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News Supplement, 25/11 ­ 3/12/00

NEWS SUPPLEMENT, 25/11 ­ 3/12/00

*  Air Force Shifts Bombers' Missions [on US policy to base its bombing
capacity closer to the intended targets]
*  Gulf War Syndrome vets show brain flaws
*  Britain 'backing US against world court'
*  Saddam's Bombmaker [favourable review of Khidhir Hamza's book]
*  Sanctions Against Iraq Be Removed as Soon as Possible [unusually
forthright article from the People's Daily in China]
*  U.S., Russia Seek Taliban Embargo
*  Yemen pact on Cole probe a loser [Problems with the Yemeni government]
*  Pentagon rolls back anthrax program again
*  Bioterrorism: can we deal with it?
*  Sanctions fears panic Afghans
*  Revealed: Executioner tells of mass slaughter in Saddam's jails [a new
defector, at least new to me]
{and, lest we forget that there is in existence a body which has some
legitimate claim to be called the voice of the 'international community':]
*  UN General Assembly slams Israel again


WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Sun 26 Nov) ‹ One of the more remarkable feats
of the U.S. air war over Kosovo last year was the 30-hour roundtrip combat
mission of B-2 stealth bombers flying from their base in Missouri. It was a
point of pride for the Air Force that its bombers could deliver blows from
such a distance.

Now the Air Force is quietly shifting its approach, hoping to get more bang
from its bombers by preparing to have them carry out more wartime missions
from air bases outside the continental United States.

All bombers in the Air Force fleet are now based at home: the B-2s at
Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.; B-52s at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and
Minot Air Force Base, N.D.; and B 1s in Texas, Idaho and South Dakota.

The Air Force is not planning to permanently base any of the planes abroad.
Rather, it is building up a capability to send them ‹ in times of crisis ‹
to spots like the Pacific island of Guam from which they could rearm, refuel
and be sustained by ground crews much closer to potential combat zones like
Korea and the Persian Gulf.

``The closer you can get them to the fight ... the more effective they
become,'' Gen. Michael Ryan, the Air Force chief of staff, said in a recent

For bombers to operate for extended periods outside their continental U.S.
bases, they need more than a place to land and park. They need access to
extra fuel, for example, and lots of extra weapons.

Thus cruise missiles of the kind that B-52 bombers fired in the Kosovo air
war are being stockpiled at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, marking the
first time these missiles have been stored outside the continental United

The Air Force also plans to stockpile other new, precision-guided weapons on
Guam and elsewhere. These include Joint Direct Attack Munitions that B-2
stealth bombers can launch, as well as Joint Standoff Weapons that B-1
bombers are being readied to use in the future.

Besides Guam, the Air Force has in mind three other ``forward operating
locations,'' as they are known in military lingo. They are Diego Garcia, a
British-controlled island in the central Indian Ocean; the British air base
Fairford, 65 miles west of London; and a Middle East location that the Air
Force will not identify publicly but which Ryan said ``we're looking at''
for what he termed ``other capabilities.''

The idea is to enable bombers, in a short-notice crisis, to fly from their
home bases in the United States, attack their targets and then proceed to
Guam or another ``forward operation location'' to reload and return to
combat. This gives them a quick restrike capability they now lack, Ryan
said. It also would reduce, though not eliminate, the need for midair

Although the B-2s are said to have performed as well as, or better than,
expected in the Kosovo campaign, their contribution could have been greater
if they were not forced to fly all the way from Missouri.

``That was not our preferred way of operating,'' Ryan said.

B-2s have never flown combat missions from an overseas base. That is mainly
because the special material on the bombers' skin that makes them hard to
detect on radar must be repaired in climate-controlled conditions. Harsh
weather conditions do not prevent the B-2s from performing their mission,
but the regular upkeep required to keep the planes stealthy cannot be done
as effectively in regular aircraft hangars.

One solution is setting up special hangars at Fairford, Diego Garcia and
Guam to shelter B 2s. The Air Force has contracted with American Spaceframes
Fabricators Inc. of Crystal River, Fla., to build a 125-foot long B-2
shelter with aluminum trusses, sloping walls and the strength to withstand
winds of 110 mph. Some of the shelters will have temperature and humidity
controls; others will be less sophisticated.

Testing of the shelters is to begin shortly, and if they work as expected
the Air Force likely will buy about a dozen, Ryan said.

Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington,
Va., said the move to upgrade overseas bases for the bomber fleet is part of
a little-recognized shift in Air Force thinking.

``It's smart,'' he said. ``It's like having twice as many bombers,'' if they
can operate closer to the war front.

The move reflects a subtle change in the main mission of bombers, now that
the chief security threats to U.S. interests are smaller countries like
Korea, Iraq or Yugoslavia, instead of the former Soviet Union.

``In the latter part of the Cold War we kind of hunkered down with our
bomber force,'' Ryan said. He recalled that locations in North Africa, East
Asia and elsewhere from which bombers could be launched for nuclear attacks
on the Soviet Union were abandoned as the threat of all-out nuclear war

Now that bombers are geared almost entirely to conventional, rather than
nuclear, missions, the Air Force can use them more efficiently if they can
re-arm, refuel and get repaired at strategically located overseas sites.

The near disappearance of a nuclear mission for the bombers also has made it
easier to persuade countries like Britain to accept U.S. bombers.

``The political downside to having bombers forward is now gone,'' Ryan said.
``They've lost their nuclear taint.''

by Ed Susman, UPI Science News

CHICAGO, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Defects in the brains of Gulf War veterans with
Gulf War Syndrome appear related to the symptoms of confusion, learning
problems and psychological disorders seen in these soldiers, researchers
said Monday.

Doctors said that images of the brain show certain deficits in production of
chemicals required for optimal brain functioning and when those deficits
occur a whole range of problems can occur among the veterans who fought
against Iraq in 1991.

At the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in
Chicago, Dr. Robert Haley, professor of internal medicine at the University
of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, said, "This study puts to
rest the idea that Gulf War Syndrome is due to stress."

Haley said numerous studies had assumed that the real cause of the myriad
Gulf War Syndrome symptoms were due to post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD), but the magnetic imaging spectroscopy studies he performed on 12
patients with the worst cases of the disorder shows no correlation between
PTSD and the problems his group of subjects is having.

Co-researcher Dr. James Fleckenstein, professor of radiology at University
of Texas, said, "Magnetic resonance spectroscopy continues to validate an
organic basis for Gulf War patients' complaints and disabilities in a more
specific way than older tests in past research."

For example, Haley said the new findings show that damage on the right side
of the brain appears to cause certain symptoms such as impaired sense of
direction, memory lapses and depression. Damage on the left side appears to
cause more global confusion, including difficulties in understanding
instructions, reading, solving problems and making decisions. Left-side
damage also appears to cause the production of high levels of dopamine, an
important brain hormone involved in movement and emotions.

Damage to the brain stem appears to account, in part, for loss of balance
and dizzy spells and correlates with objective tests of brain stem reflexes
important in balance.

"These veterans would have problems getting lost, they had sexual
dysfunction, they had problems making decisions," Haley said. Similar
difficulties were seen in animal studies with similar brain dysfunction.
"The bottom line here," Haley said, "is that brain cell damage that we see
with magnetic resonance spectroscopy explains the symptoms of Gulf War

"These conclusions should be viewed with caution," said Dr. Helvig Hricak,
chairman of radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.
"This is very good work, but it is controversial. The researchers keep
showing findings that have tremendous implications in the way patients with
Gulf War Syndrome are treated." Hricak said, however, that the work has some
shortcomings, the major one being the small number of subjects. Haley
examined 12 veterans of the war and compared them to 18 normal men from the
same battalion.

While the study was well-designed, Hricak said, it still has to be
considered to be an observational study, which lacks the power of scientific
proof as much as other studies.

Haley said he believes that some of the troops now suffering from Gulf War
Syndrome were exposed to low levels of nerve gas during the desert fighting
to lift the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Fleckenstein said it was also
possible that the veterans were affected by compounds in the anti-nerve gas
medication used to ward off possible nerve gas attacks by Iraq.,3604,403750,00.html

by Martin Kettle in Washington
Guardian, November 28, 2000

Human rights activists have accused Britain of giving way to US pressure and
siding with Washington to undermine efforts to create an international
criminal court to try those charged with crimes against humanity.

The claim came as the White House prepared to tell a UN conference in New
York that the US would only sign the treaty to create the court if it was
given guarantees that no American would ever be put on trial before it.

As recently as August the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, opposed the US
position, telling Washington that its objections were "misplaced" and that
the treaty would not expose US military or civilians to vexatious
prosecutions, as the White House and Republican congressional leaders

Britain denies that it has weakened its approach, but human rights activists
claim that it tried to block an effort by the EU to take a firm common stand
this week against continuing US demands for exemption.

At an intergovernmental EU meeting in Paris on October 31, the British
delegate Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who is Mr Cook's deputy legal adviser,
opposed parts of a plan for European countries to unite in opposition to
Washington's demand for Americans to be exempted.

The demand is among the key issues under discussion at the UN preparatory
commission meeting on the international court, which began yesterday.

Campaigners say that a strong common position by EU members is crucial to
resisting US efforts to secure an exemption. "A weak position by the EU will
undermine the efforts of other countries to stand up to the US," Richard
Dicker, of Human Rights Watch, said. "Britain is playing a dangerous game
which puts the effectiveness and credibility of the court at risk."

British sources agree that Ms Wilmshurst successfully objected to part of a
"lobbying note" drafted by France for presentation to the US. But Britain
remained committed to the EU common position agreed in Paris, the sources

The US is one of only seven countries - the others include China, Iran, Iraq
and Libya - which voted against the plan to set up the court, known as the
Rome treaty, in 1998.

Pentagon chiefs oppose any attempt to put US service personnel under any
form of international jurisdiction, and Republican leaders in Congress have
made it clear that any treaty that failed to exempt the US from
international jurisdiction would not stand a chance of being passed.

The court would be "dead on arrival" on Capitol Hill, the Senate foreign
relations committee chairman, Jesse Helms, said earlier this year. He has
even proposed legislation barring US officials from cooperating with the
court as long as Congress has not ratified the treaty.

It seems unlikely that the US will ratify the treaty, even with the
exemption sought by the Clinton administration, if George W Bush becomes the
next president. The secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, supports the
setting up of the court, but her prospective Bush administration successor,
General Colin Powell, is not expected to agree.

Britain and the other EU states were among the 115 countries which signed
the treaty. The court will come into existence when 60 states have ratified
the treaty. So far 22 have done so, including France.

*  SADDAM'S BOMBMAKER ­ The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and
Biological Weapons Agenda,  by Khidhir Hamza with Jeff Stein. 352 pages.
Reviewed by William E. Odom, International Herald Tribune

Wednesday, November 29, 2000 Scribner. Iraq's ruler, Saddam Hussein, has
remained a major international problem for several years now and shows no
sign of disappearing soon. After nearly a decade of war with Iran, which he
started but almost lost, he invaded Kuwait and then refused to accede to the
United Nations' demand that he withdraw. A U.S.-led military coalition
devastated his forces, driving them out of Kuwait in 1991, and his country
has been under economic sanctions ever since. Yet he remains in power,
hurling verbal threats at Israel, the United States and other countries he
dislikes. U.S. fighter aircraft still enforce the no-flight zone over
northern Iraq, periodically dueling with Iraqi air defense weapons. Neither
dissident Iraqis nor Kurds have been able to unseat him.

Iraq might just be ignored were it not for Saddam's relentless efforts to
acquire nuclear weapons. He outgamed the UN inspection team and then
expelled it from Iraq; the economic sanctions have not reduced his
ostentatious standard of living, although they have caused untold suffering
to ordinary Iraqis. How has this brutal dictator and warmaker survived?

Khidhir Hamza's book is of more than passing interest precisely because it
helps answer this question. An American-trained nuclear physicist who headed
the Iraqi nuclear weapons program for several years before his defection, he
brings dozens of firsthand observations of Saddam and provides a textured
sense of life inside the top circles of the regime. Written in an easy
journalistic style provided by his American co-author, Jeff Stein, the book
should attract a wide range of readers, from foreign policy and security
specialists to airplane passengers looking for a thriller.

Hamza's story, assuming that it is all true, is not only stranger but
frequently bloodier than fiction. It lays bare the weakness of many nuclear
nonproliferation efforts; the cynicism of French, German and British
businessmen dealing with Saddam's purchasing agents, and the naïveté of some
aspects of U.S. policy toward Iraq in the decade before the Gulf War. As
Hamza tells his story, Israeli intelligence operatives kill Iraqi agents at
critical moments, while German, French and British intelligence services
sponsor plans actually helping Iraq's nuclear program. American firms and
organizations seem more cautious, yet also willing to sell to Iraqi buyers.

When Hamza first offered his services to CIA operatives, they showed no clue
of who he was. Instead, they tried to dupe him into telling what he knew,
leaving him to his fate inside Iraq. He rejected their transparent gambit
and struck out on his own. That he survived for nearly a year is remarkable,
but why and how the CIA eventually woke up to its mistakes is left vague.

Hamza's description of the International Atomic Energy Agency makes it look
more like a facilitator of than an obstacle to nuclear proliferation. Iraqi
agents used it to gain valuable technical information. But the Iraqi bomb
team made far greater use of declassified materials from the World War II
Manhattan Project, filled with details that U.S. officials wrongly
considered of no technical value to contemporary nuclear weapons designers.

The bloodier parts of Hamza's story concern life among Saddam's lieutenants,
his Ba'ath party officials and security agents, as well as the scientists
and engineers on whom he depends to build materiel for his war machine.
Saddam lavishes privilege and wealth on these technicians - unless they
irritate or cross him. Then he metes out torture and sometimes death. Life
in the Ba'ath party is no more secure. One official showed Hamza a video
taken at a large gathering of party members at which Saddam compelled some
of them to execute others on the spot - their friends and co-workers.

Hamza also offers distressing glimpses of Saddam's annihilation of the
Shiite population in southern Iraq after President George Bush's call for an
uprising there in 1991. The degree of human suffering is difficult to
comprehend. Likewise, the extermination of Kurdish villages in northern Iraq
by poison gases defies moral comprehension.

Hamza seldom preaches policy prescriptions but simply tells his story. Yet
several germane points emerge. First, Saddam is a killer and tyrant of more
monstrous proportions than Westerners vaguely appreciate. Second, Iraq is
still at war with the United States; for Saddam the outcome of the Gulf War
was a stalemate, not a defeat.

These points might not be disturbing were it not for Iraq's talented
scientists. The only thing that prevents them from producing nuclear weapons
is an inadequate supply of bomb grade fissile material. Hamza and his fellow
scientists were able to produce a limited amount; he leaves no doubt that
Saddam will use such weapons once he has them.

Finally, one can see from Hamza's purely empirical descriptions that
Ba'athist political organizations create highly stable regimes, not fragile
military dictatorships such as those found in Africa and Latin America. They
copy Soviet-type institutions without taking the ideology. Heretofore found
only in the Middle East, this type of regime may also be emerging in Central
Asia, where strongmen have kept Soviet institutions while casting off
Marxism and Leninism. Possessing great capacities for military mobilization,
such regimes are capable of sustained warfare and other kinds of
troublemaking. And to judge by the case of Iraq, they will not be easily
destroyed, short of military invasion and occupation.

by Liang Faming
People's Daily (China), November 29, 2000

The sanction initiated by the United States against Iraq has continued for
10 years. Although Iraq has made strenuous efforts for the relief of
sanctions, and the international community has repeatedly appealed for the
release of sanctions against Iraq, the United States, however, has not
untied Iraq. The more than 22 million innocent Iraqi people are still
suffering all sorts of torments.

In the international public opinion, solution of the Iraq issue shouldn't be
delayed indefinitely, and sanctions against Iraq should all the more be
removed at the earliest possible date.

The US application of sanction against Iraq is aimed at getting rid of the
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. This, in itself, is a hegemonic act of
interfering in the internal affairs, and encroachment on the sovereignty, of
another country. The sanction is, in essence, to take the Iraqi people as

The decade-long sanction has led to the economic depression of Iraq and the
death of 1.5 million Iraqi people due to the shortage of doctors and
medicine and undernourishment. According to a WHO report, the sanction has
entailed the retrogression of 50 years of the Iraqi people's health level.
This has once again exposed to the world the hypocrisy of the United States
as it kept on prating about "human rights"

US sanction against Iraq is aimed not at upholding international justice,
but rather at controlling this oil-rich strategic place in the Middle East,
this is known to everybody. The United States pursues its own strategic
interests in disregard of the life and death of the Iraqi people, this is
indeed unpopular.

Recently, government officials and ordinary people of some countries went to
Iraq in defiance of US opposition and by breaking through obstructions,
airplanes of Russia, Germany and France also flew to Iraq despite the
"prohibition". This fact shows that it has become increasingly difficult to
continue the sanction against Iraq.

Imposing sanction on other countries at every turn is a typical feature of
the practice of the hegemonists. It should be pointed out that sanction is a
rapier, although it harms the object of sanctions, for the user of
sanctions, it is not to have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Furthermore, history has proved that it has always been difficult for the
use of this method to be successful. Today, when peace has become a trend of
the world and economic globalization has been developing vigorously, the
interests between countries are interwoven and linked to each other closely,
the continued use of this method is all the more unworkable.

It is not that the United States itself has nothing to lose in its sanction
against Iraq. Reports say that in maintaining its military moves in the
"prohibited flying zone" in Iraq alone, the United States has to spend US$2
billion a year. US refusal to remove sanctions against Iraq has made it face
a difficult choice: it may be either international sanctions exist in name
only; or economically, the United States undertakes an increasingly heavy
burden, morally, it meets with more and more international censure.
Obviously, the best choice for the United States is to bring about a
comprehensive, just and reasonable solution to the Iraq issue as soon as

Iraq says over 10,000 children and elderly people died in August as a direct
result of the decade-old United Nations sanctions imposed on it.

The country's Health Ministry says the high mortality rate, due to
malnutrition and medicine shortages caused by the sanctions, is in sharp
contrast with the same month in 1989, when less than 800 children and
elderly people died.

A ministry report says over 1.3 million people in Iraq have died since the
trade embargo started in 1990.

Iraq has repeatedly called on the UN to lift the sanctions, which were
imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

The sanction initiated by the United States against Iraq has continued for
10 years. Although Iraq has made strenuous efforts for the relief of
sanctions, and the international community has repeatedly appealed for the
release of sanctions against Iraq, the United States, however, has not
untied Iraq. The more than 22 million innocent Iraqi people are still
suffering all sorts of torments.


UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, Wed 29 Nov 2000) ‹ Russia and the United
States are pushing for an arms embargo against Afghanistan's Taliban militia
to pressure its leaders to close terrorist training camps, stop the flow of
drugs and hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.

U.S. officials acknowledged Wednesday that an embargo will be tough to
enforce because of Afghanistan's porous borders, but they stressed that
stopping even some weapons from getting to the Taliban will help the Afghan

A year ago, the Security Council froze Taliban assets and imposed an air
embargo on the Taliban-run airline to force the militia to deliver bin Laden
for trial in the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania. The Taliban have refused, saying he is a guest and that the United
States has not given proof of his involvement in terrorism.

In April, the council threatened further sanctions to compel the Taliban to
end years of fighting and comply with U.N. demands. With the situation
little-changed, Russia is now sponsoring a Security Council resolution
calling for new sanctions, strongly backed by the United States, which is a

While the United States and Russia remain at odds on many issues before the
United Nations ‹ including Iraq and Kosovo ‹ they are united in their
opposition to the Taliban, which has imposed a strict form of Islam in the
territory it controls, barring women from work and girls from school.

The Taliban, who rule about 95 percent of Afghanistan, including the capital
Kabul, accuse Russia of arming and supporting opposition forces, led by
ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani and former defense minister Ahmed Shah
Massood. The opposition says Pakistan backs the Taliban. Both Pakistan and
Russia deny supplying arms to either side.

The draft resolution would impose an arms embargo only on the Taliban, a
U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The proposed resolution also would freeze the assets of bin Laden and his
organization, direct the Taliban to close camps where terrorists are trained
and restrict travel of senior Taliban officials except for humanitarian and
religious purposes. In addition, it would encourage other countries to
reduce staff at Taliban missions, restrict offices of the Taliban run
airline outside Afghanistan and ban the sale to anyone in Afghanistan of
acetic anhydride, a chemical precursor used to manufacture heroin, the U.S.
official said.

The Netherlands' U.N. Ambassador Peter van Walsum, the current council
president, said the resolution may be introduced Thursday.

Western diplomats said France is concerned about the impact of new sanctions
on international aid workers and is pressing for a time limit for any new

A U.N. report released in August said the limited sanctions imposed last
year ‹ when the country's 16 million people were already reeling from the
worst drought in 30 years ‹ were hurting the poorest.

by Laurie Mylroie

Washington, Nov. 30 (UPI) - The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday it
had reached an agreement with the Yemeni government on coordinating the
investigation into the Oct. 12 bombing attack on the USS Cole. In the
future, FBI agents can be present at interviews conducted by local
investigators. But the new agreement -- concluded six weeks after the
bombing--is unlikely to change the largely obstructionist attitude that
Yemeni authorities have taken towards the U.S. investigators.

Official Yemeni sources have already indicated that they consider their
investigation is nearly concluded, and even their interrogation of suspects
has ended. That raises the distinct possibility that there may not be many
interviews for the FBI to attend. Shortly before the new agreement with the
United States was announced, Yemeni authorities had indicated that they
planned to bring two individuals, said to be the main suspects, to trial
early in the New Year, once the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ended. But
some skeptical FBI officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told UPI
that they believed the trial could obscure more than it reveals,
particularly as the defendants would probably receive death sentences.

U.S. pressure might slow down the Yemeni legal process. But it is clear that
the Yemeni government wants the matter concluded as quickly as possible,
with no pursuit of suspects that might prove embarrassing. Yemen has a lot
to be embarrassed about. The country has long been notorious as a safe haven
for an alphabet soup of terrorist groups. Indeed, it was identified as such
in the State Department's 1999 report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism," the
latest State Department's report on terrorism. (The reports come out in the
spring and refer to the prior year. The 2000 report will come out in the
spring of 2001.) Many so-called Arab Afghans were allowed to settle in Yemen
after the collapse of the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan in 1992. Two
years later, when civil war broke out in Yemen, they backed Yemeni President
Ali Abdullah Salih. Subsequently, they were rewarded with positions in the
Yemeni government.

Yemen also has long-standing ties with terrorist states, most notably Iraq.
President Salih himself has political and financial ties to Baghdad. A
decade ago, Yemen was one of the few countries to support Iraq after it
invaded Kuwait. Today, Iraqi intelligence maintains a significant presence
in Yemen. As Vincent Cannistraro, former CIA chief of counter terrorism,
explained, "I think Salih is happy to point a finger at Osama bin Ladin, but
he doesn't want it suggested that any Yemeni officials might have been
involved or that another Arab state was involved."

>From the start, Yemeni authorities showed little interest in conducting a
very thorough investigation. Initially, Salih even claimed that the
explosion that crippled the Cole was not a terrorist attack, but an accident
on board the ship. Once the investigation began, the FBI was never given the
access it sought and a hostile relationship quickly developed between the
U.S. and Yemeni investigators. The Yemenis limited the FBI's role to the
forensic examination of physical evidence. And every FBI agent had a Yemeni

Thus, after only two weeks, many FBI agents were brought back home, as there
was little for them to do. At that time, the remaining FBI agents were moved
offshore to a U.S. Navy vessel after a bombing threat to their hotel. They
used a helicopter to fly into Aden, and at one point the Yemenis even
refused permission for the helicopter to fly. Aside from the Yemenis'
deliberate obstructionism, there are also questions about the competence of
their investigation.

Torture is used in Yemeni investigations and people under torture often tell
authorities what they want to hear. Some U.S. analysts suggest that the
Yemeni interrogators in this case may have resorted to the use of torture
and that this might be another reason for the Yemeni authorities'
unwillingness to allow FBI observers to attend the interrogations. There are
also major questions on whether the Yemeni investigators will be able to
follow the leads they have back to the instigators and planners of the
attack, even if they want to.

There have already been strong indications that the bombing of the Cole was
a large, complex conspiracy. The Yemeni authorities have already identified
one of the two men who stood on the explosive-laden craft that attacked the
Cole on the basis of a boat license. Despite the false name on the license,
they were able to identify the individual on the basis of his picture, which
was genuine.

But Yemen is something like the Wild West. One can walk into a pharmacy and
buy an AK 47 automatic rifle. Some analysts suggest that the photograph was
meant to be identified as a false lead to throw the investigators off track.
Who, they argue, would obtain a license for a boat that he intended to use
in a terrorist attack, especially when he expected to die? Wasn't the very
existence of the boat license -- not to mention the Yemenis' quickly finding
it - a little too convenient?

The distinct possibility exists that Yemeni authorities are following a
deliberately laid trail of clues meant to mislead them. They point in one
direction and obscure the involvement of another party. Cannistraro said he
believed the planning of the attack required the intelligence and logistical
resources of a major state. "There was a state in this -- a state which
provided the C-4 (explosives), instruction on how to shape a charge,
intelligence on U.S. naval movements," he said. Yet the way the Yemeni
investigation is proceeding, it looks like no state, nor any of the
higher-ups involved in the conspiracy, are likely to be identified.

Laurie Mylroie is a Middle East affairs analyst and author of "Study of
Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America."


UPI, Thu 30 Nov 2000:  With diminishing supplies and a year-long delay in a
new production facility, the Defense Department has suspended anthrax
immunization shots for soldiers in Korea, according to spokesman Ken Bacon.
Now only those soldiers deploying to areas around Iraq for more than 30 days
will receive the controversial inoculation. The move saves about 12,500
doses of anthrax vaccine a month which will help stretch the remaining
supply over the next year, according to Bacon.

There are only about 60,000 approved doses left, according to Bacon -- just
enough to vaccinate the 5,000 service members that deploy to southwest Asia.
Only one company in the nation, BioPort of Lansing, Mich., produces the
vaccine. But its new laboratory -- built with Defense Department money --
has failed repeatedly to win Food and Drug Administration approval. In
November 1999 the FDA found more than 30 shortcomings at the production
facility. "We had hoped they'd be up and running by about this time," Bacon
said at a Pentagon news conference. Bacon said BioPort could be approved by
next fall or winter. In the meantime, the Pentagon is taking measures to
conserve what doses it has left, reserving them for the area believed to
pose the most threat of biological weapons.

 In April of this year, the Pentagon awarded the troubled manufacturer $12
million to help its new laboratory pass FDA inspection. That money came on
top of the $40 million it gave BioPort to bail the company out of financial
trouble last fall. As of September, there were 100,000 doses of anthrax
vaccine remaining. That number has dwindled to about 60,000. If used at a
rate of 5,000 doses a month, the supply could be made to last another year.
This is not the first time the Pentagon has had to limit the program because
of production delays. In July, Defense Secretary William Cohen limited the
immunization only to those deploying to areas around Iraq and North Korea.
Until then the immunization had been compulsory for all service members.
Almost half a million service members began the six-shot series; Bacon said
it is unclear whether they will have to repeat the entire series once the
vaccine becomes available.

Roughly 350 service members have refused to take the shot because of health
concerns. Many of them have been discharged from the military. In February,
the Pentagon categorically rejected a call from the House Governmental
Affairs subcommittee on national security to suspend its mandatory anthrax
immunization program. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., subcommittee
chairman, had released a report calling for the program to be halted until
the effects of the vaccine are more closely studied.

About 10 countries, including Iraq and North Korea, are believed to have
"weaponized" anthrax, and more are working on developing Anthrax-based
weapons. The anthrax spore is a stable one. It can be used as an aerosol and
still maintain its lethality.

UPI, Sat 2 Dec 2000

No one gave much thought to the outdated and archaic voting system being
used in Florida (and several other states) until it was too late. Much like
the presidential elections, the same can be said about potential
bioterrorism threats and how the country could cope with such a problem. "It
takes a crisis for people to react," said Larry Grossman, former president
of NBC news.

Grossman was addressing a workshop on bioterrorism and the media organized
by the Atlanta's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida's
Pinellas County board of supervisors and the University of Southern Florida.
"The time to prepare is now," added Grossman. An excellent statement. Yet,
not many people would know where to start, or exactly what bioterrorism
involves. Biological terrorism is the intentional use of microorganisms or
toxins derived from living organisms to produce death or disease in humans,
animals or plants. Biological agents as weapons of mass destruction are
becoming more of a possibility than many of us care to realize. They are
often called the "poor man's weapon," because of their low price when
compared to other weapons of mass destruction.

Consider these figures provided to the United Nations by an expert panel in
1969: A large scale operation against a civilian population using
conventional weapons might cost $2,000 per square kilometer, $800 with nerve
gas and only $1 with biological agents. One dollar! Granted, these prices
are outdated by some 30 years, but still, you get the drift. Furthermore,
biological weapons such as anthrax, for example, have a far greater "kill"
capacity. A 1970 study by the World Heath Organization shows that the effect
of a "hypothetical dissemination by aircraft of 50kg of anthrax along a 2km
line, upwind of a population center of 500,000 would kill 95,000 and
incapacitate 125,000."

Those are astounding figures. The big question now is that, if and when that
threat materializes, will we, as a nation, be ready to deal with it? At an
Oct.19 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee investigating the
recent terrorist attack on the USS Cole, here is what retired Marine general
and former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Central Command Anthony Zinni had
to say: "We will eventually see a weapon of mass destruction used in a
terrorist act. And, I would say we had better start thinking about how we're
going to be prepared for the threat, because we're woefully unprepared for
that event, and that's inevitable."

This was precisely the issue being discussed in Florida Thursday and Friday
by dozens of federal, state and county officials, scientists, scholars and
media representatives. After two days of deliberations, there was still no
clear or concise answer, other than "the need to prevent panic." "Biological
warfare may not seem an immediate threat to many Americans, but, in fact,
the risk of this sort of human destruction is real," said Faith Fitzgerald,
a professor of medicine at the University of California-Davis School of
Medicine. Fitzgerald spoke on biological warfare and its consequences during
a recent lecture sponsored by the Brown University School of Medicine
chapter of the Alpha Omega Honor Medical Society. "The effects of biological
warfare don't have to be intentional," she added. "In 1979, in Sverdlosvsk,
Russia, there was an epidemic in which 66 Russians died from the inhalation
of anthrax."

The United States has had its fair share of homegrown terrorism. "As long as
there are people out there who are crazy Š we will have to be concerned
about this," Fitzgerald said. She listed 23 viruses which could be used to
wage biological warfare. Of these, she stated, smallpox and the 1918
influenza virus were most likely for harm. Numerous Western nations produce
and stockpile biological (and chemical) agents, as do several so-called
"rogue nations." Iraq, for example, is known to have the capability to
manufacture and disseminate biological and chemical weapons of mass

This, in fact, was a real concern for U.S. and other coalition troops
fighting the Iraqis during Desert Storm in 1991.It was also a concern of
Israelis, who came under repeated attack by Iraqi Scud missiles. Dozens of
such missiles hit Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, although none contained
chemical or biological agents. Saddam Hussein had, in fact, used biological
weapons against his own people in Kurdish villages some years before his
invasion of Kuwait.Women and children were among his many casualties.
Bioterror weapons of mass destruction can also be delivered through other
means, such as aerosol or garden sprayers.

The outbreak of West Nile virus in the United States posed enough of an
enigma to attract the attention of the CIA and other federal agencies. The
virus hit parts of New York City, and later traveled north as far as Vermont
and south to the Carolinas last summer. Similar strains of the West Nile
virus have been found in Egypt, Israel and Iraq. Scientists familiar with
the case admit there is no sure way to prove whether the virus migrated
naturally from these places or was "humanly introduced" -- that is, as part
of a terrorist operation directed against the United States. As Gen. Zinni
said during the Cole hearing: "All we can do is continue to prepare our
people; to make them aware, to learn"--a theme echoed by the Florida panel
of experts.


UPI, Thu 30 Nov 2000: Afghanistan's Taliban rulers warned Thursday that more
UN sanctions against their country would add to the miseries of the common
people as the Afghan currency tumbled to a new record low and food prices
soared. "Economic sanctions affect the common people who have no role in
political decision making. Why punish them?" said Abdul Salam Zaeef, the
Taliban ambassador to Pakistan while reading a statement from his government
in Kabul.

U.S. and Russian diplomats at the U.N. are quietly circulating a proposal to
strengthen sanctions against the Taliban imposed last year because of its
refusal to allow U.S. authorities to capture terror suspect Osama bin Laden
and bring him to trial. Bin Laden is wanted in the United States for his
role in plotting the August 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya
and Tanzania in which 12 Americans were among the more than 200 people
killed. He also is suspected of involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole
in Aden harbor in which 17 seamen died.

While the proposal would embargo arms deliveries to the Taliban, which
controls over 95 percent of Afghanistan, it would allow arms to flow to the
Northern Alliance, which supports Burhanuddin Rabbani, the deposed but still
internationally recognized president of Afghanistan. The proposal would also
urge countries to downgrade Taliban offices abroad and prohibit the sale to
Afghan entities of chemicals used to refine opium from heroin. Afghanistan
is the world's leading producer of heroin.

 The Taliban has proposed that an Islamic panel of jurists go to Afghanistan
to try bin Laden and determine the proper procedure for his extradition.
Taliban authorities say they also are willing to consider other proposals
from the United States but the Americans are not willing to negotiate before
bin Laden's expulsion.

Meanwhile, fears of more UN sanctions forced Afghanistan's currency, the
Afghani, to plunge to 70,000 Afghanis to the U.S. dollar, down from one week
ago when 65,000 Afghanis was equivalent to one U.S. dollar. The weakening
Afghan currency has driven food prices in the Afghan capital Kabul to soar.
A kilogram (2.2 pounds) of flour has gone from 15,000 Afghanis to 17,000
Afghanis and a liter of cooking oil from 42,000 Afghanis to 45,000 Afghanis.
The price increases cripple the poor population, which struggles with a
soaring unemployment rate and an average monthly salary of barely 500,000
Afghanis or $4.

"In Afghanistan, ordinary people have to bear the brunt of the sanctions of
a world body, which was established to ensure that human rights are not
violated. Economic sanctions can't be justified generally but in present
circumstances, when Afghanistan is facing a severe drought, the UN sanctions
absurd and inhumane," Zaeef said. He accused the United States of using the
bin Laden issue as an excuse for sponsoring UN sanctions on the war-ravaged
Afghanistan. "Instead of helping the drought-hit Afghans, Washington
sponsored sanctions on Afghanistan under the pretext of Osama bin Laden,
which amounts to human rights violations," the Taliban ambassador said.

[The] Afghan ambassador renewed Taliban offer for the solution to the Osama
issue through talks. He said Taliban are ready to discuss new options to
solve the issue of the Saudi exiled as the United States has rejected its
previous proposals. "Washington should know that imposed solutions are not
good solutions. They only exacerbate issues rather than solving them," he
said. The Taliban had earlier sent three proposals to the United States to
resolve the dispute. They urged Washington to send evidence against bin
Laden to Kabul for his trial by Afghanistan's Supreme Court. They also urged
the 55-nation Organization of Islamic Conference to send a monitoring team
to observe bin Laden's activities. And they offered to form a committee of
religious scholars from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and a third country to
settle the issue. The United States has rejected all three proposals. "If
sanctions could help resolve issues, the UN sanctions against Iraq should
have forced Saddam Hussain to quit. But he is still there," said Zaeef.,6903,406081,00.html

Observer, Sunday December 3, 2000

An Iraqi officer from the organisation charged with protecting President
Saddam Hussein has described in astonishing detail how he personally oversaw
the murders of thousands of prisoners on Saddam's orders.

The testimony, by a defector from Iraq's Mukhabarat internal security
service, marks the first time that a member of Saddam's regime - and one who
denies he is a 'dissident' - has admitted involvement in mass murder on
behalf of Saddam and his sons, Uday and Qusay. The evidence provided by
Khalid al-Janabi, formerly a captain in the Mukhabarat, confirms in
horrifying detail reports earlier this year describing Saddam's prison
'cleansing' massacres in 1998.

He also reveals fresh details of the operation of the Mukhabarat's secret
mechanisms of fear and repression told uniquely from the perspective of one
of Saddam's killers, not one of his victims.

Janabi, who escaped to Jordan last year, served as an officer in the
Mukhabarat from 1979 to 1999. He is a member of the extensive Janabi clan,
many of whose members have been loyal servants of Saddam and his family. He
fled Iraq, however, after the execution of his brother, General Kamil Sachit
al-Janabi, who had been a senior military governor in Kuwait during Iraq's

Khalid al-Janabi's testimony was given in long interviews with Radio Free
Iraq. The details have, however, been corroborated by diplomatic sources.
Janabi's most devastating testimony relates to the events that occurred
after 15 March 1998, the day that Saddam's personal office issued a
directive to 'clean' Iraq's prisons.

The task, his account makes clear, was regarded as a bureaucratic as well as
a physical problem to be overcome. To this end, Saddam ordered the creation
of 'supervisory committees' to oversee the killings at each prison. On 20
March, says Janabi, he and three officers from other state bodies were
appointed as the 'supervisory committee' to select and oversee the
liquidation of 2,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

'On 15 March 1998, we were advised of a Revolution Command Council decision
to clean up the prisons. The Presidency Office and the Special Security
Forces ordered the security services to set up a committee comprising
representatives from Military Intelligence, Public Security, Special
Security, and the Mukhabarat to act as a supervisory body at Abu Ghraib

On 26 April - two days before Saddam's birthday - the President's son Qusay
visited the prison as Special Security Forces men surrounded the compound
and provided protection. Qusay, accompanied by the prison governor, Hassan
al-Amiri, entered a section of the jail containing five barracks around a
large hall and inquired about the inmates.

According to Janabi, most had been sentenced to long jail terms,while a few
were expecting to be released. 'Most of them were from the south, accused of
joining parties and taking part in (anti-government) activities,' said
Janabi. 'There was, of course, no foundation for such accusations, but
accusing people of such activity is standard procedure. Most seemed quite
helpless to me and didn't appear likely to threaten Saddam Hussein. They had
just been dragged in from the Marshes and thrown into Abu Ghraib.'

Qusay gave the governor orders to execute the inmates in those barracks the
next day. Although the governor protested it was impossible to execute that
many people in a single day, Qusay insisted on the killings. According to
Janabi, the killing began in earnest at 6am the following day. Firing
squads, assembled under the supervision of the governor and Janabi's
'committee', brought the prisoners in groups to be shot in several indoor
chambers. Other inmates were hanged in a special 'hanging hall'. Janabi says
the usual method for execution by firing squad is two bullets in the chest
followed by a shot to the head. However, the pressure of killing so many
meant that they were only shot in the head.

'Abu Ghraib prison has five gallows,' explains Janabi. 'Some were hanged.
Others were shot. Each victim was shot once in the head. Even worse, the
bodies of many of those who were executed were not handed over to their
families. There is a cemetery nearby, the Al-Karkh Cemetery. If you go there
you will see a sign pointing to a "special path". Many of the victims were
buried there with only numerical identification.'

By 9pm, 2,000 inmates had been killed. Janabi defends his role in the
murders as being under institutional duress.'The executions themselves were
carried out by prison specialists, but what was the governor to do? How
could he argue when the place was surrounded by Qusay's armed men? One has
to accept such a situation. We were, after all, under orders...'
Janabi also provided a chilling view of the sexual blackmail used by
Saddam's secret services.

'One of our directorates,' Janabi said, 'known as the Directorate of
Technical Operations, specialises in moral matters.' What Janabi describes
next is the systematic corruption and threatening of whole families, often
by women operating for the Mukhabarat.

He continues: 'Take a military commander. Let's assume that this officer has
a daughter and that she is talking on the phone... The Mukhabarat has been
monitoring this senior official's phone. Let's now assume that she is
talking to a lover. The recording is in their hands and they exploit it.

'They choose a day when the officer is on duty. They go to the house and
talk to his wife. They tell her... they have been monitoring her husband's
affairs. They tell her that they have a cassette recording of her daughter
talking to a young man about love and such matters, "and we intend to have
your husband listen to it".

'They then say to the mother: "We need something from you, and we want you
to carry it out whether you like it or not. We will give you a copy of the
cassette and keep the original, but we won't tell your husband about it. If
you choose to resist us, we have special houses everywhere... your daughter
can be kidnapped, sexually assaulted and filmed".

'Such a film is not shown immediately. The tape is then kept at the
Mukhabarat until the day when Saddam Hussein suspects the officer of working
against him. He summons the officer and says to him: "See how we have
preserved your honour by keeping this under wraps, while you choose to work
against us".'

About 90 women officers are involved in blackmail operations under the
supervision of Qusay.

Asked why he had decided to speak out now, Janabi says: 'We are the ones who
protect Saddam, and it is we who have brought Saddam to where he is now. We
cannot remain silent while Saddam dishonours us, in exchange for our
positions and our interests.'

Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain said: 'Nobody should forget Saddam's evil
bestiality. Those who want the United Nations to abandon sanctions and walk
away are inviting him to terrorise Iraqi Kurds in the north, his neighbours
and the region with horrendous violence.'

Jerusalem Post, Sunday, December 3 2000, 6 Kislev 5761

UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press) - In an annual ritual, the General
Assembly on Friday strongly criticized Israel's policies toward the
Palestinians and called its presence in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights

The Palestinians expressed hope that the overwhelming support from UN
members would send a message to Israel that "its position and practices are
unacceptable." But Israel rejected the non-binding resolutions as outdated
and one-sided, and reiterated its willingness to compromise for peace with
all its neighbors.

The United States was the only country to join Israel in voting against all
four Palestinian related resolutions and a resolution demanding Israel's
withdrawal from the Golan Heights - captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day

As it did last year, the United States abstained on the resolution calling
Israel's administration of Jerusalem "illegal and therefore null and void"
because the city's final status is subject to negotiations between the
Israelis and Palestinians. Attempts at reaching a final peace settlement
have stalled over control of Jerusalem.

During the two-day debate in the General Assembly, many countries blamed
Israel for the upsurge in violence over the past two months. There were also
calls from the European Union and from many others for Israel and the
Palestinians to resume negotiations.

Israel's UN Ambassador Yehuda Lancry said that despite recent setbacks,
"tremendous progress has been made in turning enemies into partners for
peace." He declared that "the Middle East stands on the verge of a new
epoch." Nonetheless, he warned that Israel also faces threats from countries
that deny its existence and engage in terrorism or sponsor it.

He accused Iran of supporting Hizbullah guerrillas in Lebanon and of
engaging in "terrorist activities aimed at Jewish and Israeli targets around
the world, including the bombings of the Israeli Embassy and Jewish
Community Center in Buenos Aires." The 1992 embassy bombing killed 29 people
and the 1994 community center bombing killed 86 people.

"We have overwhelming evidence that Iran has succeeded in developing
chemical weapons and we have ample reason to believe Iran has developed
biological warfare capabilities as well," Lancry said, though he provided no
evidence to the General Assembly.

The Israeli ambassador also accused Iraq of persisting in developing weapons
of mass destruction and refusing to allow UN weapons inspectors to return.
He warned Lebanon that continued terrorist attacks and its failure to deploy
troops on its southern border with Israel as required by UN resolutions
"carries with it a danger of imminent escalation." The accusations spurred
two rounds of verbal sparring after the anti-Israel resolutions were
overwhelmingly adopted.

Iranian diplomat Mehdi Hamzei called the allegations of Iranian involvement
in the Buenos Aires bombings "unsubstantiated" and referred to Hizbullah as
"freedom fighters." Noting that Iran has signed all major disarmament
agreements, he said it was "astonishing" that Israel, which has not, had
made accusations about Iranian weapons of mass destruction. He accused
Israel of having nuclear weapons and expressed deep concern at reports that
it also has chemical and biological programs.

Iraq also accused Israel of having the largest arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction in the Middle East.

Lebanese Ambassador Selim Tadmoury accused Israel of violating his country's
land, sea and airspace. When Lancry complained about Lebanese civilians
throwing stones across the border at Israeli soldiers, he retorted: "Does he
want people who spent 22 years under occupation to throw roses and rice?"
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