Isenberg's critique of Homeland Security and recommendations for improvements
[click on image to go to the executive summary]
SEARCH FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPON FOR LIMITED CONFLICTS
Bromley and David Grahame report on the Pentagon's search for a nuclear
FUTURE OF NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL
an interactive assessment
of nuclear disarmament after the Moscow Summit,
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KHALID SHAIKH MOHAMMED REALLY IS A MAJOR CATCH
Jim Lehrer News Hour interviews Daniel Benjamin, a former NSC counter
terrorism expert and Zachary Abuza on the significance. Among other things,
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was very likely a mentor to his nephew, Ramzi Youssef,
who is now serving a life-sentence for his role in the early World Trade
Center Bombing. An earlier plot exploding bombs simultaneously on several
American airliners heading for Hong Kong. The most important information
is likely to come from the sheikhs cell phones and lap top computers.
By tracing recent calls on the phones, intelligence agencies should be
able to get a much clearer picture of Khalid Mohammeds network.
(Jim Lehrer News Hour, March 3, 2003)
terrorism expert, Bruce Hoffman, answers questions over the internet on
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda
(Washingtonpost.com, March 3, 2003)
he was tracked downemail provided the crucial clue.
March 5, 2003)
IS THE SHEIKH NOW?
signals from Pakistans ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) have raised
questions about Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's current location, and who has
custody. Rumors circulating through Karachi have Khalid being interrogated
at a secret CIA detention center in Diego Garcia, while others hint that
the authorities might be holding the wrong man.
(B. Raman in Asia Times, March 5, 2003)
UP, YOU MONKEY!
An emergency Arab
summit in Doha breaks down after an eruption of name calling between the
representatives from Iraq and Kuwait. The exchange emphasized the splits
within the Arab world about dealing with Iraq. (Reuters, March 5, 2003)
SHOCK AND AWE
General Richard Meyers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, confirms that the U.S. strategywill involve hitting Iraq with
at least 3,000 missiles and smart bombs in less than 48 hours. The object
is to traumatize the country to such an extent that it will surrender
immediately. meyers says that casualties among Iraq's civilians are likely
to be a byproduct of the attack. (New York Times, March 4, 2003)
VICTORY IN IRAQ
REALLY RECALL THE END OF WORLD WAR II?
in the New Yorker, Philip Gourevitch finds some of the President Bushs
recent pronouncements a bit utopian. If the U.S. does unseat Saddam, the
victory is likely to be incremental at best. (Philip Gourevitch, The New
Yorker, March 4, 2003)
PREPARES SECRET PLAN FOR POST-SADDAM IRAQI ADMINISTRATION
60-page secret document obtained by the Times of London envisions a plan
similar to the U.S. administration in Afghanistan. The idea would be to
enable the U.S. to pull out as quickly as possible.
INTELLIGENCE ALLEGEDLY ORDERED TO SPY ON U.N. DIPLOMATS
Observer publishes what it describes as a leaked, top secret targeting
directive from the U.S. National Security Agencys Frank Koza. The
text, as relayed by the Observer, is fairly explicit: " As you've
likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed
at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course)
for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate
RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/
negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies,
etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policy makers
an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises.
In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against
UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as
extra focus on Pakistan UN matters
read the memos full text, click here
(The Observer, March 2, 2003)
read the observer's news story, click here
VOTES FOR A WAR
U.S. needs nine votes to carry the U.N. Security Council. So far it has
three. Bulgaria, Spain and Tony Blair are on board. If the U.S. decides
to stick to the Security Council path, the others will have to be bought.
In behind closed doors negotiations, Washington has unleashed a flood
of promises of foreign aid, debt write-offs and outright cash grants as
well as ominous threats in an effort to sway the doubters. Convincing
previously ignored countries like Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico
and Pakistan to see the light is going to cost U.S. taxpayers tens of
billions of dollars.
William Hartung adds up the tab in The Nation, (February 27, 2003)
AND RUSSIA WILL BLOCK A SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION FAVORING WAR
The French and Russians have not said outright that
they will use their veto, but they are now making it increasingly clear
that they will not allow a resolution supporting war to go through the
Security Council. As France's foreign minister Dominique Villepin expresses
it: "We will assume our responsibilities."
(AP, March 5, 2003)
French Foreign Ministry Daily Press briefing from Paris (in English)...
DEMOCRACY HAS A CHANCE IN POST-SADDAM IRAQ? DONT COUNT ON IT
Packer, writing in the New York Times Sunday Magazine notes that even
the Washington policy establishment is divided between "realists"
who expect business as usual in Post-Saddam Iraq, and the "policy
revolutionaries" with utopian visions of reshaping the Middle East.
The few Iraqis, including Kanan Makiya, who were trying to guide Washington
a few weeks ago, now find themselves increasingly isolated.
(George Packer, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, March 3, 2003)
ABOUT A POSTWAR PLAN FOR IRAQ?
far, the Bush Administration has drafted a blue print for a U.S. military
but there is little sign of anything that would lead to political reconstruction.
(By Marina Ottaway, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March3,
MOVES HIS TROOPS FOR THE ENDGAME
Iraqi troop movements indicate that Saddam is willing to abandon large
chunks of territory for a final fight in Baghdad where Iraq civilians
are likely to provide a human shield and pressure from the Arab street
could provide an unexpected factor.
(Michael Gordon, the New York Times, MARCH 4, 2003)
EXPECTED TO MAKE A DASH FOR BAGHDAD WHILE THE BRITISH HOLD IRAQS
Marines and armor will make a bee-line for Baghdad, and will handle the
street fighting exclusively. "The Americans have made it clear that
Baghdad is their prize," says a senior British military source.
(By Daniel McGrory in Kuwait, and Michael Evans, Defence Editor, The Times
of London, March 4, 2003)
CIAS PROJECTION: SADDAMS HUMAN SHIELDS
forced roughly 800 foreigners to act as human shields during desert storm,
and he encouraged his own citizens to act as "voluntary" shields.
This time around, Saddam is appealing to the international peace movement,
and these days he is massing anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons
near mosques and schools, aiming for the maximum collateral damage.
(CIA, January 2003)
IF SADDAM ATTACKS IRAQ'S OIL?
senior defense official goes through the scenarios for Saddams use
of a weapon of economic terror. Sabotage during Desert Storm, in which
Saddam set fire to 700 wells and dumped 5 million barrels into the Persian
Gulf, was not exactly insignificant. It caused 20 times the damage of
the Exxon Valdez. Damage to Iraqi well heads from Saddam this time could
(U.S. Defense Dept. briefing January 24, 2003)
THE U.S. REALLY AFTER THE OIL? SOME CRITICS THINK SO, AND THEY INCLUDE
A NUMBER OF FORMER AMERICAN AMBASSADORS TO THE MIDDLE EAST?
Dreyfuss describes thirty years of maneuvering in the region, and notes
that for some oil is more important as a source of political power than
as a fuel. The debate extends back to the time of Henry Kissinger.
(Robert Dreyfuss, Mother Jones, March/April 2003)
SADDAM HAS WEAPONS, BUT THIS IS THE WRONG WAR
in the New York Review of Books, Avishai Margalit argues that the real
danger is not Saddam but the revolution being created by radical Islam.
"Terror as propaganda-by-action counts on one thing: the overreaction
of its victims," notes Margalit. "Out of anger and frustration
the victims will respond by punishing bystanders, who will react by becoming
more radical in their feelings and more susceptible to recruitment
the "right" war should respond to an Islamic world on the verge
of a "revolutionary situation." This, rather than terror, is
the main problem that the world faces today; terror is a nasty symptom
(Avishai Margalit, in The New York Review of Books, February 13, 2003)
LASHKAR I JHANGVI WANTS TO BECOME PAKISTANS BRANCH OF AL QAEDA
too long ago the LIJ spent most of its time trying to get revenge against
rival terrorist bands. These days, the group has honed its talents at
bomb making and kidnapping, and it has developed broader horizons. Pakistani
authorities now think that the group is getting advanced chemical training
from Al Qaeda operatives,
(Center for Defense Information, March 3, 2003)
DID TURKEY SAY NO?
rejection has more to do with the realities of politics on the ground
in the Middle East than it does with the amount of money that Washington
is willing to fork over for the use of Turkish bases.
By Robert Cutler, in Asia Times, March 5, 2003
THE REJECTION MATTER? YOU BET IT DOES
The U.S. wouldn't have delayed its deployment as long as it has if it
hadnt been counting heavily on using Turkey as a launch zone for
northern Iraq. The fact that the U.S. is already signing orders to deploy
reinforcements indicates that the war plan is much more advanced than
many observers realize.
(Nick Childs, BBC, March 5, 2003)
REPORT BY THE SENATE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON THE FBIS FAILURES IN
IMPLEMENTING THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT
bottom line: field agents are doing a great job; the same cannot be said
for the FBIs management structure or its mastery of technology.
Many FBI agents said theyd rather quit than serve at the FBI headquarters
in Washington, DC. Agents considered the management structure to be "hypocritical,
lacking ethics," and "concerned with appearance over substance."
(Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy, Feb. 2003)
Gladwell in the New Yorker on Intelligence surprises. The FBI and CIA
arent the only ones to miss the signals. Look at Israel in 1973.
New Yorkers Jane Meyer ponders the strange case of John Walker LindhAmerican
traitor, or a kid easily influenced by Spike Lees film Malcolm-X?
And why is the Justice Department preventing him from speaking to the
media? "There is an almost visceral hatred of John Walker Lindh.
On the day that he was sentenced to serve twenty years for aiding the
Taliban, one of the cable channels had a call-in show in which members
of the public could express their views, and, as I recall, people were
almost unanimous in condemning the court for being too soft on Lindh.
His defense lawyers suggest that part of the reason he stirs such anger
is that, unlike Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and, at the moment,
Saddam Hussein, Lindh was the guy that U.S. officials were able to catch,
so he became the known face of an otherwise elusive enemy...."
Jane Mayer in the New Yorker on-line, March 4, 2003
BUSH PAINTS AN OPTIMISTIC PICTURE OF IRAQ UNDER AN AMERICAN STYLE DEMOCRACY,
BUT THE HAWKS HAVE THE UPPER HAND
Policy in Focus Jim lobe points out that George Bushs choice
of the American heritage Institute to project his vision of a post-war
Iraq shows who is influencing the administration these days. (Jim Lobe,
Foreign Policy in Focus, March 3, 2003)
ENEMIES AND LOSING FRIENDS
his recent trip to Israel, U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton surpassed
previous performances by casually mentioning to Ariel Sharon and Benyamin
Netanyahu that the U.S. plans to take care of Syria and Iran once it has
finished Iraq. It was only the latest in a series of unusual performances
for an amazing diplomat. Ian Williams recounts other recent Bolton coups,
including the request last year to have the CIA vet Hans Blix before his
selection to head UNMOVIC.
(Ian Williams in Foreign Policy in Focus, February 20, 2003)
TO THE PATRIOT ACT: WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND HE IS
Cole writes in The nation: "
In early February, the Center for
Public Integrity disclosed a leaked draft of the Bush Administration's
next round in the war on terrorism--the Domestic Security Enhancement
Act (DSEA). The draft legislation, stamped Confidential and dated January
9, 2003, appears to be in final form but has not yet been introduced in
Congress. Presumably the Administration had determined that the timing
would be more propitious for passage--meaning less propitious for reasoned
debate--after we go to war with Iraq. But it is one thing to play politics
with the timing of a farm bill; it is another matter to do so with a bill
that would radically alter our rights and freedoms.
If the Patriot Act was so named to imply that those who question its sweeping
new powers of surveillance, detention and prosecution are traitors, the
DSEA takes that theme one giant step further. It provides that any citizen,
even native-born, who supports even the lawful activities of an organization
the executive branch deems "terrorist" is presumptively stripped
of his or her citizenship. To date, the "war on terrorism" has
largely been directed at noncitizens, especially Arabs and Muslims. But
the DSEA would actually turn citizens associated with "terrorist"
groups into aliens. ..They would then be subject to the deportation power,
which the DSEA would expand to give the Attorney General the authority
to deport any noncitizen whose presence he deems a threat to our "national
defense, foreign policy or economic interests." One federal court
of appeals has already ruled that this standard is not susceptible to
judicial review. So this provision would give the Attorney General unreviewable
authority to deport any noncitizen he chooses, with no need to prove that
the person has engaged in any criminal or harmful conduct.
A US citizen stripped of his citizenship and ordered deported would presumably
have nowhere to go. But another provision authorizes the Attorney General
to deport persons "to any country or region regardless of whether
the country or region has a government." And failing deportation
to Somalia (or a similar place), the Justice Department has issued a regulation
empowering it to detain indefinitely suspected terrorists who are ordered
deported but cannot be removed because they are stateless or their country
of origin refuses to take them back.
Other provisions are designed to further insulate the war on terrorism
from public and judicial scrutiny. The bill would authorize secret arrests,
a practice common in totalitarian regimes but never before authorized
in the United States. It would terminate court orders barring illegal
police spying entered before September 11, 2001, without regard to the
need for judicial supervision. It would allow secret government wiretaps
and searches without even a warrant from the supersecret Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court when Congress has authorized the use of force. And
it would give the government the same access to credit reports as private
companies, without judicial supervision. Historically, we have imposed
a higher threshold, and judicial oversight, on government access to such
private information, because government has the motive and the wherewithal
to abuse the information in ways private companies generally do not...
the rest of David Coles article in THE NATION, click here
read the leaked copy of the internal Justice Department Memorandum, click
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