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Washington may dismiss Kyoto and global warming as exaggerations but Europeans
are fast becoming believers. Authorities in the Czech Republic executed
an emergency plan Monday to evacuate 50,000 people from the center of
Prague's old town after the city was hit by the worst floods in a century.
Prague's trams were operated without charge to move people out as quickly
as possible. The Prague Post, August 13, 2002.
RUMSFELD AND GENERAL RICHARD MYERS BRIEF THE PRESS ON IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN
AND OTHER TOPICS
no definitive exit is in sight for Afghanistan, Rumsfeld expresses his
"wish list" for a post-Saddam Iraq. On continued attacks against
Americans in Afghanistan, Rumsfeld notes:"War is, of course, fought
in fog and shadows. One cannot know precisely where the enemy is or what
they'll do next..." Pentagon, August 9, 2002
AND SINGAPORE WILL TEST THE ADMINISTRATION'S USE OF FAST TRACK
that Congress has granted President Bush carte blanche in the form of
the "Trade Promotion Authority" a.k.a. "Fast Track, "
it remains to be seen whether the executive branch can balance the interests
of labor and the environment against pressure from major industrial and
corporate lobbies. The first test will be trade deals with Chile and Singapore.
Both countries have shown a willingness to incorporate labor and environmental
protections into a comprehensive agreement. The question is how much will
Bush actually ask for?
By Sandra Polaski, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August
TO FIND AL-QAEDA IN INDONESIA? CHECK OUT THE "NGRUKI NETWORK"
Indonesia is the world's
largest Muslim nation, but until now all of the followers of Al-Qaeda
have come from the "Ngruki Network" which emerged in the 1970s.
At the movement's core is a religious boarding school, the Pondok Nguki,
named after the village where the school is located. Many of its members
share memories of political imprisonment and repression in Indonesia in
the 1980s. others play an important role in Indonesian society today.
The International Crisis Group provides a background on the movement and
The international Crisis Group, August 12, 2002.
END OF PAX AMERICANA?
the same factors that led to American hegemony lead to its decline? Immanuel
Wallerstein, writing in Foreign Policy, points out that these days, it
is the Conservatives who seem to think that America is in real danger.
But Wallerstein suggests that America's long term prospects may be decided
by historial developments that are beyond its control, and in fact, the
Eagle may already have crash landed. By Immanuel Wallerstein, Foreign
Policy, July-August 2002.
THE NOTION OF THE "WEST" LOSING ITS MEANING?
usually think of the U.S. and Russia in terms of East vs. West, but with
Europe and the United States following diverging paths, the concept of
the West as a political block is starting to lose its meaning. Russian
analyst, Alexander Yanov points out in the Moscow News that Europe is
making a transition from a collection of highly nationalistic nation states
to a federation in the form of the European Union, while the U.S. is fast
turning into a monolithic super state. As a consequence Europe favors
integration and international cooperation, while the U.S. increasingly
opposes anything that smacks of a loss of sovereignty. Diverging political
objectives have encouraged the U.S. to run counter to the rest of the
world on issues ranging from global warming to the International Court
of Criminal Justice.
By Alexander Yanov in Center for Defense Information's Russia Report,
August 7-13, 2002
PALACE WORTHY OF A NEW TSAR?
President bush can spend a month's vacation rebased at his ranch in Texas,
what's wrong with Russia's Vladimir Putin also taking a little time off?
In fact, Putin is planning to spend somewhat under $200 million to refurbish
the 1,000-room Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg as a summer
getaway. Forget that many Russian government ministries lack the cash
to function on a daily basis, or that many ordinary citizens are crammed
with two or three families to a single flat. The Palace is reachable in
Putin's personal yacht from a private jetty and it has its own canals,
so the Russian leader won't be exposed to the decaying grime of St. Petersburg's
dismal workers' housing projects. Putin claims that the funding is being
volunteered by Russia's newly privatized industries, such as Gazprom.
The fact that Putin has a hand in selecting the CEOs of most of these
industries may have sweetened the deal, but St. Petersburg, at least,
expects a badly needed cash bonanza from the project. By Chris Stephen
in the Scotsman (CDI Russia Report, August 8, 2002)
CHECHEN WAR SPILLS INTO GEORGIA
news media regularly denounce Tiblisi for an alleged softness on terrorism
and for being overly friendly towards the U.S. As tempers have flared,
each country has closed its airspace to the other's aircraft. The core
of the dispute is Russia's frustration over its inability to eliminate
the last guerrilla resistance in Chechnya. Now, a growing succession of
Russian politicians are telling Putin to extend the Chechen War across
the border into Georgian territory.
By Mikhail Vignanksy, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, in Tbilisi
(IWPR, August 9, 2002)
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov insists that force is the only option.
Ivanov wants Georgia to let Russian troops chase down Chechens in the
Pankisi Gorge just as the U.S. hunted down al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The
Georgians think that U.S. aid is a better option, but the pressure is
mounting. Moscow Times, August 12, 2002.
EFFORTS TO TRAIN AND EQUIP GEORGIAN ARMY FLOUNDERING ON LACK OF CONFIDENCE
last April, the U.S. has been trying to train four Georgian anti-terrorist
battalions. Joint tactical exercises for an initial 400-man battalion
are slated for August 27. But recruiters who hoped to have at least 600
candidates to choose from, received only 98 applications by early July,
and these candidates were in terrible physical shape. One had a failing
kidney, and another had serious heart problems. The colonel commanding
the program quit, insisting that there is no point in training troops
unless you also clothe and feed them. Georgia has been trying to accelerate
its admission to NATO, but a recent delegation of eight U.S. Congressmen
who inspected the progress of U.S. efforts to train Georgian troops were
noticeably reticent talking to newsmen afterwards.
By Mikhail Vignanksy IWPR in Tbilisi (IWPR, August 9, 2002)
SURVIVERS FACE POST TERROR STRESS
Sharvit helped direct traffic after a Haifa bombing in May. Now she has
flashbacks and when she walks down the street, she seesin which she sees
lumps of bleeding flesh. She and other survivors are beginning to realize
that post traumatic stress therapy is a better alternative to endless
By Tamar Rotem in Ha'aretz, August 13, 2002.
ENTERS PHASE-2 OF PEACETALKS
from both sides of Sudan's civil war are meeting in Machakos, Kenya this
week. While the fighting has stopped, the opposing parties still have
enormous differences over the final outcome of a settlement. One of the
most controversial issues is a proposed referendum which will ultimately
decide whether to keep Sudan unified. Egypt opposes the referendum, and
it may take stepped up U.S. pressure to bring Cairo and the other international
participants on board. The international Crisis Group, August 12, 2002.
ASIA'S BALLISTIC MISSILES
of Mass Destruction are disturbing enough, but the equations for a future
cataclysm are really defined by the delivery mechanisms that enable these
weapons to reach their targets and which can force potentially fatal decisions
to be made in a matter of minutes. Michael Swaine and Loren Runyon examine
the missiles that are already in place in India and Pakistan. By Michael
Swaine and Loren Runyon, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
August 9, 2002.
LESSONS FOR SOUTH ASIA
A new report suggests
that many of the techniques that were developed for negotiating nuclear
controls between Russia and the United States can now be applied to controlling
the nuclear weapons of India and Pakistan. By Rose Gottmoeller and Rebecca
Longsworth, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
EVERYONE IN ASIA WANTS TO BUY SUBMARINES
Will the U.S. be prepared
to risk an underwater attack in order to send aircraft carriers to rescue
Taiwan? Neither China nor Twaiwan are wating for an answer, and submarine
manufacturers are cashing in on the bonanza created by the underwater
arms race. The Asia Times, August 12, 2002
STEPS UP ARMS EXPORTS TO HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 1997
American arms sales
last year included 2,879 weapons sold to 23 countries ranging from Taiwan
to Brazil, Spain and the Middle East. It was the highest number since
1997. The sudden surge was largely due to israel which received 2/3rds
of the total. Sales to israel included, 1,902 M-26 rockets and 41 other
missile systems. In contrast, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Jordan
together took receipt of 106 U.S. weapons. Washington reported exporting
269 weapons, most of which were ship-launched missiles, to Taiwan. Spain
acquired 114 missiles, almost all of which were for arming ships; and
Brazil received 91 tanks, seven warships, and two airplanes for maritime
patrol and anti-submarine warfare.
The figures are part of the U.S. report on conventional arms transfers
listed in the U.N. Registry of Conventional Arms. The Registry was created
in 1992 to make arms sales more transparent to the public. In Arms Control
Today, August 7, 2002.
WANTS MORE COVERT MILITARY OPERATIONS TO COUNTER POTENTIAL TERRORISTS
document outlining the changes, JP3-05, makes for fascinating reading.
The Federation of American Scientists, August 12, 2002.
Korea has two citizens. They are both named Kim, and one is already dead
Kim Jong Il would like to be president, but he can't. North
Korea's constitution was rewritten to make Kim's father, Kim il Sung,
president for eternity--even after death. As a result, the presidential
palace has become one of the world's greatest mausoleum's. Koreans must
distinguish between the Great Leader and the Dear Leader. Only those who
are ideologically appropriate are permitted to see Kim il Sung's 8-year
old corpse. By Anonymous in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, July-August
JUSTICE IN INDONESIA AGAINST THE WAR ON TERRORISM
the Washington based International Labor Rights Fund filed a suit in Washington
against ExxonMobil for alleged complicity in human rights violations last
April, the judge, Louis F. Obordorfer, decided to delay his verdict until
the U.S. State Department could weigh in with an opinion on the cost to
America's operations overseas. The suit charges that Indonesian army soldiers
working for ExxonMobil engaged in murder, torture and rape while "protecting"
gas fields in Indonesia's Aceh Province. One of the most serious charges
is that Indonesian soldiers threw a four month-old baby to the ground
and poured boiling water over her in front of her mother. The baby was
scalded to death. The State Department replied that the suit is likely
to disturb relations with Jakarta and could hinder America's war on terrorism.
ExxonMobil denies any direct involvement in the alleged atrocities. The
New York Times, August 8, 2002
a copy of the State Department's letter, the International Labor Rights
Fund's complaint and the motion against dismissing the case,
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U.S. State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism
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Centre for War,
The News Media
Journalists' Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan
by Edward Girardet
09/11 8:48AM: Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy