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on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2002
US State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001
PAUL (JERRY) BREMER III REPLACES JAY GARNER AS SENIOR U.S. CIVILIAN IN
Jay Garner, who
was supposed to be in charge of reconstruction operations in Iraq, has
progressively found himself in deeper and deeper hot water. His new boss,
Jerry Bremer, is just as much a hawk, but Bremer is expected to be more
attuned to local Iraqi political sensitivities. As head of a Congressional
panel looking into terrorism in June 2000, Bremer predicted that a terrorist
attack against the U.S. could turn into another Pearl Harbor. That was
more than a year before 9/11. Bremer will report to the Pentagon, but
because of his long career as a diplomat, his appointment is seen as a
victory for the State Department. The Washington Post outlines his background.
post, May 2, 2003)
was CEO and Chairman of Marsh Crisis Consulting
company's mission--as explained by Bremer on Marsh's website--was to advise
other companies on the most effective approach to crisis management.
take on terrorism a year before 9/11
a wide-ranging panel discussion on the Jim Lehrer Newshour on June 6,
2000, Bremer warned that the new trend in terrorism was to aim for highly
selective attacks intended to achieve maximum casualties. In retrospect,
it was a prescient assessment. (Jim Lehrer NewsHour, June 6, 2000)
OUT FOR KEEPS?
Independent in London reports that retired general Jay Garner will very
likely leave Iraq within a few weeks after the arrival of Jay Bremer.
Garner is described as missed critical political cues in Iraq. (Independent,
May 6, 2003)
Iraqi politics may have been too much for Garner. In a recent summit of
300 Iraqis, Garner managed to exclude nearly anyone who actually had a
following in Iraq. In the meantime, U.S. soldiers are finding themselves
ill equipped to deal with civil disturbances.
(Jonathan Steele, the Guardian, May 6, 2003)
TERRORISM AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 1969
U.S. State Department's report, Annual Patterns of Global Terrorism, notes
that there were only 199 international terrorist attacks last year, a
decrease of 44% from 2001. The figures can be misleading, though. One
reason for the drop was a decrease in oil pipeline bombings in Colombia
(41 attacks in 2002 compared to 178 in 2001). Some 3,000 Al Qaeda suspects
have been arrested in 100 countries, and has frozen $134 million in suspected
Al Qaeda bank accounts. U.S. antiterrorism coordinator Cofer Black briefs
on the reports contents. . (Cofer Black, U.S. State Dept. April 30, 2003)
to the full report online
its current form, the Roadmap for the Middle East doesn't constitute a
credible strategy. The Israelis will never accept the "Right of Return"
for hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who would effectively
overwhelm any hope for a democratic government that would accept Jewish
supremacy. The demand that the Palestinian Authority puts a stop to armed
struggle before Israel makes any concessions at all is equally unrealistic.
The lack of an enforcement mechanism is equally problematic.
Despite these drawbacks, the roadmap could serve as a catalyst for Israel
and the Palestinians to internalize the contours and requirements of a
sustainable peace. The trick is to see the plan as a political document
not a blue print to be taken literally. The International Crisis Group
analyzes the plan and is implications.
May 6, 2003)
SAYS HE WILL DISCUSS ISRAEL'S RESERVATIONS TO THE PLAN WHEN HE VISITS
says he is trying to coordinate a meeting with Abu Mazen, and is convinced
that the Palestinian Authority's prime minister realizes that terrorism
won't defeat Israel. Sharon wants the Palestinians to renounce their claims
to the "right of return."
(Ha'aretz, May 6, 2003)
HALLIBURTON SAGA CONTINUES
contract awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root to put
out oil fires during the Iraq War may be more extensive than was first
realized. In an ongoing correspondence with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
California Congressman Henry Waxman, the ranking minority member of the
House Committee on Government Reform, notes that the contract also authorizes
KBR to make Iraqs wells operational and to distribute the oil they
produce. The contract, which was awarded without competitive bidding,
has a ceiling of $7 billion. The Army says it will replace it soon with
one that is open to competitive bidding. Even then, Halliburton will have
an edge since it already has the LOGCAP contract for the Armys contingency
planning. KBR had originally tried to sign a contract with Saddam to refurbish
the wells in 1998, when Dick Cheney was still CEO, but that deal fell
through because of Congressional sanctions against dealing with Saddams
a complete index to Waxmans letters to and from the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, click here.
CAN BE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL
which has been following Dick Cheneys relations with Halliburton
with some interest, notes that Halliburton recently boasted in an investor
conference call that its subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root, had experienced
a 30% leap in year-to-year revenues. Those revenues now stand at $1.6
billion. When Cheney was Secretary of Defense under the first Bush administration,
he awarded Halliburton a $3.9 million contract to ponder how private corporations
could help the U.S. Army. When Cheney became Halliburtons CEO, the
company leaped from 73rd place to 18th place on the Pentagons list
of preferred contractors. As a result, it took in roughly $3.8 billion
in contracts and taxpayer-insured loans. In 2000, the GAO criticized Halliburton
for not making enough effort to limit costs on the $2.2 billion that it
had received for logistical and engineering support in the Balkans, but
the criticism did not stop the administration from awarding KBR a contract
to handle its contingency planning for operations like Iraq. It was that
insider status which gained Halliburton the edge it needed to wrest the
Iraq contract away from competitors, such as the 6 international oil fire
fighting companies who extinguished the Kuwaiti oil fires after Desert
Storm. (Corporatewatch.org, April 4, 2003)
HAPPENED TO THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION?
The administration continues the search for the
weapons of mass destruction that were the main justification for attacking
Iraq, but so far the smoking gun remains elusive. On the Jim Lehrer NewsHour,
Ray Suarez interviews former weapons inspector David Albright and Terence
Taylor, the lead inspector for chemical and biological teams in the 1990s,
on the likelihood that anything will turn up, and also on whether the
U.S. should allow U.N. inspectors who have the most experience in the
area to join in the search. (Jim Lehrer NewsHour, May 5, 2003)
INTELLIGENCE: INFORMING THE WHITE HOUSE WITH THE "NOBLE LIE"
it didn't like the world picture provided by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence
Agency, the Bush administration turned to a group of amateur intelligence
buffs, the Office of Special Plans, nicknamed the "Cabal". They
took their information from a variety of untested sources including Iraqi
opposition groups. Although much of the information about weapons of mass
destruction, biological threats and terrorist links to Al Qaeda turned
out to be largely inaccurate, the group was successful in providing the
neoconservatives around Bush with the ammunition they needed to enable
the Pentagon to dominate U.S. foreign policy and declare war, effectively
confining the State Department, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency and
their worldwide intelligence networks to the sidelines. The underlying
basis for the successful coup was the late University of Chicago philosopher
Leo Strauss' notion from Plato of the "Noble lie", state deception
in service of a higher national need. Seymour Hersh details how it all
went down in this week's New Yorker.
(Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, May 5, 2003)
INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF LEO STRAUSS
In their hunt for intellectual legitimacy, neoconservatives
have turned to a late Chicago University professor who loved the classics
and achieved fame largely through the influence his ideas on conservative
thinkers from Allan Bloom and Francis Fukayama, to William Kristol, Paul
Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Some question whether the disciples really
understood the message in its proper context. James Atlas outlines the
Strauss phenomenon in the New York Times News of the Week in Review. (James
Atlas, New York Times, May 4, 2003)
PENTAGON GETS READY TO FLOAT ITS OWN DEFINITIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
assigned prisoners captured in Afghanistan and Iraq to a netherworld outside
the norms of the U.S. legal system and impervious to international law,
the Pentagon is now forming its guidelines for "military commissions"
which will rule ex post facto on actions that the administration considers,
in retrospect, to have been criminal. Not exactly kangaroo courts, the
military commissions will allow civilian attorneys, provided the Afghans
prisoners incarcerated at Guantanamo for the last several months can afford
to fork over the cash required, and if the attorneys manage to obtain
a secret security clearance. If they can't afford that, the Secretary
of Defense has made provisions to choose U.S. military officers to act
in the prisoners' defense. The proceedings are likely to be carried out
in secret. There is no provision for U.S. judicial oversight since the
Pentagon maintains that the U.S. base at Guantanamo is sovereign Cuban
territory, and therefore not under the jurisdiction of American courts.
The Pentagon provides a background briefing on the details, as well as
the formal guidelines. (The Pentagon provides a background briefing on
the courts with links to the memoranda setting out the guidelines for
(U.S. Department of Defense, May 6, 2003)
UNTHINKABLE IS BACK ON THE RADAR SCREEN
Cold War may be over, but nuclear weapons are beginning to make a comeback,
this time without the traditional mechanisms for keeping them under control.
Washington's readiness to trounce Iraq and its hesitations to take on
North Korea have also sent a clear message. In this week's New York Times
Magazine, Bill Keller explores changing attitudes and a new readiness
in the third world to flaunt the bomb.
(Bill Keller, new York Times Magazine, May 5, 2003)
a power surge fried the Remote IT Village project's computer, the locals
turned to muscle power--a generator powered by a purple 10-speed bicycle.
