The Hunt For bin-Laden

The Hunt For bin-Laden
Vol: 1 Issue: 31 Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Finding Osama bin-Laden or his top al-Qaeda lieutenants looks like it should be a piece of cake, if you’ve seen Harrison Ford do it in “A Clear and Present Danger” but we haven’t found him, despite our technological edge. The problem is, all our technology is designed to detect something. Finding a cave is all about detecting the absence of something. In Vietnam, the best way to find a tunnel was to sniff around a likely spot to detect body odor or smoke. The North Koreans tunneled for hundreds of feet under the DMZ. The Palestinians move weapons into Israel from Egypt through a maze of tunnels.

The US military may have other, secret technologies at its disposal. In the Gulf War, soldiers faced enemies in underground bunkers, which led to more research into detection and destruction techniques. But if we’ve got it, it isn’t working yet. Afghanistan should be well-covered by spy satellites given its Cold War history, particularly after the Soviet invasion in 1979. But we still haven’t found bin-Laden, his top aides, or the underground nuclear and chemical labs he is believed to have hidden somewhere in the caves of Afghanistan. All our technology is designed to counter other technology, not against cavemen.

Daschle Letter Could Have Infected Two Million People

It has been revealed that the amount of anthrax [about 2 grams] contained in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was enough to infect as many as two million people. A single breath of anthrax o the quality in the Daschle letter would be enough to be fatal.

France Seeks To Unify Muslim Groups

The French government is pushing plans to set up a formal body that would represent the country’s Muslim minority. The French are stepping up efforts to create a ‘French Council for the Muslim Religion’. This would be a democratically elected body that would have the authority to represent the nation’s nearly 5 million Muslims. The plan is to develop an organization to serve as a unifying body for the broad-based Muslim community and control perceived radical elements.

About 3 million French Muslims are of North African descent, with 1.5 million coming from Algeria, another 1 million from Morocco and 350,000 from Tunisia. The rest are a mix of immigrants from all over the Muslim world, including Turkey, the Gulf Arab states and even sub-Saharan Africa.

The only problem with the plan to unify the countries’ estimated ten million Muslims is the danger of creating a French al-Qaeda with official representatives in the French parliament. But the French government isn’t famous for its forward thinking. This is one more example.

Pakistan To Bar Citizens From Joining Taleban

The Pakistani government has decided not to allow any citizen of Pakistan to cross over the border into Afghanistan and join the fight against the United States, reported. “We will not want any Pakistani to go into Afghanistan. We want peace in the war torn country,” foreign office spokesman Riaz Mohammed Khan said at a news briefing. The decision to close its borders comes after reports that upwards of 5,000 Pakistanis were traveling to Afghanistan to join the war effort.

Iran’s Top Cleric Warns Against Improving Ties With US

Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has publicly rejected the idea of ending over two decades of estrangement with the United States. Khamenei even threatened to remove from the government anyone who spoke in favor of U.S. ties.

Taliban Claims It Has US Defectors On Their Side

The Afghan Islamic Press claims that roughly 500 U.S. and allied soldiers are fighting with the Taliban opposition in northern Afghanistan. They are said to include U.S. Special Forces, technically proficient soldiers and military advisors. This report is being given wide circulation in Pakistan and other Islamic countries. The West has simply ignored it. Another reason why we are losing the propaganda war.

US To Seek Closer Ties With Algiers

Islamic radicals from Algeria are now key players in the international terrorism network. As a result, Washington will seek closer ties with Algiers, especially in the realm of intelligence cooperation.

US Intelligence Believed Inadequate To the Challenge

Attention is turning to the need for an intense, covert war in which the American intelligence community will play a leading role. At the same time, there is a crisis of confidence concerning the ability of the intelligence community to wage that war. The problem isn’t just the incompetence of the CIA, but of the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and a host of other intelligence agencies that frequently compete with each other, sometimes undercut each other and often get in each other’s way. The best intelligence has no value if there is no one to connect pieces of information and from them draw intuitive insight.

Keeping secrets is what spy agencies do — and without a clearly defined adversary, our spies stay sharp by keeping secrets from each other. The government must take a careful look at the degree to which the intelligence community compartmentalizes intelligence. Compartmentalization is an important tool in limiting the damage done by espionage.

Compartmentalization can also mean that very few people ever get to see the entire picture. Espionage got into a rut during the Cold War. When it ended, our intelligence agencies had to compete to avoid the budget axe. The result is a US intelligence community that spawned Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanson, the John Walker Family spy ring and a dozen or so other high profile, high damage double agent scenarios. Our best spies are all now in jail for spying on us.

Anti Terror Bill Aimed At al-Qaeda’s Bank Balances

Anti Terror Bill Aimed At al-Qaeda’s Bank Balances
Vol: 1 Issue: 30 Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Anti Terror Bill Aimed At al-Qaeda’s Bank Balances

The new anti-terrorism bill signed into law last week by President Bush will among other things, tighten controls on banking and financial networks. The government is also expanding its investigation into money laundering rings that were used by the 9/11 terrorists. The plan is to dismantle the financial networks that fund terror networks like al-Qaeda.

A Sword That Cuts Both Ways

But the anti-terror bill aimed at the sword of Islam cuts both ways. Stricter regulations will complicate international banking transactions. It will make it harder for US banks to compete with foreign banks. That ultimately could cut deeply into the US role on the global financial stage. In addition, it could only increase informal financial transactions like hawala — a practice popular in Islamic terror groups.

Banking Laws Won’t Touch Hawala

Hawala is a way of transferring debt between individuals in which a person in one country can go to a hawala dealer who functions as an informal bank, drawing against a promise of payment by a third party somewhere else. Where this works for al Qaeda is this way. Say Mohamed Atta needed X numbers of dollars. He goes to a hawala dealer and provides a special code. The dealer provides the money, supplies the code back to the al-Qaeda banker, and gets paid plus interest. All cash, no paper trail. Like most sweeping legislation, the ones most affected are those most likely to act within existing laws in the first place.

US Muslim Population Greatly Exaggerated, Says Report

If you ask most Muslim lobby groups, they’ll tell you there are nearly seven million Muslims in the United States. But there’s really no way of knowing. By law, the Census can’t ask questions about religion. It’s not even easy to define a Muslim. Do you include Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam? Do you include the Druze? To a traditional Muslim, that would be the same as lumping Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientologists together in the same category as traditional Christianity.

Numbers All Over The Map

In 1990, a demographic survey concluded there were about 1.3 million Muslims in America. In 1998, a Pakistani newspaper reported there were 12 million American Muslims. The Yearbook of Canadian and American Churches counted a half-million American Muslims in its 1996 edition, and almost 3.5 million two years later.

US Islamic lobby groups say there are between 6 and 7 million American Muslims. But the American Religious Identification Survey 2001 put the total American Muslim population at 1.8 million. The University of Chicago conducted its own survey and came up with 1,886,000. These two authoritative sources, neither of whom had an axe to grind and used universally accepted social survey methods came within a hair’s breadth of one another. The rest of the ‘estimates’ cited by Islamic lobbyists are so wildly divergent as to be statistically worthless.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) furiously accused the University of Chicago report of working “to block Muslim political participation.” The American Muslim Council said it was ‘trying to deny the existence of 4.5 million Muslims and said the report tore “at the very heart of America.” Where did the AMC claim it got its tally of 7 million? From US Census figures. News to the Census Bureau.

The Numbers Game And How To Use It

Inflated estimates of how many American Muslims there are gives the Islamic disproportionate political clout. Its a lesson they learned from the US gay rights lobby, who at one time had the government convinced they made up 10% of the population.

The Islamic lobby saw how quickly pro-gay legislation was passed. By the time somebody cut through the fog and determined the true number was less than 2%, it was too late to undo what was done. At ,1.8 million American Muslims represent a fraction of 1% of the total population.

Statistically speaking, 2% of Americans believe they have been abducted by aliens. Nobody invited the Raelians to speak at the National Prayer Meeting.

All Roads Lead To Baghdad in Anthrax Investigation

The administration doesn’t really want to hear it, but investigations into the anthrax attacks increasingly point the finger directly at the Iraqi government. Circumstantial evidence like Mohamed Atta’s meeting with Iraqi intelligence in Prague last summer is one thing. But finding the inclusion of Bentonite during the analysis of the Daschle letter is something else. Bentonite has a wide range of commercial uses; cat litter, for example. What it does is prevent clumping. But the Bentonite in the anthrax letters is produced only in Iraq.

On Sunday, Saddam met his director of military intelligence and senior officials to discuss the U.S.-led war against terrorism. The Iraqi News Agency said Saddam’s meeting was the latest in a series of sessions to ensure Iraqi readiness for any allied attack.

Tariq Aziz told the London Telegraph that the US has already put together a list of 300 targets in advance of an attack. The administration is not ready to move against Baghdad, and would prefer to keep this quiet until it is finished with Afghanistan.

If the Iraqi involvement in the anthrax attacks were acknowledged, the White House fears public outcry will force its hand early.

Russians Preparing For WMD Attack

Russians Preparing For WMD Attack
Vol: 1 Issue: 29 Monday, October 29, 2001

Russian NTV Television reported this week that authorities in various regions are testing local defenses against possible terrorist chemical and biological attacks. At the Volga organic synthesis plant in Volgograd region attackers in a test exercise managed to penetrate the plant’s outer defenses before they were detected. Security forces apprehended the “terrorists” and the plant’s chem-bio rescue teams went into operation. Following the exercise, a number of improvements were suggested for the plant’s security.

Taliban Preparing Bases in Pakistan

The Taliban are building logistics bases in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Taliban leaders are preparing a stronghold for guerrilla warfare to be used if a post-Taliban government comes to power. Local young men in the province are being recruited for the Taliban forces.

Haq’s Death a Set-Back to US Strategic Goals

The Taliban scored a major victory against the US with the death of Abdul Haq, a prominent Afghan fighter who opposed the Taliban. He was killed after having reportedly infiltrated Afghanistan from Pakistan several days earlier in an effort to encourage other Pushtun leaders to desert the Taliban. Haq was a key player in the U.S. strategy of eroding support for the Taliban regime among ethnic Pushtuns. Haq’s death was a blow to US efforts to build an anti-Taliban coalition inside Afghanistan, which — along with maintaining external support for its military activities — is key to winning the war. Haq was captured as he attempted to escape the area and was then executed. Haq’s execution means other Pushtun leaders will be less willing to operate in Afghanistan and wavering tribal leaders will be less willing to defect.

America Reluctant To Blame Iraq — Despite Mounting Evidence

Washington is reluctantly facing mounting evidence that Iraq was involved in both the Islamic suicide attacks on New York and Washington as well as the anthrax outbreak in the United States. The investigation of the anthrax attacks against Congress revealed that Iraq is the only country that produces agents found on some of the letters.

The administration has avoided blaming Iraq for the attacks. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Iraqi agents might not have sent the letters. If Iraq’s fingerprints are found on the 9/11 attack, Washington will be forced to retaliate — a move that will further unsettle an already shaky coalition.

Officials are now investigating suspicions that Ata was given anthrax samples by the Iraqi agent. They said authorities are also probing links between Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden and extreme right-wing groups in the United States. The White House was hoping to avoid directly involving Iraq at this juncture.

War To Take A Muslim Holiday?

To avoid antagonizing the Muslims, the administration is even considering a halt to operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Apparently it is considered bad form to prosecute a war during Ramadan — unless of course the war is started by Islamic forces — like the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Israel. The Muslim world had no objection to fighting during Ramadan then. But that was different. Apparently.

Arab Terrorists Remain Active in Israel — Despite Israeli Plan to Withdraw

Although the Israelis are being pressured to withdraw from the areas they occupied following the murder of a cabinet minister in a Jerusalem hotel, Palestinians seem to be under no such restrictions. Two Arab terrorists, driving along a busy street in downtown Hadera yesterday, opened fire at Israelis on both sides of the street, killing four women. Three other Israelis were very seriously wounded, and several others are listed in moderate-to-serious condition. Altogether, the terrorist attack injured 44 people, with 25 of them being treated for shock. The terrorists calmly changed rifle clips in plain view and continued shooting. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

100,000 Jerusalem Demonstrators Demand Arafat’s Expulsion

Close to 100,000 people gathered in Zion Square in Jerusalem to demand that Israel expel Arafat and fight the terrorism-sponsoring Palestinian Authority. Among the speakers was New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The global media treated the event as if it never happened. In the US media, the demonstration simply didn’t take place. The New York Times carried a paragraph on the story, but virtually nobody else did. Even the Israeli press said little about it.

More on Islam, The Religion of ‘Peace’

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a hundred times since 9/11. The attacks against the US were not Islam, they were ‘perversions’ of Islam, a word that President Bush keeps telling us means ‘peace.’ So here it is, for the record. “Salaam” is “peace” in Arabic. “Islam” means something entirely different.

According to the “Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic”, the dictionary of choice for the Arabic Studies Department at several well-known universities, Islam is defined as “submission, resignation.”

Other forms of the word, “taslim” and “istislam,” mean “handing over, submission, surrender, capitulation, unreckoning approval, resignation.” You can get ‘peace’ out of ‘Islam’ unless you invent a new language.

The administration can say it, but that won’t make it true, unless somebody can disprove the fact that things that are different are not the same.

Is Russia Really Our New Best Friend?

Is Russia Really Our New Best Friend?
Vol: 1 Issue: 28 Sunday, October 28, 2001

In recent weeks — in particularly post-Sept 11, Moscow has come just short of sending the White House flowers and candy. Has Moscow turned over a new leaf? It would be naive to think so. Dubya’s new buddy Vlad is working entirely from a perspective of enlightened self interest. It looks like he’s given away the store in recent months, but all he has really done is tossed a few trinkets.

“America, We Are With You”

Moscow has always been keenly aware of how to work shifting alliances, and alliances in the West have been realigning since 9/11 with breathtaking speed. Putin has wanted good relations with the West, but until now, has been unable to do so without appearing subservient and without having to offer huge concessions. But 9/11 changed that. Putin was the first world leader to call Washington to say, “America, we are with you.”

Russia’s allowing U.S. military forces into its backyard was a gift that costs nothing. Previously, Russia fumed when any power showed interest in Central Asia. But although Moscow could not have prevented Washington from setting up shop in independent-minded Uzbekistan, it could have complicated matters. And Moscow has allowed — even encouraged — the United States to operate out of Tajikistan. The new catchphrase in Russian intelligence is a reference to the U.S. presence in Central Asia: “Better to have the Americans in Uzbekistan that to have [Chechen militant leader] Shamil Basayev in Moscow.”

Russia has offered expertise, antibiotics and vaccines to help the United States counter a growing anthrax scare. Russia inherited the Soviet Union’s deep bioweapons program and traditionally has been hostile to sharing any of the fruits its high-tech military programs with the United States.

Moscow Holding All The Trump Cards

The 9/11 attacks dealt Russia a pat hand, if Putin plays it right. Russia stands to be the outside power that did the least to take advantage of the situation and the most to help. On the other hand, if Moscow balked on the Afghan situation and the US won on its own, Washington’s position globally would be enhanced at Russia’s expense. Now, if we bog down in Afghanistan, Putin stands ready, willing and able to bail us out militarily. And we will be in no position to turn down the Kremlin’s wish list, like NATO membership, full G-7 partnership, preferred IMF backing, and so on.

So far, Moscow’s new policy is already begun to pay dividends, with Putin being the first Russian leader not to look like Washington’s lapdog in the process. The IMF is openly singing Russia’s praises. The World Bank is stepping up loan disbursement. The presidents of Poland and the Czech Republic — two European states most frightened of a resurgent Russia — are musing about the possibility of Russia joining NATO. An extension of most favored nation trading status by Washington and a few words to the WTO to speed Russia’s membership bid are already a foregone conclusion.

For Putin, this is a win-win situation. The best part of it is that, from Russia’s perspective, everything offered so far is completely reversible, whereas any gains, once made, would remain in place short of war.

Across Russia, the standard of living has dropped to half what it was in 1992. Russia is behind the curve technologically, its access to world markets is marginal, its cash flow slowed to a trickle and its deals with Iran, Iraq and Syria are chump change compared to what is possible if the bear can lay down with the eagle and munch grass together. And if it doesn’t work out, it is much easier to eat a full, unsuspecting eagle on the ground than one in the air.

Israel Suspends Withdrawal

Israel suspended a military withdrawal from Bet Jallah because of continued Palestinian attacks. Sharon stopped the pullout amid renewed attacks on Jerusalem. Heavy fighting was also reported in Bethlehem on Saturday amid an Israeli withdrawal from the city. Israeli tanks traded fire with Palestinian forces. Palestinian gunners fired mortars at a Jewish settlement in the southern Gaza Strip. A home in the settlement of Kfar Darom was heavily damaged.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell renewed his demands for a complete Israeli withdrawal, saying “Let’s try not to let this cycle of violence become even more intense than it has been in recent days. It’s a very volatile period and I would like to see this start moving in the other direction.” The only ‘direction’ left would be for Israel to just jump en masse into the Mediterranean.

Terror Cell Killed in Israel

Terror Cell Killed in Israel
Vol: 1 Issue: 27 Saturday, October 27, 2001

Terror Cell Killed in Israel

A terror cell dressed as soldiers were arrested in Israel as they attempted to break into an Israeli community in northern Gaza. Three of the four of them were killed, one escaped.

Arab Propaganda Takes Aim at Guiliani

Saudi Prince Al-Walid was dumbfounded when New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani refused a $10 million check the prince handed him, after he suggested the New York attack was the result of US policies toward Israel. The Saudis themselves were so nonplussed by this act of selflessness in a nation they believe selfish to the core that the Riyadh paper war forced to invent a quote from Guiliani to make it make sense to their worldview. According to the paper, what Guiliani really said was, “The Prince s declarations are grievous and irresponsible; these Arabs have lost the right to dictate [to us what to do]. What we (America) must do is kill 6,000 innocent people. The author characterized the invented quote with a quote of his own. By Allah, I am amazed at your act, you Jew; everything Prince Al-Walid said was true. It seems that the Prince said that because he had secret knowledge that Italian American Guiliani is really a Jew??

Rudy Hitler?

The PA paper, al-Hayat al-Jadida picked up on the story, adding its own twist. New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani was obsessed by his hatred of Arabs even before the terrorist attacks on New York. Another Saudi columnist expressed the opinion that Giuliani turned down Saudi money for American victims for the sake of narrow political capital, in the form of Jewish votes, while the al-Hayat al-Jadida editorial claims that, [h]e hides his first name, chosen for him by his Italian father, so as not to remind the Jewish voters of the infamous Rudolph Hitler” . . . [evidently, they meant Adolf Hitler — you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to write for this rags]. “This is why he prefers to shorten it to Rudy.

If We’re Not For Sale, We Must Be Arrogant

Lebanon’s al-Safir, points out the insults that the American government directed at Prince Al-Walid bin Talal. One by the Zionist New York mayor whose public feelings go far beyond what Israel demands of him, and another by the spokesman of the American State Department.

The Lebanese columnist considers the New York incident as indicative of the oft-mentioned American arrogance. The acceptance of Arab money, al-Safir chides, expresses absolute and unconditional loyalty it emphasizes submission to the master without the latter having to say thank you. The master is benevolent enough to accept the money .

Pentagon Next Target

The Defense Department has deployed mobile biological detection units around the Pentagon in response to the threat of terrorist attack, Pentagon officials said Friday. A “medically insignificant” amount of anthrax was found in a building at the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia. Officials say 31 different sites in the mail-receiving building and the CIA’s main mailroom have been checked since October 23. Only one site tested positive for anthrax.

Moscow Assures Iraq

Iraq and Russia have agreed to upgrade cooperation as well as trade relations. Arab diplomatic sources said Russian President Vladimir Putin has relayed assurances to Baghdad that his country will improve ties with Iraq. The assurances include Russian willingness to sell equipment and dual-use systems to Iraq.

US Assures Saudis

The Bush administration has assured Saudi Arabia that its nationals will not be restricted from entering the United States. Arab diplomatic sources said the U.S. embassy in Riyadh has not been issued new restrictions regarding visa requirements for a Saudi national. The sources said the administration assured the kingdom that Saudi nationals will continue to enjoy access to the United States. This includes the lack of exhaustive interviews or background checks. Nine members of the 9/11 hijack team are confirmed Saudi nationals, another five are suspected to be Saudi citizens.

Polls Assure Israel

The only assurances Israel gets are from the American general public. The United States has bent over backwards to make it clear that they will not support Israel’s war on terror. But according to a poll conducted by the Chicago Sun Times, three out of four Americans support Israel in its war against terror.

Americans Back the Israelis

Only 15% believe the US should drop its support, with the other 12% undecided. The poll results make you wonder who the government is listening to as it takes its position regarding the idea of a Palestinian state. Fully 56% view Israel favorably, including 24% who view Israel ‘very’ favorably.

Conversely, only 19% view Israel unfavorably and only 6% view Israel ‘very’ unfavorably. The remaining 24% of respondents either had no opinion or refused to answer. But 62% have an unfavorable opinion of Yasser Arafat, with 40% seeing him ‘very unfavorably’. Only 2% see Arafat in a ‘very favorable’ light.

More Jews Believe Arafat Than Israelis Do

When asked whether they believe that the Arab World “sincerely accepts Israel’s right to exist” or whether they believe the Arab World “seeks the eventual destruction of Israel,” nearly two thirds of Americans (62%) believe that the Arabs seek Israel’s destruction and only 15% of Americans think the Arab world sincerely accepts Israel’s right to exist.

A similar poll within Israel demonstrated there are more Israelis who believe Arafat is sincere in his desire for peace that there are Americans. So who is the administration representing when it demands Israel back off and pull out? Us? or the Arabs?

Colombia’s Oil Industry on Verge of Collapse

Colombia’s Oil Industry on Verge of Collapse
Vol: 1 Issue: 26 Friday, October 26, 2001

The Colombian Petroleum Enterprise (Ecopetrol) said that if the bombing of the company’s oil lines continues, the oil industry will soon collapse and force the country to import oil. So far in 2001, production losses from guerrilla attacks are estimated at 17,000,000 barrels. The United States has a vested interest in the Colombian oil industry. Eighteen months ago, Colombia was producing 844,000 barrels of oil per day. Although it has gotten very little attention in the US press, the US has been courting [and counting on] Colombia as one of our hedges against dependence on Middle Eastern oil sources. Colombia is [or was] America’s seventh largest source of foreign oil. Colombia has large reserves of untapped oil and natural gas Washington was counting on.

al-Qaeda Operatives Spread Out Across Europe

Telephone wiretaps and listening devices planted in the apartment of a Tunisian national in Milan have produced evidence that a network of terrorist recruits trained at Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan have fanned out to a half-dozen European countries, according to Italian investigators. Investigators said that Essid Sami Ben Khemais moved to Milan in March 1998 after completing two years of training in the camps.

Peres: “America Isn’t Even Thinking About How To Defend Israel”

Shimon Peres returned from his trip to the United States to report to his government that, “The Americans have moved from one era to another. We haven’t even begun to understand what happened there. They aren’t thinking about how to defend Israel, but how to defend themselves in a crazy war.” Peres was the most senior of Israeli visitors to hold meetings with U.S. officials in Washington this past week. But Bush promised that our government has no intention to harm Israel or to “pay the Arabs with Israel.” Bush promised Peres: “Even if you want to, you won’t be able to ruin our relations.”

Bush Sets “Red Line” With Israelis

Despite his assurances, Bush told Peres he was concerned about the escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence and worried that Israel is trying to cause the PA to collapse. Jerusalem was sent a strong warning that the United States would not support such a move, which it believes would endanger the region’s stability. That is America’s “red line” vis-a-vis Israel. Sharon has tried to assure U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that Israel will not bring down the PA or harm Arafat. The government told Israel it wanted three things: Get out of Area A, be careful of human life and create a cease-fire. Peres told his government, “They don’t understand what we want, and here we live on another planet.”

Senate Still OKs Israeli Aid Package

While Israel may be feeling more alone than it has in many years, it can take comfort in the fact the US Senate has approved an aid package worth some $2.7 billion to help keep the Jewish state alive while we are fighting our own battles. Israel gets the most foreign aid of any country helped by the U.S., with Egypt second, this year getting $1.3 billion. Jordan is slated to get $225 million. The entire foreign aid package was $15.6 billion, and passed by a 96-2 vote. Israel will use $2 billion of the aid package for defense purchases in the U.S. and the remaining $760 million will be for civilian aid.

China Thumbs Nose At US Export Restrictions

China s government is refusing to initiate stricter export controls on its state-run companies despite pressure from the United States to curb arms sales to terrorist states and unstable regions. China is upgrading Iran s Hy-14 tactical radar near the Afghan border that is part of a nationwide integrated air defense system.

The administration imposed sanctions against a Chinese company and Pakistan s missile manufacturing group based on intelligence reports that shipments of missile equipment and materials were sent from China to Pakistan for Pakistan s Shaheen-1 and Shaheen-2 nuclear capable missiles.

The transfers violated China s pledge in November to the Clinton administration not to support any foreign nation s nuclear weapons and missile programs. Chinese officials are refusing to institute the new export controls because they have said privately that they cannot appear to be giving in to U.S. pressure. The Pentagon opposes lifting the sanctions because China is continuing to proliferate arms across the Middle East.

China Preparing Move To Cuba

China is considering moves to take over the Russian electronic eavesdropping post at Lourdes, Cuba. Moscow announced last week it will give up the post it has occupied since the 1960s. The Russians had been paying Havana $200 million a year for the listening post. The Cubans could use the money, and Beijing would love to have an eavesdropping installation 90 miles off American shores. From Lourdes, China will be able to listen in on telephone and other electronic communications throughout the United States. China recently has sent specialists to work on an eavesdropping post at Bejcal, Cuba. And in May 1999 the Chinese and Cuban defense ministers signed an agreement to increase military cooperation.

Saudis Financing Saddam’s Nuclear Program

U.S. intelligence sources reviewing the assets of Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden and his allies fear that the Saudis are secretly financing the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Riyad has quietly obtained nuclear components and technology from Bin Laden and even Iraq in exchange for billions of dollars in support. Saudi opposition sources have been warning the United States since 1994 that Riyad has paid billions of dollars to Iraq for the development of a nuclear weapon. The aim of the Saudi funding was to obtain any nuclear weapon should Iraqi development succeed. The opposition sources said the Saudi payments began in 1985 and were stopped after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. It is improbable that the kingdom resumed payments after the 1991 Gulf war, but the opposition sources said Riyad had other friends such as Bin Laden and Pakistan.

France Developing Internet For Tactical Military Purposes

The French military electronics group Thales has just signed a contract with France s defense ministry to develop a high rate Tactical Internet communication system. The aim is to step up the digitalization of future military operations.

Egypt Signs Spy Satellite Deal

The Egyptians continue to build their military capabilities. They signed a contract with the Ukraine to build and launch Egypt’s first remote-sensing satellite. Egyptian officials termed the satellite as a civilian project. Mubarak had explored the option of purchasing a spy satellite from Russia during his visit to Moscow in June. The Egyptian effort, which also included missile purchases from Russia, encountered opposition from the United States, so they claimed to have dropped the idea. But the Ukraine made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Bush Considers Trading Missile Umbrella

Bush Considers Trading Missile Umbrella
Vol: 1 Issue: 25 Thursday, October 25, 2001

Although officially denying it, the administration is considering making a deal with the Russians that would delay work on our nuclear missile umbrella defense plan. A nuclear umbrella has been central to defense plans, with a few modifications, since the Reagan administration. And the Russians have been steadfast opponents of any such plan since Konstantin Chernenko was the Premiere of the Soviet Union.

But in exchange for Russian cooperation in the war on terror, a moratorium on military aid to nations like Iran, Iraq and Syria and other considerations, the administration is wiling to consider ‘delaying’ plans to cancel the 1972 Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty.

This is a major shift in policy thinking reversing decades of military defense doctrine. One of many in recent weeks that may or may not compromise our future in exchange for our present.

Russia Already Making New Deals With Saddam

Arab diplomatic sources said Russian President Vladimir Putin has relayed assurances to Baghdad that his country will improve ties with Iraq. The assurances include Russian willingness to sell equipment and dual-use systems to Iraq.

There is a real problem with the either the administration’s intelligence sources or its foreign policy planners. In the elaborate chess game going on behind the scenes, stakes are too high to make a wrong move.

Earlier this week, a Russian delegation reviewed ties with Iraq and discussed the prospect of advanced transport and telecommunications systems to Baghdad. Many of these systems have been banned by the United Nations as being of use to the Iraqi military.

Bright Star War Game Could Turn Real

The United States and Egypt are conducting a long scheduled joint military exercise called “Operation Bright Star”. As part of the exercise the Pentagon has deployed about 18,000 U.S. troops in northeastern Egypt. An additional 5,000 troops are based off-shore.

There is speculation of a White House decision to expand the current military offensive against Afghanistan to allies of Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden. The most likely prospect is an attack on the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

“Despite the official statements that there are currently no plans for further use of the deployed U.S. forces,” said a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “should additional forces be required for the war on terrorism or should Saddam Hussein fail to heed U.S. warnings against military adventurism Bright Star can become a staging area for onward movement or an effective vehicle for planning and rehearsing coalition operations.”

Beijing Playing Both Sides?

An Indian newspaper, the Times, says the Taliban are being assisted by the Chinese. Taliban commander-in-chief Jalaluddin Haqqani claimed to be “in touch” with China, and stated, “China is still assisting the Taliban in the war against the US.” Haqqani did not elaborate on the nature and the extent of the assistance being offered by China.

Saudi Cleric ‘Bans’ Killing non-Muslims

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Shaikh, has issued a ruling banning the killing of non-Muslims in Islamic countries. Sheikh Abdulaziz said those who kill non-Muslims ‘with whom Muslims have treaties’ will never see paradise. Although an attempt to appease the West, to the discerning ear it has a hollow ring. We keep hearing Islam is a ‘religion of peace’. But it requires a edict from a cleric to keep them from killing us non Muslims? Bans that can be imposed can be lifted. More important is the fact that one cannot ban a practice unless it first exists.

Taliban Rounds Up 100 ‘Suspects’

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers have detained more than 100 people in the southern city of Kandahar and threatened to execute anyone helping the United States. According to the Taliban Interior Ministry, “As per Mullah (Mohammed) Omar’s decree, anyone found working for enemies will be executed after a summary trial.”

Taliban soldiers are visiting residential neighborhoods, ordering people to report to armories to pick up weapons to fight the Americans. Those who don’t are either arrested as US collaborators or shot on the spot.

Egypt To Get ‘Dual Use” Technology From Germans

A deal to sell German ‘dual use’ technology to Egypt was disclosed earlier this week during an economic conference in Cairo. The conference explored Germany investment opportunities in Egypt. ‘Dual use’ technology is that which can be used for peaceful purposes, as well as for weapons making.

Western intelligence sources said German companies have supplied dual-use systems to several Arab countries, including Egypt, Libya and Syria. The systems have been used in military and strategic programs by Arab countries, including the development of weapons of mass destruction.

The technology being transferred is reportedly advanced electronics and software.