November 30th, 2005 - by admin
Charles J. Hanley / San Diego Union-Tribune – 2005-11-30 23:48:04
(November 30, 2005) — Two senior Army analysts who in 2003 accurately foretold the turmoil that would be unleashed by the US invasion of Iraq offer a bleak assessment in a new study of what now lies ahead in that bloodied land.
They advise, however, against setting a timetable for US troop withdrawal — unless Washington finds the situation “irredeemable.”
A timetable “is an excuse for allowing the system to collapse,” the Army War College’s W. Andrew Terrill and Conrad C. Crane write.
Political pressure is building in Washington for a concrete plan to extricate US forces from Iraq. On Tuesday, on the eve of an important address on Iraq at the US Naval Academy, President Bush told reporters he wants the troops home, “but I don’t want them to come home without having achieved victory.”
In a February 2003 report, a month before the US invasion, Crane and Terrill had warned that the United States might “win the war but lose the peace” if it attacked Iraq. They suggested armed resistance to an occupation would grow, a harsh American response would further alienate Iraqis, and establishing political stability would prove difficult – all predictions that were borne out.
They warned in particular against disbanding the pre-invasion Iraqi army, a step that was nonetheless taken and is now viewed as a blunder that fed the anti-US insurgency.
In their new 60-page report, veteran Middle East scholar Terrill and Crane, director of the Army Military History Institute, say a US troop presence in Iraq probably cannot be sustained more than three years further.
Meantime, they write:
• “It appears increasingly unlikely that US, Iraqi and coalition forces will crush the insurgency prior to the beginning of a phased US and coalition withdrawal.”
• “It is no longer clear that the United States will be able to create (Iraqi) military and police forces that can secure the entire country no matter how long US forces remain.”
• And “the United States may also have to scale back its expectations for Iraq’s political future,” by accepting a relatively stable but undemocratic state as preferable to a civil war among Iraq’s ethnic and religious factions.
“US vital interests have never demanded a democratic state in Iraq before 2003,” they note.
As for Iraqi security forces, Terrill and Crane reason it may prove difficult to build “multiethnic and multisectarian” police and military units, and suggest factional militias may come to the fore instead.
The Army scholars devote their closest analysis to the current debate over whether Washington should set a predetermined, step-by-step schedule for a troop pullout. They see “catastrophic” dangers in that approach.
For one thing, they say, as soon as a timetable is announced, some Iraqis cooperating with the Americans “will calculate that US protection is a declining asset” and ally themselves with the insurgents, or seek protection of a militia.
For another, the insurgents might do what the North Vietnamese did in 1973: bide their time, build up their forces, and attack all-out once the Americans leave.
Thirdly, with an inflexible timetable, “the United States may end up abandoning a potentially hopeful situation and instead allowing that nation to plunge into civil war.”
They see one circumstance in which a timetable is useful, if “the Iraqi government may have only a small chance to survive, but the US leadership does not wish to announce publicly that we have basically given up on Iraq.”
November 30th, 2005 - by admin
Wolfgang Wiesner / Blueprint Magazine – 2005-11-30 23:36:07
GERMANY — China began developing nuclear weapons in the late 1950s with substantial Soviet assistance. Before 1960, direct Soviet military assistance had included the provision of advisors and a vast variety of equipment. Of the assistance provided, most significant to China’s future strategic nuclear capability were an experimental nuclear reactor, facilities for processing uranium, a cyclotron, and some equipment for a gaseous diffusions plant.
When Sino-Soviet relations cooled down in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Soviet Union withheld plans and data for an atomic bomb, abrogated the agreement on transferring defense technology, and began the withdrawal of Soviet advisers in 1960.
Despite the termination of Soviet assistance, China committed itself to continue nuclear weapons development in order to break the “superpowers’ monopoly on nuclear weapons,” to ensure Chinese security against the Soviet and United States threats, and to increase Chinese prestige and power internationally.
State of the Art
According to official western sources, the size of the Chinese nuclear arsenal is about 400 warheads. It is estimated that 20 nuclear-armed missiles are deployed in the intercontinental role, and another 230 nuclear weapons are deployed (or can be deployed) on aircraft, missiles, and submarines with regional capabilities. The 150 remaining nuclear warheads are believed to be reserved for “tactical” uses (short-range missiles, low yield aircraft-dropped bombs, and possibly artillery shells or demolition munitions).
In the 1990’s a confusing document appeared, launched by some anonym. It could be identified as an internal document of the Chinese Defense Ministry by the Hong Kong magazine The Trend (Dong Xiang) that received it. This paper reveals that China at present has a total of 2,350 nuclear warheads, a number much larger than the 300-400 generally cited in the Western media.
Among the 2,350 warheads are about 550 tactical nukes and 1,800 strategic nukes. The document also reveals that the annual production of warheads should have been 110-120 in the 1980’s and about 140-150 at present.
Nuclear weapons in China are under the control of the Central Military Commission, which is headed by the President. Other members of the commission are generals from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who may also serve on the Politburo of the Communist Party.
CHINA’S NUCLEAR FORCES IN DETAIL
Intercontinental Nuclear Forces China currently maintains a minimal intercontinental nuclear deterrent using land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBMs), all belonging to the Dong Feng (East Wind) series.
The Dong Feng-5 (DF-5) liquid-fueled missile, first deployed in 1981, has a range of 13,000 km and carries a single multi- megaton warhead. Twenty are believed to be deployed in central China. Unlike China’s earlier ballistic missiles, which were stored in caves and moved out for launch, the DF-5 can be launched directly from vertical silos — but only after a two-hour fueling process.
In order to increase the survivability of the DF-5s, dummy silos are placed near the real silos. The DF-5’s range gives it coverage of all of Asia and Europe, and most of the USA. The south-eastern US states are at the edge of the missile’s range.
Two additional long-range ballistic missiles are in the development stage, the 8,000 km DF-31 and the 12,000 km DF-41. Both missiles are expected to be solid-fueled and based on mobile launchers. It is not known how many missiles China plans to deploy nor how many warheads the missiles may carry, but it is believed that China is hoping to deploy multiple nuclear warheads and penetration aids.
These may be either multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs) or the more capable, but technically difficult multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs). First deployment for the DF-31 could occur before 2005; the DF-41 is likely to follow, possibly around 2010.
China’s nuclear-armed naval forces are currently limited to one Xia Type 092 nuclear-powered and nuclear ballistic missile-equipped submarine (SSBN), which has a history of reactor and acoustic problems.
The only existing Xia 092, serial number 406, has a mass of 6,500 T dived. It can carry 12 guided missiles of the Ju Lang-1 (Huge Wave, JL-1) type (SLBM code: CSS-N-3) with a single 200-300 kT warhead and a range of 1,700 km. [Another source reports a 1.25 MT warhead equipment but this might be a simple misprint (0,25 MT).] Although it was rumored that a second boat was built, this has never been confirmed.
Due to its technical limits, the Type 092 is never deployed outside regional waters. Nevertheless, the Xia 092 has become a valuable testbed for PLAN (PLA navy) to shape its tactics and strategies for modern SSBN warfare since the first successful test fire of a JL-1 missile in 1988.
China is reported to be planning to build 4-6 submarines of the new Type 094. [Other sources mention but 3-4 Type 094 SSBNs being projected.] The Type 094 will introduce a safer, quieter reactor and better overall performance. It is expected to have 16 JL-2 missiles (SLBM code: CSS-NX-4), capable of carrying up to six warheads per missile, probably MRVs that are not independently target- able. [Other sources mention 3-4 of the more sophisticated MIRV warheads with a capacity of 90 kT each, or a single 250 kT warhead at a range of 8,000 km.]
With the project starting in 1999, the initial launch date for the 094 submarine is supposed to be scheduled for 2002. Development of its JL-2 missile weapon, however, may take considerably longer because the land-based missile on which it based, the DF-31, has been test launched only once. [As a consequence, any refitting of the first Type 092 submarin with 12 new JL-2 missiles in the late 90s, as reported by other sources, seems to be unlikely and has never been confirmed.]
If China were to employ a deployment rotation similar to that for US Navy SSBNs (three submarines for each one in target range, with one on station, one in transit, and one in refit), then six SSBNs would give China the ability to keep two submarines on station in the Pacific at all times, able to strike all of Asia, Europe, and North America. (3)
If the planned 6 submarines are built with the maximum number of warheads per missile, the number of total deployable submarine-based nuclear warheads will rise to 576. Even if the warheads were not independently targetable, the minimum number likely to be on station and capable of striking the United States would be 192.
That seems to be enough to saturate the originally proposed light version of an US national missile defense (NMD), which is now driving the Chinese strategic nuclear modernization and expansion programs. Yet, the experimental Xia 092 submarine is still reported to suffer from “noise problems”.
A fuel cell driven engine could then provide a possible solution. Such sophisticated technology could be delivered by the German HDW (Howaldtswerke – Deutsche Werft AG Kiel) who seems to be leading in that field. Unfortunately, HDW Kiel will be sold out to a U.S. company in June 2002. It is expected that after the deal has been accomplished, some brandnew submarines of the latest standard will be manufactured for Taiwan, a project originally rejected by German authorities.
Regional Nuclear Forces
China also deploys three weapons in the intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) categories. These missiles are capable of posing strategic threats to countries in Asia, such as India or
Japan, but represent a lesser threat to Russia, and are only a threat to the US through the vulnerability of US military bases in Japan and South Korea.
The oldest nuclear missile deployed by China is the semi-mobile 2,800 km- range DF-3A. The estimated 40 liquid-fueled DF-3s still in service today are being phased out in favor of the DF-15 (see below) and DF-21. They were followed by the liquid-fueled DF-4, which has a maximum range of 4,750 km. About 20 DF-4s remain in service in fixed launch sights.
Chinese regional ballistic missile capabilities advanced greatly with the introduction of the DF- 21, the first solid-fueled medium-range missile. The solid-fuel design provides China with a faster launch time, because the lengthy and potentially dangerous fueling procedure of the earlier Dong Feng models has been eliminated. First deployed in 1986, the 48 operational DF-21s have a range of 1,800 km and are carried on mobile launchers. The DF-21 is the basis for the JL-1 submarine- launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
The older liquid-fuel missiles carry single warheads with yields estimated at 3.3 MT. The newer solid-fuel missiles have single warheads with maximum yields of a few hundred kilotons each.
The Chinese bomber force is based on locally produced versions of Soviet air- raft first deployed in the 1950s. With the retirement of the H-5/Il-28 from the nuclear role, the H-6/Tu-16 remains the only nuclear-capable bomber in the Chinese inventory.
First entering service with the Soviet Air Force in 1955, the Tu-16 was produced in China in the 1960s. The H-6/Tu-16 is capable of carrying one-to-three nuclear bombs over a combat radius of 1,800 km to 3,100 km. About 120 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6/Tu-16s are believed to be capable of nuclear missions.
Another 20 H-6/Tu-16s are under the control of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and do not perform nuclear missions. There is no indication of a replacement for the H-6/Tu-16 in the near future. The J-7/ MiG-21 and the newer Chinese-designed JH-7s and Russian-exported Su-27s are capable of performing nuclear missions, but they are not believed to be deployed in that role.
Short-Range, Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons
The PLAAF has 20-40 Q-5 Fantan attack aircraft that it uses in the nuclear role.
Initially deployed in China in 1970, the Q-5 is a substantially upgraded version of the MiG-19, which was initially deployed in the Soviet Union in 1954 and later produced by China under the designation J-6. The Q-5 can carry a single free-fall nuclear bomb over a combat radius of 400 km. The very short range of the Q-5 limits its battlefield effectiveness, even with conventional armament.
Two types of short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) entered service with China’s Second Artillery forces around 1995: the DF-11/M-11, with a range of 300 km, and the DF-15/M-9, with a range of 600 km. (The ‘DF’ designation is used by missiles in service with China, while the ‘M’ designation is used for export versions.). In theory both missiles could be fitted with small nuclear devices. As of 2000, a few hundred DF-15s and DF-11s may be deployed; but most if not all are believed to be equipped with conventional warheads.
Many facts concerning the Chinese nuclear forces have been taken from a recently published study and enriched with further information from other public sources.
Detailed information on all sources exploited, and links to relevant Chinese and US websites are available from the Chinese language part of this site.
Compilation and webdesign of the English / Chinese version have been accomplished by Wolfgang Wiesner, editor of BLUEPRINT magazine. The content of this website is intended to serve as a reliable basis for any discussion dealing with the questions of arms race and political stability in the Far East.
November 30th, 2005 - by admin
Tim Grieve / Salon.com & Capitol Hill Blue – 2005-11-30 09:00:16
The president returns to Washington after another vacation in Crawford, Texas, and the White House hopes that talk of immigration reform and the Samuel Alito nomination will distract the public from worries over the war in Iraq and continuing developments in the CIA leak case.
As for George W. Bush? He doesn’t need any distracting.
In the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh tells the tale of a former senior administration official who visited Iraq after the 2004 presidential election and returned to inform Bush that the war wasn’t going well.
“I said to the president, ‘We’re not winning the war,'” the official told Hersh. “And he asked, ‘Are we losing?’ I said, ‘Not yet.'” Bush was “displeased” with the answer, the official told Hersh. “I tried to tell him. And he couldn’t hear it.”
Hersh paints the picture of a president who believes that he was chosen by God to lead the United States after 9/11, a man whose faith blots out any concern over setbacks in Iraq.
“The president is more determined than ever to stay the course,” a former defense official tells Hersh. “Bush is a believer in the adage ‘People may suffer and die, but the Church advances.'”
The former official tells Hersh that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney reinforce the president’s delusions by having him appear only in front of friendly audiences and keeping him “in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway.” Bush, the former official says, has no idea that he’s living in a bubble.
In the Daily News, Thomas DeFrank and Kenneth Bazinet say the state of denial extends well beyond Bush. They quote a “card-carrying member of the Washington GOP establishment with close ties to the White House” who dined recently with several senior presidential aides and left shaking his head. “There is just no introspection there at all,” he said. “It is everybody else’s fault — the press, gutless Republicans on the Hill. They’re still in denial.”
Another “close Bush confidant” says: “The staff basically still has an unyielding belief in the wisdom of what they’re doing. They’re talking to people who could help them, but they’re not listening.”
Meanwhile, the Daily News says, the president is growing paranoid about the people around him, furious over leaks about the mood inside the White House but unsure which of his aides is spreading the stories. One “knowledgeable source” says: “He’s asking [friends] for opinions on who he can trust and who he can’t.”
Bush’s Largest “Enemy List” in History of US Presidency
Doug Thompson / Capitol Hill Blue
Capitol Hill Blue
(November 8, 2005) — Spurred by paranoia and aided by the USA Patriot Act, the Bush Administration has compiled dossiers on more than 10,000 Americans it considers political enemies and uses those files to wage war on those who disagree with its policies.
The “enemies list” dates back to Bush’s days as governor of Texas and can be accessed by senior administration officials in an instant for use in campaigns to discredit those who speak out against administration policies or acts of the President.
The computerized files include intimate personal details on members of Congress; high-ranking local, state and federal officials; prominent media figures and ordinary citizens who may, at one time or another, have spoken out against the President or Administration.
Capitol Hill Blue has spoken with a number of current and former administration officials who acknowledge existence of the enemies list only under a guarantee of confidentiality. Those who have seen the list say it is far more extensive than Richard Nixon’s famous “enemies list” of Watergate fame or Bill Clinton’s dossiers on political enemies.
“How is that you think Karl (Rove) and Scooter (Libby) were able to disseminate so much information on Joe Wilson and his wife,” says one White House aide. “They didn’t have that information by accident. They had it because they have files on those who might hurt them.”
White House insiders tell disturbing tales of invasion of privacy, abuse of government power and use of expanded authority under the USA Patriot Act to dig into the personal lives of anyone the administration deems an enemy of the state.
Those on the list include former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, former covert CIA operative Valarie Plame, along with filmmaker and administration critic Michael Moore, Senators like California’s Barbara Boxer, media figures like liberal writer Joe Conason and left-wing bloggers
like Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (the Daily Kos) and Ana Marie Cox (Wonkette).
“If you want to know who’s sleeping with whom, who drinks too much or has a fondness for nose
candy, this is the place to find it,” says another White House aide. “Karl (Rove) operates under the
rule that if you fuck with us, we’ll fuck you over.”
Rove started the list while Bush served as governor of Texas, compiling information on various political enemies in the state and leaking damaging information on opponents to friends in the press. The list grew during Bush’s first run for President in 2000 but the names multiplied rapidly after the terrorist attacks of 2001 and passage of the USA Patriot Act. Using the powers under the act, Rove expanded the list to more than 10,000 names, utilizing the FBI’s “national security letters” to gather private and intimate details on American citizens.
National security letters, which can be issued by an FBI supervisor without a judge’s review or approval, allows the bureau to examine the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of any Americans.
The FBI issues some 30,000 national security letters a year to employers, credit bureaus, banks, travel agencies and other sources of information on American citizens. The Patriot Act also forbids anyone receiving such a letter to reveal they have passed on information to the federal government.
“Those letters helped us build files quickly on those we needed to know more about,” says a former White House aide.
The list of enemies of the Bush administration is not maintained on White House computers and is located on a privately-owned computer offsite, but can be accessed remotely by a select list of senior aides, including Rove. The offsite location allowed the database to escape detection by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald during his investigation of the Valerie Plame leak. The database is funded by private donations from Bush political backers and does not appear on the White House budget or Federal Election Commission campaign reports.
Bush is not the first President to use the FBI to keep track of his enemies. Richard M. Nixon used FBI files to try and discredit his opponents, including Daniel Ellsberg, the Department of Defense employee who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. Bill Clinton used the FBI to compile dossiers on critics like Conservative Congressman Bob Barr and legal gadfly Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch.
But worried White House insiders say the intelligence gathered by the Bush administration is far larger, more extensive and potentially more damaging than the excesses of previous occupants of the White House. Even worse, it dovetails into a pattern of spying on Americans that has become commonplace since Bush took office.
“We’re talking about Big Brother at its most extreme,” says one White House staffer. “We know things about people that their spouses don’t know and, if it becomes politically expedient, we will make sure the rest of the world knows.”
The White House press office did not respond to a request for an interview on this story and did not return phone calls seeking comment.
© Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
November 30th, 2005 - by admin
Julian Borger / The London Guardian – 2005-11-30 08:50:15
WASHINGTON (November 30, 2005) — Vice-president Dick Cheney’s burden on the Bush administration grew heavier yesterday after a former senior US state department official said he could be guilty of a war crime over the abuse of prisoners.
Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, singled out Mr Cheney in a wide-ranging political assault on the BBC’s Today programme.
Mr Wilkerson said that in an internal administration debate over whether to abide by the Geneva conventions in the treatment of detainees, Mr Cheney led the argument “that essentially wanted to do away with all restrictions”.
Asked whether the vice-president was guilty of a war crime, Mr Wilkerson replied: “Well, that’s an interesting question – it was certainly a domestic crime to advocate terror and I would suspect that it is … an international crime as well.” In the context of other remarks it appeared he was using the word “terror” to apply to the systematic abuse of prisoners.
The Washington Post last month called Mr Cheney the “vice-president for torture” for his demand that the CIA be exempted from a ban on “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of detainees.
Mr Wilkerson, a former army colonel, also said he had seen increasing evidence that the White House had manipulated pre-war intelligence on Iraq to make its case for the invasion. He said: “You begin to wonder was this intelligence spun? Was it politicised? Was it cherry-picked? Did, in fact, the American people get fooled? I am beginning to have my concerns.”
Mr Cheney has been under fire for his role in assembling evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Mr Wilkerson told the Associated Press that the vice-president must have sincerely believed Iraq could be a spawning ground for terrorism because “otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard”.
Such charges have kept the Bush administration on the defensive for several months. Mr Bush yesterday repeated his earlier assertion that the US “does not torture and that’s important for people around the world to realise”. He is also due to make the first of a series of speeches today, outlining his plan to defeat the insurgency and pave the way for US withdrawal. The White House will also publish a declassified version of its war plan.
But it has now emerged that two justice department memos listing permissible interrogation methods have been kept secret by the White House, even from the Senate intelligence committee. The New Yorker recently quoted a source who had seen a memo as calling it “breathtaking”.
“The document dismissed virtually all national and international laws regulating the treatment of prisoners, including war crimes and assault statutes, and it was radical in its view that in wartime the president can fight enemies by whatever means he sees fit,” the magazine reported.
One technique allegedly used by the CIA in questioning suspects is “waterboarding” (strapping a detainee to a board and submerging it until the prisoner believes he or she is drowning). The White House is accused of defining “torture” so narrowly as to exclude such methods. But James Ross, a legal expert at Human Rights Watch said such a narrow definition was at odds with international norms.
“Waterboarding is clearly a form of torture. It has been used since the Inquisition. It was a well-known torture technique in Latin America,” Mr Ross said.
Human Rights Watch this year called for a special counsel to investigate any US officials – no matter their rank or position – who took part in, “ordered, or had command responsibility for war crimes or torture, or other prohibited ill-treatment against detainees in US custody”.
The report focused on the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, for his alleged command responsibility for abuses at Abu Ghraib, but Mr Wilkerson argued Mr Cheney was ultimately responsible.
The US is a signatory to the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture, which bans inflicting “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental”. Such practices are also a crime under US federal law.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
November 30th, 2005 - by admin
Richard Lloyd Parry / The Times – 2005-11-30 08:43:53
LONDON (November 30, 2005) — The British Government knowingly lied about Indonesian atrocities in East Timor, including the killing of British journalists in 1975, according to newly released diplomatic documents.
In a startling insight into foreign complicity in Indonesia’s invasion of the former Portuguese colony, the documents show that Britain used its position as chair of the United Nations Security Council to “keep the heat out of the Timor business” in discussions in the UN.
The documents have been obtained after a long-running campaign by relatives and supporters of Brian Peters and Malcolm Rennie, two British journalists who were working for Australian television. In October 1975, along with three colleagues from Australia and New Zealand, they were killed while filming a clandestine attack on East Timorese soldiers in the town of Balibo by Indonesian soldiers and East Timorese opposed to independence.
Witness reports suggest that they were murdered in order to prevent evidence of Indonesia’s covert war on East Timor from being broadcast to the outside world. Their bodies were immediately burnt and nothing more than a few charred bones has been recovered. Public opinion in Australia was outraged by the deaths of the men.
But Sir John Ford, Britain’s Ambassador in Jakarta, asked the Australian Embassy to refrain from pressing the Indonesians for details of their deaths. “We have suggested to the Australians that, since we, in fact, know what happened to the newsmen it is pointless to go on demanding information from the Indonesians which they cannot, or are unwilling to provide,” Sir John wrote. “Since no protests will produce the journalists’ bodies I think we should ourselves avoid representations about them.”
His cable, dated eight days after the deaths of the so-called Balibo Five, ends by suggesting that the journalists were responsible for their own deaths. “They were in the war zone of their own choice,” he wrote.
In the Cold War atmosphere of 1975, after the US defeat in Vietnam, Indonesia’s status as a pro-Western, anti-communist leader was far more important to Britain than justice for tiny and obscure East Timor.
The documents show that Britain’s main priority was to prevent the issue from outraging British public opinion. “Timor was high on (US National Security Adviser) Henry Kissinger’s list of places where the US do not want to comment or get involved,” Sir John wrote in October 1975 before the invasion.
“I am sure we should continue to follow the American example.” On Christmas Eve 1975, in a cable copied to 10 Downing Street, Sir John said: “Once the Indonesians had established themselves in Dili (the East Timorese capital) they went on a rampage of looting and killing . . . If asked to comment on any stories of atrocities I suggest we say that we have no information.”
Sir John told The Times last night that he could not remember writing the cable. He suggested, however, that the source who had told the diplomats about the atrocities may not have been regarded as reliable.
At New Year, Sir John counselled his Indonesian counterparts to brace themselves for stories of atrocities. “Sooner or later news of (the atrocities) was bound to leak . . . I thought it was important that the Indonesians should prepare for this eventuality.”
Britain’s complicity in the Indonesian invasion went beyond merely suppressing information. The documents record the warm thanks officials received from Indonesia for ensuring that the statement of condemnation in the UN was relatively mild.
In February 1976, Murray Simons, head of the South-East Asia Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote that “the Indonesians were evidently much gratified at the way in which the British delegation took account of their interests, and considered that the language was one they could quite well live with”.
So successfully was the Indonesian invasion buried as a source of international scandal that Britain’s own UN mission expressed misgivings — the fear was that by colluding in the illegal annexation of a former colony, Britain would leave its own possessions vulnerable to similar attack, particularly the Falklands.
“In the real world it is probably both inevitable and understandable that Timor should be incorporated into Indonesia,” Andrew Stuart, of the British Embassy, wrote in February 1976. “The Timorese as a whole will not lose by this.” By 1999, when they finally gained their freedom, about 200,000 of them had been killed.
“I’m assuming you’re really going to keep your mouth shut on this subject?”
— National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger to his staff in October 1975 in response to reports that Indonesia had attacked East Timor
“They were in the war zone of their own choice.”
— Sir John Ford, on the journalists killed filing the clandestine Indonesian invasion
“We had successfully managed to keep the heat out of the Timor business in New York.”
— Sir John Ford on Britain’s role in the debate on Indonesia in the UN Security Council
“The Indonesians … went on a rampage of looting and killing … I suggest we say that we have no information.”
— Sir John Ford on the invasion of East Timor
“A primitive territory.”
— Murray Simons, head of the Foreign Office’s South-east Asia Department, on East Timor
“Britain’s interests indicated a low profile … This policy has paid off handsomely. The lack of involvement has largely kept Timor out of the British and US headlines”.
— FCO report on East Timor
Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.
November 30th, 2005 - by admin
Associated Press & Rocky Mountain News – 2005-11-30 08:02:57
Miami Police Take New Tack Against Terror
Curt Anderson / Associated Press
MIAMI (Nov 28, 2005) — Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant.
Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.
“This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It’s letting the terrorists know we are out there,” Fernandez said.
The operations will keep terrorists off guard, Fernandez said. He said al-Qaida and other terrorist groups plot attacks by putting places under surveillance and watching for flaws and patterns in security.
Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific, credible threat of an imminent terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target.
Timoney also noted that 14 of the 19 hijackers who took part in the Sept. 11 attacks lived in South Florida at various times and that other alleged terror cells have operated in the area.
Both uniformed and plainclothes police will ride buses and trains, while others will conduct longer-term surveillance operations.
“People are definitely going to notice it,” Fernandez said. “We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don’t want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears.”
Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people’s rights are not violated.
“What we’re dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution,” Simon said. “We’ll have to see how it is implemented.”
Mary Ann Viverette, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said the Miami program is similar to those used for years during the holiday season to deter criminals at busy places such as shopping malls.
“You want to make your presence known and that’s a great way to do it,” said Viverette, police chief in Gaithersburg, Md. “We want people to feel they can go about their normal course of business, but we want them to be aware.”
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Refusal to Present ID on Bus Sparks Test of Rights
Karen Abbott / Rocky Mountain News
(November 29, 2005) — Federal prosecutors are reviewing whether to pursue charges against an Arvada woman who refused to show identification to federal police while riding an RTD bus through the Federal Center in Lakewood.
Deborah Davis, 50, was ticketed for two petty offenses Sept. 26 by officers who commonly board the RTD bus as it passes through the Federal Center and ask passengers for identification.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, an activist who has helped publicize other challenges to government ID requirements posted a Web site about the case, which he said had logged more than 1.5 million visitors by lunchtime Monday.
“The petty offense ticket was issued by police on the scene,” Colorado U.S. attorney’s spokesman Jeff Dorschner said Monday. “The status of the matter is now under review.” A decision on whether the government will pursue the case is expected in a week or two.
Davis said she commuted daily from her home in Arvada to her job at a small business in Lakewood, taking an RTD bus south on Kipling Street each morning from the recreation center in Wheat Ridge, where she left her car. She said the bus always passed through the Federal Center and some people got off there.
Guards at the Federal Center gate always boarded the bus and asked to see all passengers’ identification, she said. She said the guards just looked at the IDs and did not record them or compare them with any lists.
When she refused to show her ID, she said, officers with the Federal Protective Service removed her from the bus, handcuffed her, put her in the back of a patrol car and took her to a federal police station within the Federal Center, where she waited while officers conferred. She was subsequently given two tickets and released.
She said she arrived at work three hours late. She no longer has that job and did not identify her former employer.
The Federal Protective Service in Colorado referred inquiries to Carl Rusnok of Dallas, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees the federal police. Both are part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Rusnok said the federal officers in Colorado told him the policy of checking the IDs of bus passengers and others entering the Federal Center began shortly after the April 1995 terrorist bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.
