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SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT ON SANCTIONS [19-25/11/00] * U.S., Russia work for Afghanistan sanctions * Afghanistan: the way out * US, Russia face opposition to extra Afghan sanctions * US stance on Osama is not tenable * US imposes missile sanctions on Pakistan * Lockerbie prosecution leaves a 'gaping hole' * U.S. threatens sanctions against Russia [for arms sales to Iran] * Russia ignores US warnings of sanctions over Iran http://www.miamiherald.com/content/today/news/world/digdocs/087386.htm * U.S., Russia work for Afghanistan sanctions by Jonathan S. Landay Miami Herald, 19th November WASHINGTON The United States is working with Russia to toughen U.N. sanctions on Afghanistan¹s ruling Taliban militia for refusing to extradite Islamic extremist Osama bin Laden. Proposals being quietly discussed in the U.N. Security Council include an arms embargo on the Taliban, the closure of its offices outside Afghanistan and a ban on the sale of fuel used by the militia for military purposes, said U.S. officials involved in the effort who asked to remain anonymous. Another proposal would severely restrict countries from issuing visas to Taliban officials. The push by the United States and Russia for new sanctions reflects deepening worries over training and arms that bin Laden is providing to anti-U.S. terrorists and Islamic guerrillas threatening stability in central and south Asia, the U.S. officials said. At a time when the United States and Russia are divided over many issues, they have found common cause in the threats they both fear from Afghanistan. Ironically, they fought each other in a proxy war in Afghanistan for nearly a decade, and Russia has opposed U.S. efforts to isolate other countries that worry Washington Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya. Deliberations on new sanctions took on new urgency after the Oct. 12 bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden. A radical Egyptian Islamic group led by bin Laden¹s chief lieutenant is the main suspect in the attack on the destroyer that killed 17 U.S. sailors, U.S. officials say, while conceding they have no evidence directly implicating bin Laden himself. ``The bottom line here is that the Taliban continue to provide sanctuary and safe haven to bin Laden, his leadership and the training camps that [bin Laden] is running where jihadis [Islamic militants] from around the world come to train,¹¹ said one American official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Taliban insist that bin Laden is not involved in terrorist activities and deny that Afghanistan is hosting training camps for foreign Islamic guerrillas. Not so, said Michael Sheehan, head of the State Department¹s Office of Counter-Terrorism. Bin Laden remains ``an active threat to the U.S.,¹¹ he said. U.S. officials hope the Security Council will pass a resolution incorporating all or some of the proposed new sanctions before President Clinton leaves office on Jan. 20. The Security Council first imposed sanctions on the Taliban last November for refusing to extradite bin Laden for trial on charges he orchestrated the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed more than 220 people. The U.N. body froze the militia¹s foreign assets and banned international flights by Ariana, Afghanistan¹s national airline. The Taliban has held talks with U.S. officials, but has refused to turn over bin Laden. Bin Laden is the scion of a wealthy Saudi family who helped recruit Arabs to fight with U.S.-backed Afghan guerrillas against the 1979-89 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. >From Afghanistan he is said to oversee ``al Qaeda¹¹ (The Base), a loose amalgam of Afghan war >veterans and Muslim radicals bent on driving U.S. forces out of the Persian Gulf and replacing >secular rulers in the Muslim world with Islamic regimes. The Taliban insist that bin Laden is a guest under their tribal code of hospitality. They also say his activities are tightly restricted and that the United States has failed to provide proof of his complicity in the East Africa bombings or other anti-U.S. terrorist acts. A New York-based Taliban spokesman, Abdul Hakim Mujahid, warned that new sanctions would do nothing but exacerbate his country¹s humanitarian woes. ``We are not afraid of this kind of negative pressure,¹¹ said Mujahid, who reiterated the Taliban¹s willingness to resolve the issue through negotiations with the United States. ``Pressure and power will not give positive results.¹¹ The proposed new sanctions were discussed last month in Moscow between senior U.S. and Russian officials who have formed a working group to coordinate policies toward Afghanistan, including counter-terrorism cooperation, U.S. officials said. Washington is not just frustrated with the Taliban¹s refusal to turn over bin Laden, but is irate over the militia¹s failure to halt what it says are his continuing terrorist activities, including a foiled plot to kill U.S. tourists in Jordan last year. Both the United States and Russia are concerned about alleged support the Taliban and bin Laden are providing to Muslim rebels in the northern Indian state of Kashmir. http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/20/op.htm#2 * Afghanistan: the way out by Tanvir Ahmad Khan Dawn (Pakistan), 20th November THE principal actors involved one way or the other in the Afghan imbroglio continue to allow their policy towards this protracted conflict to be shaped by exaggerated fears and concerns aroused by the Taliban. Since the Taliban lack the capability to project their power beyond their own country and cannot threaten their neighbours in any credible sense, the anxiety about them is often a self-serving veneer behind which the regional states continue to pursue their ambition to bring Afghanistan into their own specific sphere of influence. Inasmuch as it prolongs the internal strife and retards the process of state formation in that ravaged land, this interventionist policy is counter-productive. The less the attributes of a properly organized state in Afghanistan, the greater is the danger of its sprawling mountains and valleys providing a safe haven to activities prejudicial to its own stability as well as the long term interests of outside powers. Conversely, an acceptance of Afghanistan as a bona fide state engaged in picking up the pieces after a devastating foreign invasion would enhance the right of the international community to expect observance of international norms of inter-state and the treatment of the state¹s subjects in the light of the developing international human rights law. The Taliban cannot be absolved of their share of responsibility in the collapse of initiatives, such as the Ashkabad accord, for terminating the armed conflict on the basis of a power sharing formula. But the principal cause of the prolongation of civil war remains the desire of outside actors to determine its outcome through military means. From the perspective of the Taliban, the conflict continues because of far too heavy an investment by neighbouring states, especially Iran and the Russian Federation, in the military capability of the armed groups resisting the Taliban effort to re-unify the country within its recognized international borders. The Taliban have repeatedly disavowed any intention of taking their struggle beyond these frontiers. It should be no surprise that the Taliban counter all attempts to roll them back militarily by intensifying their own campaigns of conquest. As fighting gets closer to the Amu Darya, and the province of Badakhshan becomes vulnerable to a Taliban advance, the question of Afghanistan¹s relations with the neighbouring states acquires greater urgency. The post Soviet states on the other side of the river are fully entitled to coalitions of interest and policy to resist any inroads by the Taliban. But it would be a violation of international law if this concern translates into unprovoked-armed intervention in Afghanistan. Regrettably this is exactly what is being threatened time and again. There is renewed talk in Russia of crippling the Taliban military capability through attacks on their bases. Earlier this year, in a Russian version of a Kosovo-type aerial war, a Russian spokesman had stated on May 22 that Russia would be willing to launch long-range bombing strikes on targets in Afghanistan if the Taliban continued to aid the Chechens. The Taliban denied the allegation the following day but only to prompt another statement, this time from the Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, to the effect that any action was possible if a potential threat arose from the Taliban. Confronted with such warnings, the Taliban can only react by reminding the world that in case of outside attacks, the conflict could spill over international borders. Washington was expected to pursue a more nuanced policy because of its superior knowledge of the dynamics of Islamist movements in Afghanistan as well as of its more extensive experience of how extremism of the Afghan variety could be modulated. Unfortunately, the US returns to constructive engagement¹ only after a wasteful resort to strong-armed tactics. Afghanistan¹s case got greatly compounded by Washington¹s compulsion to showcase the battle against terrorism. Taliban¹s perception of a state of siege by a hostile superpower would only increase their dependence upon sources of strength like Osama bin Laden, not diminish it. The rest of the US agenda, particularly the questions of drug exports and human rights (including the gender issues), would also be better served if Afghanistan would become an organized nation state. Under threats of attacks by the United States and Russia, the Taliban will continue to be a poorly defined militant movement and, worse still, a lashkar¹ confronting the lashkars¹ of the so-called Northern Alliance that continue to be equipped and financed by outside powers. What kind of transformation in Afghanistan should the international community, and in particular the regional states, desire to restore normalcy in Afghanistan? First, the preservation of its territorial integrity is a geo-political imperative. A three-way fragmentation of the country would have consequences even more grave than the three-way split of Iraq threatened by similar policies of exclusion and hostility. It is, therefore, of paramount importance to reinforce trends conducive to the rehabilitation of the Afghan state. Secondly, the quest for a peaceful solution should be intensified. The New York meeting of Six plus two earlier this month raises hope on two counts. One, the belligerents have reassured the UN of their willingness to participate in a dialogue to seek a peaceful settlement without interruption unless the negotiation agenda to be agreed by the two sides is exhausted¹. This commitment may well reflect a sober realization by the warring parties of the limitations of military option. The anti-Taliban forces might well have concluded that, notwithstanding Ahmad Shah Massoud¹s intention of re-opening the Taoulqan routes of foreign military assistance through a future offensive, no significant reversal of the Taliban control of 90 per cent of the country was on the cards. On their part, the Taliban might well have understood that even the capture of Badakhshan at a high cost dictated by its terrain would not bring a genuine pacification of their motherland. This may be the right moment to maintain the momentum of an uninterrupted dialogue. Third, the multi-dimensional challenge of reconstruction in Afghanistan needs to be taken up much more earnestly both for humanitarian reasons and as the best strategy to make the world a safer place. Before the Russians brutalized Afghanistan the dominant themes that people like me used to hear in Kabul were the opening of a new era of cooperation with Pakistan and Iran, the replication of the success of the US-aided Helmand Valley Project, the exploitation of the Hajikak iron ore and intensified exploration for oil and gas and the Afghan discovery of their penchant for trading. It is difficult but not impossible to revive that economic agenda Fourth, there is no denying that the Taliban enforce an interpretation of Islam, which is neither authentic nor defensible. It comes from a narrow band of Madrassas with a mediaeval curriculum and gets reinforced as much by tribal codes as military necessity perceived by an army of volunteers seeking a forced re-unification of their divided country. Two totally opposite examples - the horror of religious revival in the Kemalist ruling elite of Turkey and continued resistance to much-needed reforms in the post-Khomeini Iran-remind us that the doctrinaire rigidity of revolutionary movements takes a long time to soften and mellow. The dynamics of change have to come from within and the outsiders can do no more than encourage a desirable transformation. If the US Congress thinks that a royalist Loya Jirga can put the clock back to an earlier modernist¹ era of Zahir Shah and Moosa Shafiq, it is sadly mistaken. Policy-makers in Pakistan face considerable pressure from the United Statesdriven by its anti-terrorist (read Osama bin Laden) policy, and from a considerable section of our intelligentsia, beset with an increasing fear of the impact of the Taliban on our own polity. It is, indeed, incumbent upon the Pakistan government to develop effective strategies to safeguard our progressive heritage of Islam, partly by pursuing the present policy of reforming Madrassa education. Pakistan may also be vexed by the greatly diminished international assistance for Afghan refugees and by some negative implications of the transit trade. But none of these factors reduces the pre-eminence of our strategic compulsions in a basically hostile environment. This would mean that we do not overload the bilateral dialogue with heavy ideological pre conditions. It is possible to deliver a strong message about terrorism, drug trade and interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring states, including Pakistan itself, without becoming joining the camp of those who seek to impose an externally determined regime on Afghanistan. In the context of Afghanistan, Pakistan still has some capital of trust available for playing a constructive role. It should be used to promote better understanding between the Kabul regime on the one hand and Iran and the post-Soviet states on the other. It is a question of co-existence and mutually agreed cooperation and not of converting one another to specific perceptions of Islam. The Taliban are not primarily an evangelist movement and in this sense they are very different from the first wave of Iran¹s Islamic revolutionaries. They should be helped to understand that because of the history of the last eighty years, the Central Asian States have to address the Islamic question in their own way. In the fullness of time a shared Islamic discourse may emerge but it would be considerably different from our present definitions. The task would become easier if the regional Muslim states transcend antagonisms and replace rivalry by enhanced cooperation in as many fields as feasible. The regional states need to develop a better grasp of opportunities that would become available as and when Afghanistan can consolidate itself into a secure and self-assured state accepted by the international community. http://independent-bangladesh.com/news/nov/20/20112000ap.htm#A1 * US, Russia face opposition to extra Afghan sanctions Bangladeshi Independent, 20th November ISLAMABAD, Nov 19: A debate is underway in the United Nations about the use of economic sanctions against poor countries such as Afghanistan, with a review of existing curbs raising doubts about their effectiveness, reports AFP.Washington and Moscow want up to four ³non-economic sanctions² added to the current restrictions on Afghanistan¹s Taliban regime but are struggling to convince Europe and the United Nations¹ humanitarian wing, diplomats said.The review comes a year after the UN imposed aviation and financial curbs on the fundamentalist Islamic regime for its refusal to extradite indicted terrorist Osama bin LadenUN officials said the issue was raised at a recent Security Council meeting, where UN Coordinator for Afghanistan Eric de Mul, based here in the Pakistani capital, spoke of the likely impact of more sanctions. The UN¹s humanitarian office for Afghanistan, also based here, is compiling an assessment of the first year of sanctions in Afghanistan, a country wracked by 21 years of war and a severe drought which has hit half the population.A draft copy of the report, obtained from non-governmental organisations here, acknowledges ³concern² about ³possible conflicts between international political objectives pursued through sanctions and humanitarian objectives...²²In particular, the high profile of the debate surrounding the impact of the sanctions on Iraq has prompted calls for more rigour in assessing and off-setting adverse humanitarian effects,² it said. The report said ³no poor country has ever been sanctioned the way Afghanistan has.²² Afghanistan is unique in being a low-income country, and facing United Nations economic measures with no prospect of a rapid resolution of the dispute or a military intervention similar to that in Haiti. ³In this sense the Afghan people are the most vulnerable population which has been subject to United Nations economic measures.² As well as a US investment ban in Taliban-controlled areas, amounting to some 90 percent of the country, the UN has also banned international flights by the state-run Ariana Airlines and frozen the Taliban¹s overseas assets.²There is evidence that the Taliban have been able to accommodate themselves to sanctions, mitigating or directly evading their impact on the movement, its military and administration,² the draft report said.On the other hand, it said ordinary Afghans had no means to escape the continuing degradation of the economy and its humanitarian side-effects such as lost incomes and opportunities, potentially higher crime rates and a powerful sense of isolation and victimisation.²Afghans have little capacity to cope with further economic shocks ... There is almost no support within Afghanistan for further economic sanctions,² it said. ³Non-economic sanctions² being considered include an arms embargo, a travel ban on Taliban officials, the closure of their foreign offices and targeted assets seizures.Of those, only the arms embargo received broad support from the Afghans consulted for the UN review, despite its limited chances of effectively stopping weapons crossing the country¹s porous borders.The United States and Russia, which blames the Taliban for helping Islamic militants fight in Chechnya, are believed to be in favour of all four options. ³The United States and Russia are totally in synch in terms of a radical reaction against the Taliban,² one European diplomat told AFP here, adding that a decision from the Security Council was expected by the end of the year.In contrast, some European governments were willing to support nothing more than an arms embargo and specific financial measures against bin Laden, he said.²The Taliban have to be able to travelwe have to be able to have a dialogue with them,² he said, referring to the proposed curbs on overseas trips and representation. http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/21/op.htm#4 * US stance on Osama is not tenable by Israrul Haque Dawn, 21st November ROBERT D. Kaplan, who visited Pakistan in April last, in his article says ³people are naming their new-borns, Osama, throughout the tribal belt in Pakistan because to them he presents an Islamic David against a global American Goliath. To the poor, Osama embodies an idea that only strict Islam has the power to vanquish the advancing materialism². This has now also become true of the rest of the Islamic world which is seething with hatred and disaffection against the US for aiding and abating the Israeli intransigence and highhandedness in Palestine. In Palestine a Jihad has already been triggered off by Sharon entering into the holy precincts of the Al-Aqsa mosque accompanied by huge number of Israeli soldiers. Insult was added to the injury when the American Congress passed a resolution by an overwhelming majority lending its outright support to Israel and denouncing Arafat and the Palestinians. It was preceded by Hillary Clinton returning the election donation of the American Muslims because they had sympathized with the Palestinians. Anger and antagonism against the US is so intense and widespread in the Islamic world that the US had to shut down its embassies in 28 Islamic countries for fear of reprisals and it had to put on high alert its forces in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia against an anti American uprising. By insisting on the handing over of Osama, and by asking Afghanistan to face air raids in case of non-compliance of its demand, the US is in fact challenging the whole of the Islamic world already antagonized and angered by its cuddling up Israel. Extradition of offenders is governed by international law and by extradition treaties between nations. According to Fenwich, an eminent authority on international law, the principles and procedure of extradition run as follows: ³request for extradition of fugitive criminals are presented though the diplomatic representative resident in the foreign state. Upon receiving request the foreign government institutes a judicial investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence in accordance with the local law to warrant apprehension of the fugitive. If as a result of this investigation there is prima facie evidence of guilt, the fugitive is thereupon surrendered. In general the crime must be one with respect to which there is general agreement among civilized nations as to definition, the kind and amount of evidence to be adduced as proof and punishment assigned to the offence. In the notorious case of Samuel Insull, the Chicago banker whose extradition from Greece was requested by the US for the offence of ³embezzlement and larceny² the Greek court twice held that the allegation could not be proved and accordingly the court released the prisoner. Not only there is no extradition treaty between the US and Afghanistan but the US even does not recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan which controls 95 per cent of the Afghan territory and where Osama is staying as a guest. The US still recognizes the Rabbani government as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. But even if the US recognized the Taliban government and their existed extradition treaties between the US and Afghanistan, the US under international law could not have the extradition of Osama. It would have been required to adduce evidence against Osama and the government of Afghanistan would have been competent under international law to have the evidence tested out judicially to satisfy itself if Osama¹s extradition was warranted by the existing extradition and further whether or not Osama could get full justice in the US or in the country where the trial was to be held. The US, despite Afghanistan¹s persistent plea for an evidence against Osama, has failed to produce and instead it resorted to a missile attack against Afghanistan in an attempt to force it to hand over Osama. It may be recalled that there is an extradition treaty between the US and Pakistan and by invoking this treaty the US has obtained the extradition of Ramzi and Kansi from Pakistan. As against that Pakistan¹s demand for the extradition of a number of its own nationals now residing in the US or since having acquired US citizenship against whom Pakistan has adduced full and convincing evidence of their being involved in heinous cases of corruption as well as in looting and plundering the country but the US has been procrastinating upon it on the pretext of completing the legal process of extradition. The US has also made it known to Pakistan that it is for the US legal dependent to satisfy itself that the extradition of the accused persons are really warranted in terms of the existing extradition treaty. This procrastination over extradition demanded by Pakistan stands in flagrant contrast to the extradition of Ramzi and Kansi carried out almost for the mere asking of the US without giving a chance to the accused persons to make their submission before competent courts, and have the merit of the US demand judged by these courts. It is learnt that judicial officers were summoned to the Ministry concerned at Islamabad and were asked to fulfil the judicial formality of extradition without affording due opportunity to the accused persons to defend themselves. The UN Charter in its preamble provides for ³the equal rights of men and women and of the nations large and small². Further the Charter by its Article 2, clause 1 lays down that the ³organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members - the United States in flagrant violation of the UN Charter obtained the extradition of Ramzi and Kansi from Pakistan without due legal process of law. But when Pakistan demanded extradition of certain accused persons residing in the US it preferred to consider it for a long time on the pretext of completing the legal process. Again in flagrant violation of the UN Charter, the US has arrogated to itself the exclusive power to take necessary measures including the use of force whenever in its opinion its vital interests are challenged or threatened, without invoking the option of utilising the good offices of the UN. The US accordingly has declared that Osama was responsible for the bombing of its embassies in Nairobi and Darrel Salaam without disclosing the evidence and has been demanding his extradition and maintaining a threatening posture towards Afghanistan. In accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution of 1985 on international terrorism, the armed struggle or insurgency against colonialism, wrongful occupation, exploitation and oppression has been excluded from the purview of international terrorism. Hence even if it is proved that Osama has been helping such armed struggle or insurgencies, he can¹t be dubbed as a terrorist. How much reliance can be placed on the so-called evidence that the US claims to have in its possession against Osama? The US mounted a wanton air attack on a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum on the pretext that chemical weapons were being produced there with the investment from Osama. It was no less a person than the former president of the US Jimmy Carter who revealed in course of an interview that when he inquired from an assistant secretary of state if there was any evidence of chemical weapons being produced in that plant the assistant secretary replied there was no evidence except for strong allegations. Subsequently the US officials too conceded that their information about the pharmaceutical plant producing chemical weapons with investment by Osama was not correct. Carter is on record to have observed: ³I think there is too much of an inclination in the country to look on Muslims as inherently terrorists or inherently against the West.² Clinton attacked Iraq killing innocent people in retaliation of the Iraq¹s alleged failed attempt on the life of former President Bush during his visit to Kuwait. Seymour Hersh a Pulitzer Winning investigation reporter found the allegation without any foundation. A British judge in Birmingham case ruled that three British policemen accused of lying to secure the conviction of six persons in a guerilla bomb attack case could never receive a fair trail because of the heavy publicity. This observation shows that the police even in the advanced countries of the West like Great Britain can forge evidence to obtain conviction in guerilla bombing case. The above judicial observation further shows that justice can¹t be done in a heavily publicised case. Since Osama¹s alleged complicity in the bombing of American embassies has been heavily publicised, no justice can be expected in the case. The investigation agencies in the US and in the UK, too, allegedly resort to forge evidence to secure conviction. As to the US claim that it has the right to attack Afghanistan to protect its vital interests also constitutes a flagrant violation of the UN Charter which by its Article 39 provides ³The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to peace or breach of peace or act of aggression and shall make recommendation or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42 of its Charter. The US claim that it has the right to attack Afghanistan in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter in case Osama is not handed over is also not tenable as the this Article grants this right of self-defence only in the event of an attack actually occurring against that country. The US can at best bring the whole matter to the notice of the Security Council which on the complaint of the US has already imposed a sanction against Afghanistan and is already a hostage to the influence and power of the United States. http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/22/top1.htm * US imposes missile sanctions on Pakistan by Tahir Mirza Dawn, 22 November 2000, 25 Shaban 1421 WASHINGTON, Nov 21: The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions under the Missile Control Technology regime against the Pakistani Ministry of Defence and the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organization (SUPARCO) while lifting similar sanctions against China. The sanctions were announced by acting Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher at a news briefing on Tuesday afternoon. He said the sanctions would be for two years during which all commercial contacts with the entities concerned would be frozen. In reply to a question, Mr Boucher indicated that the US would be prepared to discuss a waiver with Pakistan. The new sanctions also apply to Iran, which along with Pakistan has been accused by the US of receiving missile technology development help from China. Asked whether it was not odd that China, which had allegedly transferred missile technology, was being taken off the hook while sanctions were being imposed on Pakistan and Iran, Mr Boucher said it was not a question of taking anyone off the hook or putting anyone on the hook. The US was concerned only with controlling the transfer of ballistic missile technology from any one country to another. Asked whether India, with its large missile arsenal, figured in US concerns in this context, Mr Boucher said India should welcome the assurances given by China that no further transfers of missile technology would take place. In his statement announcing the lifting of sanctions against China, Mr Boucher said in consideration of Beijing¹s commitment to strengthen its missile related export control system, ³we have decided to waive economic sanctions required by US law for past assistance by Chinese entities to missile programmes in Pakistan and Iran.² AFP adds: Washington will now resume processing and issuing licenses for commercial space cooperation between US and Chinese companies, notably allowing once again launches of US satellites from China, he said. Processing and issuance of such licenses have been barred since February under the now waived sanctions. In addition, frozen discussions between Washington and Beijing on extending a 1995 agreement on international trade and commercial satellite launch services would resume ³as soon as possible,² he said. Boucher stressed that the waiver applied only to sanctions imposed for past violations of US law regarding the transfer of missiles and related technology and that Washington reserved the right to impose sanctions for any possible future transactions. ³China¹s statement includes broad new commitments on nonproliferation and security imports but its value ultimately will depend on whether those commitments are implemented fully and conscientiously,² he said. Nonetheless, he said Washington ³welcomed² the statement. A senior US official said the decision to waive the sanctions on China while imposing them on Pakistan and Iran was not meant to reward or punish any nation but to encourage non proliferation efforts. In Pakistan and Iran, the United States imposed sanctions against various government agencies and entities, including the ministries of defence in both countries, that received the Chinese assistance, Boucher said. In Pakistan, two-year bans on the import of certain US technologies and awarding of US government contracts were imposed against the defence ministry, the Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission and their related units, he said. In addition, all imports from those agencies into the United States are banned for the two year period. In Iran, sanctions are imposed against the defence ministry, the Armed Forces Logistics Command and the Defence Industries Organization and their related units, Boucher said. However, he noted that the new sanctions would have little practical effect on either country because of existing restrictions on Iran, including the ongoing US embargo on Tehran, as well as those against Pakistan after their 1998 nuclear tests. ³The new sanctions will actually have very limited economic effect, but they do send a strong signal that the United States opposes these countries¹ missiles programmes,² he said. The Chinese foreign ministry statement, released by the official Xinhua news agency shortly before Boucher spoke and distributed to reporters at the State Department, outlined what US officials said was a comprehensive commitment addressing Washington¹s proliferation concerns. In it, Beijing said it ³has no intention to assist in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.² In addition, China pledged to develop an export control list of missile and missile technology items for which special permits would be required should Chinese companies want to sell abroad. Beijing also vowed to ³exercise special scrutiny and caution² on missile-related material not included on the list, the statement said. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,401088,00.html * Lockerbie prosecution leaves a 'gaping hole' by Gerard Seenan, Guardian, Wednesday November 22, 2000 After 73 days of evidence and more than 230 witnesses, the Lockerbie trial was adjourned yesterday amid warnings of a yawning chasm in the crown's case which augured little chance of conviction of any of the accused. Since the indictment faced by Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was read in the high security courthouse at Camp Zeist on May 6, the prosecution's case has travelled across continents and through territory more commonly associated with airport potboilers. But although prosecution lawyers have done their best to construct an intricate trail between the Libyans accused and the biggest act of mass murder in British history, they have continually been let down. Key witnesses have crumbled under cross examination; others have refused to make the links the prosecution so desperately needed them to do; some have offered testimony so bizarre that even the prosecution admits it is worthless. And there is the problem of the "gaping hole". The Libyans face three charges: murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the Aviation Security Act. For these charges to succeed, according to Robert Black QC, the Edinburgh law professor who proposed the trial at a neutral venue, the prosecution must prove the bomb which blew up Pan Am flight 103 began its journey in Malta. Prosecution lawyers had barely sat down after completing their case before Professor Black was warning they had not succeeded in the fundamentals of their task. "Unless I have missed something, and I do not think I have, there is a gaping hole at the centre of the crown's case," he said. "It is an absolutely crucial element in all the three charges that the suitcase containing the bomb started in Malta. The crown has to prove that the bomb was planted at Malta - and it has not. It has merely proved there is a theoretical possibility that it was." The omission is hardly lost on defence lawyers. Lord Sutherland yesterday granted a request from Richard Keen QC, counsel for Fhimah, for a one week adjournment. On Tuesday Mr Keen will begin his "no case to answer" submission. If he is successful, half of the trial will come crashing down. Repercussions The chances of Mr Keen's success depend on the weight of evidence stacked against his client. The credibility of key prosecution witnesses may have been destroyed in cross examination, but such things are beyond the judge's consideration. Although the route which brought them to Camp Zeist is complex, the charges faced by the Libyans rely on a few simple premises. Megrahi and Fhimah are alleged to have been members of the JSO, the Libyan intelligence service, who worked under cover in the offices of Libyan Arab Airlines at Malta's Luqa airport. On December 21 1988, the prosecution claims, the pair planted a bomb which was contained within a radio cassette recorder in a Samsonite suitcase and loaded it on an Air Malta plane at Frankfurt airport. The crown says that suitcase was transferred on to Pan Am flight 103. A few hours later the jumbo blew up over Lockerbie, killing all 259 passengers and crew on board and 11 people on the ground. It is a neat scenario, but it is far from certain the judges will agree that the crown has proved it is accurate. The trial of Megrahi, the co-accused, is destined to continue until his defence has been fully heard. William Taylor QC, counsel for Megrahi, yesterday asked for an adjournment to allow Syria to respond to a court request for the release of a se cret document which claims to offer an alternative explanation of the bombing. Both Megrahi and Fhimah have lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming Palestinian terrorist groups, including the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. If Fhimah's no case to answer plea is successful, his side of the story will never be heard. But, over the next weeks, it is expected that Mr Taylor will advance the scenario first accepted by those investigating the bombing. In the first years of the investigation there was just one working theory. It was believed that the bomb was a revenge attack mounted by the PFLP-GC for the shooting down of an Iranian airbus in the Gulf by the USS Vincennes in July 1988. This theory was ditched around the time of the Gulf war, when America took on Iraq with the acquiescence of Syria and Iran. For special defence to succeed, Mr Taylor, and perhaps Mr Keen, need not prove this scenario accurate. They need only place reasonable doubt over the veracity of the scenario advanced by the crown. Much of the crown's case relies on technical evidence which has gone unreported and unobserved as the trial grinds on in Holland. Yet there have been a few key witnesses - and they have not lived up to expectation. The first of these was Anthony Gauci. This Maltese shop owner was crucial to linking Megrahi to the bomb. When investigators picked through the wreckage of flight 103 they found clothing stained with residue from a Semtex explosion; it was labelled "Malta Trading Company". The clothing was sold at Mr Gauci's shop. But, although Mr Gauci said Megrahi resembled a man whom he remembered buying similar clothing before the bombing, he stopped short of full identification. Next came Edwin Bollier, a Swiss businessman whose Zurich-based company, Mebo, is alleged to have made the timer used in the bomb. For years before the trial, Mr Bollier waged an internet campaign denying the timer was supplied by his firm. Under questioning from the prosecution, however, he conceded that it could only have come from Mebo. When Mr Bollier said he supplied such timers solely to Libya, the prosecution's case appeared to receive a boost. But that may have later been dented by the admission that he also supplied timers to the Stasi, the East German security force, who in turn backed Palestinian terrorist organisations. As far as star witnesses are concerned, that left only Abdul Majid Giaka - a Libyan who worked alongside the accused at Luqa airport. Giaka was a double agent: working for the CIA at the same time as the JSO. He defected to the US on the witness protection programme and, as he emerged after 10 years, he told the court Fhimah had shown him explosives in his drawer; he claimed he had once handed Megrahi a report on how to place a bomb on a plane leaving Luqa airport. Finally, in his most crucial piece of evidence, he said he had watched Megrahi and Fhimah take a Samsonite suitcase, flown in from Libya, unaccompanied through customs. But under cross-examination his cred-ibility was tarnished. "While in America, have you been able to dip into gems of American literature, such as their short-story writers like James Thurber?" asked Mr Keen. "Have you encountered someone called Mitty, first name Walter?" Main players in bomb trial Abdelbaset Al Megrahi One of the accused. He is alleged to have worked undercover for the JSO, the Libyan intelligence agency, as head of security at Libyan Arab Airlines at Malta's Luqa airport. The prosecution says he used this position to plant the bomb on an Air Malta plane which fed on to flight 103 at Frankfurt. He has lodged a special defence of incrimination. Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah The co-accused. Like Megrahi, Fhimah is alleged to have been working undercover for the JSO when he worked as station manager at Libyan Arab Airlines. Anthony Gauci A Maltese shop owner whom the prosecution claims sold the clothing found in the case which housed the bomb. Edwin Bollier A Swiss businessman whose company, Mebo, made the timer which the prosecution say was used in the Lockerbie bomb. Abdul Majid Giaka The Libyan supergrass. He was a double agent - working for the JSO and the CIA - when he worked with the accused at Luqa airport. Claims to have been shown explosives in Fhimah's desk. Defence portrayed him as a fantasist who made up his testimony to secure a new life in the US. http://www.baltimoresun.com/content/news/story?section=news&pagename=story&storyid=1150510217935 * U.S. threatens sanctions against Russia by Jay Hancock, Baltimore Sun, Nov 23 2000 WASHINGTON - Faced with a potential arms control setback, the Clinton administration threatened yesterday to slap economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for Moscow's decision to renew the sale of tanks, nautical mines and other conventional weapons to Iran. The move came in response to a confidential dispatch sent by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright this month. In the note, Ivanov said that after Dec. 1 Moscow would no longer observe its 1995 agreement to phase out Iranian arms sales, said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The highest levels of the U.S. government have told the Russians that there will be consequences, including the possibility of sanctions, if Russia proceeds with its plans for unilateral withdrawal," the official said. "Obviously we are very troubled by the Russians' decision. ... The move has serious implications for U.S. security interests and those of our friends and allies in the Middle East." Between now and Dec. 1, Washington hopes to persuade Russian officials to retract their decision to break the deal, U.S. officials said. The United States has long been worried about Iran's use of Russia as an arms source. Of special concern were sales of three diesel-powered submarines, which U.S. officials believed could threaten oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. To stem the potentially destabilizing arms transactions between the two countries, Vice President Al Gore negotiated a 1995 agreement in which Moscow agreed to sign no new conventional weapons contracts with Iran and to complete deliveries under existing deals by the end of 1999. Russia's adherence to the agreement had been questionable before Ivanov's recent vow to break it entirely. Russian arms shipments to Iran have continued this year, with Moscow saying it still was fulfulling pre-agreement contracts. Abrogation of the deal by Moscow would open the way for new contracts with Tehran, which is on Washington's list of terrorism-sponsoring nations. Arms control analysts say such a development would introduce new instability into the Middle East, which is already tense over the Palestinian uprising against Israel. It also would prove embarrassing for Gore, whose acquiescence of existing Russian-Iranian arms contracts had drawn criticism. In his note to Albright, Ivanov cited press leaks and other disclosures relating to the 1995 Gore deal as reasons for Moscow's decision to scrap the agreement. Last month the New York Times carried a detailed account of the understanding, which was signed by Gore and then-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. The article prompted criticism from Republicans, who were especially hard on Gore and the Clinton administration for withholding U.S. economic sanctions against Moscow that are supposed to be triggered when nations sell weapons to terrorism-sponsoring states. Benjamin Gilman, a New York Republican who is chairman of the House International Relations committee, renewed the criticism yesterday. "It is now obvious why the administration was so evasive with regard to its secret arrangements with Russia," Gilman said. "Such a misguided policy of acquiescence to Russian arms transfer to Iran has not been able to withstand public scrutiny and has now collapsed of its own weight." Administration officials deny that they made a "secret" deal with Chernomyrdin, saying that they described the general terms of the agreement to reporters at the time it was signed. Even so, the details that have surfaced recently go far beyond what was disclosed in 1995. Gilman urged the administration to "proceed expeditiously to impose the sanctions required under U.S. law which previously had been waived by the Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement." The exact sanctions that the administration might invoke "would depend on a range of issues we would have to explore, depending on Russian actions," said a second administration official. One law that might apply is the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act of 1992, which was co-sponsored by Gore and is triggered when a nation sells items that give either of those countries increased ability to acquire advanced conventional weapons. Unless they are waived by the president, sanctions required by the act include suspension of military sales and U.S. financial aid as well as Washington's opposition to aid through the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral institutions. In addition to Iran's purchase of conventional weapons, U.S. officials also are concerned about its continuing acquisition of missile and nuclear technology. Iran has relied mainly on China and North Korea for those goods. Tuesday the administration announced that Beijing had pledged to cease selling missile-related items to countries developing nuclear weapons, including Iran, and that Washington had agreed to waive sanctions for previous sales. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4548303&template=worldnews/search.txt&index=recent * Russia ignores US warnings of sanctions over Iran UPI, Thu 23 Nov 2000 Russia's foreign minister said Thursday his country will ignore warnings from Washington of possible sanctions if Moscow resumes arms sales to Iran after breaking off a secret five-year-old pact that stopped arms sales to the rogue state. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who is on an official trip to Poland, told reporters in Warsaw that Moscow had no intention of limiting its trading options with Tehran based on displeasure in Washington. "Russia bases its actions on strict compliance to international commitments," Ivanov said. "We will continue to do so. If someone prepares their own lists (of rogue states), that is the question of the competence of that state." Ivanov was referring to a list of so-called rogue states that are alleged to support terrorism. The U.S. list includes Iran, Iraq, Libya, Cuba, Sudan and Syria, as well as North Korea. In Moscow, Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev ruled out the supply by Russia of weapons of mass destruction to Iran, stressing that "we fulfil all international requirements on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." While senior officials avoided discussing on the record the 1995 deal reached by Vice President Al Gore and then-premier Viktor Chernomyrdin, diplomatic sources have confirmed that Russia intends to pull out of the agreement. Details of the secretive deal came to light at the end of the presidential campaign in the United States, causing embarrassment to the Clinton administration and to Moscow, and Russia feels it can now unilaterally withdraw from the agreement. Russia is prepared to supply Iran with a range of advanced weaponry, possibly selling a lucrative license to manufacture Mig-29 fighter jets and tank modifications in Iran. The U.S. is particularly concerned that Russia, which is helping Iran build a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, may supply Tehran with sensitive technology that could help the Iranians build nuclear weapons. Russia insists the Bushehr project is for peaceful use and is not linked to Iran's military programs. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk