Thursday, January 31, 2008

Human Rights Group Condemns Western Hypocrisy

Peter Walker
Thursday January 31, 2008
Courtesy Of The

The US, UK and other western nations are ignoring flawed or rigged elections in some countries for the sake of political convenience, Human Rights Watch charged today in its annual round-up of rights abuses around the world.

While publicly espousing the cause of democracy, Washington, London and others were happy to deal closely with "despots masquerading as democrats" such as Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, Russia's Vladimir Putin and the Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak, the US-based group said.

Separately, HRW singled out the UK government as a concern for its policy of deporting terrorism suspects to countries with repressive regimes if assurances are given the detainees will not be tortured or otherwise mistreated.

This "handy device" had now been borrowed by the US to justify renditions, while Russia and other nations were also happily trying it out, the group said.

The report detailed human rights abuses in more than 75 countries and territories, covering perennial rights pariahs such as North Korea, Burma and China as well as the US and EU.
It additionally criticised Israel for blockading Gaza in response to rocket attacks, describing this as "collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population in violation of international humanitarian law".

But HRW's primary target this year was what it views as the hypocrisy of western nations condemning democratic violations only when expedient.

"Rarely has democracy been so acclaimed yet so breached, so promoted yet so disrespected, so important yet so disappointing," HRW's executive director, Kenneth Roth, said in an introduction to the 569-page document.

This "pseudo democracy" had seen leaders in countries such as Egypt, Nigeria and Ethiopia recognised abroad for their popular mandates despite elections plagued by fraud, intimidation or other flaws.

"It seems Washington and European governments will accept even the most dubious election so long as the 'victor' is a strategic or commercial ally," Roth said, calling the promotion of democracy "a softer and fuzzier alternative to defending human rights."

President Bush had even praised Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, for placing Pakistan "on the road to democracy", Roth noted.

"If, unlike human rights law, 'the road to democracy' permits locking up political opponents, dismissing independent judges, and silencing the independent press, it is easy to see why tyrants the world over are tempted to believe that they, too, might be eligible," he said.

In Africa, Roth said, the current violence in Kenya prompted by the seemingly rigged election on December 27, which returned President Mwai Kibaki to power, could be traced back to overseas reluctance to challenge a similarly flawed poll in Nigeria 10 months earlier.

"Nigeria's leader came to power in a violent and fraudulent vote, yet he has been accepted on the international stage. It's no wonder Kenya's president felt able to rig his re-election," he said.

In a separate section of the report, HRW castigated the UK for its pioneering policy of allowing terrorism suspects to be transferred to the care of brutal regimes on receipt of what the group termed "empty promises of humane treatment".

"The fact that promises of humane treatment from state torturers are inherently untrustworthy and have not worked in a number of cases does not seem to bother London," it said.

"The goal is to deport terrorism suspects, no matter what - and if brokering unreliable, unenforceable agreements with states that torture is what it takes, then so be it."

The UK had sought such assurances from "a veritable A-list of abusive regimes", among them Algeria, Egypt and Libya, HRW said, with other countries now following its lead.

Russia, the report noted, happily accepted such diplomatic assurances from Uzbekistan, "a notorious practitioner of torture".

Special Report:
Human rights in the UK

Useful Links:
Human Rights Act 1998
European court of human rights
Lord Chancellor's office
UN high commissioner for human rights

Homeland Security's 'Cyber Storm' War Game

By Sharon Weinberger
January 31, 2008 10:10:44 AM
Courtesy Of:

"Hackers, bloggers and even reporters" are the villains in a mock "Cyber Storm" war game, reports the Associated Press:

After mock electronic attacks overwhelmed computers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an unspecified "major news network" airing reports about the attackers refused to reveal its sources to the government. Other simulated reporters were duped into spreading "believable but misleading" information that worsened fallout by confusing the public and financial markets, according to the government's files.

The $3 million, invitation-only war game simulated what the U.S. described as plausible attacks over five days in February 2006 against the technology industry, transportation lines and energy utilities by anti-globalization hackers. The government is organizing another multimillion-dollar war game, Cyber Storm 2, to take place in early March.

"They point out where your expectations of your capabilities may be overstated," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the AP. "They may reveal to you things you haven't thought about. It's a good way of testing that you're going to do the job the way you think you were. It's the difference between doing drills and doing a scrimmage."
In one amusing aside, AP also reports that during the simulation "someone quietly attacked the very computers used to conduct the exercise. Perplexed organizers traced the incident to overzealous players and sent everyone an urgent e-mail marked "IMPORTANT!" reminding them not to probe or attack the game computers."

The story is the result of AP's two-year struggle to get the Cyber Storm documents under a Freedom of Information Act request (most of the records were blacked out).

Weaponizing The Climate

Weaponizing The Climate: Geoengineering's Military Potential

By Alexis Madrigal
January 30, 2008 3:21:45 PM
Climate, Military
Courtesy Of:

Hacking the climate to save ourselves from global warming's worst consequences is a real possibility that we've explored several times here at Wired and elsewhere. But a new article in Foreign Policy by futurist Jamais Cascio takes a deep look at the geopolitical dilemmas presented by our prospective ability to intentionally alter the climate. He argues that the the "subtle, long-term aspects of geoengineering could make it appealing" to states looking for "alternative, unexpected ways of boosting their strategic power relative to competitors."

The offensive use of geoengineering could take a variety of forms. Overproductive algae blooms can actually sterilize large stretches of ocean over time, effectively destroying fisheries and local ecosystems. Sulfur dioxide carries health risks when it cycles out of the stratosphere. One proposal would pull cooler water from the deep oceans to the surface in an explicit attempt to shift the trajectories of hurricanes. Some actors might even deploy counter-geoengineering projects to slow or alter the effects of other efforts.
Cascio also notes that it would be hard to detect geoengineering efforts designed to combat global warming or its effects with those intended to harm another country's environment, which is a total bonus for military planners. He recommends that we both try to avoid a climate disaster, but just in case, also "expand the global environmental sensor and satellite networks allowing us to monitor ecosystem changes—and manipulation."

Note that Brandon has touched on some of these issues in an excellent article and blog post: Global Climate Engineering: Who Controls the Thermostat? and China Leads Weather Control Race.

Link [Foreign Policy], Via Grist

See Also:Climate Engineering is Doable, as Long as We Never StopGeoengineering Not a Free Pass to Pollute

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hebrew and Palestinian History, In Reverse

By Rami G. Khouri
Daily Star Staff
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Courtesy Of The

It was not exactly the Red Sea parting to allow a persecuted, enslaved people to flee to safety, but it was pretty close as far as political symbolism goes.

Palestinians this week blew holes through the wall on the Egyptian-Palestinian border that Israel built to pen in the Palestinians in Gaza, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians poured over the border into Egypt. They went mainly to purchase the simple everyday needs that had been denied them recently due to Israel's policy of total isolation and strangulation of Gaza and its people.

The scale and symbolism of events in Gaza clarify some simple truths about the Palestinian issue in its wider historical, political, and geographic context - and perhaps also its moral context, thanks to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's insensitive and obtuse call to "think creatively" about how to deal with the Gaza situation.

It is ironic but not unexpected that 3,500 years after the Hebrews fled their dismal life in Egypt and escaped eastward to freedom across the miraculously stilled Red Sea, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians should be fleeing from the modern-day descendants of the Hebrews, who now play the role of oppressive Pharaoh to the subjugated and dehumanized Palestinians in Gaza. The reversed political geography is politically stunning, and tragic for both sides.

The double irony, however, is that the indigenous Palestinians in both cases pay the heaviest price. In antiquity, the Hebrews who fled Egypt conquered and settled in Palestine, driving out the native Canaanites and others who can be seen as the ancestors of the Palestinians; just as the Hebrews can be seen as the ancestors of Israelis and Jews today.

More significant are the continuing implications of Israel's repeated attempts to force neighboring Arab states to assume responsibility for policing the Palestinian refugees and subduing the Palestinian nationalist resistance movement - both spawned by Israel's creation and the parallel exile and occupation of the Palestinians.

Two Arab leaders in particular suffer politically from this crisis - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel and the United States have tried unsuccessfully to use both to control Gaza, thwart the rise of Hamas, and protect Israel from Palestinian wrath, just as they used the Jordanian and Lebanese governments to achieve similar goals.

But Mubarak and Abbas cannot play the role of Israel's subcontracted jailer, strangler and starver of the Palestinians in Gaza, and expect to remain credible with their own people or other Arabs. When an Arab leader is caught between acting as an agent and surrogate for Israel and the US in treating the Palestinians like animals, or showing support for the basic humanitarian needs of Palestinians, they will lean toward helping the Palestinians. They will also try desperately to cling to the material aid and increasingly vacuous political validation they get from the US and Israel. Mubarak and Abbas swayed in the wind this week, buffeted by their own untenable confusion about whether their primary role is to implement Arab, Israeli or American priorities.

The equally bewildered American position was reflected in Rice's macabre call to deal "creatively" with the Gaza situation. Why "creatively?" Is this a kindergarten finger-painting class? Why not deal with Gaza on the basis of more compelling criteria, such as legality, legitimacy, and humanity?

The American call for "creativity" in dealing with Gaza is an ethical weapon of mass destruction.

It will only aggravate the widespread disdain, fear and disgust that define much of the world's attitude to American foreign policy. Rice's call for creativity is a cheap attempt to get around the moral, political and legal consequences of Israel's many decades of brutality in Gaza, and Washington's refusal to deal with the reality of Hamas' election victory last year.

Israel and the US refuse to do the hard work of making reasonable compromises that all the Arabs, including Hamas, have already suggested: to engage with all the Palestinians and negotiate, first, a long-term truce and, subsequently, a permanent peace that is fair to all, that gives Israelis and Palestinians alike a chance to live in peace and dignity.

The quest for "creativity" is a desperate bid to evade law, morality, human decency and constructive political compromise. It is a moral abomination that demeans all Americans in whose name it is spoken.

It is also one reason why the flow of thousands of desperate, dehumanized people across the Sinai - fleeing subjugation and brutality, and in search for their own humanity - has gone the other way this week, 3,500 years after today's Israeli jailers were history's jailed Hebrews. No surprises, here; just politics and humanity, or absence thereof, taking their normal course.

The answer is not "creativity." It is mutual respect, abiding by the law, and, above all, human decency.

Rami G. Khouri is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR.

No Way To Avoid Hamas Now

Excluding The Militant Group Won't Secure Peace In The Middle East.

By Helena Cobban
From the January 29, 2008 Edition
Courtesy Of The

Damascus, Syria - Last week, the Palestinian militant organization Hamas masterminded a spectacular "bust-out" into Egypt of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza, where Israel has been maintaining a tight siege for many years. That bust-out reinforced the strength of Hamas's popular support among Palestinians and has started to change the political map of the region.

Isn't it now time for the United States to find a way to deal with Hamas, directly or indirectly?

How can President Bush realize his aim of creating a viable Palestinian state this year if his administration continues to pour energy and funds into the crushing of Hamas, which has repeatedly shown that it has the support of a large proportion of Palestinians?
Yes, over the years, Hamas's armed branch has committed many violent acts that deserve criticism. But so have numerous others in the Middle East – including militants in Iraq whom the US is now funding and trying to bring into the political process there.

Hamas, unlike those newly embraced networks in Iraq, is already an established, broad political movement that has proved its support in national elections. In parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006, Hamas won 76 of the 132 seats.

The US had supported those elections. But, instead of embracing the newly elected Hamas leaders, Washington and Israel confined their contacts instead to the Fatah movement's Mahmoud Abbas. They have encouraged Mr. Abbas to take steps against Hamas and its supporters. Meanwhile, Israel has imprisoned elected Hamas parliamentarians and hundreds of their supporters. And in the past two years, it has tightened the economic screws on Hamas's main stronghold in Gaza several times.

It was the latest tightening of those screws that provoked the streaming-out of Gazans into neighboring Egypt on Jan. 23. Militants used land mines to fell long sections of the wall along Gaza's seven-mile boundary with Egypt, and legions of Gaza's 1.5 million hard-pressed residents then thronged into Egypt to buy everything from food to cooking gas to medicine. Egypt's security forces fell back. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in several Egyptian cities the day before had shown President Hosni Mubarak he'd have a high – perhaps fatal – political price to pay if he continued to collaborate with Israel in its siege of Gaza.

Meanwhile, the longstanding military tit for tat between Israel and Gaza-based militants from Hamas and other groups has continued.

Israel's extremely well-armed military has killed more than 800 Gazans, including 379 civilians, in the past two years.

The Gaza militants have hit Israel with primitive and virtually untargetable rockets that have killed 18 Israelis since June 2004. Civilians on both sides live in fear.
On Jan. 16, I interviewed Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in his well-guarded office here in Damascus.

He told me Hamas is interested in reaching a cease-fire with Israel, though he said Israel still rejects this idea completely.
He said that Hamas – which has a long and close relationship with Egypt's main political opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood – considers its support within the Arab countries an important asset.

While we talked, Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, called. During their five-minute conversation, Mr. Meshaal asked President Saleh to work hard to help lift the siege on Gaza.

Meshaal said Hamas seeks a better relationship with the US.

"We are not against the American people, but against this administration. We are not against American interests. Every state has the right to have its own interests – but not at the expense of other peoples."
The State Department's designation of Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization had caused big problems for the organization, he admitted. But "American policy is also affected badly," he argued, "because it finds itself fighting the wrong wars."

As several past Hamas leaders have done before, Meshaal expressed Hamas's willingness to engage in a multidecade "truce" (hudna) if Israel agrees to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, including in Jerusalem, and respects the rights of Palestinian refugees. These are not easy conditions to fulfill, and no Israeli leader is likely to fulfill them anytime soon.
Hamas has a greater chance of success winning a more limited cease-fire in the ongoing military exchanges with Israel. Any such cease-fire would have a strong positive impact on Gaza (and on southern Israel). Also, if Gaza's people can start connecting more freely with the world economy through Egypt, their situation could be further stabilized.

During Mr. Bush's recent trip to the Middle East, he said some welcome things about his desire for regional peace. But no one can build such a peace while continuing to exclude (and energetically combat) a large, well-rooted political movement such as Hamas.

Washington needs to find a way to talk to the leaders of the movement. Longtime friends in Egypt can help establish a channel.

The war-shattered peoples of Gaza and of southern Israel need Washington to help, not hinder, the reaching of a cease-fire.
Helena Cobban is a "Friend in Washington" with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. The views expressed here are her own.

IDF Abusing Palestinian Detainees: "Extremely Unusual"

Soldiers Accused Of Abusing Detainees

Jan 29, 2008 14:21
Updated Jan 29, 2008 22:26
Courtesy Of The

Sources in the IDF said Tuesday night that the disturbing allegations of soldiers' abuse of Palestinian detainees that were first reported Tuesday on Israel Radio were already under investigation by the Military Police, and that the IDF viewed the incident as "extremely serious" and "extremely unusual."

Israel Radio reported Tuesday morning that soldiers from the Kfir Brigade - which specializes in operating in West Bank urban centers - allegedly abused Palestinian detainees.

According to the report, the soldiers beat, kicked and degraded the detainees, scenes that were reportedly documented on the soldiers' cellular phones. In one incident, the report claimed, one of the soldiers exposed himself to the detainees.

The soldiers in the report all belonged to the Duchifat Battalion, which operates under the auspices of the Binyamin Regional Brigade.

...Later Tuesday, Dr. Yishai Menuhin, director-general of the Public Council Against Torture in Israel, said that in the past three years, the committee had addressed hundreds of incidents in which soldiers had allegedly abused bound Palestinian detainees.

Only a day earlier, a Web site affiliated with Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv ran a damning article that addressed claims that Palestinian complaints of abuse had risen after soldiers from the Givati Brigade began serving in the West Bank.

That report detailed an incident in which a soldier "slammed a Palestinian's head into a wall," but noted that in that case, the soldier's actions were probed by the Military Police and he was sentenced to four months in prison.

"Following the events in Dahariya [in which a small unit of troops allegedly hijacked a Palestinian taxi cab], Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi detailed an action plan for educating and enforcing IDF values," said the IDF spokesman in an official statement regarding the allegations about the Duchifat troops...
NOTE: The following videos were not part of the above article, but were independently included by me.

Israeli Soldiers Beat A 17 Year Old Palestinian Boy

Israeli Soldiers Breaking Palestanian Boys Arms

Israeli Soldier Shoots Unarmed Palestinian

This Is Israel

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Liberty, Democracy, Brutality

Many EU Politicians Treat Israel As A State That Holds The Highest European Ideals Dear. But This Is Hogwash

By David Cronin
January 28, 2008 9:00 AM
Courtesy Of The

Diplomatic pressure from the European Union has been credited as being partly responsible for how Israel allowed some deliveries of food, medicine and fuel to Gaza over the past few days.

But you would never guess that senior EU officials had been flexing their metaphorical muscles if you saw one particular document distributed to the Brussels press corps.

This was a transcript of a speech given by the European commission's vice-president, Franco Frattini, during a visit to Israel. In a week when the UN berated Israel for violating international law by blockading Gaza, it seems extraordinary that Frattini should indulge in some flagrant fawning towards his hosts.

According to his prepared script for a conference entitled Israel at 60: test of endurance, Frattini did not allude once to the blockade imposed on Gaza, even though the UN considers it to be an illegal act of "collective punishment".

Instead, he insinuated that opponents of Israel in Europe were guilty of antisemitism. "This prejudice, this stance against Israel and Jews, has no place in today's Europe," he said.

Read those words again: "This stance against Israel and Jews".

How can opposition to a country's government be equated with hostility towards adherents of a religion?

When Frattini was serving as Italy's foreign minister, there was no shortage of people appalled at the buffoonery of his boss, Silvio Berlusconi. Nobody, though, could seriously have suggested that taking issue with Italy's then premier was synonymous with an antipathy towards Catholics.

Of course, genuine bias against Jews - or people of any other faith - is deplorable. But European policymakers are not helping to promote tolerance when they accept facile reasoning from the Israeli government.

Depressingly, we have been down this road before.

In 2003, an EU-financed opinion poll found that Europeans regarded Israel as the number one threat to world peace. Rather than examining why that was the case, a number of European politicians made it plain they were embarrassed by the findings.

Also during his visit, Frattini told the Jerusalem Post that Europe "cannot leave Israel alone" in its efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.

He omitted to mention that if Iran was hoping to join the nuclear club, it would be emulating Israel, which finally confessed in December 2006 to having weapons of mass destruction.

Never shying away from some self-congratulation, Frattini took credit for how Hamas was placed on the EU's list of proscribed organisations when he chaired the union's council of foreign ministers in 2003. He claimed, too, that Hamas had provoked "Israel's armed response" in the Palestinian territories and that "Israel lives and exists according to the same traditions and values as European citizens".

Whatever one thinks of Hamas, this is clearly hogwash. Anybody who looks seriously at the Middle East conflict would conclude that Palestinian violence is a reaction to the relentless brutality and provocation of Israeli forces. That doesn't excuse for a second the horrific consequences of suicide bombing. But it does help explain them.

As for the argument about "European values", I assume these refer to the principles on which the EU is nominally based: "liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law".

But the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem has calculated that of the 810 Palestinians killed by the occupying forces in Gaza in 2006 and 2007, just 360 belonged to an armed organisation.

By what logic - other than a very twisted one - can Israel's state-approved slaughter of civilians be considered as proof that it upholds values we are supposed to cherish?

Terrorism and Speech

Monday, Jan. 28, 2008
Courtesy Of:

Restrictions of all sorts have multiplied in the heightened security environment of the last six-and-a-half years, so it should be no surprise that, around the world, legal restrictions on speech have tightened. Since 2001, there has been a clear trend toward prohibiting speech perceived as supporting terrorism, and toward barring the dissemination of materials--including books, videos, and other forms of written and graphic communication--that are believed to be of use for terrorist activity.

International protections on free expression in no way restrict governments from criminally prosecuting direct incitement to terrorism--speech that directly encourages the commission of a crime, is intended to result in criminal action, and is likely to result in criminal action--whether or not criminal action does, in fact, result. (In the United States, where the Constitution imposes stricter protections for expression than found elsewhere, the courts have required that the prohibited incitement present a risk of "imminent" criminal action.) Yet the legal trend globally is not only to criminalize direct incitement to terrorist activity, but to criminalize indirect incitement--to prohibit speech perceived as justifying, defending, or "glorifying" terrorism. This, from the standpoint of free expression, is problematic.

The British government has been a leader in this effort. Not only has it passed new domestic laws to regulate speech, it has pressed international institutions to take up the issue. In September 2005, the U.N. Security Council adopted a UK-sponsored resolution that purported to repudiate "attempts at the justification or glorification (apologie) of terrorist acts that may incite further terrorist acts." Although the resolution used the term incitement, rather than indirect incitement, its references to justification and glorification suggested a broad understanding of the term.

Earlier that year, the Council of Europe, a European human rights body, adopted a Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism with similarly expansive language. The treaty requires states to criminalize "public provocation" of terrorism, a crime that could include indirect incitement. The convention defines public provocation as the public dissemination of a message "with the intent to incite the commission of a terrorist offence, where such conduct, whether or not directly advocating terrorist offences, causes a danger that one or more such offences may be committed." Note the clear erosion of the incitement standard: There's no need for the message to directly encourage terrorism, and rather than having to be "likely" to result in criminal action, it's enough that the message may "cause a danger" of such action.

A Global Survey

Let's review a few country examples to get a better sense of what kinds of statements these laws tend to cover:

. The UK's 2006 counterterrorism law criminalizes any public statement that is intended to encourage, or that recklessly encourages, acts of terrorism, if the statement takes the form of "glorif[ying] the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences" and is such that the audience "could reasonably infer" that what is being glorified should be emulated. (A 2000 UK law already specifies that "inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism" is a criminal offense, one punishable in the same manner as the offense that was incited.)

. Under Zimbabwe's 2006 counterterrorism law, a person who "solicits, invites, or encourages moral or material support" for a designated terrorist organization commits an offense.

. The United Arab Emirates' 2004 counterterrorism law reportedly provides for up to five years of imprisonment for anyone who promotes verbally or in writing any of the offenses set out in the law.

. Bahrain's 2006 counterterrorism law includes extremely broad and vaguely-drafted restrictions on expression. The law provides that: "Whoever uses religion, religious buildings, public places or religious festivities to propagate provocative appeals or extremist ideas, or holds notices/posters, or puts up graphics, pictures, slogans or signs that might create fitna [disorder] or insult monotheist religions, their symbols or their believers, or harm the national unity or social peace, or destabilize security or public order shall be punished by imprisonment and fine or one or both penalties." The legislation also provides that anyone who "promotes or approves, in any way" of a terrorist act faces imprisonment.

. El Salvador's 2006 counterterrorism law prescribes a five- to ten-year prison sentence for anyone who publicly justifies terrorism.

. In Australia, the 2005 Anti-Terrorism Act bars organizations from advocating terrorism. An organization is understood to advocate a terrorist act if it: 1) "directly or indirectly counsels or urges" such an act; 2) "provides instruction" on how to commit such an act, or 3) "directly praises the doing of a terrorist act in circumstances where there is a risk that such praise might have the effect of leading a person … to engage in a terrorist act."

. Turkey's 2006 counterterrorism law imposes criminal penalties on those who "make propaganda for a terrorist organization or for its aims." The law provides for harsher penalties for those who do so using the media. A Council of Europe expert committee has criticized the provision, finding it to be "ambiguous and written in wide and vague terms."

. Under French and Spanish counterterrorism laws, which predate the September 11 terrorist attacks, the act of justifying terrorism (apologie or apolog'a) is a crime. The difference between the two countries is that such prosecutions are quite common in Spain, whereas they are extremely rare in France.
What these laws generally have in common is broad language, which may in some instances cover legitimate political speech, and which gives prosecutors enormous discretion in deciding when and if to bring a case.

Possession of a Map without an Excuse

In some countries, moreover, not only is it illegal to express views deemed to support terrorism, it is illegal to possess materials that support terrorism. Again, the UK has taken the lead in this area, both in passing legislation to restrict the possession and dissemination of such materials, and in prosecuting alleged offenders.

. Under the UK's 2000 counterterrorism law, the possession of articles connected to terrorism--including terrorism-related publications or videos--is a criminal offense, as long as there is some minimal showing that the person's possession of the items may be related to plans to commit terrorism. Specifically, the law provides that: "[a] person commits an offence if he possesses an article in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that his possession is for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism."

. Another provision of the same UK law criminalizes the possession of documents containing information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism." This extremely broad provision--which could otherwise bar, for example, possessing a map of London--also provides that a person charged with violating the law may defend against prosecution by proving that he has "a reasonable excuse for his action or possession."

. Finally, the 2006 UK counterterrorism law criminalizes the distribution of "terrorist publications," defined as publications that either glorify terrorist acts or are made available "wholly or mainly" because they would be useful in the commission or preparation of terrorist acts.
Preemptive Action against Terrorism

The reasoning behind such laws is understandable. Governments want to stop terrorism before it occurs; indeed, they would prefer to deal with the problem before the potential terrorist gets anywhere near the stage of actually planning violent acts. Some proportion of the people who communicate support for terrorism, or who read terrorist publications, may one day be moved to action.

Still, a spate of recent prosecutions in the UK does little to instill confidence in these laws. Defendants have included a couple of 17-year-olds, and a young woman known (for her poems) as the "lyrical terrorist." Are such people really a threat?

It's hard to tell; the problem with preemptive action is that it's based on prediction. And while some number of adolescents may go from downloading Al Qaeda videos to actively supporting terrorism, the gap between the two activities is large.

By wasting scarce legal and prosecutorial resources going after speech, rather than action, governments may be doing more harm than good. The defendants in such cases no doubt see them as political and religious persecution, and their families, neighbors and larger communities may agree.

Negroponte Confirms Use of Waterboarding

By Paul Kiel
January 28, 2008, 6:30PM
Courtesy Of:

It's no secret that after 9/11, the administration authorized the use of waterboarding, and that the technique was used on a number of detainees in 2002 and reportedly stopped in 2003. But the administration has never explicitly admitted that.

In fact, when Dick Cheney, seduced into loose talk by a friendly interviewer, confirmed that "a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives," the White House furiously backpedaled, and Tony Snow did his best to proclaim that "a dunk in water" had not been a reference to waterboarding, but just "a dunk in the water."

So John Negroponte is really letting the horse out of the barn here. In an interview with National Journal, the former director of national intelligence casually mentions the use of waterboarding:

Q: When we as a nation are still debating the morality and efficacy of "harsh" interrogation techniques that much of the world consider torture, and indefinite detainment that lies outside the rule of international law, can the United States really win the "war of ideas" that President Bush insists is crucial to this conflict?

Negroponte: I get concerned that we're too retrospective and tend to look in the rearview mirror too often at things that happened four or even six years ago. We've taken steps to address the issue of interrogations, for instance, and waterboarding has not been used in years. It wasn't used when I was director of national intelligence, nor even for a few years before that. We've also taken significant steps to improve Guantanamo. People will tell you now that it is a world-class detention facility. But if you want to highlight and accent the negative, you can resurface these issues constantly to keep them alive. I would rather focus on what we need to do going forward.
Somehow I think that his upbeat, glass-is-half-full message will get lost here.

And expect for White House spokeswoman Dana Perino to do her best to put the horse back in the barn tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Israel Wages 'Economic Warfare' Against Gazans

Israeli 'Economic Warfare' To Include Electricity Cuts In Gaza

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, January 28, 2008; A17
Courtesy Of The

JERUSALEM, Jan. 27 -- Saying they were waging "economic warfare" against the Gaza Strip's Hamas leaders, Israeli officials told the Supreme Court on Sunday that the military intends to start cutting electricity to the Palestinian territory and continue restricting fuel.
The statements by Israel's state attorney, outlining Defense Ministry plans, came in response to a lawsuit filed by Israeli and Palestinian rights groups.

The organizations are asking the Supreme Court to make Israel end fuel restrictions that caused power blackouts in the Gaza Strip this month.

The activists argue that the restrictions constitute collective punishment of Gaza's 1.5 million people and violate international law.
Israel's restrictions on shipments into Gaza have become a central issue in the territory's relations with Israel and neighboring Egypt.

Israel halted deliveries of food, fuel and other supplies into the strip for 4½ days this month, saying it was acting in response to rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel.

Guerrillas in Gaza blew up parts of the border wall between Gaza and Egypt on Wednesday.

U.N. officials said roughly half of Gaza's residents have crossed into Egypt since then, many to shop for goods now scarce under the Israeli restrictions.

The Israeli Defense Ministry has determined that a "continuation of a reduction of the supply of fuel and a reduction in the supply of electricity can assist Israel in the fight it is waging against the terror organization that controls the Gaza Strip," the state attorney's office said in the filing with the Supreme Court.

"The minister of defense has wide discretion in regard to fighting, including waging economic warfare," the state attorney's officials said.
In the filing, Israel committed to allowing the European Union to resume supplying Gaza with weekly shipments of 2.2 million liters of industrial fuel.

The fuel is used by Gaza's sole power plant, which shut down last week after its supply ran out.

Palestinian electricity authorities said the plant's shutdown cut power to about 500,000 people in central Gaza.

The United Nations said the fuel cuts deprived about 40 percent of Gaza's people of running water and compelled Gaza to dump untreated sewage into the Mediterranean.

Hospitals relied on generators.

...Gaza receives as much as 70 percent of its electricity from Israeli power lines, Israeli and Palestinian officials say...

Even before this month's restrictions, electricity supply in Gaza ran about 30 percent below demand, officials overseeing Gaza's power plant said last week.
Israel's limits on fuel for the power plant and the planned cuts in power will reduce electricity to Gaza by about another 20 percent, according to Sari Bashi, director of the Israeli human rights group Gisha, one of the organizations that brought the court case.

Israel has a "legitimate desire" to stop rocket attacks from Gaza, but has yet to show how it can achieve that by "crippling hospitals and water wells," Bashi said.

"Irregardless of the effect of the cuts, the cuts are illegal . . . because they are designed to punish civilians for the acts of militants," Bashi said.
The state attorney said Israel intended to meet at least "the minimum humanitarian criteria" in allowing in fuel for the power plant and automobiles, and diesel fuel.

"This is not against international law; it is not collective punishment," said Arye Mekel, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry...

Special correspondent Nora Younis near the Suez Canal contributed to this report.

"There Will Be Other Wars"

Sen. John McCain , the presidential candidate who sang "Bomb Bomb Iran" is already looking forward towards the wars after the our invasion & occupation of Iraq.

Sen. John McCain told a crowd of supporters at the Polk City, Florida Rally, on Sunday:

"It's a tough war we're in. It's not going to be over right away. There's going to be other wars."
Showering us with more of his ominous vision, he repeated his outlook of our bleak future:

"I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars."
McCain did not elaborate on whom America will be at war with. But he did warn the crowd to be ready for the consequences of current and future conflicts:

"And right now - we're gonna have a lot of PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] to treat, my friends," he said. "We're gonna have a lot of combat wounds that have to do with these terrible explosive IEDs that inflict such severe wounds. And my friends, it's gonna be tough, we're gonna have a lot to do."
John McCain Warns "There Will Be Other Wars"

McCain Laughs, Sings Bomb Iran:

Bush Orders NSA To Snoop On US Agencies

Cyber Attack Fear Used To Expand Spy Grid

By Ashlee Vance in Mountain View
Published Sunday 27th January 2008 21:25 GMT
Courtesy Of:

Not content with spying on other countries, the NSA (National Security Agency) will now turn on the US's own government agencies thanks to a fresh directive from president George Bush.

Under the new guidelines, the NSA and other intelligence agencies can bore into the internet networks of all their peers. The Bush administration pulled off this spy expansion by pointing to an increase in the number of cyber attacks directed against the US, possibly from foreign nations. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will spearhead the effort around identifying the source of these attacks, while the Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon will concentrate on retaliation.

The Washington Post appears to have broken the news about the new Bush-led joint directive, which remains classified. The paper reported that the directive - National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 - was signed on Jan. 8. Earlier reports from the Baltimore Sun documented the NSA's plans to add US spying to its international snooping duties.

The new program will - of course - drains billions of dollars out of US coffers and be part of Bush's 2009 budget.

During Bush's presidency, US citizens have come under an unprecedented spying regime. In addition to upping its focus on suspected criminals, the administration permitted a system for wiretapping the phone calls of Average Joes and Janes. The government is also funding specialized computers from companies such as Cray that can search through enormous databases at incredible speed. Ah, if only Stalin could see us now.

The government points to cyber attacks against the State, Commerce, Defense and Homeland Security departments as the impetus for expanding the NSA's powers. "U.S. officials and cyber-security experts have said Chinese Web sites were involved in several of the biggest attacks back to 2005, including some at the country's nuclear-energy labs and large defense contractors," the Post reported.

Critics of the new directive will point to the NSA's ability to operate in total secrecy as cause for concern.

More troubling, however, may be the Pentagon and Homeland Security's aspirations to hit attackers with counter-strikes.

Proving that a nation rather than a rogue set of attackers are behind a cyber attack will likely be very difficult. In addition, the international community has yet to address the rules of cyber war in any meaningful way. ®

Related Stories:

US warrantless wiretapping predates 9/11 (18 December 2007)
Iraq fiasco creeps into NSA surveillance controversy (23 September 2007)
Gonzo a goner, but NSA surveillance here to stay (27 August 2007)
NSA surveillance and the dream police (23 August 2007)
US wiretap plan will leave door open for spooks and hackers (14 August 2007)
Congress approves six-month blanket wiretap warrant (6 August 2007)
Judge ruled against NSA surveillance in US (2 August 2007)
Bush to Congress: streamline star-chamber spy court (30 July 2007)
Warrantless wiretap opponents lose brace of court cases (9 July 2007)
Judge knocks back NYT wiretap documents suit (4 July 2007)
Bush on cyber war: 'a subject I can learn a lot about' (26 June 2007)
US dial-a-warrant spy judge: don't trust President, feds (25 June 2007)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Israel’s Experimental Pressure Backfires

Published: January 27, 2008
Courtesy Of The

JERUSALEM — When Hamas blew large holes in Gaza’s border with Egypt, allowing thousands of Palestinians a chance to stock up on medicines, food and consumer goods, it also blew a large hole in the Israeli policy, backed by Washington, of squeezing the population of Gaza in the hope that they would turn actively against Hamas.

As Israeli leaders pushed Egypt to close the border and fumbled for an effective response, the apparent Hamas success put Egypt into a bind and further undermined the chances that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Fatah faction could succeed in negotiating a peace treaty — let alone by the time President Bush leaves office.

Early efforts by Egypt on Friday to reseal the border failed when Hamas broke through more areas of the border wall with bulldozers, and Palestinians continued to move easily into Egypt on Saturday, sometimes with cars and trucks.

The confrontational tactics of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of Egypt’s opposition and banned Muslim Brotherhood, also presented a difficult quandary for President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

The plight of the Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, is a deeply emotional issue for Egyptians and other Arabs,...

...Hamas earned a degree of respect for action even from its opponents in Gaza, further consolidating its control. Now Hamas is trying to force Cairo to acknowledge that control and to deal directly with Hamas to solve the border crisis.

...But it will be very difficult now for Mr. Mubarak to reseal the border completely. More likely, he will work something out with Mr. Abbas and Israel to allow a regulated border crossing. But even that will resound as a Hamas victory, because both Egypt and Israel will have been forced to a concession that they could have negotiated freely with Mr. Abbas any time in the last six months.

...Mr. Abbas repeated that he would not talk directly with Hamas until it apologized for its “coup” in Gaza and handed over power there to the Palestinian Authority. In saying that, he essentially rejected an Egyptian invitation for talks with Hamas in Cairo that the exiled Hamas political leader, Khaled Meshal, had accepted on Friday.

Israel has previously rejected Mr. Abbas’s proposal because it would reopen the crossings and take pressure off Hamas, as well as putting the crossings effectively under the control of Hamas.

But Israel’s recent effort to further intensify the closing of Gaza, by cutting off nearly all supplies and forcing the extension of rolling power cuts to more than 12 hours a day, clearly backfired, giving Hamas a kind of moral pretext in the Arab and Palestinian world to break through the Egyptian border.

As the daily newspaper Haaretz said in an editorial on Friday, “The siege of Gaza has failed.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Israel, with no adequate answer to stopping rocket and mortar fire from Gaza and reluctant to have a major military incursion that wouldn’t stop them either, intensified the closing in what his aides called “an experiment.”

“The experiment blew up in their faces,” said Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist at Hebrew University. “The whole theory of putting pressure on a population to put pressure on their government doesn’t work. It didn’t work in Lebanon in 2006, and it didn’t work now.”

The policy was denounced by the European Union and the United Nations as “collective punishment” and as illegal under international law.

“Whether it’s against international law or not, the fact is that the policy was ineffective,” Mr. Avineri said. “Barak made a mistake in thinking it would turn the population against Hamas; it did the reverse.”

Israel’s larger error, after pulling out of Gaza in 2005, was to view it almost entirely as a security problem, with a main focus on smuggling of weapons and rockets from Egypt into Gaza.

“The whole relationship with Egypt became subsumed under questions about smuggling,” Mr. Avineri said. But the relationship of Gaza to Egypt has major strategic and political implications, he said.

“Why should the border be sealed between two Arab populations?” he asked. “Israel should support some regulated border regime.”

Mona el-Naggar contributed reporting from Cairo.

British Navy Ordered To Raid Swedish Coast

Margaret Thatcher Told Navy To Raid Swedish Coast

By Pelle Neroth
January 27, 2008
Courtesy Of:

MARGARET THATCHER ordered the Royal Navy to land Special Boat Service (SBS) frogmen on the coast of Sweden from British submarines pretending to be Soviet vessels, a new book has claimed.

The deception involved numerous incursions by British forces into Swedish territorial waters in the 1980s and early 1990s, designed to heighten the impression around the world of the Soviet Union as an aggressive superpower.

Sometimes the boats landed commandos, but often their job was to fool the Swedes by mimicking the sonar signals given off by the Soviet vessels that stalked the same waters.

The Swedish government, neutral in the cold war, is not believed to have known about the deceptions, which were carried out by the British and American navies.

A Swedish parliamentary inquiry noted evidence found on the seabed of submarine “midgets with bottom-crawling capacity of a hitherto unknown character”.
The cold war under the Baltic is detailed in a book by Ola Tunander, research professor at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo.

Tunander writes that there were more than 4,000 reported detections of foreign submarines in Swedish waters in 1982-92.

The West claimed the vessels were all Soviet, probing the country’s defences. Tunander believes many were part of a CIA-run operation by Britain and America that continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“A lot of cold war intelligence operations were failures, but this one was a real success,” Tunander said.
He reached his conclusions after speaking to former Royal Navy submariners and CIA officials.

One British naval captain told him: “Margaret Thatcher signed approval for every single operation.”
One of the boats used was HMS Orpheus, a submarine kitted out for SBS operations.

Tunander said he had once sat next to a British admiral at dinner and questioned him about the operation. He replied that it was “none of my business”, Tunander said. “The admiral then added jokingly, ‘Don’t people fall under buses sometimes?’ ”

This weekend Sir Keith Speed, navy minister from 1979 to 1981, was asked if the missions had happened. He replied, “Yes,” but added: “I cannot say any more as I am bound by the Official Secrets Act until the day I die.”
Russian and Nato submarines were involved in some of the most aggressive clashes of the cold war as the Soviet Union examined the potential for controlling Scandinavia. This would have allowed it to outflank Nato armies in Germany and threaten Atlantic shipping.

The confrontation under Swedish waters came to light in 1981 when a Soviet Whiskey class submarine ran aground in an incident called “Whiskey on the Rocks”.

As late as 1988 Ingvar Carlsson, the Swedish prime minister, warned the USSR:

“Blood will flow. We will use all available methods . . . to sink the submarines . . . Our borders are holy.”
A senior Swedish source said the submarine incidents had been fully investigated and that Tunander’s claims were “completely untrue”.

Unleash NATO

By Gordon Prather
January 26, 2008
Courtesy Of:

Well, you have probably been wondering what prompted the Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff, General Yury Baluevsky, to announce last week that Russia was re-thinking its national security policy and that although

"We have no plans to attack anyone. But we consider it necessary for all our partners in the world community to clearly understand that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military force will be used – preemptively – including the use of nuclear weapons."
Perhaps it was the presentation just days before of a 150-page manifesto to the Pentagon in Washington and to NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, to be discussed at a NATO summit – to which Russia has "observer" status – in Bucharest in April.

An important conclusion of the manifesto is reported to be:

"The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the [NATO] quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."
The authors of the manifesto are reported to be (a) General John Shalikashvili, the former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Supreme NATO Supreme Commander, (b) German General Klaus Naumann, former Chairman of NATO's Military Committee, (c) General Henk van den Breemen, former Chief of Staff the Netherland's armed forces, (d) Admiral Jacques Lanxade, former French armed forces Chief of Staff, and (e) Lord Inge, former Chief of Staff of the British General Staff.

The NATO grand pooh-bahs have reportedly called for an overhaul of NATO decision-taking methods, and an end to "obstruction" of its decisions by the European Union and other international organizations.

In particular, NATO will henceforth use force whenever "immediate action is needed to protect large numbers of human beings," even if not authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

You see, ever since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, that pesky Security Council – with Russia and China having veto power – keeps getting in the way of the establishment by the neo-crazies of an American Hegemony.

In 1997, as a consequence of the positive reports made to the Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency and by the UN Special Commission on the destruction of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" programs, Russia and China attempted to get the Security Council to lift the sanctions imposed in 1991.

However, President Clinton made it clear that he didn't care whether Iraq had certifiably destroyed all its WMD or not, he would never allow the Security Council sanctions to be lifted so long as Saddam Hussein was in power. Then he bombed Baghdad.

And, as we now know, Lord Goldsmith, Prime Minister Blair's Attorney General, issued a formal opinion in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, that UN Security Council Resolution 1441 did not authorize the use of force against Iraq, that a second resolution – which would be adamantly opposed by Russia and China – would be necessary.

Finally we come to UNSCR 1747 of 24 March, 2007, which began with the Security Council first:

"Reaffirming its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the need for all States Party to that Treaty to comply fully with all their obligations, and recalling the right of States Party, in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination,"
but then proceeding to deny Iran all its NPT rights.

Furthermore, the Security Council "called" upon all States to deny Iran any and all items on the UN Register on Conventional Arms!

Here's what Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had to say [.pdf] when he was allowed to address the Security Council, after – of course – UNSCR 1747 had already passed.

"This is the fourth time in the last 12 months that in an unwarranted move, orchestrated by a few of its permanent members, the Security Council is being abused to take an unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable action against the peaceful nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which presents no threat to international peace and security and falls therefore outside the Council's Charter-based mandate.

"In order to give this scheme a semblance of international legitimacy, its initiators first manipulated the IAEA Board of Governor and – as they acknowledged themselves – "coerced" some of its members to vote against Iran in the Board, and then have taken advantage of their substantial economic and political power to pressure and manipulate the Security Council to adopt three unwarranted resolutions within 8 months.

"Undoubtedly, those resolutions cannot indicate universal acceptance, particularly when the heads of state of nearly two thirds of UN members, who belong to the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, supported Iran's positions as recently as September 2006 and expressed concern about policies pursued inside the Security Council.

"As an organ of an international Organization created by States, the Security Council is bound by law, and Member States have every right to insist that the Council keep within the powers that they accorded it under the Charter of the United Nations.

"The Security Council must exercise those powers consistently with the purposes and principles of the Charter.

"Equally, the measures it takes must be consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations and with other international law. Members of the Security Council do not have the right to undermine the Council's credibility.

"I ask you: Does the adoption of the present Resolution strengthen international peace and security? Does it augment the credibility of important international mechanisms such as the NPT, the IAEA and even this very Council?

"Does it enhance the confidence of countries and developing nations that they can attain their rights through these mechanisms and instruments?

"Certainly, the answer to all these questions is no."
Obviously the neo-crazies can never effect regime change in Iran – much less establish an American Hegemony – if they have to comply with such terms and conditions.

But, in 1999 the Security Council would not authorize President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair to attack Kosovo, so they turned to NATO.

Then, in 2001, because Russia and China did not object, the Security Council did authorize the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to invade Afghanistan and depose the Taliban, which had been protecting al-Qaeda.

Of course, things in Afghanistan have since gone from bad to worse for NATO, much worse.

What to do?

Well, put an end to "obstruction" by the United Nations and other pesky international organizations. Unleash NATO. Make "first use of nuclear weapons" the NATO "ultimate instrument."

That ought to do it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Operation Two-Fold: How The CIA Infiltrated The DEA

January 25, 2008
Courtesy Of:

The DEA and its predecessor federal drug law enforcement organizations have always been infiltrated and, to varying degrees, managed by America's intelligence agencies. The reason is simple enough: the US Government has been protecting its drug smuggling allies, especially in organized crime, since trafficking was first criminalized in 1914. Since then drug law enforcement has been a function of national security in its broadest sense; not just protecting our aristocracy from foreign enemies, but preserving the Establishment's racial, religious and class prerogatives.

The glitch in the system is that while investigating traffickers, federal drug agents are always unearthing the Establishment's ties to organized crime and its proxy drug syndicates. US intelligence and security agencies recognized this problem early in the early 1920s and to protect their Establishment patrons (and foreign and domestic drug smuggling allies fighting communists), they dealt with the problem by suborning well-placed drug law enforcement managers and agents.

They have other means at their disposal as well. In 1998, for example, in a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News, reporter Gary Webb claimed that the CIA had facilitated the flow of crack cocaine to street gangs in Los Angeles. After the Agency vehemently denied the allegations, Webb was denounced by the CIA's co-conspirators: the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Frightened into submission by the growls of its biggers and betters, the Mercury News retracted Webb's story and sent the reporter into internal exile. The CIA's Inspector General later admitted that Webb was partially right. But being unjustly discredited is the price one pays for tearing the mask off the world's biggest drug trafficker.

It's always been that way. Case in point: in 1960 MacMillan published Russ Koen's book The China Lobby. In it Koen said the Nationalist Chinese were smuggling narcotics into the US, "with the full knowledge and connivance" of their government in Taiwan. He said that "prominent Americans have participated and profited from these transactions." The idea of prominent Americans profiting from drug trafficking was unthinkable and quick as a flash, Harry J. Anslinger, the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), denounced Koen as a fraud. Within weeks Koen's book was remaindered into obscurity by MacMillan.

Professor Al McCoy's seminal book The Politics of Heroin, published in 1972, is another example. The CIA knew about McCoy's research and approached his publisher, demanding that it suppress the book on grounds of national security. Harper Row refused, but agreed to allow the CIA to review the book prior to publication. When McCoy objected, Harper Row said it would not publish the book unless McCoy submitted.

Examples of federal drug law enforcement's complicity with the CIA also abound and many are recounted in my first book on the subject, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1968. In my new book, The Strength of the Pack: The Politics, Espionage Intrigues, and Personalities that Defined the DEA, I explain how the CIA infiltrated the DEA and how, under CIA direction, the war on drugs became a template for the war on terror. One example shall be presented in this essay.

The Merry Pranksters:

My new book, Strength of the Pack, begins in April 1968, when, in the wake of a huge corruption scandal, the Johnson Administration folded the FBN into a new organization called the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD). Attorney General Ramsey Clark announced the appointment of thirty-eight year old John E. Ingersoll as the BNDD's director. In a letter to me Clark said that Ingersoll "offered a clean break with a past that had ended in corruption and, I hoped, a new progressive, scientific based approach to drug control in a time of deep social unrest."

Clark appointed Ingersoll while Johnson was president and after the elections, in an attempt to preempt the in-coming Nixon Administration, Clark held a news conference to proclaim the Johnson Administration's success in cleansing the BNDD of any lingering corruption. "32 Narcotics Agents Resign in Corruption Investigation Here," read the headline in the 14 December 1968 New York Times. Clark noted that five of the bad agents had been indicted, and that additional prosecutions and resignations would soon be forthcoming.

The Democrats had lost the election, largely because the "law and order" candidate Richard Nixon had promised to win the war on drugs. Ironically, once he was elected president, this vow would pit Nixon against the CIA, which was aiding and abetting the major politicians and generals commanding America's allies in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, many of whom were part of a huge Kuomintang drug smuggling network. In order to defeat the Communists, their drug smuggling activities had to be protected. But in order for Nixon to make good on his promise to win the war on drugs, they had to be stopped. Thus began the CIA's infiltration of the BNDD, and its struggle with Nixon's anti-Establishment, felonious minions for control over targeting of major traffickers as a mean of managing the war on drugs.

BNDD Director John Ingersoll was totally unprepared for the political tug-of-war he found himself in the midst of. He had joined the Oakland police department in 1956, serving as a motorcycle cop and later as an administrative assistant to the chief. In the mid-1960s he became the police chief in Charlotte, North Carolina where he earned a reputation as a straight arrow and fighter against corruption. But within a year of taking control of the BNDD, Ingersoll realized he was no match for the wily federal drug agents he inherited. They were a cunning and dangerous wolf pack, and the organization's top officials were among the worst offenders.

As one agent explains, "Most were corrupted by the lure of the underworld. They thought they could check their morality at the door--go out and lie, cheat, and steal--then come back and retrieve it. But you can't. In fact, if you're successful because you can lie, cheat, and steal, those things become tools you use in the bureaucracy. You're talking about guys whose lives depended on their ability to be devious and who become very good at it. So these people became the bosses. Meanwhile the agents were losing their simplicity in subtle ways."

Ingersoll knew this, but he was also aware of the high priority Nixon placed on winning the war on drugs. Rather than generate a scandal, Ingersoll decided to go outside of the organization, to the CIA, for help in quietly rooting out corruption. The 1975 Rockefeller Commission Report On CIA Activities Within The United States stated that the joint CIA-BNDD anti-corruption program began when Ingersoll became "vitally" concerned that some of his employees might have been corrupted by drug traffickers. Lacking the necessary security apparatus to expunge these corrupt agents, Ingersoll in early 1970 asked the Director of Central Intelligence, Richard Helms, for help building a "counter-intelligence" capacity. The request was "apparently" supported by President Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell.

The man Ingersoll appointed chief inspector of BNDD, Patrick Fuller, had served with IRS investigations for nearly 20 years in California. Fuller was Ingersoll's close friend, but apart from that, he was incapable of mounting internal security investigations against federal drug agents. When Ingersoll proposed that they turn to the CIA, Fuller readily agreed.

The plan, known as Operation Twofold, involved the hiring of CIA officers to spy on ranking BNDD officials suspected of corrupt practices, past and present. As Pat Fuller recalls, "We recruited the CIA officers for BNDD through a proprietary company. A corporation engaged in law enforcement hired research consultants, and three CIA officers posing as private businessmen were hired to do the contact and interview work."

The principle recruiter was Jerry Soul, assisted by CIA officers John F Murnane, Joseph Cruciani, and Chick Barquin. Then a personnel officer at CIA headquarters, Soul had managed Cuban exiles during the Bay of Pigs invasion, and later directed the CIA's exile Cuban mercenary army and air force in the Congo.

Apart from one exile Cuban, the CIA officers hired for Operation Twofold were, typically, Anglo paramilitary officers whose careers had stalled due to the gradual reduction of CIA forces in Vietnam and Laos. Those hired were put through the BNDD training course and assigned by Fuller to spy on a particular regional director and his trusted subordinates.

According to Fuller, no records were kept and some participants will never be identified because they were "cut-outs" who never went to a BNDD office, but spied from afar and reported clandestinely. Some were not even known to Fuller. All were supposed to be sent overseas but most remained in the US.

Much of Twofold remains a mystery because, as the Rockefeller Commission reported, it "violated the 1947 Act which prohibits the CIA's participation in law enforcement activities."
No one was ever prosecuted.

Twofold Case Studies:

Twofold was aimed at the BNDD's top managers. One target was Joseph J. Baca, the assistant Regional Director in Los Angeles. The cousin of a top Mexican cop, Baca in July 1969 was charged by the New Mexico State Police with trafficking in drugs and stolen property. He was accused of arranging burglaries and holdups, and allegedly sold heroin to a drug smuggler. But the local investigations were closed without any adverse action against Baca, so Twofold torpedo Charles "Chuck" Gutensohn was asked to investigate.

Gutensohn had served with the Special Forces in South Vietnam. He left the army in 1964, earned a college degree, and in 1968 joined the CIA. For the next two years, Gutensohn served in Pakse, Laos, one of the major drug transit points between the Golden Triangle and Saigon. He had drug experience and upon returning to the US, Gutensohn was given the choice of being the CIA's liaison to the BNDD in Laos, or joining Twofold. Gutensohn's brother Joel, also a Vietnam veteran, had joined the Twofold program six months earlier in Chicago. That being the case, Chuck joined too.

"After meeting with Jerry Soul," Gutensohn recalls, "I met Fuller at a hotel near Tyson's Corner. He said that when we communicated, I was to be known as Leo Adams, for Los Angeles. He was to be Walter De Carlo, for Washington, DC."

Fuller recruited Gutensohn and the other CIA officers because they did not have to be trained in the "tradecraft skills" required for the job of spying on their bosses. But Gutensohn's cover was blown before he got to LA. As he recalls, "Someone at headquarters was talking and everyone knew. About a month after I arrived, one of the agents said to me, "I hear that Pat Fuller signed your credentials."

A similar situation occurred in Miami, where Fuller's targets were Regional Director Ben Theisen and Group Supervisor Pete Scrocca. Terry Burke, who would cap his career as the DEA's acting administrator in 1990, was one of the Twofold agents assigned to investigate Theisen and Scrocca. Tall and handsome, Burke's background is fascinating. After serving as a Marine guard at the US Embassy in Rome, he joined the CIA and served as a paramilitary officer in Laos from 1963-1965, working for legendary CIA officer Tony Poshepny at the 118A base near Ban Houei Sai--the epicenter of the Golden Triangle's opium and heroin trade. Burke received the CIA's highest award, the Intelligence Star, for gallantry in combat in Laos. He served his next tour in the Philippines but in 1969 was assigned to a dead-end job at CIA headquarters. Knowing his career had stalled, Burke contacted a friend from Italy, Customs Agent Fred Cornetta. Then the agent in charge at Dulles airport, Cornetta persuaded Burke to join the BNDD.

Burke applied and was hired in December 1970. Fuller recruited him into the Twofold operation and assigned him to Pete Scrocca's group. But instead of spying on his new colleagues, Burke set about proving that he was tough and smart enough to work "undercover cases on bad guys with shotguns in motel rooms." Burke never sent any negative reports to Fuller, and Theisen and Scrocca eventually accepted him.

Gutensohn and Burke's experience was not unusual, and Twofold never resulted in a single dismissal of any corrupt BNDD agent. The astonishing reason for this is quite simple. Little did Ingersoll or Fuller know that the CIA never initiates a program unless it is deniable and has "intelligence potential."

Twofold conformed to these criteria: it was deniable because it was, ostensibly, a BNDD program; and it had intelligence potential in so far as it was perfectly suited for Angletonian style "operations within operations."

As the BNDD's chief inspector Pat Fuller told me, "There was another operation even I didn't know about. Why don't you find out who set that one up, and why?"

Boxes Within Boxes:

Well, I did find out about this operation. Quite by accident, while interviewing a DEA agent in Miami, I was introduced to Joseph C DiGennaro, a member of the CIA's secret facet of Operation Twofold, its unilateral drug operations unit.

Hidden behind Fuller's "inspections" program, the purpose of the CIA's unilateral drug unit was to identify drug-dealers worldwide, and selectively kidnap and/or assassinate them.

As DiGennaro explains, his entry into the program began when an eminent surgeon, a family friend, suggested that he apply for a job with the BNDD. Then working as a stockbroker in New York City, DiGennaro in August 1971 met Fuller at a Howard Johnson's near the Watergate complex. Fuller told him that if he took the Twofold job, he would be given the code name Novo Yardley. The code name was based on DiGennaro's posting in New York, and a play on the name of the famous American spy, Herbert Yardley.

DiGennaro took the job and was sent to a CIA security officer to obtain the required clearances. That's when he was told that he and several other recruits were being "spun-off" from Fuller's inspection program into the CIA's unilateral "operational" program. He was told that he had been selected because he had a black belt in Karate and the uncanny ability to remember lists and faces. The background check took 14 months, during which time DiGennaro received intensive combat and tradecraft training. In October 1972 he was sent to BNDD regional headquarters in New York and, as a cover, was assigned to a compliance group that mostly inspected pharmacies. His paychecks came from official BNDD funds, though the program was funded by the CIA through the Department of Interior's Bureau of Mines. The program had been authorized by the "appropriate" Congressional committee.

DiGennaro's special group was managed by the CIA's Special Operations Division (then under Evan Parker, first director of the CIA's Phoenix Program) in conjunction with the military, which provided assets within foreign military services to keep ex-filtration routes open. Ex-filtration routes were air corridors and roads. The military also cleared air space when captured suspects were brought into the US. DiGennaro spent most of his time on operations in South America, but served in Lebanon and other places too.

Within the CIA's special anti-drug unit, which numbered about 40 men, were experts in printing, forgery, maritime operations, and telecommunications. The operatives knew one another by first name only. DiGennaro, however, was aware that other BNDD agents, including Joseph Salm and Paul Seema, were in the program. No one else in the BNDD, however, knew about the program. When the call to duty came, DiGennaro would check with Fuller and then take sick time or annual leave to go on missions. There were lots of missions. As his group leader in New York, Joe Quarequio, told me: "Joey was never in the office."

The job was tracking down, kidnapping, and if they resisted, killing drug dealers. The violence was the result of the "limited window of opportunity" needed to get the job done. Due to the need for plausible deniability, there was minimal contact with the American Embassy where the mission was conducted. DiGennaro had "a Guardian Angel" who "assembled intelligence, developed routines, and contacted informants." But the host country and its uniformed police and military services were rarely aware of his presence, and there was little coordination with the local BNDD outpost.
The operations were extremely dangerous. As DiGennaro recalls, "There was a case in Colombia. There was seventy-two to ninety-six hours to get it done. I was flown to Colombia where I contacted my Guardian Angel. He had paid someone off and that someone had led him to a cocaine lab. The operators of the lab had been surveilled and followed to their hideout. In order to capture them, we had to work with a local military unit, which we contacted by two-way radio. In this particular instance, someone intercepted the call, and the next thing we know there's a woman on the radio alerting the suspects. She was an agent of the traffickers inside the local military unit. We hear her screaming at the soldiers. Then she's shot. We didn't know who she was calling," he continues, "so we had to leapfrog by helicopter and military truck to where we thought the subjects were. That time we happened to be right. We got the violators back to the United States. They were incapacitated by drugs and handcuffed in various men's' rooms in Chicago and Miami."

As one DEA Agent recalls, "We'd get a call that there was 'a present' waiting for us on the corner of 116th St and Sixth Avenue. We'd go there and find some guy who'd been indicted in the Eastern District of New York, handcuffed to a telephone pole. We'd take him to a safe house for questioning and, if possible, turn him into an informer. Sometimes we'd have him in custody for months. But what did he know?" If you're a Colombian or a Corsican drug dealer in Argentina, and a few guys with police credentials arrest you, how do you know it's a CIA operation?
Expendable operative DiGennaro did not see the management apparatus that was directing him. He never knew much about the people the CIA unit was snatching and snuffing either; only that people were prosecuted and that defendants screamed.

DiGennaro's last operation in 1977 involved the recovery of a satellite that had fallen into a drug dealer's hands. By then he had all the CIA tradecraft skills required to fly solo; he learned who owned satellite, negotiated for it in good faith, and purchased it back on the black market. Such was the extent of the "parallel mechanism" the CIA had with the BNDD; a mechanism the CIA obviously used not only for anti-drug purposes, but for counter-terror reasons as well.


By 1977, some 125 "former" CIA officers had been infiltrated into the DEA at every level of the organization, especially in intelligence units, making everything possible--from black market arms exchanges, to negotiations with terrorists, to political assassination. It also put the CIA in total control of targeting.
However, as the CIA's influence became pervasive, more and more DEA agents felt its adverse impact on their cases.

First the CIA demanded a list of all overseas DEA informants, as well as copies of all its intelligence reports. They got both. Next they began recruiting traffickers the DEA was working on. These recruits were subtracted from the DEA target list. In Chile in 1973, for example, the CIA allowed five drug traffickers to leave the soccer stadium in Santiago where dissidents were being tortured en masse. These traffickers fled to Colombia where they helped form the cartel that would eventually supplied crack cocaine to street gangs in Los Angles, through other CIA assets in Latin America.
As one DEA agent puts it, "The relationship between the CIA and DEA was not as it was originally intended. The CIA does not belong in any type of law enforcement activity, unless it can result in a conviction. Which it rarely does. They should only be supportive, totally."
In February 1977, as he was about to resign in dismay, this agent and a group of other senior DEA officials felt compelled to document a litany of CIA misdeeds.

The CIA was causing so many problems that in early 1977, outgoing Assistant Administrator for Enforcement Dan Casey sent a three page, single-spaced memorandum to DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger expressing his concern "over the role presently being played by the CIA relative to the gathering of operational intelligence abroad." Signing off on the memo were six enforcement division chiefs. "All were unanimous in their belief that present CIA programs were likely to cause serious future problems for DEA, both foreign and domestic." Unilateral CIA programs in foreign countries were a "potential source of conflict and embarrassment and which may have a negative impact on the overall U.S. narcotic reduction effort."

He referenced specific incidents, citing CIA electronic surveillance and the fact that the CIA "will not respond positively to any discovery motion." Casey foresaw more busted cases and complained that "Many of the subjects who appear in these CIA promoted or controlled surveillances regularly travel to the United States in furtherance of their trafficking activities."

The "de facto immunity" from prosecution enables the CIA assets to "operate much more openly and effectively."

Casey was especially upset that the CIA demanded that DEA provide telephone numbers for its operations. "This practice is most disturbing because, in effect, it puts DEA in the position of determining which violators will be granted a de facto immunity." Considering the seriousness of the problem, he recommended that "all DEA support for CIA electronic surveillance be suspended at once."

He asked DDEA Administrator Peter Bensinger to insist that the CIA adhere to guidelines set by the Carte White House Domestic Council, which limited the CIA to gathering strategic intelligence. He advised that DEA personnel not request CIA support "which might end to prejudice the domestic prosecution of any drug trafficker."

Alas, Bensinger suffered the CIA at the expense of the DEA's integrity. He ignored Casey and his division chiefs. The Strength of the Pack features examples of how this accommodation with the CIA emasculated the DEA.

One major example is the CIA's Contra Connection, as revealed by Gary Webb. There is also the fact that Manuel Noriega was a CIA asset and that his DEA file was destroyed by CIA infiltrators, paving the way for the invasion of Panama.

There was also the Pan Am 103 case in December 1988, in which a bomb was planted by enemy agents who had penetrated a protected CIA drug ring, which was making a "controlled delivery."
This huge crack in the CIA's protective shield led to the formation of the CIA's Counter-Narcotics Center, and business continued as usual.

In December 1989, as reported in the 4 May 1990 issue of Newsday, "a small US special operations team both planned and carried" out a raid that resulted in the death of drug lord Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, his 17 year old son, and several bodyguards. Pablo Escobar in 1994 was similarly assassinated by a CIA led execution squad.

The Gacha and Escobar hits, and many more like them which the public knows little or nothing about, are extrapolations of those performed by Joey DiGennaro. And the beat goes on.

Shortly after he resigned in 1993, DEA chief Robert Bonner revealed that the CIA in 1990 had shipped a ton of pure cocaine to Miami from its Counter Narcotic Center warehouse in Venezuela. The Orwellian "controlled delivery" was accidentally lost.

With Bush's war on terror, the situation has only gotten worse. In Afghanistan and South West Asia, the DEA is entirely infiltrated and controlled by the CIA and military. DEA headquarters is basically an adjunct of the Oval Office. And the Establishment continues to keep the lid on the story.

After sending my manuscript to two reviewers--one with CIA connections, the other with DEA connections--my publisher has stopped communicating with me. I think my editor just wants me to go away.

One can only wonder how deeply America will descend into this vortex of fear and subservience to state security before it vanishes altogether.
Douglas Valentine is the author of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and TDY. His fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1968, which received the Choice Academic Excellence Award and is being published in Russia. The sequel, The Strength of the Pack, is being published by University Press of Kansas in 2008. For information about Mr. Valentine, and his books and articles, please visit his web sites at and