Sunday, September 28, 2003

They imposed estimated annual costs of $1.6 billion to $2 billion, but produced estimated annual benefits of $2.4 billion to $6.5 billion.

Review of Environment Rules Finds Benefits Outweigh Costs
The White House office in charge of reviewing federal regulations has reported that the benefits of some major environmental rules appear to exceed the costs by several times and that the net benefits may be even larger than previously acknowledged.

In its annual review of the costs and benefits of regulations, the Office of Management and Budget examined a sampling of major rules and found that the total benefits, to the extent they can be measured, were at least triple the costs.

In this report, which was described on Saturday in The Washington Post, the Environmental Protection Agency was found to have produced significantly greater net benefits than last year's report acknowledged. But the change was mainly due to accounting technicalities.

In one change, the budget office expanded its review by looking back 10 years. This meant the latest report included the effects of the successful efforts of the 1990's to rein in the pollution that causes acid rain.
U.S. Uses Terror Law to Pursue Crimes From Drugs to Swindling
The Bush administration, which calls the USA Patriot Act perhaps its most essential tool in fighting terrorists, has begun using the law with increasing frequency in many criminal investigations that have little or no connection to terrorism.

The government is using its expanded authority under the far-reaching law to investigate suspected drug traffickers, white-collar criminals, blackmailers, child pornographers, money launderers, spies and even corrupt foreign leaders, federal officials said.

Justice Department officials say they are simply using all the tools now available to them to pursue criminals — terrorists or otherwise. But critics of the administration's antiterrorism tactics assert that such use of the law is evidence the administration is using terrorism as a guise to pursue a broader law enforcement agenda.

Justice Department officials point out that they have employed their newfound powers in many instances against suspected terrorists. With the new law breaking down the wall between intelligence and criminal investigations, the Justice Department in February was able to bring terrorism-related charges against a Florida professor, for example, and it has used its expanded surveillance powers to move against several suspected terrorist cells.

But a new Justice Department report, given to members of Congress this month, also cites more than a dozen cases that are not directly related to terrorism in which federal authorities have used their expanded power to investigate individuals, initiate wiretaps and other surveillance, or seize millions in tainted assets.

For instance, the ability to secure nationwide warrants to obtain e-mail and electronic evidence "has proved invaluable in several sensitive nonterrorism investigations," including the tracking of an unidentified fugitive and an investigation into a computer hacker who stole a company's trade secrets, the report said.…

The authorities have also used toughened penalties under the law to press charges against a lovesick 20-year-old woman from Orange County, Calif., who planted threatening notes aboard a Hawaii-bound cruise ship she was traveling on with her family in May. The woman, who said she made the threats to try to return home to her boyfriend, was sentenced this week to two years in federal prison because of a provision in the Patriot Act on the threat of terrorism against mass transportation systems.

And officials said they had used their expanded authority to track private Internet communications in order to investigate a major drug distributor, a four-time killer, an identity thief and a fugitive who fled on the eve of trial by using a fake passport.

In one case, an e-mail provider disclosed information that allowed federal authorities to apprehend two suspects who had threatened to kill executives at a foreign corporation unless they were paid a hefty ransom, officials said. Previously, they said, gray areas in the law made it difficult to get such global Internet and computer data.

The law passed by Congress just five weeks after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has proved a particularly powerful tool in pursuing financial crimes.

Officials with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement have seen a sharp spike in investigations as a result of their expanded powers, officials said in interviews.

A senior official said investigators in the last two years had seized about $35 million at American borders in undeclared cash, checks and currency being smuggled out of the country. That was a significant increase over the past few years, the official said. While the authorities say they suspect that large amounts of the smuggled cash may have been intended to finance Middle Eastern terrorists, much of it involved drug smuggling, corporate fraud and other crimes not directly related to terrorism.

The terrorism law allows the authorities to investigate cash smuggling cases more aggressively and to seek stiffer penalties by elevating them from what had been mere reporting failures.

Customs officials say they have used their expanded authority to open at least nine investigations into Latin American officials suspected of laundering money in the United States, and to seize millions of dollars from overseas bank accounts in many cases unrelated to terrorism.

In one instance, agents citing the new law seized $1.7 million from United States bank accounts that were linked to a former Illinois investor who fled to Belize after he was accused of bilking clients out of millions, federal officials said.

Publicly, Attorney General John Ashcroft and senior Justice Department officials have portrayed their expanded power almost exclusively as a means of fighting terrorists, with little or no mention of other criminal uses.…
At Central Command, Death Gets an Online Demotion
More than 300 American troops have been killed since the war in Iraq began. According to Pentagon records, more than 160 have been killed since President Bush declared on May 1 that major combat operations had ended. At least 70 of those deaths have been the result of hostile fire.

Every week seems to bring more deaths. When the guns are silent, there are fatal traffic accidents, fires, even electrocutions.

But as the death toll rises, it is growing less visible, at least to those who visit the Web site operated by the United States Central Command, which controls American troops in Iraq.

Until early September, the Central Command official site,, posted press releases of American military deaths at the top of its home page, along with other releases. The result was a mélange of good news and bad that reflected the gap between intention and outcome plaguing the United States-led occupation here.

Earlier this month, for example, a visitor to the Web site would have seen "Coalition Offers Help With Water, Jobs, Public Safety," topped by a reference to deaths in the First Armored Division: "Two Soldiers Killed, One Wounded in Attack and 1AD Soldier Killed in Helicopter Accident."

But about two weeks ago, the site began offering a different picture of the occupation in which death assumed a far less prominent role.

In fact, the deaths of American soldiers were now nowhere to be seen on the home page. To find them, visitors had to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on a small link called "Casualty Reports."
Taking Arabs Seriously
For the hawks in the Bush administration, one of the keys to understanding the Middle East is Osama bin Laden's observation that people flock to the "strong horse." Bush officials think U.S. problems in the region stem in part from "weak" responses offered by previous administrations to terrorist attacks in the 1980s and 1990s, and they came into office determined to reestablish respect for U.S. power abroad. After nearly two years of aggressive military actions, however, the United States' regional standing has never been lower. As the recent Pew Global Attitudes survey put it, "the bottom has fallen out of Arab and Muslim support for the United States."

The failure to find dramatic evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has spurred widespread debate in the Middle East about the real purpose of the recent war, which most Arab commentators now see as a bid by the United States to consolidate its regional and global hegemony. U.S. threats against Iran and Syria play into this fear, increasing a general determination to resist. And the chaos that followed the fall of Baghdad, the escalating Iraqi anger at what is always described as an American occupation, and the seemingly ambivalent U.S. attitude toward Iraqi democracy have reinforced deep preexisting skepticism about Washington's intentions.

Because of the speed with which intense anti-Americanism has recently emerged across all social groups in the region -- including educated, Westernized Arab liberals -- the problem cannot be attributed to enduring cultural differences, nor to long-standing U.S. policies such as support for Israel or local authoritarian leaders. Arabs themselves clearly and nearly unanimously blame specific Bush administration moves, such as the invasion of Iraq and what they see as a desultory and one-sided approach to Israeli-Palestinian relations. But perhaps even more important than the substance of the administration's policies is the crude, tone-deaf style in which those policies have been pursued. The first step toward improving the United States' image, therefore, must be figuring out how to address Arabs and Muslims effectively.

Ironically, for this administration above all others, taking Arab public opinion seriously cannot be considered either a luxury or a concession to "Arabists" lurking in the bureaucracy. It is instead crucial to the success of the administration's own strategy, which links U.S. security to a democratic and liberal transformation of the region. The Bush team's practice, however, has worked against its stated goals, largely because it has been based on misguided assumptions about the Arab world.

One such assumption is that Arabs respect power and scorn attempts at reason as signs of weakness -- and so the way to impress them is to cow them into submission. Another assumption is that Arab public opinion does not really matter, because authoritarian states can either control or ignore any discontent. Still another is that anger at the United States can and should be disregarded because it is intrinsic to Islamic or Arab culture, represents the envy of the successful by the weak and failed, or is simply cooked up by unpopular leaders to deflect attention from their own shortcomings. And a final, increasingly common notion is that anti-Americanism results from a simple misunderstanding of U.S. policy. Together, these concepts have produced an approach that combines vigorous military interventions with a dismissal of local opposition to them, offset by occasional patronizing attempts to "get the American message out" (through well-intentioned but ineffective initiatives involving public diplomacy, advertising, and the promotion of radio stations featuring popular music). Not surprisingly, the result has been to alienate the very people whose support the United States needs in order to succeed.…
Stumbling Into War
One of the main sources of European skepticism toward the U.S. campaign in Iraq was the sense that Washington was determined to go to war regardless of what Saddam did. Perhaps this suspicion was due to Bush's shifting justifications for war; perhaps it was due to his failure to engage comprehensively and consistently enough with key friends and allies. Whatever the cause, much of the world believed that Washington was so determined to overthrow Saddam that it would never take yes for an answer -- even if the Iraqi leader did comply with international ultimatums.

To be fair, the administration had compelling rationales for war beyond the threat of Iraqi WMD. For example, Bush administration officials claimed that toppling Saddam would uphold the sanctity of un resolutions, eliminate a murderous government that brutalized its citizens, deprive Osama bin Laden of a key ally, and bolster democracy in the Middle East. But each of these arguments, although perhaps otherwise convincing, were undermined by the administration's record or reputation. The claim that Washington sought to enhance the UN's authority clashed with the administration's previous reluctance to support international institutions and international law. Belief in Bush's last-minute Wilsonianism was similarly undermined by his previous scorn for humanitarian intervention, by distrust of his neoconservative aides (whom many regard as enemies of international cooperation who are interested only in strengthening Israel), and by the perception that the United States was not interested in promoting democracy in friendly Middle Eastern regimes such as Saudi Arabia. The allegations of close cooperation between Saddam and bin Laden, if proved, would have been decisive. But the link was never established, only alleged, and no other country accepted it; in fact, foreign intelligence services were told by the CIA that the agency itself doubted these claims.

Moreover, although many of the United States' declared objectives were individually appealing, their diversity harmed rather than helped the administration's case. Diplomatic consistency was lost when different corners of the American bureaucracy stressed different reasons for the war: the State Department, for example, focused on Iraq's violations of UN resolutions, whereas the Pentagon pushed the al Qaeda link. Because the administration lacked the discipline to speak with one voice, a coherent message never emerged.

Especially unhelpful were statements by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, which skeptical European observers focused on to a remarkable degree. In their public statements, both Cheney and Rumsfeld emphasized the flaws inherent in any UN inspection regime, disparaging the un's arms inspectors, downplaying the chances of peaceful disarmament, and promoting Washington's military buildup in the Persian Gulf. In mid-September 2002, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, explaining his break with Bush, even cited a Cheney speech from a few weeks earlier, complaining, "it just isn't good enough to learn from the American press about a speech which clearly states 'we are going to do it, no matter what the world or our allies think.'" Bush did later accept that if Saddam complied with the UN's demands, regime change would no longer be necessary (since the regime would, according to Bush, already have "changed"). But the administration's earlier announcements -- especially warnings by Cheney and Rumsfeld that the UN process was bound to fail -- undercut Bush's pledge and led many foreign observers to doubt whether Washington would be satisfied with anything less than war.
Iraqi Family Ties Complicate American Efforts for Change
"Americans just don't understand what a different world Iraq is because of these highly unusual cousin marriages," said Robin Fox of Rutgers University, the author of "Kinship and Marriage," a widely used anthropology textbook. "Liberal democracy is based on the Western idea of autonomous individuals committed to a public good, but that's not how members of these tight and bounded kin groups see the world. Their world is divided into two groups: kin and strangers."

Iraqis frequently describe nepotism not as a civic problem but as a moral duty. The notion that Iraq's next leader would put public service ahead of family obligations drew a smile from Iqbal's uncle and father-in-law, Sheik Yousif Sayel, the patriarch in charge of the clan's farm on the Tigris River south of Baghdad.

"In this country, whoever is in power will bring his relatives in from the village and give them important positions," Sheik Yousif said, sitting in the garden surrounded by some of his 21 children and 83 grandchildren. "That is what Saddam did, and now those relatives are fulfilling their obligation to protect him from the Americans."

Saddam Hussein married a first cousin who grew up in the same house as he did, and he ordered most of his children to marry their cousins. Sheik Yousif said he never forced any of his children to marry anyone, but more than half of the ones to marry have wed cousins. The patriarch was often the one who first suggested the match, as he did with his son Muhammad nine years ago.

"My father said that I was old enough to get married, and I agreed," Muhammad recalled. "He and my mother recommended Iqbal. I respected their wishes. It was my desire, too. We knew each other. It was much simpler to marry within the family."…

Sheik Yousif, who is 82, said he could not imagine how the elderly in America coped in their homes alone. "I could not bear to go a week without seeing my children," he said. Some of his daughters have married outsiders and moved into other patriarchal clans, but the rest of the children are never far away.

Muhammad and three other sons live on the farm with him, helping to supervise the harvesting of barley, wheat and oranges, and the dates from the palm trees on their land. The other six sons have moved 15 miles away to Baghdad, but they come back often for meals and in hard times. During the war in the spring, almost the whole clan took refuge at the farm.

Next to the family, the sons' social priority is the tribe, Sadah, which has several thousand members in the area and is led by Sheik Yousif. He and his children see their neighbors when praying at Sunni mosques, but none belong to the kind of civic professional groups that are so common in America, the pillars of civil society that observers since de Tocqueville have been crediting for the promotion of democracy.…

Cousin marriage was once the norm throughout the world, but it became taboo in Europe after a long campaign by the Roman Catholic Church. Theologians like St. Augustine and St. Thomas argued that the practice promoted family loyalties at the expense of universal love and social harmony. Eliminating it was seen as a way to reduce clan warfare and promote loyalty to larger social institutions — like the church.

The practice became rare in the West, especially after evidence emerged of genetic risks to offspring, but it has persisted in some places, notably the Middle East, which is exceptional because of both the high prevalence and the restrictive form it takes. In other societies, a woman typically weds a cousin outside her social group, like a maternal cousin living in a clan led by a different patriarch. But in Iraq the ideal is for the woman to remain within the clan by marrying the son of her father's brother, as Iqbal did.

The families resulting from these marriages have made nation-building a frustrating process in the Middle East, as King Faisal and T. E. Lawrence both complained after efforts to unite Arab tribes.

"The tribes were convinced that they had made a free and Arab Government, and that each of them was It," Lawrence wrote in "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" in 1926. "They were independent and would enjoy themselves a conviction and resolution which might have led to anarchy, if they had not made more stringent the family tie, and the bonds of kin-responsibility. But this entailed a negation of central power."

That dichotomy remains today, said Ihsan M. al-Hassan, a sociologist at the University of Baghdad. At the local level, the clan traditions provide more support and stability than Western institutions, he said, noting that the divorce rate among married cousins is only 2 percent in Iraq, versus 30 percent for other Iraqi couples. But the local ties create national complications.

"The traditional Iraqis who marry their cousins are very suspicious of outsiders," Dr. Hassan said. "In a modern state a citizen's allegiance is to the state, but theirs is to their clan and their tribe. If one person in your clan does something wrong, you favor him anyway, and you expect others to treat their relatives the same way."

The prevalence of cousin marriage did not get much attention before the war from Republicans in the United States who expected a quick, orderly transition to democracy in Iraq. But one writer who investigated the practice warned fellow conservatives to stop expecting postwar Iraq to resemble postwar Germany or Japan.

"The deep social structure of Iraq is the complete opposite of those two true nation-states, with their highly patriotic, cooperative, and (not surprisingly) outbred peoples," Steve Sailer wrote in The American Conservative magazine in January. "The Iraqis, in contrast, more closely resemble the Hatfields and the McCoys."

The skeptics have local history on their side, because Middle Eastern countries have tended toward either internecine conflict or authoritarian government dominated by kin, cronies and religious leaders. Elsewhere, though, democracy has coexisted with strong kinship systems.

"Japan and India have managed to blend traditional social structures with modern democracy, and Iraq could do the same," said Stanley Kurtz, an anthropologist at the Hoover Institution. But it will take time and finesse, he said, along with respect for traditions like women wearing the veil.

"A key purpose of veiling is to prevent outsiders from competing with a woman's cousins for marriage," Dr. Kurtz said. "Attack veiling, and you are attacking the core of the Middle Eastern social system."

Sheik Yousif and his sons said they put no faith in American promises of democracy — or any other promises, for that matter.…

Saturday, September 27, 2003

The Resident of 1400 Pensylvania Avenue
aka "the commander in thief" wants 87 billion (that's one thousand million for those who calculate billions differently) dollars for the war on terror.

His tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent amount to 66 billion dollars, not to mention the loss of millions of American jobs since he took office.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Senator: Cheney pushes line - Report questions nature of VP's Halliburton ties
A Congressional Research Service report undermines Vice President Dick Cheney's denial of an ongoing relationship with Halliburton Co., the energy company he once led, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said Thursday.

The report concluded that federal ethics laws treat Cheney's annual deferred-compensation checks and unexercised stock options as financial interests in the company.

The seven-page report did not name Cheney or Halliburton; it addressed the general legal question. It was prepared at Lautenberg's request.

The report from the law division of the congressional research arm of the Library of Congress said deferred salary or compensation received from a private corporation -- as well as unexercised stock options -- may represent a continuing financial interest as defined by federal ethics laws.

Democrats have challenged Cheney's claim that he has no financial ties to Halliburton.

Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sept. 14 that since becoming vice president, "I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years."

Democrats disputed that because Cheney received deferred compensation of $147,579 in 2001 and $162,392 in 2002, with the payments scheduled to continue for three more years.

In response, Cheney's office said he had purchased an insurance policy so he would be paid even if Halliburton failed. And his office also has announced he has agreed to donate the after-tax proceeds from his stock options to charity.

But the congressional report said that neither the insurance policy nor the charity designation would change a public official's obligation to treat the pay and options as ties to a private corporation.

Halliburton, a Houston-based energy conglomerate, has been awarded more than $2 billion in contracts for rebuilding Iraq, including one worth $1.22 billion awarded on a non-competitive basis.

Cheney was chief executive officer of Halliburton from 1995 through August 2000.

Lautenberg said the report makes clear that Cheney has financial ties to Halliburton.

"I ask the vice president to stop dodging the issue with legalese," Lautenberg said.,1,7807894.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed
Microsoft Bloggers
Microsoft folks are blogging about
everything from their favorite martini recipes, to marketing
challenges, to the guts of the Common Language Runtime
inside the .Net Framework. And now Microsoft is planning on
making some public noise about its support for RSS 2.0,
according to Empire Blog Watcher Mary Jo Foley.,4248,933657,00.asp
Why U.S. Seaports Aren't Safe
Where do the security of U.S. seaports and your supply chain intersect? What are the risks to your bottom line if your incoming product inventory is sitting on the docks of an insecure, easily targeted port? And just how easy would it be to send explosives and destructive weapons into a major port city in this country? These articles examine the local, federal and business vulnerabilities of American seaports. A major highlight of these articles is a four-month examination of the one of the busiest and largest ports in the United States: Oakland, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay area.

This Baseline case study offers a close look at the financial politics of seaport security management; the role of information sharing (or lack thereof) via communication technologies; attempts at making sense of Department of Homeland Security rhetoric; and the challenges of making businesses of all sizes comply with Customs regulations.

A thin plastic security strip is sometimes all that protects a ship against the introduction of illicit materials.

Every day, 1,500 containers arrive at the port of Oakland, California, ready to be moved swiftly onto the rails and highways that will take their contents into the heartland of america. While they are being unloaded, a terrorist in a rowboat can paddle in uncontested, set off a bomb and rock the heart of the harbor with an explosion. Meanwhile, U.S. Customs officials, who have to verify the contents of those 19-ton packages of goods, in the end have to trust that the captains of arriving ships are telling the simple truth about what's on board.

Ray Boyle still admires the rugged beauty of the Port of Oakland. The harbor is filled every day with all manner of sleek vessels—from 10-foot kayaks, to 30-foot sloops, to oceangoing cargo ships that stretch almost 1,000 feet from stem to stern.

The wake from the giant ships laps lazily against the docks, where 200-foot-high cranes perch like giant heron ready to pick containers off their massive decks. Near the foot of the lifts, the Northern California sun glints off a small fleet of diesel-powered 18-wheel trucks, waiting to receive their loads.

Oakland is a productive port. Its mission is to move commercial freight "quickly, at the best possible cost, to generate the best profit," as Boyle, the port's general manager of maritime operations, puts it. Last year, it handled more than 1.7 million cargo containers, trailing only the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif., and New York-New Jersey.

But security has never been part of its mission—or that of any port. The idea of slowing down cargo to check it for destructive contents, Boyle says, "is alien to a certain extent."

No longer does Boyle—a 30-year veteran of the Port of Oakland—regard a kayak as simply a recreational craft. He wonders whether suicide bombers might be rowing underneath the docks. He thinks about Al Qaeda operatives being smuggled aboard one of those giant cargo vessels. If that's not enough to turn his gray head of hair white, he contemplates the possibility that weapons of mass destruction could be hidden in one of the approximately 1,500 containers that get trucked out of the port each day.

This kind of exposure at seaports puts a foundation of the U.S. economy at risk.

Ninety-five percent of the $827 billion of trade done with countries outside of North America comes in by ship. That is 7.6% of the $10.4 trillion of goods and services consumed annually in the United States. In addition, the $104 billion worth of oil imported annually to power factories, retail stores, schools and vehicles of all sizes and shapes comes in by ship.

If something was to happen to Boyle's port, it would affect ports across the country. In the event of an attack, the federal government likely would order all the nation's 360 harbors shut down. The ripple effects of such a move were seen last fall, when a 10-day strike by dockworkers at Oakland and 28 other West Coast ports cost U.S. businesses $2 billion a day in lost sales, according to the American Association of Port Authorities.

Port managers are working feverishly to prevent a dockside doomsday. For his part, Boyle is assessing port vulnerabilities and tightening up perimeter defenses with motion-detector equipped fences and surveillance cameras. He's also looking at gate-control mechanisms that ultimately could include everything from smart cards to biometrics.

But Oakland needs to do a lot more—and Boyle knows it. He doesn't have the funds to set up an emergency communications network that would connect the 11 container terminals in his harbor with the Oakland Police Department. Nor does he have the money for a vessel that would patrol Oakland's 19 miles of waterfront. Those projects could run into the millions of dollars. Boyle says, "We don't have that much money."

Oakland made what it says was a fair and accurate assessment of its needs and applied for more than $150 million in federal port security grants to pay for fences, barricades, surveillance cameras and many other projects. So far, the port has received just $6.4 million—$4.8 million in a first round of aid and $1.6 million in a second.…,3048,a=103240,00.asp

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

U.N. Official Plans to Urge U.S. to Reconsider Its Food Policies
Jacques Diouf, the director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, dedicated to helping solve the world's hunger problems, knows he has a hard sell on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Diouf is here on a visit from his Rome headquarters, trying to keep alive the issues that stalled trade talks in Cancún, Mexico, last week. Like many at the talks, he wants Congress and the administration to reconsider the nation's annual $22 billion in farm subsidies, which make it hard for farmers in poorer countries to compete.

But he also wants to make a separate, difficult point: that the United States' generosity with food aid sometimes undermines countries' abilities to feed themselves.

The United States provides 41 percent of the food aid distributed by the United Nations. But in an interview at his agency's Washington offices, Mr. Diouf said hunger could be better fought if money were spent to help poor farmers dig wells and canals for irrigation and lay better roads to bring crops to market.

"Giving money to farmers before a crisis is better than giving food after the crisis hits," he said.

In the last 15 years, as rich countries increased their subsidies to their farmers and slashed aid to the world's poorest farmers, poor countries have gone from net exporters of food to net importers. With 70 percent of poor countries' populations dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, the change has helped fuel a rise in malnutrition. In places like sub-Saharan Africa, one out of three people suffer chronic hunger.…

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's Address to the U.N. General Assembly
…In the common struggle to protect our common environment, and in the struggle for human rights, democracy and good governance, in fact, all these struggles are linked. We now see with chilling clarity that a world where many millions of people endure brutal oppression and extreme misery will never be fully secure, even for its most privileged inhabitants.

Yet the hard threats, such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, are real and cannot be ignored. Terrorism is not a problem only for the rich countries. Ask the people of Bali or Bombay, Nairobi or Casablanca. Weapons of mass destruction do not threaten only the western or northern world. Ask the people of Iran or of Halabja in Iraq.

Where we disagree, it seems, is on how to respond to these threats. Since this organization was founded, states have generally sought to deal with threats to the peace through containment and deterrence, by a system based on collective security and the United Nations charter.

Article 51 of the charter prescribes that all states, if attacked, retain the inherent right of self-defense. But until now, it has been understood that when states go beyond that and decide to use force to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, they need the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations.

Now some say this understanding is no longer tenable since an armed attack with weapons of mass destruction could be launched at any time without warning or by a clandestine group. Rather than wait for that to happen, they argue states have the right and obligation to use force preemptively, even on the territory of other states and even while the weapon systems that might be used to attack them are still being developed. According to this argument, states are not obliged to wait until there is agreement in the Security Council. Instead they reserve the right to act unilaterally or in ad hoc coalitions.

This logic represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years. My concern is that if it were to be adopted, it would set precedents that resulted in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force with or without justification. But it is not enough to denounce unilateralism unless we also face up squarely to the concerns that make some states feel uniquely vulnerable, since it is those concerns that drive them to take unilateral action. We must show that those concerns can and will be addressed effectively through collective action.

Excellencies, we have come to a fork in the road. This may be a moment no less decisive than in 1945 itself, when the United Nations was founded. At that time, a group of far-sighted leaders, led and inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, were determined to make the second half of the 20th century different from the first half. They saw that the human race had only one world to live in, and that unless it managed its affairs prudently, all human beings may perish. So they drew up rules to govern international behavior and founded a network of institutions, with the United Nations at its center, in which the peoples of the world could work together for the common good. Now we must decide whether it is possible to continue on the basis agreed then or whether radical changes are needed. And we must not shy away from questions about the adequacy and effectiveness of the rules and instruments at our disposal.

Among those instruments, none is more important than the Security Council itself. In my recent report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, I drew attention to the urgent need for the Council to regain the confidence of states and of world public opinion, both by demonstrating its ability to deal effectively with the most difficult issues and by becoming more broadly representative of the international community as a whole, as well as the geopolitical realities of today. The Council needs to consider how it will deal with the possibility that individual states may use force preemptively against perceived threats. Its members may need to begin a discussion on the criteria for an early authorization of coercive measures to address certain types of threats; for instance, terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass destruction. And they still need to engage in serious discussions of the best way to respond to threats of genocide or other comparable massive violations of human rights, an issue which I raised myself from this podium in 1999.

Once again this year, our collective response to events of this type in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia has been hesitant and tardy. As for the composition of the Council that has been on the agenda of this assembly for over a decade, virtually all member states agree that the Council should be enlarged, but there is no agreement on the details. I respectfully suggest to you, excellencies, that in the eyes of your peoples, the difficulty of reaching agreement does not excuse your failure to do so.…
U.S. Airstrike Kills Three Men in Iraq
About 250 people gathered at the village cemetery to bury the three men.

``May God's curse fall upon the Americans, for they have no fear of God. Are these American human rights?'' asked Mohsen Herish, a cousin of Mohammed.

Mohammed's 48-year-old brother, Mohammed Khalaf Mohammed, who shared the house, said an American officer came to the house of his dead brother about 9 a.m. Tuesday and inspected the damage.

Mohammed said the officer, speaking through an interpreter, apologized and said, ``We are here to protect you.''

``I replied, 'If this is your protection we don't need it.' The Americans think we are protecting Saddam's people, but in our village we never even liked Saddam,'' the brother said. He said he did not have the name of the U.S. officer.

Villagers said they heard U.S. jet fighters as well as helicopters.…

A U.S. aircraft fired six missiles into a farm north of Fallujah on Tuesday, killing three men and wounding three others, police and villagers said. The U.S. military said its forces were pursuing guerrillas who attacked soldiers and that it knew of only one person killed.

Two young boys were among the wounded in the attack, and their father and two neighbors were killed, witnesses and neighbors said.

U.S. Spec. Nicole Thompson said soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division were attacked and the assailants ran into a building in the village of al-Sajr, 9 miles north of Fallujah. American ground troops called in air support and one guerrilla fighter was killed, she said.

Fallujah is one of the most dangerous cities in the so-called ``Sunni Triangle,'' the region north and west of Baghdad where support for Saddam Hussein runs strongest and where U.S. troops have met stiffest resistance.

At the Fallujah hospital, Abed Rasheed, 50, one of the wounded, said he was sleeping with his family on the roof of his house when he heard small arms fire. He ran downstairs just as the American aircraft raced overhead, firing what he believed were rockets. He was hospitalized with wounds in the chest and left foot.

``There never was any trouble in our village and the Americans have never been inside it,'' said Rasheed, a retired non-commissioned army officer, from his hospital bed. ``This is genocide. This is not about overthrowing a government or regime change,'' he said.

After the strike, there were five craters -- the biggest about three yards wide -- in the courtyard of the farmhouse of Ali Khalaf Mohammed. A sixth missile crashed through the roof of one of the rooms in the house, creating a two-yard square hole.

Mohammed, 45, was killed. The other dead men were identified by villagers as Saadi Fayad and Salem Ismail, both of them neighbors said to be in their mid-30s.

The injured included two of Mohammed's sons -- Hussein, 11, and his brother Tahseen, 9. At Fallujah hospital, Hussein lay in his hospital bed wearing a blood-soaked gown. His brother was a few yards away, his face swollen from facial cuts. His right thigh bore shrapnel wounds.…
U.S. Fighter Jets Bomb House in Falluja
American fighter jets bombed a house belonging to a family of 15 in a village just north of here overnight, killing three and injuring three others, members of the family said today.

They said they had been asleep in the house and on its roof when an American patrol began firing on them just before 2 a.m. The residents put up no resistance, they said, and after about 15 minutes the patrol began to withdraw. Several minutes later, a pair of American jet fighters unleashed almost a dozen bombs on the house without warning, the residents said.

An American military spokeswoman confirmed that soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division killed at least one Iraqi this morning after they had come under attack just north of Falluja, which lies within the so-called Sunni Triangle, a region north and west of Baghdad where loyalty to Saddam Hussein runs deep and most of the attacks against American soldiers have taken place.

"Folks from the 82nd Airborne were attacked, the attackers fled into a building and were pursued by coalition forces," said the military spokeswoman, Specialist Nicole Thompson. The Americans established a security perimeter around the building and called in "air support," she said. "One enemy K.I.A. resulted," she said, using the military abbreviation for "killed in action."

There were no American casualties in the incident, she said.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

RIAA Subpoena Deluge Sparks Safety Concerns
The music industry's subpoena deluge raining down on Internet service providers has sparked concerns about the wisdom of handing user identities and addresses to parties other than law enforcement. ISPs are growing worried that special subpoena powers could be abused, and providers could be caught in the position of revealing personal information to copyright holders with ill intent.
Under unique subpoena powers granted in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, copyright owners do not have to file a lawsuit and receive a judge's approval to obtain a subpoena. Instead they can certify that they believe a copyright infringement has occurred and obtain approval from a court clerk.

The Recording Industry Association of America's heavy use its power this summer to pursue alleged illegal file-swappers raises new questions about the Act and how it is being interpreted. RIAA has issued an estimated 2000 subpoenas since July and filed 200 lawsuits since Sept. 8.…

Lawmakers generally do not want to begin mandating new digital protection rules, but the crusade launched this summer by the music industry puts them under growing pressure from constituents. The controversy is shaping up to pit consumers against industry, and, reminiscent of the debate over unsolicited commercial email, it leaves Congress squarely in the middle.

"It's spam days all over again," Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., said at a hearing of the Senate commerce committee Wednesday morning.

ISPs also are caught in the middle, agreeing that copyright owners are entitled to protect their work, and at the same time arguing that Internet users have rights to privacy and due process under law. Unless safeguards are added to the process, it could result in personal harm to users, some say.

James Ellis, senior executive vice president and general counsel of SBC Communications Inc., told lawmakers Wednesday that he is worried about the implications for subscribers' personal security, asserting that Internet stalkers, child molesters, domestic abusers "or some other wacko" could use subpoenas to track down victims.

The recording industry should have to file lawsuits to obtain subpoenas subject to judicial review, like anyone else, Ellis said. "That's how it's done—has been for generations," he said. "In this country there's a presumption of innocence until you have the evidence."

In response, Sherman said that RIAA collects evidence before going to a court clerk. "We issue the subpoena to see who the evidence is identifying," he said.

According to Sherman, shipments of recorded music have dropped precipitously in recent years and the root cause is Internet piracy. Litigation is just one piece of a series of strategies to force a "paradigm shift" in the way people obtain music, he said. He would not say how many lawsuit he expects RIAA to file.

The industry contends that privacy rights are not violated by the use of subpoenas because copyright holders are entitled only to the identity of alleged infringers. Further, Sherman told lawmakers, ISPs routinely share such information with marketing partners.

ISPs and privacy advocates take issue with the comparison, arguing that it is the correlation of identity with Internet use that violates privacy rights. The Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington has proposed a set of privacy safeguards, including requiring notice to alleged copyright infringers.…,4149,1272583,00.asp

Friday, September 19, 2003

Low-Calorie-Diet Study Takes Scientists Aback
cientists know that very strict low-calorie diets can prolong life. But now they report that it does not matter when you start that diet — at least if you are a fruit fly. The life-prolonging effect kicks in immediately, continues as long as the diet, and is lost as soon as the dieting stops.

"We were very surprised, completely taken aback," said Dr. Linda Partridge, a professor at University College London, whose laboratory made the discovery.

For now, no one has a clue about what the crucial changes are in a fly's body when it goes on or off a diet. "It's been assumed that the reason things live longer when they diet is that there is a slowing down of age-related damage," Dr. Partridge said. But, she added, it now appears that cannot be true. "The system has no memory."

In a detailed demographic analysis of life and death among 7,492 fruit flies, published today in Science magazine, Dr. Partridge and her colleagues discovered that the protective effect of dieting snaps into place within 48 hours, whether the diet starts early in life or late. Flies that dieted for the first time in middle age were the same as flies that had been dieting their whole lives. But the effect can be lost just as quickly. Flies that dieted their entire lives and then switched, as adults, to eating their fill were the same two days later as flies that had never dieted.

Dr. Huber Warner, who directs the biology of aging program at the National Institute on Aging, said that it was as if dieting flies "put on a suit of armor."

"It seems like the dietary restriction puts the flies into a different kind of state where they are temporarily able to resist damaging events so that they survive rather than die," Dr. Warner said.

Dr. James W. Vaupel, a demographer at the Max Planck Institute for Demography in Rostock, Germany, said the findings put decades of research on the effects of calorie restriction in a new light. "We've known for a long time that dietary restriction increases survival," Dr. Vaupel said. "What we haven't known is that it's never too late."
Last month, a U.S. soldier shot dead award-winning Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana on the outskirts of Baghdad. The U.S. Army said the soldier mistook Dana's camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

U.S. troops opened fire on a car carrying an Italian diplomat who holds a senior position in Iraq's U.S.-led administration, killing his Iraqi interpreter, American military sources said Friday.

Pietro Cordone, senior adviser on culture for the U.S.-led authority, was unhurt, Italian Foreign Ministry sources said. Cordone has been leading efforts to recover priceless antiquities looted from museums and archeological sites since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Many Iraqis accuse U.S. troops of being too quick to open fire and failing to follow rules of engagement.

Human rights groups say many innocent Iraqis have been killed. The United States says it keeps no figures on civilian casualties.

Last week, the U.S. Army apologized after soldiers in the tense town of Falluja killed 10 Iraqi security guards and a Jordanian in a gun battle that was later described as an accident.

Locals in Falluja say U.S. troops there also killed a teen-ager Wednesday night when they opened fire after hearing celebratory gunshots from a wedding, mistakenly believing they were under attack.

U.S. Troops Fire at Italian Diplomat's Car in Iraq
Reflections on Sept. 11
Two years after the worst terrorist attack in the history
of the United States, the nation again reflected on this
terrible tragedy. The Times offers complete coverage of the
day, as well as a series of in-depth articles, multimedia
presentations and archived materials that attempt to
understand Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftermath.

Look back at Sept. 11.:
Green GIs Eyed in Shooting of Iraqi Cops
American soldiers who mistakenly killed eight Iraqi policemen and a Jordanian guard this month had been in this turbulent city for only one day and were in the midst of a handover from one military unit to another, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

According to these officials, confusion and inexperience may have contributed to the Sept. 12 killings, the worst "friendly fire" incident since major hostilities were declared over May 1.

The 82nd Airborne has had a checkered history in Fallujah, one of the cities in the "Sunni Triangle" where hostility toward the United States is most intense.

In April, soldiers from the division fired on protesters on two successive days, killing 18 and injuring 78. U.S. troops had withdrawn to a base outside the city in July and had been turning over security duties to local police. The U.S. military at the time said the troops were fired at first in the April incident, but Iraqi witnesses denied this.

On Wednesday night in Fallujah, an American patrol opened fire at a wedding, killing a 14-year-old boy and wounding six other people after mistaking celebratory gunfire for an attack, witnesses said.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said the military was investigating and could not confirm that a boy was killed.

After the April shooting, the military agreed to pay $2,500 to the families of the dead and $500 to those of the wounded. Bedawi, however, said only $1,500 of the $2,500 promised for each of the families of those killed had so far been paid. He suggested that $2,500 per family may not be enough for families of the eight policemen killed this month.

"The compensation must be appropriate. These families have nothing and $2,500 is not an acceptable sum," he said.

The U.S.-led coalition has apologized for the Sept. 12 incident and appointed a senior officer, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser of the 101st Airborne Division, to investigate it. The 101st is based in the northern city of Mosul.

The 82nd Airborne troops involved in the latest friendly fire incident were not the same as those who took part in the April shooting, a Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said that the men had only recently arrived in Iraq.…

The latest incident, which took place just outside Fallujah, happened during a three-day handover period between the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 82nd Airborne, a U.S. military spokesman told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The 82nd airborne was first deployed in the Gulf region in February and fought its way north from Kuwait along with other U.S. units. The 82nd units that served in Fallujah in April and May came from the division's 2nd Brigade. Those serving in Fallujah now are from the 2nd Brigade as well as the 3rd Brigade. The latter arrived in Iraq this month.…,1,3140466.story

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Figures Don't Lie but, Liars Figure

A Dissent on the Digital Divide
CONTRARY to the federal government's current thinking about the digital divide, the gap may not be closing so quickly after all, according to a new statistical analysis of data from household surveys.

Steven P. Martin, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who conducted the new analysis, argues that the government's most recent report on Americans' Internet use, which used the same data, was flawed.

In that report, released in February 2002, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a branch of the Commerce Department, painted a positive picture of the spread of Internet use among low-income families.

Dr. Martin, an assistant professor, contends that the data actually show the opposite of what the report highlighted.

"Computer ownership and Internet use may actually be spreading less quickly among poorer households than among richer households," he wrote in an article published this month in IT & Society, an academic journal focusing on the impact of the Internet ( He predicts that it may take two decades for the lowest-income groups to catch up to wealthier households.

The debate has been simmering for years. Is the disparity between rich and poor when it comes to computers and the Internet troubling enough to warrant a change in government policy or concerted help from nonprofit organizations and corporations? Or is it something that will quickly heal itself through market pressures?

The 2002 report pointed out in its executive summary that Internet use had increased faster for poor families than rich ones.

Yet earlier reports published during the Clinton administration had been less positive. The last of these, issued in 2000, said that although the have-nots had made striking gains, the disparity among groups of different income levels remained and had widened slightly in some cases.

Soon after the publication of the 2002 report, the Bush administration moved to end financing for government programs that supported community computing centers and local organizations that needed technological improvements. The cuts were opposed by technology advocates and rights groups. In the end, the programs did maintain some financing last year.

Advocates for community programs have argued that the gap between the haves and have-nots was more troubling than the administration made it out to be. "The digital divide is not abating," wrote Norris Dickard, a senior associate at the Benton Foundation, a technology advocacy group, in a report released last year. "Reduced national attention to this problem will dampen economic productivity and opportunity in low-income and rural communities."

Dr. Martin does not contend that the government was working with bad data in its 2002 report; the numbers came from Current Population Surveys, data that is collected by the Census Bureau and regularly used by social scientists. He argues rather that the authors focused on statistics that can tell two stories at once, and then chose to emphasize the positive.

As an example, he cites the government's use of annual rates of increase in Internet use. It is true, he writes, that Internet use among the poorest families - those with annual incomes of less than $15,000 - grew by an average of 25 percent from December 1998 to September 2001, while the rate among the most affluent families, with annual incomes of more than $75,000, increased 11 percent annually. But he argues that is because so few of the poorest families were using the Internet in 1998 to begin with. (Only 14 percent of the poorest families used the Internet from any location in 1998; 25 percent used it in 2001.)

The percentage of wealthiest families using the Internet in 1998 was already high, at 59 percent. By 2001, that number had risen to 79 percent. Because the number was relatively high to begin with, the growth rate inevitably slowed down.

Dr. Martin re-analyzed the data using what statisticians call odds ratios, a method that can avoid the pitfalls of looking simply at growth rates. By his measure, the odds that a family in the poorest bracket would use the Internet increased by a factor of 2.1 over those three years, while the odds for a family in the most affluent group increased by a slightly higher factor of 2.6.

Using those tools, Dr. Martin said in an interview that it could be 2013 before 90 percent of the poorest families use the Internet, be it from home or a community center or a library. Based on the numbers for computer ownership, he conjectures that it could be 2020 before 90 percent of the poorest families own PC's. (In this case, the poorest families are defined as the bottom 25 percent and the richest, the top 25 percent.) By contrast, in 2001, 88 percent of the richest families owned computers.
When REMFs Dance Around the Truth It Usually Turns Out To Be a Charlie Foxtrot

Sept. 17 — President Bush said today that he had seen no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as the White House tried to correct an assertion that Vice President Dick Cheney left extremely murky on Sunday.

Mr. Cheney, on "Meet the Press" on NBC-TV, was asked about polls that showed that a majority of Americans believed that Mr. Hussein had been involved in the attacks.

"I think it's not surprising that people make that connection," said Mr. Cheney, who leads the hawkish wing of the Bush administration. Asked whether the connection existed, Mr. Cheney said, "We don't know."

He described Mr. Hussein's reported connections to Al Qaeda, connections that American intelligence analysts say were not very deep.

Mr. Bush, asked by a reporter today about that statement, said, "No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th," a far more definitive statement than the vice president's.

Bush Reports No Evidence of Hussein Tie to 9/11

Rocky Path for Bush: Effort to Remake Iraq Hits Roadblocks

Everywhere he turns — from the United Nations and Congress to allied capitals and the warrens of Baghdad and Tikrit — President Bush is finding major obstacles to his effort to secure and rebuild Iraq.

The problems, ranging from money to troops to moral support, are complicating White House efforts to assure the American public that the situation in Iraq will actually improve with time.

On the ground, there has been a pause in the sort of major bombing attacks that shook the administration's confidence and forced troops to dig more trenches and put up more barricades, isolating themselves from the country they are occupying.

But now some defense officials are saying the occupation force's state of siege, combined with continuing difficulties in restoring services in Baghdad, is making Iraqis increasingly hostile toward those who are supposed to be their liberators. And today, the eighth tape purporting to be from the deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein, surfaced, urging yet more attacks.

In addition, administration officials are acknowledging there may be an embarrassing lack of foreign donations to rebuild Iraq. European diplomats said today that the United States would be lucky to get $1 billion in pledges at a donors' conference in Madrid next month — about 10 percent of what the United States wanted, according to these officials.

The donor disappointment is, in turn, stirring resentment in Congress over Mr. Bush's request for $87 billion in military and economic assistance to Iraq in 2004. Some lawmakers are saying one big chunk of the huge package, the $15 billion earmarked for non-military activities, may be especially scrutinized, especially if donations from other countries are only a fraction of that sum.

Finally, the United States is having difficulties negotiating a new United Nations Security Council resolution to give the United Nations broader authority over Iraq. Such a resolution would make it easier to entice foreign donations and foreign peacekeepers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Iraqis wonder how U.S. can be so inept
On Aug. 19, when the United Nations building in Baghdad was blown up, a little-known Franco-Egyptian UN worker, Jean-Selim Kanaan, was killed. He had volunteered for Iraq duty to help people, and was counting on the protection of the world's mightiest power.

Two weeks after his arrival in June, he wrote letters to friends around the world. "Americans understand only what is American. . . . [They] made this war for their interests and surely not to liberate the Iraqi people . . . the revolt is growing," he said in the letters.

There are some a series of questions on the streets of Iraq.

How is it possible for the U.S. to make so many mistakes? Does the U.S. want to destroy Iraq or have it plunge into civil war and disintegrate? Is all of this an American conspiracy?

People cannot believe that the U.S., with all its might and capabilities, could not provide basic security after the fall of the Baath regime in April or restore essential services such as electricity and water.

The lawlessness that prevailed after the fall of Baghdad, the looting and destruction of hospitals, museums, public offices and private businesses, while American troops watched, will remain in the minds of many people.

They see what happened as a purposeful dereliction of the occupying power's duty to protect the population. The protection is required of occupying armies by the Geneva Conventions.

To have disbanded the entire Iraqi army and police, leaving the cities and streets undefended, sending home several hundred thousand trained persons without income, is insanity. These and other failures to provide for the people's elementary needs raise questions about U.S. motives.

Many Iraqis see this as a conspiracy to bring about a civil war between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, leading to the breakdown of their country so that the U.S. can take over its oil--the world's second-largest oil reserve.

And as is de rigueur in Middle East matters, Israel is added to the mix, though it has nothing to do with that "made in the U.S." mess.

None of this is the American intention, but there is no way to explain these many mistakes.

The economy

Another astonishing decision recently announced by Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, is the privatization of Iraq's economy. Because there is no private capital in Iraq and the banking system has collapsed, it means that outside capital will own Iraq's future.

Who is to benefit?

The Ahmad Chalabi crowd supported by Deputy Defense Secretaries Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz? Add a layer to the conspiracy.

Last, but not least, is the U.S. failure to bring the worst Baathist criminals to justice--one of the avowed U.S. purposes in going to war in Iraq. None of the Baath leaders held in U.S. custody, some for months, has been brought to trial, and there are no known plans to prosecute them before a legitimate international or national judicial body.

The U.S. even rejects having a United Nations commission gather the evidence, just as one did in Yugoslavia, whose success led to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, which is now prosecuting Slobodan Milosevic.

Meanwhile in Iraq, mass graves are dug out and bodies removed, documents pilfered from public officials, and on the whole, the evidence is being lost. In Baghdad, the word is that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized U.S. intelligence to make deals with the infamous deck of cards of most wanted criminals in exchange for information, particularly about the hitherto undiscovered weapons of mass destruction.

In the U.S., the administration's Iraq occupation policies are mostly questioned from narrow perspectives addressing smaller pieces of the puzzle. The administration avoids those parts of the puzzle that do not fit the image it wants to convey. It also makes it possible to blame security problems in Iraq on "outside terrorists." It does not report the hundreds of Iraqi civilians accidentally killed by American troops. Nor does it account for thousands of civilian detainees.

There is one added allegation not reported extensively in the U.S.

That is the claim of kidnapping and presumed rape of more than 400 women, according to an Arab news agency.

For Iraqi families, there is nothing worse that can befall them. These crimes are committed by Iraqis, but the people blame U.S. forces for the situation. Moreover, when they try to go to the U.S. authorities for help, they are turned away, like the families of the 5,000 detainees who seek news about their loved ones.

The naive impression we are conveying is that our leaders were surprised by Iraqi nationalistic reactions because Iraqis were expected to greet invading American troops as Parisian troops did in 1945. That they didn't see Iraqi opposition coming when common people in the streets of every Arab country could have told them so strains credibility.

These are, after all, brilliant people. If they purposely concealed it and misled the American people, they should be held accountable. And if they were imbued with their own arrogance to such a degree or deceived by their self-selected agents of change in Iraq, such as Chalabi, they should be removed from office for incompetence.

Yet they still impose Chalabi, even when it is now well-established that he has little or no credibility in Iraq.

Not unpredictable

Nothing of what is happening in Iraq was unpredictable. Yet, despite consistent evidence of misguided policies and practices during the occupation, there is no indication of a significant change. We hear of cosmetic changes, such as having a Security Council resolution establish a multinational force under the command and control of the U.S. But that will not delude nor deflect Iraqi resistance, and it will not bring security for the Iraqi people.,1,5066949.story?coll=chi-newsopinionperspective-hed

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Clinton Assails Bush at Gathering for Hopefuls
Former President Bill Clinton seized the Democratic stage tonight, offering one of his strongest denunciations of President Bush since leaving office as he tried to rally Democrats here around candidates who have yet to stir the excitement he did in 1992.

Speaking without notes or a prepared text, Mr. Clinton invoked the circumstances of the 2000 presidential election as he argued that the Bush administration had squandered the domestic and foreign policy gains he had made in his eight years in office.

"That election was not a mandate for radical change, but that is what we got," Mr. Clinton said, adding, "We went from surplus to deficit, from job gain to job loss, from a reduction in poverty to an increase in poverty, from a reduction in people without health insurance to an increase of people without health insurance."

The former president said that Mr. Bush had wasted an opportunity to unite the country and enhance its international standing in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks. "Instead of uniting the world, we alienated it," he said. "And instead of uniting America, we divided it by trying to push it too far to the right."

Mr. Clinton used his own economic situation to mock Mr. Bush's tax cut. Mr. Clinton said he might, as a very wealthy former president living in Chappaqua, N.Y., be paying more taxes than just about anyone else in America. "I get my tax cut, and they are going to take 300,000 poor children and kick them out of after-school programs," he said.
Bush Seeks to Expand Access to Private Data
For months, President Bush's advisers have assured a skittish public that law-abiding Americans have no reason to fear the long reach of the antiterrorism law known as the Patriot Act because its most intrusive measures would require a judge's sign-off.

But in a plan announced this week to expand counterterrorism powers, President Bush adopted a very different tack. In a three-point presidential plan that critics are already dubbing Patriot Act II, Mr. Bush is seeking broad new authority to allow federal agents — without the approval of a judge or even a federal prosecutor — to demand private records and compel testimony.

Mr. Bush also wants to expand the use of the death penalty in crimes like terrorist financing, and he wants to make it tougher for defendants in such cases to be freed on bail before trial. These proposals are also sure to prompt sharp debate, even among Republicans.

Opponents say that the proposal to allow federal agents to issue subpoenas without the approval of a judge or grand jury will significantly expand the law enforcement powers granted by Congress after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And they say it will also allow the Justice Department — after months of growing friction with some judges — to limit the role of the judiciary still further in terrorism cases.…
Arafat Says Israelis Are Trying to End Palestinian Self-Rule
Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, accused Israel today of seeking to destroy Palestinian self-rule with its intention, declared on Thursday, to "remove" him, but Israeli officials defended the policy as legitimate self-defense.

The Israeli decision, which followed two Hamas suicide bombings that killed 15 people, brought a range of criticism from around the world, including from the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, and the European Union. The Bush administration said deporting Mr. Arafat might be counterproductive.…

Israel accuses Mr. Arafat of direct involvement in terrorism, which he denies. Some Israeli officials argued that Israel was doing what the United States had done in Iraq, though, one noted acidly, Saddam Hussein, unlike Mr. Arafat, "wasn't 7 miles, 10 miles away from their major population centers."

Palestinians argue that it is they who are under attack, and that they have a right under international law to resist the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Further, they note, Mr. Arafat was popularly elected as president of the governing Palestinian Authority in internationally supervised elections.

Mr. Arafat told diplomats visiting him today at his compound in Ramallah, in the West Bank, "The danger here concerns Israel's determination to cancel the Palestinian partner and the Palestinian Authority." Israel denied that that was its intention.

The onetime peace partners were trading accusations on the 10th anniversary of the White House signing ceremony for the Oslo accords, which were intended to produce a lasting peace between them.

At the request of the Palestinian Ministry of Education, teachers brought thousands of schoolchildren to Mr. Arafat's compound today in the latest show of support for the longtime Palestinian leader.

Violence continued today. Overnight in the West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli troops shot and killed an elderly bystander during a clash with gunmen, Palestinian authorities said.…
The Martyr Complex
Who is a martyr? In the West, "martyr" is mainly reserved for Christian victims of Roman lions, or used facetiously for those who let others know of their self-sacrificing ways. But in the Muslim Middle East, where religious terminology permeates the culture, it seems as if almost everyone is a martyr. Realizing this is a small but crucial step in understanding a major cultural gap between the West and the Muslim Middle East, a gap that becomes more obvious with every audiotape supposedly from Osama bin Laden.

In editing the rough translation of the memoir of an opponent of Saddam Hussein, for instance, we kept running into martyrs. Originally, both "martyr" and the Arab equivalent, "shahid," connoted someone who witnessed for the faith, but the words have taken on different meanings in their respective languages.

Iraqi opposition groups viewed Saddam Hussein as not a particularly good Muslim. Still, the memoirist's use of "martyr" for anyone who died at his hands indirectly or directly — but not because of religion — seems inappropriate to Western ears.

After all, the war memorials in Europe and North America don't list martyrs, but those "killed in battle." In the Middle East, however, whether in Arabic, Turkish, Persian or Pashto Muslim society, shahid is today used for any man who falls in battle.

Does this mean that in the Muslim world, wars must be justified in religious terms? Yes. In popular perception, shaped by state-financed school textbooks and proclamations by religious leaders, all wars are against infidels. That's easy when war is waged against non-Muslims. But even when the enemy is Muslim, he must be painted as infidel, something both sides did in the Iran-Iraq war.…

Saturday, September 13, 2003

High Alerts for Terror Get Harder to Impose
The Bush administration's color-coded terrorism alert system, which has been strongly criticized by counterterrorism specialists and much of the public, is being revamped to make it far more difficult for the government to justify raising the threat level, senior administration officials said.

Under revisions made in recent weeks, they said, the Department of Homeland Security has set tougher internal guidelines for raising the threat levels.

They said the alert level — which is now at yellow, representing an "elevated" threat and the midpoint in the five-color palette of alerts — would now be raised only if there is credible, detailed evidence of an imminent terrorist attack on American soil.

The officials cited the new guidelines in explaining why the administration decided not to raise the alert level this week despite a pair of events that could have easily justified a heightened alert in the past: Thursday's anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the broadcast of a new videotape suggesting that Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant were alive and plotting catastrophic attacks.

Last September, on the eve of the Sept. 11 anniversary, the level was raised from yellow to orange, representing a "high risk" of terrorism, after intelligence analysts warned that Al Qaeda would use the anniversary to strike domestic targets. The anniversary passed without incident.

The color-coded system, which was introduced by the administration in March 2002 and is known formally as the Homeland Security Advisory System, has been criticized as having unnecessarily confused and alarmed the public. It has been a popular target for the administration's Democratic critics on Capitol Hill, as well as for late-night television comedians.

A nonpartisan Congressional report warned last month that the system was so vague in detailing terrorist threats that the public "may begin to question the authenticity" of the threats and take no action when the alert level was raised.…
Angry Iraqi Town Buries Dead, U.S. Says Sorry
Hundreds of Iraqis chanting ``America is the enemy of God'' and shooting in the air on Saturday buried eight of 10 guards apparently shot by U.S. troops who mistook them for anti-American rebels.

More than 36 hours after the deaths, the U.S. military apologized for what it called an ``unfortunate incident'' in the rebellious town of Falluja, west of Baghdad.

``We wish to express our deepest regrets to the families who have lost loved ones,'' military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel George Krivo said in Baghdad, promising a high-level investigation.

With Falluja seething, mourners crammed its main mosque where the corpses were kept and local police had to fire warning shots in the air to disperse demonstrators when the first coffin was carried to a cemetery.

Sunni Muslim clerics issued a ``Declaration by the people of Falluja'' condemning the deaths, announcing three days of mourning, and calling for a general strike on Sunday.

Witnesses said a joint patrol of local police and a U.S.-trained security force were chasing thieves shortly after midnight on Friday when U.S. soldiers opened fire on them.

The U.S. statement said its soldiers were responding to an initial attack from a truck when the guards were caught in confused fighting that lasted for three hours.

A Jordanian guard at a local field hospital was also killed in the shooting in Falluja, part of the so-called ``Sunni Triangle'' where support for deposed dictator Saddam Hussein remains strongest.

Jordanian newspapers said Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned his Jordanian counterpart, Marwan al-Muasher, to ``express regret'' over the hospital guard's death. Powell will travel to Kuwait and Iraq after Saturday's talks in Geneva on Iraq's future.

In Falluja, two other Iraqi security personnel injured in Friday's shooting died of their wounds overnight. Eight died immediately.

Locals were also mourning the death of a three-year-old girl who witnesses said had been shot in the head by American soldiers during street fighting late on Friday.

The town has been a cauldron of hostility to U.S. forces, particularly since troops shot dead at least 13 Iraqis -- said by locals to have been unarmed -- during a late April march.

There were chaotic scenes on Saturday at Falluja's main mosque, where several hundred people carrying an Iraqi flag gathered to pray over the coffins and protest.…
FBI: Under the Gun over Security
The FBI's efforts to overhaul the way it shares data on potential terrorists have fallen short. Will the G-Men ever get it right?

Darwin John had established himself as a bit of a miracle worker before being asked to lead an information- systems renaissance at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But John, former director of information and communications systems for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, needed divine intervention to help him navigate the politics, pressure and organizational malaise that he found upon his arrival in Washington. In May, John resigned as the FBI's chief information officer after less than a year on the job.

"One of the biggest lessons I learned was that finding terrorists and preventing attacks is not a science," John says. "It's an art. And you can't just throw technology at an art and hope it will solve the problem. It doesn't work that way."

John's primary task was to oversee a technology infrastructure overhaul that would enable agents to swap data and intelligence within the bureau and with other law enforcement agencies to help prevent future terrorist attacks. The project, dubbed Trilogy, began in 2001 with a budget of $380 million and was supposed to be finished by the end of 2004.

The project is now expected to cost between $450 million and $500 million to complete and is running more than six months behind schedule, according to analysts familiar with the Trilogy initiative.

John says the FBI has made some important strides, but admits the agency is only slightly better prepared to gather and share information on terrorists and possible terrorist activity than it was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The Justice Department's inspector general was more blunt, telling Congress that the FBI's technology implementation was a case of "mismanagement."

The slow start comes despite the fact that no law enforcement agency took as much heat in the wake of the Sept. 11 events. The FBI had learned in late August 2001 that Nawaf Alhazmi, a Saudi Arabian citizen with direct ties to Osama bin Laden, was somewhere in the United States. Worse, FBI assistant directors assigned the case a low priority. By the time the FBI did finally ask agents to track down Alhazmi and other individuals with terrorist ties, it was too late.

Alhazmi was one of five terrorists who boarded American Airlines Flight 77 at Washington's Dulles International Airport the very morning FBI headquarters sent out a request to Los Angeles special agents to find and detain Alhazmi. The flight, destined for Los Angeles, ultimately crashed into the Pentagon, killing all 59 passengers and crew as well as 125 service members and civilians in the Pentagon building.

This type of intelligence failure compelled President Bush to create the Department of Homeland Security and revamp the way federal security organizations communicate among themselves and with international, state and local agencies.

Could the FBI better track someone like Alhazmi now? "Today, as we speak, the FBI still is using multiple networks for its day-to-day operations," John says. "Let's just say it's less than five networks but more than two.",4149,1265224,00.asp

Friday, September 12, 2003

Americans are often shocked to learn that black Indians exist at all
— and that Native Americans actually held slaves. Like the white slave owners they emulated, Native Americans often fathered children by enslaved women and occasionally — as in Milley Franklin's case — treated those children as family. As a result, millions of black Americans are descended from black people who were either members of the tribes during slavery or adopted into them just after Emancipation.

White families have begun to acknowledge mixed-race connections after centuries of denial. But the attitudes of some Native Americans have not evolved in the same way. Both the Seminole and the Cherokee tribes have employed discriminatory policies to prevent black members from receiving tribal benefits — and to strip them of the right to vote in tribal elections.

The Interior Department, which oversees the tribal governments through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has historically regarded this kind of racial discrimination as a violation of 19th-century treaties that required the Indian nations to treat black members as full citizens. But the Bush administration could conceivably change course and actually validate these discriminatory policies.

The relationship between the federal government and the five tribes that were removed from the East to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears is governed by several laws and treaties. The most important are the treaties of 1866, which required the Seminole, the Creek and the Cherokee to adopt their former slaves as members of the tribes in return for being recognized as sovereign nations. At the time, Washington was grappling with its own former slaves, and the federal government did not want the added burden of those from the Indian nations. The tribes fought black membership from the very beginning, but the federal courts have upheld the treaties again and again.

The federal government has not, however, been consistent when it comes to racial fairness. When it set out to create an authoritative membership roll of all the Native American tribes in the 1890's, the Dawes Commission took the poisonous step of creating segregated rolls, with so-called Blood Indians on one list and black Indians — called "Freedmen" — on another. The Freedmen sometimes had clearer Native American blood lines than nonblack brethren on the Blood Rolls.

The Dawes segregation has been toxic to race relations within the tribes, which have used the rolls time and again to argue that black Native Americans are not tribal members at all. The argument that blacks are not really Indians is ludicrous in the case of the Seminole, which was a multiracial tribe from its inception. The Seminoles did not exist when Europeans colonized this country but coalesced in the mid-1700's when runaway slaves came together with refugees from other tribes in the Florida wilderness.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, with the support of the federal district court in Washington, refused to recognize a Seminole government that came to office while black Seminoles were barred from the polls. But Washington may yet buckle in the face of similar discrimination by the Cherokees — who are more politically connected than the Seminoles. The federal government insists that it has not taken a "final position." But court documents suggest that the Bureau of Indian Affairs might formally endorse elections in which black Cherokees are barred from voting.
Vint Cerf hears VoIP calling
If consumers begin adopting VoIP, who's going to use a phone company, whether it's a Bell or a long-distance company?

It depends a lot on what traditional services you have to offer. These things become very commodity in nature. Long distance has gone that way, but it's less so for local service because there's only a modest amount of competition. The way you eventually have to make money is by adding value to the traffic, which means adding new services. That will be how you survive in this game, by adding value. If you want to be a purely commodity business and can survive, more power to you. My reaction is I want to do something better.

Too much has happened in the last several years and too many crystal balls have proved wanting. But when it comes to forecasting the adoption of voice over IP, the veteran computer scientist has no such reluctance to qualify this as one of the next big things to affect the technology firmament.

Cerf, nowadays the senior vice president of Internet Architecture and Technology for MCI, says that traditional telecommunications carriers are finally taking VoIP seriously. Indeed, Cerf, who created the TCP/IP protocol that defines online communication now spends a good part of his time focused on VoIP, the cheaper form of telephony, expecting it to permanently alter the telephone industry.
Public Opinion: Surveys Continue to Show Doubts, Concerns on Iraq
Public opinion surveys continue to return conflicting results on the U.S. presence in Iraq. Majorities continue to say they support the war, but the number who say casualty levels are unacceptable has increased 28 points since the spring. Most agree with President Bush that the Iraq war is part of the war on terrorism, but are increasingly divided on whether it will make the U.S. safer from new attacks. A bare majority says the rebuilding effort is going well, but only four in 10 say the U.S. is in control of the situation.

These are all classic warning signs that public attitudes are unsettled. It would be difficult to predict where this reconsideration could lead. If setbacks breed doubts, there's also evidence that success in the rebuilding could promote confidence. Whether the public perceives the Iraqi people as for or against the U.S. presence could make a difference. Saddam Hussein himself may be the key: the number of people who say it's essential to capture or kill him has increased since the end of "major combat." The public's confidence that the U.S. will get him also jumped sharply after the deaths of Hussein's sons, as did confidence that the U.S. will be able to establish a democratic Iraqi government.…

In the wake of a series of bloody car bombings, much of the debate in Washington has focused on whether the U.S. has committed enough troops and money to Iraq. Only 42 percent told CBS News that the U.S. was in control of the situation in an Aug. 26-28 survey, while 47 percent said the situation was out of U.S control.

Yet at the same time, the ABC News poll conducted Sept. 7 found 53 percent who rated the U.S. effort to restore order "excellent" or "good." And the public also seems divided about what should be done in response. Only 22 percent told CBS that the U.S. should send more troops to Iraq, while 41 percent thought troop levels should be kept the same and 31 percent thought the number of troops should be decreased. The Newsweek poll conducted July 24-25 found an even split: 46 percent said the U.S. should withdraw, while 49 percent said it should stay.

The very same Newsweek poll found sentiment for getting tougher, with 53 percent who said the U.S. should take more aggressive action against the insurgents "even if it means greater risk of civilian casualties." At the same time, 55 percent rejected the idea of sending more troops to Iraq.

The public would be more than happy, however, if other countries would join in. ABC found 85 percent who would support adding international troops to U.S. forces in Iraq, and 55 percent would support an international force even if it meant American troops would be placed under U.N. command. In general, while surveys found dissatisfaction with how the U.N. handled itself prior to the war, most Americans have always been willing to cede the lead role in setting up an Iraqi government to the U.N. (69 percent were willing to give the U.N. that responsibility in the August CBS poll, compared to 61 percent in April).

So far, a majority of the public still says the war was worth fighting -- but the numbers have bounced up and down, depending on events and on how the question is phrased. The Sept. 7 ABC/Post poll found 54 percent who said the war was worth it, down from 70 percent April 30. Gallup found the number changing from 76 percent in April to 56 percent in late June, then bouncing back up to 63 percent by July 25-27.
con·cept: September 2003