, "Economic Stimulus: Evaluating Proposed Changes in Tax Policy," January 2002, p. 12, footnote 7, at (January 26, 2004). "Economic theory and empirical evidence suggest that workers bear much of the employer's portion of the payroll tax through lower wages and reduced fringe benefits. If the employer-paid portion of payroll tax receipts is counted as the contribution of the worker, roughly 80 percent of taxpayers pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes." The 80 percent figure includes payroll taxes for the other two main programs of Social Security--Disability Insurance and Hospital Insurance.
11. Calculations by Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation using the Social Security Calculator, located at (July 20, 2004).
12. The two cases are Helvering v. Davis (1937) and Flemming v. Nestor (1960).
13. Stephen C. Goss, "Problems with `Social Security's Rate of Return: A Report of the Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis,'" Social Security Administration Memorandum, February 4, 1998.
14. This plan is intended to illustrate how a PRA reform plan could create nest eggs and is not an endorsement by either the authors or The Heritage Foundation of any particular approach to establishing PRAs.
? 1995 - 2004 The Heritage Foundation
All Rights Reserved.

Health, Inequality, and the Scholars
By Nicholas Eberstadt, Sally Satel, M.D.
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2004
The Public Interest
Publication Date: September 1, 2004
Few would take exception to the idea that an improvement in the material well-being of the poor would enhance not only their living standard but their health levels as well. A number of influential recent studies, however, purport to show that inequality in income--not poverty per se--has detrimental health consequences. This "inequality hypothesis" is meant to apply to everyone, regardless of wealth or social standing, and predicts that the risk of illness depends upon whether one lives in a society that is stratified or egalitarian. Thus, according to this hypothesis, while the poor may suffer the most from inequality, the better off and even the rich suffer as well.
This is a dramatic claim--and one with potentially far-reaching implications. It extends far beyond the current paradigms upon which contemporary Western social welfare policy is premised. Current welfare policy, after all, posits that overall national health can be improved by transferring resources from society's more affluent members to its poorest and most vulnerable groups. The inequality thesis, by contrast, would seem to suggest that simply taking wealth away from the rich--and thereby reducing measured economic inequality--should in itself produce an improvement in national health. Indeed, the inequality thesis suggests that, all other things being equal, a cutback in the income of the well-to-do could be expected to improve the health status of the poor, and possibly the rich themselves--even if society were left with a lower average income level as a result of those cutbacks.
It is hard to overstate how quickly and thoroughly the inequality hypothesis has become conventional wisdom among many medical sociologists and public health scholars. It is not confined to the radical left. In Unhealthy Societies, for example, Richard G. Wilkinson of Nottingham University Medical School argues that income inequality is "one of the most powerful determinants of health" and "the most important limitation of the quality of life in modern societies." The academic world is by no means immune to fads, but the sudden popularity of the inequality hypothesis--in schools of public health, scholarly journals like the American Journal of Public Health, institutions such as the American Public Health Association, and health philanthropies like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation--is quite extraordinary.
Additionally, the notion that income inequality is bad for health has recently surfaced in political discussions, taxpayer-funded policy research forums, and the popular media. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has stated, "There is no doubt that the published statistics show a link between inequality and health." The World Bank has dedicated an entire web page to the inequality hypothesis. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and reporters for the New York Times and Washington Post, among others, have given favorable coverage to the subject. The hypothesis has become accepted wisdom among public health researchers and epidemiologists.
But the enthusiasm of many researchers and observers goes well beyond what might be warranted by the weight of the evidence alone. A very persuasive, if less publicly heralded, body of scholarship that challenges the inequality hypothesis is currently emerging. To get a better sense of this important debate, it is useful to examine both sides of it--the evidence adduced to support, refute, and qualify the inequality hypothesis. In addition, it is necessary to evaluate the study methodologies and data interpretation, as well as policy recommendations, of both sides. Against this background, it appears that the evidence and arguments for the inequality hypothesis are wanting in many respects, and that a number of influential scholars have jumped to policy conclusions on the basis of ideologically appealing, but technically dubious, findings.
Origins of the Hypothesis
The income inequality hypothesis originated as an ad hoc explanation for the repeated observation that income inequality (the extent to which wealth is concentrated or dispersed over a population) is associated with mortality levels: The greater the degree of inequality, the higher the mortality levels in that population. From correlation was assumed causation. Antecedents of this line of academic thinking can be traced back at least to the 1970s, when income inequality emerged on the margins of the public health literature in the form of neo-Marxist jeremiads.
This line of argumentation was particularly associated with Johns Hopkins Professor Vicente Navarro and the publication he edited, the International Journal of Health Services. Navarro and his colleagues maintained that the capitalist system necessarily generated both economic inequality and ill health, and that it did so in rich and poor countries alike. This initial neo-Marxist thesis linking capitalism, inequality, and disease, however, was fundamentally nonquantitative, and it relied more on assertion and Marxist scripture than careful data analysis to bolster its case. It would take almost two decades for some of Navarro's tenets to be tested in a more quantifiable manner by more mainstream scholars.
One of the earliest studies arguing for a causal link between health and income inequality appeared in the British Medical Journal in 1992. In "Income Distribution and Life Expectancy," Richard Wilkinson of the University of Nottingham Medical School compared nine Western industrialized countries and reported that those with less income inequality had populations with longer life expectancies. Wilkinson has been the most vocal proponent of the so-called social-production theory of health. Since the appearance of his seminal article, well over two dozen research studies and commentaries confirming the income inequality hypothesis have been published.
Wilkinson and other supporters of the hypothesis argue that health is one of the most sensitive indicators of the social costs of income inequality. Beyond a relatively modest level of economic development, they argue, further advances in standard of living do not seem to matter much, and the linear relationship between life expectancy and income breaks down. This observation prompted Wilkinson to ask the following question: How can one country "be more than twice as rich as another without being any healthier," particularly when it comes to life expectancy?
The many lines of exploration that have been pursued to answer this question assume two main types: aggregate data studies and individual-level analyses. (A third type of study exists--observational examinations of human and animal social hierarchies--but this is not the place to discuss these.) These studies, which help establish patterns of disease and health status in relation to social position, form the basis for speculation about the mechanisms by which environmental factors create stress or lead to behaviors that produce adverse health consequences.
Aggregate Data Studies
This first type of study examines correlations between aggregate levels of health (that is, the mortality of a specified population) and income inequality. These aggregate data studies purport to offer evidence that inequality affects all members of a group, not just the poorest ones. One of the earliest studies of this phenomenon was "Income and Inequality and Determinants of Mortality," conducted in 1979 by G.B. Rodgers of the International Labour Organization. Rodgers examined income dispersion applying the Gini coefficient, a measure of income distribution, to data from 56 rich and poor countries in the context of three health measures: life expectancy at birth, life expectancy at age five, and infant mortality rate (deaths in the first year of life per 1,000 live births). He concluded that the "difference in average life expectancy between a relatively egalitarian and a relatively inegalitarian country is likely to be as much as five to ten years." In the 1980s, a handful of studies used the Gini coefficient in analyzing the relationship between health measures and found similar results.
It is important to note that Rodgers posited at first only a correlation, not a causal relationship, between health and income. But in his 1992 study, Wilkinson suggested a causal relationship. He examined Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries using data from the Luxembourg Income Study and found a high correlation between life expectancy and the proportion of income earned by the bottom 70 percent of the population.
Wilkinson concluded that differences in per capita gross national product (GNP) alone could not explain more than 10 percent of the variance in life expectancy. He noted further that mortality rates are not related to per-capita economic output but rather to the scale of economic inequality in each society. The association was unaffected by adjustments made for average absolute income level and remained evident across a range of decile shares of income distribution. Subsequent to Wilkinson's report, a series of crossnational studies have demonstrated that the more even the distribution of income, the higher the life expectancy.
Robert J. Waldmann of Columbia University complemented these findings by using another measure of inequality. In a 1992 article for the Quarterly Journal of Economics he examined pairs of countries in which the poor (defined as the lower 20 percent of household income distribution) had equal real incomes but where the rich (defined as the top 5 percent of the household income distribution) in one country were much wealthier than in the other. He found that the infant mortality rate was higher in the half of the pair in which the rich households were wealthier. He tested for explanations other than income, including the degree of urbanization of the households, the literacy of the mothers, and access to medical services. Yet he found that none adequately accounted for the positive association, likely causal in his view, between the incomes of the rich and infant mortality.
In their book Is Inequality Bad for Our Health? Harvard researchers Norman Daniels, Bruce Kennedy, and Ichiro Kawachi provided further evidence in support of the inequality hypothesis. The authors highlight seeming paradoxes such as the fact that equally poor countries such as Cuba and Iraq do not have similar life expectancies--Cuba's reportedly exceeded that of Iraq by about 17 years. Conversely, low GDP-per-capita Costa Rica and the high GDP-per-capita United States were said to have similar life expectancies. And comparably wealthy countries with more equal income distributions, such as Sweden and Japan, had higher life expectancies (by two to five years) than the United States. The authors conclude that "the health of a population depends not just on the size of the economic pie but on how the pie is shared," adding that "the degree of relative deprivation within a society also matters."
Numerous studies of the U.S. population have examined the association between income inequality and aggregate health measures at the state level. Daniels, Kennedy, and Kawachi found that, in the United States between 1980 and 1990, states with the highest income inequality showed slower rates of improvement in average life expectancy than did states with more equitable income distributions. They concluded that "the more unequal a society is in economic terms, the more unequal it is in health terms." George Kaplan of the University of Michigan and his colleagues in a recent study found a strong correlation between inequality and death rates. In particular, the authors discovered that income inequality was significantly associated with a higher incidence of age-specific mortality, low birth weight, homicide, violent crime, work disability, welfare receipt, smoking, expenditures on medical care, unemployment, and low educational attainment. What is more, all these measures worsened with increased income dispersion.
Individual-Level Analyses and Questions of Causation
The second type of analysis measures the effect of income inequality on health after controlling for the effects of individual income. These individual-level analyses ask the following question: Can the observed correlation between inequality and health be explained by the intervention of other variables, or is there truly a causal relationship between the two? When this type of analysis is considered, the association between income inequality and health outcomes does not appear as secure as its proponents suggest.
Questions remain about the extent to which statistical artifact has been mistaken for real effect. In his 1998 article in the British Medical Journal, Hugh Gravelle of the University of York asserts that there may be a very simple explanation for some, or all, of the reported associations between inequality of income and population health used to support the relative income hypothesis. "A positive correlation between population mortality and income inequality can arise at the aggregate level even if inequality has no effect on the individual risk of mortality," he stated. "Thus, we do not need the relative income hypothesis to explain the observed associations between population health and income inequality--the absolute income hypothesis will serve."
International comparisons show that health improvements become smaller and smaller with increasing wealth. Thus the relationship between per-capita income and national health--however it is measured--should not be expected to be linear. To the contrary, as Jennifer Mellor of the College of William and Mary and Jeffrey Milyo of the University of Chicago argue, the function is one in which we would expect to see "diminishing returns" to average income. Furthermore, they continue, health levels should depend not only on average income levels but also on income distribution. This is because information on income distribution serves as a proxy for the number of persons at lower levels of income. Consequently, Mellor and Milyo conclude, aggregated studies do not offer convincing evidence on this matter. Harold Pollack of the University of Michigan puts it another way:
Money matters near the bottom of the distribution and may not matter at all for many outcomes when one exceeds the median. Controlling for the median income, then, any income dispersion measure is highly correlated with the percentage of the population that is under the poverty line.
The influence of particular variables is significant as well. For example, when individual characteristics replace aggregate-level mortality in the analyses, and when different years are examined, the relationship between health and income inequality often disappears. When the strong regional patterns in health outcomes that exist across the United States are ignored, spurious associations between inequality and health may result. Some, like Pollack, question the validity of one of the aggregated econometric measures used in most analyses: "Cross-sectional regressions that use inequality measures such as Gini are virtually uninterpretable."
There are some glaring exceptions to the health and income inequality pattern. In Denmark, for example, where per-capita income is similar to that of the United States, but where income dispersion is lower, life expectancy is also slightly lower than in the United States. Thus the important but unanswered question remains: If an underlying relationship between deprivation and poor health does indeed exist, is reported annual dispersion of a society's income the most appropriate index for describing inequality in that population?
Milyo and Mellor have questioned whether the correlation between inequality and health is in fact not causal but spurious. There are three possible interpretations of a correlation between variables A and B: either A causes B, B causes A, or A and B are independent of one another but both related to a third variable. Taking into account the well-established relationship between health and material well-being and social status, Milyo and Mellor point out obvious advantages that come with wealth: Well-off people can afford better health insurance and higher-quality care; they can demand better work environments, afford safer cars, and live in less polluted and less crime-ridden neighborhoods. In this way, being richer can make one healthier.
Yet consider the reverse dynamic: Being healthy can also make one better off. Poor physical or mental health can influence an individual's ability to work for long hours or at all, thus limiting his income. This is known as the "healthy worker effect." What follows could lead to further health impairment because the worker has less money with which to purchase health-enhancing goods and protections. The cumulative wear and tear on such individuals, coupled with whatever psychic stress they experience as a result of deprivation of social status, may be considerable.
Additionally, so-called third factors can account for the habits and limited opportunities that often lead to poorer health. Sedentary lifestyle, obesity, high-fat diets, aversion to medical care, and risky behavior, which typically underlie many of the differences in health status between the less wealthy and the better off, may well be the product of educational level. Better-informed people know about the importance of exercise, screening tests for cancer, and a healthy diet. They are more confident when interacting with physicians and better at negotiating bureaucracies (for example, HMOs). Personal characteristics that tend to be associated with greater life success, such as prudence, perseverance, and an ability to delay gratification, are also likely predictors of good health or competence in managing illness. Indeed, the substantial association of health with certain measures of human agency raises the question of whether income inequality itself has any appreciable direct effect on mortality. The association may instead reflect the effects of other factors--education in particular--that are also related to mortality.
Indeed, in a recent study in the British Medical Journal Andreas Muller of the University of Arkansas tested whether the relationship between income inequality and mortality in the United States is a consequence of different levels of formal education. He conducted state-by-state analyses of age-adjusted mortality from all causes and three independent variables: the Gini coefficient on income in 1989 and 1990, per-capita income from those years, and the percentage of people older than 18 who did not complete high school. An income inequality effect was found, but it disappeared when the percentage of people without a high school diploma was added to the regression analysis. Muller concluded that the lack of a high school education accounts for the income inequality effect and is a powerful predictor of mortality variation across states. He writes, "The physical and social conditions associated with low levels of education may be sufficient for interpretation of the relationship between income inequality and mortality." These conditions likely include the risk of occupational injury, the inability to attain protective goods and services, and cigarette smoking.
Ecological Bias (in Theory)
From a methodological standpoint, most quantitative research purporting to support the inequality thesis is potentially compromised by a problem statisticians designate as "ecological bias." Ecological bias arises when "ecological correlations"--that is to say, correlations witnessed in aggregated data--differ from the underlying correlations that would be observed if one were examining individual data.
Ecological bias is a particular risk in studies of the inequality thesis for a very simple reason: The relationship between income and mortality is highly unlikely to be linear. In general, an individual's health will not be doubled by a doubling of income--and multiplying his or her income by a factor of 10 will not correspondingly reduce mortality odds or health risks by an order of magnitude. To the contrary, the relationship between income and mortality in almost all populations seems to be curvilinear. That is to say, additional increments in income correspond to further improvements, albeit steadily diminishing improvements. Recent international data, indeed, suggest that a doubling of a country's per capita income is associated with an absolute increase in life expectancy at birth of just about six years.
Consider what this curvilinear correspondence between income and mortality means for aggregated data--and for measurements to test the inequality hypothesis. Even if increased income dispersion has no negative impact whatever upon health, the society with the higher level of income inequality will, all things being equal, appear to have an "unexpectedly" short life expectancy.
A simple hypothetical example illustrates the problem. Suppose we invent a country called "Equalia," with a population of 100,000. Every person in Equalia earns the national median income of $50,000 a year, and every person lives exactly 75 years. In this country, then, life expectancy is 75, average per capita income is $50,000, and the Gini coefficient of income inequality is exactly zero (on a possible scale of 0 to 100 percent).
Now suppose an invented individual--call him "Bill Gates"--suddenly moves to Equalia. Bill's income is $5 billion a year, and his life expectancy (thanks in part to the superb medical treatment he is able to afford) is exactly 100 years. Suppose further that Bill's immigration leaves everyone else's income and health totally unaffected.
What will the aggregated data show? Before Bill came to Equalia, life expectancy was 75 years; after he moved in, it was ever so slightly higher. Before he moved in, average income per household was $50,000; after he arrived, average income was virtually twice as high--essentially, $100,000 per household. And whereas the Gini coefficient for Equalia's income distribution was zero before Bill's arrival, post-Bill Equalia would have a Gini coefficient of nearly 50. In other words, half of the country's income would be in Bill's hands, and the rest would be evenly distributed among everyone else.
By the sort of analysis the inequality-thesis school favors, post-Bill Equalia would be placed on a scatter plot along with other populations and compared in terms of mortality (or life expectancy), income, and income distribution measures. Of course, life expectancy in the country would be almost identical before and after Bill's move. But post-Bill Equalia's income level would be far higher than that of pre-Bill Equalia, and the country's income distribution would be more uneven. The correspondence between life expectancy and income in post-Bill Equalia would look much less favorable than in pre-Bill Equalia. Indeed, once the statistics are crunched, post-Bill Equalia might be seen as "suffering" from a national life expectancy fully six years lower than might have been expected on the basis of its income level alone. Further use of regression analysis could produce results that would demonstrate that income inequality in post-Bill Equalia had cost the nation years of lost life expectancy (against levels otherwise predicted). Yet in our hypothetical example, not a single household in Equalia had its health or income affected by Bill's entry into the country. The adverse relationship between inequality and health suggested by nation-level data in post-Bill Equalia is entirely spurious--a consequence of ecological bias, pure and simple.
Ecological Bias (in Practice)
It is not only in the hypothetical case of Equalia that "ecological correlation" may misrepresent the true correspondence between health risks and economic stratification. Ecological fallacy may also undermine conclusions from previous studies supporting the income inequality hypothesis. It is therefore important to control for confounding at the individual level.
To that end, in a 1997 study appearing in the British Medical Journal, Kevin Fiscella and Peter Franks of the University of Rochester examined whether the relationship between income inequality and mortality observed at the population level may simply represent inadequately measured rates of income differences at the individual level. Fiscella and Franks used demographic and mortality data from 1971 and 1987 from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and related follow-up surveys. To measure income inequality, the researchers used an index that estimates the proportion of total income earned by the poorer half of the population in an area. The authors found that aggregated data replicated earlier findings that supported the income inequality hypothesis. After they adjusted for individual household income, however, no significant relation between income inequality and mortality was evident. They concluded that "income, as a measure of access to resources, and not relative inequality, better explains the relation between income and mortality."
The fact is, few studies explicitly test whether inequality has a more pronounced effect on the health of the poor. In those that do, the results are mixed at best. Ellen Meara of Harvard University examined the relationship between various measures of household income inequality on infant mortality and low birth weight. She estimated the effects of inequality with and without state-specific effects--that is to say, taking into account the possibility that particular states might have especially good, or poor, health outcomes due to some special circumstance. After controlling for household income and other maternal characteristics, Meara found no significant correlation between income inequality and adverse birth outcomes among poorer women.
Mellor and Milyo also explicitly examined whether inequality has a particularly strong effect on poorer individuals. They controlled for the possibility that particular regions of the country might have characteristically better or worse health than other regions--possibly due to such factors as local dietary or behavioral habits that could be spuriously correlated with income inequality-- and explored whether the relationship between health and income inequality is robust across geographical units. They found that statistical association between income inequality and health outcomes is greatly attenuated once controls are added for individual income. In fact, when Mellor and Milyo controlled for variables such as education and race, they found a weak inverse relationship--that is, the more dispersed a state's income, the less healthy the individuals.
Little research is explicitly devoted to testing the theory that perception of relative deprivation leads to illness or foreshortened lifespan. Angus Deaton and Christina Paxson of Princeton University attempted to do this by measuring inequality within birth cohorts rather than across geographical regions. The authors reasoned that people may be more likely to appraise their social status differently if they compare themselves to others at the same stage of life rather than with their neighbors. They found no robust association between inequality and mortality when inequality is measured within birth cohort. In fact, in some specifications, the association was the opposite of what the income inequality hypothesis would predict.
Social Capital As a Causal Mechanism?
Because a clear causal relationship between economic inequality and health cannot be identified, much of the inequality thesis literature to date is devoted to determining a possible intermediary factor that links the two. The main intermediate variable is surmised to be "social capital," a concept that describes the pattern and intensity of networks among people with shared values. It gauges civil cohesion through a consideration of citizenship, neighborliness, trust, community involvement, social networks, and political participation (among other factors). Proponents of the hypothesis claim that inequality causes people to perceive their neighbors as more alien or less trustworthy than would be the case in an egalitarian society. As a result, citizens are less concerned about the welfare of their neighbors, and a decline in public health results.
Measuring social capital, however, is exceedingly difficult. Alternative indexes can produce contrasting or even contradictory readings for a given society. For this reason, the claim that social capital is the mechanism by which economic inequality adversely affects human health is problematic.
It is true that some data suggest a relationship on the individual level between health and civic cohesion. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that people who are socially isolated die at two to three times the rate of well-connected individuals. But what about entire, socially isolated communities? If populations are not well integrated socially, as reflected in a hierarchical structure that highlights real or perceived differences in interests across individuals, what effect might this have on the health of the group?
Daniels, Kennedy, and Kawachi were among the first to address this question. They conducted a cross-sectional study of 39 states in which they examined the relationship between social capital and mortality. The aim was to estimate state variations in group membership and levels of trust.
They quantified social capital by considering the per-capita number of groups and associations to which residents of each state belonged. They also weighted responses to several items on the General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. The first survey item was a measure of "perceived lack of fairness," which was measured by responses to the following question: "Do you think most people would try to take advantage of you if they had the chance, or would they try to be fair?" The second item concerned "social mistrust" and was measured by responses to the question, "Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can't be too careful in dealing with people?" So was the third: "Would you say that most of the time people try to be helpful, or are they mostly looking out for themselves?"
For each state, the authors calculated the percentage of respondents who agreed with the first part of each statement and found an association between social capital and mortality. (The authors acknowledge that their model did not consider the full range of factors that might influence income inequality and social capital, and also recognize the inability to discern the direction of causality.)
Based on their findings, Kawachi and his colleagues propose that income inequality affects health by inhibiting the formation of social capital, which in turn undermines civil society. It erodes social cohesion, as indicated by higher levels of measured social mistrust, and reduced participation in civic organizations. Lack of social cohesion, they argue, leads to a decline in engagement in activities and institutions such as voting, serving in local government, or volunteering for political campaigns. Low levels of engagement, in turn, undermine the responsiveness of government when addressing the needs of the worse-off. The authors conclude: "States with the highest income inequality, and thus the lowest levels of social capital and political participation, are less likely to invest in human capital and provide far less generous safety nets."
But even if there proves to be a correspondence between health and social capital, it does not necessarily follow that economic inequality per se has a direct bearing on health prospects. If that were true, a causal relationship would have to exist between inequality and social capital formation. Available evidence, however, suggests that the statistical association between economic inequality and social capital is quite tenuous.
This problem is indicated in Francis Fukuyama's 1995 study Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. In the course of that work, Fukuyama describes and contrasts countries and areas that he designates as "high trust" and "low trust" societies. In Fukuyama's estimate, Germany, Japan, and the United States are countries with high levels of social capital, while France, Italy, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are settings where the endowment of social capital is noticeably lower.
As official economic statistics illustrate, however, no obvious correspondence exists between income inequality and social trust among Fukuyama's exemplars. It is true that economic inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) is on average somewhat higher in the "low trust" than the "high trust" societies identified. But income inequality would also seem to be greater in "high trust" Germany than in "low trust" Italy. Income distribution would appear to be distinctly more skewed in "high trust" America than in either "low trust" France or "low trust" Taiwan. And within the "low trust" group, Italy's measured level of income inequality is barely half that of Hong Kong. Indeed, according to World Bank data, outside of Scandinavia and the former Soviet bloc, no country in the world today reports a more even distribution of national income than does "low trust" Italy. Given the weak empirical foundations for any argument linking inequality and social capital, the hypothetical mechanism by which inequality would have an impact on health would seem to remain just that--merely hypothetical.
Nonreproducible Results
The inequality hypothesis has become an increasingly influential school of thought within public health literature. But when exploring the claims its proponents advance, the evidence they cite in their favor, and the methodologies underlying their arguments, it becomes clear that this is a theory built on stilts. How has a notion with such questionable empirical documentation--research relying far too often on limited or unrepresentative data sets, hazily expounded causality, and elementary econometric fallacies--acquired so much respect within the academy and so much authority in policy circles?
This troubling question becomes even starker when one considers that some of the important studies adduced in support of the inequality hypothesis appear to be difficult to replicate with different but analogous sets of data. The essence of the scientific method is to frame and operationalize a hypothesis whose predictions comport with observable results in a consistent manner. If the hypothesis is valid and testable, its result should be generally reproducible, rather than unique to a particular experiment. But key facets of the evidentiary foundation for the inequality hypothesis fail this basic test.
Robert Waldmann's influential 1992 study on international infant mortality rates and economic inequality is a case in point. Although Waldmann himself has not been an exponent of the inequality thesis, his econometric analysis has become staple fare for those who argue that inequality has adverse effects on public health. Using World Bank per-capita income and income distribution data from the 1960s and 1970s for a sample of 57 countries, 41 of which he categorized as "developing," Waldmann concluded that "infant mortality appears to be positively related to the incomes of the rich (the upper 5 percent of the income distribution) when the incomes of the poor (the lowest 20 percent) are equalized among countries." He took this result to be so robust that he described it as a "striking empirical regularity."
If this is indeed as striking an empirical regularity as he claims, it would be reasonable to expect a similar result using larger and more recent World Bank data. Because such data are presently available, we thought it would be interesting to repeat Waldmann's analysis using these new data and the same regression equations that generated his striking and thought-provoking conclusions. As it turns out, the "striking empirical regularity" that Waldmann found in 1992 is by no means evident in international data from the mid 1990s.
For the sample of all countries, rich and poor, recent data affirm Waldmann's finding of a strong and statistically significant relationship between infant mortality and the per-capita income levels of the middle-income grouping. This is hardly a surprising result, insofar as this middle group accounts for the overwhelming majority of each country's population, and also presumably the greatest share of every country's births and infant deaths. But where Waldmann uncovered a powerful and significant positive relationship between infant mortality and the share of income accruing to the top income grouping, our analysis finds a negligible association--less than one hundredth the scale of Waldman's. This association, moreover, could be either positive or negative, given the weak statistical relationship itself and the large margins of error involved.
Some of our other results appear even more incongruent with Waldmann's. When just the income level of the poor and the income share of the rich are used to predict infant mortality, Waldmann found a strong and positive association between inequality (so measured) and the infant mortality rate. But for the mid 1990s, using a substantially larger data set, that relationship is weak and the coefficient is negative. This is true for a sample including both rich and poor countries, and for the developing countries by themselves. What does that mean? Plainly put, this purportedly "striking empirical regularity" of the supposedly perverse relationship between income concentration and infant mortality is rather less "striking"--or "regular"--than proponents of the inequality hypothesis themselves apparently understand. Based on these larger, more recent data samples, the notion that a country's infant mortality rate is directly influenced by its economic elite's share of total income is a proposition that plainly cannot be generally substantiated.
Faith Factor
Considering the empirically questionable nature of the data and methodology used to support the inequality hypothesis, its widespread popularity must therefore be explained in other, nonempirical terms. One reason the hypothesis may have proved so compelling in academia, as well as in the policy world, is that it points toward a social reform long favored by radical egalitarians: the redistribution of wealth. In view of the new and now well-documented activist mission of many schools of public health--that is, to promote "social justice"--it is not surprising that public health circles might react enthusiastically to a thesis that would seem to support their own preferences for an expansive social and economic policy agenda.
It seems there is a profound, almost elemental appeal to the basic premises of the hypothesis, and, most especially, to its implicit practical corollary--namely, that by restructuring society and reducing inequality, the health chances and life prospects can be improved for all. This elemental theme, however, is hardly new to social or political discourse. In an important sense, the theme is as old as the concept of modernity itself. In one form or another, versions of the same romantic, utopian call have been heard ever since writers first began to imagine that we could improve humanity by purposely refashioning the sort of society that human beings inhabited. Like the Marxist and neo-Marxist ideologies to which it is related, the inequality hypothesis is best understood as a creed or faith. To describe it as a scientific hypothesis is a misnomer; it is more accurately a doctrine in search of data.
Nicholas Eberstadt is the Henry Wendt Scholar and Sally Satel is a resident scholar at AEI.


A Prescription for Health-Care Reform
By R. Glenn Hubbard
Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2004
Business Week
Publication Date: September 20, 2004
An "Ownership Society'' agenda has taken center stage in President George W. Bush's agenda for a second term, with proposals for Personal Accounts in Social Security, expanded incentives to save for retirement, and Personal Reemployment Accounts to aid workers in finding a new job. But a central plank of this agenda, and one that can be enhanced to improve markets for health care, is already law: the Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) passed in the recent Medicare reform.
HSAs, which let individuals set up tax-preferred accounts to pay for health care--so long as they buy high-deductible health insurance--allow citizens, as the President says, to "own their own health care.'' Under current law, people can use pretax dollars to fund a deductible of at least $2,000 for a family and insurance pays expenses above that amount. HSAs can also shore up troubled Medicare and mimic the economic advantage of the Social Security Personal Accounts.
HSAs help make health-care markets work better by removing the tax bias toward third-party payments.
Patient-centered health care is a hard concept to implement when direct patient payments make up only $1 out of every $6 of expenditures. With insurers paying for even routine care, consumers lack incentives to shop for low-cost, high-value care. Middle-income families receive a huge tax discount by buying employer-sponsored insurance: A household earning $50,000 gets a subsidy equal to its combined marginal income and payroll tax rate of about 40%.
In the short run, markets cope with this situation by shifting and managing costs. Small employers will probably drop coverage. In the long run, the problems will lead to calls for more government intervention--bringing price controls and a system responding slowly to innovation.
But a simple change can improve HSAs as a tool of health policy and the Ownership Society: Let all Americans deduct expenditures on insurance and out-of-pocket expenses as long as they purchase at least insurance against catastrophes. That is, people already covered by employer plans could deduct out-of-pocket expenses. The self-employed with insurance may deduct out-of-pocket expenses. Those now without coverage may deduct both insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses if they purchase an individual plan.
The change would level the playing field between medical care through employer insurance and direct out-of-pocket outlays. Acquiring insurance would be encouraged since the tax break is available only with insurance. Importantly, the tax-code bias for high-cost, low-deductible insurance would be removed, allowing for deductibility of out-of-pocket expenses. The tax change reduces the bias against buying insurance on your own, either through your employer or individually.
Such an enhancement of HSAs raises two policy questions. First, as expanded HSAs make individual coverage more attractive, would employer-based insurance unravel? No. Expanded HSAs just remove much of the difference between buying insurance through one's employer or on one's own.
Second, by making more out-of-pocket outlays deductible, wouldn't an enhanced HSA raise costs? No. People will shift to plans with higher deductibles and co-insurance, reducing health-care utilization. John F. Cogan, Daniel P. Kessler, and I have estimated the net decline in spending at more than $65 billion a year. That drop is achievable without price controls.
But resources no longer spent on health would flow to other, taxable activities: Wages will climb by the amount of the decline in employer premium payments. Besides putting cash in workers' pockets, new income and payroll tax collections will rise enough to cover much of the revenue loss from tax deductibility. HSAs also offer a vehicle through which health assistance to low-income households could be distributed, helping families buy insurance in private markets and save for old-age medical expenses.
Finally, HSAs, and the ownership agenda they represent, are a stark contrast to the vision offered by John F. Kerry. The Kerry plan would spend $1 trillion over 10 years, expanding government's role in health care. This requires more than the tax increase on high-income earners that Kerry has outlined. And carrying the debate to shoring up Medicare, the Senator's "solve it with tax increases'' theme bodes ill for growth, and does little to put the consumer in the driver's seat.
To the patient and voter: Read the prescriptions carefully.
R. Glenn Hubbard is a visiting scholar at AEI.


Argentina Must Implement IMF's Reforms If Recovery Is to Continue
Letter to the Editor
By Desmond Lachman
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2004
Financial Times (London)
Publication Date: September 16, 2004
After all of Argentina's economic pain, one can understand Mr. Prat-Gay, Argentina's central bank governor, taking satisfaction from the stronger than expected bounce in the Argentine economy over the past two years. (How Argentina defied the analysts, September 14) However, one must wonder whether he does his country a service by insinuating that it can sustain that recovery without implementing the economic reforms being prescribed by the IMF and without normalizing its relationship with its external private creditors.
While noting Argentina's strong economic growth since 2002, Mr. Prat-Gay overlooks the many transitory factors that have supported that growth. These factors have included near record international grain prices, an undervalued exchange rate, a substantial domestic output gap, and record low international interest rates. Yet despite these favorable factors, the Argentine economy is yet to regain its pre-crisis 1998 level.
Mr. Prat-Gay also suggests that the Argentine financial system is on the mend as indicated by the rapid shrinking of non-performing loans and by a 40 percent increase in private credit. However, he does not remind us that private bank credit in Argentina is presently around 7 percent of GDP, or barely 40 percent of its pre-crisis level. Nor does he mention the remaining vulnerabilities of Argentina's banks or the far from completed IMF banking system reform agenda.
As Argentina uses up the economy's existing slack, maintaining satisfactory economic growth will require sustained investment and improved productivity performance. As the IMF does not tire of reminding us, this will require normalizing relations with international creditors, placing the public debt on a sustainable path, restoring a sound financial system and resolving the problems inhibiting investment by Argentina's utility companies. Rising to this challenge may not be quite as easy for Argentina as Mr. Prat-Gay seems to suggest.
Desmond Lachman is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Posted by maximpost at 1:21 AM EDT
Saturday, 18 September 2004


Order Out of Chaos
Abbas William Samii
The mad, mad world of Iranian foreign policy.
Abbas William Samii is a Bernard M. Osher Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a regional analysis coordinator at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The views in this article are his own.
In recent months, the United States has repeatedly accused Iran of interfering in its neighbors' affairs--and Iran has repeatedly denied such claims. It might seem counterintuitive for Tehran to foment unrest on its eastern and western borders, but that is exactly what Washington accuses it of doing.
Some observers argue that because Iranian diplomats played a helpful role in the November-December 2001 meeting in Bonn that created a framework for a post-Taliban government, and because in April 2004 Iranian diplomats came to Iraq in an effort to reduce tensions there, it does not make sense for Iran to work against U.S. efforts now. If anything, the American elimination of the Taliban--with which Iran almost went to war in late 1998--and Saddam Hussein, whose 1980-88 war left some 200,000 Iranians dead, has greatly benefited Iran and contributed to its security.
In theory, Iran and the United States have similar interests in Afghanistan and Iraq. In practice, however, Iranian policy is based on a number of motives that are at odds with those of the United States, and, therefore, what is irrational from an American perspective is rational from an Iranian one. Furthermore, institutions and officials with sometimes conflicting interests have formal and informal roles in Iran's foreign policy process. The interaction of motives and actors seems chaotic, but understanding how this system works can help explain present Iranian actions and predict future ones.
Motives and Actors
Exporting its Islamic revolution was the dominant focus of Iranian foreign policy in the 1980s, with Tehran supporting Shia movements in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, and Lebanon. Revolutionary Islam continues to underpin the country's foreign policy; Article 3 of the Iranian constitution still states that in order to attain its objectives the country's foreign policy must be based on "Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and unsparing support to the freedom fighters of the world." And, according to Article 154 of the constitution, "[Iran] supports the rightful struggle of the oppressed people against their oppressors anywhere in the world."
By 1988, Tehran had recognized that this attitude had alienated it from the international community. Radicalism slowly gave way to pragmatism, geopolitics, and economics; factors such as nationalism and ethnicity also influenced policy. This meant that in the 1990s Iran improved relations with its neighbors across the Persian Gulf, did not make a substantive effort to influence political developments in Central Asia, and sided with Moscow in the Chechen conflict.
An exception to this pragmatic attitude is Iran's continuing support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Even this can be considered pragmatic, if only from an Iranian perspective, because by supporting these groups Iran demonstrates commitment to an issue that has a regional appeal, rather than a Shia-specific one. Moreover, this issue appears to concern only the United States and Israel--two countries with which Iran does not have diplomatic relations.
The top actor in the foreign policy process is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who under Article 110 of the constitution delineates state policies and is supreme commander of the armed forces. He appoints the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, and the top commanders of the armed forces. The political-ideological bureaus in the military are linked with the leadership.
The 38-member Expediency Council advises the Supreme Leader and makes recommendations on state policies. Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, heads this body.
The country's top foreign policy body is the Supreme National Security Council, which is chaired by the moderate president Mohammad Khatami. The IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) theoretically report to this council, but in reality they have a great deal of autonomy and deal with the more sensitive aspects of foreign policy. Their political rivals are the Foreign and Defense Ministries, which are more closely allied with the president.
It is noteworthy that when a delegation of Iraqi opposition figures, including Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, visited Iran in January 2003, it did not meet with anyone from President Khatami's office or from the Foreign Ministry. Brandeis University professor Kanan Makiya, who was in that delegation, told the New York Times, "We're not involved with the Khatami group. They have absolutely no say over Iraqi affairs."
Institutions that are not directly part of the government also sway the foreign policy process. Informally, the foundations that were created partly through the post-revolution expropriation of the assets of the monarchy and wealthy Iranians are influential. The foundations get many state benefits, but they are not accountable to the elected government. The Imam Reza Shrine Foundation (Astan-i Qods-i Razavi), based in the northeastern city of Mashhad, could affect Iran's relationship with Afghanistan. The foundation controls the most important religious shrine in Iran, from which it derives its power and wealth. Over the last 25 years the income from pilgrims and donors has turned the foundation into a multimillion dollar enterprise; it runs auto plants, agricultural businesses, and many other enterprises, and it is worth an estimated $15 billion. The head of the foundation, Ayatollah Abbas Vaez-Tabasi, is a member of the aforementioned Expediency Council, as well as the Assembly of Experts, which supervises the Supreme Leader's performance.
Individuals also influence the foreign policy process. In a February 2003 meeting with Afghan pilgrims to Mecca, Hojatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi-Reyshahri said that the United States created the Taliban so it would have an excuse to enter Afghanistan. He urged Afghans to stand up to Western aggression and promised that Iran would help them regain control of their fates. Reyshahri is the Supreme Leader's representative and supervisor of hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, serves on the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council, and is head of the important Shahzadeh Abdolazim Shrine Foundation.
All these institutional factors are relatively easy to trace. It is more difficult to determine whether individuals like Vaez-Tabasi and Reyshahri are acting in an official capacity or as private citizens. Confusing the situation even more is the complicated network of intermarriage and seminary education that links the clerics who run the country. Such informal networks are not confined to Iran's clerical classes. Other networks are based on military service during the Iran-Iraq war, international university education, and regional origins.
Overshadowing this obscure mix of formal and informal institutional and individual connections is domestic factional politics, ranging from isolationist to interventionist. Traditional conservatives oppose exporting the revolution because it has the potential to harm trade and the bazaar. The left, on the other hand, initially identified the country's foreign policy interests with opposition to the United States. Centrists identified with Hashemi-Rafsanjani eschewed these approaches and hinted at the possibility of relations with the United States.
From Theory to Practice
The most important implication of the above is that the general direction of Iranian foreign policy can be determined by studying Supreme Leader Khamenei's statements, which means understanding that Iran's leadership fears the United States more than it had feared the Taliban or Saddam Hussein. On the eve of Operation Enduring Freedom (in September 2001), Supreme Leader Khamenei said, "We shall not offer any assistance to America and its allies in their attack on Afghanistan." As the crowd chanted "Death to America," Khamenei asked how the United States could seek Iranian assistance in attacking Afghanistan when "you [Americans] are the ones who have always inflicted blows on Iran's interests." And Khamenei warned, in a May 2004 discussion about events in Iraq, "America's threat today is not directed against just one or two countries in this region. The threat is directed against all of us. . . . They intend to devour the entire region."
It is possible that Tehran hopes to benefit from the difficult situation the United States faces in Iraq. Hashemi-Rafsanjani has used the "quagmire" metaphor often in this context. Even before Operation Iraqi Freedom began, he said, in a December 2002 meeting with officers of the IRGC, that because the United States does not have experience with the Iraqi military it "will get caught in a quagmire." Hashemi-Rafsanjani said in an April 2003 sermon, "They are in a quagmire." And a year later he said, "Americans have a bumpy road ahead of them. . . . They are really in a quagmire." He continued, "The day they set foot in Baghdad, I said that they had entered a quagmire and that from then onwards, the policy of extricating themselves from the quagmire had to be implemented."
It is noteworthy that the Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been leading an insurrection against the U.S. occupation of Iraq, met with Hashemi-Rafsanjani and IRGC officials during a June 2003 visit to Iran. Khatami refused to meet al-Sadr during that visit, and al-Sadr rebuffed Iranian Foreign Ministry officials who visited Iraq in mid-April 2004. Hashemi-Rafsanjani appeared to be trying to exploit this relationship when he told Al-Arabiyah television on May 5, "What we said regarding the Americans' fall in the Iraq quagmire is a fact being admitted by the U.S. leaders themselves." He continued, "If the United States makes an official decision to put the future of Iraq in the hands of the Iraqis, Iran can extend help at whatever level. This is because we have capabilities, friendships, and good relations with the Iraqi people."
Iranian actions can seem to cancel each other out. In the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran is using inflammatory propaganda in its radio broadcasts to undermine U.S. reconstruction and security efforts. Its special operations personnel reportedly are active in both countries. At the same time, Iran has pledged more than $500 million in aid for Afghanistan's reconstruction, and it already has sent business delegations to Baghdad. When one recognizes that different agencies have different agendas as a result of weak coordination or outright competition, the situation makes more sense.
Appearances to the contrary, Iranian foreign policy making is a rational process. However, it does not lend itself to the modeling favored by political scientists. The best way to understand Tehran's actions and to predict what it will do in the future is to know how the system operates and to be thoroughly familiar with the individuals within the system.
Special to the Hoover Digest.

Available from the Hoover Press is The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons, by Sidney Drell and James Goodby. To order, call 800.935.2882.


UN Nuclear Agency Demands Iran Suspend Uranium Enrichment
Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nation's nuclear watchdog agency demanded Iran cease all uranium enrichment activities and said it will decide on Nov. 25 whether to take steps to ensure the country's atomic program isn't a threat to the international community.
The International Atomic Energy Agency ``considers it necessary that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities,'' it said in a three-page resolution. The Vienna- based agency also demanded Iran further open its atomic program to inspectors. It did acknowledge the country has a right to enrich uranium.
The U.S. says Iran, with the second-highest oil reserves in the world, is concealing a nuclear weapons program and wants it sent before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. Iran says its atomic program is peaceful and only intended to generate energy.
Iran's uranium enrichment activities have been suspended since October 2003, and the nation will decide in coming days if that will continue, said Hossein Mousavian, the head of Iran's delegation to the IAEA. It is Iran's ``national right,'' to convert uranium, he said earlier this week.
``We will continue our cooperation with the IAEA fully and transparently to clarify and resolve any remaining issues,'' Mousavian said at a press conference after the passage of the resolution.
Iran has had more than 800 IAEA inspections in the last year.
U.S. `Pleased'
The U.S. is ``pleased'' the IAEA has set Nov. 25 as a ``deadline for Iran to cease its pursuit of nuclear weapons,'' said Jackie Sanders, the head of the U.S. delegation.
``The resolution calls on Iran to take confidence building measures related to enrichment and reprocessing activities,'' Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director general, said at a press conference. ``I think people were ready to listen to Iran's point of view, and I look forward to resolving the outstanding issues at the board meeting in November.''
The so-called Non-Aligned Movement of nations, representing 13 of the 35 seats on the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors, succeeded in making the resolution recognize a distinction between Iran's commitment to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and its voluntary ``confidence building measures'' to stop enriching uranium.
`Confidence Building'
All signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty are allowed to enrich uranium as long as the activities are for producing energy and declared to the IAEA. Iran signed an additional protocol last year to suspend enrichment after engaging in undeclared activities.
``We are fully cognizant of the distinct difference between legal obligations and confidence building measures,'' Germany's delegation said in a statement. ``Signatories of the NPT should benefit fully from the peaceful use of nuclear energy.''
The Non-Aligned Movement has been in existence since the 1960s. It's members on the IAEA's Board of Governors come from Cuba, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Tunisia, Vietnam, Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Malaysia and Pakistan. The group is composed of more than 100 member countries.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Chris Collins at
Last Updated: September 18, 2004 13:44 EDT


Iran Is Criticized for Its Lack of Candor on Nuclear Program
PARIS, Sept. 18 - The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors passed a resolution on Saturday criticizing Iran for a lack of candor over its nuclear program and calling for the country to suspend all uranium enrichment activities that could contribute to producing fuel for a nuclear bomb.
The resolution, which was delayed by haggling over wording about the suspension, said the agency "considers it necessary" that Iran halt all of its uranium enrichment programs and meet all of the agency's demands before its Nov. 25 meeting.
It said the board would then "decide whether or not further steps are appropriate." The United States wants Iran's past breaches of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty referred to the United Nations Security Council, which could decide to impose sanctions against the country.
Uranium enrichment, in which uranium is converted into a gas and spun in centrifuges to concentrate more fissile isotopes, is used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors, but it can also produce uranium suitable for nuclear weapons.
Signatories to the treaty are allowed to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, but the activity can bring countries to within months of being able to produce a bomb.
Iran last year agreed to suspend uranium enrichment after it was found to have concealed an extensive enrichment program, which constituted a breach of its treaty obligations. But it almost immediately began quibbling over what activities that included.
In July, Iran resumed the manufacture of centrifuge parts and the assembly of centrifuge units, though it has upheld its suspension on using those centrifuges to enrich uranium.
The resolution passed on Saturday calls for Iran to stop all enrichment-related activities, including the manufacture and assembly of centrifuge parts, centrifuge testing and the conversion of uranium into gas.
The nuclear agency's chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking after the resolution passed, said Iran needed to suspend its enrichment activities "in order to restore confidence" in its peaceful intentions, Agence France-Presse reported.
While Iran insists that its nuclear program is designed for power generation and other peaceful purposes, the country's sluggish response to the nuclear agency's requests for information and the program's own inconsistencies have convinced the United States and some other countries that Iran is hiding efforts to build a nuclear bomb.
Besides working on a light-water nuclear reactor near the Iranian port of Bushehr, for example, Iran had secretly begun work on a heavy-water reactor. It is easier to extract bomb-grade plutonium from the spent fuel of heavy-water reactors.
The nuclear agency has asked Iran to explain why it is building the heavy-water reactor and, in June, called for it to halt construction. Iran has not complied.
Washington also suspects that a partially buried bunker on a munitions plant in Parchin, 20 miles southwest of Tehran, could be used to test the kind of high-intensity explosives that surround a core of highly enriched uranium or plutonium in a nuclear implosion bomb.
Hossein Mousavian, the head of the foreign policy committee of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Friday that Iran would grant the nuclear agency access to the site. "We have never rejected an I.A.E.A. inspection," he said.
The country has continued to convert small amounts of uranium into the gas used in enrichment centrifuges, despite the nuclear agency's calls for it to stop. Earlier this month, Iran said it planned to convert more than 40 tons of uranium into gas soon. Experts say that will produce enough uranium hexafluoride gas to yield enriched uranium for several bombs.
Iran also insists that its moratorium on enriching uranium is temporary. "Suspension is not cessation," Mr. Mousavian said Friday.
Objections from many so-called nonaligned countries delayed the final passage of the resolution, which was drafted by Britain, France and Germany and later amended by the United States. Those countries wanted it made explicit that enrichment activities are allowed to all signatories of the nonproliferation treaty, and that any suspension by Iran would be made voluntary to build international confidence.
The United States spent the morning meeting with several reticent board members that have enrichment programs of their own, searching for wording that would allow the draft resolution to pass without having to submit it to a vote. While resolutions can be passed by vote, the agency prefers working by consensus to avoid politicizing its actions.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

1,400 former senior officials in Seoul charge South now led by pro-North Koreans

Intelligence officials reject N. Korea's explanation of huge blast
"There is no reason for the North's regime to secretly conduct the demolition of a mountain in the middle of the night if it is for a hydroelectric project," said a South Korean intelligence official.

Kim Jong-Il's sister-in-law told how Kim's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam (above) had an official killed in hopes of succeeding his father.

Report: North Korea building strategic underground facility near blast site


North Korea 'planning more blasts'
(CNN) -- North Korea is planning to carry out two more explosions as part of a hydroelectric power plant project after a major blast last week sparked speculation a nuclear test had taken place, Kyodo news agency has reported.
A North Korean engineer told a group of diplomats who visited the site that they had been carrying out deliberate detonations for several weeks, the German ambassador to Pyongyang said in a telephone interview.
Diplomats from Germany, Britain, the Czech Republic, Mongolia, Poland, and Sweden made the one-day trip to Yanggang province on Thursday to verify North Korea's statement that the explosions were deliberate.
The mystery began when a 4-kilometer (2 miles) wide mushroom cloud was spotted near the Chinese border on satellite images by South Korea's Yonhap agency.
Two blasts took place on September 8 and 9, according to the engineer, but the pictures were not seen until three days later.
The explosions moved 150,000 cubic meters of earth and rock, according to Doris Hertrampf, the German ambassador.
"It was a huge construction site, and I saw large movements of earth going on,'' Hertrampf said.
But the Polish ambassador to Pyongyang, Wojciech Kaluza, said the group had reached no conclusion about North Korea's explanations.
European Union diplomats will meet on Friday to discuss the issue further, Kyodo reported Kaluza as saying.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told Reuters on Tuesday North Korea's explanation squared with Washington's view.
Some outside analysts speculated the explosion could have been at the Yongjo-ri Missile Base, a facility believed to house up to 36 NoDong missiles.
U.S. officials say there is no evidence that is true, though it cannot be completely ruled out.
According to data gathered by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Yongjo-ri is a suspected site for North Korea's uranium enrichment program.
South Korea skeptical too
On Tuesday South Korea's defense minister said the country was seeking independent verification on the nature of the blast.
Yoon Kwang-woong said the South would use intelligence channels and satellite images to check on the source of the blast in a northern region of the North.
Hydroelectric experts in Seoul have questioned the North's explanation, saying the relatively small Huchang river in the area made it an unlikely and unfeasible site for a major hydro power plant, according to Reuters reports.
The nation's media have also raised questions, with the Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoting a North Korean defector familiar with the region who said the body of water in the area was not sufficient for a large power plant.
North Korea's official KCNA news agency said late Monday that reports of a large accidental explosion at the site or a nuclear test was a "preposterous smear campaign."
"Probably, plot-breeders might tell such a sheer lie, taken aback by blastings at construction sites of hydropower stations in the north of Korea," KCNA said.
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Lack of Intelligence Capabilities
Ado Over Mysterious Blast in North Turns Into Farce
Korea Times
The week-long ado over a mysterious blast in North Korea is now turning into a mere farce as it seems to have been touched off by our intelligence officials' poor assessment of an American satellite picture.
The fiasco has brought to light our poor intelligence capabilities concerning the Northern regime. It has also prompted the general public to raise concerns about intelligence cooperation between Seoul and Washington.
The comic episode began on Sept. 9 when the government received a picture of ``mushroom'' clouds over a Northern county bordering with China taken by a U.S. commercial satellite. The clouds led intelligence officials to believe they were caused by an enormous explosion. Some even speculated that the blast was much bigger than the explosion at the Ryongchon train station which took place in April, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands of others, with children accounting for the largest number of the victims.
However, the government kept silent until Sept. 12 when local and foreign media began reporting that a large-scale blast might have taken place in Kimhyongjik county, Yanggang Province. Some foreign papers, simply relying on their analysis of the mushroom clouds, even suspected that the North might have conducted a nuclear experiment.
In a hasty press conference later in the day, Minister of Unification Chung Dong-young made a crucial mistake by saying that the clouds seemed to indicate an accidental explosion of serious magnitude. But he ruled out the possibility of a nuclear experiment.
The following day, the North told the visiting British deputy foreign minister that the blast was part of the ongoing construction of a hydraulic power plant in the county that began in May.
The North's explanation was corroborated by a picture of the area concerned taken by our satellite on Wednesday. The picture showed no sign of a recent large explosion.
Now it has even been suggested that the clouds were a natural phenomenon.
The hasty misjudgments concerning the U.S. satellite picture have made our government's intelligence capabilities, especially those aimed at the North, a laughingstock in the international community.
It does not make sense that the government seems to know almost nothing about what is happening in the North, even though it maintains various channels of dialogue with Pyongyang, which have become somewhat disrupted.
Taking a lesson from the latest confusion, the government ought to strengthen its ability to collect and assess information concerning Northern affairs and cooperation in the field of intelligence with Washington.
9-17-2004 17:34

N Korea blast: The only certainty is doubt
By David Scofield
Two massive explosions in five months, one at a train station and one in the mountains, have rocked North Korea and caused rampant speculation about what's really going on in the Hermit Kingdom. The details of this latest blast in the military region near the Chinese border are not known, but North Korean officials told a visiting British diplomat that it had to blow up a mountain in order to build a hydro-electric project. Hmm.
The explosion last Thursday occurred in a remote, closely guarded military zone, reputed to be the location of missiles, even illicit nuclear projects. It took place in the North Korean county of Kim Hyeong-jik, named after Korean leader Kim Jong-il's grandfather. It sent up a huge non-nuclear cloud at midnight on the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean state 56 years ago.
The extreme control North Korea's leaders have over information dissemination within and, by extension, beyond the country guarantees more questions than answers in the wake of such detonations. Details surrounding the rail explosion in Ryongchon mere hours after Kim Jong-il's train passed through on his return trip from China in April are still elusive. Official reports then, as now, seem implausible, but without further evidence, the world's attention moves on, the truth buried like the untold numbers of victims involved.
Of course, stories and rumors continue to swirl. The train "accident" in April was an assassination attempt, many believe, pointing to Kim's crackdown on the use of mobile phones as evidence. Others, including many North Korean refugees, believe it was actually part of plan by Kim to create the illusion of an assassination attempt and use the event as justification to purge certain senior party members. And what of the Syrian technicians who were reported to be among the dead? Was this proof that that disaster was the result of a missile shipment gone awry? The first victim of war, even a "cold" one, is the truth.
The truth is no more malleable than in North Korea; facts being what the leadership, in the absence of vocal observers, decide them to be. Of course, not everyone is in the dark. The United States, China and Russia all have the remote sensing technology necessary to monitor the area for clues to what exactly ignited in the far north. Explosives leave chemical signatures that are carried aloft; blasts of different types leave behind characteristic scorches and craters.
Indeed, this mysterious event, like the Ryongchon disaster three months ago, sheds more light on the relationship between South Korea and the United States than it does of North Korea. When news of the detonation first began to break in South Korea on the weekend, anonymous sources within the South's defense establishment soon began commenting on the lack of information moving their way from their US counterparts.
The United States is South Korea's most valuable intelligence-gathering asset, providing, as it does, intelligence concerning North Korean military assets and maneuvers. But it seems the data are becoming more heavily vetted, a likely consequence of South Korea's growing ties with the North. The US is probably increasingly unsure how much of what it knows is making its way to North Korea, which would treasure US intelligence and would like to know just what Washington has gleaned and what it hasn't. Unexplained events like these explosions also highlight the fundamental changes that have taken place in the relationship between the US and South Korea.
In the final analysis, it's clear that again North Korea has managed to leave the world with more questions than answers. At the time of the explosion, British Foreign Office minister Bill Remmel was in Pyongyang to engage North Korea on human-rights issues. Immediately after word of the explosion, the British delegation "demanded", according to the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC), some explanation - and it got one. North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun issued a statement indicating the explosion was part of the planned demolition of a mountain, destroyed, we are told, in preparation for a new hydro-electric project. In other words, the North Koreans decided to pack a mountain full of explosives (estimates put the explosive power at 1,000 tons) and waited until almost midnight on the eve of the country's foundation anniversary to level the mountain - yet none of this was broadcast, and so the domestic propaganda value of such an explosive display lost.
The implausibility of hydro-electric projects aside - South Korean analysts indicate the explosion took place in an area unsuitable for water-powered electricity generation - the statement does indicate one point: the North Koreans are expecting commercial satellites to produce pictures of a mountain removed, a large crater similar to what intelligence analysts have already hinted is evident from satellite photos.
It's also interesting that the mountain in question is set in the middle of one of North Korea's most heavily guarded and restricted counties. The whole area is a "military camp", Chinese observers have commented. In fact, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the region is thought to house North Korea's medium-range missiles in a complex of tunnels deep underground. The county is also the location of sites suspected to house North Korea's highly enriched uranium (HEU) project, the catalyst behind the latest nuclear crisis. North Korea admits it has a nuclear program, but denies that it involves enriched uranium.
An example of just how far the speculation goes: Some wonder whether it was possible that the three-to-four-kilometer-wide non-nuclear mushroom cloud, the first clue of the explosion last Thursday, was actually the result of a precision attack by either China or the US on these suspect sites, a prelude to the upcoming but still not scheduled six-party talks. The negotiations are aimed at persuading North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program in return for security guarantees, alternative energy supplies and massive economic assistance.
With no radioactive fallout reported by any of North Korea's neighbors, nor from regional technologies designed to monitor such events, all indications are a conventional explosion of unconventional magnitude - similar to the Massive Ordnance Air Burst (MOAB) the United States tested in the spring of 2003.
Designed to replace the Vietnam-era, 12,000-pound (5,440-kilogram) "Daisy Cutter" bomb, the US Air Force's new 22,000-pound (10,000kg), Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided MOAB, applied in multiples, could create a conventional explosion similar to that which has been described to have happened in North Korea. Tests of a single MOAB (those who witnessed it referred to it as the Mother of All Bombs) in 2003 showed that the weapon created a mushroom cloud that extended about three kilometers in the air, yet left a relatively small seismic signature. Of course, that MOAB tested in Florida was designed, as the name suggests, to burst above ground, but the crater - the missing North Korean mountain - suggests a ground or below detonation: subterranean force projection? The USAF includes "deeply buried targets" within the 10-tonne weapon's target range; it is a penetrating weapon capable of delivering the explosive power of 18,000 pounds (more than 8,000kg) of Tritonol to targets deep beneath the surface.
Such an attack from beyond, especially if it involved China, would likely not elicit an immediate, direct response from North Korea. To acknowledge an attack would mean acknowledging the target, and would also create pressure to retaliate, a hasty response that could spell the end of the Kim regime.
Of course, this could also be a demonstration of North Korea's conventional firepower, though the efficacy of such a demonstration, tremendous explosive energy in an undeliverable format, seems a bit hollow. Or perhaps human error, an accident, an ammunition depot or arms factory ignited because of faulty equipment and carelessness, or as the result of some external catalyst.
In the end, this event, like the last, will likely be swept aside in days and weeks to come as a lack of new evidence relegates the story to the wayside. We may never know the what, why, how or even who behind the blast.
David Scofield, former lecturer at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University, is currently conducting post-graduate research at the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
(Copyright 2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)


Diplomats visit N. Korean blast site
BEIJING - Foreign diplomats who visited the site of a mysterious explosion in North Korea said yesterday it was a hydroelectric project under heavy construction.
Video footage from an independent source showed excavations and evidence of blasting in a river valley. -- AP
The blast, reported by South Korean media last week, initially raised concern that North Korea had tested a nuclear weapon. A mushroom cloud was seen in an area known to contain storage sites for missiles and explosives.
To prove this was not the case, North Korea on Thursday took a group of foreign diplomats to what it said was the blast site in Samsu county in the remote north-east.
Pyongyang had said the reported blast was one of two controlled explosions to remove a mountain to make way for a power plant.
The diplomats from Britain, Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, India and Mongolia reached the site after a 90-minute flight followed by a three-hour drive, according to Sweden's ambassador to North Korea Paul Beijer.
They spent about 1 1/2 hours taking photographs, talking to officials at the site and gathering information that their governments' technical experts would analyse, he said.
Video footage showed excavations and evidence of blasting in a river valley. Scores of workers - many of them apparently carrying sacks of material - were shown swarming around.
Polish Ambassador Wojciech Kaluza said the North Korean project manager told them there were 50,000 workers at the site and gave figures on the size of the project, the amount of explosives used and of soil that had to be removed, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.
The visitors were told the blasts on Sept 8 and 9 were larger than usual to speed up work on the dam, and that more were planned, said German envoy Doris Hertrampf.
The area visited was about 60km east of the site initially identified by South Korean intelligence authorities.
South Korean Vice Unification Minister Lee Bong Jo yesterday said the latest assessment was that no blast took place at the suspected site in Kimhyongjik county, which is near the Chinese border. Rather, it was more likely an earth tremor.
As for the reported mushroom-shaped clouds, he said they could be explained away as natural phenomena.
Mr Yun Du Min of South Korea's Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security said intelligence failure and the suspicion with which secretive North Korea is viewed contributed to the confusion.
'This appears to have been an intelligence failure as we looked into a very closed society. The heightened level of alert in the way the international community looks at North Korea likely bred this incident,' he said.
Another round of six-party talks on the North's nuclear programme was to have been held in Beijing before the end of this month. The talks now seem unlikely. -- Reuters, AFP, AP


North Korea Blast Wasn't Nuclear, Diplomat Says After Visiting Site
Published: September 18, 2004
BEIJING, Sept. 17 (AP) - Video of the area where North Korea said a huge explosion had occurred last week showed dozens of workers swarming around a construction site resembling a large dam project, while a foreign diplomat who visited the site said Friday that he had found no sign that the blast was nuclear.
South Korea, meanwhile, said a mushroom-shaped plume thought to be from the blast on Sept. 9 was 60 miles away from the site where North Korea said it occurred, and that it may have been a natural cloud formation.
Diplomats from seven countries were flown by the North Korean government to the country's remote northeast, near the border with China, on Thursday to verify claims that the explosion was part of work on a hydroelectric dam.
"One thing is entirely clear: This was not a nuclear explosion that happened at this site," Sweden's ambassador to North Korea, Paul Beijer, said by phone from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. "This is a site where thousands of people are working on dam building."
Concern arose when South Korea said days after the blast that a mushroom cloud more than two miles wide had been spotted by satellite.
Independent video of the construction site was obtained by Associated Press Television News in Pyongyang, hours after the ambassadors returned from their visit.
The video showed a building complex intact near a place where rock had been blasted away, with scores of workers moving around. A deep excavation with large pools of water and wooden shelters could be seen across the valley, apparently where the dam is intended to rise.
The size of the cloud and the timing of the blast, which coincided with the 56th anniversary of North Korea's founding, fed speculation in the South Korean news media that it was a nuclear test. But a South Korean official, Deputy Unification Minister Lee Bong Jo, said his government concurred with the North's insistence that the blast had not been nuclear.
The incident occurred amid efforts to arrange a new round of six-nation talks on demands for the North to give up nuclear ambitions. The talks involve the Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

Pyongyang demands Seoul reveal N-tests
The communist country says it won't return to talks over its nuclear programme unless South Korea discloses details of secret N-tests
SEOUL - A delay in planned six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear activities appeared certain with the communist nation saying it will not talk until South Korea fully discloses the details of its secret atomic experiments.
China, host of three previous rounds of talks, acknowledged on Thursday that 'many difficulties' stand in the way of this month's talks.
'It is down to North Korea and the United States,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing. 'There are many difficulties for the talks to be held as planned.'
Mr Kong gave no details but appealed to the participants to 'make efforts so we can hold the next round before the end of September, as we agreed earlier'.
North Korea relayed its position on the talks when British Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell visited Pyongyang earlier this week, a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry told the country's official news agency, KCNA.
The comments further clouded US-led international efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear activities.
During Mr Rammell's four-day visit that ended on Tuesday, North Korea 'clarified its stand that it can never sit at the table to negotiate its nuclear weapon programme unless truth about the secret nuclear experiments in South Korea is fully probed', KCNA quoted the North Korean spokesman as saying.
South Korea recently acknowledged that it conducted a plutonium-based nuclear experiment more than 20 years ago. That admission came shortly after it said it conducted a uranium-enrichment experiment four years ago.
Plutonium and enriched uranium are two key ingredients of nuclear weapons.
South Korea has denied any ambition to possess nuclear arms. Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon said he was confident that investigations by a UN nuclear watchdog will prove that his country's nuclear experiments were not conducted for weapons advancement.
Three rounds of talks by China, the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia have not produced major progress towards settling the nuclear dispute.
The six nations had previously agreed to meet again by the end of this month, but no date has been set.
Washington wants North Korea to halt its nuclear activities immediately.
North Korea says it will freeze its nuclear facilities as a first step towards their eventual dismantling only if the US lifts economic sanctions and provides energy and economic aid. -- AP



The Chinese puzzle: Jiang's retirement
By Zhu Zhan
HONG KONG - When the curtain rose on the decisive party plenum of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Thursday, startling reports surfaced in Beijing's political circles that the current commander-in-chief and former president Jiang Zemin would propose his resignation as military leader. While the reports have not been confirmed, many political observers see the possible resignation as Jiang's tactic to dispel the mounting pressure on him to yield power. He might step down but still be China's "Phantom Regent".
It is believed that such a decision could please some party chieftains who are unhappy to see Jiang as the supreme military leader for a prolonged period; on the other hand, a decision to step down would strengthen Jiang's hand and bargaining position as he seeks to install his confidants and proteges in the administration. As the positions of some military heavyweights remain unclear, the ball seems to be in the court of President Hu Jintao, who is supposed to control the armed forces concurrently - it is one of the Middle Kingdom's old traditions that state and military leadership go hand in hand. Jiang is chairman of the party's powerful Central Military Commission (CMC).
Reuters and Taiwan's United Daily News reported this week that Jiang had proposed to hand in his notice of resignation, tallying with an earlier dispatch from the New York Times. In addition, members of the CMC reportedly are to be increased from four to seven, with three entries from the navy, the air force and the No 2 Artillery.
Coincidence or not, early this month Beijing staged a high-profile celebration of the 60th anniversary of the death of "martyred" anti-Japanese hero Peng Xuefeng. Jiang even inscribed the name of the book Biography of Peng Xuepeng. In fact, Peng Xuefeng's son, Peng Xiaofeng, is now commissar of the No 2 Artillery, a high-ranking position in Chinese military system. He and Liu Yazhong, vice commissar of the air force, are both considered under the patronage of Jiang. Obviously, Jiang has been actively preparing to extend his authority within the military, if he is forced out of power some day.
One informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Asia Times Online that Jiang, now 78, had promised in 2002 to steer the CMC for only two years. Now, time is up. Party veterans who had been edged out of the top echelon by Jiang, including former chairman of National People's Congress Qiao Shi and former chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Li Ruihuan, have long been murmuring their discontent about the "Phantom Regent" and cannot wait to see him out. During the CCP's massive commemorations for the centennial anniversary of the birth of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, Deng's virtue of early retirement from the throne and his hands-off manner had been hyped by the state-run media. Political commentators aver that all these developments and displays put considerable pressure on Jiang Zemin.
Jiang's proposed retirement could also be interpreted as his scheme of "one step backward and two steps forward". In return for his resignation, he can still project his influence by installing confidants in the expanded Central Military Commission, negotiate for his appointment of a vice chairman in the CMC, and even reserve the right to name Hu Jintao's successor as CMC chairman. This is a common political trade-off practice in Chinese political arena.
At the moment, most military heavyweights have yet to declare their stance on the matter. However, some pro-Jiang generals rushed to pledge support for their boss. Guo Boxiong, Jiang's deputy in the CMC, stressed that the armed forces should follow Jiang's orders under any circumstance. Another CMC member, Xu Caihou, reiterated on a few occasions the significance of the so-called "Three Represents" theory developed by Jiang that has already been added to China's constitution. The theory reads "The party must always represent the requirements of the development of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China".
Predictably, China's state president and CCP chairman Hu Jintao might be quite cautious in responding to Jiang's proposal. In retrospect, former party chief Hu Yaobang was kicked out of Zhongnanhai (the compound of China's leaders) by Deng Xiaoping, partly because of his remarks endorsing Deng's pledges to withdraw completely from the political arena. It is reported that President Hu declined Jiang's resignation two years ago, so how he will react this time around remains a focus of the world's attention.
It is generally believed that it will take some time for Hu to operate against the backdrop of Jiang's legacies and popularity in the military. As recently as June, Jiang promoted 15 military officers to full general - mostly from the pro-Jiang camp, including his top bodyguard You Xigui, who now is director of the Central Guard Bureau. In China, an officer in You's position is seldom promoted to such a military rank, and most observers say that Jiang is trying to maximize his power in the armed forces. Moreover, his "Three Represents" theory, now enshrined in the Chinese constitution, can play a part in his efforts to broaden his influence.
(Copyright 2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

Resignation of China's Senior Leader Appears Imminent
BEIJING, Sept. 18 - Jiang Zemin, China's military chief and longtime senior leader, may formally step down on Sunday, putting President Hu Jintao in full command of the Chinese Army, state and governing party, according to people informed of the proceedings of a secretive Communist Party meeting.
Mr. Jiang's retirement, which has not been confirmed by official sources, would come as a surprise to many political experts, who expected him to remain chairman of the Central Military Commission and the de facto senior leader until 2007.
It remains possible that his resignation, submitted earlier this month and now said to be under consideration by a top decision-making body, may be rejected. But Mr. Jiang, 78, who became China's top political and military leader after the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989, has come under heavy pressure to allow a new generation of leaders to grapple with China's mounting political and economic challenges.
People who have seen Mr. Jiang or spoken to his relatives in recent weeks say he has serious health problems. One person said he had throat cancer; another said he had persistent heart troubles. It was unclear whether these health issues might have forced Mr. Jiang to retire before he was ready, or, whether they might provide a cover story for a decision that has more to do with internal politicking.
Mr. Hu, 61, who took Mr. Jiang's titles of Communist Party chief in 2002 and president in 2003, has put forward plans to inject more transparency and discipline into the one-party political system and to raise incomes of blue-collar workers and peasants. But Mr. Hu has also imposed stricter controls on the media than those that existed when Mr. Jiang held China's top titles, and he has ruled out experimenting with Western-style democracy. He remains an enigma, a carefully crafted product of the Communist Party system, whose innate reserve appears to have been magnified by behind-the-scenes tussles for influence with Mr. Jiang.
Though Mr. Hu and Mr. Jiang have not openly clashed over policy matters, several party officials have argued that they had become the effective standard-bearers for rival schools of thought on many domestic and foreign policy issues. The notion that there are two camps at the top may have made lower-level officials less inclined to carry out policies they oppose, including the continuing campaign to slow China's overheated economy and curtail wasteful state spending.
Numerous questions remain about Mr. Jiang's actions. Among them is why he submitted his resignation a short time after party officials said he appeared to be trying to enhance his authority.
In recent months, he has promoted numerous military officials to higher posts. Experts took that as a sign that he was solidifying his control of the military rather than preparing to hand his responsibilities to Mr. Hu, as had been agreed before the leadership transition in 2002. State media also increased its coverage of Mr. Jiang in recent months.
Party officials say that in recent private meetings with leading scholars, Mr. Jiang challenged the economic program pursued by Mr. Hu and Wen Jiabao, the prime minister.
Earlier this year, Mr. Jiang opposed and effectively sidelined a new framework for China's foreign policy Mr. Hu had developed. Mr. Jiang argued that a slogan Mr. Hu had begun using to describe China's ambitions as a great power, "peaceful rise," sent the wrong signal at a time when Beijing was warning Taiwan that moves toward independence would provoke military retaliation.
Mr. Jiang was active enough in recent weeks that several well-informed political analysts in Beijing said they suspected that his proffered resignation, which The New York Times first reported earlier this month, might be a trick to mobilize his core constituency, or to fend off the attacks from party elders anxious for him to retire. Those people speculated that Mr. Jiang might have intended to have his resignation rejected, perhaps on the ground that sensitive foreign policy problems, including those involving Taiwan and North Korea, required his continued attention.
That remains possible. But two people informed about the leadership's decision-making process said they expected the full 198-member Central Committee to vote on Mr. Jiang's resignation and a new slate of candidates to fill slots on the Central Military Commission before its annual four-day session ends Sunday.
These people said it was unlikely that Mr. Jiang's resignation would be under consideration by the Central Committee if it were merely a gambit, as matters that go before that body tend to be pre-approved by the governing Politburo.
Moreover, Mr. Jiang told domestic and foreign visitors in recent weeks that he was wary of the appearance that he is clinging to power and has every intention of handing over authority to Mr. Hu, as has been the formal plan of the Communist Party since at least the late 1990's.
Mainland media have not carried any news about Mr. Jiang's resignation. But Reuters, Agence France-Presse and The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based English-language daily, all carried reports Saturday quoting party and diplomatic sources as saying Mr. Jiang's retirement would be announced on Sunday.
It is not clear how the Central Military Commission, which controls all of China's armed forces, would be restructured under a new chairman.
Mr. Hu is currently a vice chairman of the eight-member commission, along with two generals, Guo Boxiong and Cao Gangchuan. Mr. Jiang has been thought to favor promoting his longtime prot?g? and ally, Vice President Zeng Qinghong, to serve as a vice chairman. Two people informed about a recent debate inside the military commission said Mr. Jiang made Mr. Zeng's promotion a condition of his retirement. They also said Mr. Hu opposed this move, possibly because it would leave his control of the military incomplete.
Chris Buckley contributed reporting for this article.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


First or Equals?
China's President Hu wants to consolidate power, but his predecessor Jiang Zemin has not yet faded away
The Beijing Olympics were to be the most lavish ever. China would spend $34 billion to refit the capital with sparkling new subways and 10 state-of-the-art stadiums. The spending was the plan of former Communist Party chief and former President Jiang Zemin, who took credit for Beijing's winning bid in 2001. The Olympic projects, it was hoped, would mark China's economic growth and proclaim its arrival as a world power. Now times have changed. Last week Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Olympic-organizing committee, scrapped half the planned stadiums in a demonstration of what he called "the principle of thrift." But in Beijing, observers of the always opaque Chinese leadership are wondering if the new policy smacks of political infighting as much as it does of economy.
Though Jiang stepped down from his positions as General Secretary of the Communist Party in 2002 and President of the country in 2003, he remains chairman of the Central Military Commission and hence commander of the People's Liberation Army. Hu Jintao, who succeeded Jiang as Party chief and President, wants to consolidate his own power. Last week, a report in the New York Times suggested that Jiang may give up his army position at a key Communist Party plenum this week. There is no consensus in Beijing on whether such an outcome is likely. But with rumors swirling, cancellation of the Olympic stadiums gained added significance. Older Chinese remember that in 1979, Deng Xiaoping signaled his rise to power by canceling 10 massive industrial projects championed by his rival, Hua Guofeng. In all likelihood, says a well-placed Beijing academic, the scaling back of the Olympic plans relates to a "struggle" between Hu and Jiang.
Hu's primacy remains incomplete. Jiang continues to enjoy the loyalty of many senior Party and military officials and maintains a power base in China's commercial hub of Shanghai. But as is always the case in China, assessing whether there are differences between the two men depends on the examination of tiny shards of evidence. According to agreed protocol, for instance, Hu can demonstrate first-among-equals status by entering meeting halls before Jiang. Yet Jiang often ambles into halls first. So Beijing's political insiders watched closely on August 22 as both men entered the Great Hall of the People to commemorate the centenary of Deng's birth. Just before Jiang entered ahead of Hu, the live television broadcast cut to a shot of the red star on the ceiling and didn't pan the hall until Jiang had seated himself. "Apparently, Hu had had enough," says an editor at a Party-run newspaper. In this shadowland, the hardest question to answer is whether personal differences speak to larger disagreements on policy. Hu has emphasized a balanced development between China's booming coastal cities and its poor hinterland, and he seems to want closer ties with European and Asian nations, as well as with the U.S. Jiang, for his part, encouraged rapid economic growth along the coast and made sound relations with the U.S. the cornerstone of his foreign policy. Last December, Hu made a major speech on "The Peaceful Rise of China," which was meant to signal his arrival as a theorist while assuring the world that China's emergence as a world power would not threaten its neighbors. But Jiang, says a Western diplomat in Beijing, "forced Hu to tone [the theory] down." In subsequent speeches, Hu has referred instead to China's "peaceful development."
Conceivably, the change in wording suggests differences in policy. Many Chinese foreign-relations experts, for example, have long favored a more conciliatory posture toward Taiwan. They remain deeply skeptical that Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian could ever become a trusted negotiating partner but fear that threatening Taiwan with military action may only drive the island further down the road to independence. That sentiment is shared by many who worked on Hu's "Peaceful Rise" theory, according to a scholar who consulted with them. This source says Jiang opposed the slogan partly because it sent too soft a message to Taiwan and Washington. In the same vein, Beijing's attitude toward Hong Kong could also hinge on contests at the top. China watchers in Hong Kong are deeply divided on whether there are any splits in Beijing in policy toward the city. But it was Jiang who appointed Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong's deeply unpopular Chief Executive. Hu, for his part, has seemed to distance himself from Tung by urging him to pay closer attention to the popular will.
In moving to consolidate power, Hu has shown a deft touch. In July, he visited Jiang's power base of Shanghai. Senior officials there had complained that new austerity measures requiring Beijing's approval were deflating the city's boom. A smiling Hu allowed photographers to record him strolling past marshland that Shanghai officials hope to turn into an industrial zone and touring high-profile factories. Shortly after Hu returned to Beijing, the central government approved construction of a long-awaited tunnel-and-bridge project to Chongming Island, and city officials say the second phase of a deepwater port has not been blocked by central planners. The message seemed to be that Shanghai could continue steaming ahead. "Hu set out to defang Jiang's tiger" in Shanghai, says the Western diplomat.
Hu may also be able to rely on unexpected allies in the army, where he is No. 2 to Jiang. Last month Gen. Chi Haotian, a retired Defense Minister long considered supportive of Jiang, wrote in Seeking Truth, a Party magazine, that the army must "at all times obey the Party" and "cannot concentrate power in a few individuals." Chi then praised Deng for his quick resignation as head of the military in 1989: "He just said 'bye-bye,' picked up his briefcase and left." This, wrote Chi, showed that Deng was a "truly selfless man, a man who considered the overall picture." That sounded like a message to Jiang. Taken together with the stadium cancellations, those messages seem to be getting more frequent, and louder.
With reporting by Hannah Beech/Shanghai

A Disappearing Act
Jiang Zemin gets painted out of the picture in a mysterious set of photos
Every appearance by Chinese leaders is political. They enter rooms in single file according to rank, and newspapers place photos of senior officials higher on the page than those of lesser rivals. So strict are the rules that when Hu Jintao took over as Party chief from Jiang Zemin two years ago, Beijing's print media waited four hours for instructions from propaganda officials on whose picture to run at the top. (They ran side by side.) The two leaders are now thought to be jockeying for power; Jiang remains chairman of the Central Military Commission, and a key Party meeting is scheduled for this month.
Thus a set of photos, published last month during celebrations for the 100th birthday of late Communist Party patriarch Deng Xiaoping, raises questions about the relationship between the two men. The original image, published in the state-run Oriental Outlook magazine in the last week of August, shows Hu shaking hands with Deng in 1992 while Jiang stands behind them, as if giving introductions. But in the other two photos, which appeared in Shanghai's Wen Hui Bao newspaper on Aug. 13 and in a set of pictures celebrating Deng's centenary, Jiang has vanished. At least one of the doctored photos was released by the Xinhua news agency--which implies either official complicity or a massive goof. Either way, "it can only be embarrassing for Jiang," says an editor from a Party-run newspaper, because "someone very publicly wants him to disappear."


Hu-Jiang struggle: Not a shooting war
By Yu Bin
Does China have a gun control problem? Yes. Whoever controls one of the world's largest armed forces naturally draws worldwide attention. Recent media mania, however, seems excessive in painting an intensifying power struggle between the moderate-reformist head of state and Communist Party President Hu Jintao, and the nationalist-conservative military strongman Jiang Zemin, 78, chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission (CMC).
On the eve of the fourth plenary session of the 16th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) National Congress from September 16-19, the Jiang-Hu rivalry is said to have reached such a state that various key policy issues are at stake. They are reported to include Beijing's uncompromising stance toward Taiwan, Hong Kong's democratic elections, growing social instability at home, rampant corruption, inner-party democracy, and the most salient issue of all, who will command the 2.5-million-member People's Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA is said to favor a hardine policy toward Taiwan and the storm clouds gathering over the Taiwan Strait indeed represent a serious issue for both leaders.
All of these reports on divisions and struggle have yet to be solidly proved. The media focus on the so-called Jiang-Hu rivalry over the CMC chairmanship misses other points that may be more important. In the absence of major foreign and domestic crises, current politicking in China has more to do with policy issues, particularly Taiwan, than major personnel changes; and more to do with leadership continuity than its reshuffling. The alleged Jiang-Hu gun control (control of the military) dispute and the PLA's allegedly increasing role in Chinese politics may not hold much water, given the clear trend toward firm civilian control of the military in the reform decades from 1978 to the present.
The PLA's de-politicization under Deng Xiaoping
After the massive military intervention in politics during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), China's political and military elite came to the consensus that the excessive politicization of the armed forces should not be repeated; soldiers should be back in their barracks, and the PLA should focus on professionalizing, restructuring, training, streamlining and modernizing. As a result, civilian leadership regained its authority over the armed forces. Under former leader Deng Xiaoping, the PLA was essentially de-politicized, de-factionalized, and pulled out of its ubiquitous involvement in civilian affairs. Since then, it has engaged in the longest period of serious professionalization in its history.
By the late 1980s, the PLA involved itself in quelling student-led demonstrations. The military was, nonetheless, brought back into politics, albeit reluctantly, by civilian leadership. Once normalcy and stability were achieved, Deng moved quickly to place the PLA under the new CMC chairman, Jiang Zemin, in November 1989. In the next few years before finally fading away, Deng would make sure that Jiang institutionalized his control of the PLA.
Jiang, the PLA's first civilian boss
A technocrat trained in the former Soviet Union, Jiang had no formal military experience whatsoever. Nor did he have any institutional backing from the vast central bureaucracies in Beijing, except for Deng's personal support. As the PLA's first real civilian leader, however, Jiang managed to develop an unprecedented institutionalized authority, which enabled him to assume all the top offices: CCP general secretary, president of the state and chairman of the party's CMC.
These formal titles, however, were not necessarily sufficient to enable Jiang to command the PLA. During his tenure as CMC chair, Jiang made a concerted effort to befriend the PLA, leading to the PLA's eventual acceptance of his leadership. Perhaps more than any other top leader, Jiang reached out to cultivate support from the PLA. Military spending rose steadily in the 1990s. Jiang also traveled widely and frequently to military units during holidays and visited troops in remote areas. Even on his way to and from foreign visits, Jiang lost no opportunity to send cables from his Chinese Air Force One to the PLA's border security units on the ground below. Beyond those high-altitude gestures, Jiang managed to gain support and loyalty from almost all sectors of the PLA: from younger officers, for his broad policy of nurturing a highly educated, well-trained and professionalized officer core; from the rank-and-file, for improving soldiers' living conditions; and from older generals, for being promoted to comfortable retirement or semi-retirement. Over time, Jiang felt so confident of his ability to command and control the PLA that he decided in 1998 to sever the military completely from any commercial activities - something that Deng was either unwilling or unable to do.
Jiang is by no means a Mr Nice Guy for the PLA. He also took major steps, almost every five years, to reshape the army. This includes the CMC's decision in April 1992 to continue streamlining and restructuring the PLA in order to consolidate its one-million-person cut in the 1980s, and the September 1997 decision to cut an additional 500,000 personnel in three years. This was followed by a major overhaul of the PLA's command-and-control, logistics, and armament mechanism in April 1998, when a unified general armament department was created alongside the PLA's general staff, general political, and general logistics departments. One of Jiang's most recent efforts to reform the PLA came when he articulated the historical mission for the PLA's mechanization and information-based military (xinxi hua) in the CCP's 16th Congress in November 2002.
In retrospect, Jiang has gone to extraordinary lengths to institutionalize as well as personalize his ties with the PLA. Lacking the personal charisma of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, Jiang has sought to dominate almost every policy-making institution.
Implications for Hu Jintao
Jiang, the former paramount leader, may well turn over his command of the Chinese military in the upcoming plenary session, just as he yielded his Communist Party chairmanship to Hu Jintao in late 2002 and the state presidency in March 2003. Or he may choose to fade away over a few more years. Whatever way Jiang goes, and he eventually will go, the PLA's future top civilian leader, presumably Hu, will have to operate against the backdrop of Jiang's PLA legacies and popularity. This has a number of implications.
First, Hu himself will have to nurture his own relationship with the PLA. Simply taking over the CMC chair from the elderly Jiang doesn't mean that Hu himself will not have to define the style, scope and depth of his own ties with the military. In this sense, the formal CMC title may not be of overriding importance for Hu. He will need to demonstrate his commitment to the military.
Second, the process for Hu to assume the PLA's new civilian leadership already started at least five years ago, when Hu became a vice chairman of the CMC. Ever since then, Hu has been part of the team, though still in Jiang's shadow. Hu's elevation to the No 2 position in the CMC was more than a procedural and symbolic promotion, given his deep involvement in the de-commercialization of the PLA in the late 1990s. During the early reform period, the PLA rapidly and significantly expanded its commercial activities and was engaged in extensive industrial and not necessarily military-related enterprises.
The military was also responsible for much of the rising tide of corruption, tax evasion and smuggling. Several efforts to reduce the military's commercial activities during the 1990s yielded few results due to strong resistance from the military. Once Jiang made the decision to de-link the PLA from commercial activities, however, Hu was assigned to do the dirty work of actually separating the PLA from its lucrative enterprises. This was guaranteed to be unpopular among PLA officers. The fact that the PLA went along with these decisions suggests its initial acceptance of Hu as its future commander-in-chief.
The current dual-center of politics in China, with Hu as the party/state leader and Jiang as the PLA boss may not be desirable for timely and efficient decision making. The unfinished leadership transition from Jiang to Hu, however, is perhaps the most uneventful compared to that of any of Jiang's predecessors. Jiang began taking over the PLA at a time of national crisis in 1989 (the Tiananmen Square massacre took place in June 1989). Before that, Deng's leadership was established in the aftermath of China's 10 years of political turmoil. Deng's comeback began in 1978. To go back further, Mao Zedong never developed easy ties with the PLA, as he was in conflict with both of his defense ministers - Peng Dehuai, in 1959, and Lin Biao, in 1971. It is unlikely Hu and Jiang have any compelling reason to hurry through the power transition of the CMC leadership.
Third, it remains to be seen if the unfinished handover of the CMC chairmanship to Hu would spill over into other policy areas. Hu and his new premier and ally Wen Jiabao quickly established themselves as a kinder and gentler fourth generation of leaders tilting toward the less fortunate groups in China. This is in contrast with Jiang's merit-based and market-driven approach favoring the political, business and intellectual elites. In early 2003, Hu went so far as to unveil his own "Three People's Principles" - power for, sympathy with, and benefit for the people. Jiang's theory of the "Three Represents" (meaning the CCP represents the most productive parts of Chinese society) remains part of Hu's vocabulary. Hu's more "compassionate" public policy, however, is a timely and healthy balancing move, as China is fast becoming one of the most inegalitarian nations in the world after decades of market reform.
Fourth and finally, it's common sense that leadership crises in China usually occur in times of socio-political upheaval. Although China is faced with tremendous difficulties in its economic and political reforms, the huge nation has been in the midst of continuous economic development with no sign of a major domestic crisis (except for the severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, outbreak in 2002). Jiang and Hu may have disputes over some specific issues, but perhaps they have more in common when it comes to maintaining China's steady and rational economic growth, as well as social stability.
Political stability and the gathering Taiwan storm
The only possible source of crisis, therefore, may come from the highly sensitive and increasingly dangerous issue of Taiwan's independence, as Taiwan's self-imposed timelines are fast approaching, regarding the constitutional revision in 2006 and perhaps bolder moves toward independence before the end of President Chen Shui-bian's second term in 2008.
If this is the case, the policies of Jiang or Hu will largely be driven by the perception of a sharply deteriorating cross-strait situation in that Taiwan is fast becoming a grave threat to China's core national interests. This means that Taiwan is seen as a break-away province reaching the point of no return; as a key component of a de facto military alliance against China, and as a ready platform from which to launch military strikes on China's vital political, economic and population centers. In a broader historical perspective, China's Taiwan policy will be driven not necessarily by the hawks in the PLA alone, but by a deluge of Chinese nationalism that has been building ever since the late 19th century, when Taiwan was ceded to Japan after the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War. This is the case regardless of the nature of the China's political system: emperor-based, republican, communist, or democratic.
Given the Taiwan situation as it is now unfolding, Jiang and Hu may well be more united in seeking an effective solution-resolution than in vying for the position of chairman of the CMC. And Jiang may continue to command the PLA in the near future, as a storm gathers over the Taiwan Strait.
Yu Bin is an associate professor of political science, Wittenberg University, and senior research associate, Shanghai Institute of American Studies. He is also a regular contributor to Pacific Forum/CSIC, Comparative Connections, and co-author of Mao's Generals Remember Korea (University Press of Kansas, 2001). He can be reached at .
(Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)


Communist Party 'must adapt to change'
With problems curbing graft and abuses, the CCP is having a tough job sustaining its achievements, say state media
By Chua Chin Hon
BEIJING - China's ruling Communist Party must adapt to the changing times if it is to succeed in leading the country through the breakneck pace of economic and social changes, state media said yesterday as a key meeting focused on shoring up the leadership's governance entered its second day.
The country's top communist leaders have been meeting behind closed doors at the Jinxi Hotel in the western part of Beijing since Thursday for the Fourth Plenum of the 16th Communist Party Central Committee.
Topping the agenda at the four-day meeting is the discussion on how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can improve its 'ruling capability' - a topic that has attracted some unusually frank criticism in the state media recently.
In an editorial yesterday, the English-language China Daily said that economic growth and material wealth alone would not be enough to help the country grow further.
'The ruling party is having a tough job sustaining what it has achieved and letting all members of society share the fruits of its prosperity,' it added.
'China's economic and social transition has reached a crucial point, setting an unprecedented test for the party's competence to govern the country.'
That the Communist Party should put its 'ruling capability' up for open discussion for the first time in its 55-year rule prompted many analysts to interpret it as an implicit admission of the party's waning legitimacy.
Despite long-running anti-graft campaigns, the top Chinese leadership has had limited success in reining in widespread corruption and official abuses which have severely dented the ruling party's image in the eyes of ordinary Chinese.
'The party still suffers from incompetent leading cadres, loopholes in governance and supervision and immature governing mechanisms,' the official Xinhua news agency said in a news commentary late on Thursday.
The report also trotted out a recent survey of party cadres to illustrate the extent to which their 'ruling capability' has been found wanting.
For instance, 67 per cent of the cadres felt that they were not competent enough in tapping the market economy while 58 per cent said they lacked the ability to make a decision based on 'scientific judgment'.
'More than one third either had difficulty tackling a complicated situation or totally lost their heads in such a situation,' Xinhua added.
Political reforms aimed at tackling such issues are expected to be announced at the plenum's closing tomorrow.
However, the international media has so far been more curious about the fate of former president and ageing strongman Jiang Zemin.
Rumours of his retirement at the Fourth Plenum reached fever pitch in the run-up to the meeting.
There has been neither official denial nor confirmation to date.
But tellingly, all major party newspapers such as the People's Daily yesterday ran a front-page article in the prominent top right hand corner announcing that the military supremo had signed a new order to the People's Liberation Army - signalling that Mr Jiang is not about to exit stage left.

Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
Pressures for Expanding Local-Level Democracy
Joseph Fewsmith
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has faced numerous pressures in recent years to reform its governing practices, particularly at the local level where these practices directly affect the lives of citizens. Despite years of campaigning against it, corruption continues to get worse; the abuse of power by local officials has inflamed relations with the local citizenry; and there seems to be a palpable need to enhance the legitimacy of local officials. Village-level elections were introduced in China in the late 1980s to respond to such needs, but they created new problems: party secretaries clashed regularly with village heads, and township cadres resented newly assertive village leaders. Moreover, the electoral process stalled as efforts to promote it at the township level met resistance. In recent months, however, there have been new and expanded experiments with local-level democracy involving increasing the importance of local people's congresses, opening up the electoral process, and using some form of election to choose local cadres. Importantly, these experiments are not limited to the village level but are taking place at the township and sometimes county levels. Such innovations may not be the harbinger of democratization, but they do reflect increased pressures to cope with the problems of local governance.
Local governance has been a troubled area in China in recent years. Although village elections, started in 1987, offered hope of better governance and more democratic choice, their implementation has been uneven at best, and they have not yet been permitted to move up to the township level on a regular basis. Meanwhile, tensions between local cadres and peasants have increased. Yu Jianrong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), has written vividly of peasants' efforts to resist the tax burden imposed on them.1 Not coincidentally, Zhao Shukai of the State Council's Development Research Center has depicted local government as ever more focused on the task of revenue collection.2 Chen Kuidi and Chun Tao's Zhongguo nongmin diaocha (Investigation of China's peasants), which became a best-seller this year before it was banned, has similarly described the poverty and oppression of China's peasants.3 Over the past year or so, there have been notable efforts to reduce this tax burden, but they have only shifted the focus of peasant protests to disputes over land rights.4 Good governance has been in very short supply; Shanghai researcher Xiao Gongqin has warned of the development of "sultanism" at the local level.5 Breaking this cycle of political oppression, excessive taxation, resistance, and violence has become a major focal point for researchers and policy advisers in China, as well as an object of citizen activism. Xinwen zhoukan (Newsweek) labeled 2003 the year
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
of the "new popular rights movement" because of the many efforts to use legal means to articulate and protect the rights of citizens.6 Two major reflections of this trend have been the expansion of citizen participation in local people's congress elections and Chinese Communist Party efforts to develop "inner-party democracy" (dangnei minzhu) in response to problems at the local level.
Township People's Congresses
According to China's election law, people's congresses (the legislative body) below the county level (meaning the township level in the countryside and either the municipality or the district level in large urban areas) are to be elected directly. This stipulation has not, generally speaking, led to an expansion of democratic rights, because the nomination process has been dominated by higher-level authorities and because localpeople's congresses have been toothless, rubber-stamp bodies. Whereas the National People's Congress (NPC) has acquired some saliency in the political process, that development had not been duplicated at the local level. In recent years, especially in2003, that situation has begun to change. The election law includes provisions for selfnominated candidates (candidates can get on the preliminary ballot if more than 10 people sign a petition in support of their candidacy) as well as for write-in candidates. Whereas self-nominated candidates are generally eliminated by the local election commission, which goes through a process of "fermentation" (yunniang) and discussion to decide on formal candidates (there is no requirement for a primary election), some have been allowed to get on the ballot and even be elected in recent years. Along with this slight opening of the electoral process has come greater electoral campaigning, including the use of the Internet, campaign flyers, and even posters. Below, we look at several cases that have become well known in China but are rarely covered abroad.
Antecedents in Hubei
Born in 1958, Yao Lifa, of Qianjiang City in the central province of Hubei, was apparently the first person in China elected through self-nomination to a municipal-level people's congress. Apparently ambitious, Yao, who has a vocational school education and works at an elementary school, began competing for a seat in the local people's congress in 1987, when the election law was first promulgated. The law allows for selfnominated candidates, and Yao used this provision to run for office. Twelve years later, in 1999, he was finally successful. Over the course of the next five years, Yao was a busy and controversial figure--he raised 187 of the 459 suggestions, opinions, and criticisms presented to the local people's congress. Yao also undertook a survey of the 329 villages under Qianjiang City and found that 187 village chairmen and 432 vice chairmen and village committee members in 269 villages who had been elected in 1999--some 57 percent of the total--had been dismissed over the course of the following three years.7
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
In 2003, Yao and 40 other people--including teachers, village heads, lawyers, workers, and peasants--put themselves forward as candidates for the Qianjiang Municipal People's Congress, and 32 of them became formal candidates. In an election fraught with controversy, the whole group of self-nominated candidates lost the election, though Yao at least vowed to run again in the next election. Because Yao and the others were not backed by local authorities, their only chance of being elected was to wage a write-in campaign. Yao had succeeded in doing so in 1999, but local authorities were determined to prevent more than one successful write-in campaign in 2003. As Li Fan put it, the local administration felt it was bad enough to have one Yao Lifa in the people's congress; they would not have been able to tolerate 32 Yao Lifas!8
In 2001, L? Banglie of Baoyuesi Village in Zhijiang City, Hubei, was angry at the way local cadres demanded taxes despite the failure of his (and the rest of the villagers') crops. After failing in his petitions to the township authorities, L? traveled to Beijing. After a few weeks, township cadres brought him back to Hubei, saying that everything would be resolved. When matters were not resolved, L? returned to Beijing in December, but he was again brought back by local officials. In April 2002, after reading Li Changping's best-seller, Telling the Truth to the Premier, L? returned to Beijing, where he sought out Li Changping. Later, back home in Hubei, other villagers sought out L? to discuss their charges against local officials--that when flooding forced them to move, the government had allocated 15,000 yuan in compensation, but township authorities had distributed only 13,000 yuan. So off to Beijing went L? Banglie once again.
In November 2002, having learned something of China's laws, L? ran for village head, winning the highest number of votes. Complaints arose that his hukou was not in that village, and L?'s candidacy was disallowed. In January 2003, L? returned again to Beijing, where he participated in a training class organized by CASS and other organizations. Understanding more about China's laws, he returned to his township and demanded that the village election be investigated, enforcing his demand with a hunger strike. In June, he organized a petition to recall the village head and got 709 of the 2,152 villagers to sign, well over the one-fifth needed. Shortly thereafter he was assaulted by three youths who beat him with clubs. When he did not drop his campaign to recall the village head, he was beaten yet again--resulting in a 43-day hospital stay. As the year-end election for people's congress approached, L? began thinking about running for office. He contacted Yao Lifa, and soon used Yao's method of organizing a write-in campaign. On December 6, 2003, L? was elected to the township people's congress with 4,551 votes out of a possible 6,000-plus ballots. L?'s struggle for justice suggests not only his own stubbornness, but also the willingness of local officials to use all sorts of methods, including physical violence, to prevent people like L? from becoming members of the local people's congress. In 2000, one Zhang Jiagui was elected village head in a village not far from L?'s, but because he insisted on clearing up public finances from the preceding period, he was beaten to death.
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
In Songci Municipality, across the Yangtze River from Zhijiang, one Yang Changxin, who was a member of the local people's congress, was arrested and sentenced to jail for three years for disturbing the public order. The struggle to break the hold of the local political elite is not only difficult but also dangerous.9
The 2003 Shenzhen Election
In April and May 2003, districts under Shenzhen Municipality in Guangdong held elections for the local people's congresses. Whereas previously nominations, aselsewhere in China, were controlled and manipulated by higher authorities, this time 10 or more self-nominated candidates took part in the election, two of whom were elected. Whether resulting in election victories or not, each of these candidacies challenged to a greater or lesser extent the old ways of doing things while reflecting social change. One interesting case is that of Xiao Youmei, a 48-year-old woman who had been elected to the municipal people's congress in 2000. Believing that her chances in the next election were not good (for reasons unexplained), Xiao decided that she would run for the people's congress in the district where she lived, Luohu District. She was able to collect 33 signatures to put herself on the ballot, but she was the weakest of the three candidates. Those who had supported her nomination were the retired and unemployed, while the other two candidates were backed by large work units.
In April 2003, a meeting was held to introduce the candidates to voters'
representatives, but only 15 representatives attended the meeting, and Xiao realized that it would be impossible to introduce herself to the voters in this fashion. Faced with the indifference of residents' committees to her pleas to meet the voters, Xiao and herhusband decided to print up campaign posters to introduce her credentials and experience to the voters. Her slogan was, "Listen to the voices that come from the grass roots, supervise the government's work style and political reform, reflect the desires of the broad masses, and be a bridge between the government and the citizens."
Xiao's election poster was a first in China. Local residents' committees were skeptical, so Xiao turned to the district election commission for a decision. In an equivocal but nonetheless surprising decision, the election commission ruled that it would neither support nor oppose putting up posters; local residents' committees "may support" (peihe) her.10 Unfortunately for Xiao, security at the first work unit she went to would not let her post her campaign material, and security at the second ripped it down. After the intervention of the district election commission, she was allowed to put up her poster in several prominent places, thus drawing much attention. In the end, however, these efforts were not enough. Xiao received 191 votes, much better than expected but not more than half of the 809 votes cast.11
Xiao Youmei obviously failed in her quest to be elected, but her campaign activities inspired others, and the relatively enlightened response of the district election commission suggested a willingness to adjust to the changing needs of society.
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One person inspired by Xiao Youmei was Wu Haining, who read about Xiao's campaign posters in the April 22, 2003, edition of Nanfang dushi bao (Southern metropolitan daily). Wu had been nominated through the support of 151 people, but the election, originally scheduled to be held on April 23, was canceled after another candidate suddenly withdrew. Wu immediately complained about the canceled election, and the district election commission decided that the election would be held on May 9. Besides Wu, the other candidate would be one Chen Huibin, head of the residents' committee in that area as well as head of the election commission leadership small group. Realizing that he was at a disadvantage, Wu visited Xiao to see her campaign poster. On May 6, Wu posted his own campaign material in several places and stuffed some 1,900open letters in residents' mailboxes. Although he was subjected to pressure from officials, his posters were not torn down. The day before the election, the election commission posted a new list of voters' names. The list contained 849 names, 189 more than the list had had when voter registration was closed on April 3.
Wu lost the election, but he did not yield. Rather than concede defeat, he issued a statement that questioned the election procedures. He also filed a complaint with the municipal people's congress (no decision has been reached as of this writing).12 On May 25, some 33 voters signed a petition calling for Chen Huibin's removal.13 People's Daily weighed in on the side of the petitioners, saying that the drive to remove Chen, whether successful or not, "will have considerable impact on the improvement of the people's congress system in China, promotion of the process of grassroots democracy, and still more sufficient protection of voters' democratic rights."14
Another person to run for election was much more of an insider than either Xiao or Wu. Wang Liang had been sent to the United States to study for his master's inpublic administration, which he received in 2002. Returning to Shenzhen, Wang was appointed principal and party secretary of the Shenzhen High-Tech and Industrial School. He was also qualified as an accountant and a lawyer, and was studying for his doctorate. In late April 2003, Wang decided to declare his own candidacy, only to discover that the students and staff at his school had been left off the voter registration rolls, making him ineligible to run. After talking to students and staff at the school, Wang called the district election commission to say that he wanted to run. The election commission supported his effort, but because formal nominations were over, it suggested he run a write-in campaign. It also allowed the students and staff to register to vote. Wang noted that the campaigns of Xiao Youmei and Wu Haining had stirred controversy, so he adopted a lower-key style, printing up very simple campaign sheets. In the end, he won the district election to the people's congress with the highest vote total.15
The Beijing Election
China's media were supportive of Shenzhen's election, and in August 2003 the People's Daily web site carried an article saying that "increasing the number of selfnominated candidates allows the masses to better select their own spokespersons,
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
enlarges the scope of orderly participation in politics by the citizens, enriches the elections of people's congresses, and infuses fresh content into the people's congresses' work."16 So a more open atmosphere was extant as the Beijing district people's congress elections approached.
In these elections more than 20 self-nominated candidates took part, although only three were elected. One was Xu Zhiyong, a 30-year-old instructor in the law schoolat Beijing Postal Academy. Xu was one of three law professors who had posted an appeal on the Internet after Sun Zhigang was beaten to death in detention in May 2003. That appeal led to the revision of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) law on detention. In October of the same year, Xu was the lawyer who argued on behalf of Sun Dawu, a wealthy entrepreneur who had been detained on trumped-up charges. In November, Xu declared himself a self-nominated candidate for the local people's congress in Beijing's Haidian District (the area in the northwest of the city where most of the universities are located). He posted an appeal for support on the Internet, and within three hours had received over 700 responses. Xu also received the support of his school, and on December 10 he was elected with the highest number of votes--some 10,106 out of 12,609 cast. Since Xu was supported by his school, his candidacy cannot be considered an "opposition" candidacy, but his involvement in the Sun Zhigang and Sun Dawu cases certainly reflects a willingness to challenge the status quo.17
Another candidate was Nie Hailiang, one of six property owners (yezhu) who presented themselves as self-declared candidates. Nie had a master's degree from Qinghua University in environmental science and engineering, and he had gone on toopen a company dealing with energy management. He was also the developer of the Yunquyuan residence in the Huilongguan community. Originally, three property owners from the same district were planning to participate in the election, but the other two dropped out so that support could be concentrated on Nie. In the end, Nie received about two-thirds of the votes in that district. Nie's election, like the candidacy of Wu Haining in Shenzhen, represented a new phenomenon--property owners banding together to protect their rights through the electoral process.18
The other self-nominated candidate to win election in Beijing was Ge Jinbiao, a 35-year-old with a doctorate in law who was an instructor at the law school at Beijing Industrial and Commercial University. A total of 276 people received votes in the first round of the election (competing for three seats), and none of the candidates surpassed the required 50 percent of the votes. By placing third in the voting, Ge secured himself a place on the final ballot along with the three officially backed candidates. Like other self-nominated candidates, Ge placed a lot of effort into campaigning. He went to the student dorms and passed out thousands of campaign brochures, promising to serve the interests of the voters and to protect the interests of the students. When the votes were counted on December 16, Ge placed first, with a total of 7,839 votes out of 11,512 ballots.19
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
It should also be noted that Yao Yao, the 20-year-old son of Yao Lifa who is a law major at China Politics and Law University, was one of the other self-declared candidates.20 Another was Shu Kexin, who attracted a great deal of attention for his attempts to create a campaign office that was staffed with volunteers to shape his media image and try to persuade potential voters. One of Shu's campaign aides noted in an interview that the candidate had been inspired by Yao Lifa.21
Political Reform in Pingba
The initiatives to push the bounds of political reform discussed above all involved efforts to invigorate the district and township people's congresses. They also were marked by attempts to open up the system, with or without the support of higher levels, and introduce new modes of participation, including campaigning and the use of write-in candidacies. In Pingba Township in Chengkou County in Chongqing Municipality, there was a much broader push to reform the political system, including increasing the importance of the people's congress, and it was led by the local CCP branch. These measures were approved by a township-level party plenum and a simultaneous meeting of the township people's congress. The reform consisted of the following aspects:
1. Selection of the township party secretary would be in accordance with the three-ballot system. First, if the number of candidates for party secretary were to exceed one, then the party congress would hold a primary to determine primary candidates. Second, formal candidacy would be decided by a vote of all residents (whether members of the CCP or not). Finally, all party members in the township would choose among the formal candidates. The township head would be elected by direct vote of all residents. The newly elected township head would then select his or her own "cabinet," subject to the approval of the township people's congress.
2. A party congress standing committee would be established at the township level. The standing committee would meet every three months (considerably more often than the usual proposal to have it meet once a year).
3. Similarly, the township people's congress would establish a standing committee. Each of Pingba's 17 electoral districts would choose one person from its delegation to the people's congress to serve on the standing committee. The standing committee would meet every two months. Specialized representatives (presumably those with more knowledge of such topics as public finance) could meet on an ad hoc basis.
4. A new relationship would be established among the party, the government, and the local people's congress. The party committee would no longer interfere in the work of the government. The party committee would be restricted to deciding on major matters to be executed by the local government and supervising the implementation of resolutions passed by the local people's congress. The party committee would also be responsible for supervising the conduct of its own members.
5. An inner-party supervisory mechanism would be instituted.
6. The government would also be under the comprehensive supervision of the local people's congress.
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
7. Public finance would be made open, and the government's budget would have to gain the approval of the local people's congress as well as be subject to supervision during its implementation. On August 26, 2003, three candidates for township party secretary in Pingba put forth their governing platforms and responded to questions from the audience (which was open to the general public as well as local cadres). A lively discussion then took place covering all matters of local concern, including education, transportation, the environment, family planning, land distribution, and so forth. On August 28, just as final preparations for the election were getting under way, the county party committee ordered the election and the reform stopped. Moreover, the county party committee put the Pingba Township party secretary, Wei Shengduo, under "dual supervision" and appointed a new party secretary. After two weeks, Wei was allowed to return home, but was left awaiting higher levels' decision on his next job assignment, if any.22
It does not seem strange that this reform plan was stopped by higher-level party officials; what is intriguing is that the plan went as far as it did and that party officials at the township level approved it. Allowing the public to vote for a party secretary at the township level--if only in the form of an opinion poll--is unprecedented, but what is unique, and in accord with the other examples looked at in this analysis, is that the plan envisioned a far greater role for the local people's congress. Most townships are scheduled to reelect their people's congresses in late 2004 and in the first half of 2005,making the various trends traced here relevant as we go forward.
Inner-Party Democracy
Inner-party democracy--an old topic in the CCP lexicon--has been revived in recent years as another way of channeling the calls for reform at the local level. In particular, calls for inner-party democracy are a direct response to village elections: once people could elect the village chief, people began to ask why they could not also elect the village secretary. In addition, inner-party democracy is seen by party researchers as a way of breaking up the corruption and personal networks that are associated with having power concentrated in the hands of the "number one leader" (yi ba shou) at each level.23 Implementation of the three-ballot system in Baicheng City in Jilin Province to decide cadre promotions was described in a previous issue of China Leadership Monitor.24 That experiment started in 2000, when the newly installed party secretary found himself under so much pressure from leaders at different levels to promote one person or another that he finally decided to open up the process and promote cadres through democratic mechanisms. The experiment remains limited because it is restricted to the section (chu) level, but it did receive the endorsement of higher levels in the party.25
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
In Sichuan Province, which has pioneered many of the experiments in local democracy, the party secretary of Pingchang County designated one-third of the townships under his administration to experiment with direct election of the township party secretary by all party members in that jurisdiction. In one of those townships, Lingshan, eight party members competed for five positions in what the press hailed as a "breakthrough" in the cadre selection process.26 Recently the CCP Organization Department in Sichuan declared that cadres at and below the county level must be recommended by the "masses."27 If implemented, that policy would mark a substantial raising of the level at which some form of democratic process is used. Other experiments are taking place elsewhere in the country. For instance, Luotian County in Hubei Province replaced its CCP standing committee with a broader 15-person committee elected directly by the party congress--which also meets annually to monitor affairs.28
1 Yu Jianrong, "The Evil Forces in the Rural Areas and the Deterioration of Grassroots Administration--A Survey of the South Area of Hunan," Zhanlue yu guanli, September 1, 2003, 1-14, trans. FBIS CPP-2003-1008-000183.
2 Zhao Shukai, "Governance in Villages: Organization and Conflict," Zhanlue yu guanli, November 1, 2003, 1-8, trans. FBIS CPP-2004-0102-000114.
3 Chen Kuidi and Chun Tao, Zhongguo nongmin diaocha (Investigation of China's peasants) (Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 2004).
4 Yu Jianrong, "Tudi wenti yicheng wei nongmin weiquan kangzheng de jiaodian" (The land problem has already become the focal point in peasants' protests and efforts to uphold rights) (n.p., n.d.).
5 Xiao Gongqin, "Jingti defang quanli `Sudanhua' xianxiang" (Beware of the `sultanization' of power at the local level), Neibu canyue, 2003, no. 10 (March 14).
6 Li Fan, ed., Zhongguo jiceng minzhu fazhan baogao (Grassroots democracy in China) (Beijing: Fal? chubanshe, 2004), 5.
7 Huang Guangming and He Hongwei, "Striking Dilemma in Grassroots Administration in Dianjiang [sic, Qianjiang] Village [sic, City], 187 Elected Village Officials Dismissed in Three Years," Nanfang zhuomo, September 12, 2002, trans. FBIS CPP-2002-0916-000029, and Dang Guoying, "The Reality and Future of Villagers' Autonomy," Nanfang zhuomo, September 30, 2002, trans. FBIS CPP-2002-1008-0000051.
8 Li Fan, ed., Zhongguo jiceng minzhu fazhan baogao, 158.
9 Ibid., 168-76.
10 Ibid., 75.
11 Ibid., 78. See also Yi Ying, "Shenzhen's Election Campaign Storm," Nanfang zhuomo, May 29, 2003,
trans. FBIS CPP-2003-0606-000021.
12 Li Fan, ed., Zhongguo jiceng minzhu fazhan baogao, 40-41.
13 China Daily, August 9, 2003.
14 Renmin ribao (Internet version), June 27, 2003, trans. FBIS CPP-2003-0707-000142.
15 Li Fan, ed., Zhongguo jiceng minzhu fazhan baogao, 43-44.
16 Ibid., 122-23.
17 Ibid., 125-26.
18 Ibid., 127.
19 Ibid., 128.
20 Irene Wang, "A Whiff of Freedom in Beijing Election," South China Morning Post, November 21, 2003.
21 Lin Chufang, "Penetrating Deeply into the Depths of Success: A Campaign Office for an Independent Candidate Quietly Opens Its Doors," Nanfang zhuomo, October 30, 2003, trans. FBIS CPP-2003-1103-0000007.
22 Li Fan, ed., Zhongguo jiceng minzhu fazhan baogao, 179-235.
Fewsmith, China Leadership Monitor, No.12
23 Interviews in Beijing, August 2004.
24 Joseph Fewsmith, "The Third Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee," China Leadership Monitor 9 (winter 2004).
25 Interviews in Beijing, August 2004.
26 "Direct Elections Move to Township Level," China Daily, May 18, 2004, and Li Wei, "Political Achievements of the `Openly Nominated and Directly Elected Secretary,'" Sichuan ribao, trans. FBIS CPP-2004-0130-000043.
27 Min Jie, "Sichuan: Cadres Must Be Selected through Mass Nomination--Those without Democratic Recommendation or Not Approved Of by Majority of Masses in Democratic Recommendation Cannot Be Named as Candidates to Be Examined for Filling Vacant Posts," Zhongguo qingnian bao, August 3, 2004, trans. FBIS CPP-2004-0803-000075.
28 "China's Ruling Party Seeks to Decentralize Power," Xinhua News Agency (English), July 1, 2004, FBIS CPP-2004-0701-000219.



Turkey snaps over US bombing of its bretheren
By K Gajendra Singh
For the first time since the acrimonious exchange of words in July last year following the arrest and imprisonment of 11 Turkish commandos in Kurdish Iraq, for which Washington expressed "regret", differences erupted publicly this week between North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies Turkey and the US over attacks on Turkey's ethnic cousins, the Turkmens in northern Iraq.
Talking to a Turkish TV channel, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul warned that if the US did not cease its attacks on Tal Afar, a Turkmen city at the junction of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, Ankara might withdraw its support to the US in Iraq.
"I told [US Secretary of State Colin Powell] that what is being done there is harming the civilian population, that it is wrong, and that if it continues, Turkey's cooperation on issues regarding Iraq will come to a total stop." He added, "We will continue to say these things. Of course we will not stop only at words. If necessary, we will not hesitate to do what has to be done."
Turkey is a key US ally in a largely hostile region. US forces use its Incirlik military base near northern Iraq. Turkish firms are also involved heavily in the construction and transport business in Iraq, with hundreds of Turkish vehicles bringing in goods for the US military every day. It is an alternative route through friendly northern Kurdish territory to those from Jordan and Kuwait. But many Turks have been kidnapped by Iraqi insurgent groups and some have been killed.
Turkey contains a large ethnic Turkmen population and Ankara has long seen itself as the guardian of their rights, particularly across the border in northern Iraq, where they constitute a significant minority.
The US attacks on Tal Afar, which Iraqi Turkmen groups in Turkey say have left 120 dead and over 200 injured, were launched, the US says, to root out terrorists. The US has denied the extent of the damage, saying that it avoided civilian targets and killed only terrorists it says were infiltrating the town from Syria.
US ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman commented, "We are carrying out a limited military operation and we are trying to keep civilian losses to a minimum. We cannot completely eliminate the possibility [of civilian casualties] ... We believe the operation is being conducted with great care," he said after briefing Turkish officials. There have not been any reports of further attacks since the Turkish warning.
The deterioration in US-Turkish relations underlines the fast-changing strategic scenario in the region in the post-Cold War era after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the September 11 attacks on the US, the US-led invasion on Iraq, now conceded as illegal by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and the deteriorating security situation in that country.
Despite negative signals on Ankara's mission to join the European Union, Turkey is moving away from the US and closer to the EU - it is even looking to buy Airbuses, and arms, from Europe rather than the US.
At the same time, Turkey is drawing closer to Syria, normalizing relations with Iran and improving economic relations with Russia, as well as discuss with Moscow ways to counter terrorist acts, from which both Russia and Turkey suffer. Russian President Vladimir Putin called off a visit to Turkey when the hostage crisis broke at Beslan in the Russian Caucasus last week.
And Turkey has also moved away from long-time friend Israel, the US's umbilically aligned strategic partner in the Middle East. Turkey has accused Israel of "state terrorism" against Palestinians. A recent ruling party team from Turkey returned from Tel Aviv not satisfied with Israeli explanations over charges that it was interfering in northern Iraqi affairs.
With newspapers full of stories and TV screens showing the Turkmens being attacked in the US operations at Tal Afar, many Turks are angry at what is being done to their ethnic brethren. These have been large protests outside the US Embassy in Ankara, and the belief that the US attacks are a part of a campaign to ethnically cleanse the Turkmens from northern Iraq is widespread.
"Some people are uncomfortable with the ethnic structure of this area, so, using claims of a terrorist threat, they went in and killed people," said Professor Suphi Saatci of the Kirkuk Foundation, one of several Turkmen groups in Turkey.
He claims that the the attacks are a part of a wider campaign to establish Kurdish control over all of northern Iraq, and he points to the removal of Turkmen officials from governing positions in the region to be replaced by Kurds. He also says that the Iraqi police force deployed in northern Iraq is dominated by members of Kurdish factions. "The US is acting completely under the direction of the Kurdish parties in northern Iraq," says Saatci. "Tal Afar is a clearly Turkmen area and this is something they were very jealous of."
While Kurdish officials deny any attempt to alter the ethnic balance in the region, last week Masud Barzani, leader of one of the two largest Kurdish parties, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), said that Kirkuk "is a Kurdish city" and one that the KDP was willing to fight for, which certainly did not calm fears of the Turkmens and angered the Turks. Many Turkmen see Kirkuk as historically theirs. Turkey considers northern Iraq - ie Kurdistan - as part of its sphere of influence, especially the Turkmen minority. Ankara is especially concerned that the Kurds in Iraq don't gain full autonomy as this would likely fire the aspirations of Turkey's Kurdish minority.
The US military disputes that its forces laid siege to Tal Afar, saying that the operation was to free the city from insurgents, including foreign fighters, who had turned it into a haven for militants smuggling men and arms across the Syrian border. And a military spokesman denied that Kurds were using US forces to gain the upper hand in their ethnic struggle with the Turkmens. The US characterized the resistance in Tal Afar as put up by a disparate group of former Saddam Hussein loyalists, religious extremists and foreign fighters who were united only by their opposition to US forces.
Gareth Stansfield, a regional specialist at the Center of Arab and Islamic Studies at Britain's University of Exeter, said recently that "the most important angle of what the Turkish concern is [and that is] that there is a strong belief in Ankara that Iyad Allawi, the Iraqi prime minister, and the Americans, were suckered into attacking Tal Afar by Kurdish intelligence circles, and really brought to Tal Afar to target ostensibly al-Qaeda and anti-occupation forces with the Kurds knowing full well that this would also bring them up against Turkmens and create a rift between Washington and Ankara over their treatment of a Turkmen city."
Turkey maintains a few hundred troops in the region as a security presence to monitor Turkish Kurd rebels who have some hideouts in the region. But any large-scale presence has been derailed by the objections of Iraqi Kurdish leaders. "That has created an uneasy state of co-existence between Ankara and the two major Kurdish political parties, the Kurdish Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a balance which any US military operation in the area could easily disturb."
Stansfield added that the incident shows how volatile tensions remain between Ankara and the Iraqi Kurds, despite ongoing efforts by both sides to work together. "The Turkish position has become increasingly more sophisticated over the last months, and arguably years, with Ankara finding an accommodation with the KDP and PUK and beginning to realize that while it is not their favored option to allow the Kurds to be autonomous in the north of Iraq, it is perhaps one of the better options that they are faced with in this situation," said Stansfield.
He added, "However, the relationship between the two principle Kurdish parties and the government of Turkey will always be sensitized by the Kurds' treatment of Turkmens and indeed now the American treatment of Turkmens vis-a-vis Kurds."
Transfer of sovereignty and the Kurds
In January this year, the then Iraqi Governing Council agreed to a federal structure to enshrine Kurdish self-rule in three northern provinces of Iraq. This was to be included in a "fundamental law" that would precede national elections in early 2005. The fate of three more provinces claimed by the Kurds was to be decided later. "In the fundamental law, Kurdistan will have the same legal status as it has now," said a Kurdish council member, referring to the region that has enjoyed virtual autonomy since the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
"When the constitution is written and elections are held, we will not agree to less than what is in the fundamental law, and we may ask for more," said the Kurdish council member. Arabs, Turkmens, Sunnis and Shi'ites expressed vociferous opposition to the proposed federal system for Kurdish Iraq. They organized demonstrations leading to ethnic tensions and violence in Kirkuk and many other cities in north Iraq. Many protesters were killed and scores were injured.
However, when "sovereignty" was transferred on June 30 to the interim government led by Iyad Allawi, the interim constitutional arrangement did not include a federal structure for Kurdish self-rule, although to pacify the Kurds, key portfolios of defense and foreign affairs were allotted to them.
A press release from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) stated that "the current situation in Iraq and the new-found attitude of the US, UK and UN has led to a serious re-think for the Kurds. The proposed plans do not seem to promise the expected Kurdish role in the future of a new Iraq. The Kurds feel betrayed once again." It added that "if the plight of the Kurds is ignored yet again and we are left with no say in the future of a new Iraq, the will of the Kurdish people will be too great for the Kurdish political parties to ignore, leading to a total withdrawal from any further discussions relating to the formation of any new Iraqi government. This will certainly not serve the unity of Iraq." Underlining that the Kurds have been the only true friends and allies of the US coalition, the release concluded that "the Kurds will no longer be second-class citizens in Iraq". However, the Kurds did not precipitate matters.
Demographic changes in north Iraq
Kirkuk, with a population of some 750,000, and other towns are now the scene of ethnic and demographic struggles between Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds, with the last wanting to take over the region and make the city a part of an autonomous zone, with Kirkuk as its capital.
The area around Kirkuk has 6% of the world's oil reserves. In April 2003, it was estimated that the population was 250,000 each for Turkmen, Arab and Kurd. A large number of Arabs were settled there by Saddam Hussein, and they are mostly Shi'ites from the south. The Turkmens are generally Shi'ites, like their ethnic kin, the Alevis in Turkey, but many have given up Turkmen traditions in favor of the urban, clerical religion common among the Arabs of the south. Kirkuk is therefore a stronghold of the Muqtada al-Sadr movement which has given US-led forces such a hard time in the south in Najaf. The influential Shi'ite political party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), also has good support, perhaps 40%, in the region. Kurds are mostly Sunnis, and were the dominant population in Kirkuk in the 1960s and 1970s, before Saddam's Arabization policy saw a lot of Kurds moved further north.
According to some estimates, over 70,000 Kurds have entered Kirkuk over the past 17 months, and about 50,000 Arabs have fled back to the south. It can be said, therefore, that now there are about 320,000 Kurds and 200,000 Arabs in the city. The number of Turkmen has also been augmented. During the Ottoman rule, the Turkmen dominated the city, and it was so until oil was discovered. It is reported that, encouraged by the Kurdish leadership, as many as 500 Kurds a day are returning to the city. The changes are being carried out for the quick-fix census planned for October, which in turn will be the basis for the proportional representation for the planned January elections, if these are even held, given the country's security problems. Both the Turkmens and Arabs have said that the Kurds are using these demographic changes to engulf Kirkuk and ensure that it is added to the enlarged Kurdish province which they are planning. The Kurds hope to get at least semi-autonomous status from Baghdad.
North Iraq and Turkey's Kurdish problem
Turkey has serious problems with its own Kurds, who form 20% of the population. A rebellion since 1984 against the Turkish state led by Abdullah Ocalan of the Marxist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has cost over 35,000 lives, including 5,000 soldiers. To control and neutralize the rebellion, thousands of Kurdish villages have been bombed, destroyed, abandoned or relocated; millions of Kurds have been moved to shanty towns in the south and east or migrated westwards. The economy of the region was shattered. With a third of the Turkish army tied up in the southeast, the cost of countering the insurgency at its height amounted to between $6 billion to $8 billion a year.
The rebellion died down after the arrest and trial of Ocalan, in 1999, but not eradicated. After a court in Turkey in 2002 commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence passed on Ocalan and parliament granted rights for the use of the Kurdish language, some of the root causes of the Kurdish rebellion were removed. The PKK - now also called Konga-Gel - shifted almost 4,000 of its cadres to northern Iraq and refused to lay down arms as required by a Turkish "repentance law". The US's priority to disarm PKK cadres was never very high. In fact, the US wants to reward Iraqi Kurds, who have remained mostly peaceful and loyal while the rest of the country has not.
Early this month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey's patience was running out over US reluctance to take military action against Turkish Kurds hiding in northern Iraq. In 1999, the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire after the capture of its leader, Ocalan. But the ceasefire was not renewed in June and there have been increasing skirmishes and battles between Kurdish insurgents and Turkish security forces inside Turkey. Turkey remains frustrated over US reluctance to employ military means against the PKK fighters - in spite of promises to do so.
Iraqi Kurds have been ambivalent to the PKK, helping them at times. Ankara has entered north Iraq from time to time - despite protests - to attack PKK bases and its cadres. Ankara has also said that it would regard an independent Kurdish entity as a cause for war. It is opposed to the Kurds seizing the oil centers around Kirkuk, which would give them financial autonomy, and this would also constitute a reason for entry into north Iraq. The Turks vehemently oppose any change in the ethnic composition of the city of Kirkuk .
The Turks manifest a pervasive distrust of autonomy or models of a federal state for Iraqi Kurds. It would affect and encourage the aspirations of their own Kurds. It also revives memories of Western conspiracies against Turkey and the unratified 1920 Treaty of Sevres forced on the Ottoman Sultan by the World War I victors which had promised independence to the Armenians and autonomy to Turkey's Kurds. So Mustafa Kemal Ataturk opted for the unitary state of Turkey and Kurdish rebellions in Turkey were ruthlessly suppressed.
The 1980s war between Iraq and resurgent Shi'ites in Iran helped the PKK to establish itself in the lawless north Kurdish Iraq territory. The PKK also helped itself with arms freely available in the region during the eight-year war.
The 1990-91 Gulf crisis and war proved to be a watershed in the violent explosion of the Kurdish rebellion in Turkey. A nebulous and ambiguous situation emerged in north Iraq when, at the end of the war, US president Bush Sr encouraged the Kurds (and the hapless Shi'ites in the south) to revolt against Saddam's Sunni Arab regime. Turkey was dead against it, as a Kurdish state in the north would give ideas to its own Kurds.
Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in the Gulf were totally opposed to a Shi'ite state in south Iraq. The hapless Iraqi Kurds and Shi'ites paid a heavy price. Thousands were butchered. The international media's coverage of the pitiable conditions, with more than half a million Iraqi Kurds escaping towards the Turkish border from Saddam's forces in March 1991, led to the creation of a protected zone in north Iraq, later patrolled by US and British war planes. The Iraqi Kurds did elect a parliament, but it never functioned properly. Kurdish leaders Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani run almost autonomous administrations in their areas. This state of affairs has allowed the PKK a free run in north Iraq.
After the 1991 war, Turkey lost out instead of gaining as promised by the US. The closure of Iraqi pipelines, economic sanctions and the loss of trade with Iraq, which used to pump billions of US dollars into the economy and provide employment to hundreds of thousands, with thousands of Turkish trucks roaring up and down to Iraq, only exacerbated the economic and social problems in the Kurdish heartland and the center of the PKK rebellion.
But many Turks still remain fascinated with the dream of "getting back" the Ottoman provinces of Kurdish-majority Mosul and Kirkuk in Iraq. They were originally included within the sacred borders of the republic proclaimed in the National Pact of 1919 by Ataturk and his comrades, who had started organizing resistance to fight for Turkey's independence from the occupying World War I victors.
So it has always remained a mission and objective to be reclaimed some time. The oil-rich part of Mosul region was occupied by the British forces illegally after the armistice and then annexed to Iraq, then under British mandate, in 1925, much to Turkish chagrin. Iraq was created by joining Ottoman Baghdad and Basra vilayats (provinces). Turks also base their claims on behalf of less than half a million Turkmen who lived in Kirkuk with the Kurds before Arabization changed the ethnic balance of the region.
With its attacks on Tal Afar, the US is stirring a very deep well of discontent.
K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Emai:

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Once a Palace, Now Saddam Hussein's Prison
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 18 - Nine months after American troops pulled him disheveled and disoriented from an underground bunker near his hometown, Tikrit, Saddam Hussein is living in an air-conditioned 10-by-13 foot cell on the grounds of one of his former palaces outside Baghdad, tending plants, proclaiming himself Iraq's lawful ruler, and reading the Koran and books about past Arab glory.
American and Iraqi officials who have visited the former Iraqi leader say he wears plastic sandals and an Arab dishdasha robe, eats American soldiers' ready-to-eat meals for breakfast, and is permitted three hours' daily exercise in a courtyard outside his cell. He has been flown by Black Hawk helicopter to an American military hospital in Baghdad, where doctors ran tests for an enlarged prostate, which they believe could be an early pointer to cancer.
He has undergone hours of interrogation by investigators preparing evidence for his trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
But he has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing, or to show remorse for the hundreds of thousands of people killed during his 24-year dictatorship, officials say. He has insisted that his position as Iraq's president gave him legal authority for all he did and that his victims were "traitors." At every encounter, the officials say, he insists that he is still the constitutionally elected president.
More than 80 other "high value detainees" at the same prison - including more than 40 who were on the Pentagon's "pack of cards" of Iraq's most-wanted fugitives - are kept away from Mr. Hussein, said Bakhtiar Amin, the Iraqi human rights minister. Mr. Hussein has been in solitary confinement since his capture on Dec. 13, officials said, because of a fear that he would try to rig evidence or intimidate old associates in the prison.
But the core of the group, 11 men who appeared with him in court on July 1, are allowed to exercise together, and to play chess, poker, backgammon and dominos. Offsetting those privileges, they have faced indignities Mr. Hussein has been spared, including, at the outset, digging their own latrines. But the strict protocol favored by authoritarian regimes still rules. "They call each other by their old titles, Mr. Minister of this, Mr. Minister of that," Mr. Amin said. "It is as if nothing has changed."
When Mr. Hussein appeared in court to be advised of his legal rights and of the charges under investigation, officials said it could be two years or more before he was brought to trial. None of the other former officials who appeared with him were likely to come to trial for as much as a year, they said, because of the tons of documents to be processed, as well as the need to interview the thousands of Iraqis who have come forward as potential witnesses.
But the interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has decided to fast-forward the legal processes. It has begun a shake-up of the staff at the special tribunal set up last year to hear the cases and hopes to begin the first high-profile trial, probably against Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Mr. Hussein's known as Chemical Ali, by November. Mr. Hussein's trial will follow, perhaps next year if the prosecutors are ready, Iraqi and American officials say.
In an interview at his heavily guarded residence in Baghdad on Thursday, Dr. Allawi said the government had "received the resignation" of Salem Chalabi, the American-educated lawyer who has been the court's chief administrator. He is a nephew of Ahmad Chalabi, the exile leader who was favored by the Pentagon before the March 2003 invasion, but who has recently been shunned by the American hierarchy here. Ahmad Chalabi has set himself up as a rival to Dr. Allawi among Iraq's majority Shiites, and his nephew, who has been implicated by the Allawi government in a murder case unrelated to the work of the tribunal, has been out of Iraq for most of the past two months.
Small Pleasures
In prison, Mr. Hussein has asked for some vestiges of the pleasures he enjoyed when he moved between dozens of palaces. "This was a man whose regime used a shredder to turn human bodies into ground beef," said Mr. Amin, the 46-year-old rights minister, who spent years abroad as an exile chronicling the abuses of Mr. Hussein's government and petitioning foreign governments and rights organizations to shun the Iraqi government.
"And now he sits there in his cell and asks for muffins and cookies and cigars," he said.
Mr. Hussein and his top lieutenants are being held at Camp Cropper, a heavily fortified compound that crouches behind high walls topped with rolls of razor wire, beneath sandbagged watchtowers manned by soldiers with machine guns. The camp lies within a vast American headquarters complex known as Camp Victory, that includes a network of palaces, as well as lakes that Mr. Hussein filled with fish. Planes using Baghdad International Airport pass low over the prison, 10 miles from the center of Baghdad.
For the trials, courtrooms are being readied in one of the vast, neo-imperialist buildings inside the former Republican Palace compound in central Baghdad that make up the Green Zone, the headquarters for the Allawi government and 2,500 American military and civilian officials. The five-judge panels that will preside at the juryless trials will have the power to impose death sentences on Mr. Hussein and his associates some of whom wept when they were told at the July hearing that they faced possible execution. For Mr. Hussein and his victims, a trial in the new court building, which The New York Times was asked not to identify for security reasons, will have a special irony. Mr. Hussein, who favored an architectural style emphasizing huge sandstone columns and portals, will face a reckoning in one of the buildings he erected to glorify his rule. In the dock, he will be a short walk away from the Republican Palace beside the Tigris River, once his main seat of power.
The Allawi government believes that the Iraqis, subjected to decades of terror, will begin to recover only when they see the men responsible brought to account. "Without justice, I don't see any possibility of healing the wounds in this society," Mr. Amin, the human rights minister, said. "These people turned Iraq into a 'massgrave-istan' by the scale of their crimes."
"They made an industry of murder," he said.
Establishing Legitimacy
There are political pressures, too. Dr. Allawi will be a candidate in elections set for January, a crucial step toward the goal of a constitutionally established, popularly elected government by 2006. With the mounting insurgency, he needs to bolster his waning popularity among Iraqis who increasingly blame him for the chaos. By putting top figures from the former government on trial, aides believe, he can remind Iraqis of the trauma that ended with their overthrow.
In the interview, Dr. Allawi said political calculations and a desire for revenge - he was nearly killed by assassins Mr. Hussein sent to his exile home in London, who attacked him with an ax while he slept, leaving him hospitalized for a year - played no part in his decision to accelerate the trials. Rather, he said, what he sought was a catharsis. "We need to bury the past," he said.
Dr. Allawi was a rising student leader in the governing Baath Party in the 1960's when he first met Mr. Hussein. He recalled him as a "thug who enjoyed hurting others," and as a man whose rule had been "like a horror movie." Now, he said, Mr. Hussein was paying the price. "My guess is that Saddam is dying every day," he said. "He is in prison, he is alone, he has lost everything, he has no power, nothing; and to him, that is worse than death."
Western legal experts familiar with the tribunal's work say they doubt the tribunal can meet Dr. Allawi's timetable for a November start to the trials. In many cases, the preparation of evidence is far from complete, and so far, the tribunal has found no Iraqi lawyers to defend Mr. Hussein and his associates.
In July, several defendants, including Mr. Majid, said they wanted lawyers from elsewhere in the Arab world, but none have come forward. "The high-value criminals have been informed about this, that no Iraqi lawyers are willing to take their cases, and that the foreign lawyers who said that they would didn't come forward, either," Mr. Amin said.
In his cell, Mr. Hussein has a fold-up bed, a small desk and a plastic chair, as well as a supply of bottled water and ice, a prayer mat and a choice of more than 170 books from a library supplied by the International Committee of the Red Cross. He sleeps a lot, officials said, and reads Arabic-language books with a pair of thick-rimmed spectacles, including tomes of ancient poetry and tales from nearly 1,000 years ago, when Baghdad was a famous center of learning and the capital of the Islamic world.
On visits to the Army's hospital in the Green Zone, Mr. Hussein has staked out his independence in other ways. In the hospital - named for Ibn Sina, a scientific pioneer of the early Islamic world - he has been treated by American military doctors and Iraqi physicians who were on his presidential medical team. Near wards filled with wounded American soldiers, he has undergone blood tests and scans that have confirmed that he has an enlarged prostate gland, medical officials said, as well as a hernia problem and trouble with one of his eyes.
But he has refused a surgical biopsy that might determine whether the prostate condition was cancerous, a decision officials involved said was common among American men of Mr. Hussein's age, 67, who often choose not to take the biopsy when they are told that the condition could take years to become life-threatening. "He has time," one official said. "There is no health issue that would prevent him standing trial."
Another official said Mr. Hussein had helped an American Navy surgeon take blood by gripping a tourniquet on his arm, and remarked, in English, "Perhaps I should have been a doctor, not a politician."
In the courtyard by his cell, Mr. Hussein has placed white-painted stones around the plants he tends, a fact that struck Mr. Amin, the human rights minister, as bizarre. "It's an irony of history," he said. "This is a man who committed some of the biggest acts of ecocide in history, when he drained the marshes in southern Iraq, used chemical weapons against 250 Kurdish villages, and shipped whole palm tree plantations to the charlatan leaders of the Arab world who were his shoeshine boys.
"And now he's a gardener."
Mr. Amin said Mr. Hussein had been denied newspapers, radio and television, and thus knew little about the political events in Iraq that have followed his capture. But he said the former ruler was upset when he was told that a prominent Sunni tribal leader, Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar, had been named by the United States to replace him as president.
"He was shaken and he was very upset," Mr. Amin said. "He couldn't accept that." He added: "He's a megalomaniac and a psychotic. He has never expressed any remorse for any of his victims. He is a man without a conscience. He is a beast."
Therapy Sessions Declined
An American general said Mr. Hussein had been offered sessions with American military psychologists, but had refused them, as had all his closest associates. Still, all 12 are watched by an American mental health team - especially under interrogation - for any sign they may be contemplating suicide. None has given cause for concern so far, the general said. Other officials gave a somewhat different picture, saying that some of the men had bouts of depression and complained bitterly about being denied family visits.
In the converted mosque annex at Camp Victory that was used as a courtroom in July, several of the former leaders seemed deeply shaken when told they faced a possible death penalty. Several blamed Mr. Hussein for the killings, and said they were only following orders. Since then, Iraqi officials said, several have offered to cooperate with their interrogators. One is Tariq Aziz, the cigar-smoking, whiskey-drinking former deputy prime minister, who was Mr. Hussein's diplomatic emissary; another is Barzan al-Tikriti, Mr. Hussein's half-brother.
Mr. Amin said he was hailed by Mr. Tikriti during a visit to Camp Cropper. "Somebody called out, 'Mr. Minister! Mr. Minister!' and said, 'Why are you treating me like Ali Hassan al-Majid? I am not one of them, everybody knows about the deep rivalry within my family' " - a reference, Mr. Amin said, to an incident in the early 1990's when Uday Hussein, the former ruler's oldest son, who was married to Mr. Tikriti's daughter, shot and seriously wounded his father-in-law in the legs during an argument over his treatment of his wife.
"He was depressed, it was a cry for help," Mr. Amin said. "But I told him, 'If you want to see the list of your crimes, I will show it to you. It is a long one.' "
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


September 18, 2004
Japan Shuts Unit of Citibank, Citing Violations
TOKYO, Sept. 17 - In one of the severest penalties ever imposed on a bank in Japan, regulators on Friday ordered Citigroup to close its Japanese private banking operations because of serious violations of the country's banking laws.
The Financial Services Agency ordered Citibank to shut the four branches in Japan where it offers private banking services to wealthy customers after the agency discovered a string of violations and improprieties over the last three years. The actions cited included failing to put in effect measures to prevent money laundering, overcharging customers for financial derivative products and making loans that helped clients carry out a variety of improper deals, regulators said.
"A number of acts injurious to public interests, serious violations of laws and regulations, and extremely inappropriate transactions were uncovered at the Private Bank Group, which led us to conclude that continued future operations are inappropriate," the Financial Services Agency wrote in its order.
Citibank in Japan apologized for the violations and vowed to improve its management and its internal controls.
"Citibank Japan sincerely apologizes for the problems identified in the F.S.A. orders and is earnestly addressing the issues raised and working to prevent their recurrence," the bank said in a statement. It added that it "is committed to doing everything necessary to restore the confidence of its customers."
The bank was ordered to come up with a plan to improve its business operations by Oct. 22. Citibank will have a year to close its private banking business. Though it cannot accept new customers after Sept. 29, the bank can continue to serve its current clients until Sept. 30, 2005. On that date, regulators will revoke Citibank's license to operate the four branches and they must be closed. Citibank could reapply for those licenses, but that would probably take years.
The bank said it did not know yet what would happen to the 400 employees working in the Japanese private banking division.
Citibank also has 25 retail branches in Japan, but those branches are not affected by Friday's order.
It was the second time this week that Citigroup has expressed contrition for breaches in its overseas operations.
On Tuesday, the company apologized for a huge bond trade in Europe that outraged competitors and led to an investigation by regulators in Britain; France and Germany are also looking into the trade. In early August, Citigroup traders sold 11 billion euros of European government debt ($13 billion) within minutes via an electronic trading system only to buy some of it back less than an hour later at lower prices.
The transactions were not illegal, but rivals said Citigroup violated an unwritten rule among big bond houses not to use their trading heft to manipulate prices.
Citibank's private banking business in Japan concentrates on customers with about $1 million to save or invest and emphasizes highly personalized service. But regulators said Citibank's private banking division often misled its well-heeled clients. Regulators said Citibank charged some customers above-market prices for publicly traded derivatives and failed to explain fully the risks involved in many of its financial products.
Regulators say Citibank also went beyond the scope of its banking license by brokering real estate and art deals for its rich clients - activities not allowed under Japanese banking laws.
Private banking employees were also reckless with client information, the bank regulators said. For example, some employees kept records of secret passwords for the most forgetful clients. Regulators discovered no cases of employees using the passwords to steal money.
Toshihide Endo, director of the Financial Services Agency's supervisory bureau, said that employees of the private banking group might have been tempted to take shortcuts when screening clients because "their salaries and performance evaluations were closely linked to sales targets.''
"That might be one of the main reasons this kind of misconduct happened at Citibank," he said.
In one case, the private banking unit in Japan accepted a customer who had been flagged repeatedly as suspicious by another unit of Citibank, the agency said in its statement. In another, the private banking group made a loan to a group of clients who used the money in a stock manipulation scheme. One of those same clients received a short-term loan from Citibank to inflate his account balance temporarily in a scheme to secure a government grant, Mr. Endo said.
Citibank said on Friday that six executives in Japan had left the company because of the problems made public Friday and that it had reprimanded other employees.
In July, Citigroup appointed its chief auditor, Douglas Peterson, to succeed Charles Whitehead as chief executive of the Japan operations.
A Citibank Japan spokesman, Toru Ichikawa, would not comment on whether Mr. Whitehead's departure was related to the troubles at the private banking division.

Citigroup does not provide figures on how much the private banking business in Japan contributes to its overall revenue or profit, but overseas private banking contributed only about 3 percent of Citigroup's net income in 2003.

Citibank's retail banking unit was also ordered to stop taking new foreign-currency deposits for one month, beginning Sept. 29, and to improve management controls. This suspension came for failing to detect a case in which a Citibank employee embezzled 1.8 billion yen (currently $16.4 million) from depositors over seven years, beginning in 1997.

The only other bank to face shutdown orders from Japanese regulators was Credit Suisse Financial Products, which had its banking license revoked in 1999 for blocking an investigation into whether it was engineering financial products specifically to help companies conceal losses on their accounting statements. The company was a unit of the Credit Suisse Group.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


The Terrorism to Come
By Walter Laqueur
Walter Laqueur is co-chair of the International Research Council at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is the author of some of the basic texts on terrorism, most recently Voices of Terror (Reed Publishing, 2004). The present article is part of a larger project; the author wishes to thank the Earhart Foundation for its support.
Terrorism has become over a number of years the topic of ceaseless comment, debate, controversy, and search for roots and motives, and it figures on top of the national and international agenda. It is also at present one of the most highly emotionally charged topics of public debate, though quite why this should be the case is not entirely clear, because the overwhelming majority of participants do not sympathize with terrorism.
Confusion prevails, but confusion alone does not explain the emotions. There is always confusion when a new international phenomenon appears on the scene. This was the case, for instance, when communism first appeared (it was thought to be aiming largely at the nationalization of women and the burning of priests) and also fascism. But terrorism is not an unprecedented phenomenon; it is as old as the hills.
Thirty years ago, when the terrorism debate got underway, it was widely asserted that terrorism was basically a left-wing revolutionary movement caused by oppression and exploitation. Hence the conclusion: Find a political and social solution, remedy the underlying evil -- no oppression, no terrorism. The argument about the left-wing character of terrorism is no longer frequently heard, but the belief in a fatal link between poverty and violence has persisted. Whenever a major terrorist attack has taken place, one has heard appeals from high and low to provide credits and loans, to deal at long last with the deeper, true causes of terrorism, the roots rather than the symptoms and outward manifestations. And these roots are believed to be poverty, unemployment, backwardness, and inequality.
It is not too difficult to examine whether there is such a correlation between poverty and terrorism, and all the investigations have shown that this is not the case. The experts have maintained for a long time that poverty does not cause terrorism and prosperity does not cure it. In the world's 50 poorest countries there is little or no terrorism. A study by scholars Alan Krueger and Jitka Maleckova reached the conclusion that the terrorists are not poor people and do not come from poor societies. A Harvard economist has shown that economic growth is closely related to a society's ability to manage conflicts. More recently, a study of India has demonstrated that terrorism in the subcontinent has occurred in the most prosperous (Punjab) and most egalitarian (Kashmir, with a poverty ratio of 3.5 compared with the national average of 26 percent) regions and that, on the other hand, the poorest regions such as North Bihar have been free of terrorism. In the Arab countries (such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but also in North Africa), the terrorists originated not in the poorest and most neglected districts but hailed from places with concentrations of radical preachers. The backwardness, if any, was intellectual and cultural -- not economic and social.
These findings, however, have had little impact on public opinion (or on many politicians), and it is not difficult to see why. There is the general feeling that poverty and backwardness with all their concomitants are bad -- and that there is an urgent need to do much more about these problems. Hence the inclination to couple the two issues and the belief that if the (comparatively) wealthy Western nations would contribute much more to the development and welfare of the less fortunate, in cooperation with their governments, this would be in a long-term perspective the best, perhaps the only, effective way to solve the terrorist problem.
Reducing poverty in the Third World is a moral as well as a political and economic imperative, but to expect from it a decisive change in the foreseeable future as far as terrorism is concerned is unrealistic, to say the least. It ignores both the causes of backwardness and poverty and the motives for terrorism.
Poverty combined with youth unemployment does create a social and psychological climate in which Islamism and various populist and religious sects flourish, which in turn provide some of the footfolk for violent groups in internal conflicts. According to some projections, the number of young unemployed in the Arab world and North Africa could reach 50 million in two decades. Such a situation will not be conducive to political stability; it will increase the demographic pressure on Europe, since according to polls a majority of these young people want to emigrate. Politically, the populist discontent will be directed against the rulers -- Islamist in Iran, moderate in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, or Morocco. But how to help the failed economies of the Middle East and North Africa? What are the reasons for backwardness and stagnation in this part of the world? The countries that have made economic progress -- such as China and India, Korea and Taiwan, Malaysia and Turkey -- did so without massive foreign help.
All this points to a deep malaise and impending danger, but not to a direct link between the economic situation and international terrorism. There is of course a negative link: Terrorists will not hesitate to bring about a further aggravation in the situation; they certainly did great harm to the tourist industries in Bali and Egypt, in Palestine, Jordan, and Morocco. One of the main targets of terrorism in Iraq was the oil industry. It is no longer a secret that the carriers of international terrorism operating in Europe and America hail not from the poor, downtrodden, and unemployed but are usually of middle-class origin.
The local element
The link between terrorism and nationalist, ethnic, religious, and tribal conflict is far more tangible. These instances of terrorism are many and need not be enumerated in detail. Solving these conflicts would probably bring about a certain reduction in the incidence of terrorism. But the conflicts are many, and if some of them have been defused in recent years, other, new ones have emerged. Nor are the issues usually clear- cut or the bones of contention easy to define -- let alone to solve.
If the issue at stake is a certain territory or the demand for autonomy, a compromise through negotiations might be achieved. But it ought to be recalled that al Qaeda was founded and September 11 occurred not because of a territorial dispute or the feeling of national oppression but because of a religious commandment -- jihad and the establishment of shari'ah. Terrorist attacks in Central Asia and Morocco, in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and partly in Iraq were directed against fellow Muslims, not against infidels. Appeasement may work in individual cases, but terrorist groups with global ambitions cannot be appeased by territorial concessions.
As in the war against poverty, the initiatives to solve local conflicts are overdue and should be welcomed. In an ideal world, the United Nations would be the main conflict resolver, but so far the record of the U.N. has been more than modest, and it is unlikely that this will change in the foreseeable future. Making peace is not an easy option; it involves funds and in some cases the stationing of armed forces. There is no great international crush to join the ranks of the volunteers: China, Russia, and Europe do not want to be bothered, and the United States is overstretched. In brief, as is so often the case, a fresh impetus is likely to occur only if the situation gets considerably worse and if the interests of some of the powers in restoring order happen to coincide.
Lastly, there should be no illusions with regard to the wider effect of a peaceful solution of one conflict or another. To give but one obvious example: Peace (or at least the absence of war) between Israel and the Palestinians would be a blessing for those concerned. It may be necessary to impose a solution since the chances of making any progress in this direction are nil but for some outside intervention. However, the assumption that a solution of a local conflict (even one of great symbolic importance) would have a dramatic effect in other parts of the world is unfounded. Osama bin Laden did not go to war because of Gaza and Nablus; he did not send his warriors to fight in Palestine. Even the disappearance of the "Zionist entity" would not have a significant impact on his supporters, except perhaps to provide encouragement for further action.
Such a warning against illusions is called for because there is a great deal of wishful thinking and na?vet? in this respect -- a belief in quick fixes and miracle solutions: If only there would be peace between Israelis and Palestinians, all the other conflicts would become manageable. But the problems are as much in Europe, Asia, and Africa as in the Middle East; there is a great deal of free-floating aggression which could (and probably would) easily turn in other directions once one conflict has been defused.
It seems likely, for instance, that in the years to come the struggle against the "near enemy" (the governments of the Arab and some non-Arab Muslim countries) will again feature prominently. There has been for some time a truce on the part of al Qaeda and related groups, partly for strategic reasons (to concentrate on the fight against America and the West) and partly because attacks against fellow Muslims, even if they are considered apostates, are bound to be less popular than fighting the infidels. But this truce, as events in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere show, may be coming to an end.
Tackling these supposed sources of terrorism, even for the wrong reasons, will do no harm and may bring some good. But it does not bring us any nearer to an understanding of the real sources of terrorism, a field that has become something akin to a circus ground for riding hobbyhorses and peddling preconceived notions.
How to explain the fact that in an inordinate number of instances where there has been a great deal of explosive material, there has been no terrorism? The gypsies of Europe certainly had many grievances and the Dalets (untouchables) of India and other Asian countries even more. But there has been no terrorism on their part -- just as the Chechens have been up in arms but not the Tartars of Russia, the Basque but not the Catalans of Spain. The list could easily be lengthened.
Accident may play a role (the absence or presence of a militant leadership), but there could also be a cultural-psychological predisposition. How to explain that out of 100 militants believing with equal intensity in the justice of their cause, only a very few will actually engage in terrorist actions? And out of this small minority even fewer will be willing to sacrifice their lives as suicide bombers? Imponderable factors might be involved: indoctrination but also psychological motives. Neither economic nor political analysis will be of much help in gaining an understanding, and it may not be sheer accident that there has been great reluctance to explore this political-intellectual minefield.
The focus on Islamist terrorism
To make predictions about the future course of terrorism is even more risky than political predictions in general. We are dealing here not with mass movements but small -- sometimes very small -- groups of people, and there is no known way at present to account for the movement of small particles either in the physical world or in human societies.
It is certain that terrorism will continue to operate. At the present time almost all attention is focused on Islamist terrorism, but it is useful to remember from time to time that this was not always the case -- even less than 30 years ago -- and that there are a great many conflicts, perceived oppressions, and other causes calling for radical action in the world which may come to the fore in the years to come. These need not even be major conflicts in an age in which small groups will have access to weapons of mass destruction.
At present, Islamist terrorism all but monopolizes our attention, and it certainly has not yet run its course. But it is unlikely that its present fanaticism will last forever; religious-nationalist fervor does not constantly burn with the same intensity. There is a phenomenon known in Egypt as "Salafi burnout," the mellowing of radical young people, the weakening of the original fanatical impetus. Like all other movements in history, messianic groups are subject to routinization, to the circulation of generations, to changing political circumstances, and to sudden or gradual changes in the intensity of religious belief. This could happen as a result of either victories or defeats. One day, it might be possible to appease militant Islamism -- though hardly in a period of burning aggression when confidence and faith in global victory have not yet been broken.
More likely the terrorist impetus will decline as a result of setbacks. Fanaticism, as history shows, is not easy to transfer from one generation to the next; attacks will continue, and some will be crowned with success (perhaps spectacular success), but many will not. When Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, many terrorists thought that this was the answer to their prayers, but theirs was a false hope. The trust put today in that new invincible weapon, namely suicide terrorism, may in the end be equally misplaced. Even the use of weapons of mass destruction might not be the terrorist panacea some believe it will be. Perhaps their effect will be less deadly than anticipated; perhaps it will be so destructive as to be considered counterproductive. Statistics show that in the terrorist attacks over the past decade, considerably more Muslims were killed than infidels. Since terrorists do not operate in a vacuum, this is bound to lead to dissent among their followers and even among the fanatical preachers.
There are likely to be splits among the terrorist groups even though their structure is not highly centralized. In brief, there is a probability that a united terrorist front will not last. It is unlikely that Osama and his close followers will be challenged on theological grounds, but there has been criticism for tactical reasons: Assuming that America and the West in general are in a state of decline, why did he not have more patience? Why did he have to launch a big attack while the infidels were still in a position to retaliate massively?
Some leading students of Islam have argued for a long time that radical Islamism passed its peak years ago and that its downfall and disappearance are only a question of time, perhaps not much time. It is true that societies that were exposed to the rule of fundamentalist fanatics (such as Iran) or to radical Islamist attack (such as Algeria) have been immunized to a certain extent. However, in a country of 60 million, some fanatics can always be found; as these lines are written, volunteers for suicide missions are being enlisted in Teheran and other cities of Iran. In any case, many countries have not yet undergone such first-hand experience; for them the rule of the shari'ah and the restoration of the caliphate are still brilliant dreams. By and large, therefore, the predictions about the impending demise of Islamism have been premature, while no doubt correct in the long run. Nor do we know what will follow. An interesting study on what happens "when prophecy fails" (by Leon Festinger) was published not long after World War ii. We now need a similar study on the likely circumstances and consequences of the failure of fanaticism. The history of religions (and political religions) offers some clues, as does the history of terrorism.
These, then, are the likely perspectives for the more distant future. But in a shorter-term perspective the danger remains acute and may, in fact, grow. Where and when are terrorist attacks most likely to occur? They will not necessarily be directed against the greatest and most dangerous enemy as perceived by the terrorist gurus. Much depends on where terrorists are strong and believe the enemy to be weak. That terrorist attacks are likely to continue in the Middle East goes without saying; other main danger zones are Central Asia and, above all, Pakistan.
The founders of Pakistan were secular politicians. The religious establishment and in particular the extremists among the Indian Muslims had opposed the emergence of the state. But once Pakistan came into being, they began to try with considerable success to dominate it. Their alternative educational system, the many thousand madrassas, became the breeding ground for jihad fighters. Ayub Khan, the first military ruler, tried to break their stranglehold but failed. Subsequent rulers, military and civilian, have not even tried. It is more than doubtful whether Pervez Musharraf will have any success in limiting their power. The tens of thousands of graduates they annually produce formed the backbone of the Taliban. Their leaders will find employment for them at home and in Central Asia, even if there is a de-escalation in tensions with India over Kashmir. Their most radical leaders aim at the destruction of India. Given Pakistan's internal weakness this may appear more than a little fanciful, but their destructive power is still considerable, and they can count on certain sympathies in the army and the intelligence service. A failed Pakistan with nuclear weapons at its disposal would be a major nightmare. Still, Pakistani terrorism -- like Palestinian and Middle Eastern in general -- remains territorial, likely to be limited to the subcontinent and Central Asia.
Battlefield Europe
Europe is probably the most vulnerable battlefield. To carry out operations in Europe and America, talents are needed that are not normally found among those who have no direct personal experience of life in the West. The Pakistani diaspora has not been very active in the terrorist field, except for a few militants in the United Kingdom.
Western Europe has become over a number of years the main base of terrorist support groups. This process has been facilitated by the growth of Muslim communities, the growing tensions with the native population, and the relative freedom with which radicals could organize in certain mosques and cultural organizations. Indoctrination was provided by militants who came to these countries as religious dignitaries. This freedom of action was considerably greater than that enjoyed in the Arab and Muslim world; not a few terrorists convicted of capital crimes in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria were given political asylum in Europe. True, there were some arrests and closer controls after September 11, but given the legal and political restrictions under which the European security services were laboring, effective counteraction was still exceedingly difficult.
West European governments have been frequently criticized for not having done enough to integrate Muslim newcomers into their societies, but cultural and social integration was certainly not what the newcomers wanted. They wanted to preserve their religious and ethnic identity and their way of life, and they resented intervention by secular authorities. In its great majority, the first generation of immigrants wanted to live in peace and quiet and to make a living for their families. But today they no longer have much control over their offspring.
This is a common phenomenon all over the world: the radicalization of the second generation of immigrants. This generation has been superficially acculturated (speaking fluently the language of the host country) yet at the same time feels resentment and hostility more acutely. It is not necessarily the power of the fundamentalist message (the young are not the most pious believers when it comes to carrying out all the religious commandments) which inspires many of the younger radical activists or sympathizers. It is the feeling of deep resentment because, unlike immigrants from other parts of the world, they could not successfully compete in the educational field, nor quite often make it at the work place. Feelings of being excluded, sexual repression (a taboo subject in this context), and other factors led to free-floating aggression and crime directed against the authorities and their neighbors.
As a result, non-Muslims began to feel threatened in streets they could once walk without fear. They came to regard the new immigrants as antisocial elements who wanted to change the traditional character of their homeland and their way of life, and consequently tensions continued to increase. Pressure on European governments is growing from all sides, right and left, to stop immigration and to restore law and order.
This, in briefest outline, is the milieu in which Islamist terrorism and terrorist support groups in Western Europe developed. There is little reason to assume that this trend will fundamentally change in the near future. On the contrary, the more the young generation of immigrants asserts itself, the more violence occurs in the streets, and the more terrorist attacks take place, the greater the anti-Muslim resentment on the part of the rest of the population. The rapid demographic growth of the Muslim communities further strengthens the impression among the old residents that they are swamped and deprived of their rights in their own homeland, not even entitled to speak the truth about the prevailing situation (such as, for instance, to reveal the statistics of prison inmates with Muslim backgrounds). Hence the violent reaction in even the most liberal European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark. The fear of the veil turns into the fear that in the foreseeable future they too, having become a minority, will be compelled to conform to the commandments of another religion and culture.
True, the number of extremists is still very small. Among British Muslims, for instance, only 13 percent have expressed sympathy and support for terrorist attacks. But this still amounts to several hundred thousands, far more than needed for staging a terrorist campaign. The figure is suspect in any case because not all of those sharing radical views will openly express them to strangers, for reasons that hardly need be elaborated. Lastly, such a minority will not feel isolated in their own community as long as the majority remains silent -- which has been the case in France and most other European countries.
The prospects for terrorism based on a substantial Islamist periphery could hardly appear to be more promising, but there are certain circumstances that make the picture appear somewhat less threatening. The tensions are not equally strong in all countries. They are less palpably felt in Germany and Britain than in France and the Netherlands. Muslims in Germany are predominantly of Turkish origin and have (always with some exceptions) shown less inclination to take violent action than communities mainly composed of Arab and North African immigrants.
If acculturation and integration has been a failure in the short run, prospects are less hopeless in a longer perspective. The temptations of Western civilization are corrosive; young Muslims cannot be kept in a hermetically sealed ghetto (even though a strong attempt is made). They are disgusted and repelled by alcohol, loose morals, general decadence, and all the other wickedness of the society facing them, but they are at the same time fascinated and attracted by them. This is bound to affect their activist fervor, and they will be exposed not only to the negative aspects of the world surrounding them but also its values. Other religions had to face these temptations over the ages and by and large have been fighting a losing battle.
It is often forgotten that only a relatively short period passed from the primitive beginnings of Islam in the Arabian desert to the splendor and luxury (and learning and poetry) of Harun al Rashid's Baghdad -- from the austerity of the Koran to the not-so-austere Arabian Nights. The pulse of contemporary history is beating much faster, but is it beating fast enough? For it is a race against time. The advent of megaterrorism and the access to weapons of mass destruction is dangerous enough, but coupled with fanaticism it generates scenarios too unpleasant even to contemplate.
Enduring asymmetry
There can be no final victory in the fight against terrorism, for terrorism (rather than full-scale war) is the contemporary manifestation of conflict, and conflict will not disappear from earth as far as one can look ahead and human nature has not undergone a basic change. But it will be in our power to make life for terrorists and potential terrorists much more difficult.
Who ought to conduct the struggle against terrorism? Obviously, the military should play only a limited role in this context, and not only because it has not been trained for this purpose. The military may have to be called in for restoring order in countries that have failed to function and have become terrorist havens. It may have to intervene to prevent or stop massacres. It may be needed to deliver blows against terrorist concentrations. But these are not the most typical or frequent terrorist situations.
The key role in asymmetric warfare (a redundant new term for something that has been known for many centuries) should be played by intelligence and security services that may need a military arm.
As far as terrorism and also guerrilla warfare are concerned, there can be no general, overall doctrine in the way that Clausewitz or Jomini and others developed a regular warfare philosophy. An airplane or a battleship do not change their character wherever they operate, but the character of terrorism and guerrilla warfare depends largely on the motivations of those engaging in it and the conditions under which it takes place. Over the past centuries rules and laws of war have developed, and even earlier on there were certain rules that were by and large adhered to.
But terrorists cannot possibly accept these rules. It would be suicidal from their point of view if, to give but one example, they were to wear uniforms or other distinguishing marks. The essence of their operations rests on hiding their identities. On the other hand, they and their well-wishers insist that when captured, they should enjoy all the rights and benefits accorded to belligerents, that they be humanely treated, even paid some money and released after the end of hostilities. When regular soldiers do not stick to the rules of warfare, killing or maiming prisoners, carrying out massacres, taking hostages or committing crimes against the civilian population, they will be treated as war criminals.
If terrorists behaved according to these norms they would have little if any chance of success; the essence of terrorist operations now is indiscriminate attacks against civilians. But governments defending themselves against terrorism are widely expected not to behave in a similar way but to adhere to international law as it developed in conditions quite different from those prevailing today.
Terrorism does not accept laws and rules, whereas governments are bound by them; this, in briefest outline, is asymmetric warfare. If governments were to behave in a similar way, not feeling bound by existing rules and laws such as those against the killing of prisoners, this would be bitterly denounced. When the late Syrian President Hafez Assad faced an insurgency (and an attempted assassination) on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Hama in 1980, his soldiers massacred some 20,000 inhabitants. This put an end to all ideas of terrorism and guerrilla warfare.
Such behavior on the part of democratic governments would be denounced as barbaric, a relapse into the practices of long-gone pre-civilized days. But if governments accept the principle of asymmetric warfare they will be severely, possibly fatally, handicapped. They cannot accept that terrorists are protected by the Geneva Conventions, which would mean, among other things, that they should be paid a salary while in captivity. Should they be regarded like the pirates of a bygone age as hostes generis humani, enemies of humankind, and be treated according to the principle of a un corsaire, un corsaire et demi -- "to catch a thief, it takes a thief," to quote one of Karl Marx's favorite sayings?
The problem will not arise if the terrorist group is small and not very dangerous. In this case normal legal procedures will be sufficient to deal with the problem (but even this is not quite certain once weapons of mass destruction become more readily accessible). Nor will the issue of shedding legal restraint arise if the issues at stake are of marginal importance, if in other words no core interests of the governments involved are concerned. If, on the other hand, the very survival of a society is at stake, it is most unlikely that governments will be impeded in their defense by laws and norms belonging to a bygone (and more humane) age.
It is often argued that such action is counterproductive because terrorism cannot be defeated by weapons alone, but is a struggle for the hearts and minds of people, a confrontation of ideas (or ideologies). If it were only that easy. It is not the terrorist ideas which cause the damage, but their weapons. Each case is different, but many terrorist groups do not have any specific idea or ideology, but a fervent belief, be it of a religious character or of a political religion. They fight for demands, territorial or otherwise, that seem to them self-evident, and they want to defeat their enemies. They are not open to dialogue or rational debate. When Mussolini was asked about his program by the socialists during the early days of fascism, he said that his program was to smash the skulls of the socialists.
Experience teaches that a little force is indeed counterproductive except in instances where small groups are involved. The use of massive, overwhelming force, on the other hand, is usually effective. But the use of massive force is almost always unpopular at home and abroad, and it will be applied only if core interests of the state are involved. To give but one example: The Russian government could deport the Chechens (or a significant portion), thus solving the problem according to the Stalinist pattern. If the Chechens were to threaten Moscow or St. Petersburg or the functioning of the Russian state or its fuel supply, there is but little doubt that such measures would be taken by the Russian or indeed any other government. But as long as the threat is only a marginal and peripheral one, the price to be paid for the application of massive force will be considered too high.
Two lessons follow: First, governments should launch an anti-terrorist campaign only if they are able and willing to apply massive force if need be. Second, terrorists have to ask themselves whether it is in their own best interest to cross the line between nuisance operations and attacks that threaten the vital interests of their enemies and will inevitably lead to massive counterblows.
Terrorists want total war -- not in the sense that they will (or could) mobilize unlimited resources; in this respect their possibilities are limited. But they want their attacks to be unfettered by laws, norms, regulations, and conventions. In the terrorist conception of warfare there is no room for the Red Cross.
Love or respect?
The why-do-they-hate-us question is raised in this context, along with the question of what could be done about it -- that is, the use of soft power in combating terrorism. Disturbing figures have been published about the low (and decreasing) popularity of America in foreign parts. Yet it is too often forgotten that international relations is not a popularity contest and that big and powerful countries have always been feared, resented, and envied; in short, they have not been loved. This has been the case since the days of the Assyrians and the Roman Empire. Neither the Ottoman nor the Spanish Empire, the Chinese, the Russian, nor the Japanese was ever popular. British sports were emulated in the colonies and French culture impressed the local elites in North Africa and Indochina, but this did not lead to political support, let alone identification with the rulers. Had there been public opinion polls in the days of Alexander the Great (let alone Ghengis Khan), the results, one suspects, would have been quite negative.
Big powers have been respected and feared but not loved for good reasons -- even if benevolent, tactful, and on their best behavior, they were threatening simply because of their very existence. Smaller nations could not feel comfortable, especially if they were located close to them. This was the case even in times when there was more than one big power (which allowed for the possibility of playing one against the other). It is all the more so at a time when only one superpower is left and the perceived threat looms even larger.
There is no known way for a big power to reduce this feeling on the part of other, smaller countries -- short of committing suicide or, at the very least, by somehow becoming weaker and less threatening. A moderate and intelligent policy on the part of the great power, concessions, and good deeds may mitigate somewhat the perceived threat, but it cannot remove it, because potentially the big power remains dangerous. It could always change its policy and become nasty, arrogant, and aggressive. These are the unfortunate facts of international life.
Soft power is important but has its limitations. Joseph S. Nye has described it as based on culture and political ideas, as influenced by the seductiveness of democracy, human rights, and individual opportunity. This is a powerful argument, and it is true that Washington has seldom used all its opportunities, the public diplomacy budget being about one-quarter of one percentage point of the defense budget. But the question is always to be asked: Who is to be influenced by our values and ideas? They could be quite effective in Europe, less so in a country like Russia, and not at all among the radical Islamists who abhor democracy (for all sovereignty rests with Allah rather than the people), who believe that human rights and tolerance are imperialist inventions, and who want to have nothing to do with deeper Western values which are not those of the Koran as they interpret it.
The work of the American radio stations during the Cold War ought to be recalled. They operated against much resistance at home but certainly had an impact on public opinion in Eastern Europe; according to evidence later received, even the Beatles had an influence on the younger generation in the Soviet Union. But, at present, radio and television has to be beamed to an audience 70 percent of which firmly believes that the operations of September 11 were staged by the Mossad. Such an audience will not be impressed by exposure to Western pop culture or a truthful, matter-of-fact coverage of the news. These societies may be vulnerable to covert manipulation of the kind conducted by the British government during World War ii: black (or at least gray) propaganda, rumors, half-truths, and outright lies. Societies steeped in belief in conspiracy theories will give credence to even the wildest rumors. But it is easy to imagine how an attempt to generate such propaganda would be received at home: It would be utterly rejected. Democratic countries are not able to engage in such practices except in a case of a major emergency, which at the present time has not yet arisen.
Big powers will never be loved, but in the terrorist context it is essential that they should be respected. As bin Laden's declarations prior to September 11 show, it was lack of respect for America that made him launch his attacks; he felt certain that the risk he was running was small, for the United States was a paper tiger, lacking both the will and the capability to strike back. After all, the Americans ran from Beirut in the 1980s and from Mogadishu in 1993 after only a few attacks, and there was every reason to believe that they would do so again.
Response in proportion to threat
Life could be made more difficult for terrorists by imposing more controls and restrictions wherever useful. But neither the rules of national nor those of international law are adequate to deal with terrorism. Many terrorists or suspected terrorists have been detained in America and in Europe, but only a handful have been put on trial and convicted, because inadmissible evidence was submitted or the authorities were reluctant to reveal the sources of their information -- and thus lose those sources. As a result, many who were almost certainly involved in terrorist operations were never arrested, while others were acquitted or released from detention.
As for those who are still detained, there have been loud protests against a violation of elementary human rights. Activists have argued that the real danger is not terrorism (the extent and the consequences of which have been greatly exaggerated) but the war against terrorism. Is it not true that American society could survive a disaster on the scale of September 11 even if it occurred once a year? Should free societies so easily give up their freedoms, which have been fought for and achieved over many centuries?
Some have foretold the coming of fascism in America (and to a lesser extent in Europe); others have predicted an authoritarian regime gradually introduced by governments cleverly exploiting the present situation for their own anti-democratic purposes. And it is quite likely indeed that among those detained there have been and are innocent people and that some of the controls introduced have interfered with human rights. However, there is much reason to think that to combat terrorism effectively, considerably more stringent measures will be needed than those presently in force.
But these measures can be adopted only if there is overwhelming public support, and it would be unwise even to try to push them through until the learning process about the danger of terrorism in an age of weapons of mass destruction has made further progress. Time will tell. If devastating attacks do not occur, stringent anti-terrorist measures will not be necessary. But if they do happen, the demand for effective countermeasures will be overwhelming. One could perhaps argue that further limitations of freedom are bound to be ineffective because terrorist groups are likely to be small or very small in the future and therefore likely to slip through safety nets. This is indeed a danger -- but the advice to abstain from safety measures is a counsel of despair unlikely to be accepted.
There are political reasons to use these restrictions with caution, because Muslim groups are bound to be under special scrutiny and every precaution should be taken not to antagonize moderate elements in this community. Muslim organizations in Britain have complained that a young Pakistani or Arab is 10 times more likely to be stopped and interrogated by the police than other youths. The same is true for France and other countries. But the police, after all, have some reasons to be particularly interested in these young people rather than those from other groups. It will not be easy to find a just and easy way out of the dilemma, and those who have to deal with it are not to be envied.
It could well be that, as far as the recent past is concerned, the danger of terrorism has been overstated. In the two world wars, more people were sometimes killed and more material damage caused in a few hours than through all the terrorist attacks in a recent year. True, our societies have since become more vulnerable and also far more sensitive regarding the loss of life, but the real issue at stake is not the attacks of the past few years but the coming dangers. Megaterrorism has not yet arrived; even 9-11 was a stage in between old-fashioned terrorism and the shape of things to come: the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The idea that such weapons should be used goes back at least 150 years. It was first enunciated by Karl Heinzen, a German radical -- later a resident of Louisville, Kentucky and Boston, Massachusetts -- soon after some Irish militants considered the use of poison gas in the British Parliament. But these were fantasies by a few eccentrics, too farfetched even for the science fiction writers of the day.
Today these have become real possibilities. For the first time in human history very small groups have, or will have, the potential to cause immense destruction. In a situation such as the present one there is always the danger of focusing entirely on the situation at hand -- radical nationalist or religious groups with whom political solutions may be found. There is a danger of concentrating on Islamism and forgetting that the problem is a far wider one. Political solutions to deal with their grievances may sometimes be possible, but frequently they are not. Today's terrorists, in their majority, are not diplomats eager to negotiate or to find compromises. And even if some of them would be satisfied with less than total victory and the annihilation of the enemy, there will always be a more radical group eager to continue the struggle.
This was always the case, but in the past it mattered little: If some Irish radicals wanted to continue the struggle against the British in 1921-22, even after the mainstream rebels had signed a treaty with the British government which gave them a free state, they were quickly defeated. Today even small groups matter a great deal precisely because of their enormous potential destructive power, their relative independence, the fact that they are not rational actors, and the possibility that their motivation may not be political in the first place.
Perhaps the scenario is too pessimistic; perhaps the weapons of mass destruction, for whatever reason, will never be used. But it would be the first time in human history that such arms, once invented, had not been used. In the last resort, the problem is, of course, the human condition.
In 1932, when Einstein attempted to induce Freud to support pacifism, Freud replied that there was no likelihood of suppressing humanity's aggressive tendencies. If there was any reason for hope, it was that people would turn away on rational grounds -- that war had become too destructive, that there was no scope anymore in war for acts of heroism according to the old ideals.
Freud was partly correct: War (at least between great powers) has become far less likely for rational reasons. But his argument does not apply to terrorism motivated mainly not by political or economic interests, based not just on aggression but also on fanaticism with an admixture of madness.
Terrorism, therefore, will continue -- not perhaps with the same intensity at all times, and some parts of the globe may be spared altogether. But there can be no victory, only an uphill struggle, at times successful, at others not.
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Russia's New--and
John B. Dunlop
In recent years, a new ideology has gained adherents among Russian elites: "Eurasianism," the belief that Russia must reassert its dominance over the Eurasian landmass. An unsettling assessment of the work of Aleksandr Dugin, the leading Eurasianist theorist.
John B. Dunlop is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Few books published in Russia during the post-communist period have exerted such an influence on Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites as Aleksandr Dugin's 1997 neo-fascist treatise Osnovy geopolitiki: Geopoliticheskoe budushchee Rossii (Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geo-political Future of Russia). The impact of this intended "Eurasianist" textbook on key Russian elites testifies to the worrisome rise of fascist ideas and sentiments during the late Yeltsin and the Putin periods.
Five years before President George W. Bush announced his "axis of evil," Dugin had introduced three key neo-Eurasian axes: Moscow-Berlin, Moscow-Tokyo, and Moscow-Tehran. The basic principle underlying these three axes was said to be "a common enemy," by which he meant the United States.

The Moscow-Berlin Axis
According to Dugin, as a result of a grand alliance to be concluded between Russia and Germany, the two countries will divide up into spheres of influence all the territories lying between them, with no "sanitary cordon." Dugin proposes that Germany be offered political dominance over most Protestant and Catholic states located within Central and Eastern Europe and that Kaliningrad be returned to Germany as part of this bargain. The "unstable" state of Finland, which "historically enters into the geopolitical space of Russia," is seen as an exception. Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania are also to be allocated to the Russian-Eurasian sphere of dominance, as is "the north of the Balkan peninsula from Serbia to Bulgaria," which is described as part of the "Russian South."
At one point in his textbook, Dugin confides that all arrangements with "the Eurasian bloc of the continental West," headed by Germany, will be merely temporary and provisional in nature. "The maximum task [for the future]," he underscores, "is the `Finlandization' of all of Europe."
As for the former Soviet Union republics situated within Europe, all--with the single exception of Estonia--are to be absorbed by Eurasia-Russia. Belarus, Dugin pronounces, "should be seen as part of Russia." In a similar vein, Moldova is assigned to what Dugin terms the "Russian South." On Ukraine, Dugin stipulates that, with the exception of its three westernmost regions--Volhynia, Galicia, and Transcarpathia--Ukraine, like Belarus, constitutes an integral part of Russia-Eurasia.

The Moscow-Tokyo Axis
The cornerstone of Dugin's approach to the Far East lies in the creation of a Moscow-Tokyo axis. In Russia's relations with Japan, he emphasizes that the principle of a common enemy "will prove decisive." Dugin recommends that the Kuriles be restored to Japan, just as Kaliningrad should be returned to Germany.
Dugin sees the People's Republic of China, like the United States, as an enormous danger to Russia-Eurasia. "China," he warns, "is the most dangerous geopolitical neighbor of Russia to the south" and verges on being an American factotum. At several points in his book, Dugin expresses a fear that China might "undertake a desperate thrust into the north--into Kazakhstan and Eastern Siberia."
Because of the threat that it represents to Russia's perceived vital geopolitical interests, China must, to the maximum degree possible, Dugin asserts, be dismantled. "Tibet-Xinjiang-Mongolia-Manchuria," he writes, "taken together comprise a security belt of Russia." "Without Xinjiang and Tibet," he concludes, "the geopolitical breakthrough of China into Kazakhstan and Siberia becomes impossible." As "geopolitical compensation" for the loss of its northern regions, China should be offered development "in a southern direction--Indochina (except Vietnam), the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia."

The Moscow-Tehran Axis
The most ambitious and complex part of Dugin's program concerns the South, where the focal point is a Moscow-Tehran axis. "The idea of a continental Russia-Islamic alliance," he writes, "lies at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy. . . . This alliance is based on the traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilizations." As the result of a broad Grand Alliance to be concluded with Iran, Russia-Eurasia will eventually enjoy realizing a centuries-old Russian dream of reaching the "warm seas" of the Indian Ocean. Russia is to enjoy "geopolitical access--in the first place, naval bases--on the Iranian shores."
As the result of such an alliance, Dugin argues, Russia-Eurasia should be prepared to divide up the imperial spoils with "the Islamic Empire [of Iran] to the south." Which part of the South should come under Russia? "What is the Russian South?" Dugin asks at one point in his book. He answers that it includes "the Caucasus [all of it]," "the eastern and northern shores of the Caspian," "Central Asia [that is, all of the former Soviet republics]," plus Mongolia. Even these regions, he adds, should be seen "as zones of further geopolitical expansion to the south and not as `eternal borders of Russia.'" Turkey is seen as being almost as dangerous to Russia-Eurasia as are the United States and China. Turkish minorities must be provoked into rebellion, and there is a need, he stresses, to create "geopolitical shocks" within Turkey.
Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics represents a harsh and cynical repudiation of the architecture of international relations that was laboriously erected following the Second World War and the emergence of nuclear weapons. Dugin and his "system" want to return us, it seems, to the combustible interwar period and something akin to the rise of fascism in Europe, with the lurid imperial fantasies of Il Duce, the f?hrer, and other demagogues. Could, one wonders, a reversion to a destructive past be the "dividend" that Russia and the West are to receive for having with enormous effort put an end to the Cold War?
A considerably longer version of this essay appeared in Harvard Ukrainian Studies 25, nos. 1/2 (2001).

Available from the Hoover Press is The Economics of Forced Labor: The Soviet Gulag, edited by Paul R. Gregory and Valery Lazarev. To order, call 800.935.2882.


How Foreign Aid Can Help the Poor--and Why It Doesn't
by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
July 28, 2004
People who think foreign aid ought to be used to help end poverty complain that it has too many strings attached. That strings are attached is true; the problem is not too many strings but rather that the wrong strings are attached to end poverty.
Most aid reflects a deal between leaders in rich, democratic countries and leaders in poor, despotic countries. Autocrats need money to keep core supporters--the military, key bureaucrats, close family members--in line, and democrats need policy concessions that help with reelection. Since few voters care much about foreign policy, these are marginal effects and so small amounts are spent on aid.
A natural opportunity exists for deals between democrats and autocrats. The latter don't need successful policies to stay in office, so they can agree to policies their citizens don't like in exchange for money to sustain them in power. Just consider Hosni Mubarak's agreement for Egypt to live in peace with Israel. In fact, autocrats like Mubarak must maintain their citizenry's dislike for policy concessions they grant. If the policy could be enforced without aid, there would be no reason to continue to pay. Democratic leaders cannot easily buy incumbency; they must deliver policies their constituents like. Thus, the main string attached to foreign aid deals is money for policy. That is a winning situation for leaders in donor and recipient countries and is pretty good for donor citizens too. But it is bad for ordinary citizens in the recipient country. Their welfare is sold for aid.
No wonder aid does little to raise incomes, improve health or education, or do the myriad other things well-intentioned people would like aid to do. How might these problems be corrected? There are four steps to changing aid into a means to help the poor:
Encourage individuals and groups to give aid through NGOs or directly to needy recipients, rather than by and to government. Shifting aid outside government reduces the danger of government deals that do not alleviate poverty. (Currently the United States contributes about $56 per American citizen in global aid. Total assistance could easily be maintained if wealthier families contributed twice that, deducting it from their taxes as charitable giving.)
Require aid recipients to open their books to independent, external audit.
Broadcast audit results in easily digested form.
When aid must be given to governments, give to those that have at least two organized, freely operating political parties or other political groups that articulate views different from those of their government, and be sure that these groups have an unencumbered right to compete against the incumbent leader for office.
Until poverty-alleviating aid is moved out of the government's domain and into the hands of caring citizens, and until government aid is constrained to go as directly as possible to those who need the money the most, aid will continue to serve as a means to achieve policy goals (a good thing), to prolong despotism (a bad thing), and to lead recipients to engage in policies that are against the interests of their own citizens (a very bad thing).

Posted by maximpost at 11:24 PM EDT
Monday, 13 September 2004

>> "Dam experts say that the region of the explosion is a mountainous area with little rainfall, which is an inadequate choice for a dam site."

Is North Korea Hiding Something about Explosion?
Was the massive explosion that took place in Ryanggang for building a hydropower station, as North Korea has explained?
Despite the explanation of North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun, some analysts have said questions still remain. True, since South Korea took a satellite picture about 10 hours after the explosion, the smoke cloud grew larger than the one immediately after the explosion and that might lead to unnecessary misunderstandings.
Many people, however, have interpreted that the North might have been hiding something. The South Korean government did not seem to believe the North's explanation perfectly. A South Korean high ranking official said, "I wonder if it was really necessary to detonate such a huge quantity of explosives in building a small dam?"
North Korean defectors think the North has not given a correct explanation to conceal its military factories. It is highly likely that the North is worried about the possibility that a crowd of military plants near the explosion site would be uncovered if it acknowledged that the explosion was large-scale. A North Korean defector said, "Many large scale accidents have taken place in North Korea. April's explosion in Ryongchon, however, was the only case the North publicly admitted." Korea University professor Yoo Ho-yeol said, "South Korea needs to focus on the possibility that North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun diplomatically made the explanation without knowing core information."
Meanwhile, many people pointed out that the North's explanation is credible since it came from its Foreign Minister. They have said that unlike the explosion of Ryongchon, the North has not rapidly revealed the scale of damage and casualties because the explosion had not been an accident. Government officials have appeared to step back from their presumption by saying Monday that the large cloud formed on Sept. 9 was unclear. Intelligence authorities have not ruled out analysis that the explosion was a large-scale one. Some interpret that the government has said that the explosion is not serious just because it wasn't a nuclear test.
As of now, it is uncertain whether the North gave a correct explanation or it is hiding something. It seems that disputes over the credibility of the North's explanation will continue until North Korea reveals evidence backing its construction of a hydropower plant or South Korean and U.S intelligence authorities complete their analysis of the information.
( )


North Korea Will Let British Diplomat Visit Blast Site
SEOUL, Sept. 13, 2004--North Korea has agreed to allow a British diplomat visit the site of a massive explosion that sparked fears the reclusive country had conducted a nuclear test. Pyongyang says the explosion was aimed at demolishing a mountain to make way for a large hydroelectric dam.
Britain's Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell requested access to the site during a visit to North Korea, the BBC reported Monday. In an unusual concession, North Korea said the British ambassador David Slinn could visit the site to see for himself as early as Tuesday.
Rammell was in Pyongyang for talks with the North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun.
"Having asked the vice foreign minister this morning for our ambassador and other ambassadors to be allowed to visit the scene of the explosion I am very pleased the North Koreans have agreed to the request," Rammell was quoted as saying. "But I pressed the Foreign Minister very strongly and said look, you know, if we want to be properly reassured then you should allow international diplomats to actually go to the area and verify the situation on the ground."
Paek said he would consider the request, Rammell said. "If this is genuinely a deliberate detonation as part of a legitimate construction project then the North Koreans have nothing to fear and nothing to hide and should welcome the international community actually verifying the situation for themselves," Rammell said.
U.S. downplays blast
Washington has downplayed the Sept. 9 explosion Yongjo-ri in Yanggang Province. It occurred on North Korea's National Day, which stoked fears that the explosion might have been a nuclear test.
Speaking to ABC television on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell cited "no indication that was a nuclear event of any kind. Exactly what it was, we're not sure."
The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that a mammoth explosion in North Korea on Thursday had produced a mushroom cloud more than three kms (two miles) across.
Yonhap said the blast was stronger than an April explosion that killed 160 people and injured some 1,300 at a North Korean railway station when a train carrying oil and chemicals apparently hit power lines.
South Korean and U.S. officials said Sunday that they were trying to ascertain the cause of the huge cloud.
North Korea lashes back
North Korea meanwhile lashed out Monday at South Korea for what it described as spreading lies about the blast, saying Seoul fostered rumors of a nuclear weapons test to divert attention from its own atomic revelations.
"There has been no such accident as explosion in the DPRK recently," said the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), accusing Seoul of a "preposterous smear campaign."
"Probably, plot-breeders might tell such a sheer lie, taken aback by blastings at construction sites of hydro-power stations in the north of Korea," it said.
South Korea was recently forced to admit that its scientists carried out experiments to produce small amounts of enriched uranium and plutonium, both key ingredients in nuclear bombs.
The South Korean experiments in 1982 and 2000, which Seoul says weren't a bid to develop weapons, are likely to further complicate six-nation talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear development.

Copyright ? 2001-2004 Radio Free Asia. All Rights Reserved.


C?c nước trong khu vực lo ngại trước một vụ nổ lớn ở Bắc H?n
Bấm v?o đ?y để nghe bản tin l?c 6:30 ng?y 13-9 (giờ VN)
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Một vụ nổ lớn xảy ra ở Bắc H?n, gần bi?n giới Trung Quốc, g?y một đ?m m?y h?nh nấm c? chu vi tới 4 kil?m?t. H?ng tin Yonhap của Nam H?n h?m nay loan tin vụ nổ n?y xảy ra hồi 11 giờ s?ng thứ Năm tuần trước tại tỉnh Yanggang của Bắc Triều Ti?n.
Nguồn tin cho biết những nước quanh v?ng như Nga, Trung Quốc, Nhật Bản v? Nam H?n, đều ghi nhận được chấn động do vụ nổ g?y ra, nhưng kh?ng nước n?o ch?nh thức loan b?o.
Ngoại trưởng Hoa Kỳ Colin Powell trong cuộc phỏng vấn truyền h?nh h?m Chủ nhật n?i rằng Washington kh?ng biết nguy?n nh?n n?o g?y ra vụ nổ lớn như vậy, nhưng ?ng kh?ng tin rằng đ? l? một vụ nổ nguy?n tử.
Trung t?m ph?ng xạ của Nga ở Vladivostok cho biết mức độ ph?ng xạ quanh v?ng vẫn b?nh thường, d? vụ nổ xảy ra gần căn cứ qu?n sự b? mật trong huyện Kimhyungjik của Bắc H?n.
Phần lớn c?c nước đều cho l? vụ nổ l? một trong những h?nh thức qu?n sự m? B?nh Nhưỡng thường l?m để vực dậy niềm tự h?o d?n tộc ở một quốc gia qu? ngh?o đ?i. H?m thứ Năm tuần qua cũng l? ng?y Bắc H?n ch?o đ?n Quốc Kh?nh lần thứ 56.

North Explosion Blasting Operation for Hydroelectric Station: BBC
North Korea's Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun said Monday that the explosion in North Korea's Ryanggang Province was actually a blasting operation for constructing a hydroelectric power station, according to U.K. broadcaster BBC.
The BBC reported that Paek had said the explosion was a planned demolition of a mountainous area linked to plans to build a hydroelectric power station, and that his comments came as a response to a request for information from U.K. Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell, who is currently visiting North Korea.
BBC also reported that Rammell asked Paek to allow a visit the blast site, and Paek said he would consider the request. Bill Rammell is visiting Pyongyang to discuss the nuclear issue and human rights.
A South Korean government official said, "There are over 6,000 hydroelectric power station under construction in the country, so the North's claim may be true," but added, "I am suspicious, however, as to why the North had to blow up such a large amount of ammunition." Dam experts say that the region of the explosion is a mountainous area with little rainfall, which is an inadequate choice for a dam site.
US ambassador Christopher Hill said in his meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hai-chan that the explosion was probably a "simple accident," not related to the nuclear activities, according to Lee Gang-jin, a senior press secretary to the prime minister. Unification minister Chung Dong-young also said in an Assembly session that the matter was not one over which one should show much concern.
( )


Gov't Confirms 'Non-Nuclear' N. Korean Explosion
It was reported that there was a massive explosion Thursday around the town of Yongjo-ri, Kim Hyong-jik County, Ryanggang Province. U.S. Department of State, sources familiar with North Korea and the Korean government all confirmed the explosion.
A high-ranking government official said Sunday, "It is true that a large mushroom cloud about 3.5 to 4 km in diameter was observed by a satellite at around 11:00 a.m. Thursday. It was not a nuclear test, but the explosion seemed to be three times bigger than the one that took place during the Ryongchon Station accident," and added, "Both U.S. and Korean intelligence authorities are investigating what caused the explosion."
Chong Wa Dae Spokesman Kim Jong-min said, "We noticed the explosion right after it took place and reported it to the president in writing during a National Security Council meeting. But we cannot decide the nature of the accident yet."
The accident took place in a mountainous region 1,500 meter above sea level around Yongjo-ri, where it is known that there were many munitions factories nearby. In particular, the exact spot of explosion is only 10km away southwest from the Yongjo-ri base for Rodong 1 and 2 missiles and some 30km away from the Sino-Korean border.
There is much talk about the cause of the explosion. The government official said, "If a nuclear test causes an explosion, we can detect it by reading satellite data. Thus, the recent explosion in North Korea was not caused by a nuclear test." The intelligence authorities assume that an ammunition depot with over 1,000 tons of dynamite or an ammunition car may have exploded, or there may have been a chain explosion of chemical material or a big fire. Some Chinese sources argue that a massive explosion took pace in a munitions factory. Hong Sun-jik, director at the Hyundai Economic Institute said, "Other than the assumption that it may be a simple accident that took place due to old facilities, we cannot exclude the possibility that the explosion may have taken place due to the lack of control of the Kim Jong-il regime, or it may have been connected to a secret feud over the successor of Kim Jong-il following the rumor of death of Kim's wife, Koh Young-hee."
Also, some strongly argue that it is not a simple accident because it took place on Sept.9, the North's foundation day, which is considered a very important national holiday. Others argue that with Korea's nuclear experiments in the past at issue in the international community, it could be a false explosion by North Korea to intensify the Korea's nuclear issue. In other words, the North intentionally caused the explosion to deliver a message to the international community.
The government official said, "We will be able to know the exact cause only after North Korea makes an official statement or intelligence authorities announces the results of their analysis."
(Choi Byung-mook, )


Massive Explosion Takes Place Near Sino-Korean Border
A Chinese source familiar with North Korea revealed Sunday that a major explosion took place Thursday in Kim Hyong-jik County, Ryanggang Province.
The source said, "I know there was an extremely large explosion in Kim Hyong-jik County, which is near the Sino-Korean border, on Sept. 9, North Korea's foundation day."
He added, "I heard talk that the explosion was even bigger than the one that took place during the Ryongchon Station accident... Evidence of the explosion was detected by satellite, and I understand the U.S. and other surrounding nations are paying attention to the incident."
In relation to this, another source connected to North Korea said, "I heard rumors of a large explosion taking place in North Korea's Ryanggang Province, which is close to the border with China."
An official from a certain surrounding nation who resides in Beijing said, "There is a rumor that a large explosion took place in Ryanggang Province, and interested nations are working to uncover the exact scale and cause of the explosion."
Kim Hyong-jik Country, where the explosion is known to have taken place. is across the Yalu River from Jilin Province, China, and South Korean intelligence authorities understand that a base for Taepodong 1 and 2 missiles was located at the town of Yongjo-ri, in a mountainous region of the province.
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World Media Focuses on N. Korean Explosion
The media of the entire world reported Sunday on the large explosion that took place in North Korea's Kim Hyong-jik County, Ryanggang Province on Thursday. In particular, some foreign press focused their attentions on whether North Korea had conducted a nuclear test to mark North Korea's Sept. 9 foundation day, relaying news reports that a mushroom cloud had been witnessed.
As soon as AP put out a lead story on the incident, it immediately put out a follow up piece. Reuters reported Sunday that a large explosion took place in a North Korean region along the Sino-Korean border Thursday, and that the explosion was larger than the one that occurred at Ryongchon Station in April. Ahead of this, Japan's Kyodo News sent off an urgent dispatch at 11:27 a.m., while other global media like France's AFP all wired stories concerning the explosion.
In particular, major international media focused attention on the fact that the explosion took place on Sept. 9, North Korea's foundation day, and that a mushroom cloud had been witnessed.
AP and CNN didn't directly suggest that that the explosion had anything to do with a nuclear test, but said some experts were guessing that there was a possibility that North Korea had conducted a test related to its nuclear program to mark Sept. 9.
Meanwhile, the Internet edition of the New York Times reported Sunday that U.S. President George Bush and his high-ranking advisors had recently received a reliable intelligence report on North Korean moves that contained the opinions of some experts that North Korea was preparing to test its first nuclear device, quoting high-ranking officials familiar with the report. The paper said, however, that there were split opinions among intelligence organizations as to how to evaluate the importance of the new North Korean moves.
Intelligence experts who were skeptical of intelligence concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction told the NYT that they did not think North Korean activity over the last three weeks were necessarily signs that they were going to conduct a nuclear test. One high-ranking scientist familiar with nuclear intelligence said the new evidence was not conclusive, but potentially worrisome. In interviews with the NYT on Friday and Saturday, high-ranking officials did not release any specific information concerning confirmed recent moves by the North Koreans, but the paper said it appeared that some of the intelligence had come from satellites.
One official said recent North Korean moves represented a chain of believable signs that suggested they might be related to a nuclear test, and said the possibility that a nuclear test might be conducted within the next four weeks had increased greatly. The NYT said the North Korean moves included the movement of objects in a number of regions suspected of being nuclear test cities, including sites designated last year by intelligence bodies as places nuclear tests could be conducted.
Some officials said, moreover, that in the event that North Korea conducts a nuclear test, it might do so with the intention of influencing the U.S. presidential election, said the NYT.
( )


North Korea Must Reveal What Happened in Ryanggang
There were reports that a massive explosion took place at Kim Hyong-jik County, Ryanggang Province, North Korea on Thursday. At present, it seems that the explosion was not caused by a nuclear test, but there is a high possibility that it is somehow connected to military purposes since it took place in a mountainous region 1,500 meters above sea level around the Sino-Korean border where there are few civilians living and many war plants and missile bases nearby.
In addition, there is talk that the explosion was even bigger that the one that took place during the Ryongchon Station accident last April. Some even raised suspicion that it may have to do with a nuclear test following the report that a mushroom cloud over 3km in diameter was seen. Others said that it may have been the activity of anti-government forces within the North. The Japanese media has reported that it is likely connected to a nuclear test.
North Korea needs to explain what caused the explosion and what the current development is not to add fuel to the fire amid a series of reports of abnormal signs. Actually, there have been rumors in the U.S. that a shocking incident would occur in North Korea in October and a major explosion test would take place in a remote mountain village near the Gaema Plateau.
The U.S. New York Times also reported that North Korea's moves related to nuclear development have raised concern. North Korea should not try to simply dismiss those reports and assumptions in the international community because it would not help the country itself, which needs the international community's support, as well as peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Another worrying thing is whether the Korean government has been effectively gathering even a little information on the North's moves and cooperating with neighboring countries. The National Security Council standing meeting was held three days after the massive explosion in question and that was the time the defense minister reported the accident. Not only that, some reports say the government has not even secured a satellite picture yet. Watching all this, how can the public feel reassured?

Huge Blast in North Korea Not a 'Nuclear Event,' Powell Says
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today that a huge explosion that took place Thursday on North Korea's border with China was likely "not any kind of nuclear event," but he said Washington was "monitoring" the country closely to see if a sudden burst of activity indicated the country was attempting to test a nuclear weapon for the first time.
Mr. Powell's comments came as intelligence analysts and policymakers attempted to understand what happened on Thursday near a site where North Korea bases some of its long-range missiles. South Korean news reports said that an explosion that day, a national holiday in North Korea, created a mushroom-shaped cloud that was at least a mile across, and maybe larger. But there were no signs of radiation, according to American intelligence officials, and the leading theory now is an accident that may have involved liquid rocket fuel.
Nonetheless, the explosion sent a ripple though intelligence networks that are already on high alert for any sign of a nuclear test, one that President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, warned today on the CBS News program "Face the Nation" would be "a very bad mistake."
But in private, administration officials said there was little they could do other than let the North know that it is being watched, and ask the Chinese -- the North's main supplier of food and energy -- to put pressure on the country not to set off a nuclear explosion.
"It's no longer just North Korea versus the United States," Mr. Powell said on the ABC News program "This Week." "It's North Korea versus all of its neighbors, which have no interest in seeing North Korea with a nuclear weapon."
The location of the Thursday explosion made American officials suspect right away that it was an accident instead of a test: There is a widespread assumption that the North would not demonstrate whatever nuclear capacity it has near the Chinese border, and would not do so above ground. The areas under intense satellite surveillance now -- which American officials have asked to be described only in general terms -- are closer to the center of the country, and in some remote, unpopulated areas.
In recent days, the administration has received intelligence reports describing a confusing series of actions by North Korea that some experts believe could indicate the country is preparing to conduct its first test explosion of a nuclear weapon, according to senior officials with access to the intelligence.
While the indications were viewed as serious enough to warrant a warning to the White House, American intelligence agencies appear divided about the significance of the new North Korean actions, much as they were about the evidence concerning Iraq's alleged weapons stockpiles.
Some analysts in agencies that were the most cautious about the Iraq findings have cautioned that they do not believe the activity detected in North Korea in the past three weeks is necessarily the harbinger of a test. A senior scientist who assesses nuclear intelligence says the new evidence "is not conclusive," but is potentially worrisome.
In an interview today on "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Powell confirmed that the United States has been monitoring activities at a "potential nuclear test site."
"We can't tell whether it's normal maintenance activity or something more," Mr. Powell said. "So it's inconclusive at this moment, but we continue to monitor these things very carefully."
Ms. Rice said in an interview today on CNN's "Late Edition," "We'll continue to pursue with China and Russia and Japan and South Korea satisfactory ways to have the North Koreans abandon their nuclear weapons program."
Asked if there was a "military option" on the table if the North Koreans went ahead with a test, Ms. Rice said: "The president never takes any option off the table. But we believe that the way to resolve this is diplomatically."
If successful, a test would end a debate that stretches back more than a decade over whether North Korea has a rudimentary arsenal, as it has boasted in recent years. Some analysts also fear that a test could change the balance of power in Asia, perhaps leading to a new nuclear arms race there.
In interviews on Friday and Saturday, senior officials were reluctant to provide many details of the new activities they have detected, but some of the information appears to have come from satellite intelligence.
One official with access to the intelligence called it "a series of indicators of increased activity that we believe would be associated with a test," saying that the "likelihood" of a North Korean test had risen significantly in just the past four weeks. It was that changed assessment that led to the decision to give an update to President Bush, the officials said.
The activities included the movement of materials around several suspected test sites, including one near a location where intelligence agencies reported last year that conventional explosives were being tested that could compress a plutonium core and set off a nuclear blast. But officials have not seen the classic indicators of preparations at a test site, in which cables are laid to measure an explosion in a deep test pit.
"I'm not sure you would see that in a country that has tunnels everywhere," said one senior official who has reviewed the data. Officials said if North Korea proceeded with a test, it would probably be with a plutonium bomb, perhaps one fabricated from the 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods that the North has boasted in the past few months have been reprocessed into bomb fuel.
A senior intelligence official noted Saturday that even if "they are doing something, it doesn't mean they will" conduct a test, noting that preparations that the North knew could be detected by the United States might be a scare tactic or negotiating tactic by the North Korean government.
Several officials speculated that the test, if it occurred, could be intended to influence the presidential election, though a senior military official said while "an election surprise" could be the motive, "I'm not sure what that would buy them."
While the intelligence community's experience in Iraq colors how it assesses threats in places like North Korea, the comparisons are inexact. Inspectors have seen and measured the raw material that the North could turn into bomb fuel; the only question is whether they have done so in the 20 months since arms inspectors were ousted. While Iraq denied it has weapons, the North boasts about them -- perhaps too loudly, suggesting they may have less than they say.
On the other hand, the division within the administration over how to deal with North Korea mirrors some of the old debate about Iraq. Hard-liners in the Pentagon and the vice president's office have largely opposed making concessions of any kind in negotiations, and Vice President Dick Cheney has warned that "time is not on our side" to deal with the question. The State Department has pressed the case for negotiation, and for offering the North a face-saving way out. While the State Department has won the argument in recent times, how to deal with the North is a constant battle inside the administration.
Some of the senior officials who discussed the emerging indicators were clearly trying to warn North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, that his actions were being closely watched. Asian officials noted that there has been speculation in South Korea and Japan for some time that Mr. Kim might try to stage an incident -- perhaps a missile test or the withdrawal of more raw nuclear fuel from a reactor -- in an effort to display defiance before the election. "A test would be a vivid demonstration of their view of President Bush," one senior Asian diplomat said.
The intelligence information was discussed in interviews with officials from five government agencies, ranging from those who believe a test may occur at any moment to those who are highly skeptical. They had differing access to the intelligence: some had reviewed the raw data and others had seen a classified intelligence report about the possibility of a test, perhaps within months, that has circulated in Washington in the past week. Most, but not all, were career officials.
If North Korea successfully tested a weapon, the reclusive country would become the eighth nation to have proven nuclear capability -- Israel is also assumed to have working weapons -- and it would represent the failure of 14 years of efforts to stop the North's nuclear program.
Government officials throughout Asia and members of Mr. Bush's national security team have also feared it could change the nuclear politics of Asia, fueling political pressure in South Korea and Japan to develop a nuclear deterrent independent of the United States.
Both countries have the technological skill and the raw material to produce a bomb, though both have insisted they would never do so. South Korea has admitted in the past few weeks that it conducted experiments that outside experts fear could produce bomb-grade fuel, first in the early 1980's and then in 2000.
Senior officials in South Korea and Japan did not appear to have been briefed about the new evidence, beyond what one called "a nonspecific warning of a growing problem" from American officials. But it is a measure of the extraordinary nervousness about the North's intentions that earlier this week, South Korean intelligence officials who saw evidence of an intense fire at a suspected nuclear location alerted their American counterparts that a small nuclear test might have already occurred. American officials reviewed seismic sensors and other data and concluded it was a false alarm, though the fire has yet to be explained.
A huge explosion rocked an area in North Korea near the border with China on Thursday and appeared to be much bigger than a blast at the Ryongchon train station that killed 170 people in April, the Reuters news agency said, citing a report by the Yonhap news agency of South Korea. The United States "is showing a big interest because the blast was seen from satellites," Yonhap quoted an unidentified official in Beijing as saying.
The cause of the blast has not been determined, but the Beijing official said Washington was not ruling out the possibility that it may be linked to a nuclear test. Yonhap reported that a mushroom cloud up to 2.5 miles in diameter was spotted after the blast in remote Yanggang province in the far northeast.
North Korea has declared several times in the past year that it might move to demonstrate its nuclear power. It is impossible to know how such a test might affect public perceptions of how Mr. Bush has handled potential threats to the United States. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, has already accused President Bush of an "almost myopic" focus on Iraq that has distracted the United States while North Korea, by some intelligence estimates, has increased its arsenal from what the C.I.A. suspects was one or two weapons to six or eight now.
Mr. Bush, while declaring he would not "tolerate" a nuclear North Korea, has insisted that his approach of involving China, Russia, Japan and South Korea in a new round of talks with the North is the only reasonable way to force the country to disarm. He has refused to set the kind of deadline for disarmament that he set for Saddam Hussein.
When asked in an interview with The New York Times two weeks ago to define what he meant by "tolerate," he said: "I don't think you give timelines to dictators and tyrants. I think it's important for us to continue to lead coalitions that are firm and strong, in sending messages to both the North Koreans and the Iranians."
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting for this article.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


SEPT 13, 2004
High-stakes nuclear game in East Asia
Region may be closer to a nuclear arms race than previously thought
By Jonathan Eyal
LONDON - Revelations over the weekend about a massive and mysterious explosion on North Korea's border with China have intensified the feverish speculations about the country's nuclear programme.
While the chances still are that the explosion was of the conventional variety and not a nuclear test, the steadily rising tide of rumours and contradictory information represent a clear indication that the North Korean nuclear crisis is about to reach its most volatile stage.
Regardless of who wins in the United States presidential elections in November, Pyongyang will become one of the key and most urgent priorities for any US administration.
And Washington will have to deal on this matter not only with the unpredictable North Korean regime, but also with US ally South Korea.
As always, very little information is available about the latest North Korean blast, but what is known is hardly encouraging. It is clear that the explosion was huge, much bigger than the military train explosion in April, an accident in which apparently 170 North Koreans were killed.
US intelligence reports, leaked to the American media, talk of a mushroom cloud of up to 4km in diameter, consistent - at least in physical appearance - to what will happen in a rudimentary nuclear test.
Other circumstantial evidence appears even more ominous.
The blast took place in Kimhyungjik county in Ryanggang province in the north-east, near North Korea's border with China, an area with a sparse civilian population, but a high concentration of military installations.
Furthermore, US satellites have detected over the past few weeks an unusual amount of military movements in the region, consistent with preparations for some kind of a weapons test.
And, to round off the picture, the North Koreans appear to have been very calm about the event, claiming that it was a 'routine event', rather than an accident.
For the moment, both the American and South Korean authorities claim the explosion was not nuclear-related.
But the difficulty is that both governments may have a very strong political interest in not appearing to be alarmed.
With an election in the offing, the last thing President George W. Bush needs now is a full-fledged North Korean nuclear crisis, inviting accusations from Senator John Kerry, his Democratic opponent, that America's entire anti-proliferation policy has failed.
The South Koreans, mired in their own difficulties, are hardly likely to welcome such a development as well.
Precisely because of this, the timing may have been perfect for North Korea to undertake now the nuclear test it has been planning for years.
Nevertheless, and despite these conspiracy theories, the chances still are that the latest blast was not nuclear.
First, it is difficult to hide the seismic aftermath of such a nuclear blast, which would have been picked up by many other neighbouring countries, apart from the US and South Korea.
Second, even if one assumes that the US administration may have a political interest in hiding the real significance of what has happened in North Korea, the deliberate falsification of evidence would be a high-risk strategy for Mr Bush.
If information of a deliberate cover-up subsequently leaked out - as it always does in the US - the impact on his re-election campaign would be devastating.
The assumption, therefore, must be that Washington is correct, and that the latest North Korean explosion was of the conventional variety.
Yet this is hardly reassuring, for the latest murky episode is merely another twist in what is turning out to be a much more complex saga.
North Korea is known to be developing a family of long-range missiles called the Taepodong precisely in the area where the current blast has been recorded.
Taepodong 1, the first variety of this system, was test-fired over Japan in 1998, and the family of missiles was designed to carry nuclear charges.
According to South Korean intelligence reports, the engine test for the Taepodong 2 improved variety was carried out in May this year.
A full missile test is the logical next step, and it is this which we may have witnessed now.
So, although the nuclear test itself may not have happened, North Korea's advance towards the acquisition of a fully functioning nuclear capability is continuing relentlessly.
And then there is South Korea itself.
The recent revelations that some of its scientists produced enriched uranium a few years ago using lasers have been dismissed by the the government as unimportant.
The quantity involved - 0.2g - was insignificant for any weapon capability, and Seoul has also claimed that the scientists worked without government knowledge.
Perhaps, but these claims are not very persuasive.
First, the quantity of enriched uranium is hardly the issue, since nobody is suggesting that South Korea is about to build a nuclear weapon.
But what matters is that the uranium produced is close to weapons grade, far more concentrated in the active uranium-235 isotope than would be required for the country's nuclear energy reactors.
And the subsequent revelations that South Korea had also conducted a plutonium-based nuclear experiment two decades ago merely strengthens the conclusion that the South, like its northern neighbour, had an active programme which at least could lead to a nuclear capability.
The suggestion that all this was done without the knowledge of the government in Seoul hardly requires serious examination.
The conclusions are truly earth-shattering.
For years, the US has worked under the assumption that the biggest challenge in the region came from North Korea; it now turns out that the problem runs much deeper, and may include both Koreas.
Further afield, Japan and Taiwan also have all the technology and know-how to produce nuclear weapons in a short period of time.
Although everyone denies it, all the region's states are now having another look at their military posture, and this includes their military capabilities.
And for a simple reason: In many respects, the question of North Korea was always just a sideshow to much deeper strategic changes taking place throughout the region.
According to opinion polls, a majority of South Korean citizens certainly fear the North Koreans' military capabilities, but regard nuclear weapons as their historic right, their ultimate guarantee against a future aggressive China and Japan.
Japan, too, regards North Korea as an immediate threat, but views China as the long-term challenge.
And Taiwan, forced by the US to abandon its nuclear research programme decades ago, still considers the weapon as its ultimate guarantee against forced unification with China.
The announced draw-down of US military bases from the region has merely intensified this military pirouette, which has until now been conducted very secretly.
One way or another, the task for a new US president after he steps into the White House's Oval Office next January will be huge.
The challenge is no longer merely one of persuading the North Korean regime to relinquish its nuclear aspirations, but also of reassuring America's allies in the region that they do not need to advance down the nuclear road either.
The task is still feasible. Yet, one false step in these diplomatic negotiations could plunge the region into a full-fledged nuclear arms race.
So, regardless of its nature, the latest mysterious blast in North Korea has lifted the dust over a whole raft of other secret activities in that corner of Asia.
The writer is director of studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London and a regular contributor to the Straits Times.

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Playing the nuclear bully in Pyongyang
North Korea promises its people eternal prosperity under Kim Jong Ill, but nuclear-tipped blackmail is what Anne Penketh discovers in the most closed society in the world
13 September 2004
Two girls in pink roller-blade across a pristine square, the epitome of Asian cool. Across the vast empty expanse, neither a sweet wrapper nor a discarded piece of chewing gum is allowed to spoil the scene outside the People's Palace of Culture as the world's most reclusive communist state celebrates its 56th anniversary.
All day the country's propaganda machine churns out the familiar line: "As long as there is the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il, the Korean People's Army and the people will achieve eternal prosperity of the country."
Of the mushroom-shaped cloud that emerged over the north of the country last week, putting diplomats from East and West into a tizz, there is not a whisper.
Yesterday, standing on the platform at Yongwang metro station in Pyongyang, the visitor would be struck by the beauty of the twisted coloured glass lamps hanging from the ceiling, and by the friezes running down each side of the platform, depicting the left and right banks of a river. Yongwang (meaning Glory) is indeed a marvel to behold. But there is something more sinister that catches the eye at the bottom of the escalator that dives sharply into the bowels of the city: the two sets of giant reinforced doors. For the Soviet-era metro has the dual purpose of serving as a nuclear bunker.
North Korea has played the nuclear card for years to blackmail the international community into shoring up its communist regime. But when George Bush branded North Korea part of the "axis of evil" and warned in his state of the nation last year: "America and the rest of the world will not be blackmailed," the world moved a notch closer towards nuclear Armageddon.
News of the massive explosion suggested that Kim Jong Il, the country's mercurial dictator, or 'the experienced and tested leader' as the Korean Central News Agency describes him, may have played another card in his game of nuclear blackmail. The explosion in an area near missile bases in Ryanggang province in the remote north-east, near the border with China, was much stronger than a train explosion that killed at least 170 people in April.
If it turns out to be part of a nuclear experiment, and not an industrial accident, it could be the final proof that the regime was not boasting when it announced last year that it had developed an advanced nuclear weapons programme.
Last night the news of the explosion and mushroom cloud spread through the diplomatic community in Pyongyang, causing a frenzy of activity. So secretive is the regime, and so unpredictable its behaviour, that every one thought it quite plausible that the North Koreans had carried out their threat to test a nuclear weapon.
This is, after all, the country that waited 48 hours before informing the rest of the world of the train crash at Ryongchon in April that left 169 people dead and triggered rumours of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong Il. The regime waited another 21 hours before informing North Koreans themselves.
North Korea is the most closed society in the world, and probably the most inhumane. Its people are kept in a constant state of fear which is fed by the regular air raid warnings that could presage an attack by America.
George Bush was recently likened to Hitler by Kim Jong Il. The people have no internet connections, access to foreigners is strictly limited and tightly controlled, and the only information the North Koreans receive is through the official media. This is the policy of Juche in action, the self-sufficiency that has been the watchword of the country since its establishment at the end of the Korean war - which never produced a peace treaty between North and South Korea.
It is said that the indoctrination of the people is so successful that there is no need for the heavy-handed approach of a Soviet or East German style secret police. Random conversations in Pyongyang - in the presence of government minders - very quickly lead to city residents making a statement of loyalty to the government.
It is said that North Korean authorities place their 22.6 million citizens into three categories: core (or reliable), wavering, and hostile. The latter category seems to coincide with those who have been sent to prison camps, whose existence has been filmed by satellite photographs. But according to some sources, there may be up to 51 classifications, not just three.
Militaristic symbols are everywhere, along the huge grey avenues flanked by austere grey buildings. One roadside billboard shows three helmeted soldiers raising their fists towards a glorious future. Another exhorts: "Think and work and live according to the requirements of Sungun politics" (the policy that puts the military first).
While the military and political ?lite live a relatively cosseted life in the capital, the impoverishment of the people outside can only be glimpsed: on the road to the airport, one sees oxen pulling loaded carts, women bent double under loads of firewood and bicycles loaded up with sacks. Cars are a rarity on the broad avenues that sweep through the city.
But the modern world is now beating at the gate, and the number of North Koreans willing to risk their lives to escape is growing: 2,000 are expected to flee through China to South Korea by the end of this year, compared with 1,200 who escaped via that route last year. The days of the regime may well be numbered. But for the international community, the burning question is how to manage a "safe landing" for a nuclear-armed country whose collapse would be much more dangerous than that of East Germany 15 years ago.
At this time, the nuclear powers in the UN Security Council - Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States - are hoping to coax Pyongyang into a new round of six-party talks in order to end the latest standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme. A new date for the talks - involving the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the US - has been pencilled in for 22 September, but North Korea is keeping mum about whether it will attend.
Delegations from Australia, Britain and China have beaten a path to Pyongyang in the last few weeks to attempt to persuade the North Korean leadership that it is useless to hedge its bets on a change of American leadership, saying that American policy is unlikely to change whether George Bush is re-elected or whether it is John Kerry in the White House.
It is hoped that the North Koreans will accept the US offer on the table: to agree to dismantle all their supposed nuclear weapons, then during a three-month period, energy supplies and other aid would start coming into the country. In the same period, though, Pyongyang would have to declare all its nuclear programmes, submit to inspections, and disable all its nuclear weapons. Once those steps are complete, further support and aid would come through.
One big problem for the West's assessment is the lack of knowledge about what is happening inside the country. Even in Burma, human rights officials can meet dissidents, or visit prisons. But not in North Korea. Out of 26 counties in North Korea, 40 are closed to foreigners - including Kimhyongik county near the Chinese border, where yesterday's incident took place. The veil of secrecy has only been lifted by the accounts of North Korean defectors. But even though their reports have been cross-checked and compared to satellite photographs, an informed observer in Pyongyang this week said that "the point is that we don't know anything for sure".
Until now, Pyongyang has issued blanket denials about the existence of prison camps for political dissidents, which could contain up to 200,000 inmates. One defector, a former North Korean army intelligence officer, told the BBC last February that he had seen prisoners gassed to death. The North Koreans said the allegations were part of a US-inspired "lie".
Pyongyang only admitted to the bizarre practice of abducting the nationals of Japan and South Korea to use them to train spies as recently as this year, after denying it for decades. Five were returned to Japan for emotional reunions last March.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International reports that the surveillance and "checking" for illegal North Koreans in China has intensified since 2001. Tens of thousands have been forcibly repatriated by China since 2002.
North Korea also seems to be the only country that practices collective punishment - meting out punishment to successive generations after an offender has paid the penalty.
A senior North Korean official admitted for the first time yesterday to a visiting British delegation that "reeducation through labour is used" in North Korea. The official, Ri Jong Hyok, who is in charge of North Korean policy towards South Korea as president of the Institute for National Reunification, said he did not know how many camps there were, and did not go into details as to whether the camps were for criminals or political dissidents.
In addition to the nuclear issue, North Korea has been accused of using its citizens as pawns in attempting to blackmail the West to provide aid in order to shore up the regime, after its disastrous famine of 1995 and 1996. "The international aid arrived in the nick of time to stop North Korea from collapsing. The government had allowed several million ordinary people to starve to death, but by around 1998 it could no longer feed the army or the party members of the DPRK - everyone faced terminal starvation," says Jasper Becker, who is shortly to publish a book on North Korea. "The UN and South Korean aid went to the ?lite and ensured they stayed loyal. Kim Jong Il was faced with being being able to impose martial law in key areas of the country and terrorise it into submission. The international community and the South Korean 'sunshine policy' elevated his status by making him central to the flow of aid and he could resume arms purchases and the nuclear weapons programme."
Richard Ragan, the country director for the World Food programme, denies suggestions that the UN aid was diverted to the military and the ?lite. He notes that last year, the North Koreans harvested 4 million tonnes of cereals whereas 5 million are needed for survival. "The military will eat from that four million tonnes - that's guaranteed," he said.
He added that he was also sceptical about the reports of UN aid being diverted because of its nature - cereals (ie not rice) and milk products designed for children. "They're not going to eat that stuff," he said.
Britain is meanwhile concerned that North Korea announced that for 2005 it will not participate in the UN consolidated appeal for humanitarian aid. Government officials say they would prefer to deal with individual governments on their own terms. Bilateral aid is not monitored in the same way as the UN operation. Now the Pyongyang government runs the risk that international aid will dry up.
But the decision to stop accepting the UN co-ordinated humanitarian aid - now nine years after the famine - may have been motivated by a desire to "save face". Mr Ragan said that the continued humanitarian aid - as opposed to other assistance - "was undermining their policy of self-sufficiency".
He predicted that economic changes which have led to the introduction of timid market reforms in the food sector could produce "winners and losers" and a new need for food aid.
But the fact of the economic reforms, introduced in 2002, may be a sign that the regime has recognised that it must adapt or die.
One Western diplomat last night portrayed Kim Jong Il as a reformer who has allowed the personality cult to build up around his late father Kim Il Sung, while he takes a back seat.
Pyongyang is draped with huge portraits of Kim Il Sung seemingly on every building. His portrait graces every government office. A huge bronze-coloured statue of him on Mansudae Hill was visited yesterday in the driving rain by pilgrims who laid wreaths and bowed in homage before walking off. Kim Jong Il is present in the official portraits, but in a lesser role."It could be that Kim Jong Il is preparing the ground to say that his father's way didn't really work, and he can step in," the diplomat said.
But in the Looking Glass world of North Korea, the real intentions of the regime can only be guessed at.
12 September 2004 19:15

Huge blast in North Korea fuels nuclear bomb fears
By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
13 September 2004
North Korea may have brazenly defied the rest of the world by carrying out tests linked to the production of a nuclear bomb last week during celebrations to mark the 56th anniversary of the state's foundation.
A huge explosion rocked a remote part of North Korea last week, it was reported in the South Korean capital, Seoul, yesterday. US and South Korean officials rushed to say that despite the appearance of a "peculiar cloud" over the area, it was unlikely to have been a nuclear weapons test.
The news came during a visit to the North Korean capital by Bill Rammell, a British Foreign Office minister, who learnt of the explosion, 250 miles north of Pyongyang, just after 1pm while at the British ambassador's residence.
He informed officials at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, who were apparently unaware of the reported explosion.
Mr Rammell, who hopes to receive details today from the North Korean Foreign Minister, Paek Nam Sun, said the incident highlighted "the difficulties that we have with them in their dealings with the outside world".
The first report, from the South Korean news agency Yonhap, said that "a mushroom cloud with a radius of 3.5 to 4km was spotted in Kimhyongjik county" on Thursday, the 56th anniversary of the establishment of North Korea.
The mountainous area is completely closed to foreigners. Diplomats said that the location of North Korea's nuclear test site is unknown.
Some Korea watchers had feared that North Korea might carry out such an act as the temperature rises again in its dispute with the Americans over Pyongyang's suspected nuclear weapons programme.
But as the hours wore on, other possible explanations surfaced for the cloud. It may have been caused by an exploding rocket, or by a massive forest fire. The Americans were quick to deny that any nuclear explosion had taken place.
One diplomatic source in Pyongyang noted that the report first surfaced in South Korea. "It may have been a fishing expedition by the South Korean press perhaps. It happens all the time."
Diplomats were also puzzled as to why North Korea would risk alienating China, almost its only remaining ally, by exploding a bomb on its border with all the risks to the Chinese population that it would entail.
It was also unclear why North Korea would have taken the risk of exploding a bomb in the atmosphere, with the possibility of long-term loss of life to its own citizens.
If it was a nuclear bomb test there is likely to be fallout in Washington, which failed to predict the 1998 tests by Pakistan which led to a series of tit-for-tat explosions by India and Pakistan and brought the two countries to the brink of war.


UK minister tackles North Koreans on human rights abuse
By Anne Penketh in Pyongyang, North Korea
12 September 2004
Britain placed human rights at the heart of its relationship with North Korea last night as the Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell arrived in Pyong-yang to take the measure of the world's most reclusive Communist state.
Mr Rammell, making the first visit to North Korea by a British minister, made it clear from the outset of his first meeting, with the vice-foreign minister for Europe, Kung Sok Ung, that he would raise the "very serious human rights allegations'' during three days of talks.
The visit went ahead only after North Korea agreed to discuss human rights as well as the thorny nuclear issue that has bedevilled the country's relations with the rest of the world since it announced that it had a nuclear weapon in 2002.
Mr Rammell told the minister he welcomed the addition of human rights to the agenda. Mr Kung failed to respond directly at their foreign ministry meeting.
The British delegation last night raised specific human rights cases that will be discussed in more detail tomorrow. These include the fate of a former North Korean ambassador to Indonesia who was sent to labour camp, and that of two abducted South Korean pastors.
Mr Rammell and his team, which included the Foreign Office expert on human rights, Jon Benjamin, are calling for North Korea to admit a UN human rights investigator for a return trip by Mr Benjamin.
But a brief spat less than an hour later highlighted the extent of the hard-line government's paranoia, when official minders refused to allow a television camera into a new food market despite having given prior agreement.
After a short stand-off during which Mr Rammell cooled his heels outside the blue-roofed market - the produce ranged from dried squid to dog meat - his party and the camera were allowed inside.
Diplomats say that such well-stocked markets, which were introduced in the wake of monetary reform that pegged all foreign currency exchanges to the euro in 2002, are the sign of a timid liberalisation that could keep food shortages at bay.
Yet Pyongyang still looks like a city built for war, from its limitless airport runway to its deep underground Soviet-era metro and the wide avenues virtually devoid of traffic on a Saturday afternoon. About 30 military trucks were parked outside the foreign ministry yesterday.
Militaristic billboards are everywhere in the one-party state devoted to the cult of the late Great Leader Kim Il Sung, whose picture greets visitors from the airport terminal.
In central Pyongyang, dominated by austere grey buildings and monuments to his memory, soldiers raise their fists over the slogan "think and work and live according to the requirements of Sungun politics'', the policy that places the military at the vanguard of society.
Even though the party and military elite live in Pyongyang, their fear of the outside world is palpable. Talking to foreigners is actively discouraged unless the conversations are officially approved. When journalists entered a metro car at Buhung station, where patriotic music plays in the background, two people quietly slipped out of the car.
A student, who agreed to a short conversation in the presence of a government minder, was asked how much her salary would be when she found work in a hotel after completing her course. The salary is not important, she replied. "I try to repay the care of the government,'' she said.
A group of men was reading the sports news on a stand inside the metro. One of them, a surgeon named Jang Ji Min, described how he had watched the Olympic Games on television. What was his impression?
He chatted affably for a few minutes, saying he was naturally pleased at the victory of the North Korean medal for weightlifting, and was impressed by the Chinese divers.
He added: "By seeing the play of sportsmen on television I realised how they tried their best to glorify our country by having a great success at the Games.''
12 September 2004 19:21

?2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd. All rights reserved


N Korea's military edge over S Korea
By David Scofield
Despite lacking the resources necessary to feed and care for its own people, North Korea has found the funds necessary to develop its conventional military capabilities beyond those of South Korea. That North Korea's leadership is willing to allow starvation and pestilence while it fuels the military is well known, but last week's report by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses indicating an edge to DPRK forces caught many by surprise.
It is known that South Korea maintains 690,000 troops, backed by around 37,000 United States forces, while North Korea boasts a 1.1 million-strong military. The latest reckoning, however, says South Korea's air force was 103% of North Korea's, while its army and naval strengths were 80% and 90% respectively of those of the North, according to the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analysis. That doesn't count North Korea's nuclear weapons program and it doesn't count Pyongyang's 100,000 special forces. While it is difficult to compare the two sides qualitatively, in terms of numbers, the North appears to have the edge.
Of course, there are methodological questions surrounding the report. Is it appropriate, for example, to compare generations-old technology in the North with the far newer equipment in use in the South? Comparing air force, army and naval vessels ton for ton, rather then focusing on the technology in use is not a precise measure of these nations' military projection capabilities. Indeed, some analysts quickly concluded that the South Korean report was probably designed to squeeze funds out of a reluctant administration, more interested in transforming a rice paddy into a new national capital than planning for the nation's defense, independent of US ground troops that will be relocated.
These sorts of quantitative match-ups have proven meaningless in the past. Remember Gulf War I? At that time analysts warned that Saddam Hussein's standing army, battle hardened from years of conflict with Iran, would prove a formidable adversary to the more technologically advanced US coalition troops. Quite the opposite proved true. Saddam's regular army collapsed in the first days of battle against an opponent that could lay waste from afar, denying the Iraq army the chance to fire a shot before its armor was decimated - large numbers being no match for superior technology.
Again in 2003, Iraq's military hardware, weakened by years of US-driven United Nations sanctions, quickly caved. It is not armor and men in uniforms that is inflicting casualties on the US forces today, it is their opponents' utilization of asymmetric strategies that is proving hard to counter - and this is North Korea's strength as well.
The 75 or so more advanced MiG-29s and Su-25S the North possesses won't be involved in dog fights with their South Korean and US counterparts. The North is not planning for, nor does it have the resources to fuel, a wide, protracted battle. Rather, the North Koreans will likely use a blitzkrieg approach, making heavy use of its special forces.
North tops in special forces, 100,000
According to Joseph Bermudez's book The Armed Forces of North Korea, a definitive guide to North Korean military capabilities, the North has more than 100,000 such troops, the largest group of its kind in the world. In a conflict, they would be used to capture and destroy vital South Korean infrastructure and installations, while confusing the responding defense forces. It is widely speculated that these forces wearing South Korean uniforms will infiltrate the South in order to exacerbate the chaos. The number of North Korean special operatives now in the South is unknown, but is thought to be substantial.
US airmen working on the US Air Force's Osan Air Base 30 miles south of Seoul, for example, are housed largely off-base, making them easy targets for North Korean operatives in the run-up to a surprise attack. Further, North Korea has been tunneling under the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) since open hostilities ceased in 1953. So far four tunnels have been unearthed, the latest in 1989, but others are believed to still exist.
South Korea is a small country of only 98,000 square kilometers. North Korean jets can reach the capital in six minutes from their forward bases. North Korea's 12,000 artillery tubes and 2,300 MLR (multiple-launch rockets/ medium-long range) hidden in caves and underground are all within striking distance Seoul, while its medium range Nodong ballistic missiles can reach US assets throughout the South and in Japan. In the mid 80's North Korea managed to import 87 American-made Hughes MD500 helicopters, the same type South Korea uses as gun ships. The area between Seoul and the DMZ is heavily wooded and mountainous, perfect for guerrilla warfare.
Of course this has always been the problem; the frontier terrain has not changed since the last Korean conflict and the North Korean strategy to utilize its special forces troops to destroy, control and confuse is well known, but today there's an additional obstacle to defending South Korea - perception in the South.
South Korea's engagement policies, begun in earnest in the weeks following the June 15, 2000, summit between president Kim Dae-jung and Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong-il, marked the beginning of a government policy to change the way North Korea is depicted, essentially whitewashing the threat perception of the South's erstwhile nemesis. Textbooks were altered and government literature and policy was changed in a kinder, gentler approach to the misunderstood Northern brethren.
Inter-Korean activities are strongly encouraged and have proven very effective in changing the way South Korea's younger generation views the North. Major examples are the 2002 Asian Games in Busan in which over 350 North Korean athletes and "cheerleaders" attended, followed by the 2003 World University Games in Daegu where 520 North Koreans, including over 300 cheering propagandists, joined hands with South Koreans to sing unification songs.
Kinder, gentler approach of South to North
State-run media has softened its rhetoric, no longer reporting the jingoistic tendencies of the northern reclusive state with dramatic effect. In the closing days of the World Cup competition in 2002, a North Korean naval vessel attacked and sank a South Korean navy ship inside South Korean territorial waters. Two years later, not one politician from either the ruling or opposition camps attended the memorial for the six South Korean sailors who perished, and most of the nation's media outlets relegated the story to the back pages, if they covered it at all.
Many South Koreans, whether civilians or in uniform, no longer consider the North to be a threat - rapprochement policies have been a success, at least in South Korea. Unfortunately the North has not moderated its belief in unification by force, making the South vulnerable. As North Korea's military hardware is deployed in close proximity to Seoul, rapid reaction is the key to defense. But political engagement policies, designed to reduce South Korean's fear of North Korea, have reduced the nation's mental preparedness. After the naval skirmish in 2002, one young South Korean sailor confessed that he "didn't think the North would attack us". North Korea is no doubt well aware of this perceptual change, and no amount of military hardware is going to change the way the North is perceived. Timing is everything, a few minutes of confusion is all that is needed to carry out a crippling assault on South's infrastructure, military and otherwise.
Solutions are difficult. South Korea will not go back to its Cold War readiness: finger on the trigger, warily watching every move of its Northern adversary. The solution lies not in going back but in moving the North ahead, altering the perceptions within the North vis a vis the rest of the world. The North's constant war-footing, the nation's military-first philosophy, which defines the political structure of the country, is incongruent with perceptual change. North Korea's leaders need the imminent "threat" of attack to justify the system and its privations. The perception will moderate only when the North's political lens, through which outside reality is passed, is fundamentally, irreversibly, changed.
David Scofield, former lecturer at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University, is currently conducting post-graduate research at the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
(Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)


Death of Kim's consort: Dynastic implications
By David Scofield
North Korea is synonymous with death. The widely circulated news of Kim Jong-il's consort's death is important not in the circumstances of her demise, but in the questions of dynastic succession it has brought to the fore - who will inherit the mantle of despot in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Kim Jong-il is 62.
Kim's appetite for exotic food and fine alcohol is surpassed only by his appetite for female flesh, an indulgence that led him to Koh Young-hee, formerly a dancer in one of Kim's many "pleasure teams", groups of stunningly attractive girls trained in providing for his every desire. Divided into three broad categories, the women provide "satisfaction", "happiness", and "dancing and singing". Koh was a member of the third group and became Kim's consort.
Born in Japan to wide-eyed idealists who left for the North Korean "workers' paradise" in the early 1960s, Koh became one of a 2,000-strong stable of young girls "fortunate" enough to be chosen to pleasure Kim. It was while she was dancing in one of the Kim family's 32 villas and palaces that the then junior Kim became enamored with Koh. Though they never formerly married (Kim already had a wife and mistress), they became very close and Kim fathered two sons with Koh: Kim Jong-chul, 23, and Kim Jong-woon, 21. Of course, by the time of her death, reportedly of cancer, Koh was no longer "the former dancer" but had been bestowed the titles "esteemed mother" and "great woman".
And then there's 'Fat Bear'
Kim Jong-il's eldest son is Kim Jong-nam, the offspring of previous mistress Sung Hye-lim, a former actress who died two years ago in a Moscow hospital, exiled and estranged from the leader. Jong-nam has been widely considered to be Kim's heir-apparent, though this is now far from certain. Some, such as the leader's former Japanese sushi chef, who has written about Kim under the pen name Kenji Fujimoto, observed him referring to Jong-nam as "too feminine", lacking the masculine character leadership requires, and indicating a preference for the youngest. But this raises other issues concerning Confucian roles - the youngest son assuming control ahead of the eldest would be a major, and potentially destabilizing, departure from Confucian ethos.
In the past Kim Jong-nam had been widely viewed as the obvious successor. He had the right familial rank, and there is little effeminate about Kim's portly son. North Korean defectors believe Jong-nam responsible for the Hyesan purge, a "removal" of 40 individuals involved in illegal trade during the height of the famine 1996. But his love of Disneyland proved to be his undoing.
In 2001, Kim Jong-nam and his entourage, bedecked in diamond-encrusted Rolex watches and toting Louis Vuitton bags, were detained at Narita airport, reportedly en route to Tokyo Disneyland. Kim had attempted to enter the country on a forged Dominican Republic passport, using the Chinese name Pang Xiong - Fat Bear. Subsequent investigations revealed that this was not his first foray into Japan. Apparently he entered the country at least three times in late 2000. Indeed, a hostess at the exclusive gentlemen's club Soapland in Tokyo's Yoshiwara district remembered Kim's US$350-per-hour visits. She also recalls a dragon tattoo on Kim's back - tattoos are a taboo in Confucian society as they are seen to be a desecration of the body. Still today in South Korea, men with tattoos usually are thought to be members of criminal gangs.
Kim Jong-il was livid. The eldest son had embarrassed the leader and Jong-nam's place near the top of the North Korean food chain and dynasty was - and is - in doubt. Jong-nam's whereabouts are not known. He was reported to be spending his days gambling in Macau, but some experts believe the family rift has been repaired, at least partially, and he is now said to be back in North Korea, perhaps working on national cyberprojects. Before his embarrassing transgressions, he guided the Korea Computing Center (KCC), a high-tech research center outside of Pyongyang described as "advanced" by Jim Hoare, the former charge d'affaires of the British Mission in North Korea and one of the few foreigners to have visited the complex. According to the KCC website, primary research areas include the development of Linux technology. In a world dominated by Bill Gates and Microsoft, North Korea is opting for open-source - perhaps there's hope for the reclusive nation yet.
And then there's the first lady
While the deceased Koh may be "esteemed mother", she isn't "first lady". That title is reserved for Kim's only surviving (that we know about anyway) sibling, his sister Kim Kyung-hee. Kim had a brother earlier in life, but the poor lad drowned in a pond on one of the Kim estates while, it's rumored, Kim Jong-il looked on. The leader is reported to be very close with both his sister and her 33-year-old son (his name is not known beyond North Korea), raising speculation about his potential role as leader of the moribund nation.
Many experts dismiss this possibility, though, as it would end the Kim dynastic line. Kim Jong-il's nephew's father is Chang Sung-taek, vice director of the ruling Korean Workers Party's organization and guidance department and, according to senior North Korean defector Hwang Jong-yup, the de facto No 2 man in North Korea. For years, Chang enjoyed the position closest to Kim, thanks in no small measure to his marriage to Kim's sister.
But defector testimony and South Korea-based analysts indicate that Chang and Kim Jong-il are not as close as they once were. Chang has been accused of corruption and abuse of power and is now said to be living under virtual house arrest. It has also been reported that Chang and Kim Kyung-hee have parted ways. If true, this could remove Chang from any handover script. His brothers, themselves senior members in the military, will likely be keeping their heads down, fearful of being detained, or purged, themselves.
Kim Kyung-hee's official title is head of the light-industry division of the Workers Party Economic Policy Audit Department. She is believed to have unfettered access to her brother Kim Jong-il. That she has a voice in future leadership decisions is well known, but she possesses something else as well, the keys to the family fortune. US Central Intelligence Agency reports put the Kim family's wealth at around $4 billion, held, it is believed, in Swiss bank accounts. Kim Kyung-hee is charged with managing the "Family's" (writer's emphasis) business, which include gold, zinc and anthracite mining operations and the manufacture, processing and distribution of of opium, heroin and amphetamines, as well as the proliferation of counterfeit currency and other nefarious enterprises. (North Korea's smuggling, according to recent British Broadcasting Corp reports, have employed the Real IRA among others to distribute near-perfect counterfeit copies of US currency notes around Britain and Europe.)
His sister's power goes beyond the management of this conduit for cash upon which Kim Jong-il relies to fund his expensive indulgences: she has the knowledge necessary to expose the intricate network that ensures Kim's wealth and power. This information would be invaluable to those governments concerned with the dictator's nuclear-weapons program and his disregard for human life - administrations that hope to bring about real change in North Korea through the removal of this system of dynastic despots.
With so much senseless death and suffering in North Korea, it's hard to be too concerned about the death of one like Koh. Scores of ordinary North Koreans perished from treatable ailments over the past year while the elite, such as Koh, secured the best treatment abroad, regardless of expense. The death of Kim Jong-il's favorite is noteworthy because it underscores the fragility of the succession and the potential for instability at the zenith of power in North Korea.
David Scofield, former lecturer at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University, is currently conducting post-graduate research at the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
(Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)


Chilling warning on day of tears: 70,000 al-Qa'ida terrorists at large
By Raymond Whitaker
12 September 2004
More than 70,000 al-Qa'ida-trained terrorists remain at large around the world, a leading expert has warned, as ceremonies were held yesterday to commemorate the third anniversary of the 9/11 outrage.
The continuing threat of terrorism was reinforced by two blasts yesterday near Western-linked banks in the Saudi port of Jeddah, injuring at least one person. The US consulate in the city was closed as a precaution following the spate of attacks on Western targets in Saudi Arabia over recent months in which 90 people have been killed.
In Indonesia the authorities released security camera footage of a suicide bombing in the capital, Jakarta, which killed nine people and wounded more than 180 outside the Australian embassy on Thursday. The attack has been claimed by Jemaah Islamiah, a group linked to al-Qa'ida.
President George Bush marked the 11 September attacks by warning of continued danger to the US and pledging victory over international terror. "We will not relent until the terrorists who plot murder against our people are found and dealt with," he said in a live radio address from the Oval Office, surrounded by relatives of victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.
After attending a prayer service, Mr Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and their wives took part in a silent commemoration at the White House. The Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, was at the Pentagon, where 184 people died, and John Kerry, Mr Bush's Democratic opponent, attended a service in Boston. The largest ceremony was at Ground Zero in New York.
Since Mr Bush declared a "war on terror" in the wake of 9/11, some 3,500 members of al-Qa'ida and affiliated groups have been killed or captured, including several leading figures. But Osama bin Laden, his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader who gave them a base in Afghanistan, have not been captured.
Daniel Benjamin, former counter-terrorism adviser to Bill Clinton, warned that 70,000 terrorists trained at Afghan camps remain at large. He criticised the Iraq war as "a mistake" which had pushed many moderate Muslims towards terrorism.
The Bush administration, he said, had failed to understand that the war against terrorism was an ideological campaign, and targeting states or individuals was not the answer.


Al Qa'eda terrorists 'plan to turn tanker into a floating bomb'
By Philip Sherwell, Massoud Ansari and Marianne Kearney
(Filed: 12/09/2004)
Fanatics from the Islamic terror faction blamed for last week's suicide attack on the Australian embassy in Indonesia are planning to hijack an oil tanker or freighter and turn it into a floating bomb, The Telegraph has learned.
United States intelligence has passed on warnings about the plot to launch an attack in the region's busy shipping lanes to several countries, including Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. They acted after intercepting communications between activists from Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a network linked to al Qa'eda.
The terrorists have been discussing plans to seize a vessel using local pirates. The hijacked ship would be wired with explosives and then directed at other vessels, sailed towards a port or used to threaten the narrow and congested sea routes around Indonesia.
Strong indications that Islamic extremists are planning a new wave of bloody attacks against Western targets also emerged in Pakistan where detained militants revealed that the latest al Qa'eda video tape was intended to be a trigger for fresh atrocities.
Prisoners captured in recent weeks have told their interrogators that last week's taped message from Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, was a signal for al Qa'eda cells that were already on standby.
"We were told that a new tape either carrying bin Laden or his deputy's message was on its way, and that it was intended to trigger a major terror attack," a senior Pakistani intelligence official told The Telegraph. "The cadres linked to the terror network were told to carry out an attack once this video is released."
In the tape, Al-Zawahiri predicted America's defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Security was further tightened at foreign embassies in Pakistan after its release just two days before yesterday's third anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Pakistani officials investigating the activities of Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, the al Qa'eda computer expert believed to have been co-ordinating a plot to bomb Heathrow airport, have recovered further information from the arrested man's computer.
Khan and other militants had collected detailed lists of local and international staff of American and British missions working in Pakistan and senior officials in the war on terrorism. The information included home addresses, daily travel routines and even names of schools attended by the children of foreigners under surveillance.
In Indonesia, Australia's top policeman said yesterday that the militants behind the embassy attack on Thursday were believed to have deployed a second team of suicide bombers in Jakarta.
"There's further intelligence in the last 24 to 48 hours of a second group active in the area," said Mick Keelty, the Federal Police Commissioner, who flew to Jakarta to investigate the blast that killed nine Indonesians and injured 182.
Police released video recordings of the blast from two security cameras yesterday. They showed a van passing on its way to the embassy before blowing apart in a flash of smoke and debris, shaking trees and buildings before the image went blurry.
The attack indicated that JI remains a lethal force, despite the arrest of more than 200 activists across south-east Asia, including Hambali, its alleged mastermind, who was seized in Thailand last year.
Azahari Husin, a British-educated explosives expert who is believed to have made the devices that blew up a Bali disco in 2002, killing more than 200 people, and the Marriott hotel in Jakarta last August, has emerged as the organisation's most wanted man.
Indonesian police said yesterday that he had been recruiting members in recent weeks in Java, the biggest island in the world's most populous Muslim country, as JI regained strength following the arrests.
Husin, a Malaysian who completed a engineering doctorate at Reading University in 1990 and later trained at al Qa'eda camps in Afghanistan, is believed to have only recently moved out of a rented house in north-west Jakarta.
Following a tip-off after Thursday's attack, investigators raided the abandoned home and discovered traces of TNT explosives and sulphur, matching residue found at the embassy bomb site.
The rejuvenation of JI will heighten concerns in Australia that the country could face terrorist attacks on its soil ahead of parliamentary elections on October 9. John Howard, the conservative prime minister, is a strong backer of President George W Bush's war on terror and 850 Australian troops are serving in Iraq.
A purported claim of responsibility for the Jakarta attack was made by JI in a statement on the internet that threatened Australia with more attacks if it did not withdraw its troops from Iraq.


Ex-policeman 'masterminded Beslan terror'
By Tom Parfitt in Nazran, Ingushetia
(Filed: 12/09/2004)
A police sergeant from Ingushetia who disappeared six years ago is accused of being among the ringleaders of the Beslan siege. Officials of the republic's interior ministry believe that Ali Taziyev, who worked for Ingushetia's external security division protecting government officials, has turned into a ruthless killer since he was caught up in a kidnapping involving Chechens in 1998.
His family believes that he is dead, but the interior ministry claims that he joined the Chechen rebel movement and has taken part in several operations against Russian forces, under the codename Magas.
Officials now suspect that he was one of four commanders who masterminded the attack on School Number One in Beslan in which more than 330 people died, more than half of them children.
Musa Apiyev, Ingushetia's deputy interior minister, told the Telegraph: "The fighter known as Magas, who is the former police officer Taziyev, is connected to a series of terrorist attacks and there is evidence that he participated in the Beslan incident." Mr Apiyev said that Magas was the "leader of a bandit formation" based in Ingushetia. The tiny republic, flanked by mountains, has suffered in recent years from the spill-over of conflict from neighbouring Chechnya.
Police released a photograph that, they say, shows Taziyev earlier this year with Shamil Basayev, the Chechen warlord accused by Moscow of organising the Beslan attack. The Russian security service, the FSB, has offered a ?5.5 million bounty for information leading to the capture of Basayev and another Chechen leader, Aslan Maskhadov.
In the week since the siege began, investigators have been piecing together the identities of the terrorists. The small town in North Ossetia, the Christian region that abuts Muslim Ingushetia, became the focus of world attention when 32 terrorists stormed the school and took hostage 1,100 pupils, parents and teachers, on September 1. More than 330 people were killed and hundreds more wounded when the siege came to a bloody end two days later.
Recordings of the terrorists' telephone conversations reveal that they repeatedly referred to a man called Magas, although it is unclear whether he was in the building or directing operations from outside.
A search for Taziyev was launched last month after he was accused of taking part in attacks on police stations and government buildings in the republic's capital, Nazran, in June, which killed almost 100 people.
He is also suspected of involvement in an assassination attempt on the Ingush president Murad Zyazikov earlier this year.
Police officials say that the other three commanders who organised the attack were also known by codenames: The Colonel, Abdullah and Fantomas.
Russia's general prosecutor, Vladimir Ustinov, told President Vladimir Putin last week that "The Colonel" led the operation inside the school. He has been tentatively identified as a senior rebel from southern Ingushetia. Fantomas is thought to have been a Russian or Chechen former bodyguard to Basayev. Abdullah is believed to be from Ossetia.
Mr Apiyev said: "There are more and more small units moving around in the forests and mountains in the North Caucasus who were only inside Chechnya in the past." He said many fighters were recruited through extremist Muslim communities known as Jamaats.
It remains unclear why the shy, young policeman joined the anti-Russian fighters. He has not been seen since October 10, 1998, when he and a fellow officer were ambushed while protecting the wife of a presidential adviser in Nazran. They were all piled into a car and driven into Chechnya.
A few months later, the wife was freed. The body of the second policeman was found a year later. Taziyev, however, had disappeared.
His family gave up looking for his body in 2001. "We heard nothing, even when his father died," said his mother, Lida, in an interview. "If he was alive, he would have at least passed a message to us."
Investigators, however, believe that he may have been an accomplice in the kidnapping, drawn by the prospect of ransom money. The headquarters of the Ingush interior ministry is still pockmarked by gunfire from the June raids on Nazran. Dozens of officers were killed in the attacks. Major Madina Khadzieva said that the attacks on the city and the school in Beslan were carried out by the "same bandits with the same style of attack". Magas, she claimed, was among the leaders on both occasions.
"Just a few days before the Beslan siege, we received information that a school in Nazran would be attacked," she said. "That was almost certainly a diversionary tactic by the same group."
Taziyev's family, however, is adamant that he is innocent. His younger brother, Alan, said: "The police used to think that someone else was Magas. Now they have discovered that that person is dead and they are looking for a new scapegoat."
Woman sentenced in weapons-export scheme
A Southern California woman was sentenced to one year in federal prison Thursday for her role in a scheme to use her export company to illegally export arms parts to the People's Republic of China...


US favours Herat governor removal
KABUL, September 14 (Online): The United States has supported the Afghan government's decision to sack Governor of Herat and said the change would bring peace and stability in the troubled province.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Afghanistan told BBC Radio that he supported freedom to people to hold demonstrations but destruction of government and non-governmental offices could not be allowed.
He said, "citizens are free to comment government policies but use of force or violent means to register their protest in this regard can not be tolerated at any cost".
He said recent acts of violence in Herat required sustained solution.
"Ismail Khan as the governor of Herat proved very destructive not only for the province but also for the entire region", he said.
The US diplomat further said the situation would have been different (in Herat), had they (Ismail led government) did not stop Commander Amanullah Khan from entering the province".
He termed the change a positive move before the presidential elections in Afghanistan.
He further informed he had meetings with former and newly appointed governors of Herat and assured US support to Saeed Mohammad Kherkhaw, the new governor.
He said the US troops were closely monitoring the developments in troubled province.
To a query, Zalmay said 27,000 people would be disarmed in the country during the ongoing drive for the purpose.
US deploy forces in Herat
US tanks rumble through Herat city as the American soldiers flanked by Afghan National Army have stationed in sensitive state administration buildings Monday, according to the latest reports relayed from Western Afghan city of Herat presided by powerful warlord Ismail Khan.
Helicopters and airplanes hovering over the restive city of Herat have deployed forces as the looters began to ransack foreign missions and UN offices.
Fighting erupted after the dismissal of former Herat governor Ismail khan have left ten civilians dead or injured.
The city is turned into a spirit town after trade centers, shopping mals government offices were closed in fear of the heavy gunfire traded between the US forces and Ismail Khan supporters.
Ismael Khan followers have staged fierce protests against the former governor's appointment as the new Afghan minister of mines and industry and called on the Afghan interim President Hamid Karzai to return him to power.
The peaceful protest turned into a riot as the Herat-based US soldiers aided by Afghan National Army (ANA) stepped in to ease violations.
Afghan City of Herat quiet after weekend riots
The western Afghan city of Herat is reportedly calm after riots over the weekend, in which at least four people were killed and about 50 injured.
A curfew was imposed late Sunday after hundreds of demonstrators attacked United Nations' buildings in the city and clashed with US and Afghan forces after local governor, Ismael Khan, was removed from his post on Saturday.
President Hamid Karzai, who is the favourite to win Aghanistan's first ever direct presidential election on October 9, sacked Mr Khan and appointed a replacement as part of his campaign pledge to rein in warlords.
Mr Karzai, who was named interim president in 2002 after a US-led invasion toppled the Taliban, faces 17 rivals in the vote.
Earlier, Ousted governor of western Afghanistan's Herat province appealed to his supporters in a television statement to avoid violence, after at least four people were killed in clashes following his sacking.
Hundreds of demonstrators attacked United Nations buildings in the city and clashed with US and Afghan forces on Sunday after the long-term provincial governor's sacking a day earlier.
The Kabul government Sunday announced that Khan was appointed as the minister of mines and industries and his post was given to Afghan ambassador to Ukraine, Saeed Ahmad Khair Khowa, angering Khan's supporters.
"I hope with patience, tolerance and a single aim you ensure security, peace and stability of your country and be tolerant," said Khan in his statement.
"Reshuffling and changes in a government are a normal thing," said Khan. "I am deeply affected by the number of brothers killed or injured in the past 24 hours."
Hundreds of demonstrators threw stones at the US soldiers and attacked UN offices in Herat.
"Four people were killed and tens were injured," provincial TV announced, adding that curfew was imposed from nine pm in the province.


Iran makes 'temporary' concession on nuclear plans
Compiled by Our Staff From Dispatches AP, Reuters
Monday, September 13, 2004
VIENNA Iran's refusal to give up all uranium enrichment, and thus banish suspicions that it is interested in nuclear arms, set the stage for a confrontation at a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog agency that began Monday, with the United States lobbying its allies to have Tehran taken before the Security Council. Hossein Mousavian, Iran's chief delegate at the meeting of the agency's board here, said that "at the moment" Tehran had imposed a partial freeze on enriching uranium and on assembling and making parts for centrifuges, a key part of the enrichment process, which can produce bomb-grade fuel. Mousavian said the suspension was a voluntary gesture on Iran's part to build confidence. But he told reporters it would continue "just for a short, temporary period." Mousavian gave no indication of when Tehran planned to resume uranium enrichment.
Although officials of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, declined to comment, a senior diplomat familiar with the agency said it was checking on the claim of a partial freeze.
The agenda for the meeting also included a report from the agency's chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, on South Korea's clandestine uranium enrichment and plutonium extraction experiments. The issue of Iran is not expected to be discussed before Tuesday at the earliest.
The United States appeared to soften its oratory before the opening session in apparent recognition that it might not get its way on Iran immediately. But its case was bolstered over the longer term when important European allies agreed to set a November deadline for Iran to meet demands meant to banish concerns over its possible pursuit of nuclear weapons.
In a confidential draft resolution prepared by France, Germany and Britain and made available to The Associated Press, the three European powers warned of possible "further steps" by the next International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in November.
Diplomats defined that phrase as shorthand for referral of Iran's case to the UN Security Council if Tehran hinders the investigation or refuses to suspend uranium enrichment.
ElBaradei suggested that he did not consider November a deadline. (AP, Reuters)
Copyright ? 2004 The International Herald Tribune |

A battered UN needs to go back to its roots
Simon Chesterman IHT
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
59th General Assembly
NEW YORK As the United Nations General Assembly opens on Tuesday, the world organization faces twin crises in its effectiveness and its legitimacy.
Ten years after the Rwanda crisis, the UN's inability to prevent genocide has been on painful display during the hand-wringing over Sudan. The United States has invoked the "g" word, but it is unclear that the political will and necessary troops are available to support the escalation in rhetoric.
At the same time, the United Nations remains scarred by the war in Iraq and its bloody aftermath. The failure of the Security Council to contain Saddam Hussein to the satisfaction of the United States - or to contain the United States to the satisfaction of even its allies - suggests a crisis in legitimacy that questions the very idea of the United Nations as a significant actor in international peace and security.
Now that an Iraqi government has taken formal control of Iraq - and the United Nations has demonstrated its importance to the United States in achieving this - might the time be right to push for reform of the United Nations?
Major international institutions of peace and security are difficult to forge in the absence of crisis. World War I was the backdrop for establishment of the League of Nations. The league's failure to prevent World War II led to its replacement by the United Nations. For some, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was a similar challenge not merely to the institutions but to the very idea of international order.
The war split the Security Council, divided NATO and prompted the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, to create a high-level panel to rethink the very idea of collective security in a world dominated by U.S. military power.
This panel is now the most prominent effort to reform the United Nations. Whether it or any other reform effort can succeed in improving the United Nations - or, perhaps, saving it - depends in large part on how the relationship between the United States and the United Nations is managed.
The General Assembly this year will lay the groundwork for the 60th anniversary celebrations of 2005. Over the next 12 months, governments will be responding to the report of the high-level panel and a separate meeting will review the Millennium Declaration and evaluate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. It is possible that these major reviews of the security and development agenda of the United Nations will be brought together.
This would recognize the different ways in which different people experience modern threats. While the combination of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction is the primary fear of many Western countries, economic concerns dominate in the developing world. It might be possible to link these issues, securing greater cooperation from developing countries for counterterrorism and counterproliferation activities in exchange for greater development assistance and reform of agricultural subsidies by Western countries.
It is far from clear, however, that there is an atmosphere of crisis of the kind needed to bring about change on this scale.
President Franklin Roosevelt pushed for the negotiation of the UN Charter to be held in San Francisco while the bombs of World War II were falling. Unlike the Covenant of the League of Nations, which was negotiated as one agreement among many at Versailles in 1919, the Charter's references to "the scourge of war" were reinforced by daily reports of the final battles of the global conflict.
With that in mind, it might help present reform efforts to move next year's UN General Assembly to a special session in San Francisco. This would serve three purposes.
First, especially if led by the United States, it would help to emphasize the important role played by America in establishing the United Nations as an instrument of enlightened U.S. self-interest, rather than a barrier to it.
Second, the next UN secretary general is expected to be from Asia, so it would be appropriate to convene the assembly on the edge of the Pacific.
Finally, it is possible that recalling the atmosphere of crisis that accompanied the drafting of the UN Charter 60 years ago will remove the need for a comparable crisis in order to change it.
Simon Chesterman is executive director of the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law.
Copyright ? 2004 The International Herald Tribune |

U.N. Reform

Updated: September 13, 2004


Is reform on the agenda when the U.N. General Assembly opens?
Talk of reform at the United Nations--particularly of the Security Council--is not new. But this year, as the U.N. General Assembly begins its annual session on September 14, a panel of distinguished experts is preparing a report that could recommend radical changes in the way the United Nations operates. The panel, which will report to Secretary-General Kofi Annan by December 1, is examining how the United Nations can best respond to global security threats. It may recommend major changes, such as expanding the Security Council or creating closer links between it and other U.N. bodies. However, the General Assembly will not consider the panel's proposals until September 2005, and experts warn that past U.N. reform efforts have met resistance from member-states and the large, entrenched U.N. bureaucracy.
Why did Annan create the panel?
Annan appointed the 16-member High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change in November 2003, after a devastating year for the United Nations. The bitter policy debates that divided world opinion before the war in Iraq; the August 2003 bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad that killed 23--15 of them U.N. staffers, including Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello; and the lack of a clear U.N. role in Iraq damaged confidence within the organization and raised questions about what the United Nations' mission should be. Annan has assigned the panel the task of redefining the United Nations to face new threats, a job he says is as important as the body's founding in 1945. "He wants to be bold, and he wants them to be bold," says William H. Luers, president and CEO of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, a nonprofit organization that encourages support for the work of the United Nations.
What did Annan ask the panel to do?
Primarily three things, says Thant Myintu, a political officer in the U.N. policy planning unit:
Define and analyze contemporary threats to world peace and security. "Now, more than at any other recent time, there's a greater division [between countries] in their perception of threats," Myintu says. In the 1990s, the United Nations shifted its focus from the Cold War to the threats of failed states and civil wars. Now, in an age of terrorism, another such shift is needed, experts say.
Examine the ability of the United Nations, across its entire system of non-governmental organizations and related bodies, to respond to those threats. For example, effective reforms to halt the nuclear weapons trade will involve not only the Security Council but also the International Atomic Energy Association, while bans on chemical weapons will involve the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Recommend changes to maximize the United Nations' effectiveness in responding to those threats.
What are the major issues being discussed?
The panel is studying six so-called baskets of issues combining hard (military) and soft (social and economic) threats. These are broadly defined as:
classic inter-state conflict, i.e., war between countries;
internal violence, including genocide;
poverty and disease;
weapons of mass destruction (WMD);
terrorism; and
organized crime and corruption.
What challenges do the reformers face?
Experts say the panel faces a potential conflict between first and third world countries, which see security threats very differently. Industrialized nations consider terrorism and WMD the biggest threats to their security, experts say, while developing countries view AIDS, poverty, disease, and hunger as their most pressing risks. The panel must address both those viewpoints, experts say, although "in actual practice, the U.N. is likely to be more responsive to the threats seen by the first world countries," says James A. Paul, executive director of Global Policy Forum, a nonprofit organization that monitors policy-making at the United Nations.
The panel will also wrestle with several other hotly contested issues, including what position the United Nations should take on the doctrine of pre-emption. A country's right to attack an enemy in order to prevent a likely attack on itself--which the United States used to justify invading Iraq--has been highly controversial at the United Nations, experts say. "Pre-emption is still an issue that divides most of the countries in the world," says Robert Orr, assistant secretary-general for policy planning at the United Nations. Officials realize that, in a world in which terrorists can buy WMD, countries can't always afford to get U.N. permission before an attack, experts say. But the unrestricted use of force is not acceptable, either.
Will the panel recommend expanding the Security Council?
Experts say there is growing international pressure to expand the Security Council, which currently has 15 members. Five of those--the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia--are permanent members with a veto; the other 10 are elected by the General Assembly to two-year terms and do not have a veto. The 10 seats are allocated as follows:
two seats for Western Europe and the Commonwealth countries, including Canada and Australia;
three seats for Africa;
two seats for Asia;
one seat for the Middle East that takes one spot from Africa or Asia in alternate years;
one seat for Eastern Europe; and
two seats for Latin America/Caribbean.
Many developing countries argue that the Security Council needs broader geographical and economic representation. The panel is reportedly considering increasing Security Council membership from 15 to 24 members in three levels:
The first level would consist of the current five permanent members, who would keep their vetoes.
The second level would include seven or eight semi-permanent regional members, who would be elected for renewable terms of four or five years and would not have a veto. Some of the candidates for this group, including Japan, Germany, and India, have campaigned for permanent seats with vetoes. Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria are also mentioned as potential second level members.
The third level would replicate the current system, with 11 or 12 regional members elected for non-renewable two-year terms.
Other suggested reforms include making all Security Council seats elected or creating seats for regional bodies like the European Union or the Arab League; most experts say they are unlikely to be enacted.
What do the existing permanent members say about expanding the Security Council?
Experts say that while the five permanent members make public statements supporting expansion, they talk very differently in private. There's no chance any of the five will give up their vetoes, experts say, or share that power with other countries. "There's a huge gap between rhetoric and reality," Paul says. He says most experienced U.N. diplomats privately oppose expanding the council, arguing that a group larger than 15 members would be too cumbersome to get anything done.
What happens next?
The panel must submit final recommendations to Annan by December 1. Annan will then add modifications and circulate the report to member states for discussion in their countries and at U.N. forums. He will formally present the panel's findings to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2005. To be adopted, the reforms must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly. Experts say Annan has invested a sizable amount of his personal prestige in the reform project. "This is important to him," Orr says. "He wants to leave the organization [at the end of his term in 2006] in good shape to meet the new challenges of the 21st century."
What are the chances that reform will be enacted?
Some experts are hopeful. "This is an issue that's been batted around for a long time, but this time there's a lot of momentum," Orr says. "It could happen." Luers says the world body has been deeply affected by the terror attacks of the last few years and the bruising battles leading up to the war in Iraq. "I think Iraq was a shattering experience for many people," Luers says. "It made them realize that the world has changed." Paul says that the way events have turned out in Iraq--after initial U.S. resistance to a U.N. role, Washington sought the institution's help to organize upcoming elections-- has given the organization greater legitimacy than it had before and shown that no other body can take over its role. "For all its faults, the world is better with the U.N.," he says.
What happened to previous reform efforts?
Experts joke that talk of reform at the United Nations pops up on a "seven-year cycle." Incoming secretaries-general tend to propose reforms; for example, when Boutros Boutros-Ghali began his term in 1992, he consolidated all the U.N. bodies dealing with social and economic issues into one department and eliminated a controversial research center, Paul says. Annan has also made changes to the structure of the secretariat--the U.N. body that carries out the organization's day-to-day work--including creating a post of deputy secretary-general. Secretaries-general are fairly "free to change the secretariat, but more major reforms, like those that change the budget, need member-state approval," Paul says.
-- by Esther Pan, staff writer,

News Analysis: Get-tough tactics in Iraq: Signs of backfire
Dexter Filkins/NYT NYT
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
BAGHDAD The mayhem that coursed through the Iraqi capital Sunday offered the latest evidence not just of the growing ferocity of the insurgency but also of the extraordinary difficulties faced by the American military as its efforts in Iraq enter a new and potentially decisive phase.
With four months to go before nationwide elections in Iraq, U.S. commanders have begun a series of military operations intended to regain control over the large sections of the country ceded to insurgents in recent months - where, if conditions remained unchanged, the staging of elections would be cast in serious doubt.
In cities like Falluja and Talafar and Sadr City, which have slipped out of the control of the Iraqi government, the Americans are embarking on especially aggressive operations with the full support of the Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi. But as the Americans move to regain control of these areas, the insurgency seems each day to be growing more brazen and more sophisticated.
On Sunday, insurgents struck the Americans and their allies in the Iraqi government in manifold ways: with suicide bombings, with mortars and with rockets, many of them showing a careful aim. Many of those attacks seemed intended not just to hurt the Americans but also to provoke them into overreacting and alienating other Iraqis. In that way, the choices confronting the Americans and their Iraqi allies here are similar to those faced by governments battling guerrilla insurgencies in the past: Ease up and the insurgency may grow; crack down and risk losing the support of the population.
The dilemma facing the Americans is that they need to break the deadlock before January, when they insist they want elections to be held. Whether the Americans can hold to their hardline approach is open to question.
In April, as the marines moved in on Falluja and Iraqi casualties soared into the hundreds, they called off their offensive and turned the city over to the insurgents. Even now, the get-tough approach is showing signs of backfiring.
When an insurgent drove a car bomb into a U.S. convoy Sunday, crippling a personnel carrier, a crowd of cheering Iraqis clambered on top.
Then an American helicopter, its pilots saying they were being shot at, opened fire, killing or wounding a number of Iraqi civilians. Inside the grim and chaotic wards of Baghdad's hospitals Sunday, the Americans seemed to have won more enemies than friends.
"When I heard the sound of the bombing, I ran out the door to see what was happening," said Nasir Saeed, a 23-year-old civilian who lay in Yarmouk hospital Sunday. "I saw a Bradley burning in the middle of the street and the people were happy, and then an American helicopter started to shoot at the mob. I fell on the ground, with wounds all over my body."
On Monday, the scene repeated itself in another corner of Baghdad. When a group of three insurgents opened fire on a vehicle carrying a group of American soldiers, they responded in force, firing dozens of bullets, destroying three cars and killing one Iraqi civilian and wounding three. "When the Americans fire back, they don't hit the people who are attacking them, only the civilians," said Osama Ali, a 24-year-old Iraqi who witnessed the attack. "This is why Iraqis hate the Americans so much."
The get-tough approach appears to be straining the Iraqi government as well.
On Monday, Allawi's office said that Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, had been relieved of his duties and replaced with a close ally of Allawi's, Qassim Daoud. The precise reasons for Rubaie's dismissal were unclear, but he and Allawi disagreed sharply over how to quell the Shiite and Sunni insurgencies, particularly with regard to dealing with Moktada al-Sadr, the rebel Shiite cleric. Where Rubaie favored coaxing Sadr into the political mainstream, even before all of his guns were gathered up, Allawi instead simply demanded Sadr's surrender and threatened to crush his Mahdi Army if he did not. At the heart of the problem facing Allawi and the American military is the legitimacy of the elections to be held in January.
Large parts of the Sunni Triangle, the vast area north and west of Baghdad, have fallen out of U.S. control. The Americans have longed hoped that free and fair elections could drain away much of the anger in areas like the Sunni Triangle. But with so many areas out of American or Iraqi government control, it is not clear that elections can be held in those areas.
Still, both the Americans and the United Nations say they are determined to go forward with the January elections, running the risk that huge numbers of voters will not take part. "I could see circumstances where we can't do Falluja," a Western diplomat said, referring to the prospect of holding elections there. "But we will not let the rejectionists in Iraq have a veto over the elections."
Yet as U.S. forces try to retake these cities, some Iraqi leaders warn that they will meet stiff opposition, particularly in the areas, like Falluja and Ramadi, that are dominated by Sunni Arabs. That they will try to enter with the promise of bringing elections will matter little, these Iraqis say. "For sure, if the situation stays like this, it will be difficult to have free and honest elections," said Harith al-Dhari, the chairman of the powerful Association of Muslim Scholars, which represents hundreds of Sunni clerics around the country. "But Iraqis do not rely so much on these elections," Dhari said. "The most important thing is for the Americans to assign a date to their withdrawal. That is the only solution. "When you push the Iraqi people, and you harm the Iraqi people, you will just cause them to fight back harder," he said. "The idea that force will be enough to calm the Iraqis is a false dream." The Americans face a similar dilemma in trying to hold elections in the country's Shiite-dominated areas, where Sadr and his Mahdi Army are still refusing to give up their guns. In recent weeks, Sadr's aides have been traversing the country, soliciting opinions on how he might turn his guerrilla movement into a political party and turn his credibility in Iraq's slums into votes on election day. That is exactly what Mr. Allawi and British and American commanders say they want: Sadr willing to play by the rules. In April and again last month, his militia showed itself capable of seizing and holding the centers of the largest cities in southern Iraq. Unless Sadr can be persuaded to disband his militia, British officers who had to fight him in the south believe that no matter how many of his fighters they kill, he would have enough left to disrupt the January elections across southern Iraq. But Sadr has made these feints before, only to turn back to armed resistance.
It is for that reason, perhaps, that Allawi and American officers are refusing to entertain any such talks with Sadr until he disarms first. His aides, wary themselves and badly bloodied, are balking.
The New York Times


Media Watch
Sharon-Netanyahu Showdown Looms
by the Debkafiles
Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is in a hurry. But the harder he pushes to speed up his disengagement-evacuation plan, the more he provokes the settlement movement, its supporters in his own Likud party and a whole range of opinion, including parts of the military command. His haste has drawn a backlash in the form of the warnings heard in the last few days that forcible evacuations could plunge the country into civil war.
Because no elected body has thus far approved settlement removals, Sharon is manufacturing momentum for a fait accompli by engineering bureaucratic and legislative measures. Tuesday, September 14, he will present the security and foreign affairs cabinet with the principles of a draft law defining the scale of compensation owed settlers for the loss of their homes and businesses in 21 Gaza Strip locations and four in the West Bank. First come, first served. Sharon hopes to squeeze this preliminary step through one day before Israel closes down for the New Year-Yom Kippur-Succoth season on Wednesday, September 15. He is now pinning his hopes on attractive monetary incentives for drawing volunteer evacuees into breaking the wall of opposition to the uprooting of settlements. A settler prepared to relocate in under-populated Galilee in the north or Negev in the south will receive double compensation - roughly the equivalent of $200,000 instead of $100,000.
Changes in the government lineup have improved the prospects of cabinet endorsement for this bill. The prime minister's immediate goal is to pre-empt the massive pro-settlement demonstration scheduled for Sunday, September 12, in Jerusalem.
The controversy is becoming infused with high emotion as both camps raise the stakes in the immediate term. Sharon will brook no suggestion that his plan is stalled and declares with raised voice that nothing on earth will stop the removal of the settlements he has decided to jettison. One settler, Eliezer Hisdai, who lost a daughter in a Palestinian attack, warned defense minister Shaul Mofaz this week of a possible en masse refusal by soldiers to carry out orders. Justice minister Tommy Lapid heatedly accused settler leaders of incitement to violence and defying democratic norms. He warned that the forces of law and order would not take this lying down, sparking a whole new wrangle over the limits of freedom of speech. The settlers retorted that if anyone is violating democratic norms it is Sharon who is dividing the nation over policies for which he has no mandate from any elected body.
Although the issue is genuinely incendiary, DEBKAfile has been told by its exclusive political sources that much of the fresh heat is sparked by a different factor: word is going round the ministers and top political circles that a decision has been reached by former finance minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a former Likud prime minister himself, to run against Sharon in the next party primaries as candidate for prime minister. After biding his time quietly in the wings for the last couple of years, he now tells his confidants it would be a mistake to postpone a direct challenge any longer. His moment has arrived.
Netanyahu has chosen his moment partly under the influence of the latest turnaround upping president George W. Bush's rating in opinion polls. In America, the majority appears unimpressed by the negative media coverage of the president's record in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite such disappointments as the failure to find Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and the continuing combat in both countries, Bush is gaining ground against Kerry as a war leader.
Israel's mass media are likewise plugging Sharon's policy as backed by most Israelis. For five years, the Likud prime minister did indeed prove unbeatable. This looks like changing. Since he came up with his stubbornly held plan to remove settlements, his popularity has been sliding. Polls held secretly in the last two weeks among the general public show results that reflect the May 1 poll held in the Likud party - with an important difference. A majority does indeed favor disengagement from the Palestinians, but 58 percent are also against the violent uprooting of settlements. Sharon's attempts to merge the two issues are not accepted.
Where Netanyahu parts ways with the prime minister is in his adherence to traditional Likud tenets, which negate the removal of Jews from their homes in any part of the Land of Israel. In the light of the current mood, he believes he can beat Sharon in a party primary and go on to win a general election as the party's prime ministerial candidate
The finance minister's political timing appears to be apt.
His two main rivals for the succession to the 74-year old Likud leader, both enthusiastic supporters of evacuation, are out of the race for the moment. The party has rejected deputy prime minister Ehud Olmert time and time again. Mofaz by backing the prime minister is tying himself in knots. He is combining his performance as great champion of the Israeli armed forces, lauding their success in warding off continuous waves of terrorists, while at the same time going out on a limb for the sake of the project to remove Israelis, lock, stock and barrel, from the Gaza Strip - against the advice of his own generals, who see great danger ahead.
In a further contortion, Mofaz is trying to shunt the hands-on job of wrestling Israeli civilians out of their homes away from the soldiers and onto the very reluctant police. But he will not be able to keep the soldiers out of the fray. The Palestinians are determined to subject the evictions, if they do take place, to heavy fire in order to demonstrate that they have got the Israelis on the run. The defense minister certainly understands that in such circumstances, the entire project is bound to be fraught with bloodshed, costing the lives of settlers, police and soldiers alike. And after the no doubt traumatic event is over, he cannot be unaware of the perils entailed in unilaterally abandoning the Gaza Strip to an avowedly hostile enemy. By sticking to Sharon, therefore, Mofaz is paying heavily in popular credibility.
If the prime minister is really so sure he enjoys popular support for his plan, as his spokesmen insist, why not hold a general election on the settlement evacuation issue? And why did he reject the proposal advanced this week of a referendum? Above all, knowing what he knows, why is he still hell-bent on pushing down the throat of an unwilling country a policy that is patently divisive and unworkable, at best; dangerous, at worst?
It is this refusal to back off at any price and the Sharon's sliding popularity that Netanyahu has decided to exploit as a fulcrum for swinging back into the prime minister's office.

Egyptian Government Weekly Magazine on 'The Jews Slaughtering Non-Jews, Draining their Blood, and Using it for Talmudic Religious Rituals'
Hussam Wahba, a columnist for the religious Egyptian weekly magazine 'Aqidati, [1] published by the Al-Tahrir foundation which is linked to the ruling National Democratic Party , wrote an article based upon blood libels and accusing Judaism of promoting ritual murder. [2] The following are excerpts from his article : [3]
On the Main Entrance to the Knesset it is Inscribed : 'Compassion Toward a Non-Jew is Forbidden'
"... The Jews forgot that their primary constitution, on which they rely, is full of intellectual religious terrorism against all other nations. Aqidati decided to wage a battle against International Zionism in order to expose the extent of terrorism that exists in the Zionist doctrinal mind. The truth of the matter is that the Jews themselves do not deny [the existence of] Zionist terrorism. Whoever visits the Israeli parliament known as 'The Knesset' will notice at the main entrance a sentence written on the wall saying: 'Compassion towards a non-Jew is forbidden, if you see him fall into a river or face danger, you are prohibited from saving him because all the nations are enemies of the Jews and when a non-Jew falls into a ditch, the Jew should close the ditch on him with a big boulder, until he dies, so that the enemies will lose one person and the Jews will be able to preserve their dream of the Promised Land, the Greater Israel!'
"This sentence is taken from the Jewish Talmud which is holier that the Torah itself, and was described by the Israeli Ministry of Education in the lexicon that it published at the beginning of this year for primary school students in Israel as: 'The Talmud is the oral Torah which Moses received from his Creator. It contains commandments, which every Jew must perform. The Talmud is the holy book of the Israelites and its sanctity equals or even surpasses that of the Torah...'"
The Jews' Sacred Obligation to Murder 'Goyim'
" Dr. Muhammad Abdalla Al-Sharqawi says in his book 'The Talmudic Scandals' that the Talmud ... exposes the hidden aspects of the Jewish psyche... The Jewish Rabbis came up with it as a result of the deep distress over [their] exile and fragmentation, which cultivated in the Jewish psyche hatred and loathing and a raging need for vengeance and tyrannical control over non-Jewish nations. To this day Jewish life is based to a great extent on the Talmudic dictates and principles...
"Dr. Al-Sharqawi adds that if we examine the Talmudic attitude toward other, non-Jewish nations, we will find it to be as close as can be to a desire to completely annihilate the 'Goyim' - the non-Jewish nations. For instance, the Talmud says: 'Murdering a non-Jew whenever possible is an obligation. A Jew is a sinner if he can murder non-Jews but does not do so. And a Jewish priest who blesses a person [Jew] who brings evidence that he murdered one or more non-Jews is a blessed priest. Murdering non-Jews pleases God, because the flesh of non-Jews is the flesh of donkeys and their sperm is the sperm of animals.'
"The Talmud also says 'Kill anyone who is not Jewish even if he is pious. The Jews are prohibited from saving from death any member of the other nations, or rescue him from a ditch in which he fell, because that would mean saving an idolater, even though he is pious.'
"Also, the Talmud says that 'it is righteous for a Jew to kill a non-Jew with his own hands, because whoever kills a non-Jew is offering a sacrifice to God...'
"The Talmud also contains instructions to the Jew that if the non-Jew is stronger than him, he should do anything in his power to bring about his death even in an indirect manner and to pin the blame on a non-Jewish nation; this may cause a conflict between two non-Jewish nations to the point of fighting and destroying each other. Then, God will reward any Jew who contributed to the conflict between the two nations with eternal life in Paradise...
" The Talmud did not only deal with killing non-Jews, but permitted the violation of their honor [i.e. women] and property, when it says: 'The Jew is not in the wrong if he rapes a non-Jewish woman, because non-Jewish women are permitted...'
" Dr. Al-Sharqawi concludes by saying: 'All this proves the principle that the killing of non-Jews by Jews is a sacred obligation that the Jew should carry out whenever he can, because, according to the Talmud, his arm is connected to his body for the sole purpose of killing and not for recreation.'"
The Jewish Ideology of Conflict
" Dr. Muhammad Abu Ghadir, the former head of the Hebrew Language Department in Al-Azhar University , points out that the Jews believe wholeheartedly that violence and blood are the only things that safeguard their lives. Their rabbis, throughout history, were successful in convincing them that non-belligerence with the surrounding world would lead to their destruction and that the only way for the Jews to stay alive is to follow the dictates of their holy books concerning the obligation to carry on the conflict with all other nations and to intensify the conflict with relatively weak nations.
"When they see a nation stronger than them, every Jew has a daily obligation to make every effort so that this nation should be weakened to the point that in the end it collapses, or at least becomes weaker than the Jewish nation, so that they may then eliminate it completely.
"The books of the Jewish religion say that in ancient times God addressed his Jewish worshiper, saying: 'You must have an enemy, and if you do not have one, create one so that you can defeat him and kill him and gain God's goodwill and His reward.' If we examine the word 'killing' in the books of the Jewish religion, we find that it is repeated tens and hundreds of times, which indicates to us the enormity of terrorism in Zionist religious thought, especially when we realize that 80% of the religious verses demand of the Jews to kill non-Jews, and even the sentences and the verses that do not talk about killing, and talk about, for instance, God giving the land to the Jews and not to others, you can find between the lines a clear call to the Jews to use all kinds of ploys and tricks to annihilate non-Jews who live on this earth, so that the Jews may take control over it..."
'The Talmudic Dictates Urge Jews to Draw the Blood of Muslims and Christians for Religious Rituals'
" Dr. Jama al-Husseini Abu Farha, instructor in theology at the University of Suez , points out that what the media shows us every day about Israeli conduct in the occupied territories is no different than what their history shows us about their inhumane practices towards humanity as a whole. One need only point out that they are 'blood suckers' according to the Talmudic dictates, which urge them to murder and draw the blood of Muslims in particular, and Christians even more so, and to use this blood in religious Israeli rituals.
"Jewish terrorism reached the point of underscoring that the Ten Commandments - as they claim - assert the right of Jews to plunder and steal non-Jewish money and to see their blood, honor and properties as fair game and to lend them money at [high] interest so long as they do not convert to Judaism."
'The Word Jew in English Means Trickery, Deceit and Deception'
"Zionist terrorism is not confined just to their religious doctrines; even their language reflects their radicalism and their terrorism. The Hebrew language includes many proofs of the truth of Zionist terrorism. The word 'Jew' ... is used in the English language to mean 'trickery, deceit and deception,' all of which signify cunning and slyness. It is strange that the Jews know this very well but did not try to object to it. The Oxford dictionary says that there are words related to the word 'Jew,' among them 'cheat,' 'offensive,' and 'grasping,' and all of them mean greedy, covetous, cheating, counterfeiting, aggressive, and annoying. This link between the word 'Jew' and all these meanings certainly reflects the image of the Jewish way of thinking from an English point of view, and it is undoubtedly a bad image which does not reflect the opinion of one person only but [rather] the opinion of anyone who speaks English..."
Disseminating Blood Libels
"Since admission is the highest form of evidence, we will present to the reader a letter of confession written by the Jewish Rabbi known as 'Neophytos the Convert [to Christianity].' [4] The letter has to do with the Jews slaughtering non-Jews, draining their blood, and using it for Talmudic religious rituals. Neophytos called his letter 'The Secret of the Blood'; in it he said that 'from a young age, the Jewish Rabbis teach their students how to use non-Jews' blood to treat illnesses and for sorcery...
"'The Rabbis use this blood in various religious rituals, among them weddings when an egg is smeared with blood and the married couple eats it the night of the wedding, which gives them the power to deceive and trick anyone who is not Jewish. Also, the Rabbis use the blood of the non-Jewish victim to treat some illnesses that afflict the Rabbis. They mix some of the blood with the blood of a circumcised baby, then brush it on his throat in order to purify him, and also anoint their temples with it to commemorate the destruction of the Temple every year; [it is also used to] anoint the chests of their dead so that God will forgive them their sins; it is also mixed in the holiday bread and in many other Talmudic rituals.'
"Therefore, these rituals that were mentioned in the Talmud and which reflect the truth about the present Jewish terrorist way of thinking are certainly implemented from time to time, while they do not hesitate to distort the image of Islam and describe it as a terrorist faith."


from the September 14, 2004 edition -
At 10th anniversary, a far poorer Palestinian Authority
The four-year intifada has left the Palestinian economy - and government - in shambles.
By Ilene R. Prusher | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
JERICHO, WEST BANK - When the doors of the Intercontinental Hotel opened here four summers ago, rooms were sold out and the managers had to turn people away. Today, it does not have a single guest and is kept running by a handful of people who watch the minutes tick by in crushing silence.
"When it's empty like this, every hour feels like a year," moans desk manager Jawdat Barakat, who earns a fourth of what he did in the days when the hotel was bustling. Many clients spilled in from the Oasis Casino next door - a joint Israeli-Palestinian investment which has since been shuttered. When the hotel opened, it employed 184 Palestinians. Only about 25 work here now.
Tourism was once the most promising sector of the Palestinian economy. Now business in Jericho, which bills itself as the oldest city in the world, has itself become fossilized.
Jericho's empty streets are a mirror of the downward spiral across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ten years ago this week, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gained major civilian powers for the first time as part of the Oslo Peace Accords. The Palestinian Authority (PA) soon gained the power to collect taxes, and run health, welfare, and tourism facilities, taking on the trappings of state- hood. Jericho was the first city from which Israeli forces withdrew, and, some say, the most keen to do business with Israelis.
But since the start of the intifada in late September 2000, the economy has been caught in a vicious cycle. In response to suicide bombings, Israel closed its borders to Palestinian workers, reoccupied cities it had turned over to the PA, and clamped down on Palestinian travel between cities. The latter, say people whose income was dependent on the tourism industry, is the primary reason why Jericho's economy is now virtually bust.
Most indicators point to a worsening of economic conditions - and an ever-rougher road for the PA leadership to survive its worst political crisis. Yet, while prominent Palestinians have become increasingly critical of life under the PA, decrying it as "lawless" and "chaotic," it continues to function as a de facto government - and the largest single employer in the Palestinian economy.
"The PA has managed to pay salaries ... that's the only symbol that it's still functioning," says Mohammed Shtayyeh, the director of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) in Ramallah.
The Intercontinental in Jericho wasn't alone in making huge layoffs. Approximately 90,000 people who were working in the Palestinian private sector before the intifada have since lost their jobs. But the loss of wages earned in Israel has hurt the most. Some 166,000 Palestinians used to work in Israel before the intifada, compared to 2,411 who do now, according to PECDAR, which was founded as the economic organ of the PA and is still the conduit for disbursing international donor funds. The salaries of those who worked in Israel brought up to $1 billion a year in remittances into the Palestinian economy.
Now the World Bank puts Palestinian unemployment at 28 percent - PECDAR says it's more than 50 percent. Per capita income, which in 2000 was about $2,000 a year for the West Bank and $1,600 for the Gaza Strip, has dropped to $950 and $650 respectively, PECDAR says. This year, for the first time, half of the Palestinian population will be considered to be living in poverty, according the World Bank's most recent study.
With fewer and fewer people working in the private sector, Dr. Shtayyeh estimates that about one-third of the Palestinian public is dependent on a PA salary. Tax collection - a key source of revenue for any government - was spotty to begin with and has plummeted since the intifada. The PA is able to function only through the help of donor funds.
It's not an encouraging trend. Ten years since the PA's founding, it is more dependent on foreign aid, but having a harder time getting it. For example, of the $650 million in aid the PA relies on to pay salaries this year, it has received only $140 million so far. "We are back to the scenario we had 10 years ago," Shtayyeh complains.
Now, in the course of a month, the PA needs $61 million to pay salaries and another $34 million in operating expenses, totaling $95 million. Of that, he says, $17 million comes from tax collection, and another $25 in the form of consumer and value-added taxes that Israel collects on goods coming into the country and then returns to the PA.
The difference has generally been made up by donor countries: about $10 million from the European countries and the rest from Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia. Of $1 billion the PA received in 2003, 80 percent came from Arab countries. But the conflict with Israel, combined with Mr. Arafat's increasingly troubled image on the international stage, is making support to the Palestinians a more difficult sell to donors. While there have been years since the post-Oslo Accords when Japan gave $200 million to the Palestinian Authority, last year it only gave $16 million.
Less money from abroad
"There has been a sharp decline in donations, because of the closure and destruction," adds Shtayyeh. "Iraq has been hijacking the attention of other donors. The donors ask us, 'can you guarantee that the project we build will not be destroyed?' We cannot answer that."
But nor has the PA been able to answer to ongoing complaints of corruption and mismanagement. In a recent speech, Arafat acknowledged that his Authority had mistakes and that reforms were necessary, but critics say he has not acted.
"The Palestinian Authority, to a large extent, has failed to manage the Palestinian economy as effectively and efficiently as it should have," says Dr. Nasser Abdelkarim, an economist at Bir Zeit University. "The Authority has never made available any development plan since its existence. We've only engaged in emergency planning and crisis management. The PA made mistakes by granting exclusive licenses for things like telecommunications - and in this they created an unfavorable environment for the expansion of growth in the private sector."
As he speaks in the lobby of another nearly empty hotel, this one in Ramallah, he notices a prominent former minister of Post and Communications, Imad Faluji, sitting behind him. "Let him hear it," Abdelkarim says loudly, referring to the complaints of corruption. "They're all part of what built this problem."
The Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, threatened to resign this summer, protesting the growing state of "chaos" in the PA. Across the territories, tensions have been building. In Gaza in July, thuggish young renegades of Arafat's Fatah faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) abducted and beat his police chief, Ghazi Jabali, and continued the wreak havoc after Arafat appointed his nephew, who was widely rejected. Prominent Palestinian legislative council member Nabil Amr - a cabinet minister until last year - was shot in his own home in Ramallah, only an hour after he appeared in a television interview in which he was highly critical of Arafat. This strife, which largely has taken place inside Arafat's Fatah faction, is closely linked to the worsening financial squeeze, say some Palestinians and outside officials.
PA infighting
Since the World Bank and donor countries have put increasing pressure on the Palestinian leadership to institute a system of direct deposits, less donor money has been accessible to Fatah.
"Much of the tensions we're seeing are caused by financial stress," says a Western diplomat in Jerusalem.
Walid Masri remembers the first day he saw the Palestinian police stream through the dusty streets of Jericho, past the refugee camp where he spent his childhood. "When the Palestinian police first came, we felt a kind of safety and security. We could go out at night," he recalls.
Now, a decade later, he thinks of himself as someone who doesn't live under any government at all. "There is no functioning authority now. The Israelis come in and out when they want someone. Everything has come to a halt," says Mr. Masri, a waiter at the Mount of Temptation restaurant and tourist stop in Jericho. Masri, a father of five, has had almost no work since the intifada started. A place that once bustled with Christian pilgrims, the restaurant and gift shops only reopened a few months ago. It remains eerily empty, part of a minimall tucked into a hillside below the cable cars meant to carry visitors to the mount where Jesus was tempted.
Masri's boss, Maha Abdelrazak, says she and her husband opened up again after a four-year hiatus. But they only receive one or two buses a day, compared to the 30 to 50 they used to get at the height of the tourist season, pre-intifada.
"We wish we had saved some of the money from those days. But we just put everything we earned back to into the restaurant and kept expanding. We never thought they would close the doors on tourists," says Mrs. Abdelrazak, a woman with an warm smile. The restaurant, even at lunch time in summer tourist season, has nary a customer. Only when a bus rolls in, she says, do they flick on the lights - turned off to save on energy bills.
The PA has not tried to collect taxes from them at least four years, and there are not many services she can point to that she receives from the government. Yet she wishes everyone were a bit more patient. "People want magic to happen. People think that as soon as the PA is in place, all their problems should be solved," she says. "But no one's perfect. Ten years is not a long time for a country, for a government to give the people what they want."
Businessman Pardoned by President Clinton Sentenced in Tax Evasion Case
The Associated Press
Published: Sep 13, 2004
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A businessman once pardoned by former President Clinton was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for failing to pay millions of dollars in federal income tax.
Under a plea agreement, Almon Glenn Braswell admitted that his Marina del Rey-based mail-order vitamin business, Gero Vita International, did not pay $4.5 million in taxes.
U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow said Braswell could have been sentenced to up to 41 months, but he cooperated with authorities in their case against Braswell's tax preparer, William E. Frantz, an Atlanta attorney.
However, Frantz eventually was acquitted of charges he helped Braswell avoid paying income taxes.
Braswell has paid $10.5 million in back taxes, interest and penalties, Morrow said during the sentencing hearing. He received credit for time already served in jail and will serve 10 months in prison.
Braswell, 61, has been jailed without bail since his January 2003 arrest in Miami.
Clinton granted 177 pardons and clemencies just before leaving office in 2001. Braswell was pardoned of convictions for fraud and other crimes stemming from false claims in 1983 about a baldness treatment.
His pardon became one of the most criticized after it was learned that Clinton's brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham, had been paid $200,000 to work on the case. Rodham later returned the money.
AP-ES-09-13-04 2202EDT


Police still probing SMS: Downer
FEDERAL police were still investigating whether Indonesian authorities had received an SMS warning prior to the Jakarta bombing, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.
Prime Minister John Howard and Mr Downer both said last week Indonesian police received an SMS warning last Thursday morning that terrorists had threatened to attack a Western embassy if radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was not released from jail.
Suicide bombers attacked the Australian embassy 45 minutes later, killing 10 people and injuring more than 180.
But Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty yesterday said authorities had been unable to trace the SMS message.
Mr Downer said the AFP was less certain now than last week that an SMS had been sent.
"I think they are still looking into it," he said on Sydney radio 2UE.
"I don't think they are 100 per cent sure at this stage."
Mr Downer stood by the Government's decision to release details of the SMS warnings before it had been confirmed.
"We thought it was important to pass on information as it came to us and we still do think that," he said.
? Herald and Weekly Times

Saudis deny British Ambassador's claim security men helped terrorists
An official source of the Ministry of Interior today denied the interpretation given by the British Ambassador to the Kingdom Sherard Coober-Coles who expressed belief during an interview with the BBC /Radio 4 on 23 Rajab 1425 H. corresponding to 7 September 2004 that Saudi security men might have helped some terrorists who stormed Alwaha residential complex in the city of Alkhober on 30 May 2004 to sneak off.
The official source said the interpretation of the British ambassador to the Kingdom of the developments of the incident of Alwaha residential complex in Alkhober reflects his own point of view which lacks evidence and does not comply in any way with the real fact which has been announced at the time with the utmost credibility and transparency as the security men have dealt with the matter according to the responsibilities and duties implied on them at the moment, among the priorities of which is the rescue of the residents of the facility which accommodates hundreds of people from different

Muddled and Maddening
By Jagdish N. Bhagwati
Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2004
Now that his handlers want John Kerry to change weapons, in the midst of a presidential duel, from Iraq to the economic rapier, it's safe to say that they think this sets him up to inflict a fatal wound. That may well be so. Yet on trade policy, on which Howard Dean cut his teeth without gaining a cutting edge and Dick Gephardt made his last stand, one can only gasp at Sen. Kerry's gaffes.
How does one forgive him his pronouncements on outsourcing, and his strange silences on the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations? Indeed, Sen. Kerry, whose views and voting record were almost impeccable on trade, has allowed himself to be forced into such muddled and maddening positions on trade policy that, if one were an honest intellectual as against a party hack, one could only describe them as the voodoo economics of our time.
There seem to be three arguments by Sen. Kerry's advisers that have prompted this sorry situation for the Democrats: First, that the Bush trade policy is no better; second, that electoral strategy requires that Sen. Kerry act like a protectionist, while indicating subtly (to those that matter) a likelihood of freer trade in the White House; and third, at odds with the previous argument, that the U.S. does indeed have to turn trade policy around toward some sort of protectionism (and restraints on direct investment abroad) if it is going to assist workers and reward the unions. Each argument is flawed.
- Mr. Bush is no better. Yes, there are commonalities on trade in both parties, not just during the elections. They both espouse "free and fair trade." But, except for NGOs like Oxfam -- which profess trade expertise that they manifestly do not possess, and do great damage in consequence to poor nations -- every informed trade expert knows that when "fair trade" is invoked, it is code for (unfair) protectionism in the shape of anti-dumping actions against successful rivals, often from the developing nations.
Both parties, and both candidates, have backed actions against "unfair" trade. The 2004 Democratic platform promises that Sen. Kerry will create new jobs by fighting for "free, fair and balanced trade," whereas the White House Web site promises that "Free and fair trade helps create jobs by opening foreign markets to American exports." Both candidates ask for "level playing fields" or else tough retaliatory action -- pretending of course that the U.S. is on higher ground morally but on lower ground in the war for markets -- and that the other party is soft while it will act tough.

* * *

The truly disturbing sin of commission of the Kerry campaign, however, has been to surrender to the hysteria over "outsourcing." And he has made at least two howlers that would make my first-year students blush a shade of beetroot.
First, outsourcing fears have arisen over what economists call "long-distance," or arm's length, services -- which can be transmitted over "snail-mail" or over the Internet without the provider and user of services having to be in physical contact. Call-answer services operating in Manila instead of in Minneapolis; the reading of X-rays taken in Boston, via digital transmission, by radiologists in Bangalore; and tax filings prepared in Mumbai rather than in Manhattan, have produced a scare that service jobs will move offshore.
But all available estimates show that, so far, the offshore outsourcing of arm's length services has resulted in a loss of no more than 100,000 jobs annually. It is ludicrous to be alarmed by this minuscule number. One ought to face with equanimity a figure even tenfold, although the best estimates predict the annual flow over the next decade to double at worst. Nor should one forget that the U.S. itself benefits from others outsourcing to it in medical, legal, accounting, teaching and other high-value arm's-length services. The net effect on jobs due to such outsourcing is almost certainly a net gain for the U.S.
Second, Sen. Kerry has muddled matters by confusing the outsourcing of services with the altogether different issue of direct foreign (i.e. equity) investment by U.S. firms. Dell may outsource problem-solving calls to Bangalore but may buy those services from an Indian firm like Infosys: that is simply trade. But direct investment is different; it occurs typically when a firm in Nantucket closes shop and moves production to Nairobi.
Sen. Kerry went so far as to describe firms that invested abroad as "Benedict Arnolds." The silliness of this charge puts him in the same camp as Lou Dobbs, whose outpouring against sundry forms of imports and outward investment is a farrago of nonsense, offered by him with a list (on his CNN program) of traitor firms that "ship jobs abroad." As I contemplate his slip of a book titled "Exporting America," and subtitled "Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American Jobs Overseas," I think to myself: If firms that buy cheap abroad suffer from "corporate greed," is Mr. Dobbs -- whose girth and success doubtless suggest that he buys for his supper French brie and Burgundy rather than Milwaukee beer and Kraft cheese -- to be accused by the same logic of "shipping jobs abroad" because of "Personal Gluttony"? (What is sauce for the corporate goose must be sauce for the journalist gander.)

* The Doha Round. Sen. Kerry is also not good news for the critical multilateral trade negotiations in the Doha Round. Where President Bush has articulated strong support for it, Sen. Kerry has ducked the issue. Then again, on top of the strange commitment to have a 120-day review of existing trade agreements (which presumably include the WTO), the Kerry-Edwards demand that labor and environmental requirements be included, with sanctions, in old and new trade agreements, clearly aims a dagger at the heart of Doha.

For while little countries doing bilateral Free Trade Agreements with us will roll over and accept almost any conditions in exchange for preferential access to our huge market, this will simply not happen with the large developing countries that see, correctly, the protectionist hand of lobbies, including unions, behind the demands for labor and certain environmental requirements. There is no way that the mildly left-leaning India of Sonia Gandhi, and even the Brazil of Lula -- indisputably a more credible union man than any we produce -- will turn away from their longstanding objections and accept such restrictions, either in bilateral FTAs or at Doha. Has Sen. Kerry really thought this through? Also, a Kerry administration will have to cope with its protectionist and anti-trade constituencies which demand such restrictions, and with its own trade-unfriendly rhetoric. And if the Doha Round negotiations are to continue credibly through 2005, a President Kerry will face the problem of the expiry of fast-track authority extension beyond mid-year. It is hard to imagine how he will cope with this problem.

* Can Kerry Turn Free Trader? In the end, Sen. Kerry cannot totally jilt his constituencies. He will have to claw his way to freer trade, making him a greater hero in a war more bloody than Vietnam. The unions, in particular, are going to insist on their reward. This is forgotten by the many pro-trade policy advisers and op-ed columnists who argue privately that we should not worry -- because Sen. Kerry is a free trader who has merely mounted the protectionist Trojan Horse to get into the White House. The irony of this last position is that it is, in fact, too simplistic. Besides, it suggests that when President Bush does the same thing, he's lying, but that when Sen. Kerry does it, it's strategic behavior! Is it not better, instead, for us to tell Sen. Kerry that his trade policy positions are the pits -- before he digs himself deeper into a pit from which there is no dignified exit?
Mr. Bhagwati, University Professor at Columbia and Andre Meyer Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author of "In Defense of Globalization" (Oxford, 2004).


Harmonizing Energies in Missile Defense
By Al Kamen
Monday, September 13, 2004; Page A19
Bureaucratic memos often stray far enough from basic English to be considered a distinct language. A wonderful example comes to us from Terry R. Little, acquisition management adviser at the Missile Defense Agency.
In a memo last month to "All Element Program Managers," Little wrote: "The Missile Defense Agency Director wants to capitalize on the extraordinarily hard work undertaken throughout the agency to develop and deliver Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) capabilities. Our purpose is to realize the solidarity of your hard work, reduce the distractions and facilitate the commonality in our focus, and maximize the efficient utilization of MDA resources.
"The goal is to eliminate wasted energy and encourage harmonizing individual energies towards the common vision to develop and field an integrated BMDS capable of providing a layered defense for the homeland, deployed forces, friends, and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges in all phases of flight.
"I am forming the BMDS Integration Working Group (IWG) to harmonize the separate element contracts into a coherent whole. The IWG will need to have insightful discussions, innovative coordinate actions, and a collegial environment to form and evaluate alternatives that reward integrated BMDS demonstrated capabilities."
Then, inexplicably, Little lapses into English. "To assist with the IWG's success, I need your support," he writes. But he says not to forget that "the timeline is very aggressive. I would like to have the harmonization path ahead. . . ."
Any more New Age harmony and we'll all assume the lotus position and start chanting.
Meanwhile, Little manages a program that used to be called the Boost Phase Intercept Program. Then it was determined that you would have to be really, really lucky to knock out enemy missiles in the boost or launch phase, so the name was changed to the Kinetic Energy Intercept program. But the program remained the same.
Though a Republican program, the KEI has had a rocky time on the Hill. The Republican Congress whacked its budget last year and this year cut an additional $163 million.
KEI put out a "Top Ten" list last month of the technical issues the program needed to resolve to stay on track, including such minor things as the booster for the rockets and the means of finding the target.
But it appears there are only nine items on the list. Maybe Congress cut the program because they felt KEI couldn't count?
Nonprofits Fear U.S. Logo Is a Bull's-Eye
A nasty battle is brewing between nonprofit international aid groups and the Agency for International Development. Seems AID is demanding that the groups put the AID logo on vehicles and projects when AID is paying most of the tab for the activities.
The foreign aid law, AID deputy chief Frederick Schieck said, requires that "programs shall be identified overseas" if taxpayers are paying. Aid recipients should know that the American people are providing this, he said.
But putting the AID logo on vehicles and projects these days, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, is like pasting a bull's-eye on the pickup, the groups argue. With aid workers getting kidnapped and killed, the timing doesn't seem quite right.
Schieck said AID was "well aware" the organizations are "concerned, correctly," and "we're not trying to ram this down anyone's throat. . . . We're very sensitive to the security issue." For that reason, AID officials overseas, not in Washington, would have the authority to waive the requirement.
But, he noted, "taxpayer recognition is required by law" and making sure people know who is helping them is "important to the U.S. national interest." Schieck said a proposed regulation would go to the Federal Register in the next month or so.
The aid groups say it has been long-standing AID policy not to require a logo for grantee organizations, such as CARE, Save the Children or Catholic Relief Services. Those groups get money from various entities, not just AID -- as opposed to AID contractors, which are mostly private commercial firms.
"At a time when members of Congress are being told to keep a low profile overseas," said Bob Lloyd, a government relations liaison for the Association of Private Voluntary Organization Financial Managers, "AID apparently wants aid groups to hang a light on themselves."
And the security problem is not limited to a few places, Lloyd said. "Make a list of all the countries where there's been a terrorist incident -- Indonesia, Kenya, Jordan, the West Bank, Kyrgyzstan -- there's a ton of them."
Mistaken Identity
Program here! Get your program here! The tight coordination between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden was so close that administration officials have trouble keeping the two apart.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said last week that Ahmed Shah Massoud, the former Northern Alliance leader in Afghanistan, "lay dead, his murder ordered by Saddam Hussein, by Osama bin Laden, Taliban's co-conspirator." Actually, Hussein had nothing to do with that hit.
Later, Rumsfeld said: "Saddam Hussein, if he's alive, is spending a whale of a lot of time trying not to get caught. And we've not seen him on a video since 2001." He meant bin Laden.
Yup. Tighter than ticks, those two.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company



Court-Packing in Venezuela
Monday, Jun. 21, 2004
In this country, decades ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt once tried to remake the U.S. Supreme Court. Frustrated by court rulings that had struck down progressive social legislation, FDR proposed a bill that would have allowed him to name six new justices to the Court.
FDR's plan failed and his court-packing strategy was discredited. Although U.S. presidents subsequent to him have disagreed strongly with some of the Supreme Court's rulings, their ability to capture seats on the Court is limited. Rather than reconfiguring the Court in one fell swoop, they must proceed member by member, as justices die or leave voluntarily.
Yet, in practice if not in principle, the court-packing model survives. Especially in Latin America, a region whose judiciaries have historically been vulnerable to political pressure, heads of state have frequently tried - and succeeded - in remaking their country's top courts.
In the 1990s, the leading examples of this problem were Carlos Menem's Argentina and Alberto Fujimori's Peru. This year, it is Venezuela where judicial independence is under threat.
The Central Role of the Venezuelan Supreme Court in Settling Political Controversies
With an upcoming referendum on whether he should be recalled from office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in serious political difficulty. It will ultimately be the Venezuelan Supreme Court that decides any controversies stemming from the upcoming referendum, questions that could directly shape Chavez's political future.
It is the Court, for example, that recently ruled that if Chavez were to be ousted in the referendum, he could run again in the regularly scheduled presidential elections of 2006. But one question the Court has yet to decide is whether Chavez, if he loses the referendum, could run as a candidate in the interim elections that result. And this issue - whether Chavez could lose the referendum, yet run again and possibly remain in power - is enormously contested.
President Chavez's supporters, it should be noted, view the Venezuelan Supreme Court as a bastion of the political opposition. They cite, as proof of the Court's hostility to Chavez, an August 2002 ruling by the Court that cleared four military officers accused of taking part in a 2002 coup against Chavez. They also point out that the entire Venezuelan judiciary has been plagued for years by influence-peddling, political interference, and corruption.
Venezuela's New Court-Packing Law
The Venezuelan courts indeed require reform. But rather than take steps to strengthen judicial independence and protect the courts from political meddling, Ch?vez's allies have moved to rig the system to favor their own interests.
Last month, the pro-Chavez majority in the National Assembly took action to dramatically shift the Supreme Court's political balance. Under the terms of a new law, the Court will expand from twenty to thirty-two members, giving the Assembly's slim governing coalition the power to obtain an overwhelming majority of the Court's seats.
Under another provision of the new law, the National Assembly gave itself the power to "nullify" the appointments of justices who are already on the Court, using extremely subjective criteria. If, for example, a majority of the Assembly concludes that a justice's "public attitude . . . undermines the majesty or prestige of the Supreme Court," or of any of its members, that justice can be stripped of his or her post.
Not only does this new provision violate basic protections of judicial independence, it is also clearly inconsistent with Venezuela's own constitution. Its wording - "nullification" of an appointment, as opposed to impeachment of a justice -- cannot disguise the fact that the provision violates the constitutional requirement that justices be removed only via a two-thirds' majority vote of the National Assembly.
The net effect of the new law is, in short, to hand over control over the Supreme Court's composition to the National Assembly. With the Assembly now enjoying the power both to pack and purge the Court, the threat to judicial independence is clear.
Already, last week, pro-Chavez legislators have begun taking action under the law, voting to remove one justice from the Court and to initiate proceedings against others. The targets, unsurprisingly, were justices perceived as hostile to Chavez and his views.
"A Dangerous Precedent for the Future"
It was sixty-seven years ago this month that the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate issued its scathing report on FDR's court-packing plan. The committee's report, made public on June 14, branded FDR's proposal "a needless, futile and utterly dangerous abandonment of constitutional principle . . . . [that] would subjugate the courts to the will of Congress and the President and thereby destroy the independence of the judiciary."
The court-packing plan, the report concluded, "violates all precedents in the history of our Government and would in itself be a dangerous precedent for the future."
Venezuela's court-packing plan is, unfortunately, far from unprecedented. But even though it follows a model found, most recently, in Argentina and Peru, it is still short-sighted, ill-conceived, and distressing.

from the September 14, 2004 edition -
Russian terrorism prompts power grab
New measures announced yesterday would end direct election of governors in Russia's 89 regions.
By Fred Weir and Scott Peterson
MOSCOW - In the aftermath of a wave of terror attacks, President Vladimir Putin yesterday announced fundamental political changes that will further concentrate power in the Kremlin and erode Russia's fragile democracy.
Critics say the measures - couched as a strengthening of central government to combat terrorism - will do little to enhance public security, are aimed at broadening the Kremlin's grip on Russia's far-flung regions, and may ultimately weaken Mr. Putin's rule.
"Now it's absolutely clear, Putin wants to use this opportunity to destroy the last vestiges of Yeltsin-era democracy," says Alexander Golts, a national security expert with the weekly Yezhenedelny Zhurnal. "Instead of attacking terrorists, he's attacking our electoral system."
In an address yesterday, Putin said he would introduce a law to effectively end the direct election of governors in Russia's 89 regions. Instead, he said, Kremlin-nominated candidates would be "endorsed" by local legislatures. Further changes to the State Duma will eliminate local constituency races that currently fill half the Duma's 450 seats, in favor of electing the entire parliament by using centrally compiled national party lists.
"The organizers and perpetrators of the terror attacks are aiming at the disintegration of the state, the breakup of Russia," Putin said. "The fight against terrorism should become a national task."
The moves come as Russia reels from the Beslan school siege and other attacks, which killed more than 430 Russians in just three weeks. Bowing to public pressure, Putin on Friday approved an inquiry into the events of the hostage drama.
The political changes have long been circulating among Russia's political elite, says Liliya Shevtsova, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, but their implementation has been "accelerated" by the Beslan tragedy.
"[Putin] apparently believes this is the most effective way of dealing with Russia's problems of terror and insecurity - it fits his ideology of authoritarian modernization," says Ms. Shevtsova.
But there is also a dangerous drawback, she says: "It undermines Putin's presidency because he will be responsible for all the mistakes of the sorry guys he has appointed. It undermines the system."
The pro-Kremlin United Russia Party enjoys a two-thirds majority in the Duma, already sufficient to initiate changes to the Constitution. Eliminating the often unpredictable local constituency contests will sharply reduce the number of independent deputies who find their way into the Duma, and strengthen the electoral hand of a few Moscow-based giants, chiefly the state-backed United Russia.
"People say Putin wants to create an American-style two-party system, which would increase stability in a huge and volatile country like Russia," says Sergei Strokan, a political expert who writes for the liberal daily Kommersant. "But the problem is that Russia lacks any developed, independent political parties. The state already dominates the political field."
Some experts argue that increased Kremlin authority, while curtailing democracy, might be necessary to fight Russia's endemic official laxity and corruption. "Increasing direct Kremlin control is a logical step dictated by the dangerous weakness of our state structures," says Vitaly Naumkin, director of the independent Center for Strategic and International Studies in Moscow. "Our state will become more authoritarian, but stronger. This will certainly be welcomed by the public."
But a five-minute call-in poll on the Ekho Moskvy radio station yesterday found a majority against one of Putin's major changes. Of 3,807 people who responded, 75 percent were for the direct election of regional governors.
Putin also proposed creating a new body, called the Public Chamber, not unlike the US Department of Homeland Security. "We need a single organization capable of not only dealing with terror attacks but also working to avert them, [to] destroy criminals in their hideouts and, if necessary, abroad," Putin said.
Some critics are concerned that security forces might interpret the task as reconstituting Stalin-era networks of informers. "The idea of a public watchdog organization sounds good in principle, but what kind of popular participation will it be?" asks Mr. Strokan. "If this job is handed to the bureaucrats, we will see the task of fighting terrorism mutate into total social control."
Since the Beslan tragedy, the Kremlin has been subject to unaccustomed questioning by Russians over the loss of life to terror. Only one week ago, Putin refused to conduct a public inquiry into the school siege, saying such a probe would be unproductive, and amount to nothing more than a "political show."
But on Friday - in an apparent rare step of accountability - Putin approved an inquiry, though it will be led by a Putin loyalist.
"This is not a response to terrorism," says Andrei Kolesnikov, a political observer with the Rossiskaya Gazeta newspaper. "They have been looking for some pretext to carry out their long-thought-over plans. Other steps might follow to justify three presidential terms. The purpose is to make [Putin's] 'vertical power' more vertical still."


$3 Trillion Price Tag Left Out As Bush Details His Agenda
By Mike Allen, Washington Post Staff Writer
The expansive agenda President Bush (news - web sites) laid out at the Republican National Convention was missing a price tag, but administration figures show the total is likely to be well in excess of $3 trillion over a decade.
A staple of Bush's stump speech is his claim that his Democratic challenger, John F. Kerry, has proposed $2 trillion in long-term spending, a figure the Massachusetts senator's campaign calls exaggerated. But the cost of the new tax breaks and spending outlined by Bush at the GOP convention far eclipses that of the Kerry plan.
Bush's pledge to make permanent his tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010 or before, would reduce government revenue by about $1 trillion over 10 years, according to administration estimates. His proposed changes in Social Security (news - web sites) to allow younger workers to invest part of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds could cost the government $2 trillion over the coming decade, according to the calculations of independent domestic policy experts.
And Bush's agenda has many costs the administration has not publicly estimated. For instance, Bush said in his speech that he would continue to try to stabilize Iraq (news - web sites) and wage war on terrorism. The war in Iraq alone costs $4 billion a month, but the president's annual budget does not reflect that cost.
Bush's platform highlights the challenge for both presidential candidates in trying to lure voters with attractive government initiatives at a time of mounting budget deficits. This year's federal budget deficit will reach a record $422 billion, and the government is expected to accumulate $2.3 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (news - web sites) reported last week.
The president has had little to say about the deficit as he barnstorms across the country, which has prompted Democrats and some conservative groups to say Bush refuses to admit that there won't be enough money in government coffers to pay for many of his plans.
Although a majority of voters say they are concerned about the deficit, most view Kerry as only marginally better able to deal with it than Bush, according to polls. And Bush often invokes the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in justifying the mounting governmental red ink. The president's aides, ever cognizant of his father's failure to articulate a convincing vision, said it was crucial for Bush to offer an ambitious new plan for the coming four years, despite the surge in government borrowing.
Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said the new proposals "are affordable, and the president remains committed to cutting the budget deficit in half over the next five years," although last week's CBO report indicates that goal may not be attainable.
The White House has declined to provide a full and detailed accounting of the cost of the new agenda. The administration on Thursday provided a partial listing of the proposals, including $74 billion in spending on "opportunity zones" over the next 10 years. But there was no mention of the cost of additional tax cuts and the creation of Social Security private accounts. Discussing his agenda during an "Ask the President" campaign forum in Portsmouth, Ohio, Bush said Friday that he has "explained how we're going to pay for it, and my opponent can't explain it because he doesn't want to tell you he's going to have to tax you."
Some fiscal conservatives who are dismayed by the return of budget deficits found little to cheer in the president's convention speech. Stephen Moore, president of the conservative Club for Growth, said that Bush's Social Security plan was money well spent by saving the system in the long run, but he added that Bush "has banked his presidency on the idea that people don't really care about the deficit, and he may be right."
"He's a big-government Republican, and there's no longer even the pretense that he's for smaller government," Moore said.
Kerry cited the deficit figures as fresh evidence that Bush's tax cuts were reckless and that he is taking the country in "the wrong direction." Private analysts expect the deficit to be even deeper because the White House has not accounted for the cost of continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites).
The administration has been secretive about the cost of the war and the likely impact that the bulging defense budget and continuing cost of tax cuts will have on domestic spending next year. The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include $2.3 billion in spending cuts from virtually all domestic programs that are not mandated by law, including education, homeland security and others central to Bush's campaign.
But Bush has had little to say about belt-tightening and sacrifice on the campaign trail. Nor has he explained how he would reconcile all his new spending plans with the mounting deficit.
"The Bush team has gotten a lot of traction with the point that the Kerry numbers and rhetoric don't add up," said Kevin A. Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "It behooves them now to demonstrate that theirs do."
In his acceptance speech in Madison Square Garden on Sept. 2, the president also called for the expansion of health savings accounts, which provide tax breaks for families and small businesses; creation of new tax-preferred retirement savings accounts; and creation of lifetime savings accounts, which allow tax-free savings for tuition, retirement or even everyday expenses.
The "Agenda for America" also includes increasing testing and accountability measures for high schools and opportunity zones to cut regulations and steer federal grants, loans and other aid to counties that have lost manufacturing and textile jobs -- a clear appeal to swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Bush has also promised to "ensure every poor county in America has a community or rural health center" and "double the number of people served by our principal job training program and increase funding for our community colleges."
Jason Furman, Kerry's economic policy director, said that Bush "wants to hide the true costs of his plan" and that taxpayers "would be shocked" to find out what he was really advocating.
An estimate from the Social Security actuary's office, included in the 2001 report of a Social Security commission appointed by Bush, put the cost of adding private accounts to the government retirement program at $1.5 trillion over 10 years. With inflation, the figure would now be about $2 trillion. Much of the expense comes from continuing to pay most retirees at current benefit levels, at the same time that some payroll taxes are being diverted to the stock and bond market.
Although advocates of partial privatization contend that the transition can be financed without cutting benefits or raising taxes, the estimates mean the president's agenda could cost even more than the Bush projections of Kerry's proposal. Hassett, the AEI economist, said private accounts would lower the long-term cost of Social Security. "If you pay a few trillion in transition costs over a decade, then maybe the system doesn't go bankrupt," he said.
Bush also called for making his tax cuts permanent, which the administration has estimated at $936.2 billion to $989.75 billion over 10 years. The tax cuts include elimination of the inheritance tax, reductions in the top four income tax rates, an increase in the child tax credit, reduction in the marriage penalty, and cuts to the capital gains and dividend tax rates.
Robert Greenstein of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put the figure for extending the tax cuts at $2 trillion over 10 years and said other tax breaks Bush mentioned in his speech -- mostly related to health care -- would likely cost $50 billion to $100 billion over the next decade., The third most expensive part of the agenda is Bush's call for the expansion of health savings accounts and creation of lifetime and retirement savings accounts. The new accounts are designed to have minimal cost in the first 10 years but have very large costs in the long run because they provide tax breaks when the money is withdrawn rather than up front.
The Congressional Research Service has estimated those two types of accounts would eventually cost $30 billion to $50 billion a year.
Peter R. Orszag, a senior fellow in economic policy at the Brookings Institution, said a conservative estimate for the cost of Bush's permanent tax cuts and Social Security accounts would be about $4 trillion over 10 years. But Bush's agenda was vague and did not include details of how he would add Social Security accounts.
"It's hard to cost out rhetoric," Orszag said.


Posted by maximpost at 11:26 PM EDT
Wednesday, 8 September 2004


Loss of Ofek-6 Deprives Israel of Second Spy Satellite in Critical Period
DEBKAfile Special Report and Military Analysis
September 7, 2004, 12:07 AM (GMT+02:00)
Ofek-6 did not join Ofek-5 up above.
Israel's 6th Ofek (Horizon) plummeted to a watery death in the Mediterranean Sea when it was test-fired Monday, September 6, from Palmahim. Malfunction of the third stage of the Israeli-designed Shavit booster was blamed for the loss of the $50m Ofek-6, the latest in the series of spy satellites developed by a consortium led by Israel Aircraft Industries. The first was launched in 1988. Number 5 has been orbiting 300 to 700 kilometers above earth every 90 minutes for two years out of a life span of five.
Satellites are the first layer of Israel's shield against ballistic missiles, designed to spot incoming threats and alert defensive systems such as the Arrow II missile-killer. They are launched by the same Shavit rocket system as the Ofek. The latest malfunction occurred ten days after Arrow II failed to shoot down a dummy missile designed to perform similarly to the Iranian Shehab-3 intermediate missile in a test-firing off the California coast. The missile's 1300-km range covers all of Israel as well as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
These two failures are a grave setback to Israel's deterrent ability at a dangerous juncture. In the next two-three years, Israel will need all its resources to face Iran's advancing nuclear threat and burgeoning terrorist offensive. Ofek-6 was intended to give Israel an edge in this contest in three fields:
1. The use of two advanced surveillance satellites instead of one to simultaneously track the two fronts, nuclear and terrorist, Tehran has opened against Israel. One is a nuclear threat, from sites scattered across the Islamic republic; the second derives from proliferating terrorist bases spread out from Iran, Iraq and Syria to Lebanon (app. 879,730 square miles).
Together, the two satellites would have doubled the chances of spotting hostile movements.
The inadequacy of a single satellite in orbit became manifest in the past year when Iran clandestinely fanned its 15 known nuclear installations out across the country, over an area of 636,000 square miles. DEBKAfile's military sources reveal some of their locations for the first time.
They are located in the south, at Fasa, Bushehr and Dakhovin, at the tip of the Shatt al-Arb waterway;
In central Iran, at Natanz, Saghand, Tabas, which is close to the Afghan border, Chalus and Neka on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea;
In the north, at Bonab and Tabriz.
The most remote sites have been sunk below ground in enormous bunkers, some of them decoys to deceive watchers in the sky.
Ofek-5, however efficient it may cannot alone cover this vast spread in time of war. On August 11, it joined the packs of American and Russian satellites tracking the Shehab-3 test firing. The Iranian missile's new navigating system, smaller fins and improved warhead for entry to the earth's atmosphere, designed for greater aerodynamic flexibility and longer range, was not an unmixed success. However, Ofek-5 without a partner was found to be incapable of gathering all the data Israeli intelligence needed to fully appreciate the intentions of Iran's military leaders. This lack of a second satellite will be felt even more acutely when the Shehab-5, whose range is believed to be 2,500 km, comes to be tested soon.
2. There are intelligence reports that as part of its nuclear weapons program, Iran is also building a range of military satellites for launching by Shehab-5. Israel cannot afford to have a lone satellite cruising in the sky in 2005 or 2006 once the Iranians have placed theirs in orbit. From the military standpoint, Israeli is bound to assert space and missile - as well as nuclear - superiority over its enemies.
And another factor to be considered is this. Not only does Israel keep track of Iran's weapons trials, Tehran is watching Israel just as closely.
Although their intelligence technology and access to US and Israeli testing sites are limited, the Iranians do not miss a single report on the deficiencies of the Arrow II and Ofek-6 and must have taken detailed stock of the holes in Israel's defensive and intelligence shields.
3. Israel is obliged to guarantee its intelligence gathering ability in real time independently of US intelligence. The intelligence ties between Washington and Israel are extremely close but neither party is under any illusion that sharing is or can be total. For instance, the United States made a point of keeping Israel in the dark during its March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In his war book, American Soldier, the Iraq and Afghanistan war commander, General Tommy Franks, admits frankly that he always found ways of indicating to his Arab and Muslim hosts on whose side he stood in the Israel-Arab conflict.
Mutual trust between the Americans and Israelis is certainly not enhanced by the almost daily "revelations" in the American media of fresh aspects of the alleged Israeli mole case casting Israeli diplomats and members of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC in a dubious light. Officials in Jerusalem are certain that someone in US intelligence, past or present, is deliberately pumping these "revelations" to the press to keep the affair and the atmosphere of mutual suspicion alive.
Israeli defense and aviation industry chiefs are doing their best to play down the consecutive failures of the Arrow II and the Ofek-6 as mere technical glitches that will soon be cleared up. But they cannot hide the fact that Iran is racing forward at top speed with its development of a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver, while Israel is held back with only one eye in the sky and concern about the Arrow's ability to intercept an incoming Iranian Shehab.
Both these deficiencies are within the power of Israel's defense and aviation establishment to correct if they pull their socks up.

European Marksmen-for-Hire in Gaza
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
September 8, 2004, 12:04 PM (GMT+02:00)
The pair talked as they walked, indicating sandbanks until they reached a point 500 meters from his perch atop an IDF position. They then turned back and disappeared behind Palestinian houses.
M. decided this break in Palestinian routine was worth reporting to his superior officer, which he did and put the incident out of his mind.
Around 90 minutes later, he stood up to move to another part of the roof. His right shoulder had been visible over the parapet no more than three or four seconds when he was knocked over by a gunshot before he had time to fire. Another soldier on the roof shot back at once, but the sniper was gone.
In the hospital, M was shown the bullet extracted from his shoulder. It came from an M16 automatic rifle and had been fired from a distance of 500 meters, exactly the point where the pair had turned back from the sandbank opposite M.'s rooftop sights. His comrade told him he had caught a glimpse of the shooter he missed and was sure he was European. "A sniper fast enough to lock onto my shoulder, shoot and disappear - all in the space of a three or four seconds must be a top-line professional marksman," said M.
His account has been repeated by members of other units serving in the Rafah and Khan Younes sectors of the southern Gaza Strip. They swear they have come across snipers they are sure are not Palestinian but foreigners from northern parts of the world.
DEBKAfile's military sources report that in 2003, the IDF confirmed four instances of "foreign" snipers operating in Palestinian ranks. By September, 5 incidents had been registered this year. In one, an Israel soldier died of a direct shot to the head; four were injured in Operation Rainbow in Rafah earlier this year and two more recently. Soldiers serving in the southern sector claim the number of casualties from European snipers is much higher and are asking questions. Their officers reply that the matter is extremely sensitive but urge them to take precautions on the assumption that professional marksmen are in the vicinity.
Some troops say they have heard the special bang peculiar to the Russian-made SVD sharpshooter's rifle, of the type captured aboard the Karin-A Palestinian smugglers' ship and found during Operation Rainbow. The troops who have come up against these foreigners note their exceptional speed. They fire a single round and duck out of sight, leaving a Palestinian to take over their firing position.
This description, according to DEBKAfile's military sources, fits mercenary marksmen. By firing once and moving out, they save themselves from Israeli sniper reprisals. As one Israeli officer put it, "After all they're in it for the money, not to get killed." For that reason too, they never stay long in the Gaza Strip - a couple of days and they are gone back across the border into Egypt. Some are thought to enter through the Palestinian gunrunning tunnels from Sinai to Rafah and leave by the same route. Others may be smuggled in from Sinai to southern Israel in groups of illegal workers and prostitutes. The smugglers are said to receive extra-high pay, as much as $1,000, for bringing a foreign marksman in and out of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian terrorist chiefs have been importing marksmen for hire to hit Israeli troops for two or more years. In March 2002, the London Daily Telegraph, known for its good British MoD and intelligence sources, reported a request from the Israeli Mossad to the British MI6 to find out if an IRA sharpshooter had not been responsible for the 7 Israeli troop deaths at the Wadi Harmiya checkpoint. Israeli tests had shown that the planning of the ambush, the type of weapons used, the way the firefight was managed and, even more tellingly, the fact that the weapons left behind were not the ones used, were typical of an assailant thoroughly conversant with IRA tactics.
One month later, when the Moshav Adura was stormed by Palestinian gunmen, Israeli civilians who had seen the terrorists at close quarters reported that among the Palestinians was a European.



43 Pro-N. Korean Websites on Internet
It has been revealed that there are 43 pro-North Korean websites on the Internet. Choi Ki-moon, the commissioner general of the National Police Agency (NPA), revealed this during an administrative committee meeting while responding to a question by GNP lawmaker Park Chan-sook, who asked, "How many pro-North Korean websites have the police detected on the Internet?"
According to the "Report on Overseas pro-North Korean Websites" separately submitted to Park by the NPA, there were 40 pro-North Korean internet sites as of the end of August, such as "Mt. Baekdu," "Minjok Tongsin," "Songun Politics Study Group," "Road to Patriotism," "The National Democratic Front South Korea (NDFSK)," "Juche (Self-Reliance) Ideology," and "Pyongyang Information Center." Park said, "According to the report, there were 40 sites at the end of August. Another three have recently been added, said Choi, so there were now 43 sites." The most number of these sites, 17, were opened in Japan, followed by the U.S. with 11, China with 10 and Singapore and Germany with one each.
In response to another question by Park, "Do the police have any measures against the North's Internet terrorism?" Choi said, "Most of those sites are based overseas, but we are fully investigating some of them." Also, when Park asked, "Are you carrying out an investigation into the incident in which the life stories of Kim Il-sung family were posted on the homepage of the People's Solidarity?" he answered, "We confirmed that three illegal documents were posted on the site, and they were emailed. So, we asked the Information Ministry to delete them and are investigating how they were posted."
The police said that they arrested two National Security Law offenders this year for using pro-North Korean sites. A 34-year-old man was arrested in March for posting 16 illegal documents on the Hanchongryon caf? operated by the internet portal company Daum, including, "Our Guiding Sun, General Kim Jong-il" posted on the homepage of NDFSK. In June, another 52-year-old man was arrested for posting 74 illegal materials on 10 private and group homepages, including "The General's World," posted on NDFSK.
(Yoon Jeong-ho, )

Kim Jong-il's Sister-in-Law Defected to United States: Tokyo Shimbun
Japan's Tokyo Shimbun, quoting several sources, reported Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's sister-in-law, Ko Young-suk, defected to the U.S. in October 2001 and was currently receiving special protection.
Ko Young-suk is the younger sister of Ko Young-hee, Kim Jong-il's wife who is believed to have recently died. Ko Young-suk was arrested as she tried to enter the U.S. on a fake Japanese passport, and she applied for political asylum, the Japanese paper reported. The paper also reported that she is receiving special protection somewhere in the United States, and she appears to have provided intelligence to the U.S. concerning Kim Jong-il that she learned through her elder sister and about internal conditions in North Korea.
The Tokyo Shimbun said that according to the Monthly Chosun, the 46-year-old Ko looked after Kim's sons Kim Jong-chul and Kim Jong-woon when they were in Switzerland, and it's very likely that she knows about the characters of the two brothers and their property abroad.
This would not be the first time an in-law of Kim Jong-il has defected; the sister of Kim's first wife, Seong Hye-rim, also defected to a third country.
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French connection armed Saddam
By Bill Gertz
The United States stood by for years as supposed allies helped its enemies obtain the world's most dangerous weapons, reveals Bill Gertz, defense and national security reporter for The Washington Times, in the new book "Treachery" (Crown Forum). In this excerpt, he details France's persistence in arming Saddam Hussein.
New intelligence revealing how long France continued to supply and arm Saddam Hussein's regime infuriated U.S. officials as the nation prepared for military action against Iraq.
The intelligence reports showing French assistance to Saddam ongoing in the late winter of 2002 helped explain why France refused to deal harshly with Iraq and blocked U.S. moves at the United Nations.
"No wonder the French are opposing us," one U.S. intelligence official remarked after illegal sales to Iraq of military and dual-use parts, originating in France, were discovered early last year before the war began.
That official was careful to stipulate that intelligence reports did not indicate whether the French government had sanctioned or knew about the parts transfers. The French company at the beginning of the pipeline remained unidentified in the reports.
France's government tightly controls its aerospace and defense firms, however, so it would be difficult to believe that the illegal transfers of equipment parts took place without the knowledge of at least some government officials.
Iraq's Mirage F-1 fighter jets were made by France's Dassault Aviation. Its Gazelle attack helicopters were made by Aerospatiale, which became part of a consortium of European defense companies.
"It is well-known that the Iraqis use front companies to try to obtain a number of prohibited items," a senior Bush administration official said before the war, refusing to discuss Iraq's purchase of French warplane and helicopter parts.
The State Department confirmed intelligence indicating the French had given support to Iraq's military.
"U.N. sanctions prohibit the transfer to Iraq of arms and materiel of all types, including military aircraft and spare parts," State Department spokeswoman Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said. "We take illicit transfers to Iraq very seriously and work closely with our allies to prevent Iraq from acquiring sensitive equipment."
Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, declared that France's selling of military equipment to Iraq was "international treason" as well as a violation of a U.N. resolution.
"As a pilot and a former war pilot, this disturbs me greatly that the French would allow in any way parts for the Mirage to be exported so the Iraqis could continue to use those planes," Stevens said.
"The French, unfortunately, are becoming less trustworthy than the Russians," said Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "It's outrageous they would allow technology to support the jets of Saddam Hussein to be transferred."
The U.S. military was about to go to war with Iraq, and thanks to the French, the Iraqi air force had become more dangerous.

The pipeline
French aid to Iraq goes back decades and includes transfers of advanced conventional arms and components for weapons of mass destruction.
The central figure in these weapons ties is French President Jacques Chirac. His relationship with Saddam dates to 1975, when, as prime minister, the French politician rolled out the red carpet when the Iraqi strongman visited Paris.
"I welcome you as my personal friend," Chirac told Saddam, then vice president of Iraq.
The French put Saddam up at the Hotel Marigny, an annex to the presidential palace, and gave him the trappings of a head of state. The French wanted Iraqi oil, and by establishing this friendship, Chirac would help France replace the Soviet Union as Iraq's leading supplier of weapons and military goods.
In fact, Chirac helped sell Saddam the two nuclear reactors that started Baghdad on the path to nuclear weapons capability.
France's corrupt dealings with Saddam flourished throughout the 1990s, despite the strict arms embargo against Iraq imposed by the United Nations after the Persian Gulf war.
By 2000, France had become Iraq's largest supplier of military and dual-use equipment, according to a senior member of Congress who declined to be identified.
Saddam developed networks for illegal supplies to get around the U.N. arms embargo and achieve a military buildup in the years before U.S. forces launched a second assault on Iraq.
One spare-parts pipeline flowed from a French company to Al Tamoor Trading Co. in the United Arab Emirates. Tamoor then sent the parts by truck through Turkey, and into Iraq. The Iraqis obtained spare parts for their French-made Mirage F-1 jets and Gazelle attack helicopters through this pipeline.

A huge debt
U.S. intelligence would not discover the pipeline until the eve of war last year; sensitive intelligence indicated that parts had been smuggled to Iraq as recently as that January.
"A thriving gray-arms market and porous borders have allowed Baghdad to acquire smaller arms and components for larger arms, such as spare parts for aircraft, air-defense systems and armored vehicles," the CIA said in a report to Congress made public that month.
U.S. intelligence agencies later came under fire over questions about prewar estimates of Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. But intelligence on Iraq's hidden procurement networks was confirmed.
An initial accounting by the Pentagon in the months after the fall of Baghdad revealed that Saddam covertly acquired between 650,000 and 1 million tons of conventional weapons from foreign sources. The main suppliers were Russia, China and France.
By contrast, the U.S. arsenal is between 1.6 million and 1.8 million tons.
As of last year, Iraq owed France an estimated $4 billion for arms and infrastructure projects, according to French government estimates. U.S. officials thought this massive debt was one reason France opposed a military operation to oust Saddam.
The fact that illegal deals continued even as war loomed indicated France viewed Saddam's regime as a future source of income.

Telltale chemical
Just days before U.S. and coalition forces launched their military campaign against Iraq, more evidence of French treachery emerged.
In mid-March 2003, U.S. intelligence and defense officials confirmed that exporters in France had conspired with China to provide Iraq with chemicals used in making solid fuel for long-range missiles. The sanctions-busting operation occurred in August 2002, the U.S. National Security Agency discovered through electronic intercepts.
The chemical transferred to Iraq was a transparent liquid rubber called hydroxy terminated polybutadiene, or HTPB, according to intelligence reports.
U.S. intelligence traced the sale to China's Qilu Chemicals, "the largest manufacturer of HTPB in China," one official says.
A French company, CIS Paris, helped broker the sale of 20 tons of HTPB, a controlled export that was shipped from China to the Syrian port of Tartus. The chemical solution was sent by truck from Syria into Iraq, to a missile-manufacturing plant. The Iraqi company that purchased the shipment was in charge of making solid fuel for long-range missiles.
HTPB technically is a dual-use chemical, because it also can be used for commercial purposes such as space launches. However, Iraq often disguised military purchases as commercial ones, as documents found later in Iraq would confirm.
In a report to Congress, the CIA said Iraq had constructed two "mixing" buildings for solid-propellant fuels at a plant known as al-Mamoun. The facility originally was built to produce the Badr-2000, a solid-propellant missile also known as the Condor.
The new buildings "appear especially suited to house large, U.N.-prohibited mixers of the type acquired for the Badr-2000 program," the CIA report stated.

French denials
Despite controversy over prewar intelligence on Iraq, the CIA said its estimates of Iraqi missiles were on target.
Representatives of the French and Chinese governments went on the attack when The Washington Times asked about the chemical sale.
Chinese Embassy spokesman Xie Feng did not address the specifics, but said "irresponsible accusations" about China's exports had been made in the past.
"These accusations are devoid of all foundation," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau declared. "In line with the rules currently in force, France has neither delivered, nor authorized, the delivery of such materials, either directly or indirectly."
By that point, many in the U.S. government were fed up with French denials.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called in the French ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte, to complain about France's covert and overt support for Saddam's regime.
"Twelve years of waiting was too costly in terms of the growing threat from Baghdad," Wolfowitz told the ambassador, according to a U.S. official who was present.

Made in France
The war in Iraq, which began March 19, 2003, provided disturbing evidence that France's treacherous dealings come at a steep cost to the United States.
On April 8 came the downing of Air Force Maj. Jim Ewald's A-10 Thunderbolt fighter over Baghdad and the discovery that it was a French-made Roland missile that brought down the American pilot and destroyed a $13 million aircraft. Ewald, one of the first U.S. pilots shot down in the war, was rescued by members of the Army's 54th Engineer Battalion who saw him parachute to earth not far from the wreckage.
Army intelligence concluded that the French had sold the missile to the Iraqis within the past year, despite French denials.
A week after Ewald's A-10 was downed, an Army team searching Iraqi weapons depots at the Baghdad airport discovered caches of French-made missiles. One anti-aircraft missile, among a cache of 51 Roland-2s from a French-German manufacturing partnership, bore a label indicating that the batch was produced just months earlier.
In May, Army intelligence found a stack of blank French passports in an Iraqi ministry, confirming what U.S. intelligence already had determined: The French had helped Iraqi war criminals escape from coalition forces -- and therefore justice.
Then, there were French-made trucks and radios and the deadly grenade launchers, known as RPGs, with French-made night sights. Saddam loyalists used them to kill American soldiers long after the toppling of the dictator's regime.
The intelligence team sent to find Iraqi weapons also discovered documents outlining covert Iraqi weapons procurement leading up to the war. The CIA, however, refused to make public the documents on assistance provided by France or by other so-called allies of the United States.
The clandestine arms-procurement network, disclosed late last year by the Los Angeles Times, put a Syrian trading company in a pivotal role. Documents showed the company, SES International Corp., was the conduit for millions of dollars' worth of weapons purchased internationally, including from France. Al Bashair Trading Co. in Baghdad was the major front used by Saddam to buy arms abroad.
A Defense Department-sponsored report produced in February identified France as one of the top three suppliers of Iraq's conventional arms, after Russia and China. The report revealed that France supplied 12 types of armaments and a total of 115,005 pieces.
A major reason Iraqi militants posed a threat to U.S. forces for so many months was that they had access to weapons that Saddam stockpiled in violation of U.N. resolutions.

A close call
One of the most frightening examples of how the militants put French weapons to use against the Americans came Oct. 26, 2003. That morning, at about 6 o'clock, they bombarded the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad with French missiles.
The French rockets nearly killed Wolfowitz, whom Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has called "the brains" of the Pentagon.
The deputy defense secretary had just gotten dressed in his room that Sunday morning when a car stopped several hundred yards from the hotel. It dropped off what appeared to be one of the blue electrical generators that were common in the power-starved Iraqi capital. The driver stayed just long enough to open a panel on the end of the metal box that was pointing upward toward the hotel.
The car sped off. Minutes later, a pod of 40 artillery rockets set off by remote control began firing at the hotel, their trails leaving sparks as they flew. The rockets hit one floor below where Wolfowitz and about a dozen aides and reporters were staying.
One rocket slammed into the room of Army Lt. Col. Charles H. Buehring, a public-affairs officer. The explosion hit Buehring, 40, in the head. A reporter discovered him and tried to help, but the Fayetteville, N.C., resident died a short time later.
In all, between eight and 10 missiles hit the hotel. The casualties might have been higher, and included Wolfowitz, if the improvised rocket launcher had fired all the missiles.
Because of a malfunction, 11 failed to go off.

Playing defense
Half the missiles fired at Wolfowitz's hotel were French-made Matra SNEB 68-millimeter rockets, with a range of two to three miles. The others were Russian in origin.
The French missiles were "pristine," Navy SEAL commandos reported.
"They were either new or kept in very good condition," said one SEAL who inspected the rocket tubes.
The rockets were thought to have been taken from Iraq's French-made Alouette or Gazelle attack helicopters.
The fact that new French missiles were showing up in the hands of Saddam loyalists months after the fall of Baghdad made Wolfowitz and his close aides livid. Still, others in the U.S. government worked to defend the French.
The CIA, to avoid upsetting ties with French intelligence, played down the French role in helping Saddam. The agency had a weak human intelligence?gathering capability, and France, because of its history of ties to Iraq, was much better at penetrating Saddam's regime.
The State Department's response was not surprising. Asked about French support for Iraq while on a fence-mending mission to Paris in May 2003, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had said: "We're not going to paper over it and pretend it didn't occur. It did occur. But we're going to work through that."
Powell, the retired four-star general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was too inexperienced in the ways of diplomacy. As a result, he largely had turned over control of State Department policy-making to the Foreign Service.
The problem with the Foreign Service is its culture. It trains diplomats to "get along" with the foreign governments they are sent to work with. Not insignificantly, Paris is among the most coveted postings in the world.

Backing down
Pentagon hard-liners on France, led by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, carried the day early in the war, but accommodationists within the upper councils of the Bush administration took control as the conflict went on.
Among those who took a softer position on France was National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, the former Stanford provost who surrounded herself with State Department officials and Foreign Service officers.
Rumsfeld drew a great deal of attention on Jan. 22, 2003 -- and created a backlash within the State Department -- when he let fly a verbal salvo against France and Germany for not siding with the United States, describing them as "old Europe" during a meeting with foreign reporters.
Rumsfeld also criticized French and German political leaders for making policy based not on "their honest conviction as to what their country ought to do" but on opinion polls that reflected ever-shifting public sentiments.
As the accommodationists in the Bush administration gained the upper hand, Rumsfeld and others were ordered to tone down the anti-Europe rhetoric. By late last year, the defense secretary's critics within the Foreign Service were crowing that Rumsfeld had been "tamed."
Just a day after the Iraqi attack on Wolfowitz's hotel in Baghdad, in an interview with The Washington Times, Rumsfeld took an even softer approach toward the French.
"People tend to look at what's taking place today and opine that it is something distinctive," Rumsfeld said of the turbulence in Franco-American relations. "I don't find it distinctive. I find it an old record that gets replayed about every five or seven years."
The public soft-policy line was, in many ways, a great victory for France. Even as new evidence poured in that the French had betrayed the United States and cost the lives of American troops, the government backed down from a confrontation with its erstwhile ally.

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Iraq Shipped Banned Missile Engines Out of Country Shortly After War, UNMOVIC Says
The Iraqi Ministry of Trade began shipping scrap metal, including missile engines and equipment that could be used in WMD production, to Jordan and other countries less than three months after the United States and its allies overthrew former President Saddam Hussein, according to a report released yesterday by the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (see GSN, June 10).
The report, expected to be presented today to the U.N. Security Council, criticizes "the systematic removal" of items subject to U.N. monitoring from a number of Iraqi sites, the Associated Press reported.
Exported items include at least 42 engines from missiles with ranges that exceeded the 150-kilometer limit imposed by the United Nations following the 1991 Gulf War, according to AP.
Several Iraqi sites once used to manufacture missiles and precursors for chemical weapons have been destroyed or emptied, according to commercial satellite photographs.
Scrap yard managers estimated that 60,000 tons of scrap metal, stainless steel and other alloys passed through Jordan's largest free trade zone in 2003, followed by an additional 70,000 until June of this year, the report says. U.N. inspectors learned that was "only a small part of all scrap materials exported from Iraq to the other countries that border Iraq and further to Europe, North Africa and Asia," according to the report.
U.N. inspectors said Jordan and the Netherlands, another country where large quantities of the scrap were found, agreed to allow inspectors to observe the destruction of the engines and the other equipment.
Nevertheless, 18 SA-2 missile engines, seven high-tech machines that could be used to make missile parts, and other equipment essential to missile production remain missing, according to the report (Edith Lederer, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Sept. 7).


Kerry's Iranian Connection Fights Democracy
By Robert Spencer | September 8, 2004
Frivolous lawsuits have long been used as weapons of the powerful against the weak; a particularly egregious example is now playing out in Texas, courtesy of one of John Kerry's most controversial supporters: the Iranian Hassan Nemazee. Nemazee is pursuing a ten-million-dollar damage claim against the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI) and its coordinator, Aryo B. Pirouznia. A Nemazee victory in this suit would almost certainly muzzle or destroy altogether the SMCCDI, one of the most energetic and courageous opponents of Iran's entrenched but uneasy mullahocracy. But now that Nemazee's lawsuit has been filed, it has become increasingly clear that it could embarrass the entire Democratic Party -- and severely damage the already flagging candidacy of John Kerry.
Nemazee is an influential figure with many friends in high places in groups such as the American-Iranian Council (AIC), the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and the Iranian-American Bar Association (IABA). Nemazee's name is also well known in Democratic Party circles. He was a prominent contributor to Bob Torricelli's New Jersey Senate campaign. The multimillionaire entrepreneur also contributed $50,000 to his friend Al Gore's Recount Fund (and $250,000 to the Gore campaign), $60,000 to Bill Clinton's legal defense fund, and over $150,000 to the Democratic National Committee. Clinton attempted to reward him by naming him U.S. Ambassador to Argentina -- but the Senate declined to confirm him after Forbes magazine published, in May 1999, an extremely damaging expose of his shady financial dealings.
Undaunted, Nemazee continued efforts to establish fruitful contacts between Iranian groups advocating normalization of relations with Iran and high-level members of the Democratic Party. He joined the Board of Directors of the AIC, an organization whose president, Hooshang Amirahmadi, is identified on the SMCCDI website as a "well known lobbyist for the Iranian Mullahocracy." Nemazee was involved in a March 2002 fundraiser for Senate Foreign Affairs Committee heavyweight Joe Biden (D-DE). This event was hosted by Sadegh Namazikhah, another AIC member whom Aryo Pirouznia charges with trying to improve public perception of "one of the most despotic regimes in the world."
Three months later it was Kerry's turn: Nemazee invited the future Democratic standard bearer to speak at an AIC dinner. Nemazee himself also spoke, declaring that the AIC "does not attempt to explain or rationalize the position of the government of Iran, nor does it attempt to do so for the government of the United States. Its mission is to educate both sides and to attempt to establish the basis and the vehicle for a dialogue which will ultimately lead to a resumption of relations." If Kerry registered any protest against this assertion that the United States should normalize relations with one of the world's bloodiest dictatorships, it was not recorded. Nemazee, according to Iran experts Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi and Elio Bonazzi, now seems to be denying that he ever made this speech at all -- although it is still posted on the AIC's website.
Outside San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where this grand event was held, the SMCCDI organized a large protest rally. Nemazee, evidently, would not forget this and other affronts. In his lawsuit, he charges that the SMCCDI knowingly and repeatedly made "false and defamatory statements" about his support for the Iranian regime. His complaint states categorically that "Nemazee does not `support ... the Islamic Republic and the Revolution.'"
But his friend Kerry, meanwhile, seems to have absorbed the very lessons that Nemazee now denies having tried to teach. Before the Council on Foreign Relations in December 2003, Kerry announced that he would be willing as President to pursue rapprochement with Iran: "As president, I will be prepared early on to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam a decade ago." And most notoriously, his staff sent out an email that somehow made its way to the government-controlled Mehr News Agency in Tehran, where it was trumpeted as evidence of his resolve to patch things up with the mullahs. "It is in the urgent interests of the people of the United States," the message read, "to restore our country's credibility in the eyes of the world. America needs the kind of leadership that will repair alliances with countries on every continent that have been so damaged in the past few years, as well as build new friendships and overcome tensions with others."
Kerry's camp professed puzzlement over how this email made it to Tehran. Initially, a Kerry aide dismissed the story as "just a hoax." But this pose proved impossible to maintain. Kerry's senior foreign affairs advisor, Rand Beers, later admitted that the message was genuine, saying: "I have no idea how they got hold of that letter, which was prepared for Democrats Abroad. I scratched my head when I saw that. The only way they could have gotten it was if someone in Iran was with Democrats Abroad." In light of the ties between the AIC and the Democratic Party, that possibility is at least open to question.
But Kerry's olive branches to the regime that carries on the legacy of the Ayatollah Khomeini now embarrass him: his Council on Foreign Relations remarks seem to have been removed from the Kerry-Edwards website. Hence also the Nemazee lawsuit: to silence the SMCCDI and its inconvenient protests. One way to do that is indirect, by using the suit to put the SMCCDI out of action. According to documents that Pirouznia/SMCCDI defense attorney Bob Jenevein made available to me, the prosecution has been playing several such games. On August 20, 2004, Jenevein wrote a letter to Rob Wiley of Locke Lidell & Sapp, the elite Texas law firm representing Nemazee. He proposed five stipulations -- points that both sides could agree to, so that they need not spend the court's time trying to establish or disprove them. These included: "1. The Islamic regime in Iran is sympathetic to terrorists. 2. The Islamic regime in Iran poses a threat to the security of the United States and/or its citizens at home or abroad. 3. For the United States to normalize its diplomatic relations with Iran at this time would lend credibility to the Islamic regime in Iran. 4. For the United States to ease trade sanctions against Iran at this time would lend credibility to the Islamic regime in Iran. 5. Anything that would lend credibility to the Islamic regime in Iran at this time would have value to that regime." Wiley answered on the same day that his team had taken the stipulations "under advisement"; but in the almost two weeks since then, gave no further answer. Thus Nemazee's attorneys effectively agreed to none of the stipulations, raising the prospect that Jenevein would have to spend hours upon hours in court establishing these points, thereby endangering the SMCCDI by straining its financial resources.
Other documents furnished by Jenevein suggest that the prosecution is trying to run up the costs of the litigation in other ways also -- attempting to find out who is paying Pirouznia's legal bills and to drive SMCCDI into destitution. One example was a fax that Wiley sent to Jenevein last Monday afternoon, informing him of a draft motion that the prosecution was planning to file on certain matters regarding the case unless the prosecution and defense reached an agreement by 5PM Tuesday. Jenevein immediately faxed a response, suggesting ways to agree, but the prosecution ignored it and filed the motion the next morning anyway. This multiplication of motions, of course, is a classic tactic to drive up court costs.
Related to all this is the curious fact that, according to an inside source close to the case, Nemazee has never made himself available for a deposition. Pirouznia's defense attorney contacted Nemazee's lawyers in early August, immediately after taking the case (five months after it was filed), to request dates for this deposition; Nemazee's team responded that he would only be available on two dates in November and two in December - all four after the election, and all over seven months after the case was filed. "He's saying we want his deposition for political reasons," the insider exclaimed incredulously, "but HE filed the lawsuit!" The Pirouznia/SMCCDI team has filed a motion ordering Nemazee to appear for a deposition on September 20; no ruling has been made on it yet.
Why file a lawsuit, and then play hide-and-seek with the defense? The lobbyist and his team seem to be trying to keep the case under wraps until after the presidential election. "Nemazee is worried that his candidate will be embarrassed if the facts of this litigation are made public," observes Jenevein. "I'm afraid that this case would appear typical of the frivolous lawsuits about which Republicans complain so loudly. To the extent that Hassan Nemazee constitutes a link between a presidential campaign and the Iranian regime, that link would be considered a grave political liability for the campaign.
The lawsuit is designed to silence those who speak about this."
The Nemazee camp appears to be growing increasingly anxious lest details of their suit leak out. That may be why, according to an informed source, the founder of a public relations firm and international speaker's bureau that specializes in foreign policy and terrorism-related issues recently contacted Pirouznia and invited him to lunch -- ultimately, two lunches on consecutive days, all to argue that he should drop the suit. Important figures of the Iranian democracy movement, the PR wizard intimated to Pirouznia, really wanted him to forget the whole thing. Dumbfounded, Pirouznia reminded the PR maven that it was he who was the target of the suit, and that he was only defending himself and his organization. Several other people who figures connected to the defense team wryly term "Nemazee's messengers" also contacted Pirouznia to make the same appeal.
The SMCCDI and Aryo Pirouznia are evidently not the only ones in Nemazee's sights. According to an informed source, Nemazee's lawyer asked in official documents used by the plaintiff to build the case about the relationship between Pirouznia and another pair of stalwart Iran democracy activists: Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi and Elio Bonazzi. Said the source: "Aryo's lawyer objected that this is not relevant, but basically this means that even if Nemazee didn't sue the Bonazzis directly, they are among his targets." This despite the fact that the Bonazzis have never advanced any political agenda for Iran beyond promoting the idea of a genuine (not UN- or Jimmy Carter-led) internationally monitored referendum to decide on Iran's form of government after the complete ousting of any form of theocracy. Zand-Bonazzi's father, Siamak Pourzand, is a well-known Iranian journalist, intellectual, freedom fighter - and political prisoner of the Islamic regime.
Thus the mullahs fight on for their survival in the courtrooms of Texas.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and the author of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery Publishing), and Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books).


Creative Accounting Only Goes So Far
Unsound transactions are going to catch up with the government.
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office explains that the deficit is a virtually meaningless measure of the government's indebtedness. The main reason for this is that the federal government uses cash accounting rather than accrual accounting. What this means is that the government can acquire massive debts far into the future with virtual impunity. The government can also, in effect, cosign for loans and provide insurance that could potentially cost taxpayers hundreds of billion of dollars without it ever showing up in the budget until a check has to be written.
By the CBO's reckoning, the federal government's true debt last year was $8.5 trillion -- more than twice the debt held by the public, which we generally think of as the national debt. That figure came to $4 trillion, only slightly more than the $3.9 trillion in future benefits owed to government employees and veterans.
But even the $8.5 trillion figure is much too low because it excludes the really big debts that are owed for Social Security and Medicare. Since these obligations extend far into the future, the only way they can realistically be quantified is by using a statistical method called present value. This takes account of the fact that $1 fifty years from now is worth much less than $1 today. Future debts need to be discounted to put them into today's dollars.
Even with discounting, however, the figures are massive. The CBO estimates the unfunded liability for Social Security at $7.2 trillion. But this is virtually nothing next to the $37.6 trillion cost of Medicare. In short, we would need to have about $45 trillion in the bank today earning interest in order to pay all the promises that have been made for future Social Security and Medicare benefits -- over and above the future taxes and premiums that will be collected to fund these programs.
To put these numbers into a form that is comprehensible, the CBO has made a calculation of the future gross domestic product that will be produced over the same time period. These are the actual resources from which Social Security and Medicare benefits will be paid. The CBO estimates that we would have to raise taxes by 6.5 percent of GDP immediately and forever to maintain these programs in perpetuity. This year alone, that would mean a tax increase of $800 billion.
This is why I believe it was utter insanity for the White House and Congress to have enacted an expansion of Medicare for prescription drugs last year. This one unconscionable action increased the long-term liability of Medicare by 1 percent of GDP forever.
A key reason why they were able to get away with this idiotic action was that all the costs come well in the future -- the program doesn't even begin until 2006 and then phases-in for a few years before being fully effective. Thus, for a time, Republicans were able to promise something-for-nothing. It's only a matter of time before taxes are sharply increased so that the elderly can get for free what the rest of us have to pay for ourselves.
It goes without saying that if any private corporation had behaved the way the government has, it would soon find its executives being sentenced by a federal judge. It is illegal for businesses to keep their books the way the government does, hiding their long-term liabilities from shareholders the way the government disguises its indebtedness from voters.
Writing in the Nebraska Law Review last year, George Washington University law professor Cheryl Block compared bookkeeping by the federal government to bookkeeping by businesses involved in corporate scandals. She found little difference. Congress, she wrote, "has been guilty of using accounting devices remarkably similar to those used by Enron, WorldCom and others to `cook the books' and to mislead the public with regard to government finances."
At least when a corporation misbehaves, there is an ultimate market check in the form of bankruptcy. Creative accounting can only go so far in covering up transactions that are fundamentally unsound. But national governments never go bankrupt and don't have to worry about customers buying their goods and services for revenue. They just raise taxes or print money and keep on going. "As a result, temptations for the government to engage in creative accounting may be even greater than those in the private sector," Block suggested.
It's worth keeping this in mind the next time some congressional demagogue denounces corporate dishonesty.
-- Bruce Bartlett is senior fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis. Write to him here.


$2.3 Trillion in New Debt Expected by 2014
Economic Growth Will Not Ease Strain on U.S., Budget Office Director Warns
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 8, 2004; Page A02
This year's federal budget deficit will reach a record $422 billion, and the government is now expected to accumulate $2.3 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday.
The expected deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, is $56 billion less than the CBO predicted in March, as a recovering economy added to tax receipts. But it is $46 billion more than last year's record shortfall, with even more red ink possible, the nonpartisan agency reported: The expected total 10-year deficit would climb from $2.3 trillion to $3.6 trillion if President Bush is able to extend the tax cuts he enacted. They are currently set to expire in 2011.
"This is a fiscal situation in which we cannot rely on economic growth to cause deficits to disappear," warned CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former economist for the Bush White House. "The budgetary outlook will be dictated by policy choices."
About half of the projected 10-year deficit is based on an assumption that conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue. The CBO policy requires that deficit projections be based on current conditions.
The budget office expects that the total federal debt held by the public -- the amount borrowed through the sale of Treasury bonds to finance overspending -- will balloon 58 percent over the next decade, from $4.3 trillion this year to nearly $6.8 trillion in 2014.
The CBO's findings may refocus some political attention on the fiscal health of a federal government that, between recession, war and tax cuts, has swung from record surpluses to record deficits since Bush took office.
Both political parties seized on the CBO's findings, with Republicans stressing the $56 billion improvement over the CBO's March estimate, and Democrats focusing on the longer-term forecast.
The new estimate is "a sign of the economic growth that is a result of President Bush's leadership on tax relief," said Tim Adams, policy director for the Bush campaign.
Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry retorted, "Only George W. Bush could celebrate over a record budget deficit of $422 billion."
Budget analysts said the report should not be seen as good news to either side inasmuch as neither has a detailed plan to tackle the deficit.
"It's another one of those unwelcome reminders to the candidates that they've got some serious problems that they don't want to face," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a budget watchdog group.
Bush has pledged to halve the deficit over the next five years. But absent sharp policy shifts, the CBO does not expect the president to meet that goal. The CBO estimated the annual deficit for 2009 to be $312 billion, short of the president's target. Compared with the size of the economy, the deficit in five years would fall to 2.1 percent of gross domestic product from its current 3.6 percent, a substantial improvement but not half of the 2004 level.
Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the CBO figures are deceptive because they include far too much money for continued fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The CBO assumed both conflicts will continue for the next 10 years, at a cost of $1.1 trillion.
"The bottom line is, the president is committed to cutting the deficit in half in five years," he said.
The CBO report drew the policy choices facing the nation in sharp relief. The $2.3 trillion in projected deficits over the next decade assumes that all of Bush's 2001 tax cuts expire as scheduled in 2011 and rates rise to the levels that existed before. If the president and congressional Republicans are successful in extending the tax cuts, deficits would surge to $3.6 trillion through 2014, the CBO report said. In 2014 alone, a relatively modest annual deficit of $65 billion would leap to $440 billion if all the tax cuts are kept.
The alternative minimum tax, which was created to ensure the wealthy pay income taxes but which will increasingly ensnare the middle class, presents another fiscal strain. Reforming the law to exclude more middle-class taxpayers -- which both parties say is a priority -- would cost the government at least an additional $425 billion over the next 10 years, and possibly as much as $602 billion, the CBO said.
By then, the cost of the retiring baby-boom generation will have hit the government hard. Social Security and Medicare, currently $789 billion, or 34 percent of federal spending, will swell to $1.5 trillion, or 42 percent of the budget.
Neither Bush nor Kerry has detailed how he would tackle the deficit. Both candidates have made campaign pledges that probably would worsen the government's fiscal position, although the candidates have been careful to avoid a detailed accounting.
In Bush's acceptance speech in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, he reiterated a call to allow younger workers to invest some of their Social Security payroll taxes in stocks and bonds through personal investment accounts. Because virtually all Social Security taxes are used to pay the benefits of current retirees, any diversion of those taxes would have to be made up through more government borrowing. Even a small diversion of, say, 2 percent of payroll taxes, could cost the government as much as $2 trillion in the first 10 years, according to the Social Security Administration's actuary.
Bush has also called for new Lifetime Savings Accounts, which would effectively end the taxation of capital gains, dividends and interest for all but the richest Americans. Individuals could shield from taxation the investment gains of as much as $7,500 of savings a year, and those savings could be withdrawn at any time for any reason. The cost of the proposal would be minimal in the first decade but could swell to $50 billion a year in later decades, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Kerry has pledged to roll back some of the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003, including income tax, capital gains and dividend cuts that have benefited households with incomes of more than $200,000. But the savings from those tax increases would be consumed by a $653 billion expansion of health care coverage, a $200 billion education program and other promises.
"Neither one of them is focused on deficit reduction, and neither one of them is focused on hard choices," Bixby said. "And the message of today's report is that tough choices are needed."
Staff writer Mike Allen contributed to this report.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company


The Market State President
By Gregory Scoblete Published 09/08/2004
One of the most intriguing aspects of President Bush's convention acceptance speech last week was his rhetorical embrace of the Market State, a concept fleshed out by Phillip Bobbitt, a former director of intelligence in the National Security Administration under President Clinton, in his opus The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History.
Through the course of 800-plus pages, Bobbitt sketches out the history of state evolution -- from Princely States to the Nation State -- arguing that both external threats and the domestic quest for legitimacy shape the relationship between government and the governed. He argues that with the passing of the Long War (defined as the period beginning with World War I and ending with the dissolution of the Soviet Union) we are now in a transitional period from the Nation States that dominated the 20th century to the Market State that looks to define the 21st.
The Nation State was defined and legitimated, in part, by its ability to ensure the material well being of its citizens. In contrast, the Market State earns its legitimacy by providing the opportunity to its citizens to advance their own well being. The Nation State is characterized by top-down, government centric solutions like the welfare state, that make absolute guarantees about the material outcome of its charges. The Market State simply says: we'll guarantee a set of basic tools and an open playing field, but after that, you're on your own to make of it what you will.
Bush embraced this transition to the Market State. In his domestic proposals, Bush explicitly acknowledged that the Nation State welfare-model needed to give ground:
The times in which we work and live are changing dramatically. The workers of our parents' generation typically had one job, one skill, one career, often with one company that provided health care and a pension. And most of those workers were men.
Today, workers change jobs, even careers, many times during their lives, and, in one of the most dramatic shifts our society has seen, two-thirds of all moms also work outside the home.
This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, support your family and have a rewarding career.
Bush's domestic agenda, allowing younger workers to direct the investment (of their own money) in Social Security, of portable pensions to follow a mobile work force, and reforming a cumbersome tax code, is specifically aimed at devolving responsibility for individual welfare from the State to the individual. He touts it as an "ownership society" but it could just as easily be called an "opportunity society" - under Bush's vision, the government promises that all citizens will have the opportunity to advance themselves, regardless of station. That is a distinctly different promise than the traditional Nation State compact that guarantees your welfare by redirecting wealth from one population segment to another.
Even the President's proposed spending initiatives -- increased money to education, to child heath care, and to junior colleges - had one consistent, Market State theme: the State is responsible for laying the foundation for your well-being but ultimate success is up to you.
The unspoken corollary -- intolerable to Democrats -- is that if you fail, the State will have a very limited capacity to help you. Indeed, critics of Bush will decry this as a move designed to ultimately gut the welfare state. And they will be correct -- it is. And it is vital.
Why A Market State?
The answer, Bobbitt says, is simple: the threats we now face demand it. The government simply cannot fulfill its core function of protecting its citizens from modern dangers and fulfill the material promises of the Nation State. We see but a glimpse of this reality in our massive budget deficit. The necessary yet costly demands of the War on Islamic Terrorism - extended overseas troop deployments, the protection of critical homeland infrastructure and strengthening of the public health system to gird against a bio-terror attack - simply cannot coexist alongside a raft of social spending commitments. 21st century threats have collided with a 20th century government. And terrorism is just the beginning.
The globalization of the economy with its attendant global travel, the widespread adoption of advanced communication tools (the Internet, mobile phones, etc.) and the growing ubiquity of sophisticated weapons technology bring with it other threats, anticipated by Bobbitt, including global pandemics and crippling attacks on global infrastructure including cyber attacks that shut down critical banking and security systems. These new perils will require a massive, sustained, financial investment to safeguard against.
These threats are not passing dangers that will be vanquished quickly even with an enormous investment in blood and treasure such that defeated the fascist regimes of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan - they are systemic to the world we live in and necessitate radical changes in the structure and promises of government if they are to be met successfully. A government that cannot defend against these new dangers will ultimately forsake its legitimacy.
In this sense, critics of Bush's failure to create a war-time economy of rationing or conscription are wrong: this is not a "crises" necessitating even a prolonged period of "sacrifice" and then a return to "normal." This is, as Vice President Cheney noted, the "new normal" - a reality for an indefinite period of time. Even if radical Islamism is utterly defeated and discredited, the U.S. will still be threatened by global plagues, still be vulnerable to crippling cyber-attacks, and still fall prey to small bands of highly motivated fanatics intent on using advanced weapons toward devastating ends.
The Nation State cannot simultaneously protect against these new threats while offering cradle-to-grave assurances of material well-being. For the fiscal solvency of our nation, one or the other has to give. And since the State's core, irreducible function is the physical security of its citizens from external harm (as opposed to their material security), the responsibility for the later must be shifted to the citizen. The Nation State must cede ground to the Market State.
Conservatives who grumble about "big government" are therefore off the mark. The absolute size of the government - what it reaps in tax receipts - will stay constant, and probably grow (indeed, Bobbitt argues that the power and reach of the executive branch must ultimately be expanded and empowered to act with even fewer restraints if it is to ward off new dangers). It is the priorities of said government - how the money is dispersed - that have to change and radically.
The Rubber Meets the Road
When viewed in this light, Bush's domestic proposals are essentially aimed at mid-wifing the Market State into existence. Bush is proposing to steer many of the welfare state's commitments (to retirement, to health care) back to the individual, freeing the government to concentrate on safeguarding the country from a myriad of new dangers. But will increasing the government's commitments to social welfare, as Bush is practically proposing, ultimately enable the government to curtail those same commitments down the road? Once fed, will government fast or become more rapacious? Is Bush even sincere in his desire to redirect government toward the Market State model, or is it all just a Rovian ploy to buy off core voting blocs, an act of fiscal recklessness of a peace with the expansion of Medicare - an act that ignores the long-term economic impact in favor of the short term electoral gain.
Only time, and a second Bush term, will tell. What won't change is the imperative driving the need for a Market State. President Bush or President Kerry and their 2008 successors will be starring down the same abyss: the threats of the 21st century cannot be met with the government of the 20th. To meet the challenge, the President will have to ensure that each citizen has the opportunity to achieve material prosperity and the financial means to safeguard their wealth, health and retirement, while the government directs its energies to warding off the dangers of a new world.
One thing is certain: it will take an act of supreme political cunning to deftly cut-loose the ballooning baby-boom generation from the money it has and continues to promise itself. Is Bush that cunning?
He's been misunderestimated before.
Gregory Scoblete is a senior editor at TWICE Magazine (This Week in Consumer Electronics) and a contributing writer to Digital Photographer and Camcorder & Computer Video magazines. He is the author of the forthcoming e-book Ten Quick Steps Guide to Great Digital Photography. He writes regularly about technology and politics at


A Cancer in the Medicare System
By Doug Bandow Published 09/07/2004
Medicare faces trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities, but legislators are constantly tempted to increase benefits and thus spending. They should resist their inner darkness as the Bush administration attempts to create a more rational reimbursement system for cancer drugs.
Although Medicare has never covered pharmaceuticals -- the benefit package passed last year won't kick in until 2006 -- it made an exception for cancer drugs administered by oncologists. The cost was $10.5 billion in 2003.
Yet rather than pay physicians a fair fee, Congress set drug reimbursements based on the industry's official Average Wholesale Price (AWP), rather like the sticker price of new automobiles. Observes Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, doctors used the resulting "spread" between cost and reimbursement "to cover Medicare's underpayments for their practice expenses."
A 1997 study by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Human Resources figured that Medicare was paying as much as ten times actual drug costs. Occasionally the disparity
was even greater.
The AWP for the drug vancomycin ran 76 times the price to doctors. Physicians even charged for drugs, such as Lupron, used to treat prostate cancer, which they had received as free samples from manufacturers. All told, 70 percent of oncologists's Medicare revenue came from drug mark-ups.
The system unfairly penalized beneficiaries, responsible for a 20 percent copayment, as well as Uncle Sam. The system also biased treatment decisions, since price spreads varied by drug. Sometimes older, less effective medicines were more profitable than better treatments.
Medicare officials long noted the problem, but Congress, lobbied heavily by oncologists, would only make marginal cuts in pharmaceutical reimbursements.
Critics often blamed the drug companies -- state attorneys general and left-wing activists even sued some drugmakers on a variety of charges -- but the industry gained nothing from the scheme. The fault belonged to Congress.
Last year's Medicare bill amended Part B to bring reimbursements into line with costs. Medicare is supposed to use the Average Sales Price, what drugs actually sell for, including discounts and rebates. Medicare recently issued rules expected to save the government about $530 million and beneficiaries roughly $270 million.
In return, Congress doubled the average payment for administering drugs. There's also a transition bonus for 2004. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) acknowledges that overall cancer payments will fall, but indicates that it will consider future adjustments.
Few physicians defend the old system. Dr. David Johnson, head of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, says "We would agree with a premise that the way the system has operated for some years has been out of balance."
However, many oncologists nevertheless denounce the reform scheme as providing inadequate returns. Some are threatening to stop providing drugs in their offices, which would force patients to turn to hospitals. They are lobbying Congress to freeze payments.
Fixing reimbursement rates obviously isn't easy. As Grace-Marie Turner points out, "the overall problem of government setting prices -- and trying to get them right -- is endemic to a benefit-based entitlement program." Medicare has long created incentives towards overuse as a fee-for-service reimbursement system while generating the inefficiencies that naturally occur with price controls.
Getting it right, however, is critical. Frank Lichtenberg of Columbia University figures that more than half the increase in cancer survival rates over the last quarter century is due to new and improved drugs. Maintaining that progress is critical.
Thus, Congress shouldn't retreat from its reliance on sales rather than list prices. The old system never made sense. Uncle Sam should drive a stake through the heart of the beast.
At the same time, where necessary CMS should increase oncological reimbursements for administering drugs. The federal government needs to come as close as it can to a quasi-market price in a non-market environment.
In the longer-term, Congress should revamp Medicare to make it more friendly to both patients and physicians, while creating incentives for cost-saving. That means integrating the new drug benefit into Medicare's overall structure,
Moreover, Congress should transform the program from a system of defined-benefits -- for which it must set specific reimbursement rates -- to one in which a defined contribution is made to retirees for use to buy the health care plan which best meets their needs. This would get the government out of price-setting entirely.
Unfortunately, legislators have routinely proved to be irresponsible when they touch Medicare. With the budget wildly out of balance and taxpayers facing huge liabilities as the Baby Boom generation starts collecting Medicare and Social Security, Congress must learn to say "no." It should start when responding to oncologists who hope to return to last year's broken system for reimbursing cancer drugs.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.

Is This Any Way to Grow an Economy?
By Christopher Lingle Published 09/03/2004
In a fruitless and pointless exercise, economic policy makers and businesses fret endlessly over the international value of currencies. This is because interventions to guide foreign exchange valuations tend to be costly and may have only temporary effect, at best.
The dollar's value measured by a trade-weighted index against a basket of currencies has been in decline for more than a year. Some economists, businessmen and politicians in America believe that a weaker dollar will be "good" for the US economy.
They apparently believe that a depreciating dollar will boost exports of US manufacturing production while increasing employment and creating economic growth. Meanwhile, central bankers and finance ministers in Japan and China have been accused of playing games to block the appreciation of their currencies from appreciating against the US dollar.
It turns out that the arguments used in these harangues reflect political expediencies rather than sound economic logic. The most obvious evidence of this is that the balance of trade is not the best measure of the overall welfare of a country.
Part of the problems comes from the dubious claims that a depreciating currency can increase the competitiveness of domestic producers. In fact, currency depreciation should never be a policy objective since it leads to economic immiseration.
It is chimerical to think when citizens of a country receive fewer real imports for a given amount of real exports is an improvement in competitiveness. The country with a depreciating currency may receive additional units of foreign currencies, but it will possess less real wealth in the form of goods and services.
In the adjustment to the declining foreign value of a currency, exports tend to rise while imports tend to fall. This means that consumption must decline for citizens of the country with the depreciating currency since they receive less for is sold to foreigners and more is paid for what is bought from foreigners. By any measure, this is a decline in overall living standards.
In all events, the supposed advantages created by depreciating currencies upon export sales or increased tourism are temporary. This is because domestic prices and wage rates eventually rise due to the new foreign exchange values. Obviously, a persistent rise in prices harms consumers while undermining long-term business investment, rising wages may also contribute to higher unemployment.
It turns out that most adherents of a weak dollar believe that economic growth depends upon aggregate demand for goods and services, both from both domestic and foreign sources. According to this logic, increases in demand for goods and services can push up economic growth rates by triggering the production of goods and services. The implication is that policies that focus upon overall demand can promote economic growth.
This notion is also behind the "export-led" growth policies of many developing countries. Since exports are seen as contributing to economic growth while imports are portrayed as a drag on economic growth, they seek a weak currency so that the prices of domestic output are more attractive to foreigners.
These notions are based upon a misguided belief that increases or decreases in production can be traced to rising or falling overall demand for goods and services. The suggestion that consumption can precede production is based upon both logical impossibility and economic infeasibility.
It might be helpful to trace the impact of monetary policy on foreign exchange markets to see how a currency might depreciate. If the central bank or finance ministry wishes to push down the international value of the domestic currency, they buy foreign currencies. Increased supply of the domestic currency in money markets combined with increased demand for the foreign currency pushes down the value of the former while raising the value of the latter.
At this point, producers are better able to sell more exports. But it is important to know the source of the funds used to intervene in the foreign exchange markets. If they are drawn from existing currency supply, there would be a reduction in liquidity in the financial system. It is likely that the central bank would purchase government bonds, causing more local currency to be available.
As producers seek to respond to increase demand for exports, they find that commercial banks can offer loans at lower interest rates due to the loose monetary policy. In turn, producers find it cheaper to borrow to acquire resources for expanding their output of goods. This newly-created credit allows these producers to divert resources from other productive activities. Initially, exporters experience increased profits, until domestic prices begin to rise under pressures of the bidding war to control access to inputs.
Ultimately, loose monetary and credit policy cause the domestic prices of goods and services to rise. And then there will be a decline in profits earned from exports as well as domestic sales. And so it is that rising prices ends the illusion that prosperity can be conjured out of thin air by pumping new pieces of paper money into an economy.
A supreme irony emerges from the above logic. It turns out that monetary policy responses arising out of obsessions with international currency values increase the volatility of foreign exchange markets.
So, what we are left with is that government interventions in markets at one level create a demand the government to intervene at another level. And this cycle continues; ad infinitum and ad nauseum.
Christopher Lingle is Visiting Professor of Economics at Universidad Francisco Marroqu?n in Guatemala and Global Strategist for eConoLytics.

Russia Test-Fires Ballistic Missiles
The Russian nuclear submarines Yekaterinburg and Borisoglebsk yesterday conducted ballistic missile test launches, Interfax reported (see GSN, Aug. 12).
"Both launches proceeded successfully. The missiles' warheads hit their training targets at the Kura testing ground on the Kamchatka (Peninsula) at their designated time," Russian Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said.
Navy commander Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov observed the launches from the cruiser Pyotr Veliky, Dygalo said (Interfax, Sept. 8).

Russia and the Terror War
By Stephen Schwartz Published 09/07/2004
In the wake of the latest tragedy in Russia, it is perhaps in bad taste to cite two clich?s, but both apply stunningly to the present situation in that tormented land. The first is, "the more things change, the more they remain the same." That is certainly reconfirmed by the Putin government's "handling" -- a term that, as we shall see, may have a sinister aspect -- of the hostage horror in North Ossetia.
The second clich? is a phrase on the lips of every policy wonk in the Western world these days: "lessons learned." All and sundry claim to possess the wisdom of "lessons learned" about everything, especially about the global war on terror. But if there is a major lesson that has seemingly remained unlearned, it is that Russian political leadership is unchanging in its improvised, haphazard violence, its secrecy, and the willingness to sacrifice the blood of its subjects -- they can barely be called citizens.
In 1855 the great Russian liberal Aleksandr Herzen published a book titled From the Other Shore, in which he observed the following about his native land: "The revolution of Peter the Great replaced the obsolete squirearchy of Russia -- with a European bureaucracy; everything that could be copied from the Swedish and German laws, everything that could be taken over from the free municipalities of Holland into our half-communal, half-absolutist country, was taken over. But the unwritten, the moral check on power, the instinctive recognition of the rights of man, of the rights of thought, of truth, could not be and were not imported."
Exactly the same may be said of Russia in the aftermath of Communism's fall. Everything that could be copied from the West, from flamboyant gangsterism to sensationalist journalism to an uncontrolled sex industry, has been adopted. But the essential checks and balances on state power have not been and probably cannot be imported.
It is to further trivialize the tragedy for a moment, but whence will come Putin's Michael Moore? The slobby documentary film-maker has managed to make quite a success out of a video clip showing President George W. Bush remaining silent for seven minutes after receiving news of the terrorist assault in Manhattan three years ago. But Putin was silent for two days during the crisis in Beslan!
And now, according to The Washington Post, the Russian authorities have admitted lying to the people about the Beslan atrocity, while the same rulers seek to turn the recognition of their prevarication into a virtue. A report by Susan B. Glasser and Peter Finn in Monday's Post states blithely, "In previous crises with mass fatalities, such as the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk in 2000 and the 2002 siege of a Moscow theater, officials covered up key facts as well, but afterward never acknowledged doing so."
This convoluted reality is not new. Did not the Russian government of Joseph Stalin lie about the artificial famine created in Ukraine in the early 1930s, in which several million died; about the brutal purge trials, in which the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution were portrayed as Nazi spies; about the 1939-41 pact with Hitler, in which Germany was presented as a friend of the Russian people while it prepared for genocidal war against them; about the slaying of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn forest; about, in the end, everything?
In 1956 it was admitted that Stalin was not a good man and that the victims of the purges were innocent, and at the end of the 1980s a certain Mikhail Gorbachev, a predecessor of Putin about whom nobody speaks today, averred that Soviet socialism had in some respects failed. Those were considered milestones of truth-telling in their time, just as the vague confessions of top state officials in the aftermath of Beslan are treated as a breakthrough. No irony is, however, perceived in the historical fact that the very conflict with the Muslim Chechens, always cited as the root of these terror incidents, derives from a sequence of characteristic lies by the Russian state.
During the Second World War Stalin deported entire Muslim nations from the Caucasus -- the Chechens were only the largest group -- on the charge of collaboration with the Nazis. At least 40 percent of the Chechens died during their forced transfer to Central Asia. In the 1960s the Soviet government admitted that the charge of collaboration was a lie, and that Chechens had actually fought valiantly in the Soviet forces. They were allowed to return to their ancestral homelands. But they did not forget or forgive, and after the breakup of the Soviet Union the "Chechen question" returned again.
So at least 350 children, parents, and teachers dead in Beslan, with more than 200 unaccounted for, is, finally, business as usual for the Russian state. It would seem to be high time for the West to recognize this. Russia and Putin are no more reliable partners in the global war on terror than the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which also engages in lying on a cosmic scale.
Of course, Putin, as a veteran of the Soviet secret police, has adopted the Stalin method for dealing with responsibility in such events. When the Soviet state proved unable to satisfy the exaggerated promises it had made to its citizens in the 1930s, under the Five Year Plans, of plentiful consumption and prosperity, first the Bolshevik old guard and then the top leaders of the military were massacred to give the people a sense that "those to blame would be dealt with." Today, Russian TV, under Putin's control, accuses "generals and the military and civilians" for the terrible outcome in North Ossetia.
Some startling details of the Beslan massacre deserve further investigation, but since Russia, like Saudi Arabia, feels no need to account for its state actions to its people or to the world, it is doubtful they will be the subject of serious inquiry.
First, many Russians, experts on Russia, residents of the borderland states in Central Asia, and experts on Islamist extremism believe there is some kind of hidden link between the terrorists involved in attacks on schools and other such targets, and the Russian secret police. The logic is simple: Russian leaders always need an enemy, preferably one both inside and outside the country, to unite their discontented masses behind them. In the past the enemy was the Catholic Church, then the Jews. But stoking hatred of Catholicism causes problems with Poles, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians, who fight with much better weapons than suicide bombs, namely, financial power and access to Western media. And incitement against the Jews brings on an instant and negative response in the U.S. and Western Europe. In this context, the Russian and Caucasian Muslims are the obvious best choice as a chosen, cultivated threat with which to terrify the ordinary populace. Putin needs the terrorists as much as they need him; they are engaged in a dance of death, where each justifies the actions of the other.
Second, while news reports alleged that the terrorist attackers were not Arabs, as claimed (in a rare moment of probable accuracy) by the Russian authorities, surviving hostages described them as Wahhabis, adherents of the state cult in Saudi Arabia that stands behind al-Qaida, and identifiable by their distinctive beards and prayer caps. Since 1999, Saudi infiltrators have striven to take over and manipulate the Chechen national movement, pushing aside moderate Chechen leaders who seek peace.
Indeed, in a very strange item also appearing in The Washington Post, the terrorist assault squad leader was addressed as "colonel" and described as communicating by telephone throughout the siege. "Colonel" of what? Islamist terrorist movements do not use Western-style military ranks.
I predict that independent Russian opinion, which will be heard despite the control of media by Putin's government, will soon ask whether this was not yet another provocation by the secret police, intended to boost support for Putin and utilizing Wahhabis ready, in any event, to die -- but which went horribly wrong.
To Westerners, such an idea smacks of the most complex and unlikely conspiracy theories. But to Russians, and those who know Russia, it would come as no surprise. Putin has a great deal to answer for, but it is unlikely he will have to do so, any more than any of his predecessors in power had to. And, barely mentioned in this landscape of evil, Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabi cult also bear significant guilt.
In 1991, I wrote in the post-Soviet journal Arguments and Facts International, "The picture of Russia's future... increasingly resembles an 'India of the North:' a country that may achieve a partial or superficial democratization, but which is simply too handicapped by cultural factors to attain the stability and prosperity for which it hopes." After the passage of 13 years I would change nothing in these words.



This Is Security and Cooperation?
How the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe treated elections in the Balkans.
by Stephen Schwartz
09/08/2004 12:00:00 AM
AT A TIME when the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is preparing to send observers to monitor the U.S. elections in November, it is especially depressing to contemplate the OSCE's record in the Balkans. In both Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo, the organization is a pillar of regimes run by the international community that have kept power in the hands of foreigners rather than preparing the way for any transition to local self-government. In both places, elections have been turned into ludicrous spectacles of political correctness and censorship.
In Bosnia, for example, the OSCE--a kind of mini-United Nations with 55 members, mostly from North America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union--has seen fit to require that 30 percent of candidates for public office be women. Unsurprisingly in a traditional East European society with a large Muslim population, this quota did not encourage people to vote for women candidates, appreciated though it was by foreign experts. In an even worse instance of mischief, the OSCE intervened in the 2000 Bosnian elections with a propaganda campaign urging voters to replace the ruling moderate Islamic party in Sarajevo with the former Communist party. The slogan that appeared all over Sarajevo was "Vote for Change." Sarajevans asked themselves, Why are these foreigners telling us how to vote?
No plan whatever exists for the transfer of political sovereignty to Bosnians themselves. Almost a decade after the Dayton Accords that created the international administration, Bosnia is still divided between a Croat-Muslim zone and the so-called "Republic of Serbs." Bosnian Muslims, who made up some 45 percent of the country's population before the onset of aggression by Slobodan Milosevic in 1992, today control only 28 percent of Bosnian territory. Thus, the OSCE in effect rewarded Milosevic and his minions through "facts on the ground," even as Milosevic himself sits on trial in The Hague.
In addition, the OSCE stands as a barrier against privatization and investment in Bosnia. Lacking economic opportunity, young Bosnian Muslims increasingly heed the call of Wahhabism, the extremist state cult in Saudi Arabia that continues to deluge Bosnia with missionaries and mosques. In the streets of Sarajevo one may purchase propaganda promoting Islamist suicide terrorism, although no such thing occurred during the Balkan war and is unlikely to occur there today.
But the area where OSCE policies have been worst is the media. In Bosnia-Hercegovina, OSCE censors, under the pretext of barring "hate speech," have made it impossible for Muslims, Serbs, and Croats to freely discuss their differences and grievances in a way that would make possible a reconciliation between them. Discussion of "genocide" is essentially banned; independent TV stations are discouraged. Instead, the OSCE plasters the walls of Bosnian cities with posters offering abstract appeals to friendship and cooperation.
In Kosovo, under international administration since 1999, the OSCE has been even more heavy handed in its licensing of broadcasters and monitoring of content. This has provoked great anger among local journalists. Much more than in Bosnia, "international community" rule in Kosovo has left the province, whose population is enterprising and hard-working, plagued by unemployment and other social problems, leading to strikes and assorted protests.
In March, Kosovar resentment boiled over into an insurrection in which some 30 people were killed. Violence was touched off by a report that three Albanian children had drowned after they were pursued into a rushing river by Serbs in the city of Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo, which is divided between the two ethnicities.
In April, the OSCE issued a report that blamed the March events on Kosovar journalists, who it claimed had sensationalized their reports. The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) responded with a condemnation of the OSCE, stating that the report had failed "to establish any evidence of systematic attempts to distort the news coverage and incite violence." The IFJ accused the OSCE of laying responsibility on journalists for violence that had "its roots elsewhere"--truth to tell, in the incompetence of foreign rulers in the Balkans, in which OSCE is a prime culprit.
Perhaps when they come to the United States this fall, the election observers from the OSCE--an organization whose members include such models of representative government as Belarus, Turkmenistan, Moldova, and Ukraine--can learn a bit about how real democracies work and start to think about applying it in the Balkans.
Stephen Schwartz is the author of The Two Faces of Islam.
? Copyright 2004, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.


U.S. envoy Bolton to stop here on way to nuclear talks
By Aluf Benn
A senior U.S official will visit Israel for consultations prior to the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors meeting next week to discuss Iran's nuclear program. U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton will come to Jerusalem Sunday on his way to the IAEA meeting in Vienna. Bolton is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and senior Israeli officials, as part of efforts to transfer the "Iran case" to the United Nations Security Council.
Political sources in Jerusalem do not expect results from the upcoming board of governors meeting, and the diplomatic battle will likely be postponed until the board's November meeting. Iran hopes the suspicions against it will be removed from the IAEA agenda, and it will be able to continue with its uranium enrichment program.
The U.S. seeks to have Iran declared in violation of its international nuclear commitments, mandating transfer of the matter to the Security Council. The UK, Germany and France have made no progress in efforts to reach a compromise with Iran, but still prefer negotiations with Tehran.
Prior to the board of governors meeting, both sides are shoring up their positions with widespread diplomatic activity. IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei's last report on the Iranian program was lukewarm and generous to the Iranians, in Israel's opinion.
There is a dispute in the U.S. administration regarding the proper policy toward Iran. Bolton, a key hawk in the Bush administration, believes that diplomacy won't work with Tehran. Another approach calls for talks with Iran, in an attempt to dampen its ambitions to acquire nuclear arms.


Nuclear Weapons Charges Against South African Man Dropped
By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, September 8, 2004; 2:54 PM
JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 8 -- South African authorities on Wednesday abruptly dropped criminal charges against a Pretoria man charged last week with possessing components for the construction of nuclear weapons.
Today's move was part of a deal in which the man, Johan Andries Muller Meyer, 53, will cooperate with prosecutors to pursue other targets of the investigation, said a source familiar with the probe who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Police arrested Meyer Thursday in Vanderbiljpark, an industrial town south of here where Meyer is a director of Tradefin Engineering. He was charged with violating South Africa's strict laws against nuclear proliferation.
Eleven shipping containers of components for a gas centrifuge, used in the enrichment of uranium, were confiscated, as was related documentation and a machine that can be used to make other weapons components, officials here say.
The arrest was part of a wide-ranging international investigation into the nuclear black market that was established by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, and that helped Libya and other countries develop nuclear weapons programs.
Authorities were cautious in their public statements today. Sipho Ngwema, spokesman for the F.B.I.-style Scorpions, said only, "Charges have been dropped."
He declined to comment on whether Meyer remained under suspicion for wrongdoing. Meyer's defense attorney also has declined comment, according to wire service reports.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company

North Korea Warns of 'Nuclear Arms Race'

By Sang-Hun Choe
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, September 8, 2004; 4:27 PM
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea accused the United States of applying a double standard on the Korean Peninsula and warned Wednesday of a nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia following the revelation that South Korean scientists enriched a tiny amount of uranium in 2000.
The controversy over the South Korean experiment threatened to further disrupt troubled efforts to persuade North Korea to dismantle its suspected nuclear weapons programs.
North Korea's envoy to the United Nations, Han Sung Ryol, told South Korea's national news agency Yonhap that the communist state found the United States "worthless" as a dialogue partner because it was applying "double standards" to the two Koreas.
Han called South Korea's uranium enrichment experiment "a dangerous move that would accelerate a nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia," Yonhap said.
"We see South Korea's uranium enrichment experiment in the context of an arms race in Northeast Asia," Han was quoted as saying. "Because of the South Korean experiment, it has become difficult to control the acceleration of a nuclear arms race."
Han's comments were North Korea's first reaction to the South Korean admission this week that its scientists produced a small amount of enriched uranium in an experiment in 2000.
The reaction signaled that North Korea could use the South Korean experiment as leverage in any further talks on U.S.-led efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear development.
Earlier Wednesday, South Korea said it should have reported the uranium enrichment experiment to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.
South Korea admitted last week that its scientists produced 0.2 grams of enriched uranium during the experiment at its main government-affiliated nuclear research institute.
"We should have reported that uranium was used during this experiment," a senior official at the South Korean Foreign Ministry said on condition of anonymity. He spoke to reporters at a briefing.
South Korea has denied the experiment reflected an interest in developing nuclear weapons.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has criticized the secret experiment, saying it shouldn't have occurred. But he praised South Korea for working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to make sure the program has ended.
"We have confidence that the agency will pursue all these matters," Boucher said Wednesday.
Asked whether South Korea had experimented with plutonium, Boucher withheld comment, noting the United States is aware of what Seoul has reported to the IAEA about its past activities.
In the early 1970s, South Korea was developing a nuclear weapons program, but abandoned it under U.S. pressure and signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in April 1975 before producing any fissile material required to make a bomb. A senior Bush administration official said Wednesday that those secret experiments involved plutonium.
The IAEA has asked "plutonium-related" questions during the course of routine investigations over the years, but the plutonium issue was not mentioned in the recent IAEA report on the uranium enrichment case, the South Korean Foreign Ministry official said.
"Regarding plutonium, there is nothing that could be interpreted as a violation of NPT like the current uranium enrichment case," the official said. He declined to comment in detail.
Han, the North Korean diplomat, complained the Bush administration was being unfair.
"The United States is applying double standards," Hans was quoted as saying. "While saying it trusts South Korea, it is trying to force North Korea to accept nuclear inspections, concocting a story about a HEU (highly enriched uranium) program we don't even have."
The latest South Korean experiment took place two years before a nuclear crisis erupted on the divided Korean Peninsula, when the United States accused North Korea of running a secret uranium enrichment program.
North Korea denied the charge but withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in early 2003. It has also restarted plutonium facilities that were mothballed under a 1994 accord with Washington.
The impoverished North said its nuclear development was for peaceful purposes. But it also says it is increasing its "nuclear deterrent" against a U.S. plan to invade, and that it will abandon its atomic development only if Washington provides nonaggression guarantees and energy and economic aid.
Washington wants North Korea to allow immediate nuclear inspections and dismantle all nuclear facilities.
Accusing the United States of breaking an earlier promise to provide economic aid in return for nuclear inspections, Han called Washington "worthless" as a dialogue partner.
The United States, Russia, Japan, China and the two Koreas have held talks on North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons development, and they agreed to hold another round of negotiations in Beijing this month. However, no date has been set.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry official said the Vienna-based IAEA will decide next week whether the South Korean experiment was a violation of international nuclear safeguard agreements.
The official insisted the experiment itself was not, but said South Korea should have reported enriched uranium had been produced.
The Ministry of Science and Technology said it learned about the experiment in June, when the government made a report to the nuclear agency after signing an additional safeguards agreement earlier in the year.
On Thursday, a South Korean delegation will depart for the IAEA's headquarters to explain the experiment and pledge transparency in its nuclear operations.
South Korea says the enriched uranium produced during the experiment was far below the amount needed for a bomb. Besides, it was enriched to only 10 percent, much lower than the 90 percent enrichment needed for bomb-making, it says.
? 2004 The Associated Press


North Korea Nuclear Plant Suspended Again-Report
Monday, September 6, 2004; 12:38 AM
TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States, South Korea and Japan have agreed to suspend work on the construction of nuclear reactors in North Korea for a second year but stopped short of scrapping the project, a Japanese newspaper said on Monday.
The decision, which the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said was likely to be formalized at a meeting of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) in New York on Oct. 13, comes as Washington and its allies try to get Pyongyang to hold another round of talks this month on its nuclear arms programs.
The three countries, along with the European Union, formed the power consortium KEDO as a reward for North Korea's pledge in 1994 to freeze its nuclear development programs. The United States had agreed to provide fuel oil as part of the deal.
Quoting unidentified Japanese government sources, the Yomiuri said the United States had wanted to scrap the project entirely, but gave in to persuasion from South Korea and Japan to leave room to resume construction.
South Korea and Japan have covered 90 percent of the $1.5 billion construction costs so far.
More than 100 workers are still maintaining the site of the two partially built reactors.
KEDO suspended construction work on the light-water reactors for an initial one year last December, after the United States said in October 2002 that North Korea had admitted working on a secret uranium-enrichment project.
An attempt by North Korea to have the project restarted was rejected by KEDO's board in May.
Six-way talks between North and South Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia aimed at solving the nuclear stand-off have so far failed to make significant progress.
Washington has called for Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
? 2004 Reuters

Official: S. Korea Test Used Plutonium
By BARRY SCHWEID AP Diplomatic Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - South Korea more than 20 years ago secretly conducted an experiment with traces of plutonium, a key ingredient in making nuclear weapons, a senior Bush administration official disclosed Wednesday.
The revelation follows disclosure last week that the U.S. ally had conducted four secret uranium-enrichment experiments four years ago.
North Korea responded on Wednesday to the uranium-enrichment experiments by warning of a "nuclear arms race" in Northeast Asia.
The United States, with the support of South Korea, Japan, China and Russia, has been trying to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The talks are due to resume at the end of the month, but no date has been announced.
Plutonium and enriched-uranium are the two key ingredients of nuclear weapons.
South Korea is discussing its actions with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The administration is aware generally of the content of South Korea's reporting to the IAEA on nuclear experimental activity conducted in past years, another U.S. official said. The administration is confident the agency will thoroughly pursue any inconsistencies or questions, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, North Korea's envoy to the United Nations, Han Sung Ryol, told the South Korean national news agency Yonhap that it found the United States "worthless" as a dialogue partner because it applied double standards to the two Koreas. This could be a tip-off that North Korea will resist or delay efforts to halt its weapons program.
The State Department last week criticized South Korea for its secret work on uranium-enrichment while praising South Korea for working with the IAEA to make sure the program had ended.
The uranium and plutonium disclosures came amid a strenuous effort by the Bush administration to stop Iran from beginning a uranium-enrichment program that U.S. officials say could produce four nuclear weapons.
"We are in touch with the South Korean government," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Wednesday when asked whether South Korea had experimented with plutonium.
"We are also aware generally of what the South Koreans reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear experiments conducted in past years," he said.
"We have confidence that the agency will pursue all these matters," said Boucher, adding that he would withhold comment "as far as other possibilities" apart from the uranium-enrichment experiments.
South Korea is in the process of verifying to the U.N. agency that its uranium-enrichment activity "has been eliminated and will not be repeated," Boucher said last week.
"But what they had done in the past was activity that should not have occurred," he said. "It's activity that must be eliminated, and we are glad that South Korea is working in a transparent manner to do that."
The spokesman said the scale of South Korea's enrichment work was much smaller than that of North Korea and Iran. And he called on North Korea to disclose its activity to the U.N. agency.
Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said even after South Korea ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty in 1975, pledging not to try to develop nuclear weapons, Seoul was suspected of trying to keep nuclear options open.
It had a nuclear weapons research program in the early 1970s but the conventional wisdom was that South Korea did not acquire technology for enriched uranium or plutonium, Kimball said.
The disclosure Wednesday indicates efforts to close down the program were not completely successful, the head of the private research group said in a telephone interview.
"The devil is in the detail here, but in terms of newness I think that this probably is a surprise but it is not particularly shocking, either," he said.
Still, Kimball contrasted what South Korea had done as not an immediate problem compared to North Korea's current, active pursuit of nuclear weapons.
2004-09-08 21:03:27 GMT
Copyright 2004
The Associated Press All Rights Reserved


A Deepening Debate on Soldiers and Their Insurers
In May 2002, a young, unmarried soldier named Michael R. Deuel, serving with the 82nd Airborne division at Fort Bragg, N.C., signed up to pay nearly $120 a month for life insurance that supplemented the much less expensive coverage he had through the military.
But before he shipped out for Iraq, Private Deuel called to cancel some of his coverage because an officer on base "told him he did not need it," according to an insurance agent who served the base. A year later, in June 2003, the 21-year-old soldier was shot and killed while guarding a propane distribution center in Baghdad.
The case of Private Deuel is one of five incidents that some life insurers and their agents have offered as proof that improper meddling by senior officers is preventing young soldiers from getting supplemental insurance coverage before they head for dangerous duty abroad. By their account, thousands of other people in the military - one insurance marketing executive puts the number as high as 6,000 - have had similar experiences and are at risk of sharing Private Deuel's fate. The complaints have led to an investigation by the Government Accountability Office.
But an examination of the five cases in which young soldiers said they were dropping their insurance on an officer's advice and were later killed on duty shows that the issue is not so simple. The insurance being sold to the soldiers included policies that provided little additional coverage at high prices.
Four of the cases illustrate a little-noticed sales technique used by many insurance agents - selling military people an expensive policy in tandem with a low-cost policy. Agents who complain that soldiers have been wrongly advised to cancel policies do not distinguish between the two types of insurance. In fact, Private Deuel canceled only a policy that would have cost him $100 a month for a death benefit of $32,500, while keeping a $250,000 policy that cost him $18.75 a month.
Financial experts say that in most cases young Iraq-bound soldiers would be well advised to avoid the more costly policies, which include a savings plan as well as a death benefit, and stay with the less expensive ones, especially if they have young families.
But the insurance industry says soldiers, not their officers, should have the final say. Officers who advise troops to cancel their supplemental insurance "are hypocritical 'insurance gods' who advise lower and younger service people, who statistically are the ones losing their lives in war and are in harm's way, not to buy additional life insurance," said Richard L. Worsham of Hopkinsville, Ky., a marketing director who oversees more than 150 insurance agents serving military bases in eight Southern states and who lobbied for the G.A.O. investigation.
Mr. Worsham defended the more expensive products his agents sell as a useful retirement savings tool.
The American Council of Life Insurers, the industry's trade group, has encouraged any member companies with similar complaints about officer interference to notify the G.A.O., a spokesman said yesterday. And the issue may be raised in questioning tomorrow at a House subcommittee hearing examining whether young recruits are being exposed to high-pressure or misleading sales pitches, he said.
All service members can buy up to $250,000 in low-cost life insurance through the military, and 96 percent of them buy the maximum coverage, currently $16.25 a month. Some soldiers - those with young families or siblings, for instance - may want additional coverage, especially if they expect to serve in dangerous places.
But among the five soldiers cited by Mr. Worsham as having bought and then dropped their supplemental insurance, four of them - including Private Deuel - had actually applied for two different types of insurance, sold by the same agents at the same time, according to the application forms and other documentation provided by Mr. Worsham.
One was a simple, low-cost insurance policy offered through the Military Benefit Association, a nonprofit organization in Chantilly, Va. That policy, which pays a very low commission to the agents who sell it, gave Private Deuel $250,000 in supplemental coverage for $18.75 a month, $2.50 more than the premiums on the same coverage under his military plan. Financial planners and insurance experts say this form of coverage, called term insurance, is a good bargain for young soldiers of limited means who are seeking more coverage than they can buy through the military.
The other policy for which Private Deuel signed up was a Flexible Dollar Builder policy from the Trans World Assurance Company in San Mateo, Calif. This complex product, a form of "cash value" insurance, combines a small, expensive death benefit with an "accumulation fund" feature that allows policyholders to build interest-earning savings over time. That second policy would have cost Private Deuel $100 a month for a death benefit of $32,500.
This policy pays a large front-end commission to the selling agent. But its financial benefits to the policyholder accrue more slowly. Indeed, in most cases, the surrender value is less than the total amount paid for the product for at least a decade, even if the policyholder never has to tap into the "savings fund" for financial emergencies. Insurance experts say any cash value policy would be a poor choice for soldiers trying to maximize the amount their families would receive in the event of their deaths.
"It might very well be good advice to let the low-benefit, high-premium so-called savings program go and stay with the lower-price term insurance," said Joseph M. Belth, emeritus professor of insurance at Indiana University and editor of The Insurance Forum, an independent periodical.
In fact, Private Deuel did keep the $250,000 Military Benefit Association policy he had purchased, according to the agents who sold it to him, and canceled the more expensive Trans World policy, a choice that most financial experts would have endorsed.
Mr. Worsham also cited the case of Pvt. Marlin T. Rockhold, 23, killed by a sniper in Baghdad in May 2003, leaving a wife and her 9-year-old daughter at Fort Stewart, in Hinesville, Ga. At his death, the young private had $250,000 in military insurance, shared equally by his wife and his mother.
But eight months earlier, he had applied to buy $272,000 in additional insurance from one of Mr. Worsham's agents in Hinesville. According to the local agent, Private Rockhold canceled his application three days later, saying a noncommissioned officer at the base had told him he did not need additional insurance.
Like Private Deuel, Private Rockhold had signed up for the two types of insurance - but unlike Private Deuel, he had canceled both policies, even the low-cost one through the Military Benefit Association that would have given him $250,000 in supplemental coverage for $18.75 a month, with the entire amount going to his widow.
The other policy he canceled was a Flexible Dollar Builder from the American Fidelity Life Insurance Company in Pensacola, Fla., a sister company to Trans World. That policy would have cost Private Rockhold $60 a month for a death benefit of $22,000. Under the terms of the policy, he would not have accumulated any savings in the first year to supplement the stated death benefit, according to the documentation supplied by Mr. Worsham.
Two other soldiers on Mr. Worsham's list had also applied for both types of insurance, sold in tandem, and had also subsequently canceled both policies.
One, Pvt. Kevin C. Ott, who died in Iraq last June, had applied for just $50,000 of term insurance from the Military Benefit Association at a cost of $3.75 a month. He had also signed up for $25,000 of Flexible Dollar Builder insurance from American Fidelity for $100 a month, but had arranged to contribute an additional amount each month to the policy's accumulation fund, for a total monthly deduction of more than $158 for the second policy. Thus, he would have spent almost $162 a month for death benefits of $75,000, plus the money he paid into the second policy's savings fund before his death.
The other soldier, Pvt. Joseph Favorito 3rd, who died in a training accident in Louisiana in late 2002, had also signed up for $50,000 in low-cost Military Benefit Association coverage for $3.75 a month. His American Fidelity policy would have given him $26,000 in additional coverage, but would have cost $60 a month, none of which would have been paid into his accumulation fund in the first year.
The fifth soldier cited by Mr. Worsham was Sgt. Troy D. Jenkins of the Army, who was mortally wounded in April 2003 when he threw himself on an unexploded cluster bomb that had been brought to a group of soldiers by an Iraqi child. Sergeant Jenkins left a wife and two young children, according to military news releases.
The insurance agency that dealt with Sergeant Jenkins at Fort Campbell, Ky., sells both the low-cost Military Benefit Association term insurance, which would have provided up to $250,000 in additional benefits for his young family, and the Flexible Dollar Builder product. But according to the documents provided by Mr. Worsham, Sergeant Jenkins had applied in October 2002 for only the more expensive policy from American Fidelity, which provided $27,500 in coverage for $100 a month - and listed a friend as the primary beneficiary.
Sergeant Jenkins later canceled that policy, saying he was acting on the advice of his "chain of command," according to a letter from the local agent.
The complexities in the five cases illustrate the challenges that confront the G.A.O. study team. Mr. Worsham said that he had shipped 6,000 unconsummated insurance applications to the G.A.O. for its review, and he estimated that half of them were applications that soldiers filled out but subsequently withdrew, saying they were acting on the advice of senior officers. The other half, he said, were applications for policies that had not gone into effect because military finance offices had not processed the paperwork that would allow the soldiers to have their premiums automatically deducted from their paychecks.
Among the cases are some submitted by R. Lee Brown, a retired command sergeant major who sells insurance near Fort Hood, Tex. Mr. Brown, in a telephone interview last week, said about 50 soldiers filled out applications to buy insurance from him in March, just before they shipped out to Iraq. But so far, he said, none of their payroll deduction paperwork has been processed, leaving them without the additional insurance coverage they wanted.
The delayed paperwork may be an administrative lapse, but Mr. Worsham said he and Mr. Brown suspect that the payroll-deduction paperwork was simply "trashed" by finance officers who thought that the insurance the soldiers wanted to purchase was unnecessary. Pentagon officials have said that any military personnel found to have improperly interfered with a soldier's well-informed decision to buy supplemental insurance will be punished.
Mr. Worsham rejected the idea that officers who may have advised their troops to cancel policies may not have understood that there are some supplemental policies worth keeping, even if others are far less suitable.
Instead, he argued that many in the military establishment are prejudiced against American Fidelity and Trans World, the two companies that sell the Flexible Dollar Builder. In the late 1990's both companies and some of their agents were temporarily barred from several military bases after investigations confirmed that they had violated Pentagon rules governing the sale of insurance on military bases. Both were also sued in the late 1990's over their business practices by the Justice Department and by Florida insurance regulators; they settled both cases without admitting any wrongdoing.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


Women Denied International Driving Licenses
Abeer Mishkhas & Somayya Jabarti
JEDDAH, 8 September 2004 -- The Traffic Department has issued a law forbidding the issue of international driving licenses to all women in the Kingdom, whether Saudis or expatriates, Al-Watan newspaper reported.
In the past, Saudi women, who are not allowed to drive in the Kingdom, obtained driving licenses from other countries and using those licenses were issued international driving licenses through travel agents in Saudi Arabia.
A Jeddah travel agent told Arab News that issuing international driving licenses to women is a violation of Saudi law, and that those who do so -- he said there are those who still do -- are violating the law. He said there is nothing in writing forbidding the issuing of drivers' licenses. In other words, nothing official from the government has come to them but that it is understood among travel agencies that it is illegal to issue women with international drivers' licenses.
An agent at Al-Tayar Travel Agency said that his agency would not issue the licenses since to do so would break Saudi law. But what do women think?
Samira Al-Ghamdi, a psychologist, said: "I think such a decision needs to be studied. There are Saudi women who live or study abroad and have driving licenses in those countries. It does not make sense that when they come to renew their licenses here, they are not allowed to do so. I have a relative who got a license in Kuwait and she drives there. Such decisions are haphazard and they are not going to stop Saudi women from driving abroad."
Heba Shaikh sarcastically said: "This is only needlessly complicating women's lives. Instead of allowing us to drive here, now we are not allowed to drive abroad either. For me this means that I must go to any other country, take the driving test there and get a license which I can then use wherever I want. Except my home country of course. Honestly there are more important issues in our lives that require time and effort."
Independent women who travel on their own prefer the option of driving their own cars and this decision is going to make things difficult for them. A Saudi woman professor at King Saud University said: "I've been driving outside the Kingdom for at least 17 years. And as a mother who usually travels on my own, I do my own driving when I'm outside the country. I've renewed my driving license repeatedly. Now this is an unnecessary inconvenience. Must I now apply for a local driver's license in whatever country I travel to?"
The ban affects also non-Saudis who are not banned from driving in their own countries. Sawsan Al-Tabi, a Palestinian who works in a public relations company, normally renews her international driving license before traveling abroad in the summer but this year, she was unable to do so. "This year the travel agency refused to renew my international license even though my first license was issued in another country and despite the fact that I'm not Saudi. I don't understand. Not only are Saudi laws being forcefully and illogically applied to non-Saudis, but they're stepping over the borders to apply them."
On the other hand, some Saudi men think differently. Abu Sara, a businessman who is the father of three daughters and three sons, said: "I don't see the harm in the law. I mean it's not like women, Saudi or non-Saudi, are driving here. Come to think of it, stricter laws about issuing driving licenses should be implemented for men as well. The state of driving is bad as it is. Why would any woman be upset by this new law?"
For some women this new law is just one more obstacle. As Nouf Ahmad said: "Honestly it's like even if we leave the country, we don't really leave, do we?"

Saudi-Pak Ties Highlighted as Fahd, Abdullah Meet Aziz
Naushad Shamimul Haq, Arab News
JEDDAH, 8 September 2004 -- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah held talks here yesterday with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on major international issues including Palestine and Iraq.
During the meeting, King Fahd highlighted the "strong and distinguished relations" between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and emphasized the need to strengthen these ties, the Saudi Press Agency said.
Aziz conveyed the greetings of President Pervez Musharraf to the king and the crown prince. "This is my first foreign visit after becoming prime minister," Aziz said, adding that Pakistan gives utmost importance to its relations with the Kingdom.
Aziz told King Fahd: "We in Pakistan consider you as the leader and supporter of the Islamic nation." He also commended the great achievements made by Saudi Arabia over the past years.
Aziz also noted King Fahd's efforts in the expansion of the two holy mosques and the Saudi government's services to Haj and Umrah pilgrims. He emphasized Islamabad's desire to promote Saudi-Pak relations.
Earlier, Prince Abdullah held a one-on-one meeting with Aziz before hosting a luncheon in his honor. The luncheon was attended by Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, senior princes and top officials. Aziz held a separate meeting with Prince Sultan.
Finance Minister Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf met with Aziz and discussed the private sector's role in strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.
Addressing members of the Pakistani community at the Conference Palace, Aziz vowed to pursue transparent policies and make Pakistan prosperous and an economic giant.
He said the government had devised plans to enhance productivity and reduce poverty, particularly in rural areas. Special emphasis was being given to the improvement of infrastructure, health care facilities and education. Water shortage will be overcome with the building of big dams, he said.
Aziz said the government's prudent economic policies had yielded results and the growth rate had increased to 6.4 percent. An increase of 8 percent will be possible in near future, he added.
He urged Pakistanis living abroad to project the image of the country as a progressive and modern state.
About the problems of overseas Pakistanis, Aziz said Minister of State for Overseas Pakistanis Tariq Azeem has been assigned the task of resolving them on a priority basis.
Aziz said he has very good and cordial relations with Saudi leaders as he spent most of his life in the Kingdom. He said Saudi Arabia is second home for every Muslim.
He said the government was planning to launch an Islamic bond before the end of this year which he hoped would be well received in the Middle East.

Save Fathi Eljahmi
A Libyan dissident languishes in Gadhafi's dungeon.
Wednesday, September 8, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT
Unless someone with influence acts soon, this column must serve as an obituary for the hopes held out earlier this year of political reform in Moammar Gadhafi's Libya. More concretely, we may soon be reading obituaries for one of Libya's top democratic dissidents, Fathi Eljahmi--who is reportedly ill and in danger of dying in the hands of Libya's security police.
For anyone wondering why we should care, apart from such vague considerations as sheer human decency, the latest answer lies in the charred schoolhouse ruins and children's graves of Beslan, Russia. The only real hope of ending this global war is to replace the tyrannies that spawn terror with free societies that engender love of life, not death. In that endeavor, such democrats as Mr. Eljahmi are allies we cannot afford either morally or politically to abandon. They are our own best hope.
Jailed two years ago in Libya's notorious Abu Salim prison for advocating political pluralism and free speech in Libya, Mr. Eljahmi was released this past March, in the first happy round of U.S.-Libyan rapprochement, after Gadhafi agreed last December to give up his nuclear weapons program. Mr. Eljahmi seized the chance to speak up again for liberty, saying that Libya needed the equivalent of the political roundtable debate that in Poland, in the 1980s, helped bring democratic reform.
Less than three weeks after Mr. Eljahmi's release, and just after the freshly rehabilitated Gadhafi had hosted visits to Tripoli by Tony Blair and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, Libyan security squads detained Mr. Eljahmi once again, along with his wife and eldest son. Although "detained" is a perhaps too polite a word for a process in which Gadhafi's thugs assaulted Mr. Eljahmi at the door of his home, then dragged him away and have since held him incommunicado.
There has been no news of his wife and son, a silence alarming in itself. But last week, a message from sources inside Libya reached a group of Libyan-Americans in the U.S., who have been campaigning for democratic reform back in Libya--the American-Libyan Freedom Alliance. One of ALFA's leaders got word that Mr. Eljahmi has been transferred to Libyan security headquarters in Tripoli, a dread place known as Zawyet Al Dahmani, which is Libya's version of the old Soviet Lubyanka. With his health fast deteriorating, the 63-year-old Mr. Eljahmi, a diabetic with a heart condition, now in the un-tender care of Gadhafi's interrogators, is reportedly in danger of dying.
ALFA itself, according to several members, has been threatened in recent months by Gadhafi. Libyan agents in various sinister ways have sent them the message that the Libyan regime has long arms and can reach them anywhere in the world. That's a threat to take seriously, given Gadhafi's long record and wide reach of murder during the 35 years since he seized power--especially if the West now contents itself by accepting his blood money and applauding his "rehabilitation" while he does to death a man like Mr. Eljahmi. The blood on Gadhafi's hands belongs not only to the victims of his regime's terrorist acts abroad, but also to his many victims inside Libya, including the hundreds of prisoners shot to death in cold blood in 1996, during a protest over hideous conditions in the same Abu Salim prison where Mr. Eljahmi was jailed from 2002-03.
Despite Gadhafi's threats, ALFA members (including Mr. Eljahmi's younger brother, Mohamed Eljahmi, a naturalized U.S. citizen) have been seeking help in obtaining Fathi Eljahmi's release, or at the very least arranging to send him medical care in custody. ALFA has sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, reminding him that President Bush specifically mentioned Mr. Eljahmi this spring as one of the important democratic voices of the Islamic world. ALFA members have made the obligatory rounds of assorted other State Department officials and congressional offices--and come up dry.
That's worth thinking about, because in theory there are plenty of forces and resources arrayed to help and protect someone like Fathi Eljahmi.
First and foremost, at least in theory, there's the United Nations, with its cozy ties between the Libyan regime and the U.N. Human Rights Commission--chaired last year by none other than Libya's current ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Najat Al-Hajjaji. If Her Excellency Ms. Al-Hajjaji will not rush to Mr. Eljahmi's defense (and somehow no one seems to be seriously considering that she might), then perhaps Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who last year blessed Ms. Al-Hajjaji's presence in his human rights shop, could use his U.N. world stage to say a word or two on this matter of genuine human rights.
Then there's the Bush administration, which has made liberty abroad a pillar of foreign policy, and with its newly opened U.S. mission in Tripoli is well-placed to explain to Gadhafi that the U.S. means what it says. There is of course the election season consideration that the nuclear disarmament of Libya is one of the victories of the Bush administration--which it certainly is. But that came not of Gadhafi's goodness of heart, but of his fear upon witnessing the fall of Saddam Hussein. Toadying to Gadhafi is no way to keep him in line. If an American demand for the release of Mr. Eljahmi is enough to start Gadhafi ordering up more nuclear blueprints from China, then you can bet your sweet uranium Gadhafi was going to try it anyway--and we'd be smarter to keep him running scared, rather than fat, sassy and secure.
Of course there's also John Kerry, still struggling to define his post-Vietnam foreign policy. As it happens, Fathi Eljahmi's brother is one of Mr. Kerry's constituents. What better message than for Mr. Kerry to call Mr. Bush to account and demand that if Libya's regime wants to be welcomed into the modern world--and removed from the list of terror-breeding nations--it must make room for such democratic figures as Mr. Eljahmi.
And don't forget Congress. It was Sen. Joe Biden who during a visit to Gadhafi last March asked for Mr. Eljahmi's release from prison, and was mighty proud to publicize the achievement when Gadhafi said yes. How about some follow-up, at decibel levels the fabled "Arab street" can hear, that releasing a democrat from prison is not something to be reversed as soon as Joe Biden is safely back in Washington.
Then there are the enlightened governments of Europe, which hosted a visit from Gadhafi in April. Not that anyone expects anything at this point from France. But Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dropped in on Gadhafi last month, and Germany's Gerhard Schroeder is slated to visit this fall. Here is ample chance to explain to Gadhafi that it is not only Americans who understand the importance of democratization.
Laughable as it sounds, even the oilmen now rushing into Libya might want to pause for a moment and consider what kind of deals they are cutting with the dictator. Not that it is necessary or even wise for businessmen as a rule to start making policy. But as far as Western businessman serve as emissaries of the democratic world, it is in their collective interest, and ours, to spell out the democratic values that let them thrive in the first place. To expect that of any one businessman may be absurd, but where is the conscience, and voice, of such outfits as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?
Finally, there is the press--the free-wheeling outspoken Western press, so properly shocked by Abu Ghraib. When it comes to Gadhafi's secret police and dungeons, to his regime's chronic practice of disappearances, torture and murder, where is the outrage?
Which brings us back to Mr. Eljahmi. Does anyone care to imagine how much courage and conviction it takes to be a citizen of Libya, living in Libya, fully aware of the beatings and killings that continue in Gadhafi's prisons--and yet defy Gadhafi to demand democratic rule? In an interview last March, during his brief spell between imprisonments, Mr. Eljahmi told the U.S.-based Al-Hurrah Arabic TV broadcasting service that in order to democratize Gadhafi's absolute rule "I am willing to sacrifice my life. If he wants to kill me, I am ready to die for the Libyan people."
That's his choice. Ours should be to do everything in our power to help him stay alive.
Ms. Rosett is a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute. Her column appears here and in The Wall Street Journal Europe on alternate Wednesdays.
Shahab 3 Missile Ready for More Testing, Iran Says
Following a successful test last month, Iran is ready again to demonstrate the Shahab 3 medium-range missile, Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said yesterday (see GSN, Aug. 11).
"The ministry is ready to organize a new test of the Shahab 3 missile in the presence of observers," Shamkhani said in a statement carried by the official Iranian news agency IRNA. "The recent test that was carried out was a success."
The updated Shahab reportedly has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers, while the earlier version could reach no more than 1,700 kilometers, according to Agence France-Presse (Agence France-Presse/The Australian, Sept. 7).
China confiscates semi-official report critical of N. Korea

Report: N. Korea sought sodium cyanide used for chemical weapons

PLA colonel executed for selling missile secrets

S. Korea's hit TV, films, music infiltrate N. Korean airwaves


London report foresees civil war in Iraq after U.S. pullout
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
LONDON - Iraq's failure to quell the Shi'ite and Sunni insurgencies will lead to a civil war with Iran's and Turkey's potential involvement, a London institute projected.
A new report said the failure by the interim government in Iraq to impose order in the country could lead to a civil war. The report by the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs said such a war would be likely if the United States withdraws its military from Iraq.
On Tuesday, the U.S. military reported 100 Iraqi casualties in fierce fighting with Sunni insurgents in Faluja. At the same time, the military said 34 people were killed in a battle with the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army in Baghdad, Middle East Newsline reported. The military has sustained more than a dozen casualties in both engagements, and senior U.S. officials acknowledged that Iraqi cities could remain in insurgency hands until Iraq's military and security forces were capable of retaking them. "Even if U.S. forces try to hold out and prop up the central authority, it may still lose control," the report by the institute said.
The report cited several scenarios over the next 18 months. The best-case scenario envisioned government participation by the majority Shi'ite community as well as the smaller Sunni and Kurdish sectors.
But another scenario envisioned a collapse of authority throughout the country. At that point, the report said, Iran would extend its control over Shi'ite communities in Iraq while Kurds in northern Iraq would separate from the rest of the country.
"If Iraq fragments, then the neighbors cannot but become involved," the report said. "This would presage the potential unraveling of the state system that has been in place since the 1920s, and the U.S. intervention in Iraq would indeed have triggered a transformation of the region - albeit not the one hoped for under the U.S. democratization agenda."
"The enemy is becoming more sophisticated in its efforts to destabilize the country," Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday. "And recently, we've seen an increase in the number of suicide attacks."
The British report did not envision a dominant role for the U.S. military. It saw the military as providing increasing responsibility to the new Iraqi armed forces.
But the institute appeared to doubt the effectiveness of any interim Iraqi government or its security forces. Under the worst-case scenario, Iraq would become a haven for Al Qaida-inspired insurgents, including those fighting the royal family in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, the mixed city of Kirkuk would descend into civil war, pitting Arabs against Kurds. The report said this could trigger Turkish intervention.
Copyright ? 2004 East West Services, Inc.


"IRAQ WILL NOT BE A 'SUCCESS' FOR A LONG TIME": Passing the horrible milestone of the thousandth soldier killed in Iraq conveys a responsibility to reassess the policy that led to it. Right now, the occupation of Iraq is rudderless, defined more by drift than design. That drift is the result of the sheer confusion of President Bush. In his convention speech last week, the most specific the president got in describing the course he is endlessly asking the country to stay was this:
So our mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible.
Leave aside for a moment the numerous differences between Afghanistan and Iraq. What Bush offered in New York was a series of vague goals, not a strategy. Nor did he give any indication of how he understands "stability" and "democracy," the end state of the mission he blithely described as "clear." For example, will "democracy" mean simply the advent of elections--even elections extremely unlikely to be free or fair? Furthermore, does the president believe that current policy in Iraq, whatever that is, is succeeding? Are the casualty figures to be expected and endured because the policy is yielding results, as Donald Rumsfeld strangely suggested at his press conference yesterday--even as he and General Richard Myers conceded that the number of trained-and-equipped Iraqi security forces, the linchpin of the United States's plan for stability, stands at less than half of the 200,000-troop figure Rumsfeld has cited for months? (What's more, according to Myers, those forces won't truly be ready to take on security duties until the end of the year, calling into question what exactly the figure of 95,000 uniformed Iraqis really means.)
Given this strategic confusion, measuring progress or backsliding in Iraq policy is a difficult enterprise, filled with often-contradictory information. This morning, Rick Barton and Sheba Crocker of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis) released the long-awaited results of an ambitious research project aimed at synthesizing a trove of data on Iraq, titled "Progress Or Peril?: Measuring Iraq's Reconstruction." The csis researchers analyzed hundreds of media reports in four languages; over 300 data points from official U.S. documents; 16 public opinion polls stretching back to August 2003; and interviews with 700 Iraqis across 15 cities conducted June 12-27 of this year. The purpose of sifting through this extraordinary amount of information was to quantify on multiple levels whether Iraq had reached "tipping points" across five key areas of measurement: security; governance and participation; economic opportunity; access to basic services like electricity and water; and social well-being. These tipping points were not overly ambitious. In the governance sector, for example, it meant analyzing whether a typical Iraqi citizen could affirm, "I am free to vote"; in the security sphere, it meant whether he or she could say, "I travel throughout my community, avoiding only areas that are known to be dangerous."
The results are grim. "Iraq is not yet moving on a sustained positive trajectory toward the tipping point or end state in any sector," they write. When the survey's authors graph their findings from June 2003 to July 2004, the lines skew confusedly and double back to where they began: "In fact, in every sector we looked at, we saw backward movement in recent months." To paraphrase the president, csis has found that not only haven't we turned the corner, we are very likely going back.

Among csis's more interesting findings:

--Contrary to the endless bashing of Iraq press coverage by the administration, "the media has not been significantly more negative than other sources of information on the issues of security, governance and participation, and economic opportunity. The media has been regularly more negative than other sources about services and social well-being issues. But in those areas, the media is arguably more balanced than public sources, in that it tends to include descriptions of the impact of security and reports of the Iraqi perspective."

--As for the typical metric of success used by the administration--the number of schools or hospitals built by U.S. forces: "It is possible to recognize progress in certain areas (e.g., number of hospitals rebuilt) while also concluding that it is insufficient, overshadowed by massive remaining hurdles, or not making a quantified or qualified difference to Iraqis. The U.S. efforts thus far have been largely divorced from the Iraqi voice and undermined by security problems and the lack of jobs and they are not leading toward entrenched sustainability of Iraqi capacity."

--Csis's latest round of interviews in Iraq--among 700 Iraqis in 15 cities--occurred from June 12-27. As contemporaneous polls conducted for the CPA and Oxford Research International found, those waning days of the CPA produced a honeymoon period for the embryonic administration of Iyad Allawi. But even during the honeymoon, csis found, "Governance and Participation is a largely negative picture, despite a slight boost in optimism related to the June 28 transfer of sovereignty. ... Most are willing to give their government a chance, although they continue to question its credibility." While polling during this time typically confirmed the honeymoon, the interviews csis conducted did not: "On the basis of the interviews alone, however, Iraqis seem to feel they have marginal influence over a government that is somewhat credible. This was the only issue on which not one of the towns we interviewed passed the tipping point."

--The Sunni and Shia insurgencies have already overwhelmed the U.S. and the Allawi government. Now, csis warns, "U.S. and Iraqi officials ignore the undercurrent of disaffection in the north at their peril. ... As recent violence in Mosul shows, that city is a ticking time bomb ... Kirkuk is a similar worry." In Kurdistan, a population that once expressed high levels of confidence in the developing political situation is growing disillusioned with the PUK and KDP leadership, as well as with the U.S., largely due to the administration's refusal to secure United Nations approval for the federalism and autonomy guarantees in the interim constitution.

The study's authors bring a tremendous amount of credibility to this project. In July 2003, a csis delegation that studied conditions in Iraq at the behest of Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer issued a remarkably prescient report highlighting the pitfalls of the administration's dual strategy of unilateralism and Iraqification, the rapid deterioration of security conditions, and its dire implications for success in the political and economic dimensions of reconstruction. (Both Barton and Crocker were part of the csis team.) That early report, which warned of a three-month window of opportunity for the U.S. occupation, went essentially unheeded.
Now, csis issues a new set of recommendations, ranging from accelerating the training of Iraqi security forces to prioritizing development of the Iraqi justice system to renewing efforts at internationalizing the occupation. But the researchers candidly identify a crucial complicating factor: the very fact of the U.S. occupation: "[T]he United States should expect continuing resentment and disaffection even if the U.S.-led reconstruction efforts seem to be making positive, incremental improvements to the country according to quantifiable measures. In other words, the occupation will not be judged by the sum of its consequences, but rather qua occupation."
Csis has done something that President Bush has never done and probably will never do with the American people when it comes to Iraq. It gives them the tools to assess the policy, and then levels with them:
Iraq will not be a "success" for a long time. In fact, one thing this project highlights is the difficulty in defining success at all. It is better to focus on catalyzing Iraq's recovery by concentrating on a series of measurable benchmarks, like those laid out in the report, and setting Iraq on the right trajectory to meet those benchmarks. Setting our sights on realizable benchmarks instead of on defining a U.S. exit strategy will be more beneficial for Iraq, and suggest achievable goals for the United States.
If the administration had listened to csis in July--or to the numerous government officials who studied a potential occupation of Iraq in 2002--perhaps we wouldn't have come to this awful point. But here is where President Bush has taken us, and from the very beginning to last week, he has proven himself incapable of taking us forward.
posted 10:04 a.m.


Bushmaster, Bull's Eye Settle for $2.5 Million in D.C. Sniper Shootings Lawsuit

By Rebecca Cook Associated Press Writer
Published: Sep 8, 2004
SEATTLE (AP) - The manufacturer and dealer of the rifle used in the Washington, D.C.-area sniper shootings agreed Wednesday to pay $2.5 million in a settlement with victims and victims' families.
The settlement with Bushmaster marks the first time a gun manufacturer has agreed to pay damages to settle claims of negligent distribution of weapons, said Jon Lowy, a lawyer with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. He helped argue the case. He said the settlement with Bull's Eye Shooter Supply is the largest against a gun dealer.
"These settlements send a loud and clear message that the gun industry cannot turn a blind eye to how criminals get their guns," Lowy said.
Bushmaster Firearms of Windham, Maine, agreed to pay $550,000 to eight plaintiffs. Bull's Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma, where the snipers' Bushmaster rifle came from, agreed to pay $2 million.
Kelly Corr, the attorney representing Bushmaster, said the company made "no admission of liability whatsoever."
He said Bushmaster and its insurance company, which will pay the $550,000, decided to settle rather than continuing to run up legal fees in court. Corr said the settlement will not change the way Bushmaster conducts business.
"Bushmaster believes it is a responsible manufacturer," he said.
As part of the settlement, though, Bushmaster agreed to educate its dealers on gun safety.
A lawyer representing Bull's Eye did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday night.
A judge will determine how to divide the settlement among two people who were injured in the shootings and the families of six people who were killed.
John Allen Muhammad, 43, was convicted and sentenced to death for murder in one of the 10 fatal shootings in October 2002 in the Washington, D.C.-area. His co-conspirator, 19-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo, was tried separately, convicted of murder in a different death and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
They used a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle, a civilian version of the military M-16.
The civil lawsuit alleged that at least 238 guns, including the snipers' rifle, disappeared from the gun shop in the three years before the shooting rampage. Despite audits by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms showing that Bull's Eye had dozens of missing guns, Bushmaster continued to use the shop as a dealer and provided it with as many guns as the owners wanted, the lawsuit alleged.
"It appears that 17-year-old Malvo was able to stroll into this gun store and stroll out carrying a 3-foot-long, $1,000 Bushmaster assault rifle," Lowy said. "Bull's Eye should have taken reasonable care to prevent guns from being stolen. Bushmaster should have required Bull's Eye to implement simple, reasonable security measures."
Seattle attorney Paul Luvera represented the victims' families. He called the settlement "historic" and said it should change practices in the firearms industry.
"When a manufacturer makes a large settlement like this one, it is an example to other manufacturers," Luvera said.
The victims' lawsuit, filed in January 2003, also names Malvo and Muhammad as defendants. Those claims are technically still pending, though they are unlikely to be resolved.
A bill was proposed in Congress earlier this year that would have given the firearms industry immunity from lawsuits such as this one. Despite strong support from President Bush, it died in the Senate.
On the Net:
AP-ES-09-08-04 2302EDT

Nov. 13, 2001 Air Crash over New York Was Work of Al Qaeda Suicide, Says Canadian Intelligence
DEBKAfile Special Report
August 30, 2004, 10:30 PM (GMT+02:00)
According to a top secret Canadian government report, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York, had a sequel two months later. On November 13, 2001, American Airlines flight 587 crashed over Queens, New York, shortly after takeoff from JFK killing all 265 people aboard. A captured al-Qaeda operative, Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, told Canadian intelligence investigators that a Montreal man who trained in Afghanistan alongside the 9/11 hijackers was responsible, using a small shoe bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid for his "suicide mission." He named Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen known also as "Farouk the Tunisian."
This is reported in Canada's National Post
Asked for a comment, US National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, Ted Lopatkiewicz, still insisted there was no evidence of anything other than an accident (in the plane crash over Queens.) It appears, at least the evidence we have, is that a vertical fin came off, not that there was any kind of event in the cabin."
The same kinds of claims were made officially three years ago too. Yet on November 15, 2001 DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources maintained that the downing of Flight 587 was the work of terrorists:
The Information accumulating opens up the possibilities of a bomb having been planted near the tail of the Airbus, or a suicide bomber blowing himself up in the rear of the aircraft. The plane came down shortly after taking off for the Dominican Republic from John F. Kennedy International airport. Another scenario under investigation is that a surface-to-air missile was fired from a boat in Jamaica Bay near the airport.
According to DEBKAfile's intelligence sources, a number of people linked to Al Qaeda in New York behaved suspiciously several hours before the crash; some, who were under surveillance following the September 11 attacks, managed to disappear, with the FBI unable to determine how they slipped away or trace their current whereabouts.
Those sources also noted that the US F-15 warplanes, on 24-hour patrol in the skies of New York and other major US cities, were ordered immediately after the crash to search for any boats or unusual activity in the Jamaica nature reserve.
The morning after, Wednesday, November 14, divers were seen scouring the marsh area for signs that missiles had been fired at the plane, such as a launcher or a scuttled boat, on the assumption that the terrorist who fired the missile escaped in a scuba suit.
Despite adamant denials by the US Federal Aviation Authority, it is now becoming clear that prior to the crash, US intelligence did indeed receive numerous warnings from intelligence sources outside the United States that a terrorist strike was likely on Tuesday, Veterans Day, to mark the two-month anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. (End of quote)
According to the US 9/11 commission, Jdey, 39, came to Canada from Tunisia in 1991 and become a citizen in 1995. With his new passport, he left for Afghanistan and trained with some of the September 11 hijackers. He was dropped from the 9/11 mission after recording a "martyrdom" video. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, planner of the World Trade Center attack, claims Jdey was recruited for a "second wave" of suicide attacks. In 2002, he was one of seven al Qaeda members sought in connection with possible terrorist threat in the United States.

Posted by maximpost at 11:58 PM EDT
Friday, 3 September 2004

N. Korea to Conduct Nuke Test in October?
Grand National Party Lawmaker Park Jin, who is currently attending the U.S. Republic Party national convention, said Thursday that North Korea may conduct a nuclear experiment in October, and this intelligence was quietly making its way around Washington political circles. Moreover, a high-ranking U.S. government official recently met with a North Korean diplomatic official in New York and official conveyed concerns over this intelligence, Park said.
While he was visiting the headquarters of the New York-based Wall Street Journal on Thursday, too, Park was asked by a high-ranking member of the paper's editorial staff whether he knew of the "October Surprise." The editor said that talk of a North Korean nuclear test in October was going around Washington political circles and high-ranking government officials, and such talk had even made it to the New York media.
Park said that through inquiries to high-ranking U.S. Defense Department officials and White House beat reporters from major media companies, he was able to reconfirm that such talk was, in fact, going around.
Park did not reveal who conveyed U.S. concerns to North Korea through New York diplomatic channels, but he did say that a high-ranking U.S. government official officially expressed concern over a possible "October Surprise," and North Korea showed no response.
( )

IAEA Inspection Finds Nothing Unusual
As an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection team is conducting a weeklong investigation on the uranium enrichment experiment, it was confirmed Friday that the IAEA had actually visited Korea last year.
"IAEA had requested cooperation in visiting the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute last year, and we affirmed the request," said Cho Chung-won, director-general of Nuclear Energy Cooperation in the Science and Technology Ministry on Friday. "However, I cannot share the specific content of the inspection because of the pact between IAEA and the government," he added. Only one inspector came last year.
Cho said, "This incident was first reported to the Ministry of Science and Technology in June, and the Korean government reported it to the IAEA on Aug. 17... The IAEA inspection team is here to confirm the report we have sent in August."
The IAEA inspection team will leave the country Saturday, a day before the scheduled departure date.
Cho said, "the IAEA inspection team has been probing the uranium experiment from last Sunday, and has confirmed that there were no discrepancies in our report. They will leave Korea on Saturday." The IAEA had prescheduled to continue the inspection through Saturday.
( )

Gov't Explains Nuclear Experiments
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Science and Technology Ministry Atomic Power Bureau chief Cho Chung-won said Thursday, "In January and February of 2000, during research on separating radioactive materials at Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, 0.2g of enriched uranium was separated from natural uranium... We reported this to the IAEA on Aug. 17." Accordingly, an IAEA inspection team has been in Korea since Aug. 27 conducting inspections; it will continue its work until Saturday.
The Science and Technology Ministry said, "The uranium enrichment occurred incidentally during the course of an experiment to separate gadolinium, a material used to slow down nuclear reactions in nuclear power stations. As gadolinium separation proved uneconomical, the equipment related to the experiment was dismantled and the experiment suspended."
About this, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a regular briefing Thursday, " I would say that South Korea has voluntarily reported this activity. [What happened shouldn't have occurred, but] they are cooperating fully and proactively in order to demonstrate that the activity has been eliminated and it is no longer cause for concern." He added that he didn't believe the matter would influence the fourth round of six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue scheduled for late September.
(Kang In-sun, )

Gov't Must Quickly Eliminate Uranium Suspicions
Following the revelation that the Korea Atomic Energy Research (KAER) conducted experiments to enrich uranium four years ago, some foreign press agencies have raised suspicions that Korea attempted to develop nuclear weapons.
Many countries, however, possess the technology to concentrate radioactive isotope material using lasers. The KAER also did the experiment to separate materials for medical purposes, but found out that it was uneconomical and thus suspended the experiment. About this, the research team said that just before dismantling the equipment related to the experiment, it experimented out of an investigative mind to see whether it was possible to enrich uranium using lasers like it was in theory.
It requires 15 kg of uranium to build nuclear weapons, but the amount of enriched uranium produced in the KAER's experiment was only 0.2 kg. This means that it needs to repeat the same experiment hundreds of thousands of times to build a single nuclear weapon. Then, it is preposterous to escalate the issue to suspect that Korea might develop nuclear weapons.
Moreover, Korea voluntarily reported the experiment. At the time of the experiment, the facilities of the KAER were not on the list of the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the KAER was not obliged to report its activity. Then this February, Korea rectified an additional protocol on safety measures by IAEA, which requires experiments for research purposes to be reported as well. Thus, the government came to report the experiment conducted four years ago. In addition, the U.S. State Department spokesman said about the issue, "Korea is cooperating fully and proactively in order to demonstrate that the activity has been eliminated and it is no longer cause for concern."
The most worrying thing is that using the issue as an excuse, North Korea may refuse to hold six-way talks to resolve its nuclear issue. If Korea had attempted to develop nuclear weapon technology, the KAER would not have dismantled the equipment after experimenting only once. The government should try to resolve suspicion raised by the international community as soon as possible by clearly explaining the issue in detail to the IAEA inspection team. The longer such an issue remains unresolved, the more unnecessary speculation will be raised.

Gov't Decries Foreign Press Exaggerations of Nuke Fuel Experiments
The government is cautioning against a possible stir caused by foreign press "exaggerations" concerning experiments that resulted in the extraction of a minute quantity of uranium.
This is because after the government announced Thursday that some scientists had separating a minute amount of uranium during the course of research in January and February 2002, major foreign press agencies like Reuters, AP and AFP focused on trying to ascertain the government's intention and involvement rather than purely reporting the facts. The government also pointed out that the level of suspicion raising had crossed a line.
Reuters emphasized that the government may have been involved, saying that while the amount of uranium produced was small, its enrichment was "very close" to weapons-grade, and while the Korean government was saying it didn't know what was going on at the time of the experiments, the scientists were government employees working at a government-run research center. AP went as far as to quote Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, as saying, "We cannot afford to have another whitewash... This incident should lead to a reevaluation of U.S. export control laws on nuclear technology," while AFP reported, "The United States called for a thorough probe into ally South Korea." Their attitude seemed like one looking to escalate the issue into a source of tension between the U.S. and Korea.
About this, a government official, failing to repress his displeasure, said, "We received a belated report about an experiment to separate a minute quantity of uranium that took place four years ago, and to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings, we reported it immediately to the IAEA and even publicly pledged to prevent such an incident from recurring, but some foreign press agencies are driving the story in a provocative way."
It required 15kg of uranium to build the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, but with current technology, it's known one could produce a weapon with only 5-6kg of uranium. Accordingly, Korean nuclear experts say 0.2g wouldn't be enough for even a test sample.

( )

Foreign Press Raise Concerns About Nuke Experiments
In connection with Korean scientists' uranium enrichment experiment, the Japanese media has shown the most sensitive response. The Asahi Shimbun extensively covered Korea's uranium test on the first, second and third page. The Yomiuri Shimbun also reported it on the first page on a large scale.
The Asahi Shimbun harshly criticized the South Korean government in its editorial entitled "Surely Not in South Korea?" saying that the experiment goes against the nonproliferation declaration on which North Korea agreed and South Korea has lost a justification to require North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons development. The newspaper raised a doubt, saying it could not understand the South Korean government announcement that it did not know about the nuclear test. Recent nationalistic tendencies in Korea might be behind the nuclear experiment, analyzed the Asahi Shimbun.
Major U.S. media companies like the New York Times and the Washington Post raised a suspicion that the South Korean government might have been involved in the nuclear experiment, saying that the uranium extraction using lasers was used mainly in weapons development programs driven by governments because it was very difficult and took a huge amount of money.
The U.S. media said that this case in which a U.S ally had violated the nonproliferation treaty with confidential nuclear-related activities was embarrassing to the Bush administration, which was attempting to strengthen international pressure on the secret nuclear development of North Korea and Iran.
The Asian Wall Street Journal analyzed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is certainly smiling while calculating what benefit he would gain though the South Korean nuclear test. It raised a suspicion over the possible involvement of the South Korean government by quoting a U.S. official as saying that South Korea's moderate leftist former government and incumbent government might have approved the nuclear test.
The British Financial Times analyzed that the nuclear test might be caused by situational factors, saying that there were similarities between the situation in the 1970s when South Korea had embarked on nuclear development and the current situation in which the number of U.S. troops stationed in Korea were reduced and Korean-U.S relations were strained.
Concerning the South Korean government's voluntary report, international media companies refuted the South Korean government's argument that it had voluntarily reported the test to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saying that IAEA inspectors had been banned from entering the institute and South Korea had admitted the test only after inspectors had raised questions concretely pointing at equipment in the institute.
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South Koreans Say Secret Work Refined Uranium
The South Korean government has admitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency that a group of the country's scientists secretly produced a small amount of near-weapons grade uranium, raising suspicions that South Korea may have attempted a secret program to counter North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
The revelation, made 11 days ago and disclosed by the agency yesterday, could greatly complicate the confrontation with North Korea over its own nuclear weapons program. President Bush regularly calls for a "nuclear-free Korean peninsula," and those calls have been endorsed by South Korea, one of Washington's closest Asian allies.
In a statement, the South Korean government said the highly enriched uranium was produced by a group of rogue scientists in 2000, without the knowledge of the government. But many details of the effort, which was an apparent violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, remain murky, and the method the scientists used was so expensive that it is normally associated with government-directed weapons programs. Richard A. Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said yesterday that it "is important that all such activity be investigated," adding that after the I.A.E.A. completed a review the United States "will be able to draw the appropriate conclusions."
According to international diplomats with knowledge of the South Korean disclosure, the government admitted to the experiment only after energy agency inspectors began asking pointed questions about a piece of equipment in a building in Taejon, a South Korean scientific center, that they had been barred from visiting. It was unclear how they had learned of the existence of the equipment. "It became clear to the South Koreans that there would be environmental samples taken, and the truth would be discovered," one of the diplomats said. "So they decided they better disclose it first, themselves." That disclosure took place on Aug. 23. The South Korean government has not yet explained how it learned of the work of the scientists.
While the amount of uranium that South Korea has admitted to enriching was very small, about two-tenths of a gram, it was enriched to nearly 80 percent - a level so high that experts said it was difficult to imagine that it would be useful for anything other than making nuclear weapons. It would take several kilograms to make even a crude nuclear weapon. When it was disclosed last year that Iran used a similar method to try to enrich uranium - though with significantly larger quantities - the Bush administration said that effort was clear evidence that Tehran was seeking to build a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Boucher declined to draw that conclusion on Thursday about South Korea, noting that it had disclosed its own violation. But a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency was rushed to the country last week, and is now conducting tests to determine if the country has fully disclosed what it produced.
South Korea recently agreed to a set of more intensive inspections by the agency, and the inspectors were in the country to perform them.
It was unclear whether the scientists who were involved in what South Korea called a "laboratory experiment" were government employees or workers for the country's civilian nuclear industry. A South Korean government statement said the experiment was intended for research on civilian fuel production, but outside experts said that seemed improbable.
There was no response yet from North Korea, and Mr. Boucher said it was not clear that the discovery would hinder the diplomatic effort to pressure the North to disarm. But several other administration officials disagreed, saying the disclosure would probably have significant propaganda value for the North, which withdrew from the nonproliferation treaty 18 months ago. It can now claim that the South had also introduced weapons-grade material to the Korean peninsula.
North Korea is estimated to have enough plutonium to produce two to eight nuclear weapons, and Washington has accused it of having a second, secret uranium enrichment program of its own. North Korea denies it has such a program.
At the time of the South Korea experiment in the year 2000 - which Seoul insists was never repeated - the country was led by President Kim Dae Jung. Mr. Kim was known for his "sunshine policy" of seeking increased engagement with the North, and traveled to North Korea the same year that the enrichment experimentation reportedly took place. "I would doubt it is anything that Kim Dae Jung condoned," said Donald P. Gregg, a former American ambassador to South Korea. "But that doesn't mean it hadn't been condoned by some previous government" or parts of the military.
The method chosen by South Korean scientists to enrich uranium, through the use of lasers, is considered easy to hide. Though pioneered by the United States and pursued for decades around the globe, laser enrichment appears to have remained a laboratory curiosity. "None of the big players use lasers," said Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, a private group that tracks nuclear arms. "They all use centrifuges, " referring to the devices that concentrate uranium by spinning it at high speed. Low levels of enrichment are necessary for electricity production; high levels can be used for weapons.
To date, the laser technique has been so expensive that experts assume its only usefulness would be for a military program where costs are no obstacle. It uses different colors of laser light to separate different forms of the same element, like uranium 238 from uranium 235, which in atomic reactions easily splits in two in bursts of energy.
"Given its lack of commercial application, the only conclusion you can reach is that any nation pursuing this technology is doing it for military uses," said Paul Leventhal, president of the Nuclear Control Institute, a private group in Washington that has campaigned against nuclear facilities whose waste could be used for weapons.
Last year, the International Atomic Energy Agency revealed that Iran had worked in secret for 12 years to develop lasers for purifying uranium. In a report, it said Iran established a pilot plant for laser enrichment in 2000 and used it from October 2002 to January 2003 to conduct experiments. The Iranian authorities said they disassembled the plant in May 2003.
Mr. Leventhal of the Nuclear Control Institute said the laser technology was so costly and difficult that only governments had the means to try to exploit it, undermining South Korea's disavowals about unsupervised scientists doing the experiments on their own.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company |
Beijing pressing pro-China buttons in Bush's NSC
China is stepping up pressure on the Bush administration to block all sales of arms to Taiwan until after the November presidential elections. Beijing's position has covert allies in Douglas Paal, the U.S. government representative in Taiwan, and Dennis Wilder, a pro-China CIA analyst recently named to the White House National Security Council staff...

China takes delivery of 24 Sukhoi fighters
China's People's Liberation Army-Navy has now gotten 178 Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia in 10 years...

Japan documents 28 recent incursions of PRC ships into territorial waters...

Secret life and death of Kim's Japanese-born wife/mistress starts power struggle for communist throne...
Pyongyang to expel NGOs suspected of spying, using Christianity to subvert regime...



The Latin Americanization of China?
Wide-ranging liberal market reforms have produced rapid gains in China's overall economic growth over the past two decades. Yet rural policy since 1978 has been rent by opposing influences: the state recognizes the growing plight of farmers facing market reforms, but it refuses to accept rural migrants as full members of urban communities. Today, however, China's leaders are deepening land reform programs in the countryside. Reformers hope this will spur consolidation of land into larger, more efficient agricultural holdings while encouraging inefficient farmers to divest their land, leave the countryside, and help fuel healthy industrial growth by selling their labor in China's burgeoning cities.
As Karl Polanyi, the author of the 1944 study, The Great Transformation, could have predicted, this process is not going smoothly. Although Polanyi was describing the enclosure movement and subsequent social, economic, and political crises in eighteenth-century England, many common themes are now being played out in China's own great transformation, including worsening inequality, rising expectations, and increasing conflict and violence in the countryside. Yet the current crisis in the countryside is only a precursor to the deeper and more fraught crisis that is growing in China's cities. China's economic reforms have created what Sun Liping of Tsinghua University calls a "cloven society." The new richand powerful now live in walled, guarded villas and modern apartment complexes, enjoying vast differences in wealth, power, and rights from the swelling ranks of the rural poor and urban dispossessed. The latter are composed of millions of migrant workers living in shantytowns, alongside the growing numbers of urban unemployed and low-income residents who are being forcibly removed from the city center to make way for new real estate development. This second, developing crisis is not only a crisis of infrastructure and incomes--the hardware of urban life. As millions of peasants seek a permanent home in China's cities, it is also a battle for identity and entitlements--the critical software that makes urban society workable. These "urban rights" include legal status and accompanying access to jobs, education, health services, insurance, and social welfare benefits.
The outcome of this second crisis, though it will certainly involve increasing scope and intensity of conflict and confrontation, need not be endless discord or regime collapse. China's tumultuous reform process could see the creation of new, more liberal legal and social institutions. Transforming migrants into urban citizens with equal rights and allowing social groups to organize and articulate their own interests would both improve the ability of the government to govern effectively and minimize longterm threats to stability and economic development. But other outcomes are also possible. The state could refuse to allow liberal institutional innovation and slip into a modern form of authoritarian corporatism in which political leaders might seek to channel social energies toward nationalist ends-- the "revolution from above" about which Barrington Moore warned. Or alternatively, China could catch the Latin American disease, characterized by a polarized urban society, intensifying urban conflict, and failed economic promise. Indeed, despite aggressive efforts to make the state more responsive and adaptive, the speed with which social cleavages and conflicts are growing today arguably makes this last outcome easier to imagine than the others.
GEORGE J. GILBOY is a research affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for International Studies. ERIC HEGINBOTHAM is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
China's rural areas are now deep in crisis, with sluggish income growth, peasants burdened by excessive taxes and fees, and local governments overstaffed, in debt, and unable to provide adequate services for peasant families. Rampant corruption among local officials has combined with these factors to incite increasing levels of peasant organization, protest, and violence. This crisis is not new, but it is reaching a new scale and intensity. In a 2004 Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) survey of 109 of China's top sociologists, economists, managers, and legal experts, 73 percent of the respondents identified the "three rural problems" (san nong wenti) of agriculture, peasants, and rural areas asChina's most urgent challenge. Combined with other issues such as corruption, the intensity of the rural turmoil led more than half of the respondents to see a systemic crisis as "possible" or "very possible" within the next 5 to 10 years.
Small-scale inefficient agriculture and the relative decline of township and village enterprises are contributing to a widening rural-urban income gap. Average annual rural income stands at just $317 today, and the gap between urban and rural income has grown from 1.8:1 in the mid-1980s to 3:1 in 2003. Between 2000 and 2002, incomes fell in 42 percent of rural households in absolute terms. And according to a July 2004 government report, the number of farmers living under the official poverty line of about $75 per year increased by 800,000 in 2003, the first net annual increase in absolute rural poverty since economic reforms began in 1978. At the same time, farmers suffer from a disproportionate tax burden while receiving fewer services; according to the State Council's Development Research Center, the urban-rural income disparity soars to between 5:1 and 6:1 when entitlements, services, and taxes are included in the calculation. Unsurprisingly, organized rural protest is on the rise. Actions range from tax evasion and blocking roads and railways to the assault or kidnapping of officials and even to riots that have involved hundreds or thousands of people. Even so, the nature of rural protest and of the state's response to it limits the possibility that rural conflict alone could threaten regime stability. As Yu Jinrong of CASS notes, when rural residents do engage in collective action and protest, they often seek alliances with central government officials against local officials, rather thanseeking broad-based systemic change. Yu argues that today's peasants are not the revolutionary "peasants of Mao." They are seeking legitimate political organization to defend legitimate economic interests, and, he warns, suppressing their aspirations and organization carries significant political risks.
Beijing has been highly attuned to rural problems for the past several years, and has taken steps to address them. In particular, the central government has had some short-term success in reducing the peasant tax burden by cracking down on illegal local fees and converting fees to more transparent taxes. It also has moved to share a larger amount of central revenue with local governments. The central government has created more safety valves for expressions of rural discontent, clamped down on abuses by local officials, explained policies to peasants, paid out monies to mollify protesters, and allowed village elections (although it has also simultaneously removed considerable tax and fiscal power to the higher township level, not subject to elections). These measures are, however, also creating a strong sense among Chinese citizens that they have "legal rights." Rural residents increasingly refer to these "rights" in their protests--a potentially significant development for the future of Chinese politics. And, despite the government's success in localizing, suppressing, or conciliating potential rural threats, the leadership does not believe that such measures represent a real long-term solution to the san nong wenti.
Many key Chinese policymakers and social scientists believe the solution to the rural crisis lies in amore radical approach: a combination of land reform, industrialization, and urbanization. Wang Mengkui, the director general of the State Council Development Research Center, argues, "Too many people and too little land makes large-scale production difficult and is therefore the greatest problem for farmers to increase their incomes." The consolidation of larger farms and the movement of farmers to the cities will go far toward solving the rural problem, he asserts, and as an additional benefit of urbanization, "large numbers of migrant workers [will] supply cheap labor, thus helping to enhance the international competitiveness of Chinese industries." Pan Wei, an influential government adviser and Beijing University professor, also argues that Beijing should encourage a rapid acceleration of peasant migration to urban centers, proposing that China should develop an additional 100 cities of 5 million people or more over the next 30 years, either by building new cities or expanding existing ones. The migration from country to city, already massive,is accelerating. In part, this is being driven by The Latin Americanization of China? * 257
illegal land seizures and the conversion of farmland to industrial and recreational use. In November 2003 the Ministry of Land and Resources reported more than 168,000 cases of illegal land seizure, twice as many as in the entire previous year. According to the State Statistics Bureau, China lost 6.7 million hectares of farmland between 1996 and 2003--three and a half times as much as the 1.9 million lost between 1986 and 1995. The trend continues to accelerate, with some 2.53 million hectares, or 2 percent of total farmland, lost in 2003 alone. According to the 2004 Green Book of China's Rural Economy, for every mu of land (approximately 0.07 hectares) that is transferred to nonagricultural use, about 1 to 1.5 farmers lose their land. According to official statistics, some 34 million farmers have either lost their land entirely since 1987 or own less than 0.3 mu, and the new surge in land transfers almost certainly indicates acceleration of that process.
The government has met with some success in curbing the transfer of farmland for nonagricultural purposes during 2004, but a more sustained, legal, and probably larger-scale shift in rural land tenure patterns is in the offing, in this case driven by the central government's efforts to rationalize agriculture and raise rural incomes. The landmark Rural Land Contracting Law (RLCL), which took effect in March 2003, is the latest means toward that end. Under the post-1978 household responsibility system, land remains owned by the village,with use rights allotted by village leaders to individual households. The lack of secure land tenure periods and the frequent use of "readjustments" by village leaders (that is, reapportioning land between households) inhibited improvements to the land, transfer of land-use rights between farmers, and the emergence of commercial-scale agriculture. The RLCL mandates written contracts between farmers and villages, and sets the period of land tenure at 30 years. It includes clear provisions for the farmer's right to transfer land rights to others. And, to give potential buyers confidence that their land-use rights will be respected, it prohibits "readjustments" except in extreme cases (for example, natural disasters). No doubt, enforcement of the RLCL will be inconsistent. But the central government appears committed to the task and will almost certainly continue to sharpen land-use legislation. Indeed, the agenda may be expanded to ease rules on mortgages and to push the household-based tenure system toward an individual- based system, two measures that would substantially speed the transfer of land-use rights.
If successful, land reform will accelerate China's internal mass migration. But the impact of both illegal seizures and land reform will not be limited to an increased rate of migration. The compositionof the "floating population" also will be affected. Many of those who previously crowded onto trains for the cities went in search of higher incomes and were, in fact, adding one income to the family effort since their wives, husbands, or parents continued to work the farm in their absence. Today, an increasing number of people are moving with families in tow, no land or homes behind them, and no guarantees ahead.
China's best-known business and economics magazine, Caijing, has called the recent spate of rural and urban land seizures by alliances of local officials and real estate developers a new "enclosure" (quandi) movement, consciously echoing the process that sped urbanization and was so disruptive and violent ineighteenth-century England. But for many peasant families, legal transfers under the RLCL will have a similarly dislocating effect. Rural reform is incomplete without also guaranteeing the assimilation of China's migrants as full, productive members of urban society.
Speeding China's urbanization trades one social and political problem for another that is potentiallymore severe. The problem of poor farmers working small plots becomes that of poor migrants working dangerous jobs with few rights and virtually no social security safety net. The scale of China's urbanlandscape is already daunting: 166 cities of more than 1 million people (the United States has 9) and500 million official (that is, without counting migrants) urban residents. Urban population growth is already at 2.5 percent per year (versus 0.8 percent for India), and the government expects 300million people to move to China's cities and towns between 2004 and 2020. Because most of China's migrant workers retain their shenfen, or personal status, as farmers in their home locality, they are cut off from access to urban services, social security, and effective legal protection. This problem could worsen unless the next generation of migrants who
258 * CURRENT HISTORY * September 2004
Among well-heeled urban young people, the phrase "You're so farmer!" (Ni zhen nongmin!) has gained currency as a playful expression of disgust. have lost their land--either through illegal seizures or through the legal operation of a land-use rights trading system--are granted rights and benefits that will allow them to fully join urban society. The current plight of China's migrant workers offers a glimpse of the obstacles that must be overcome. Migrant workers without municipal hukou (registration) cannot participate in regular job markets. When they do find work, their rights under Chinese labor law are frequently violated. Their wages are withheld for months or years. The government estimates that China's 100 million migrant workers are owed $12 billion in back pay. Mandatory safety conditions often go unmet. According to The China Youth Daily, in one urban area alone--Shenzhen and the surrounding Pearl River Delta region--industrial accidents claim more than 30,000 fingers from workers each year. The standard payout for such injuries is $60 per finger, but many employers refuseto pay any compensation. According to government officials, nearly 70 percent of migrant workers have no form of insurance. And most live in shantytowns outside the cities, where whole neighborhoods aresubject to clearance and destruction on little notice and with little or no compensation.
The impact of this ambiguous, floating status falls disproportionately on children and other weak dependents who travel with workers. Currently, the floating population includes an estimated 3 million children aged 14 and under. According to a 2004 government report, pregnant migrant women and their children suffer mortality rates between 1.4 and 3.6 times the national average. Of migrant children between the ages of 8 and 14, some 15 percent do not attend school. Most of those who do attend pay high fees (often $100 or more) to enroll in improvised, substandard private schools. Pressures associated with payment--and shouldering an entire family's hopes for the future--have prompted a rash of student suicides and even murders. Although problems associated with migrant workers have been apparent for some time, the rapidly accelerating trend toward landlessness and the consequent growth in whole families on the move make specific problems associated with dependents new in magnitude if not in nature. And, while services in the countryside were also poor, China's underclass in the cities will perceive injustice more keenly as they see the benefits that the new rich enjoy every day. In theory, even urbanization advocates understand that, as Wang Mengkui, the State Council official, put it, "urbanization requires institutional innovation." To date, efforts have been limited to protecting migrants against some of the worst abuses. In a major government work report in March 2004, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao declared that the government would "basically solve the problem of default on construction costs and wage arrears for migrant rural workers in the construction industry within three years." The Ministry of Labor and Social Security said this year that it will oblige construction and manufacturing firms to provide health and life insurance to millions of migrant workers. And the central government has encouraged municipalities to give migrants greater and cheaper access to public schooling, though, as with most measures, no central funds are earmarked. In the first sign of state and party support for a broader defense of rights for the urban poor, reformers in the National People's Congress are now drafting a law that amounts to a "Bill of Welfare Rights" for China's internal migrants.
Despite the rhetoric and regulations, real progress has been limited, and the gap between rising consciousness of rights and the ability to act on and realize these rights is growing. The most obvious problem is money, or, as a group of Chinese scholars noted in a major new book, China's Urban Development Report, the question of "who will pay the bill for China's urbanization." The scholars' answer is simple: urban industry. But the construction industry, which is most relevant to the migrant economy, has resisted paying its existing obligations on time, much less shouldering additional costs. With local governments profiting from the constructionindustry and officials making their reputations based on building and development--not to mention widespread bribery and corruption--the incentives to overlook violations remain powerful. Nanjing University's Pan Zequan, writing in Strategy and Management, argues that pervasive discrimination against migrants is not simply an inherited evil now being attacked and reversed; rather, it is built on consciously erected systems and policies and is regularly "produced" and "reproduced." Although progress has been made in some areas, Pan's contention that a dynamic struggle is under way rings true. Certainly, discrimination against migrants works to the advantage of--and is convenient for--those who already hold entitlements in the cities. Material interests are reinforced by strong local identities and prejudice against rural "outsiders" (waidiren)--a phrase invariably used in reference to migrants. Eastern The Latin Americanization of China? * 259 urbanites frequently explain to Western visitors that waidiren are of "low quality" (suzhi di) and say they feel less in common with domestic migrants than they do with foreigners. Among well-heeled urban young people, the phrase "You're so farmer!" (Ni zhen nongmin!) has gained currency as a playful expression of disgust.
Given hostile interests and culture, it is not surprising
that measures to lessen the hardships of migrants often meet with obstruction. Despite Beijing city officials' recent order to public schools to admit the children of migrant workers and to cut discriminatory tuition fees imposed on them, many schools continue to exclude migrants by claiming to be filled to capacity when, in fact, a survey by the Beijing Education Department showed 35,000 vacancies. Members of the floating population face discrimination even in death. In a recent incident in Luzhou, an explosion in a city gas pipeline killed several people. The families of city residents were compensated with $17,000--those of migrantworkers were given $5,000. Although they lived and worked and died in the city, the migrants were still classified as peasants. An official justified the difference with the claim that "the cost of living in the countryside is lower."
Although China's leaders continue to view the rural problem as the nation's greatest threat, a 2004 survey by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences singles out migrants as the great economic loser of the post-1978 era. When askedwhich of eight groups had benefited most from China's economic reforms, a distinguished panel of experts was unanimous on only one item: "migrant workers" were worse off than any other group. The least fortunate of them join what a leading government researcher, Zhang Xiaoshan, has described as a new class, the "three havenots": people with no land, no jobs, and no access to national income insurance.
Broadly speaking, three possible 15-year outcomes to the dual rural-urban crises are possible:liberal, authoritarian corporatist (or fascist), and botched. None of these outcomes is preordained.We would argue, nevertheless, that China is now groping its way at least tentatively toward the first, though the pace of social change and the difficulty of overcoming entrenched interests may ultimately make the third most likely.
Progress toward a liberal outcome would see the village election system strengthened and expanded at least to the township level. Land reform would proceed but with land reforms matched by commensurate and simultaneous urban reforms that protect new arrivals in cities and second-generation migrants, and that permit employment beyond construction and road sweeping. In urban areas, the hukou system (already being revised) would be eliminated and public services made equally available to all people living and working in a given region. An awareness of legal rights would develop, along with the means to actualize them. Ultimately, individuals, regardless of their status, would be allowed to organize in groups free from direct state control to defend their interests. Movement can be seen in most of these areas.
Village-level democracy--imperfect as it is--is bringing greater accountability to the countryside. Nationally, progress in building legal institutions and, especially, fostering a "rights and accountability" culture has been made on a broader front. Although the road ahead is still much longer than that already traveled, the state seems prepared to countenance a judicial system that will be used to mediate interests as part of the local political process, not simply to administer justice. Legal awarenesshas been aided by the central government's emphasis on "rule of law" in its own battles to control provincial and municipal governments. And peasants are responding. The State Council Development Research Center reports that an increasing proportion of official petition and protest letters cite legal rights and protections as the basis for the complaints.
In the cities, the state has tolerated, if not encouraged, the rise of a few new independent social organizations. Writing in The China Journal in January 2003, Benjamin Read analyzed the development of urban housing associations focused on gaining control of management and improving service quality in upscale real estate developments. These groups capitalize on the government's recent promotion of notions of certain "rights" to property and consumer protection. They have fended off attempts at government co-optation and are promoting a sense of common identity among their members in addition to pursuing claims against negligent or corrupt real estate developers. While Read cautions that it remains to be seen whether these groups can sustain their current autonomy, they offer tantalizing evidence of the kind of ad hoc, innovative interest-intermediation groups that could become the basis for more permanent social and political institutions. Yet, by their very nature, these new associations highlight the disparities in
260 * CURRENT HISTORY * September 2004
income and social rights between China's haves and have-nots--such open organization and representation are not tolerated in migrant shantytowns. Nor have they successfully emerged among poor city residents who are forced to move from older downtown buildings demolished to make way for new developments. Despite the caveats, however, all this adds up to substantial progress toward a more liberal future.
Unfortunately, other social and political possibilities are also readily apparent. Observers such as Michael Leeden and Jasper Becker have argued that China, far from becoming more liberal, has moved in the opposite direction, toward fascism. Benchmarks for movement in this direction would include the consolidation of society into state-dominated and controlled hierarchical organizations; administrative, rather than judicial, mechanisms for social conflict resolution; the strategic use of anticapitalist and anti-foreign rhetoric; and the heavy involvement of the military in propaganda and social work.
In fact, this largely describes elements of China today. Yet all of these features are becoming less true of the Chinese state, rather than more. Private industry is growing relatively faster than state industry. New self-organized groups are cropping up faster than the state can effectively co-opt orsuppress them. The media are more robust, independent, and commercial, with ever-shrinking restrictions on what can be reported. The legal system is growing stronger. And the military is distancing itself from its socioeconomic functions as it has been reduced in size and professionalized. In most key dimensions, China is currently headed away from authoritarian corporatism, not toward it. There is, however, a third possible trajectory: a "Latin Americanization" of China in which the state could fail to develop institutions capable of adequately addressing China's new social crisis. The speed of social change and the explosive growth of social conflict may outstrip the state's ability to respond. Political leaders could settle into a collusive relationship with business and social elites. A semipermanent have-not class might engage in a constant and economically costly low-level war with the entitled minority. For many Chinese scholars and government officials, Latin American-style social and political problems are now an explicit frame of reference for what China might face if it fails to reverse social trends in the near future. Despite movement toward a more adaptive, liberal future, the downward spiral toward failure may in fact be just as likely in the mid-term. Some indicators already point toward this outcome. The 2004 report of the Politics and Law Commission of the Communist Party found that the number of incidents of "social unrest" or "mass incidents" rose 14.4 percent in 2003, to 58,000 nationwide. The number of people involved rose 6.6 percent, to 3 million. In the cities, the "floating population" accounted for "up to 80 percent of all crime." Evidence from numerous urban areas suggests that avoiding the Latin Americanization of Chinese society and a descent into low-level class warfare will require more than partial measures designed to mitigate the worst suffering of migrants--it will require making them full citizens.
China's leaders are intently focused on the nation's rural crisis and the growing gap between urban and rural quality of life. Their proposed solution to these problems--land reforms aimed at promoting mass migration and rapid urbanization--is likely to speed the arrival of a second crisis, pitting migrant families against entrenched urban interests in a struggle for rights and entitlements. Those urban interests are themselves powerful forces, including alliances of municipal officials, real estate developers, and construction industries, alongside a new wealthy urban class and existing ranks of urban poor and unemployed. Yet many migrant farmers, some accustomed to voting for their village leaders, and now promised new protections by the government, bring a new "rights consciousness" with them when they move to the cities. Their expectations of fair treatment and access to benefits such as insurance and health care can only be ignored at the government's peril. While it is struggling with difficult but familiar rural conflict, China's leadership is less well endowed to deal with the coming urban social challenge. The Chinese system does have remarkable strengths, not least the practice of conducting pragmatic economic and political experiments in individual locations and then embracing successful methods nationwide. It is entirely possible that liberalizing interim solutions could become more permanent institutions, as they did in the England that Polanyi described. But with government plans calling for the market-based"enclosure" of China's rural areas, and several hundred million migrants likely to move to the cities over the next two decades, Beijing is in a race against time.

Oil Could Help Japan Resolve Territorial Fight With Russia
NOSAPPU, Japan, Sept. 2 - Wearing a white windbreaker to protect him from the Siberian wind, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stood on the bridge of a Japanese Coast Guard patrol boat on Thursday, scanning the treeless shores of islands occupied by Russia since September 1945. Following close behind was an uninvited escort: a Russian Coast Guard patrol boat.
The moment on the Sea of Okhotsk seemed frozen in time. Nearly six decades after Soviet troops swept down the Kuriles, seizing the Japanese islands, there is no peace treaty between Russia and Japan.
But the rapidly changing geopolitics of Asia's energy industry could break a logjam that has endured since World War II.
About 350 miles northeast of here, offshore of Sakhalin Island, part of Russia, Japanese companies are participating in the first $10 billion slice of what could be a $100 billion development of oil and gas reserves believed to rival the North Slope of Alaska.
About 700 miles east of here, at Vladivostok, Japanese and Russian officials met this summer to outline a plan for a 2,500-mile, $12 billion pipeline to bring Siberian oil to the Sea of Japan. A decision on the pipeline is expected this fall.
Behind Japan's drive to lock in access to Russian oil and gas are forecasts that over the next 15 years China's oil imports will double and its gas imports will increase fivefold. Japan's energy use, meanwhile, is far from stagnant. In July, Japan, which imports 88 percent of its oil from the Middle East, experienced a 9 percent jump in the volume of its oil imports.
"Japan finds itself very much like before World War II," Alexander Losyukov, Russia's ambassador to Japan, said in a recent interview. "It needs resources and markets, and those two things can combine to lead to a very dangerous situation."
Japan has quietly become the largest foreign investor in Russia's energy-rich Far East region. With Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, expected to visit Tokyo in six months, many analysts feel the time is nearing for both sides to negotiate a truce over the four disputed islands. Both sides have said they would like to announce a formula for a bilateral peace treaty during Mr. Putin's visit, which will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the first trade treaty signed by the countries, in 1855.
"Prime Minister Koizumi is very much interested in getting this bilateral relationship to move," Takashi Inoguchi, professor of international politics at the University of Tokyo, said. "Something has to be done to get the two countries closer."
The Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan's largest carmaker, is expected to take advantage of Mr. Putin's visit to announce the opening of its first assembly plant in Russia, probably in the Volga region east of Moscow. Last year, Toyota tripled its new car sales in the country to 25,000, making it the most popular imported brand in Russia.
Despite the signs of a thawing relationship, however, Moscow frowned on Mr. Koizumi's boat trip around the islands - the first by a Japanese prime minister.
"Such actions, let alone their demonstrative timing with the anniversary of the end of World War II, not only fail to give a positive impetus to the peace treaty negotiations, but will only complicate the negotiations once again," Russia's foreign ministry warned Monday after Mr. Koizumi announced he would take the trip. "As far as we understand, these plans are primarily based on internal political considerations."
Indeed, Mr. Koizumi's tour here on Thursday might have been calculated to neutralize conservative opposition before serious talks start.
That would fit a pattern of such steps by his administration. On Aug. 15, the anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender, Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan's powerful minister of economy, trade and industry, was one of four members of Mr. Koizumi's cabinet to visit a Tokyo war memorial shrine venerated by conservatives. The next day, Mr. Nakagawa flew to Sakhalin, becoming the first Japanese minister to visit the island, which was partly controlled by Japan until the end of World War II.
During a five-day tour, he visited the site of the construction of Russia's first plant to liquefy natural gas. Several of Japan's largest utilities have signed long-term contracts to import the Sakhalin gas.
With Japan expected to win rights to the Siberian oil pipeline, Russia is moving to mollify China. On a visit to Beijing last week, Russia's energy minister, Viktor Khristenko, told journalists that Russian oil sales to China would increase fivefold by 2010. Russia is China's fifth-largest source of oil.
With gas emerging as an equally valuable energy source, China and Japan are shadowing each other in the East China Sea. With China laying a 300-mile gas line to offshore deposits, Japan has complained that China will tap into a 246 billion cubic meter gas field that is partly Japanese. With each country's exclusive economic zone in dispute, China's moves to develop the gas have been met by a Japanese survey ship, exploring the contested area in the southern tip of Okinawa Prefecture.
Americans restored Okinawa to Japanese rule in 1972. Now, people here say that the time has come for Russia to give up its war booty as well - the four disputed islands, which the Japanese call the Northern Territories and the Russian call the Southern Kuriles. The islands' total landmass is larger than Okinawa's.
"Without restoration of the four islands, we will not have a Japan-Russia peace treaty," Mr. Koizumi said here in a meeting with representatives of the 8,000 former inhabitants of the islands who are still alive. "Restoration of the four islands will not only benefit Japan, but it will benefit Russia."
With billions of dollars of Japanese investments about to start flowing, Mr. Losyukov, the Russian ambassador, fretted that Japan might link the island issue with the rate of investment. "Every time we talk about that, we hear from the Japanese side, 'We want simultaneous action on economic and territorial issues; if you take this approach you are braking everything,' " Mr. Losyukov said. "Blocking everything by that way, unfortunately, is linkage."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

U.S. Links S.Africa Nuclear Suspect to Libya, AQ Khan
Fri Sep 3, 2004 12:09 PM ET
By Gershwin Wanneburg
VANDERBIJLPARK, South Africa (Reuters) - The United States Friday linked a South African charged under weapons of mass destruction laws with Libya's clandestine nuclear program and Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan's nuclear black market.
Johan Andries Muller Meyer, 53, appeared in court Friday on charges of manufacturing nuclear-related material and exporting goods that could be used in developing weapons of mass destruction. Meyer was remanded in custody until Sept. 8.
Within hours the United States embassy in Pretoria issued a statement linking him to Libya's nuclear program, which the north African country disclosed in December 2003 before agreeing earlier this year to a disarmament process.
Libya began its quest for nuclear arms in 1980 and decided in 1997 to seek centrifuge equipment via the atomic black market, established in the 1980s by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb.
"South African government agencies worked long and hard with various partners to monitor sensitive materials that were integral to the AQ Khan network's efforts to supply Libya's clandestine nuclear program," the embassy said.
"We understand that South African investigators successfully seized the materials in recent days and have made an initial arrest related to the illegal activities. South Africa's decisive action adds vital information to the worldwide investigation into the network's reach and sends the right signal to proliferators everywhere," it added.
Charges against Meyers, who appeared in court in Vanderbijlpark, 60 km (35 miles) southwest of Johannesburg where he was arrested Thursday, did not mention Libya.
The charge sheet said Meyer was accused of offences between 2000 and 2001 relating to the import and export of regulated goods "which could contribute to the design, development, manufacture and deployment" of weapons of mass destruction.
Meyer, the director of a local engineering company, was also accused of "unlawfully and willfully possessing and manufacturing nuclear-related equipment and material" between 2002 and 2004.
Defense attorney Heinrich Badenhorst told national news agency SAPA his client was accused of manufacturing the banned goods at his engineering works, but denied the charges.
His lawyers said contraventions of the country's anti-proliferation laws could result in anything from a fine to a 15-year jail sentence.
Government officials have said they know of no link between the inquiry and al Qaeda or international terrorism, and Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said simply that the government had "taken note" of the U.S. statement.
South Africa voluntarily dismantled its nuclear arms before apartheid ended in 1994 -- the only nuclear-armed state to do so -- and has been eager to show support for international efforts to limit nuclear know-how with a series of new laws since 1993.
Khan's network spanned the globe and included suppliers, often unwittingly, from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
U.N. atomic weapons experts say more than 20 countries were involved, though it is trying to grasp the full extent of what International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei called a global supermarket for countries interesting in getting nuclear weapons.
South African police said in February this year Washington had asked for their help in investigating possible associates of Asher Karni, a former Israeli army officer accused by the U.S. government of conspiring to export 200 U.S.-made nuclear weapons detonators to Pakistan via South Africa.

South African Held on Nuclear-related Weapons Charges
Delia Robertson
03 Sep 2004, 16:07 UTC
Listen to Delia Robertson's report (RealAudio)
Robertson report - Download 224k (RealAudio)
A South African businessman has appeared in court on charges of importing materials which could be used in the manufacture of nuclear products.
Johan Andries Muller Meyer faces three charges of illegally importing and possessing materials and equipment that could lead to the development, manufacture, or maintenance of weapons of mass destruction.
The equipment allegedly found in his possession can be used in the production of enriched uranium, which is used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
Mr. Meyer's attorney, Heinrich Badenhorst, earlier told a local news agency that he was accused of manufacturing weapons at his engineering firm in Vanderbijlpark, an industrial area 90 kilometers south of Johannesburg. Mr. Badenhorst said his client denies the charges.
The South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction said in a statement that Mr. Meyer was arrested following an investigation of several companies and individuals. Council Chairman Abdul Minty said the investigation had been conducted with the cooperation of officials in other countries and with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
South Africa's apartheid government developed a nuclear weapons capability in the 1970s in defiance of international treaties. But the program was unilaterally dismantled before 1993 and subsequently verified by the IAEA.
In his statement, Mr. Minty said South Africa has since followed a strict policy of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Meyer was ordered jailed until Wednesday when he will face a bail hearing.
Foreign intelligence activities reach alarming level: Ryamizard
MEDAN, North Sumatra (Antara): Indonesian Army chief Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu expressed concern here on Friday over the alarming level of foreign intelligence activities in the country.
Such an alarming level has put the country's unity and cohesion at stake, he said.
"There have been so many foreign intelligence officers here. They have created an unstable condition under all kinds of pretexts," he said.
Ryamizard said foreign intelligence operatives have donated substantial funds to rebel movements in various parts of the country to create internal conflicts.
He said uprisings in Aceh and Papua bore hallmarks of outside interference as did communal conflict in the district of Poso and on Maluku island.
Indonesia's military last year launched a major operation to crush a decades-old separatist movement in Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra island. It has also been battling low-level rebellion in remote Papua.
Violence between Muslims and Christians on Maluku and Poso has claimed thousands of lives in recent years. (**)

Man held in Gauteng over nuclear weapons
September 3, 2004
By Graeme Hosken and Sapa
A South African man has been arrested for allegedly contravening the law on weapons of mass destruction and nuclear energy.
The Star has established that yesterday's arrest came after an international investigation involving South African, United States and Israeli intelligence agencies into the alleged smuggling of nuclear weapons to "Asian countries", specifically Pakistan.
The suspect was due to appear in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court today.
It is believed that a senior Israeli army officer had planned to sell nuclear arms - or parts of nuclear weapons and computer software - to Pakistan, using South African parastatal arms companies that had previously been involved in the now-defunct nuclear weapons programme.
The Foreign Affairs Department announced last night that an arrest had been made concerning "items alleged to have been used in the contraventions".
Abdul Minty, the chairperson of the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, said inquiries were being made into the activities of "some companies and individuals who may be involved".
"In the context of these investigations, the South African authorities have co-operated with their counterparts in other countries as well as with the International Atomic Energy Agency."
Since 1994, Minty said, the government had adopted a strict policy of disarmament and non-proliferation with regard to weapons of mass destruction.
NIA spokesperson Lorna Daniels said last night: "The NIA (National Intelligence Agency) has been involved in investigations for some time relating to today's arrest, and it's been an intensive investigation with several law enforcement agencies."
She said more arrests were expected soon, but declined to comment further.


The Kissinger Myths
By Thomas Donnelly
Posted: Thursday, September 2, 2004
New York Sun
Publication Date: August 31, 2004
The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy
By Jussi Hanhimaki
Oxford University Press, 554 pages, $35
Henry Kissinger so bestrides the American foreign policy of the past 50 years that any biography of the man, at this moment and for many years to come, is an act of great intellectual bravery. Indeed, it may be bravery to the point of foolhardiness. For there is not just one Kissinger Myth, but many.
One version, winked at by the man himself, has it that Mr. Kissinger is an American Metternich, Talleyrand, and Bismarck rolled into one. The other extreme makes him out to be a war criminal, personally responsible for the death of millions and the misery of nations on every continent. Whatever the truth, it's a good bet neither of these myths bears much resemblance to it.
Both man and myth loom so large they obscure an even more important phenomenon, which might be called "Kissingerism": The application of Continental "realpolitik" to American strategy-making during the middle and late Cold War. Far more than Mr. Kissinger's actions or policies, this habit of mind is now almost hardwired into the conventional wisdom of the United States policy-making elite. It even has eerie echoes in the policy prescriptions of Senator Kerry, who sometimes sounds as though he favors a kind of detente with the autocrats and terrorists of the greater Middle East. Kissingerism will be with us for decades to come, long after the man himself is gone.
By its title, Jussi Hanhimaki's new book The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press, 554 pages, $35) seems to promise an appraisal of the great man's larger influence. But the passage from which the book takes its title--concluding that Mr. Kissinger's failure to "seriously challenge" the "conventional wisdom" of the Cold War "does not make him a war criminal. It makes Henry Kissinger a flawed architect"--shows both the scope of the author's analysis and his political agenda.
The perspective of Mr. Hanhimaki, a Finnish academic who has taught at the London School of Economics and now is at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, is standard-issue European leftist - which means that the American victory in the Cold War is primarily a nuisance to be ignored. Our ultimate victory does not justify every mistake or cruelty of American policy during five decades, but any critique that fails to take the larger strategic picture into account is itself deeply flawed.
Perhaps even more importantly, Mr. Hanhimaki's arguments take no account of the post-Cold War effects of Mr. Kissinger's statesmanship. This makes his account of Mr. Kissinger's secret diplomacy, the opening to China, and the "triangular" strategy for containing the Soviet Union highly unsatisfactory: We get a highly detailed account of who met with whom, when, and where, but no real understanding of whether the policy was a wise one or whether it has had unfortunate consequences under quite different strategic circumstances.
A final complaint is that Mr. Hanhimaki has very little to say about Mr. Kissinger's formative years and writings or his success as a senior statesman. Thus the reader is left with very little understanding about the foundations of Mr. Kissinger's thought or how he has remained influential after leaving office, both through the professional success of his acolytes, such as Brent Scowcroft or Lawrence Eagleberger, and by the exercise of his own pen and public presence. The phenomenon of "Kissingerism" would be a complete surprise to a reader who came to know the man only through "The Flawed Architect."
Nonetheless, the book does give us clues to Mr. Kissinger's diplomacy through sheer accumulation of detail. One pattern that emerges, almost despite the author, is that Mr. Kissinger is better understood as a tactician than as a strategist. The opening to China, Mr. Hanhimaki reminds us, was driven as much by the desperate need to get out of Vietnam as any larger strategic view of the Soviets. North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho clearly had the advantage of the American Bismarck in the Paris peace talks.
Mr. Hanhimaki has plowed through newly released materials from the Nixon and Ford years to work relative ly barren soil on several points, in particular the question of prolonging the war in Vietnam. In these passages, Mr. Hanhimaki's bare-bones narrative is an effective way of conveying the tragedy of the United States' exit from Vietnam. "In 1972-73 Kissinger had gradually given in ... to North Vietnamese demands," Mr. Hanhimaki writes, in a simple, elegant paragraph worth quoting at length:
Through a series of communications with the Chinese and Soviets he had made it clear that soon after the return of American personnel the United States was ready to abandon Southeast Asia to its own devices. He was not searching for a peace with honor but an exit strategy and a decent interval before South Vietnam's political future was determined. Pressed in part by domestic political considerations, Kissinger's complicated diplomacy thus managed to produce a remark able role reversal: in 1972 it was South Vietnam's President Thieu, rather than Le Duc Tho or the North Vietnamese, who became the chief villain for refusing to accept an agreement negotiated over his head. Over the next two years the once steadfast allies would bear the bur den of the end of America's "Indochinese nightmare." In 1973, the South Vietnamese would suffer more battle-deaths than they had in any year since 1968. The decent interval was covered in blood.
This bitter requiem for South Vietnam is a reminder of the price of realpolitik and the sanctification of "stability" in international politics, and is all the more ironic for being written by a European, leftist academic. It also serves, perhaps, as a reminder of what the consequences might be of American withdrawal from the greater Middle East.
The final chapters in the Kissinger story remain to be written. In recent years, Mr. Kissinger himself has seemed to renounce the amoral practice of realpolitik - as though the great architect does appreciate his own past flaws. Mr. Hanhimaki's work is not the deeply considered assessment of Mr. Kissinger and his lasting influence on U.S. foreign policy and strategy I might have hoped, but it points the way toward a larger, more comprehensive study.
Mr. Donnelly is resident fellow in defense and national security studies at the American Enterprise Institute.


'Secrets' Perplex Panel
Classified Data Growing to Include 'Comically Irrelevant'
By Michael J. Sniffen
Associated Press
Friday, September 3, 2004; Page A17
A former dictator's cocktail preferences and a facetious plot against Santa Claus were classified by the government to prevent public disclosure.
Also stamped "secret" for six years was a study concluding that 40 percent of Army chemical warfare masks leaked.
These, as well as other examples of classification were cited last week by members of Congress and witnesses at a House subcommittee hearing into the Sept. 11 commission's conclusion that secrecy is undermining efforts to thwart terrorists.
Some classifications were made in error or to save face.
The CIA deleted the amount Iraqi agents paid for aluminum tubes from Page 96 of a Senate report on prewar intelligence. The report quoted the CIA as concluding that "their willingness to pay such costs suggests the tubes are intended for a special project of national interest."
That price turned out to be not so high. On Page 105 of the same Senate report, the same security reviewers let the CIA's figure -- as much as $17.50 each -- be printed along with other estimates that the Iraqis paid as little as $10 apiece.
"There are too many secrets" and maybe too many secret-makers, said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's national security panel.
There are 3,978 officials who can stamp a document "top secret," "secret" or "confidential" under multiple sets of complex rules.
No one knows how much is classified, he said, and the system "often does not distinguish between the critically important and comically irrelevant."
The problem is growing, said J. William Leonard, director of the National Archives' Information Security Oversight Office, which monitors federal practices. Officials decided to classify documents 8 percent more often in 2003 than in 2002. Total classification decisions -- including upgrading or downgrading -- reached 14 million.
"The tone is set at the top," Shays said.
"This administration believes the less known, the better," added the Connecticut Republican, noting sadly he was speaking of a GOP administration. "I believe the more known, the better."
The panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, noted that former President Bill Clinton directed that in cases of doubt, the lowest or no classification be used. But in 2003, President Bush ordered officials to use the more restrictive level.
Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' project on secrecy, said some classification was designed to conceal illegality or avoid embarrassment, even though that is forbidden.
Aftergood cited the "secret" stamp on Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba's report of "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses" inflicted on Iraqi inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.
Carol A. Haave, deputy undersecretary of defense for counterintelligence and security, said most misclassification was unintentional, resulting from misunderstanding or failure to declassify data that are no longer sensitive. She said a weakness, particularly for anti-terrorism efforts, was that those who collect intelligence determine its classification.
"Collectors of information can never know how it could best be used," Haave said. "We have to move to a user-driven environment."
Leonard, the Archives official, said another obstacle to sharing anti-terrorist data as the Sept. 11 commission envisioned was that federal law divides the authority for writing the rules that govern secrets. The CIA director has authority to protect intelligence sources and methods, the Energy Department has power to write regulations to shield nuclear secrets, the Pentagon has control over classifying NATO data and the National Security Agency can define eavesdropping communications secrets.
"All these variations have nuances that impede cooperation," Leonard said.
Aftergood, who is fighting in court to declassify the overall budget for intelligence agencies, argued that declassifying that total "could break the logjam" of overclassification. That was also recommended by the Sept. 11 commission.
Leonard said a 2000 law created a public interest declassification board to recommend release of secrets in important cases, but the president and Congress never appointed members.
For the curious: The CIA classified for 20 years longtime Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's preference for pisco sours, according to subcommittee staff members citing previously classified documents published by the National Security Archive, a private anti-secrecy institute at George Washington University.
And a CIA employee made up a story of a terrorist plot to hijack Santa Claus and inserted it into classified traffic. "So, apparently, the fact that CIA had a sense of humor was classified," said subcommittee counsel Lawrence J. Halloran.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company
Symposium: Atomic Ayatollahs
By Jamie Glazov | September 3, 2004
Does Iran already have nuclear weapons? Is it on the verge of acquiring them? Will the U.S. have to initiate regime change unilaterally?
To discuss these and other questions with us today, Frontpage Symposium has assembled a distinguished panel:
Jed Babbin, the former deputy undersecretary of defense in the administration of President George H. W. Bush. A contributing editor of The American Spectator Magazine and a contributor to National Review Online, he is the author of the new book Inside the Asylum: Why the United Nations and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think;
John Loftus, a former Justice Department prosecutor with code word clearances whose 1982 expose of Nazis working for western intelligence won the Emmy Award for Mike Wallace. He is the author of several books on the Middle East and the director of INTELCON.US, the upcoming National Intelligence Conference and Exposition. At 10:30 every weeknight, the Loftus Report is a featured segment of ABC national radio, and Fox Television's "Inside Scoop with John Loftus" airs at 11 am Sundays. His website is;
Reza Bayegan, a commentator on Iranian politics who was born in Iran and currently works for the British Council in Paris. His weekly columns appear on many publications including Iran va Jahan website. He is a regular guest on exile Iranian radio shows.
FP: Jed Babbin, John Loftus and Reza Bayegan, welcome to Frontpage Symposium.
Mr. Bayegan let me begin with you. What exactly is the threat we face? Does Iran already have WMDs? Or is it on the verge of having them? What is the threat here?
Bayegan: The Islamic Republic already has stockpiles of chemical weapons and has told the EU three (Britain, Germany and France) 'that it could possess nuclear weapons within three years. The real time limit the mullahs need to obtain a nuclear bomb however is less than 11 months.
The danger we face from the regime in Tehran acquiring the nuclear bomb cannot be exaggerated. Our democratic values and the very survival of Western civilization are at stake. In particular such an eventuality would be the worst nightmare scenario for the state of Israel and an unprecedented blow to peace and liberty throughout the world.
Since September 11, we have seen how terrorists are able to strike anywhere they choose and hijack Western democratic processes by intimidating the public as they did during the recent Spanish election. With a nuclear bomb at their disposal they can do this without risking their own lives and by pushing -- or just threatening to push -- a button.
With or without WMDs, the danger the clerical regime poses is far greater than the other members of the 'axis of evil' i.e. Iraq during Saddam Hussein and North Korea. This danger is rooted in a ruthless anti-Western ideology that manipulates the religious belief of the masses and justifies any means for reaching its deadly objectives. If the mullahs get their hands on a nuclear bomb we might as well assume that Hamas and other terrorist organizations have access to it also.
On August 15 2004, the military chief of the Islamic Republic declared that the entire Zionist territory 'is within the range of Iran's new advanced ballistic missiles'. The mullahs are counting the days until they can arm these missiles with nuclear or biological warheads. Experts believe that although due to their inherent inaccuracy the Iranian Shahb-3 and the planned for Shahab-4 missiles make no military sense if armed with conventional warheads, they can become immensely effective as terror weapons against civilian targets.
In other words, the dictators in Tehran gaining weapons of mass destruction would impose the same or worse state of terror on the rest of the world as they have imposed on the Iranian people for the last quarter of a century.
FP: Mr. Babbin, what Mr. Bayegan is describing here is terrifying. Do you agree that the danger the clerical regime poses is far greater than the other members of the Axis of Evil?What is your view of this threat? Are we going to have to pursue regime change asap?
Babbin: I agree that Iran is, by far, the most dangerous terrorist nation. Their nuclear ambitions and their unarguable involvement in global terrorism make them our number one problem. The threat from Iran is threefold:
[1] they are supporters of the conventional terrorists such as Hizballah, al-Queda and many others that have American blood on their hands.
[2] they are funding, supplying and operating the al-Sadr insurgents in Iraq. The Iranian regime has decided to make a stand against democracy in Iraq, and we must find a way to end their interference or Iraq will never be free or stable.
[3] their nuclear ambitions are close to being achieved. If they are, the whole Middle East and even parts of Europe will be threatened, as will American interests everywhere.
We should be pursuing regime change in Iran now, through covert operations, support for Iranian opposition groups (such as the Mujahideen e Khalq, which we wrongly labeled a terrorist group at Tehran's request) and by preparing what may be an inevitable military strike against their nuclear program.
FP: Mr. Loftus, what do you make of the two gentlemen's comments?
Loftus: If anything, they understate the threat. Let us put Iran's nuclear development in context. During the 1990's the Peoples Liberation Army of China made a strategic decision to trade the components of the Islamic Bomb in return for greater access to Arab oil, necessary for China's growth.
The PLA used its proxy state, North Korea, to carry out the nuclear proliferation deal. Iranian nuclear engineers were frequently observed flying to North Korea and Pakistan.
For short term diplomatic reasons, the US is going along with the fiction that the A.Q. Khan network in Pakistan was merely a private criminal enterprise. Supposedly, this "private" network arranged to provide North Korean missiles to the Pakistan army in exchange for advanced nuclear centrifuges. Several of these P-2 centrifuges were discovered in Iran by the IAEA inspectors.
The Pakistani government has refused to cooperate with the IAEA's investigation of Iran. Access to uranium stain samples has been denied. This denial is critical for the IAEA to prove that Iran has its own nuclear track, which cannot be explained by the nuclear stains found on the Pakistani centrifuges. Without the Pakistani evidence, the IAEA is denied the smoking gun to prove that Iran is still lying about its nuclear program.
At some point, the Bush administration will have to stop sitting on its intelligence evidence if it wants to make its case to the UN that the Iran-North Korean-Chinese partnership is the single greatest threat to world peace.
FP: Thanks Mr. Loftus. This is very terrifying because what exactly can we really do about this? Make a case to the U.N.? This is a joke. What's the U.N. gonna do? It's pretty evident by now, isn't it, that the U.N. is a body that works against the interests of the U.S., democracy and freedom? The U.N. should have acted on this long ago.
Mr. Loftus do you agree? And so what do? Do we wait for the U.N. to take action or is the U.S. gonna have to do something drastic unilaterally?
Loftus: I think the whole mess is about to erupt this fall. My bet: after the U.S. elections are over.
FP: You want to expand a bit?
Loftus: Not yet. October surprises come in October.
FP: Ok then. Well we'll talk in November about this with you then. Mr. Bayegan, your view on the U.S. supporting Iran's opposition?
Bayegan: I agree with Mr. Babbin that Iranian opposition groups should be supported. I would like however to put in a caveat here about groups such as Mujahedin e Khalgh. This group is abhorred by the majority of Iranians for its opportunistic stance during the Iran-Iraq war and its ideological hodgepodge of Islamic Marxism. The track record of the group as far as ethical and moral integrity is concerned is also quite bleak. It has been in cahoots with Saddam Hussein, the PLO and many other brutal terrorist organizations around the globe.
If there is a group with a more shattered popular base than the mullahs it is the Mujahedin e Khalgh. Having said that, one cannot deny that they have high organizational and disciplinary skills which could be useful for overthrowing the mullahs. If support is to be provided to this group and similar organizations it should be made conditional on their acceptance of democratic principles and civilized political norms.
Iranians have no affinity for Marxism or Islamic obscurantism dished out by the mullahs for the past twenty-five years, but can feel at home in their ancient traditions of respect for human rights and tolerance. Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah of Iran who lives in exile in the U.S., is the only Iranian political figure whose voice rings true for Iranians. His political agenda of separation of Mosque and state (see his book Winds of Change) and his crusade for holding a national referendum to let Iranians freely decide about their national future (a Republic, Monarchy, etc.) is the most solid ground for bringing about political transformation in Iran. His campaign, which is the only force that can unite all Iranians, should be supported with our wholehearted effort and the maximum commitment the democratic world can muster.
I would like to give the highest emphasis here to the fact that we cannot achieve a sustainable democratic transformation in Iran without the trust and blessing of the Iranian public. We have to use all possible means to isolate the regime and at the same time never for a minute lose sight of the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people for peace, national dignity and democracy. This can be done by encouraging Iranian political groups to come together under the umbrella of calling for a free and democratic national referendum.
Regarding Jamie's remark about the UN, I would like to say that the United Nations, IAEA and for that matter efforts of the three European powers to coax Iran to convert to a trustworthy regime and keep its nuclear program peaceful will not work because the mullahs policy of acquiring nuclear bomb is part of an overall strategy to defeat Western democratic values and annihilate the state of Israel. It is a betrayal of peace and human liberty to make concessions to a government which will use any possible means to secure its deadly objectives. The weakening and disintegration of the clerical regime can be achieved by concerted international effort and application of the highest possible pressure in all fields.
FP: Mr. Babbin, what do you make of Mr. Bayegan's emphasis on democratic principles as an ingredient for U.S. support of Iranian opposition groups?
Babbin: Mr. Bayegan takes this as a sort of academic exercise. I don't want us to condition our support of Iranian opposition groups on some ephemeral affirmation of democratic principals and "civilized political norms" -- whatever that means. We can, and should, choose to support those groups that are proving that they are neither Islamic jihadists nor terrorists of any other stripe, and those which demonstrate their commitment to democracy by agreeing -- now, not later -- to some sort of provisional government for Iran when the mullahs are removed.
To do this, we need what we failed to establish in Iraq: a government in exile, governed by an agreed-on draft constitution that contains provision for basic rights and provides for free elections within a year of the mullahs' fall. We should be proclaiming -- long, hard and continuously -- that regime change in Tehran is our policy, and using every other means we can to increase the pressure on the mullahs, short of military action at this time. Military action may be needed as early as next year if the situation doesn't change dramatically.
I think the MEK is imperfect; maybe it has fewer adherents than other groups. But for us -- or for anyone such as Mr. Bayegan -- to say that no one other than their pal (in his case, the late shah's son) has allegiance of the Iranian people is simply silly. No one -- not the MEK, not Reza Pahlavi, no one - has allegiance among the people of Iran. They have been enslaved for 25 years by the mullahs. I hate to say it, but proclaiming Reza Pahlavi the only accepted voice that "rings true for Iranians" is the same sort of claim we heard from the INC three years ago about Ahmed Chalabi. It wasn't true about Chalabi then, and I don't expect it's true now of Mr. Pahlavi. The Iranian people will decide for themselves in due course. Anyone who claims his guy is the ONLY guy to trust now diminishes his own credibility enormously.
Having said that, I see no reason to not support Mr. Pahlavi or to not rearm and reactivate the MEK. There likely are other groups that can also be activated, supplied and encouraged. The issue, I say emphatically, is not to pick the next government of Iran now. The issue is to ensure that we place enough pressure on the current kakistocracy in Iran to prevent them from obtaining -- by development or purchase -- nuclear weapons. Whether we do it perfectly or not isn't the issue. Results count here, and although there are lines we can't and shouldn't cross, I'm not too picky on how we reach that goal.
I think Mr. Loftus has it right, or at least mostly. The Iranian nuclear issue will be on the front burner by early next year. In the UN we hope -- faint hope that it is -- that the IAEA will do what it is promising now, and report the Iranian nuclear program to the Security Council as a violation of international law and treaty. But to expect the Security Council to do anything serious about Iran is to hope too much. Iran is backed at least by Russia and France (both veto-holding permanent members) and other Security Council members such as Algeria, which like Iran is a supporter of terrorists. We lack the votes to get the Security Council to do anything that will prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Having said that, we must plan for the next steps to be taken, because they will need to be accomplished before the end of 2005. By then, if not sooner, Iran will have possession of, and/or the ability to manufacture, nuclear weapons. (I should note that more than one source has told me that Iran already has three nuclear weapons it has bought on the black market). We will not have to act unilaterally. Other nations -- especially including Israel -- see Iran as an existential threat. Iraq, though not yet able to defend itself against the Iranian-funded insurgency of Moqtada al-Sadr, has an equal stake in preventing a nuclear Iran. So do all those nations -- from Turkey to Britain - who will soon be in range of Iranian missiles. The UN will fail with respect to Iran just as it has failed in every other challenge in the war on terrorists and the nations that support them. We won't act alone. But we will have to act militarily, and soon.

To continue reading this symposium, Click Here.

Atomic Ayatollahs (Continued)
By Jamie Glazov | September 3, 2004
Loftus: The short term goal is to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons, the medium term goal is to stop its funding of terrorism, the long term goal is regime change. Lets take them in order:
Short term: IAEA wants (secretly) to refer Iran to the UN for sanctions but lacks the smoking gun. Libya, Pakistan, North Korea or China could easily incriminate Iran, but that would mean outing the entire Arab nuclear game, There are lots of guilty parties: Saudi funding, Egyptian support, Syrian centrifuges, Iraqi nuclear scientists working in Libya, etc. There are a lot of threads to pull apart the tapestry of the Iranian nuclear cover-up.
BUT even if the smoking gun emerges, the big obstacle is the price of oil. Europe imports 90% of its oil from the Arabian peninsula. Arab sanctions are the ones with real teeth. A US naval blockade could easily shut Iran's economy in weeks or months, but in the interim oil prices would skyrocket to $100 per barrel. The US can sit out the price hike with our petroleum reserves, Europe cannot.
Bottom line: if we are to go against Iran, we go alone as usual. My intel friends tell me that the new oddly shaped warhead on the Shahab 3d missile is an exact duplicate of the North Korean nuclear warhead. I think Iran already has one to four nuclear weapons, and is prepared to obliterate Israel in response to any blockade or pre-emptive strike. I see little consensus for a short term strategy to blockade Iran, let alone to launch a primitive attack.
The middle term goal: to stop Iranian support for terrorism. Here there is some hope. The Iraqis have caught Iran by the short hairs in funding Sadr's rebellion. The Iranian Consul General in Karbala has been kidnapped by "unknown forces" and has been talking like a waterfall. The Iranian spies disguised ad journalists and chamber of commerce types have been rounded up. The confessions have been videotaped, the secret codes broken. The new Iraqi government has grounds to say that Iran has declared war, and to call on the Arab states to issue their own sanctions. This has a glimmer of hope. Iran's weak points are its European dependent trade economy, and its fear of geopolitical isolation. They can be hit in the pocketbook. If the Arabs insist, Europe will follow.
Long term: Wait them out. It took 70 years, but the Soviet Union crumbled without a nuclear war. It won't take anywhere near that long for Iran. Iran has a fragile economy, with massive unemployment among the young urban populations. The Mullahs will be swallowed by their own demographics within a decade. Instead of funding the MEK or SAVAK or yet another Shah, let the American Persian community increase their highly effective TV and radio broadcasts to Iran. 75% of the Iranian population is under 25, and they hate the Mullahs with a passion.
These three strategies are not inconsistent. If the Arab states want to avoid exposure for their criminal conspiracy to develop the Islamic Bomb, then the price is Iran. If the Arabs isolate the Persians in punishment for their attack on Iraq, then the Europeans may execute a volte face rather than risk an Arab boycott. Some oil is better than none. Let the deal making begin. We have 36 months before Iran can manufacture an indigenous nuclear stockpile. After that point, they could defeat America.
Bayegan: What Mr.Babbin calls an academic exercise, I call doing one's homework before a headlong plunge into another quagmire in the Middle East. I am surprised at that "whatever that means" cynical tone Mr. Babbin uses to refer to "democratic principles" and "civilized political norms". For thousands of Iranians who have been subject to torture, humiliation and murder by religious tyrants for the past quarter of a century, those values are of infinite and invaluable importance.
Mr. Babbin speaks in the same breath of support for Mr. Pahlavi and re-arming/reactivating MKO. The problem with that argument is that unlike MKO, Reza Pahlavi is advocating a non-violent resistance to the Mullahs and calls for the toppling of the clerical regime through civil disobedience, economic sanctions and political isolation. Mr. Pahlavi has never once promoted a military attack on Iranian soil. Accordingly, any comparison made between him and the leaders of Iraqi National Congress is jejune or outright calumnious. Those Iranians who are supporting his campaign are doing so for his peaceful and democratic approach, and not because they are his pal as Mr. Babbin is suggesting about myself.
I reiterate here that the non-violent political solution and the call for a national referendum are the ONLY acceptable means of a regime change for the majority of Iranians. That is why Americans like Mr. Babbin do well to cultivate the capacity of listening to the Iranian people and spending time to study their true sentiments and aspirations.
For instance, does Mr. Babbin have any idea that his argument that "we have to act militarily and soon" cannot be received with anything except utter repugnance by Iranians and credible leaders of the Iranian opposition? No Iranian opposition leader worth his salt is suggesting (As Ahmed Chalabi did) that the invading armies will be greeted with flowers in the streets of Tehran. An Iraqi style invasion of Iran is what the mullahs need to rally Iranians behind them and further delay the collapse of their hated theocracy.
I agree with Mr. Loftus that Iranians do not need any funding to liberate their country. He also points out an important factor against the survival of the clerical regime when he remarks that "75 percent of the Iranian population is under 25, and they hate the Mullahs with a passion".
This passion is a noble human resistance to oppression and tyranny. It is a laudable, moral fervor that deserves the support and solidarity of every member of international community.
What is toted by the Kerry camp as the 'grand bargain' to dissuade the Islamic Republic from moving towards its WMD objectives is a prime example of a betrayal of the hope and aspirations of Iranian people.
As a matter of fact, the regime in Tehran which felt extremely vulnerable after the ouster of Saddam Hussein has been using the nuclear card to win concessions from the West and continue its reign of terror with impunity. John Edwards' recent overture to Iran that amounts to showering the mullahs with presents and offering them a list of incentives shows that the Democrats have not learned anything from their past mistakes. The war on terror cannot be won as long as the clerical regime continues to rule Iran. The Democrats paid the price of their vacillating policies towards the Mullahs during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. A future President John Kerry cannot expect to fare any better.
Babbin: Before Mr. Bayegan can accuse me of calumniating, he must first prove his assertion that Reza Pahlavi is the anointed future leader of a moderate Iran. That he has not even attempted to do. I repeat: he sounds almost exactly the same as those who asserted that Iraqis would flock around Chalabi as their accepted leader. Having not been in Iran in twenty-five years, Mr. Pahlavi has to prove to have a large and democratically-oriented following before his advocates are taken seriously. That he patently cannot. I have met Mr. Pahlavi, and find him a highly intelligent and engaging man. I have read one of his books, and believe that he is inclined to a new, free and democratic Iran. But that is not enough. Mr. Bayegan's assertions may prove true. I hope they do. But his assertions are merely that: unsupported and not yet susceptible of being taken seriously.
Mr. Bayegan also accuses me of cynicism. He confuses cynicism with realism. I think that those -- such as he -- who ask us to choose between Iranian opposition groups merely on their say so -- have a lot to learn about America. We are learning as we go in this war, and we have learned in Iraq to not believe unsubstantiated claims of broad support by those who aren't in-country. Am I suggesting a "headlong plunge" into the Middle East? My dear chap, the Middle East has taken a headlong plunge into America. We are responding, and not in kind.
We must remove the regime of the mullahs in Tehran. We can and should do so. We have no quarrel with the people of Iran but -- and this is the biggest "but" in the world today -- we must remove that regime soon, on our time table, with or without the acceptance by the Iranian people of the time or means we choose. If they disagree, they should take their grievances out on the repressive regime that holds them in thrall and seeks to do the same with the rest of the world. Mr. Bayegan and others don't have standing to argue with us about how we do what we must do. Our ONLY obligation is to remove the threat of the central terrorist regime in the world in as humane a way as we can.
We wish no harm to the Iranian people, and hope that they will understand that we cannot await their blessing before we act. Mr. Bayegan seems to be saying that we are under some obligation to ourselves, our posterity, or to the Iranians to wait until they say we are doing what they might accept. That reasoning is perfectly circular. If the Iranians had a legitimate voice through which their government spoke, they would already be democratic and not a terrorist threat. But they do not. There is no voice of the moderate Iran that can speak for anyone inside the nation. Both Mr. Loftus and Mr. Bayegan apparently wish to wait for some diplomatic or Iranian-generated action to change what the facts on the ground are now. I believe the time to wait is rapidly running out.
Just Wednesday, the mullahs announced that they are beginning to enrich tons of uranium in defiance of the IAEA and the UN. Mr. Loftus is dreaming if he thinks IAEA "secretly" wants to do something. Even if it were, IAEA's secret dreams can't and won't disarm Iran. We must do it, and very soon. With our allies if some choose to join, alone if we must. And I reiterate, we need not and should not invade Iran. Destruction of the nuclear program is sufficient for now, and can be done from the air. By so doing, we may provide the impetus for a revolution that the Iranian people can mount themselves. If it does, we should support it with money, arms and communication assets. Then, and only then, can a new leader of a free Iran emerge.
FP: Mr. Loftus, last word goes to you. Please comment on the disagreement between Mr. Babbin and Mr. Bayegan and where you stand. And, as a final word, let us assume that President Bush called you today and said: "Mr. Loftus, Iran has become my #1 priority now. I need your advice on what to do." What do you tell the President?
Loftus: I think that perhaps you have seriously underestimated the Kerry strategy. It is a given that Iran will never accept a grand strategy, no matter how many enticements are spread before them. The reason is simple: the bottom line for Kerry's plan is that Iran must dismantle their centrifuge arrays, give up the indigenous mining of yellow cake, and end all enrichment experiments. Even if we offer, as Mr. Kerry has hinted, to provide uranium fuel for free, Iran will still turn the bargain down. Iran needs the enrichment cycle to build nuclear weapons, all else is pretense.
Mr. Kerry knows this, and anticipates the rejection of his Grand Bargain. So why bother? Because we are linking the Grand Bargain to a firm committment from the EU and other Arab states that rejection means an automatic vote for sanctions in the UN. Since 90% of Iran's economy is dependent on oil exports, this is one of the few countries in the world where sanctions have teeth. Shut down the pipelines, blockade the shipping lanes, and Iran's economy collapses in short order. That may be enough to start the revolution from within.
As to bombing from the air, it is not an option. A) we do not know where all the enrichment facilities are located, B) many of the sites are underground beneath civilian areas, and C) the much taunted nuclear bunker buster technology simply will not work after thorough study. Bombing will rally the Iranian people around the Pasdaran, the new SS, and accelerate spending on nuclear weapons. Land invasion is not an option, as Saddam learned.
My advice to the President is that we most go through the motions of offering a Grand Bargain for diplomatic reasons, but plan on its rejection. Several of the Mullahs have already denounced Kerry's proposal, so it is a safe bet to lose. We must get the votes for sanctions against Iran or consider a naval blockade on our own. 90% of Iran's trade is with the EU, and most of that cargo comes by sea. What will the Mullahs do for their people when the foodstocks run out? Let them eat yellowcake?
FP: Jed Babbin, John Loftus and Reza Bayegan, our time is up. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you again soon.

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Soviet Studies. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz's new book Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of the new book The Hate America Left and the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev's Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2002) and 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at


Rejecting International Pressure, Iran to Process Uranium
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 2, 2004; Page A13
Iran, in a fresh rebuff of demands that it abandon its nuclear ambitions, has decided to process a large quantity of uranium into a precursor ingredient used in making both commercial nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said yesterday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, in a confidential report, said Iran intends to convert more than 40 tons of uranium into uranium hexafluoride (UF 6 ) gas, an intermediate step in the complex process of making enriched uranium. The plan, if carried out, would represent a significant step forward for Iran's nuclear program and -- in the view of Bush administration officials -- a growing threat. In theory, that much uranium could yield as many as five crude nuclear bombs.
Administration officials reacted strongly to the revelation, vowing to launch a new effort this month to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council for international censure. "The United States will continue to urge others . . . to join us in the effort to deal with the Iranian threat to international peace and security," said John R. Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
Iran emphatically denies seeking nuclear weapons, but it insists it will assert its legal right to develop a commercial nuclear power industry. Although international inspectors have found no hard evidence linking Iran to a nuclear weapons program, its credibility has been battered by numerous disclosures of past attempts to conceal sensitive nuclear research.
Iran has also angered key U.S. allies in Europe by backing away from commitments to freeze components of its nuclear program, including the production of centrifuge machines used in enriching uranium. In an agreement reached last fall with Britain, France and Germany, Iran promised to suspend the production of enriched uranium in return for trade and technical assistance.
Iran's decision to begin the conversion of 37 metric tons (40.8 tons) of raw yellowcake uranium into UF 6 is seen by U.S. officials and many weapons experts as a further flouting of Iran's commitments. Several experts described the quantity as surprising and disturbing.
The revelation was contained in an IAEA report that otherwise contained much favorable news for Iran. The document -- one in a series of periodic updates on the findings of a U.N. investigation of Iran's nuclear program -- gave the Iranians high marks for cooperating with international inspectors. Unlike past reports, it featured no bombshells about past Iranian nuclear activity. It concluded that Iran had "plausibly" explained the existence of some particles of enriched uranium found in several nuclear facilities -- particles that now appear to have entered the country on contaminated equipment purchased on the black market.
With the new report, the Bush administration faces diminishing prospects for finding "smoking gun" evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program -- and also, perhaps, for rounding up international support for tough action against Iran, said Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director for nonproliferation studies at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace. "Iran has answered the questions about its past while moving ahead with its enrichment program -- and we don't have a process in place to convince them to give it up," Wolfsthal said. "There's an open stretch of highway leading up to nuclear capability for Iran, and not a roadblock in sight."
? 2004 The Washington Post Company

International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors

GOV/2004/60Date: 1 September 2004 Restricted DistributionOriginal: English

For official use only Item 8(d) of the provisional agenda (GOV/2004/51)
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran Report by the Director General

1. At its meeting in June 2004, the Board of Governors considered the report submitted by the Director General on the implementation of the Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran (hereinafter referred to as Iran) and the Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the Safeguards Agreement)1. That report, published as GOV/2004/34 (1 June 2004) and Corr.1 (18 June 2004), provided a chronology from March 2004, summaries of the outstanding issues, next steps and assessments, and an annex on the Agency's verification activities. 2. On 18 June 2004, the Board of Governors adopted resolution GOV/2004/49, in which it: * acknowledged that Iranian cooperation had resulted in Agency access to all requested locations, including four workshops belonging to the Defence Industries Organisation; * deplored, at the same time, the fact that, overall, as indicated by the Director General's written and oral reports, Iran's cooperation had not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been, and, in particular, that Iran had postponed until mid-April visits originally scheduled for mid-March -- including visits of Agency centrifuge experts to a number of locations involved in Iran's P-2 centrifuge enrichment programme -- resulting in some cases in a delay in the taking of environmental samples and their analysis; * underlined that, with the passage of time, it was becoming ever more important that Iran work proactively to enable the Agency to gain a full understanding of Iran's enrichment programme by providing all relevant information, as well as by providing prompt access to all relevant places, data and persons; and called on Iran to continue and intensify its cooperation so that the Agency may provide the international community with required assurances about Iran's nuclear activities;
1 INFCIRC/214.
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* called on Iran to take all necessary steps on an urgent basis to help resolve all outstanding questions, especially that of low enriched uranium (LEU) and high enriched uranium (HEU) contamination found at various locations in Iran, including by providing additional relevant information about the origin of the components in question and explanations about the presence of a cluster of 36% HEU particles; and also the question of the nature and scope of Iran's P-2 centrifuge programme, including by providing full documentation and explanations at the request of the Agency; * welcomed Iran's submission of the declarations under Articles 2 and 3 of its Additional Protocol; and stressed the importance of Iran complying with the deadlines for further declarations required by Articles 2 and 3 of the Protocol, and that all such declarations should be correct and complete; * emphasized the importance of Iran continuing to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol to provide reassurance to the international community about the nature of Iran's nuclear programme; and urged Iran to ratify without delay its Additional Protocol; * recalled that in previous resolutions the Board had called on Iran to suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities; welcomed Iran's voluntary decisions in that respect; regretted that those commitments had not been comprehensively implemented and called on Iran immediately to correct all remaining shortcomings, and to remove the existing variance in relation to the Agency's understanding of the scope of Iran's decisions regarding suspension, including by refraining from the production of UF6 and from all production of centrifuge components, as well as to enable the Agency to verify fully the suspension; * in the context of Iran's voluntary decisions to suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, called on Iran, as a further confidence building measure, voluntarily to reconsider its decision to begin production testing at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) and also, as an additional confidence building measure, to reconsider its decision to start construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water, as the reversal of those decisions would make it easier for Iran to restore international confidence undermined by past reports of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran; * recalled that the full and prompt cooperation with the Agency of all third countries was essential in the clarification of certain outstanding questions, notably contamination; * commended the Director General and the Secretariat for their professional and impartial efforts to implement Iran's Safeguards Agreement, and, pending its entry into force, Iran's Additional Protocol, as well as to verify Iran's suspension of enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and to investigate supply routes and sources; * decided to remain seized of the matter. 3. In resolution GOV/2004/49, the Board also requested the Director General to report well in advance of the September Board -- or earlier if appropriate -- on the above issues as well as on the implementation of this and prior resolutions on Iran. The present report is the sixth in a series of written reports addressing the implementation of safeguards in Iran2, and provides the Board with an update of developments since the Director General's last report in June 2004. 2 The initial report to the Board of Governors on this specific matter was provided by the Director General orally at the Board's meeting on 17 March 2003. The Director General subsequently submitted five written reports to the Board: GOV/2003/40, dated 6 June 2003; GOV/2003/63, dated 26 August 2003; GOV/2003/75, dated 10 November 2003; GOV/2004/11, dated 24 February 2004; and GOV/2004/34 dated 1 June 2004 and Corr.1 dated 18 June 2004.
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A. Chronology from June 2004 4. From 29 May to 3 June 2004, Agency inspectors visited a number of workshops in Iran to establish a baseline for monitoring the suspension of production of centrifuge components, held discussions on the P-2 centrifuge programme and visited a workshop where P-2 composite rotor cylinders had been manufactured. 5. During a mission to Iran which took place from 22 to 30 June 2004, the Agency: conducted inspections at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz, and at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF); carried out complementary access at the Esfahan Nuclear Technology Centre (ENTC); and conducted design information verification at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz and at the Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production (MIX) Facility at the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre (TNRC). 6. On 22 June 2004, during the same mission, the Agency requested access to the Lavisan-Shian site in Tehran which had been referred to in the June 2004 Board of Governors meeting as having been relevant to alleged nuclear activities in Iran before the site was razed after November 2003. The Agency visited the site on 28 June 2004. 7. On 23 June 2004, the Agency received from Iran a letter of the same date stating that Iran "plan[ned] to suspend implementation of the expanded voluntary measures conveyed in [its] Note dated 24 February 2004", and that Iran "thus, intend[ed] to resume, under IAEA supervision, manufacturing of centrifuge components and assembly and testing of centrifuges as of 29 June 2004." In the letter, Iran requested the Agency to "take steps necessary to enable resumption of such operation as of 29 June 2004." 8. On 25 June 2004, the Director General wrote to Iran, referring to its letter of 23 June 2004, and expressing the hope that Iran would "continue to build international confidence through implementing its voluntary decisions to suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities" and informing Iran that the Agency would be in contact to clarify the practical implications of the decision of the Iranian authorities. Both letters were circulated to the Board of Governors for information under cover of a Note dated 25 June 2004. 9. On 29 June 2004, the Agency received from Iran a letter dated 27 June 2004 in which, referring to its own letter of 23 June 2003, Iran provided a list of seals which "[have] to be removed from material, components and equipment related to the restart of manufacturing, assembling and testing of gas centrifuge machines." In that letter, Iran also requested the Agency's response regarding "removal of the seals either by the Agency inspectors...or by the operator..." In a letter dated 29 June 2004, the Agency acknowledged receipt of Iran's letter and agreed to the removal of the seals by the operator in the absence of Agency inspectors. 10. From 30 June to 2 July 2004, the Agency met in Vienna with an Iranian delegation to discuss outstanding safeguards implementation issues. At the close of the meeting, Iran and the Agency agreed on actions to be taken in July and August 2004 to achieve progress on the resolution of those issues. 11. As agreed during that meeting, in a letter dated 2 July 2004, the Agency provided Iran with comments on the initial declarations submitted by Iran on 15 June 2004 pursuant to Articles 2 and 3 of the Additional Protocol. On 2 July 2004, the Agency also forwarded to Iran for its comments information that it had acquired through open sources on some dual-use equipment and materials, and associated locations, that could also be used for non-peaceful nuclear applications.
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12. As also agreed during the meeting of 30 June to 2 July 2004, on 5 July 2004, the Agency provided Iran with a list of questions in relation to its centrifuge enrichment programme and asked that the answers be provided in writing by 20 July 2004. 13. During a visit of Agency inspectors to Iran from 6 to 18 July 2004, an Agency team met with Iranian officials to discuss the Agency's comments on Iran's Additional Protocol declarations. The team also visited Natanz to recover nuclear material left over in equipment and piping that had been used in the centrifuge research and development (R&D) programme at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop. 14. During that visit, Iran also returned to the Agency 40 seals which it had removed from equipment and centrifuge components located at Natanz, Pars Trash and Farayand Technique (see para. 9 above). The Agency team also held discussions with Iranian officials on outstanding uranium conversion issues. In addition, the team visited the waste disposal site located at Qom, and performed complementary access at Lashkar Ab'ad, at a uranium production plant located near Bandar Abbas, and at TNRC. 15. On 19 July 2004, the Agency received a letter from Iran dated 15 July 2004 concerning the source of contamination of the room under the roof of the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). In the letter, Iran provided new information concerning the source of the material involved in the contamination. 16. From 25 July to 2 August 2004, Agency inspectors carried out inspection activities at TRR and PFEP, and at facilities on the Esfahan site, where complementary access was also carried out. At Natanz, the inspectors also visited the administrative building and the centrifuge rotor storage building in connection with the monitoring of Iran's suspension of enrichment related activities. 17. From 3 to 8 August 2004, an Agency team, led by the Director of the Division of Safeguards Operations B (DIR-SGOB), met with Iranian officials in Tehran to discuss the outstanding safeguards implementation issues identified at the meeting of 30 June to 2 July 2004. At the opening of the meeting, Iran provided the Agency with written answers to some of the questions that the Agency had previously sent to Iran. These answers were discussed in detail during the meeting. 18. At the close of the meeting, Iran agreed to complete its written answers and to provide additional documentation to the Agency. On 8 August 2004, Iran provided the Agency with more information and documentation. Following a preliminary review of that information and documentation, the Agency wrote to Iran on 16 August 2004 to request information that remained outstanding. 19. On 16 August 2004, the Agency received a letter from Iran dated 14 August 2004 stating that the operator of UCF was "intending to perform hot test to be started on 19 August 2004." 20. Between 21 and 25 August 2004, discussions at TNRC were held, and complementary access at Karaj and inspections and design information verification at PFEP and UCF were carried out. 21. Between 19 and 30 August 2004, the Agency received from Iran a number of communications forwarding additional information relevant to the outstanding issues as discussed during the 3-8 August 2004 meeting in Iran and responding to the Agency's letter of 16 August 2004.
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B. Outstanding Issues and Assessments Centrifuge programme 22. The Agency has continued to investigate the statements made by Iran regarding the chronology of its P-2 centrifuge enrichment programme (GOV/2004/34, para. 26), particularly as regards the period 1995 to 2002. 23. During the discussions which took place in August 2004, Iran repeated that, although the design drawings of a P-2 centrifuge had been acquired in 1995, no work on P-2 centrifuges was carried out until early 2002 when, according to Iran, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) management decided that "work on a modified P-2 machine based on a sub-critical rotor design would not hurt," and, in March 2002, a contract to study the mechanical properties of the P-2 centrifuge was signed with a small private company. Iran stated that no feasibility or other preliminary studies or experiments were conducted by Iran during the period between 1995 and 2002. 24. Iranian officials also stated that, in spite of frequent contacts between 1995 and 1999 on P-1 centrifuge issues with the intermediaries (who, according to Iran, had provided both the P-1 and P-2 drawings), the topic of P-2 centrifuges was not addressed at all in those meetings nor in the course of making any other foreign contacts. Iran attributed this to the fact that a decision had been made to concentrate on the P-1 centrifuge enrichment programme, and that, in addition, the AEOI was undergoing senior management and organizational changes during that period of time. 25. During the 3-8 August 2004 meeting, and subsequently, the Agency received from Iran more details on the manufacturing and mechanical testing of the modified P-2 composite rotors under the contract with the private company during the period 2002-2003. The Agency reiterated its previous requests for further information from Iran on the procurement of magnets for the P-2 centrifuges, in particular on the source of all such magnets, with a view to facilitating completion by the Agency of its assessment of the P-2 experiments said to have been carried out by the private company. In a letter dated 30 August 2004, Iran informed the Agency that it was "trying to receive that information which would then be transmitted to the Agency". 26. In connection with the Agency's overall assessment of Iran's P-2 centrifuge enrichment programme, the reasons given by Iran for the apparent gap between 1995 and 2002 do not provide sufficient assurance that there were no related activities carried out during that period. The Agency is continuing its investigations of the supply network. Information in this regard will be essential for confirming the statements made by Iran with regard to the acquisition of detailed P-2 manufacturing drawings in 1995, and for understanding the subsequent developments in connection with Iran's P-2 centrifuge enrichment programme. The investigations into the supply network will also provide an opportunity for the Agency to confirm the accuracy of the information provided by Iran on its P-1 centrifuge enrichment programme. Origin of contamination 27. Iran has continued to maintain that the LEU and HEU particles found at Natanz, the Kalaye Electric Company workshop, Farayand Technique and, more recently, at Pars Trash, are due to contamination originating from imported P-1 centrifuge components. However, a number of unanswered questions remain: * why, if the contamination of the domestically manufactured centrifuge components was due solely to contamination from the imported components, the domestic components showed predominantly LEU contamination, while the imported components showed both LEU and HEU contamination.
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* why, if the source of contamination is the same (imported components), the contamination at PFEP differed from that found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Farayand Technique. * why 36% uranium-235 (U-235) particles were found mainly in three of the locations where the imported components were located, and not at others, and why, at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop, there was a relatively large number of particles of 36% U-235 compared to the number of particles of U-235 with other enrichment levels. 28. For the Agency to be able to resolve the issue of LEU and HEU contamination, more information is needed on the locations where the imported components were manufactured and where they were subsequently used or moved to in transit to Iran (i.e. all locations where contamination of the components might have occurred). 29. While Iran provided some information in October 2003 on intermediaries involved, it continues to maintain that it does not know the origin of the components. During the 3-8 August 2004 meetings, the Agency again discussed this matter with Iran and reiterated its request that Iran make every effort possible to identify the origin of the components and the locations outside of Iran that Iranian officials had visited in the 1990s in connection with centrifuge related issues. Subsequently, Iran provided some additional information on one of those locations. 30. The Agency has also continued its discussions with the State from which most of the contaminated centrifuge components originated. The State has provided the Agency with new information on the results of its investigations into the supplier, which indicate that the components imported by Iran may not all have originated from that State. However, additional work, including swipe sampling by the Agency of equipment, is required by the Agency to help it confirm the origin of the contamination from that equipment and to verify the new information. In connection with this work, information from intermediaries and/or the companies and workshops involved in the production and storage of centrifuge components (including information derived from environmental sampling) is indispensable. The Agency is pursuing this matter through contacts with other States and with companies and individuals. 31. The Agency's analysis to date has shown that most of the HEU contamination found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Natanz correlates reasonably with the HEU contamination found on imported components. Given this analysis, other correlations and model enrichment calculations based on the enrichment process in a possible country of origin, it appears plausible that the HEU contamination found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Natanz may not have resulted from enrichment of uranium by Iran at those locations. Other explanations for this and the LEU contamination continue to be investigated by the Agency. 32. As indicated above, on 19 July 2004, the Agency received a letter from Iran reiterating its previous assertion that the source of contamination of the room under the roof of the Tehran Research Reactor building had been "UF6 which [had] been produced through R&D conversion" (not UF6 imported in 1991, as Iran had initially informed the Agency), but providing additional information on the source of the material which had been used as feed for that conversion. The Agency continues to regard as not technically plausible Iran's explanation that the contamination was due to a leaking bottle. However, the Agency will only be able to pursue this issue if new information becomes available. Uranium conversion experiments 33. Between 1981 and mid-1993, small scale uranium conversion experiments were conducted by Iran at research laboratories at ENTC and TNRC. The Agency has been reviewing the information
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provided by Iran with a view to assessing Iran's declarations regarding these experiments. The Agency has concluded that Iran's statements and declarations regarding the technical scope of its work, the equipment used and the amounts of nuclear material consumed and produced are consistent with what was ascertained by the Agency as a result of its investigations. Laser enrichment 34. The Agency has completed its review of Iran's atomic vapour laser isotope separation (AVLIS) programme and has concluded that Iran's descriptions of the levels of enrichment achieved using AVLIS at the Comprehensive Separation Laboratory (CSL) and Lashkar Ab'ad and the amounts of material used in its past activities are consistent with information available to the Agency to date. Iran has presented all known key equipment, which has been verified by the Agency. For the reasons described in the Annex to this report, however, detailed nuclear material accountancy is not possible. 35. It is the view of the Agency's AVLIS experts that, while the contract for the AVLIS facility at Lashkar Ab'ad was specifically written for the delivery of a system that could achieve 5 kg of product within the first year with enrichment levels of 3.5% to 7%, the facility as designed and reflected in the contract would, given some specific features of the equipment, have been capable of limited HEU production had the entire package of equipment been delivered. The Iranian AVLIS experts have stated that they were not aware of the significance of these features when they negotiated and contracted for the supply and delivery of the Lashkar Ab'ad AVLIS facility. They have also provided information demonstrating the very limited capabilities of the equipment delivered to Iran under this contract to produce HEU (i.e. only in gram quantities). Plutonium separation experiments 36. As of the last report to the Board, there remained a number of questions concerning the dates and quantities of material involved in the plutonium separation experiments carried out by Iran (GOV/2004/34, Annex, paras 15-16) 37. Iran has now agreed with the Agency's estimate of the amounts of plutonium that had been produced by irradiation (milligram quantities). During the August 2004 discussions, Iran explained the reasons for the high level of americium-241 (Am-241) and the plutonium-240 (Pu-240) contamination found in samples taken from a used glove box stored at Esfahan. As noted in the previous report, there are indications that the age of the plutonium in solutions could be less than the 12-16 years declared by Iran; that is to say, that the separation activities were carried out more recently than that. The Iranian officials maintain their earlier statements regarding the age of the plutonium. The Agency is continuing to look into this matter. Hot cells 38. In response to questions by the Agency about past efforts by Iran to procure hot cell windows and manipulators, and the specifications associated with those items, Iran informed the Agency that there had been a project for the construction of hot cells for the production of "long lived radioisotopes" but that it had been abandoned due to procurement difficulties. In August 2004, Iran presented to the Agency detailed drawings that Iran had received from a foreign company in 1977 for hot cells which were to have been constructed at Esfahan. Iran stated that it had not yet made more detailed plans for hot cells for the Iran Research Reactor (IR-40) site at Arak, but that it had used information from those drawings as the basis for specifications in its efforts to procure manipulators for hot cells intended for the production of cobalt and iridium isotopes. In a letter dated 19 August 2004 Iran reiterated its previous statement that the hot cell project at Arak consisted of nine hot cells -- four for the
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"production of radioisotopes", two for the production of cobalt and iridium3, and three for "waste management processing" -- and would require ten back-up manipulators. 39. The Agency will continue to follow up on this issue with a view to achieving a better understanding of Iran's plans with respect to hot cells. Additional Protocol 40. The Agency is reviewing the initial declarations submitted by Iran pursuant to its Additional Protocol on 21 May 2004, as well as the clarifications and supplementary information provided by Iran following the detailed discussions in July and August 2004 between the Agency and Iran. Investigation of supply routes and sources 41. As requested by the Board in resolution GOV/2004/21, the Agency is continuing to pursue its investigation of the supply routes and sources of conversion and enrichment technology and the sources of related equipment and nuclear and non-nuclear materials. The Director General will provide more information to the Board about the results of this investigation upon its completion. Transparency visits and discussions 42. The Lavisan-Shian site in Tehran was referred to in the June 2004 meeting of the Board of Governors in connection with alleged nuclear related activities and the possibility of a concealment effort through the removal of the buildings from that site. 43. As indicated above, in response to an Agency request, Iran provided access to that site. Iran also provided access to two whole body counters, and to a trailer declared to have been previously located on that site and to have contained one of the whole body counters. The Agency took environmental samples at these locations. Iran also gave the Agency a description and chronology of activities carried out at the Lavisan-Shian site. According to Iran, a Physics Research Centre had been established at that site in 1989, the purpose of which had been "preparedness to combat and neutralization of casualties due to nuclear attacks and accidents (nuclear defence) and also support and provide scientific advice and services to the Ministry of Defence." Iran provided a list of the eleven activities conducted at the Centre, but, referring to security concerns, declined to provide a list of the equipment used at the Centre. Iran stated further that "no nuclear material declarable in accordance with the Agency's safeguard[s] was present" and that "no nuclear material and nuclear activities related to fuel cycle [were] carried out in Lavisan-Shian." 44. According to Iran, the site had been razed in response to a decision ordering the return of the site to the Municipality of Tehran in connection with a dispute between the Municipality and the Ministry of Defence. Iran recently provided documentation to support this explanation. 45. The documentation provided by Iran is currently being assessed, and the environmental samples are being analysed. 46. In accordance with Agency practice in connection with its evaluation of other States' nuclear programmes, the Agency has discussed with the Iranian authorities open source information relating to dual use equipment and materials which have applications in the conventional military area and in the civilian sphere as well as in the nuclear military area. The Agency welcomes Iran's willingness to discuss these topics. 3 Cobalt-60 and iridium-192 have half-lives of 5.2 years and 74 days, respectively.
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Suspension 47. In its Note Verbale of 29 December 2003, Iran informed the Agency that, with immediate effect, it would suspend: * the operation and/or testing of any centrifuges at PFEP at Natanz; * further introduction of nuclear material into any centrifuges; * installation of new centrifuges at PFEP and installation of centrifuges at FEP. 48. Iran also indicated that it would withdraw nuclear material from any centrifuge enrichment facility if and to the extent practicable. It further stated that: * it currently was not constructing any type of gas centrifuge enrichment facility at any location in Iran other than the facility at Natanz, nor did it have plans to construct new facilities capable of isotopic separation during the suspension; * it had dismantled its laser enrichment projects and removed all related equipment; * it was not constructing or operating any plutonium separation facility; * during the period of suspension, it did not intend to make new contracts for the manufacture of centrifuge machines and their components; * the Agency could fully supervise storage of all centrifuge machines assembled during the suspension period; * Iran did not intend to import centrifuge machines or their components, or feed material for enrichment processes, during the suspension period; and * there was no production of feed material for enrichment processes in Iran. 49. On 24 February 2004, Iran invited the Agency to verify its further voluntary decisions to: * suspend the assembly and testing of centrifuges; and * suspend the domestic manufacture of centrifuge components, including those related to the existing contracts, to the furthest extent possible (and said that any components that were manufactured under existing contracts that could not be suspended would be stored and placed under Agency seal). 50. Iran also confirmed that the suspension of enrichment activities applied to all facilities in Iran. 51. On 21 May 2004, Iran informed the Agency that it had not, at any time, made any undertaking not to produce feed material for the enrichment process, and that its voluntary and temporary suspension did not include suspension of the production of UF6. 52. As previously indicated in the Director General's report to the Board (GOV/2004/34, para. 42; Annex, paras 60-61), Iran informed the Agency that it was conducting hot tests at UCF that would generate UF6 product. One such test, which generated about 30-35 kg UF6, was conducted between May and June 2004. Another larger test involving 37 tonnes of yellowcake is planned for August/September 2004. 53. As indicated above, Iran notified the Agency on 23 June 2004 of its intention to resume, "under IAEA supervision, manufacturing of centrifuge components and assembly and testing of centrifuges". Following this, the seals that had been used by the Agency as one of the measures for monitoring Iran's suspension of the manufacture, assembly and testing of centrifuge components at Natanz, Pars
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Trash and Farayand Technique were removed by Iran and returned to the Agency during its visit to Iran between 6 and 18 July 2004. As of mid-August 2004, about 70 rotors had been newly assembled and tested, and were shown to the Agency. The Agency is discussing with Iran the necessary arrangements for the Agency to exercise "supervision". In that regard, the Agency has proposed that it seal the tested rotors, a measure which Iran has not to date accepted. It must be noted that, in the absence of such seals, the Agency's supervision of the activities identified by Iran cannot be considered effective. 54. Since the last report of the Director General to the Board of Governors, the Agency has been able to verify that there has been no operation or testing of any centrifuges at PFEP; that there has been no further introduction of nuclear material into any centrifuges at PFEP; that there has been no installation of new centrifuges at PFEP or installation of centrifuges at FEP; and that there has been no reprocessing at the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories (JHL). 55. The Agency has also been able to reconfirm that it has not observed to date at TNRC, Lashkar Ab'ad, Arak, the Kalaye Electric Company workshop, Natanz or UCF any activities inconsistent with the Agency's understanding of Iran's current suspension undertakings. C. Findings and Next Steps 56. The Agency welcomes the new information provided recently by Iran in response to the Agency's requests, although the process of providing information needs, in certain instances, to be accelerated. In some cases, such as Iran's clarifications related to its initial declarations pursuant to its Additional Protocol, the provision of new information has been prompt. In other cases, sufficiently detailed information has, despite repeated requests, been provided so late that it has not been possible to include an assessment of its sufficiency and correctness in this report. The Agency also welcomes the cooperation by Iran in providing access to locations in response to Agency requests, including at the Lavisan-Shian site. 57. Although the Agency is not yet in a position to draw definitive conclusions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran's declarations related to all aspects of its nuclear programme, it continues to make steady progress in understanding the programme. In this regard, the Agency's investigations have reached a point where, with respect to two aspects previously identified by the Agency as requiring investigation (i.e. Iran's declared laser enrichment activities and Iran's declared uranium conversion experiments), further follow-up will be carried out as a routine safeguards implementation matter. 58. Two issues remain key to understanding the extent and nature of Iran's enrichment programme: * The first issue relates to the origin of uranium contamination found at various locations in Iran. As stated above, some progress has been made towards ascertaining the source of the HEU contamination found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Natanz. From the Agency's analysis to date, it appears plausible that the HEU contamination found at those locations may not have resulted from enrichment of uranium by Iran at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop or at Natanz. However, the Agency will continue to pursue the identification of sources and reasons for such contamination. The Agency will also continue with its efforts to understand the source of the LEU contamination found in various locations in Iran, including on domestically manufactured components.
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* The second issue relates to the extent of Iran's efforts to import, manufacture and use centrifuges of both the P-1 and P-2 design. While the Agency has gained a better understanding of Iran's efforts relevant to both designs, additional work by the Agency will be necessary, inter alia, to confirm Iran's statements regarding the absence of P-2 centrifuge related activities in Iran between 1995 and 2002 and regarding P-2 centrifuge procurement related activities. 59. There are other issues that will also require further follow-up, for example the timeframe of Iran's plutonium separation experiments. 60. The Agency has been able to verify Iran's suspension of enrichment related activities at specific facilities and sites, and has been able to confirm that it has not observed, to date, any activities at those locations inconsistent with its understanding of Iran's current suspension undertakings. 61. It is important for Iran to support the Agency's efforts to gain a full understanding of all remaining issues by continuing to provide access to locations, personnel and information relevant to safeguards implementation in response to Agency requests -- as well as by proactively providing any additional information that could enhance the Agency's understanding of Iran's nuclear programme. 62. The Agency welcomes the cooperation of other States in response to Agency requests, which is key to the Agency's ability to resolve some of the outstanding issues. Information received to date from other States has proven useful in understanding aspects of the uranium contamination found in Iran. The Agency will continue to request States to actively assist the Agency in resolving these issues. 63. The Director General will report to the Board as appropriate and not later than the November 2004 meeting of the Board.

Annex Verification Activities A. Uranium Conversion - Experiments and Testing 1. Between 1981 and mid-1993, Iran conducted a variety of small scale uranium conversion experiments which encompassed the conversion of uranium ore concentrate (UOC) to ammonium diuranate (ADU) and UO2, the conversion of UOC to ammonium uranyl carbonate (AUC), the conversion of uranyl nitrate (UN) directly to UO3, the conversion of UO2 to UF4 through wet and dry processes and the conversion of UF4 to UF6. During the period 1995 to 2002, techniques to convert UF4 to uranium metal were developed and, during the period 1997 to 2002, research and development on processes in connection with the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) at Esfahan was also conducted. 2. These activities, the time periods during which they were conducted, the quantities of nuclear material used and the quantities of products and wastes are summarized in the following table. PROCESS TIME PERIODS DISPOSITION OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL4 Conversion of UOC to ADU (ENTC) 1983 to mid-1987 49.6 kg imported U3O8 used to produce 36 kg ADU Conversion of ADU to UO2 (ENTC) Early 1985 to mid-1987 34 kg of the 36 kg ADU used to produce 28 kg of UO2; 2 kg ADU unused 12 kg of the 28 kg UO2 used in subsequent experiments, 16 kg UO2 unused Total of 6.7 kg U as liquid waste from UOC-ADU and ADU-UO2 conversion disposed of at Qom Conversion of UOC to AUC (ENTC) 1986 to mid-1987 About 5.5 kg imported UOC used to produce about 7 kg AUC Conversion of UOC to AUC (TNRC) 1989 to end 1992 About 2.7 kg imported UOC used to produce about 4.5 kg AUC Wet process production of UF4 (TNRC) 1990 to mid-1991 12.8 kg imported UOC used to produce 10 kg UF4; waste disposed of at Qom
4 For the sake of simplicity, natural and depleted uranium have been combined.
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Dry process production of UF4 (TNRC) End 1991 to early 1992 About 2.7 kg imported UO2 used to produce about 3 kg UF4; 2.5 kg UF4 remains on inventory; 0.5 kg waste disposed of at Qom Conversion of UF4 to UF6 (TNRC) Mid-1991 to mid-1993 9.8 kg imported UF4 used to produce 6.9 kg UF6; 2.7 kg U disposed of as waste Conversion of UN to UO3 (TNRC) Second half 1992 2.2 kg imported UOC used to produce 0.3 kg UO3; waste disposed of at Qom Pulse column experiments (TNRC) Early 1997 to early 2002 22.5 kg UO2 used for various experiments, out of which equivalent of 8.6 kg UO2 remains as liquid waste; equivalent of 14 kg UO2 disposed of as waste at Qom Conversion of UF4 to uranium metal (TNRC) 1995 to early 2002 358.7 kg UF4 (mainly imported) used to produce 126.4 kg uranium metal; 3 kg uranium metal recovered from waste 3. With the exception of the studies on uranium metal conversion and pulse columns, the small scale conversion activities started in the early to mid-1980s and continued for several years. The last of these, the UF4-UF6 experiments, ended in June of 1993. There are inherent difficulties with investigating activities which ended over a decade ago, and it is not possible to verify in detail the chronologies and descriptions of the experiments which took place in Iran. Therefore, the Agency's activities have been focused on assessing the consistency of information provided by Iran and examining remaining equipment and nuclear material. 4. Very detailed documentation was provided for some of the conversion experiments and tests, for example, the UO2-UF4, UF4-UF6, UN-UO3 and uranium metal activities. Less detailed documentation was provided for the older activities, such as those associated with the UOC-ADU, ADU-UO2 and UOC-AUC activities. The documentation was supplemented by technical meetings with scientific staff involved with and responsible for these activities. Except for the equipment associated with the UOC-AUC experiments, equipment used during the experiments was examined and, where possible, compared with documentation. Inventory examination and verification activities, including the recovery of nuclear material hold-up from the equipment, were performed to confirm, where possible, the quantities of nuclear material used, produced and lost as waste. 5. An issue of concern since the outset of the investigation of the small scale conversion activities has been the very small quantities of nuclear material used and produced relative to the size, quality and capacity of the equipment involved, particularly in connection with the UOC-ADU, ADU-UO2, UO2-UF4 and the UF4-UF6 projects. The large scale experimental equipment, if used for full scale production, could consume and produce far in excess of what was declared to have been consumed and produced during the declared life of these activities. 6. A related issue is the use of the equipment during the period between when the activities were said to have ceased (1991-1993) and April 1999, when the equipment is said to have been dismantled and put into storage. Iran has stated that the equipment was kept in storage until January 2004, when it was examined by the Agency and the nuclear material hold-up recovered therefrom, and the equipment was destroyed at the initiative of the Iranian authorities.
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7. Examination of the equipment prior to and during its destruction showed that the equipment was in very good condition and appeared to have been little used, which is consistent with the declared scale of its use. B. Irradiation and Reprocessing Experiments B.1. Plutonium separation 8. As described in the Director General's report to the March 2004 Board meeting (GOV/2004/11, para. 21), Iran had irradiated depleted UO2 targets and reprocessed them on the site of TNRC. According to Iran, 6.9 kg of UO2 had been irradiated, 3 kg of which were subsequently reprocessed to separate plutonium, and the remaining 3.9 kg had been buried in containers at the site. 9. However, on the basis of information available to it, the Agency concluded (GOV/2004/34, para. 36; Annex, paras 15-16): that the amount of plutonium declared by Iran had been understated (quantities in the milligram range rather than the microgram range as stated by Iran); that the plutonium samples taken from a glove box said to have been involved had plutonium-240 abundance higher than that found in the plutonium solution bottles presented; that the age of the plutonium solution in the bottles appeared to be less than the declared 12-16 years; and that there was an excess amount of americium-241 in samples. 10. With regard to the quantity of plutonium in solution, a recalculation by Iran based on corrected irradiation data and using a corrected equation indicated a quantity of plutonium in the range of that estimated by the Agency. During the meeting in Iran on 16 May 2004, Iran acknowledged that its theoretical estimations of the produced plutonium had been understated and accepted the Agency's estimate as being correct. 11. The age of the plutonium solutions was discussed during the meetings that took place between 3 and 8 August 2004. The Agency explained in detail the methodology it had used for dating the plutonium that had been separated, and the additional on-going work to validate the results. The Iranian officials reiterated their previous statement that the experiments had been completed in 1993 and that no plutonium had been separated since then. The Agency agreed to analyse the available data further. 12. Iran also stated that plutonium with higher Pu-240 abundance originated from work carried out between 1982 and 1984 at the Radiochemistry Laboratory of the TNRC to produce smoke detectors using Am-241. This, in Iran's view, not only explained the Pu-240 contaminant, but also the high Am-241 content in the samples. Iran stated that the Am-241 had been imported from abroad prior to the Iranian revolution in 1979, and explained that, in 1990, the glove box that had been used in connection with the Am-241 was transferred to the building where plutonium separation took place, but that it had been used for training purposes and not for plutonium experiments. According to Iran, that glove box, along with others, was moved in 2000 to a warehouse at ENTC. 13. The overall assessment with respect to the plutonium experiments is pending finalization of the results of the plutonium dating.
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B.2. Polonium-210 (Po-210) production 14. The Agency has continued to follow up the explanations given by Iran on the purposes of the irradiation of bismuth metal samples that took place in TRR between 1989 and 1993 (GOV/2004/34, Annex, paras 17-19). Iran has reiterated its statement that when the project "Po-210 production by Bismuth irradiation in NRC Reactor" was approved by the Nuclear Research Centre (NRC) (later renamed the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre) in 1988, the researcher, in his project proposal, had only referred to a potential application of radioisotope batteries. 15. The Agency had previously requested further documentary information to support Iran's claims that the purpose of the project was to study the production of Po-210 on a laboratory scale only, and that there were no other clearly defined objectives or other projects that dealt with the application of Po-210. The Agency had also requested to see the original of the project proposal. Iran stated that the original documentation could not be found, but provided a statement by the Director of NRC certifying that the copy provided to the Agency, as well as the copy of the letter of approval by the former Directors of NRC also provided to the Agency, were "correct and accurate and authentic." 16. Iran subsequently reiterated in writing that it "does not have project for neither production of Po-210 nor production of neutron sources, using Po-210" and that "there [had] not been in the past any studies or projects on the production of neutron sources using Po-210". The Agency is still assessing the information provided by Iran. C. Uranium Enrichment C.1. Gas centrifuge enrichment 17. As described in GOV/2004/34 (Annex, para. 21), Iran has acknowledged that 1.9 kg of UF6 contained in two small cylinders received from abroad in 1991 had been used to test centrifuges at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop. During a visit to Natanz on 10-11 July 2004, Agency inspectors, with the cooperation of Iran, recovered about 650 g of uranium from the dismantled equipment from the Kalaye Electric Company workshop. The recovered material is currently being analysed. 18. In late May 2004, the Agency visited the workshop where Iran states the composite rotor cylinders for the modified P-2 design had been manufactured. The Agency concluded that the cylinders had in fact been manufactured at the workshop, and that only very limited technical capability exists there. In late May/early June 2004, further discussions were held with the owner of the private company that had received a contract from the AEOI to investigate the P-2 design. The detailed discussions covered the chronology of events that took place between 1995, when Iran says the P-2 centrifuge drawings were received from intermediaries, and 2002, when the contract was signed, including the work carried out by the private company and any development work. 19. During the 3-8 August 2004 meeting, and subsequently, the Agency received from Iran more details on the manufacturing and mechanical testing of the modified P-2 composite rotors under the contract with the private company during the period 2002-2003. The Agency reiterated its previous requests for further information from Iran on the procurement of magnets for the P-2 centrifuges, in particular, on the source of all such magnets, with a view to facilitating completion by the Agency of its assessment of the P-2 experiments said to have been carried out by the private company. In a letter dated 30 August 2004, Iran informed the Agency that it was "trying to receive that information which would then be transmitted to the Agency."
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20. On 8 August 2004, the Agency received a written communication from Iran outlining in more detail key dates of the P-2 related work. More detail was also provided about the enquiries made by the contractor concerning potential procurements from abroad. 21. The reasons given by Iran for the apparent gap between 1995 and 2002 do not provide sufficient assurance that there were no related activities carried out during that period, given that Iran had acquired a full set of drawings in 1995, and given that the owner of the private company was able to make the modifications necessary for the composite cylinders within a short period after early 2002 when, according to Iran, he had seen the drawings for the first time. The Agency is attempting to verify this information, inter alia, through the network of suppliers. C.1.1. Origin of contamination 22. As described in GOV/2004/34 (Annex, paras 25-31), environmental samples taken by the Agency at Natanz and at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop (and, more recently, Pars Trash) revealed particles of natural uranium, LEU and HEU that called into question the completeness of Iran's declarations about its centrifuge enrichment activities. The following unanswered questions remained to be resolved: * Analysis of samples taken from domestically manufactured centrifuge components showed predominantly LEU contamination, while analysis of samples from imported components showed both LEU and HEU contamination. It is still not clear why the components would have different types of contamination if, as Iran states, the presence of uranium on domestically manufactured components is due solely to contamination originating from imported components. * The types of uranium contamination found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and at Farayand Technique differ from those at PFEP at Natanz, even though Iran has stated that the source of contamination in both cases is the imported P-1 centrifuge components. * Environmental samples showing the presence of uranium particles enriched to 36% U-235 were found mainly in one room in the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and on the balancing machines which had been relocated from the Kalaye Electric Company workshop to Farayand Technique, both of which locations seemed to be contaminated by more than trace quantities of that material. Samples were also taken at the centrifuge assembly workshop at Natanz where Iran stated that the balancing machines had been located between February and November 2003. 23. Another distinct particle cluster of about 54% U-235, with U-236 contamination, was identified in samples taken from the surfaces of imported centrifuge components, which tends to support Iran's assertion that the source of that contamination had been imported components. However, further assessment is required to understand why 54% particles were also found in a sample collected from the chemical traps of the PFEP, which had not yet commenced operation at the time the sample was taken. 24. Since the issuance of the last report to the Board, the Agency and the State from which most of the imported P-1 centrifuges originated have, in a cooperative effort, continued to share their respective analytical results. The results provided by the State indicate that not all HEU found in the samples taken in Iran may have originated in that State. However, additional work, including swipe sampling by the Agency of equipment at appropriate locations, is required by the Agency to help it confirm the origin of the contamination from that equipment and to verify this new information. The Agency has also been in contact with a third State with a view to facilitating the resolution of the contamination questions.
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25. In April 2004, the Agency was able to visit two locations in Tehran which Iran declared as also having been involved in the centrifuge R&D programme and where mechanical testing of centrifuge rotors was said to have been carried out. In the course of these visits, environmental samples were taken which also indicated the presence of HEU particles in the tested rotors for the P-1 centrifuge programme. Iran states that the R&D involved the use of imported P-1 centrifuge components and that they were likely to have been the source of the contamination. This matter was discussed again with the Iranian authorities in August 2004, and additional samples were taken from those components. 26. Iran maintains its assertion that it has not enriched uranium to more than 1.2% U-235 using centrifuge technology, and that it has not had and does not have any HEU. 27. The Agency's analysis to date has shown that most of the HEU contamination found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Natanz correlates reasonably with the HEU contamination found on imported components. Given this analysis, other correlations and model enrichment calculations based on the enrichment process in a possible country of origin, it appears plausible that the HEU contamination found at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop and Natanz may not have resulted from enrichment of uranium by Iran at those locations. Other explanations for this and the LEU contamination continue to be investigated by the Agency. 28. With regard to the outstanding question relating to UF6 contamination in the room under the roof of the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) building (see GOV/2004/34, para. 30; Annex, paras 21-23; GOV/2003/63, paras 17-19), Iran originally attributed the contamination to the leakage of small bottles of UF6 that had been imported in 1991. Subsequently, however, Iran acknowledged that this was not the case, as that material had been used for P-1 centrifuge tests at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop. In a letter dated 4 February 2004, Iran stated that "for a period of time 2S bottles of UF6 [imported in 1991] as well as UF6 bottles from conversion R&D programme had been stored in this storage. It is most probable that the particles, which have been found in the samples [taken by the Agency], could be the result of leakage of UF6 bottles from R&D conversion, which have been kept in this storage from 1997 to 1998." It was understood from Iran's communication that the "conversion R&D programme" to which Iran refers in its letter of 4 February 2004 is the conversion between 1991 and 1993 of UF4 which had been imported in 1991 to UF6, as referred to in GOV/2003/75 (Annex 1, Table 1 and para. 23). 29. On 19 July 2004, the Agency received a letter from Iran dated 15 July 2004, in which Iran reiterated the statement it made in its 4 February 2004 letter that the source of contamination of the room under the roof of the Tehran Research Reactor building had been "UF6 which [had] been produced through R&D conversion", but confirmed the Agency's understanding about the source of the material which had been used as feed for that conversion process. During the Agency's August 2004 visit, the team re-visited the room. Based on all information presently available to the Agency, its current assessment remains as stated in para. 23 of the Annex to GOV/2003/34 that the Agency continues to regard as not technically plausible Iran's explanation that the contamination was due to a leaking bottle. C.2. Laser enrichment 30. As reported earlier (GOV/2003/75, Annex 1, para. 59), Iran in its letter dated 21 October 2003 acknowledged that, starting in the 1970s, it had had contracts related to laser enrichment using both atomic vapour laser isotope separation (AVLIS) and molecular laser isotope separation (MLIS) techniques with foreign entities from four countries: * 1975 -- a contract for the establishment of a laboratory to study the spectroscopic behaviour of uranium metal; this project had been abandoned in the 1980s as the laboratory had not functioned properly.
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* Late 1970s -- a contract with a second supplier to study MLIS, under which four carbon monoxide (CO) lasers and vacuum chambers were delivered, but the project had ultimately been terminated due to the political situation before major development work had begun. * 1991 -- a contract with a third supplier for the establishment of a "Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory " (LSL) and a "Comprehensive Separation Laboratory" (CSL), where uranium enrichment would be carried out on a milligram scale based on the AVLIS process. The contract also provided for the supply of 50 kg natural uranium metal. * 1998 -- a contract with a fourth supplier to obtain information related to laser enrichment, and the supply of relevant equipment. However, due to the inability of the supplier to secure export licences, only some of the equipment was delivered (to Lashkar Ab'ad). 31. In August 2004 Iran provided additional documentary evidence to support the descriptions previously provided by it with respect to its laser programme. Further discussions were held with Iranian authorities between 3 and 8 August 2004 during the meetings in Tehran. 32. With regard to the first two contracts, Iran has stated that the laser spectroscopy laboratory and the MLIS laboratory were never fully operational. These statements are supported by the information obtained by the Agency thus far from the suppliers, from the inspection of the declared equipment, from interviews with the scientists involved and from the results of environmental sampling analysis. 33. With regard to the third contract, Agency experts have reviewed a number of documents provided by Iran in May and August 2004 on the operation of the LSL and CSL prior to their dismantlement in 2000. Discussions have also been held with Iranian officials on this matter, and environmental samples taken and the results assessed. The Agency's review indicates that the equipment at the CSL operated fairly well until 1994, when foreign scientists completed their work. According to Iran, "the enrichment separation envisaged in the contract [for the CSL], and in some experiments higher enrichment were achieved in mgr" (the contract provided for "getting one milligram Uranium enriched with 3% concentration of U235 in no longer than eight hours"). As confirmed in an analysis, provided to the Agency, that had been carried out by the foreign laboratory involved in the project, the highest average enrichment achieved was 8%, but with a peak enrichment of 13%. 34. As described earlier, Iran had received 50 kg uranium metal as part of the third contract. According to the information provided to the Agency, a total of 8 kg uranium metal was used in LSL and CSL experiments. However, according to Iran, 500 g of it was evaporated in the experiments, in the course of which milligram quantities of uranium were collected. If, as declared by Iran, the evaporated uranium and collectors had been discarded with wastes, mainly at the Qom disposal site (which the Agency has visited twice), recovery of the small quantities of nuclear material involved would not be feasible and therefore accurate nuclear material accountancy is not possible. 35. According to Iran, the LSL and CSL laboratory experiments carried out between 1994 and 2000 were unsuccessful due to continuous technical problems encountered with copper vapour lasers (CVLs), electron beam guns or dye lasers. Examination by the Agency of the laboratory notebook and other supporting documents provided by Iran confirms Iran's statement that isotope separation was not successful during that period. 36. The fourth contract was for the supply of AVLIS equipment to Lashkar Ab'ad. Iran stated that, due to the inability of the supplier to secure export licences for some of the equipment (in particular, the CVLs and dye lasers, some collector parts, the electron beam gun and the power sources), only some of the equipment (including a large process vessel with supporting diffusion pumps and some diagnostics instruments), along with some training and documentation, was provided under the
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contract. Iran has stated that it made attempts to procure the missing equipment, such as additional CVLs and electron beam guns, with limited success. 37. According to Iranian officials, as a consequence of these difficulties, Iran took advantage of the existing CVLs and dye lasers from CSL, and installed them in the pilot scale vessel in Lashkar Ab'ad where, in late 2002, a total of four runs with uranium feed using a total of about 500 g uranium metal were carried out. As evidence to support this statement, Iran has presented laboratory notebooks of one of the scientists involved in these activities. As described earlier, the Agency has taken environmental samples, and metal parts were taken from the chamber, with a view to determining whether enrichment levels higher than the 0.8% U-235 declared by Iran were achieved. The results of the Agency's analysis indicate enrichment levels (0.99% + 0.24% U-235) consistent with those declared by Iran. 38. While the contract for the AVLIS facility at Lashkar Ab'ad was specifically written for the delivery of a system that could demonstrably achieve enrichment levels of 3.5% to 7%, it is the opinion of Agency experts that the system at Lashkar Ab'ad, as designed and reflected in the contract, would have been capable of HEU production had the entire package of equipment been delivered. In that connection, the experts point to the Lashkar Ab'ad AVLIS vacuum vessel, which incorporated a number of features specific to HEU separation work, including: * an ion trap for the extraction of ion impurities for increased HEU yield; and * a collector assembly designed for the relatively low throughput of HEU. 39. In response to the Agency's questions in connection with this assessment, Iran referred to the contract and the design parameters contained therein, which provide that the design was guaranteed by the supplier to "have actual production of at least 5 kg of a product within the first year after installation. The product will be 3.5% up to 7% enriched." Iran also provided information demonstrating the very limited capabilities of this particular equipment delivered to Iran under this contract to produce HEU (i.e. only in gram quantities). Iranian AVLIS researchers maintain that they were not aware of the significance of these features when they negotiated and contracted the supply and delivery of the Lashkar Ab'ad AVLIS facility. D. Heavy Water Reactor Programme D.1. Heavy Water Reactor IR-40 40. As referred to in the report of the Director General to the March 2004 Board meeting (GOV/2004/11, para. 56), Iran has provided preliminary design information on the IR-40, which is to be constructed at Arak. Iran has also provided information on the IR-40 pursuant to Articles 2.a.i. and 2.b.i. of its Additional Protocol. Iran's declarations concerning R&D activities related to the design of the heavy water reactor were further discussed in the meetings in Tehran which took place in July and August 2004, following upon which, Iran provided additional information. That information is being reviewed by the Agency. D.2. Hot Cells 41. In response to questioning by the Agency about past efforts by Iran to procure hot cell windows and manipulators, and the specifications associated with those items, Iran informed the Agency that
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there had been a project for the construction of hot cells for the production of "long lived radioisotopes" but that it had been abandoned due to procurement difficulties. In August 2004, Iran presented to the Agency detailed drawings that Iran had received from a foreign company in 1977 for hot cells which were to have been constructed at Esfahan. Iran stated that it had not yet made more detailed plans for hot cells for the IR-40 complex at Arak, but that it had used information from those drawings as the basis for specifications in its efforts to procure manipulators for hot cells intended for the production of cobalt and iridium isotopes. In a letter dated 19 August 2004 Iran reiterated its previous statement that the hot cell project at Arak consisted of nine hot cells -- four for the "production of radioisotopes", two for the production of cobalt and iridium5, and three for "waste management processing" -- and would require ten back-up manipulators. The Agency is continuing to assess the information provided by Iran. E. Implementation of the Additional Protocol E.1. Declarations 42. Iran has continued to act as if its Additional Protocol is in force. Following receipt of the initial declarations submitted by Iran on 21 May 2004 under the Additional Protocol, the Agency began its review of the declarations and, on 2 July 2004, provided comments to Iran on those declarations. During the early July 2004 visit of inspectors to Iran, the Agency reviewed its comments with Iran. During the Agency's August 2004 visit to Iran, additional