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on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2002
US State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001
O'Neill and George Bush on the cover of Ron Suskind's new book
THE PRESIDENT LIE?
secretary Paul O'Neill delivered the most damning criticism until now
of the Bush administration's decision to go to war. In an interview with
CBS News' "60 Minutes, " O'Neill charges that President Bush
had decided to go after Saddam within the first days of assuming office.
According to O'Neill, "the president was saying go find a way to
do this." O'Neill also describes the president's conduct during cabinet
meetings as being "like a blind man in a room full of deaf people."
O'Neill was promoting a new book by Pulitzer-prize winner, Ron Suskind,
who says that O'Neill provided access to some 19,000 documents. Somewhat
incredibly, O'Neill insisted that he did not expect a retaliation from
the White House. That was a serious miscalculation. While presidential
spokesman Scott McClellan admonished reporters that everyone has a right
to their own opinion, the Treasury Department went into action almost
immediately to see whether O'Neill could be charged with leaking classified
News provides streaming video on-line of the essential parts of the interview
and a complete transcript .
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, aboard Air Force One en route to
Mexico, side-steps reporters questions. Mclellan tells a reporter:
"David, you've heard me say repeatedly that we're not in the business
of doing book reviews. I don't get in the business of selling or promoting
or critiquing books..."(White House press briefing).
Department goes after O'Neill for alleged security violations. (The
BBC, January 12, 2003)
Krugman's assessement in the New York Times
CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE REPORTS THAT EXPERTS WERE AWARE
THAT IRAQ POSED NO IMMEDIATE THREAT
The Carnegie report's conclusions: "Iraq’s WMD programs represented
a long-term threat that could not be ignored. They did not, however, pose
an immediate threat to the United States, to the region, or to global
security. With respect to nuclear and chemical weapons, the extent of
the threat was largely knowable at the time.
•Iraq’s nuclear program had been dismantled and there was
no convincing evidence of its reconstitution.
•Regarding chemical weapons, UNSCOM discovered that Iraqi nerve
agents had lost most of their lethality as early as 1991. Operations Desert
Storm and Desert Fox, and UN inspections and sanctions effectively destroyed
Iraq’large-scale chemical weapon production capabilities. For both
reasons, it appears that thereafter Iraq focused on preserving a latent,
dual-use capability, rather than on weapons production." (Entire
report available in PDF format, or in chapters in html)
TRUTH IS HE LIED"
in the Spectator, Peter Osborne zeroes in on the ongoing inquiry into
the death of British weapons expert David Kelly. Osborne find's Tony Blair's
declarations after the event suspect at best.: "Nobody could have
foreseen the tragedy of Dr Kelly’s death," Osborne admits,
"But it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion, on the basis of
the evidence before the inquiry, that Tony Blair personally played the
primary executive role in the sequence of events that led to the naming
of Dr Kelly and onwards to his death in an Oxfordshire field. Two or three
days after Kelly’s suicide, the Prime Minister was asked, ‘Did
you authorize anyone in Downing Street or in the Ministry of Defense to
release David Kelly’s name?’ He replied: ‘Emphatically
not.’ He was asked again: ‘Why did you authorize the naming
of David Kelly?’ He answered: ‘That is completely untrue.’
It is said around Whitehall that these two responses form no part of Lord
Hutton’s investigation, since the Prime Minister uttered them after
Dr Kelly’s death. I have racked my brains over Tony Blair’s
answers for ages, but have been unable to avoid the conclusion that he
was lying. .."
(Peter Osborne in the Spectator, 10 January 2004)
BANKROLLS THE CANDIDATES?
When it comes to dazzling political fund raising, President Bush is
hard to beat. The Center for Public Integrity ranks the president at the
top of the list having raked in no less than $85 million in 2003. The
largest contributor was Enron, which less informed citizens had thought
went bankrupt. Despite its recent financial woes and the dashed 401K plans
of its employees, the company managed to collect more than $600,000 for
Bush's coffers. Compare that to the the measly $25 million raised by Howard
Dean. If money decides elections, Bush clearly has the advantage. The
Center for Public Integrity, which has just published The Buying of
the President 2004,provides a map of the candidates and a chart showing
which corporate interests are backing them.
( Center for Public Integrity, January 12, 2004)
SLOWLY LIKE A FROG IN A POT
an old adage that if you increase the temperature slowly, a frog won't
realize that he's being cooked until it's all over. WNYC's On The Media,
host Bob Garfield suggests that the White House is employing a similar
strategy by slipping pieces of Patriot Act II into legislation in small,
unnoticed doses. Although the enhanced new version of the Patriot Act
aka the the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act" was finally
rejected by Congress, the parts that count are quietly being attached
to other legislation. The latest example is The Intelligence Authorization
Act for F.Y. 2004, which gives the FBI unprecedented powers to gather
information on private individuals and radically changes the definition
of what constitutes a "financial institution."
Bob Garfield's report is available in real audio and eventually as a printed
transcript on the program's web site.
(Bob Garfield, WNYC On The Media, January 11, 2003)
Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2004
Center for Democracy and Technology analyzes the FBI's efforts to obtain
"administrative subpoena" power--essentially the right to
force citizens to testify or to turn over documents without benefit of
LARGEST U.S. ARMY ROTATION EVER WILL PRESENT A TEMPTING TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY
Isenberg, Asia Times notes that the most massive rotation of U.S. troops
since World War II "officially kicked off on January 8, when advance
teams from the 1st Calvary Division, part of the Army's III Corps, flew
to Baghdad to begin taking over command of ground forces from troops currently
there. The commander of the division, Lieutenant-General Thomas Metz,
is due to take operational control of the new force.
"Both active and reserve forces are being deployed in a tightly scripted
movement that puts your ordinary Broadway dance routine to shame,"
says Isenberg. "More than 240,000 soldiers and Marines are to move
into and out of Iraq from now to May." During this rotation, about
110,000 fresh troops will deploy to Iraq to replace 125,000 troops there,
20,000 troops will replace forces in Kuwait, and about 11,000 in Afghanistan
(Operation Enduring Freedom 5) who have been there for about a year. It
amounts to the US military's largest troop rotation since World War II.
Isenberg, Asia Times, January 13, 2004)
Bush has the support of Mexico's President Vincente Fox, but that
hasn't stopped the protesters.
President Vincente Fox is likely to get a domestic political boost from
of George Bush's promise to give millions of illegal immigrants limited
visas. The rest of Latin America may still see Fox as a supplicant of
Washington's favor, and protesters aren't buying any of it. The BBC provides
a concise summary of what to expect and links to background information.
(BBC, January 12, 2004)
Organization of American States provides background and live television
transmissions over the internet of the summit meetings at its website
IN A COUNTDOWN TO COUNTER-REVOLUTION?
decision to ban a number of pro-democracy candidates form upcoming elections
did not go over well with students. The government may succeed in suppressing
reform now, but in excluding Iran's youth from the political process,
it is setting itself up for a counter-revolution. (Economist,January 12,
Militants continue protests (Payvand News of Iran)
test for parliamentary democracy?
argues that democracy is intended to empower the people, but there are
no guarantees for those who want to represent the people. (Teheran Times,
January 13, 2004)
SAYS HE STILL HASN'T FORMULATED A PLAN FOR WITHDRAWING FROM THE WEST BANK
Sharon dodged specifics, his deputy, Ehud Olmert said that a partial withdrawal
from Gaza and the West Bank could start in about six months. (Nathan Guttman,
Gideon Alon, Yair Ettinger and Jonathan Lis, Haaretz, January 13, 2004)
EXPECTS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN MARCH
country has been in legislative limbo since last November's elections
were declared invalid. The campaign schedule is expected to leave smaller
parties at a disadvantage. (Eurasianet, January 12, 2004)
continues to insist that Georgia provided a rear base for Chechen rebels
and is pointedly suggesting that the new government take a different approach.
The latest warning comes from Felix Stanevsky, who was ambassador to Georgia
from 1996 to 2000, and currently heads the CIS Institute of Caucasian
Countries. The Georgians deny any past support to Chechens, but the message
from Moscow seems clear enough: follow the Russian line or suffer the
consequences. ( (Katevan Lomaia in Georgia Times, December 12, 2004)
gets a roasting for the environmental impact of its pipeline construction
( By Natia Jincharadze, GEORGIA TIMES,January 6, 2004)
PERSPECTIVE IN THE WAR ON TERROR
Dr. Jeffrey Record normally teaches strategy and tactics at the U.S. Air
Force's Air War College. He is currently a visiting professor at the prestigious
U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute. In an article just
published, Dr. Record delivers an extraordinarily blunt critique of where
and why President Bush's "Global War on Terror" (GWOT) has gone
wrong. Record's assessment: "In the wake of the September 11, 2001,
al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States, the U.S. Government declared
a global war on terrorism (GWOT). The nature and parameters of that war,
however,remain frustratingly unclear. The administration has postulated
a multiplicity of enemies, including rogue states; weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) proliferators; terrorist organizations of global,
regional, and national scope; and terrorism itself. It also seems to
have conflated them into a monolithic threat, and in so doing has subordinated
strategic clarity to the moral clarity it strives for in foreign policy
and may have set the United States on a course of open-ended and gratuitous
conflict with states and nonstate entities that pose no serious threat
to the United States.
Of particular concern has been the conflation of al-Qaeda and
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as a single, undifferentiated terrorist threat.This
was a strategic error of the first order because it ignored
critical differences between the two in character, threat level, and
susceptibility to U.S. deterrence and military action. The result has
been an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred
Iraq that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic
terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from securing
the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable
al-Qaeda. The war against Iraq was not integral to the Global War on Terrorism,
rather a detour from it.
Additionally, most of the GWOT’s declared objectives, which
include the destruction of al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorist
organizations, the transformation of Iraq into a prosperous, stable
democracy, the democratization of the rest of the autocratic Middle
East, the eradication of terrorism as a means of irregular warfare,
and the (forcible, if necessary) termination of WMD proliferation to
real and potential enemies worldwide, are unrealistic and condemn the
United States to a hopeless quest for absolute security. As such, the
GWOT’s goals are also politically, fiscally, and militarily unsustainable.
Accordingly, the GWOT must be recalibrated to conform to
concrete U.S. security interests and the limits of American power.
(Dr. Jeffrey Record, The Strategic Studies Institute, The U.S. Army War
College, Carlisle Barracks)
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