“It’s one of the multiple forms of security,” Rusnok said. “The identification is one means of making sure that, whoever comes on base, that you know that they are who they say they are.
“There are a variety of other means that bad people could take to circumvent that, but that’s why there are multiple layers of security,” he said.
Security ‘high priority’
Between 7,000 and 8,000 people work at the Federal Center in Lakewood and between 2,000 and 2,500 people visit it every day, Rusnok said. “Security to protect the employees and the visitors is a high priority,” Rusnok said.
RTD spokesman Scott Reed said federal guards only check IDs of bus passengers when the Federal Center is on “heightened alert,” which may not be known to the general public.
“It’s periodic,” Reed said. “That is something we don’t control,” Reed said. “It is Federal Center property, and the federal security controls the ID-checking process. We try to cooperate as best we can and inform the public that this will occur.”
Davis is to appear before a magistrate judge in Colorado U.S. District Court on Dec. 9.
“We don’t believe the federal government has the legal authority to put Deborah Davis in jail, or even make her pay a fine, just because she declined the government’s request for identification,” said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which has taken up the case.
“She was commuting to her job,” Silverstein said. “She wasn’t doing anything wrong. She wasn’t even suspected of doing anything wrong. Passengers aren’t required to carry passports or any other identification documents in order to ride to work on a public bus,” he said.
Davis also is represented by volunteer attorneys Gail Johnson and Norm Mueller of the Denver law firm Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman, P.C. She also has the backing of Bill Scannell, an activist who has helped publicize other challenges to government requirements that people show identification. Scannell created a Web site during the Thanksgiving weekend about Davis’ case: papersplease.org/Davis.
“This is just a basic American issue of what our country’s all about,” Scannell said. “It has nothing really to do with politics, and everything to do with what kind of country we want to live in.”
Some supporters have called Davis “the Rosa Parks of the Patriot Act generation,” a reference to the African-American woman who became a civil rights heroine after she refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man, Scannell said.
Davis said she showed her ID when a Federal Center guard asked to see it for the first couple of days she rode the RTD bus through the center. But it bothered her. “It’s wrong,” she said Monday. “It’s not even security. It’s just a lesson in compliance – the big guys pushing the little guys around.”
For a few subsequent days, she told the guards she wasn’t getting off in the Federal Center and didn’t have an ID. They let her stay on the bus. Finally, on a Friday, a guard told Davis she had to have an ID the next time. Davis said she spent part of the weekend studying her rights and e-mailing Scannell.
That Monday, when a guard asked if she had her ID with her, Davis just said, “Yes.”
“And he said, ‘May I see it?’ ” she recalled, “and I said no.”
The guard told her she had to leave the bus, but she refused. Two officers with the Federal Protective Service were called.
“I boarded the bus and spoke with the individual, Deborah N. Davis . . . asking why she was refusing,” wrote the first Federal Protective Service officer in an incident report posted on Scannell’s Web site. The officer was not identified.
“She explained she did not have to give up her rights and present identification,” the officer wrote. “I informed her she was entering a federal facility and that the regulations for entrance did require her to present identification, before being allowed access.”
“She became argumentative and belligerent at this time,” the officer wrote. Eventually, one officer said, “Grab her,” and the two officers took hold of her arms and removed her from the bus, Davis said.
Davis has four children, including a 21-year-old son serving in Iraq with the Army and a 28-year-old son who is a Navy veteran. She has five grandchildren.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
November 29th, 2005 - by admin
James Sterngold / San Francisco Chronicle – 2005-11-29 08:59:45
(November 28, 2005) — After struggling in recent years to redefine U.S. nuclear policy, Congress turned the country in a new direction this month by giving millions of dollars for a program aimed at producing a smaller arsenal of more reliable warheads.
Lawmakers killed the widely criticized nuclear “bunker buster” concept, which critics regarded as too aggressive, and instead appropriated $25 million for research on what is called the reliable replacement warhead, or RRW. Though that initial sum is relatively modest, it signifies an important policy shift that could end up costing many billions of dollars.
Even some arms control advocates have applauded the decision, because many see the new program as a sharp scaling back of the Bush administration’s once soaring nuclear ambitions.
Democrats as well as Republicans were so enthusiastic that they voted for almost three times the amount of money requested by the White House, in large part because the program is viewed as an exercise in restraint.
“This is about tinkering at the margins of the existing weapons systems, nothing more,” said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s energy and water subcommittee, which controls the nuclear weapons budget “They (the White House) aren’t getting what they wanted.”
US Nuclear Weapons Future Is Unclear
But while the vote was decisive, just what the nuclear future will look like is not. Some experts caution that more than tinkering may be involved.
“The answer to every question at this point is, ‘It depends,’ ” said Philip Coyle, a senior Pentagon official in the Clinton administration and a nuclear scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 33 years. “A new warhead can be new in a wide variety of different ways, and nobody knows what that will mean yet.”
Indeed, the reliable replacement warhead is a strikingly elastic concept that, at this stage, each side can define as it likes. One of the few clear guidelines is that Congress has ordered that, whatever it is, it must be deployed without new underground testing, which President George H.W. Bush banned in 1992. But few agree on whether that is even feasible.
Beyond that, experts generally agree, the new program will mean spending billions of dollars to ensure that nuclear weapons remain a fundamental element of military planning, at a time when many other countries — some friendly, some not — are making similar calculations. The commitment is, in short, part of a global trend.
“It’s not just that the Cold War is over, the post-Cold War period is over, too,” said Nikolai Sokov, a senior research associate at the Monterey Institute for International Studies and a former Russian arms control negotiator. “What you’re seeing now is a whole wave of policies of this kind being discussed in Russia and the United States and other places. There is an active process in a wide variety of countries. They are all exploring the option of nuclear weapons.”
He added, “We’re not talking about disarmament, we’re talking about optimization. What you’re doing is reducing the warheads to a more appropriate size.” To those who believe in nuclear restraint, the program is a modest upgrading of existing weapons. For instance, optical fiber detonator cables would replace electrical wires and safer high explosives would be used to initiate the implosion of the radioactive core, which starts the nuclear chain reaction.
“This is not a sneaky way to get a whole new powerful warhead type of thing in the future,” insisted Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s energy and water subcommittee, and the most influential voice for restraint. “We’re not trying to do separate missions than those the warheads were designed for today.”
Nuclear weapons proponents, however, see it in more expansive terms. Although the initial funding is just for research, and Congress will have to approve any further steps, nuclear proponents regard the program as an efficient new production platform for rapidly developing new warheads for specialized missions.
The Code Word Is ‘Capability’
For some government officials, the code word is capability. When the talk turns to warheads with new capabilities, or of dealing with new threats, the implication is that whole new weapons designs will be required.
“Part of the transformation will be to retain the ability to provide new or different military capabilities in response to (the Department of Defense’s) emerging needs,” Linton Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which builds and maintains the stockpile, said at a Senate hearing earlier this year.
That increases the possibility, many experts say, that the warheads may need not only testing, but also the development of heavily modified missiles or new missiles to deliver them, adding billions of dollars more to the ultimate cost.
William Schneider Jr., chairman of the Defense Science Board, an influential advisory body to the Pentagon, said in a report last year that “the nature of the potential threat demands that we consider solutions that go beyond improvement on the margin,” and that the country should build “weapons more relevant to the future threat environment,” including nuclear warheads.