It may look primitive, but the network now links 5 villages on an irregular
basis using "Laonux" a language the villagers can relate to.
(Michelle Delio, Wired, May 6, 2003)
Jhai Foundation's IT Remote Village Project
PREPARES TO RESUME WAR IN NORTHERN SUMATRA
violence still erupting in rebellious Aceh, and the rebels reluctant to
undergo yet another round of talks in Geneva, Jakarta is preparing thousands
of troops for a military-driven final solution.
(Reuters AlertNet, May 6, 2003)
EYE OF WEST AFRICA'S REGIONAL STORM
civil war has spilled over into Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
At the core of the problem is Liberia's troublesome president Charles
Taylor. The International Crisis Group details the connections and recommends
more international attention to bring the civil war to a close.
(ICG, April 30, 2003)
NO LONGER EQUIVALENT TO AMERICANIZATION
is a two-way street, or a multi-directional highway these days. Take the
latest smash cinema hit, City of God, or in its original Brazilian title,
Ciudade de Deus. The film, distributed by Miramax, has not only earned
millions where it was made in Brazil, it has also sparked a substantial
debate in the U.S. on third world poverty.
(Philip Legrain, Chronicle for Higher Education, May 9, 2003)
SON, QUSAY, MAKES OFF WITH $1 BILLION
the hours before the U.S. bombing began, Saddam's son withdrew $1 billion
from Iraq's Central Bank. In $100 bills, the loot probably weighed 11
tons, and required three tractor trailer trucks to move. Questions are
being raised about the long term motives: set up a government in exile,
finance international terrorists, or secure early retirement.
(Dexter Filkins, New York Times, May 6, 2003
LEGACY OF TOMOYUKI YAMASHITA
Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states that no person shall be "deprived
of life, liberty or property without due process of law..." U.S.
Attorney John Ashcroft insists that the wording does not apply non-American
citizens engaged in hostile actions against the United States, or for
that matter to anyone asking for asylum or entering the U.S. illegally.
In fact, two cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court established a
precedent for denying due legal process to enemy combatant's. In 1946,
a Japanese commanding general, Tomoyuki Yamashita, captured in the Philippines
was tried by the kind of military court envisioned by Donald Rumsfeld
and the Bush administration. Yamashita was accused of being responsible
for the deaths of more than 20,000 Filipino civilians. His defense attorneys
claimed that much of the evidence directed against him was based on hearsay
and was inadmissible, even in a military court. He was not accused of
a war crime and in fact, it was not clear what crime he had actually committed.
In the heat of the moment, the Supreme Court ruled against Yamashita,
and he was hanged.
One Supreme Court Justice, Frank Murphy delivered a dissenting opinion:
"... The Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process of law applies
to 'any person' who is accused of a crime by the Federal Government or
any of its agencies," Murphy argued. "No exception is made as
to those who are accused of war crimes or as to those who possess the
status of an enemy belligerent. Indeed, such an exception would be contrary
to the whole philosophy of human rights which makes the Constitution the
great living document that it is. The immutable rights of the individual,
including those secured by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment,
belong not alone to the members of those nations that excel on the battlefield
or that subscribe to the democratic ideology. They belong to every person
in the world, victor or vanquished, whatever may be his race, color or
beliefs. They rise above any status of belligerency or outlawry. They
survive any popular passion or frenzy of the moment. No court or legislature
or executive, not even the mightiest [327 U.S. 1, 27] army in the
world, can ever destroy them. Such is the universal and indestructible
nature of the rights which the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment
recognizes and protects when life or liberty is threatened by virtue of
the authority of the United States.
The existence of these rights, unfortunately, is not always respected.
They are often trampled under by those who are motivated by hatred, aggression
or fear. But in this nation individual rights are recognized and protected,
at least in regard to governmental action. They cannot be ignored by any
branch of the Government, even the military, except under the most extreme
and urgent circumstances..."
Murphy's arguments were overruled. Most Americans cared little about Yamashita's
rights or his fate, yet the precedent set by circumventing the strict
application of the Constitution in order to exact revenge against Yamashita
is now part of the legal argument for the denial of due process for the
hundreds of prisoners being held at Guantanamo and if the Attorney General
has his way, it may also give the government authorization to deny due
process to asylum seekers and illegal aliens. Precedents have a way of
generating unexpected consequences. For
a full analysis of the Yamashita case on findlaw, click here. (Justice
Murphy's dissenting opinion is located after the main arguments)
a more detailed biography of General Findlaw, and an explanation of the
Yamashita Standard (This holds commanding officers legally responsible
for the actions of their subordinates), click
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