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Weekly Intelligence Notes
10 March 2000

WINs are produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and subscribers. WINs are protected by copyright laws and may not be reproduced except with the permission of the producer/editor 

Warning Notice: Perishability of Links:  WINs, sent weekly to members, often contain numerous webpage links to fast-breaking news, documents or other items of interest; unfortunately, after four weeks many of these websites [especially newspaper and other media sites] remove items or shift them into fee-only archives.  This underscores the benefit of receiving the WINs as they are released.

HAFEZ ASSAD DEMENTED? Israeli and American intelligence agencies are disagreeing over Syrian President Hafez Assad's medical condition. A CIA report, recently handed over to Israel, states that Assad is stricken with "intermittent dementia." Israeli Military Intelligence reportedly does not agree with the methodology of the diagnosis upon which this conclusion was based - a compilation of reports by people who have met Assad personally and witnessed fluctuations in his coherence and ability to concentrate. ("Ha'aretz" Mar 6) (Macartney)

ISRAEL COUNTER- TERRORISM -- Israel and the Palestinian Authority arrested dozens of activists of the militant Hamas organization over the past few weeks, some of whom admitted to perpetrating recent terrorist attacks in Netanya and Hadera. They also planned to blow up a large residential building in Jerusalem. The arrests were carried out with the assistance of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the police, and the Preventive Security Service of the Palestine Authority.
The arrest of one Hamas activists led investigators to additional suspects. Israel made arrests in Area B, which is under its security control, and the PA arrested activists residing in Area A, which is under full Palestinian control. The investigation disclosed that members of the cell were responsible for the following incidents: * Detonating a bomb in Netanya on Nov. 7, 1999, wounding about 20 civilians. * Detonating a bomb in Hadera on Jan. 17, 2000, lightly wounding 26 civilians.* Planting a bomb, which did not inflict casualties, in a Netanya office building last Aug..* Planting a bomb - which was found and defused - next to the Israeli-Palestinian coordination office in Ramallah.* One member of the cell was killed and another seriously wounded when a large bomb they intended to plant at a West Bank settlement exploded. The cell also planned to blow up a large apartment building in Jerusalem., and intended to blow up two passenger buses as they left the Netanya bus station, in simultaneous blasts. ( AP, 23 Feb., 2000; NRC Handelsblad, 23 Feb., 2000; Haaretz, 23 Feb., 2000; Amos Harel, 23 Feb., 2000) (courtesy Sulc and Venske <tempest>) (Jonkers)

COLOMBIA - A three-day rampage by right-wing militiamen left a trail of disfigured corpses and burned down shacks. As many as 20 unarmed villagers were reported killed and many others were forced to flee in the violence. The villages targeted in the attacks in northern Sucre State form part of a traditional leftist rebel stronghold now being challenged by landowner-backed paramilitary groups. The two rarely fight directly, instead killing villagers they believe to be sympathetic to the other side. Men wearing camouflage uniforms and carrying rifles beheaded most of the victims. Over the weekend as officials were searching for bodies in some of the more remote hamlets, police said a separate paramilitary attack on Saturday claimed the lives of five peasants in Apartado, a town housing many war refugees near the border with Panama. Ed. Note: Since no photos of this event were published, our foreign policy towards Colombia did not change.
( AP, 21 Feb. 2000) (courtesy Sulc & Venske) (Jonkers)

KAZAKHSTAN -- President Nursultan Nazarbayev has warned that drugs, terrorism, and scarce water resources are the main threats to stability in Central Asia. He said it was no coincidence that terrorism and drug trafficking via Central Asia to Europe were on the rise. Khabar state television quoted Nazarbayev as saying he had evidence that rebels who crossed into southern Kyrgyzstan from bases in Tajikistan during the summer 1999 were preparing to launch another raid as early as spring 2000. The lack of water across the arid steppes and deserts of Central Asia was also a possible source of friction. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, both largely mountainous, supply Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan with water. (Source: Reuters, 25 Feb. 2000) (Sulc/Venske) (Jonkers)

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORT ADVOCATES NEW LAWS FOR INTERNET - "The Electronic Frontier: The Challenge of Unlawful Conduct Involving the Use of the Internet," was released today by Attorney General Janet Reno and prepared by a special working group of high-ranking federal law enforcement officials, as well as other government agencies. It finds that some laws may need to be revamped to deal with today's computer technology. The days of the Internet providing its users a cloak of anonymity could be numbered.
Not unexpectedly the report received a drubbing from the American Civil Liberties Union. "This report is really the Justice Department's Christmas list of ways to cut back our rights on the Internet in the guise of a think piece," said Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the ACLU. "There clearly is a constitutional right to speak anonymously." (R. Levine, ) (Jonkers),4586,2458291,00.html,1367,34874,00.html?&_ref=549091457 

CRYPTO BILL STUTTERS IN SENATE -- Legislation that would make it easier for many U.S. companies to export computers and other sophisticated machines stalled in the U.S. Senate yesterday, dimming prospects for passage this year. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas) said he "pulled" the export bill after failing to reach a compromise with lawmakers who said its provisions would undermine U.S. national security. High-tech companies have been pushing Congress to ease export limits designed to keep sophisticated computers out of the hands of rogue nations. The legislation would make it easier for U.S.-based corporations to export "low-risk" products without a license to most countries. At the same time, it would crack down on companies that export high powered computers and other equipment that may help rival nations build weapons of mass destruction.  (Levine )


NATO TO SET STANDARDS FOR COMMUNICATIONS & INTELLIGENCE INTEROPERABILITY. NATO nations are close to approving an unprecedented set of communications standards covering a wide range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems. The set of six standards will allow data to be exchanged between all types of ISR equipment from satellites to aircraft and between many mobile and fixed sites that collect, process, interpret and disseminate intelligence data. The overall goal of the standards is to support sensor-to-shooter capability as close to real-time as possible,according to NATO officials. (Def News on-line, Mar 13) (Macartney)

A lengthy article in INSIGHT magazine opines that the Deutch, Los Alamos, State Dept, etc security breaches are the result of a general anti-security attitude among Clinton officials beginning with the White House staff in 1993.(Macartney) 

MONEY LAUNDERING IN ISRAEL - A "PARADISE" -- As a safe haven for Jews, Israel has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants and their assets. New accounts in banks or brokerage houses face minimal reporting requirements as are the penalties for not complying with those requirements. In short, it is not illegal in Israel to bank or spend ill-gotten offshore gains. The head of the investigative division of Israel's national police, Yossi Sedbon, recently said, "Israel is a paradise for money laundering, because it is not against the law. I don't know if it is really that big a business here. But millions come in and go out, and you can't do anything about it."
Informed estimates of money laundering by organized crime groups in the last decade range from the hundreds of millions of dollars to the billions, with income from foreign tax evasion and business kickbacks increasing the figures. Israel also has strict secrecy laws on local bank accounts; millions can be wired from a citizen's foreign account to an Israeli bank without any special reporting requirements. Restrictions on accounts abroad have been largely abolished. In 1988, Israel signed an international convention banning drug money laundering, but it could not be ratified in the Knessett since Israeli law was not in compliance with the treaty.
Currently, legislation that would adopt American-style reporting requirements for most banking and stock market transactions is being proposed in the Knessett. No reporting requirements would be imposed on the annual five-billion dollar diamond trade nor would foreign tax evasion be considered a crime. In this regard, a criminologist at Hebrew University believes most of the dirty money washed clean by Israeli banks stems not from narcotics or protection rackets but from off-the-books business deals. Several people implicated in the Bank of New York money laundering scandal last year have been found to hold Israeli passports and to maintain homes in Israel although they reside and operate in Russia or Europe.
There have been press accounts of a multi-million dollar bill Israel will present to America if it agrees with Syria to vacate the Golan Heights. If indeed it all comes to pass, perhaps the State Department will be so bold as to try to negotiate money-laundering controls by Israel to protect American interests such as cooperation with US intelligence authorities attempting to nail money launderers. ( NY Times 21 Feb '00;  (Harvey)


DAY OF DECEIT: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor,"by Robert Stinnett The book is said by John Dos Prados to present significant new evidence in two areas. Confirming John Toland's contentions in his 1983 book, 'Infamy,' Stinnett cites multiple intercepts showing that the Japanese did not maintain radio silence (and were detected by both maritime and naval intelligence receivers). The author also shows that the mission of a naval officer spy the Japanese sent to Honolulu was known and that he was kept under surveillance during the months before Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, Stinnett persists in attributing every failing to a nefarious "plan," giving no attention to the ambitions of certain Navy officers who wanted to dominate all intelligence, operations and communications services to the fleet. There were such officers, but not necessarily the men Stinnett identifies, and their plan was not a conspiracy to get the United States into War World II. In all, Day of Deceit furnishes a frustrating and ultimately unsatisfactory rendition of the months before Pearl Harbor. (Dos Prados in Wpost) (Macartney)

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CRYPTOLOGY, by David E. Newton (1998, ABC CLIO, Oxford, ISBN 1 85109 323 0, bibliography, index, 330 pp.), has over 550 entries, including one on the fascinating Diffie-Hellman key exchange, wherein two parties can exchange code keys in front of observers who will not be able to guess the keys being exchanged. A good resource that explains complex problems in non-technical terms. (Macartney)

DEFENDING THE REALM: MI5 and The Shayler Affair", by Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding (1999, Andre Deutsch, London, isbn 0 233 99667 2, notes, bibliography, index, 310 pp.) (not reviewed) (Macartney)

Commentary and opinions included are those of the Editor or the associate editors (Harvey or Macartney) or the contributor listed in the tagline.

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