A ‘Life-extension Program’ for Ageing Nuclear Weapons
Cutting through the distrust and disagreements, there are critical areas of bipartisan agreement. First, the method of maintaining the Cold War-era stockpile — the so-called life extension program — cannot last indefinitely because the warheads are aging. Some experts dispute this, but Congress seems to have accepted the view that a new approach is required.
Second, the US nuclear weapons manufacturing capability, all but halted after the Cold War, needs to be resuscitated. It could cost tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades and, as some envision it, could give the United States the capacity to produce more than a hundred warheads a year.
How the new warheads would be delivered to their targets has been little discussed, but expensive missile improvements are a prospect, even though Hobson and others insist this will not be called for. But making the new warheads more reliable and safer, weapons experts say, could make them heavier and bulkier. At the least, that would require extensive retesting of missiles.
The first warhead to be upgraded will be the W76, which is deployed on the submarine-based Trident missiles. But whether that missile will still work as designed with a new warhead, without substantial modifications, is yet to be proven.
“You can’t just have a conversation about the warheads — it has to be about the delivery systems and even the military’s command and control,” said John Browne, a weapons designer and former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. “These things are part of an interrelated system. That’s what people forget.”
The Costly ‘Steardship’ of 10,000 Nuclear Weapons
The rethinking of the US nuclear posture began after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Underground nuclear testing was banned, warhead production was stopped, and thousands of weapons were decommissioned.
Some demanded that the nuclear stockpile, with more than 10,000 warheads, be scrapped. Instead, the Clinton administration started increasing the budgets for the nuclear design labs, at Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratory, for what was called “science-based stockpile stewardship,” a program of maintaining and refurbishing aging warheads.
While the nuclear weapons budget has more than doubled since the mid-1990s to about $6.5 billion, some now argue that the old warheads are growing less reliable with age and are not suited for deterring new types of enemies, such as North Korea or Iran, in part because they are too powerful.
In 2001, a conservative Washington think tank, the National Institute for Public Policy, called for the development of new types of specialized warheads, such as “bunker busters” — warheads in super hard casings that would allow them to burrow deep into the earth before exploding — to destroy deeply buried targets or caches of chemical and biological weapons.
That report became the backbone of the Bush administration’s new nuclear strategy, the Nuclear Posture Review, issued in 2002.
Half a dozen members of the group that drew up the 2001 study assumed senior positions in the Bush administration, including Brooks at the National Nuclear Security administration, Schneider at the Defense Science Board and Stephen Hadley, now the president’s national security adviser.
In 2003, the White House won funding in Congress for the bunker buster study and research into other new types of warheads.
But that is when Hobson, concerned that the weapons could spur a new arms race, surprised fellow Republicans by pushing back. He later slashed some of the funding and strongly criticized some of the White House plans. He wanted, he said, a more restrained policy, one that would survive pressure from nuclear hawks.
“My problem is I can only be chairman for six years,” Hobson said. “That’s why I’m trying to lock in place a footprint for the future. I’m trying to kill things so they don’t come back.”
Bush Accused of ‘Reopening the Nuclear Door’
But California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate’s energy and water appropriations subcommittee, said she did not trust the administration and expected to fight the same battle again.
“This administration continues to try to reopen the nuclear door,” she said. “So we must remain vigilant in ensuring that the reliable replacement warhead program does not lead to the development of new nuclear weapons and the resumption of nuclear testing.”
Hobson and others say they fully expect the government to try at some point to expand the program, and they insist they are prepared to fight back. But some nuclear proponents are angry at what they see as a weakened Bush administration backing off at all.
“This ‘modernization’ is not a modernization of the weapons’ capabilities,” said Kathleen Bailey, a senior associate of the National Institute for Public Policy and a co-author of the 2001 nuclear study. “That’s what is needed. But the administration has already shown it doesn’t have the willingness to stand up and go to bat on this. So I can’t imagine the Republicans or the Democrats in the future doing so.”
Surprisingly, one of the few groups that seems not to have engaged directly in the debate is the military.
William Odom, a retired lieutenant general trained in nuclear warfare and former director of the National Security Agency, said one reason was that professional military leaders regarded the weapons as too dangerous and too difficult to protect and maintain, given the modest probability that they would ever be used, particularly as conventional bombs become more powerful and more accurate.
“Once you get through all the imponderables of using these things, you increasingly lose your enthusiasm for the desirable effects of the weapons,” said Odom, who also helped put together the 2001 study but has a limited belief in the usefulness of nuclear weapons. “From a professional’s perspective, it’s damn hard to work up any excitement about them. Eventually, they’ll go the way of chemical weapons.”
E-mail James Sterngold at email@example.com.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
November 29th, 2005 - by admin
Walter Pincus / Washington Post – 2005-11-29 08:49:46
(November 27, 2005) — The Defense Department has expanded its programs aimed at gathering and analyzing intelligence within the United States, creating new agencies, adding personnel and seeking additional legal authority for domestic security activities in the post-9/11 world.
The moves have taken place on several fronts. The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. The proposal, made by a presidential commission, would transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts — including protecting military facilities from attack — to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.
The Pentagon has pushed legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence. Backers say the measure is needed to strengthen investigations into terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.
The proposals, and other Pentagon steps aimed at improving its ability to analyze counterterrorism intelligence collected inside the United States, have drawn complaints from civil liberties advocates and a few members of Congress, who say the Defense Department’s push into domestic collection is proceeding with little scrutiny by the Congress or the public.
“We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without even a [congressional] hearing,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a recent interview.
Wyden has since persuaded lawmakers to change the legislation, attached to the fiscal 2006 intelligence authorization bill, to address some of his concerns, but he still believes hearings should be held. Among the changes was the elimination of a provision to let Defense Intelligence Agency officers hide the fact that they work for the government when they approach people who are possible sources of intelligence in the United States.
Modifications also were made in the provision allowing the FBI to share information with the Pentagon and CIA, requiring the approval of the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, for that to occur, and requiring the Pentagon to make reports to Congress on the subject. Wyden said the legislation “now strikes a much fairer balance by protecting critical rights for our country’s citizens and advancing intelligence operations to meet our security needs.”
Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the data-sharing amendment would still give the Pentagon much greater access to the FBI’s massive collection of data, including information on citizens not connected to terrorism or espionage.
The measure, she said, “removes one of the few existing privacy protections against the creation of secret dossiers on Americans by government intelligence agencies.” She said the Pentagon’s “intelligence agencies are quietly expanding their domestic presence without any public debate.”
Lt. Col. Chris Conway, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said that the most senior Defense Department intelligence officials are aware of the sensitivities related to their expanded domestic activities. At the same time, he said, the Pentagon has to have the intelligence necessary to protect its facilities and personnel at home and abroad.
“In the age of terrorism,” Conway said, “the U.S. military and its facilities are targets, and we have to be prepared within our authorities to defend them before something happens.”
Among the steps already taken by the Pentagon that enhanced its domestic capabilities was the establishment after 9/11 of Northern Command, or Northcom, in Colorado Springs, to provide military forces to help in reacting to terrorist threats in the continental United States. Today, Northcom’s intelligence centers in Colorado and Texas fuse reports from CIFA, the FBI and other U.S. agencies, and are staffed by 290 intelligence analysts. That is more than the roughly 200 analysts working for the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and far more than those at the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition, each of the military services has begun its own post-9/11 collection of domestic intelligence, primarily aimed at gathering data on potential terrorist threats to bases and other military facilities at home and abroad. For example, Eagle Eyes is a program set up by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which “enlists the eyes and ears of Air Force members and citizens in the war on terror,” according to the program’s Web site.
The Marine Corps has expanded its domestic intelligence operations and developed internal policies in 2004 to govern oversight of the “collection, retention and dissemination of information concerning U.S. persons,” according to a Marine Corps order approved on April 30, 2004.
The order recognizes that in the post-9/11 era, the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity will be “increasingly required to perform domestic missions,” and as a result, “there will be increased instances whereby Marine intelligence activities may come across information regarding U.S. persons.” Among domestic targets listed are people in the United States who it “is reasonably believed threaten the physical security of Defense Department employees, installations, operations or official visitors.”
Perhaps the prime illustration of the Pentagon’s intelligence growth is CIFA, which remains one of its least publicized intelligence agencies. Neither the size of its staff, said to be more than 1,000, nor its budget is public, said Conway, the Pentagon spokesman. The CIFA brochure says the agency’s mission is to “transform” the way counterintelligence is done “fully utilizing 21st century tools and resources.”
One CIFA activity, threat assessments, involves using “leading edge information technologies and data harvesting,” according to a February 2004 Pentagon budget document. This involves “exploiting commercial data” with the help of outside contractors including White Oak Technologies Inc. of Silver Spring, and MZM Inc., a Washington-based research organization, according to the Pentagon document.
For CIFA, counterintelligence involves not just collecting data but also “conducting activities to protect DoD and the nation against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, assassinations, and terrorist activities,” its brochure states.
CIFA’s abilities would increase considerably under the proposal being reviewed by the White House, which was made by a presidential commission on intelligence chaired by retired appellate court judge Laurence H. Silberman and former senator Charles S. Robb (D-Va.). The commission urged that CIFA be given authority to carry out domestic criminal investigations and clandestine operations against potential threats inside the United States.
The Silberman-Robb panel found that because the separate military services concentrated on investigations within their areas, “no entity views non-service-specific and department-wide investigations as its primary responsibility.” A 2003 Defense Department directive kept CIFA from engaging in law enforcement activities such as “the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of criminal offenses against the laws of the United States.”
The commission’s proposal would change that, giving CIFA “new counterespionage and law enforcement authorities,” covering treason, espionage, foreign or terrorist sabotage, and even economic espionage. That step, the panel said, could be taken by presidential order and Pentagon directive without congressional approval.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the CIFA expansion “is being studied at the DoD [Defense Department] level,” adding that intelligence director Negroponte would have a say in the matter. A Pentagon spokesman said, “The [CIFA] matter is before the Hill committees.”
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a recent interview that CIFA has performed well in the past and today has no domestic intelligence collection activities. He was not aware of moves to enhance its authority.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has not had formal hearings on CIFA or other domestic intelligence programs, but its staff has been briefed on some of the steps the Pentagon has already taken. “If a member asks the chairman” — Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) — for hearings, “I am sure he would respond,” said Bill Duhnke, the panel’s staff director.
Staff writer Dan Eggen contributed to this report.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
November 29th, 2005 - by admin
Rose French / The Associated Press & ICHV – 2005-11-29 08:47:58
Barrett Firearms founder Ronnie Barrett shows off his company’s 50-caliber rifle. Photo by Christopher Berkey, Associated Press. Click here for image.
Tennessee Company’s Rifle Triggers Terrorist Fears
Rose French / The Associated Press
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (November 26, 2005) — When US soldiers need to penetrate a tank’s armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer.
The .50-caliber rifle created by Ronnie Barrett and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., is the most powerful firearm civilians can buy. It weighs about 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.
That kind of power has drawn a customer base of gun enthusiasts, Hollywood actors and Barrett’s most loyal buyer, the US military, which has been buying Barrett’s rifles since the 1980s and using them in combat from the 1991 Gulf War to the present.
But the powerful gun has drawn plenty of critics, who say the rifle could be used by terrorists to bring down commercial airliners or penetrate rail cars and storage plants holding hazardous materials.
For years some state and federal lawmakers have sought to limit or ban the gun’s sale, as California did this year.
Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to purchase. The gun can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.
“They’re (.50-caliber) easier to buy than a handgun,” Mr. Diaz said. “These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons.”
The majority of Barrett’s sales come from military orders, for armed forces and police departments in some 50 allied countries. Every branch of the US military uses the rifles, and the Department of Defense last year spent about $8 million on his firearms, Barrett said.
Mr. Barrett estimates about 1,000 of his rifles — which each cost between $3,500 and $10,000 — have been used in both the 1991 Gulf War and the current war in Iraq.
The guns are used by most civilians for hunting big game and in marksmanship competitions. Civilian sales are crucial to business because military and police orders can fluctuate year to year, Mr. Barrett said.
“It’s like, what does a 55-year-old man do with a Corvette? You drive it around and enjoy it,” said Mr. Barrett, 51, whose customers include doctors, lawyers, movie makers and actors. “I know all the current actors who are Barrett rifle shooters, some Academy Award-winning people. But they don’t publicize it. They love to play with them and have fun. Shooting is very fun.”
A 1999 investigation by the US General Accounting Office found the rifles were available on civilian markets with fewer restrictions than those placed on handguns. Ammunition dealers were willing to sell armor-piercing bullets even when an agent pretending to be a buyer said he wanted the ammunition for use against armored limousines or “to take a helicopter down.”
Other reports have observed the rifles have made their way to terrorists, drug cartels and survivalists.
Joseph King, a terrorism expert at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said terrorists could use the weapon to take out a plane.
“I don’t understand what good a .50-caliber is going to do you,” Mr. King said. “I don’t understand any civilian use of it. The only thing it’s good for is for military or police application. You can’t really hunt with it because it would destroy most of the meat.”
Mr. Barrett and gun advocates say the gun’s power has been exaggerated and doesn’t pose a threat to citizens because the weapons are too expensive and heavy to be used by criminals.
Mr. Barrett and other gun advocacy groups heavily lobbied the state of California, the first state to pass a law making it illegal to make and sell the gun. Several other states and some federal lawmakers have introduced similar legislation.
Despite these efforts, Mr. Barrett says sales are up nearly $6 million from last year thanks to recent military and police orders.
The New York City Police Department recently announced it’s training officers in its aviation unit to use the rifles, which will be on board some of the department’s helicopters to intercept potential attacks from boats or airplanes. In 2002, the Army placed an order for 4,200 of the guns, Mr. Barrett said.
Other manufacturers now make the gun, but Barrett dominates the market.
In the next few years, he said he plans to more than double the current number of employees, 80, and the size of his 20,000-square-foot gun-making facility located in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.
A lifelong gun enthusiast, Mr. Barrett never went to college and worked as a commercial photographer and reserve deputy for years before he started tinkering with the .50-caliber Browning Machine Gun in the early 1980s.
The heavy recoil of the Browning made it nearly impossible to shoot without it being mounted on a turret, but Mr. Barrett’s rifle reduces recoil to the point where it can be shoulder-fired, while the weapon rests on a bipod.
Mr. Barrett says he was nearly $1.5 million in debt at one point trying to get the business on its feet. He sold his first guns to the military in the late 1980s and the long-range weapons gained popularity after they were used to attack Iraqi tanks in the 1991 war.
Mr. Barrett’s son, Chris, who works with his sister at their father’s business, said he watched his dad build the gun in the family garage and is not surprised by the growth and success of his father’s business.
“He’s worked hard all his life. I think he would do as well at anything he pursued,” Chris Barrett said. “He’s not one of these big suits, a CEO at the top of one these big money machines. He’s not one to back down. He can make anything work, no matter what he’s doing.”
Deadly Fifty-Caliber Sniper Rifles Threaten Homeland Security
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence http://www.ichv.org/PressReleases.htm
(July 22nd, 2005) — Fifty-caliber sniper rifles pose a serious threat to America’s national security, according to the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV). Joined by representatives from the Illinois state police, local law enforcement, and state and federal representatives, advocates from ICHV engaged in a five-city media tour to Champaign-Urbana, St. Louis, Quincy, Rock Island-Moline, and Peoria to highlight a national study reporting the dangers that .50-caliber sniper rifles pose to national security and the general public.
The study, “Clear and Present Danger: National Security Experts Warn About the Danger of Unrestricted Sales of 50-caliber Anti-Armor Sniper Rifles to Civilians,” was released July 19th and conducted by the Washington, DC-based Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org/studies/50danger.pdf ).
Fifty caliber sniper rifles were designed as battlefield rifles to destroy aircraft, puncture armor, attack fuel depots and other materiel targets, and to be used for assassination due to the rifle’s astonishing range and firepower. These high-powered sniper rifles can also fire highly lethal armor piercing and incendiary ammunition, which are currently legal and easily obtained.
It was the terrorist threat of .50-caliber sniper rifles that prompted Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign legislation in California to restrict the .50-caliber rifle to military and law enforcement officials only.
“The combination of distance, firepower, and lethal ammunition put .50-caliber sniper rifles in a class of their own,” said Thom Mannard, Executive Director for ICHV. “It should be the priority of every lawmaker to protect our residents and families from the dangers posed by these powerful sniper rifles.”
Quincy Deputy Chief of Police Ron Dreyer attended the July 20th press event at the Quincy Police Department. “This isn’t about the 2nd Amendment,” stated Deputy Chief Dreyer, “this is about protecting our citizens from terrorism.”
Perhaps the starkest wake-up call to anti-terrorism officials is the admission by the inventor and leading manufacturer of the weapon, Barrett Firearms, that the rifle can take down jet aircraft. A Barrett Firearms marketing brochure from the late 1980’s boasts that jet engines and helicopters “are likely targets for the weapon [.50-caliber sniper rifle], making it capable of destroying multi-million dollar aircraft with a single hit delivered to a vital area.”
The brochure continues: “The cost-effectiveness of the Model 82A1 [50-caliber sniper rifle] cannot be overemphasized when a round of ammunition purchased for less than $10 can be used to destroy or disable a modern jet aircraft.”
In addition to the threat to modern airplanes, .50-caliber sniper rifles also pose a significant threat to our state’s many nuclear power and chemical plants.
“Illinois houses several chemical plants and 11 nuclear power plants, many of which are located in or near densely populated areas,” Mannard stated. “If terrorists obtain .50-caliber sniper rifles, our state’s nuclear power and chemical plants would be easy targets for attacks, and the damage done would be devastating and likely irreversible.”
Phil Hare, District Representative for Congressman Lane Evans (D-17th), attended the July 21st press conference in Moline, Illinois on behalf of the Congressman.
“We’re spending billions of dollars on homeland security to prevent terrorist attacks, yet we’re allowing these weapons to be sold on the open market,” Hare remarked. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
“Fifty caliber weapons pose a huge threat to the safety and security of our state and our nation, and they serve no legitimate civilian function. There are too many airports, too many vulnerable chemical and nuclear plants and other high-profile targets in Illinois for us to do nothing about the threat posed by these weapons,” said Mannard. “We must take action now to stop would be terrorists and criminals from getting these weapons before it’s too late. This is about our national security and preventing terrorism.”
For more information visit www.50caliberterror.com or www.ichv.org.
November 28th, 2005 - by admin
Citizen Soldier Family Support Foundation – 2005-11-28 23:34:08
In these days after Thanksgiving, at the beginning of the busy holiday season, many of us are filled with joy and happiness to be with friends and families in our homes. But during this time of festivities, it is important to remember those who are less fortunate and who need our help.
My husband is in the National Guard and was deployed after Hurricane Rita to assist with the rescue and distribution of essential supplies to families in the hurricane regions. There is a great deal of strain placed on a family when a spouse leaves and I know it personally.
Because I am closely involved in the military community, I quickly noticed that many Guardsmen and their families needed support during and after deployment. Particularly after this devastating hurricane season, many guardsmen and their families need our immediate help.
We formed Citizen Soldier Family Support Foundation to provide support for the National Guard and all other military reserve branches and their families. Not only are many soldiers deployed overseas, but they provided support on the Gulf Coast after this year’s devastating Hurricanes.
And while many soldiers were providing support after the hurricanes, other Guardsmen were struggling to salvage what was left of their homes in the hurricane ravaged towns and cities.
Our non-profit organization supports all National Guard forces and reservists, but we are facing the immediate need of helping those impacted by the Hurricanes. My husband saw the storm destruction to the Gulf Coast first-hand and knew we had to do something to help.
In Louisiana alone, many National Guard forces returned to nothing after serving in Iraq: their homes destroyed and their families living in shelters.
With your donation of $25, $50 or even $150, we hope to immediately help these proud men and women and their families have a better holiday season. We are a nationwide 501(c)3 non-profit foundation and all contributions are tax-deductible. We receive desperate calls on a daily basis from soldiers and their families who are sleeping on floors with only one or two outfits of clothes to wear.
They have lost all of their personal belongings. Most do not have jobs to return to as their employers were also put out of business by the hurricanes.
The federal government is doing all they can but unfortunately it is not enough, nor is it happening quickly enough. The disasters of this year are simply too great and the resources too spare.
In the meantime the strain on our “Hometown Heroes” is rapidly increasing as they continue to be called upon to serve more than ever before.
I understand what it is like to have a spouse in the National Guard and I feel as though we have an opportunity and an obligation to help those who sacrifice so much for all of us. The funds raised from your tax-deductible donation will be immediately used to help those soldiers and their families to purchase basic household items including food, clothes, and beds.
We also hope to raise enough money so that the families are able to purchase a gift or two for their children to help make their holiday season a little brighter. We can only do that with your help.
The immediate goal of Citizen Soldier Family Support Foundation is to simply offer hope to these families. While the rest of us are able to enjoy the holiday season together with our loved ones, please take a moment to remember those who are fighting to protect us both at home and abroad and trying to rebuild their lives.
A donation of $25, $50 or even $150 will be a huge help to these families. It will help ensure that they do not go hungry and stay warm this December.
On behalf of all of our Hometown Heroes and their families, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. God Bless America and have a happy holiday season.
Molly Johnson, Executive Director
Citizen Soldier Family Support Foundation
Copyright © 2005 | The Citizen Soldier Family Support Foundation
13359 N. Highway 183, Suite B406 PMB 227 | Austin, TX 78750 | (512) 382-5237
Archives by Month: