Tuesday, March 07, 2006

GS(3) Intelligence Briefing 3-7-06

NOTE: GS(3) Intelligence Briefing is posted on a bi-weekly basis. As circumstances dictate, we may post special editions. The Briefing is organized into five sections: Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, Americas, Global and Cyberspace. Each issue provides insight on terrorism, cyber crime, climate change, health emergencies, natural disasters and other threats, as well as recommendations on what actions your organizations should take to mitigate risks. “Words of Power" commentary is also posted on a bi-weekly basis. This commentary explores a range of issues in the interdependent realms of security, sustainability and spirit. For more information, go to GS(3) Intelligence and  Words of Power, go to http://www.wordsofpower.net/

GS(3) Intelligence Briefing 3-7-06

In “Europe, Middle East & Africa,” I have included four news items. Two stories that illustrate how right-wing hate-mongering exacerbates the terrorist threat in Europe. One story that highlights how the Bush-Cheney regime’s reckless departure from long-established, bipartisan U.S. policies has poisoned the US’s security relationship with the EU. One story that provides further evidence that we have already arrived at the end of peak oil production. In “Asia Pacific,” I have included two news items. One story on how the South Korean government is pulling away from its close security relationship with the USA. One story on the political chaos and deteriorating security situation in the Philippines. A year ago, I experienced both of these important regional developments first-hand, and nothing has slowed the momentum in either circumstance. The Bush-Cheney regime intentionally scuttled the Clinton-led opportunity for peaceful progress, now South Korea is eager to pursue its own course in regard to Pyongyang. The Philippines, despite the beauty and energy of its people, will continue to be volatile for the foreseeable future. In “Americas,” I have posted some commentary by William Rivers Pitt on the latest revelations about the Bush-Cheney regime's utter failure to protect the civilian population from “Hurricane Katrina.” Evidence of criminal neglect? Another article of impeachment? In “Cyberspace,” you will find two news items that provide more disturbing evidence about what could be the world’s greatest unacknowledged, uninvestigated cyber crime: the theft of the 2000 and 2004 U.S. presidential elections.
Remember, words-of-power.blogspot.com is also a searchable database. It is meant to accelerate, intensify and enrich your online research.

Europe, Middle East & Africa

Italy’s centre-left opposition accused the ex-minister, Roberto Calderoli of the Northern League party, of jeopardising the nation’s security by making continually provocative remarks about Islam and Muslim leaders. Mr Calderoli was forced to resign last month after coming under fire for wearing a T-shirt that displayed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Riots erupted in Libya over his conduct and 14 people were killed. In a recording posted on the internet last weekend, Mr Zawahiri denounced Mr Calderoli and urged Muslims to launch attacks similar to those in New York in 2001, London last year, and – most pertinent to Italy’s case – Madrid just days before Spain’s March 2004 general election.
Tony Barber, Sacked Italian minister defiant despite terrorism fears, Financial Times, 3-6-06

The paper Jyllands-Posten that published profane cartoons of Prophet Mohammed turns out to be a Hitler fan. The Danish daily, praising German dictator Adolph Hitler and Italian dictator Franco Mussolini’s fascist administration in the 1930’s, had been referred to by the Danes as “Jyllands-Pesten”, ‘the plague’, for this reason. A Jyllands-Posten headline, “Germans must be found right to get rid of the Jews” in 1938, supported the Hitler administration’s looting of Jewish workplaces, destroying graveyards and detaining 26,000 people…According to research conducted by a Zaman reporter, Jyllands-Posten first published in 1871 is termed a “conservative rightist” newspaper. Despite its slogan, “Politically independent newspaper,” the daily stood out publications supporting first Mussolini, and then later, Hitler. Jyllands-Posten announced the German election results on 5 March 1933, running the headline “Hitler’s victory,” also supported Hitler’s annulment of the constitution…On 1 May 1933, Jyllands-Posten welcomed the imprisonment of labor union leaders and the confiscation of their properties in Germany with the expressions “The problem has now been solved. Jews have been excluded, the labor unions have been forced to join the Nazis, the communists and socialism has been eradicated.” The newspaper found the Nazis “using their own methods” to solve “the Jewish problem” as “acceptable.”
Hasan Cucuk, Jyllands-Posten Turns out to be Hitler Fan, www.zaman.com, 3-6-06

In light of his investigation into the possible illegal activities of the CIA in Europe, on Wednesday March 1st, Secretary General for the Council of Europe Terry Davis denounced the absence of any controls on activities of foreign secret service agents in Europe, and deplored the absence of European law covering such matters. "Most of Europe seems to be excellent hunting grounds for foreign secret services," deemed Terry Davis….The same situation holds for European air space, which the CIA has used to convey prisoners in transit….Finally, he raised the problem of the diplomatic immunity behind which foreign secret services frequently shelter. "Immunity cannot mean impunity," says the Secretary General….He particularly targets four member countries - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Macedonia, and Poland - whose lack of cooperation with his inquiry he criticizes....
Europe a 'Hunting Ground' for Foreign Secret Services, Le Monde with AFP, 3-1-06

Veteran Kuwaiti lawmaker Ahmad al-Saadun demanded Sunday that the government reveal the truth about the emirate's oil reserves which were reported to be only half of the official figure. "No clarifications have been issued by the Energy Ministry, the Kuwait Petroleum Corp. or its affiliated companies to discount doubts about the credibility of official figures," Saadun said in a question to Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah. "This raises justified and legitimate concerns that these reserves could be depleted in a very short duration on the basis of current production figures," Saadun, a three-time former speaker, said. The controversy began after the authoritative industry newsletter Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW) revealed in January that Kuwait's oil reserves are far below the officially stated amount of 99 billion barrels. The PIW report claimed that Kuwait's remaining proven and non proven oil reserves total about 48 billion barrels, based on internal Kuwait records seen by the newsletter. It also added that fully proven Kuwaiti reserves amount to 24.2 billion barrels only.

Asia Pacific

South Korea and the US have drifted so far apart on North Korea policy there is now speculation the longtime partners are getting close to divorce.  Kurt Campbell, former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and the Pacific, reportedly likened the two to a king and queen who live separately but pretend to be happy before their subjects. The allies do not want to announce their divorce because it would have enormous consequences, he said….Fueling that speculation has been the recent friction between Seoul and Washington over how to deal with US allegations North Korea is counterfeiting US dollars. While Washington has stepped up financial pressure on Pyongyang in an effort to defend the US currency, Seoul appears to have opposed such a move.  The US Treasury Department charged in September that Banco Delta Asia in Macau is one of the foreign financial institutions being used by North Korea to launder illegal money, including counterfeit currencies….So far, US pressure appears successful. South Korean banks have followed their Japanese counterparts in carrying out the US tactic - by last month the Korea Exchange Bank, Shinhan Bank and National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives had stopped all transactions with Banco Delta Asia.  However, unlike its banks, the South Korean government has been reluctant to support the US financial pressure on the North.  South Korean Unification Minister Lee Jong-suk last month said his country still needs to make a strategic judgment based on relations between North and South Korea over how much will it support the US measure against Pyongyang.  The government of President Roh Moo-hyun is known to have urged the US administration of President George W Bush to stop putting financial pressure on the Kim Jong-il regime.…Speculation that the alliance is in trouble is also precipitated by Seoul's three-year objection to Washington's policy aimed at enabling US Forces Korea (USFK) to be moved about freely beyond the Korean Peninsula….In South Korea, the progressive camp continues to seek a security policy much more independent of the United States regardless of concern over the weakening partnership, while the conservative camp strives to resurrect the struggling alliance.  The former maintains the current North Korean nuclear crisis originates from the US military goading the North. But the latter contends the South Korea-US alliance has prevented North Korea from provoking a war over the past five decades.  Arguably, the most important question for South Korea is whether it can succeed in peacefully solving the social and political conflict.
Lee Kyo-kwan, Seoul and Washington closer to divorce, Asia Times, 3-7-06

Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said on Sunday that investigations against supposed destabilizers and coup plotters linked by the Department of Justice to the failed attempt to oust President Arroyo on February 24 are not intended to pin down former President Corazon Aquino.…Last week the Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice filed rebellion charges against Party-list Representatives Liza Masa, Crispin Beltran, Satur Ocampo, Teddy CasiƱo, Joel Birador, former Sen. Gregorio Honasan and 46 others. Gonzales also branded as “purely malicious and imaginative” claims by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon that the administration had planned a “pro-government bombing scheme.” Biazon, the Senate Defense Committee chairman and a former Armed Forces chief of staff, has claimed that the administration had designed a bombing plot to justify Proclamation 1017 and delay the lifting of the state of national emergency. Biazon alleged that a group of five soldiers were ordered by their commanders to carry C4 explosives to Manila last Friday, the same day President Arroyo lifted emergency rule and recalled Proclamation 1017. When the soldiers tasked to bring the explosives learned there were orders to shoot them on sight, they went into hiding, Biazon said. The plot was designed to make it appear that the soldiers were in league with renegade troops out to destabilize the government, he said…Gonzales said that although there is no immediate danger to the government at this time, it security forces are not keeping their guard down. In his weekly column, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said that if the President did not acted swiftly, the country would have been in the “clutches of a civilian-rightist-leftist junta which would soon be fighting among themselves for supremacy.
Sam Mediavilla, ‘Cory is not a target,’ MalacaƱang denies it’s after former president, Manila Times, 3-6-06


The video is gut-wrenching. There they sit, a whole room full of hurricane experts and disaster managers, shouting down a telephone line at George W. Bush, warning him a full day ahead of time that Hurricane Katrina is a catastrophe waiting to happen. There stands Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center, emphatically explaining that Katrina is far larger and more dangerous than Hurricane Andrew, that the levees in New Orleans are in grave danger of being overtopped, and that the loss of life could be extreme. There sits the much-maligned FEMA Director Michael Brown, joining in the chorus of warnings to Mr. Bush and giving every appearance of a man actually doing his job. "This is, to put it mildly, the big one," says Brown. "Everyone within FEMA is now virtually on call." Brown goes on to deliver an eerily accurate prediction of the horrors to come within the Louisiana Superdome. "I don't know what the heck we're going to do for that, and I also am concerned about that roof," says Brown. "Not to be kind of gross here, but I'm concerned about (medical and mortuary disaster team) assets and their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe." And there, of course, is Mr. Bush, sitting in a dim conference room while on vacation in Texas, listening to all the pleas for immediate action on the telephone. With an emphatic hand gesture, Bush promises any and all help necessary. "I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm," says Bush, "but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm." After the delivery of this promise, however, Bush goes mute. No questions, no comments, no concerns. As if to foreshadow what the people of New Orleans received from their leader, Mr. Bush finishes the conference by delivering a whole lot of nothing….It is gut-wrenching, more than anything else, because of this: four days later, when questioned about his flaccid response to the catastrophe in Louisiana, Bush stated, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." Right. No one anticipated the breach of the levees except the Director of the National Hurricane Center, the Director of FEMA, and a half-dozen other experts who implored Mr. Bush to take this storm seriously a full day before the hammer dropped. No one could have anticipated it? That has a familiar ring to it. No one could have anticipated the failure of the levees. No one could have anticipated the strength of the insurgency in Iraq. No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings….No one could have anticipated that the United States of America would ever be governed by a man so callow, so unconnected, so uncaring, so detached, that tens of thousands of people would die during his time in office because he just didn't give a damn.
William Rivers Pitt, 'No One Could Have Anticipated ...', www.truthout.org, 3-2-06


THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will warn the world's politicians that the Earth's temperature could rise far higher in response to greenhouse gas emissions than previously thought. A secret draft version of the next report by the United Nation's influential panel of climate experts, to be given to governments in April, will say a reliable upper limit can no longer be put on how quickly the world will warm, according to the British newspaper The Guardian….Dr Barrie Pittock, a retired CSIRO researcher and the author of Climate Change, Turning up the Heat, said models of climate change always involved a range of uncertainty, but the possibility of a large increase in temperature had to be taken very seriously. "If you're taking a risk-management approach and want to avoid what is disastrous you have got to go to the upper end of the range and avoid that," he said. Professor Ian Lowe, an environmental scientist and president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said he hoped the report would convince the Australian Government of the seriousness of the issue because it was still listening to the "10 or 12 sceptics of the world".
Deborah Smith, Global warming may be even hotter, Sydney Morning Herald, 3-1-06

Yesterday, Britain's Defence Secretary, John Reid, pointed to the factor hastening the violent collision between a rising world population and a shrinking world water resource: global warming. In a grim first intervention in the climate-change debate, the Defence Secretary issued a bleak forecast that violence and political conflict would become more likely in the next 20 to 30 years as climate change turned land into desert, melted ice fields and poisoned water supplies….Mr Reid used a speech at Chatham House last night to deliver a stark assessment of the potential impact of rising temperatures on the political and human make-up of the world. He listed climate change alongside the major threats facing the world in future decades, including international terrorism, demographic changes and global energy demand. Mr Reid signalled Britain's armed forces would have to be prepared to tackle conflicts over dwindling resources. Military planners have already started considering the potential impact of global warming for Britain's armed forces over the next 20 to 30 years. They accept some climate change is inevitable, and warn Britain must be prepared for humanitarian disaster relief, peacekeeping and warfare to deal with the dramatic social and political consequences of climate change…
The facts
On our watery planet, 97.5 per cent of water is salt water, unfit for human use.
Most of the fresh water is locked in the ice caps.
The recommended basic water requirement per person per day is 50 litres. But people can get by with about 30 litres: 5 litres for food and drink and another 25 for hygiene.
Some countries use less than 10 litres per person per day. Gambia uses 4.5, Mali 8, Somalia 8.9, and Mozambique 9.3.
By contrast the average US citizen uses 500 litres per day, and the British average is 200.
In the West, it takes about eight litres to brush our teeth, 10 to 35 litres to flush a lavatory, and 100 to 200 litres to take a shower.
The litres of water needed to produce a kilo of:
Potatoes 1,000
Maize 1,400
Wheat 1,450
Chicken 4,600
Beef 42,500
Ben Russell, and Nigel Morris, Armed Forces Are Put on Standby to Tackle Threat of Wars over Water, The Independent UK, 2-28-06

[UK Defence Minister] John Reid warns climate change may spark conflict between nations - and says British armed forces must be ready to tackle the violence.
    Israel, Jordan and Palestine
    Five percent of the world's population survives on 1 percent of its water in the Middle East and this contributed to the 1967 Arab -Israeli war. It could fuel further military crises as global warming continues. Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan rely on the River Jordan but Israel controls it and has cut supplies during times of scarcity. Palestinian consumption is severely restricted by Israel.
    Turkey and Syria
    Turkish plans to build dams on the Euphrates River brought the country to the brink of war with Syria in 1998. Damascus accused Ankara of deliberately meddling with their water supply as the country lies downstream of Turkey, who accused Syria of sheltering key Kurdish separatist leaders. Water shortages driven by global warming will pile on the pressure in this volatile region.
    China and India
    The Brahmaputra River has caused tension between India and China and could be a flashpoint for two of the worlds biggest armies. In 2000, India accused China of not sharing information of the river's status in the run up to landslides in Tibet which caused floods in northeastern India and Bangladesh. Chinese proposals to divert the river have concerned Delhi.
    Angola and Namibia
    Tensions have flared between Botswana, Namibia and Angola around the vast Okavango basin. And droughts have seen Namibia revive plans for a 250-mile water pipeline to supply the capital. Draining the delta would be lethal for locals and tourism. Without the annual flood from the north, the swamps will shrink and water will bleed way into the Kalahari Desert
    Ethiopia and Egypt
    Population growth in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia is threatening conflict along the world's longest river, The Nice, Ethiopia is pressing for a greater share of the Blue Nile's water but that would leave downstream Egypt as a loser. Egypt is worried the White Nile running through Uganda and Sudan, could be depleted as well before it reaches the parched Sinai desert.
    Bangladesh and India
    Floods in the Ganges caused by melting glaciers in the Himalayas are wreaking havoc in Bangladesh leading to a rise in illegal migration to India. This has prompted India to build an immense border fence in attempt to block newcomers. Some 6,000 people illegally cross the bored to India every day.
Climate Change May Spark Conflict Between Nations, The Independent/UK, 2-28-06 


A long-standing public records request for the release of Election 2004 database files created by Diebold's voting system had been long delayed after several odd twists and turns, including the revelation of a contract with the state claiming the information to be a "company secret."

But while it finally appeared as though the state had agreed to release the information (after reserving the right to "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing it), the state's top Security Official has now -- at the last minute -- stepped in to deny the request. The grounds for the denial: the release of the information poses a "security risk" to the state of Alaska....The state Democratic party has been attempting since December of last year to review the Diebold GEMS tabulator data files from the 2004 election in order to audit some of the strange results discovered in the state, including a reported voter turnout of more than 200% in some areas. 

"At this point," Democratic Party spokesperson Kay Brown told the Anchorage Daily News in January, "it's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004."....Some of the questionable results from the 2004 Election were outlined in a letter to the state's Division of Elections from the Alaska Democratic Party chairman, Jake Metcalfe. Amongst the anomolies detailed in Metcalfe's letter: "district-by-district vote totals add up to 292,267 votes for President Bush, but his official total was only 190,889."....So just to recap: First the voters of Alaska were not allowed to see their own voting data from the 2004 Election because it was the proprietary "company secret" property of Diebold. Then they would be allowed to see it as long as the state and Diebold could "manipulate the data" before releasing it. And now finally it's determined that allowing the voters to see how they actually voted in the 2004 Election would be a "security risk" to the state of Alaska. No word yet on whether the Alaska Democratic Party will take the matter to court to seek resolution. The American War on Democracy continues...
Alaska Now Refuses to Release 2004 Election Data Citing Security Concerns!, www.bradblog.com, 2-24-06

An examination of Palm Beach County's electronic voting machine records from the 2004 election found possible tampering and tens of thousands of malfunctions and errors, a watchdog group said….Bev Harris, founder of BlackBoxVoting.org, said the findings call into question the outcome of the presidential race….Voting problems would have had to have been widespread across the state to make a difference. President Bush won Florida — and its 27 electoral votes — by 381,000 votes in 2004. Overall, he defeated John Kerry by 286 to 252 electoral votes, with 270 needed for victory. BlackBoxVoting.org, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizens group, said it found 70,000 instances in Palm Beach County of cards getting stuck in the paperless ATM-like machines and that the computers logged about 100,000 errors, including memory failures. Also, the hard drives crashed on some of the machines made by Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, some machines apparently had to be rebooted over and over, and 1,475 re-calibrations were performed on Election Day on more than 4,300 units, Harris said. Re-calibrations are done when a machine is malfunctioning, she said…Palm Beach County and other parts of the country switched to electronic equipment after the turbulent 2000 presidential election, when the county's butterfly ballot confused some voters and led them to cast their votes for third-party candidate Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore. The Supreme Court halted a recount after 36 days and handed a 537-vote victory to Bush.
BRIAN SKOLOFF, Watchdog Group Questions 2004 Fla. Vote, Associated Press, 2-23-06

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: richardpower@wordsofpower.net. For more information, go to http://www.wordsofpower.net/