Weekly Intelligence Notes #41-00
13 October 2000

#41-00 dtd 13 October 2000

WINs are intelligence commentaries written, edited and produced by Roy Jonkers for AFIO members and subscribers to assist in AFIO's educational mission. Opinions are those of the Editor and the associate editors listed. Principal sources on which the commentaries are based, are cited in each item.

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WORLDWIDE CAUTION FOR US CITIZENS ABROAD -- Several U.S. Embassies, from Damascus to Brussels, have recently been the target of violent anti-American demonstrations. Other demonstrations are taking place in countries throughout the world in response to events in the Middle East. Some of these demonstrations have become violent and difficult for local authorities to control. The attack on the USS Cole in Yemen was an extreme example of a tide of extremist fury against the US. The Department of State is concerned about the possibility of further actions against US citizens and interests worldwide and has issued a warning.
US citizens traveling abroad are advised to maintain a high level of vigilance and to increase their security awareness. Americans should maintain a low profile, vary routes and times for all required travel, and treat mail from unfamiliar sources with suspicion. Those planning to travel abroad should consult the Department of State's Public Announcements, Travel Warnings, Consular Information Sheets, and regional travel brochures, available at http://travel.state.gov;. U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department of State in Washington, DC at (202)-647-5225 from a touchtone-enabled telephone, or receive information by automated Fax by dialing (202)-647-3000. (FBI Wash Fld Office ANSIR/// State Dept 12 October 2000) (Jonkers)

ATTACK ON USS COLE -- US Intelligence and FBI agents are working to identify the culprits in the well-planned and executed surprise kamikaze attack on the USS Cole. US investigators are pouring into Yemen by the planeload, and some 1,400 Marines are on the way to protect them.
The United States received a general warning of a possible attack on an American warship last month, but the warning lacked detail and did not specify the country in which to expect the attack. Since the warning was not specific enough, "it got put on the shelf." Nor was it clear that the warning could have stopped what officials described today as a sophisticated suicide bombing. While the Cole's crew had extensive training in repelling an overt attack by a small boat and even had extra sailors on watch on Thursday, the attack was so meticulously disguised and carried out that the officials said there was little the crew could have done to stop it.
Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, said the Yemeni government had been notified of the Cole's visit 10 to 12 days in advance. "If you want fresh fruit or vegetables you have to tell people when to be on the pier," an official, who is involved in security operations overseas, said. "If you want fuel, you have to tell people to be there."
The immediate focus of the investigation is the contractor in charge of harbor refueling. It was not clear what, if any, security procedures were in place to screen the contractor, and officials predictably bounced responsibility variously to military commanders in the region, the Pentagon's logistics agency, and the American Embassy. The Pentagon spokesman, Kenneth H. Bacon, said today that a review of security procedures for refueling stops, like the Cole's, had been ordered.
Counterterrorism officials in Washington divide the likely culprits into three categories. The first group is comprised of indigenous Yemeni factions that are known for occasional lawlessness and are difficult to track. Most notable among these is the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, which is not on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations but combines extremist ideology with the pragmatic business of extorting foreign companies and kidnapping tourists. Two organizations in this category -- including the Islamic Army -- have claimed responsibility for the attack.
The second category includes organizations opposed to the peace process. The primary candidates include Hamas, Hizballah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas and Jihad have representatives in Yemen who raise money and rally support for their cause. Hizballah is suspected of attacks in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The third category consists of groups ideologically aligned with Osama bin Laden and guided by his 1998 fatwa, which called for a holy war against Israel and the U.S. These groups, mainly Bin Laden's al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, are known to operate in Yemen. The two are among the best trained and funded on the U.S. watch list.
Aside from these groups, even Iraq cannot be ruled out, potentially motivated by a desire for a possible (but very foolish) retaliation for the continued daily US/UK bombing of their territory.
The US media are fully covering and reporting the event - hopefully not tipping off the culprits.
Whatever the process and outcome of the investigation, we salute and honor our young sailors who were killed or wounded in this attack. They volunteered to be part of our military forces, which involves a higher risk of casualties, whether in training, exercises, local conflicts or wars. There always is a potential price to be paid, and our valiant young sailors paid it. We honor them and, while placing events in context, must remorselessly and tirelessly search for the perpetrators. Swift and certain reprisal is required. However, this must be accompanied by caution. Following U.S. retaliation for the bombing of two embassies in Africa, questions have lingered about whether intelligence was accurate and whether targets were appropriate. (San Antonio Express-New October 13, 2000) (Time October 23, 2000 Pg. 44 // M. Calabresi) NYTimes Oct 14, 2000, by S.L. Myer) (Jonkers)


-- The NRO and NSA have completed a review of the potential of a new space-based architecture for SIGINT collection to effect drastic improvements in the current collection system. The Director of NRO, Keith Hall, summed up the findings by saying that "...in the end, we and NSA concluded that the cost of going through the design work necessary to deliver a new architecture was not worth the improved capability it would provide."

The intelligence community will therefore continue to operate within the bounds of the current 'Integrated Overhead Architecture,' with future upgrades based on "Orion" SIGINT satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The decision to build more of this type of bird also represents a significant policy shift within NRO, halting a move toward widespread use of small satellites with near-earth orbits.
The initiative to ask industry for any concepts for improvements in SIGINT collection was designed to see if there was a feasible counterpart to the significant imagery (IMINT) collection improvements anticipated from imagery's 'Future Imagery Architecture' (FIA). The FIA constellation is to include spacecraft with imaging radar and electro-optical sensors, to be operational about 2005, and to fulfill reconnaissance needs through at least 2012.
The decision on overhead SIGINT collection systems is wrapped up in a larger DOD study of all SIGINT requirements. It is expected to have an impact on upgrades for other signals collectors, such as RC-135's, EP-3s, and RC-12 Guardrail Common Sensor systems. The DOD SIGINT study is also considering the requirements related to ground- and ship-based collectors. The NRO Director indicated that total study conclusions were not expected for at least a year. (Aviation Week 11 Sep '00, p. 40 // R. Well) (Harvey)

Recent leaks of classified information from "intelligence officials" state that the Chinese Navy is preparing to conduct a flight test of one of its newly acquired Russian anti-ship cruise missiles. Installed on the Russian-built Sovremenny cruise missile destroyers, the SSN-22 Sunburn missiles were reportedly detected being prepared recently for firing tests. The tests are expected to be held in the South China Sea from the destroyer delivered to the PRC in February. The first batch of Sunburns, called Moskit by the Russians, and unsurprisingly designed to sink warships, were delivered to China in May. The PRC's second Sovremenny destroyer is reportedly on its way from Russia. Ironically, the word of the pending missile test firing comes within a week after the House passed legislation to punish Russia with economic sanctions for selling the missiles to China. Leaks are invariably timed in Washington for greatest political effect. (WashTimes 13 Oct '00, by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough) (Harvey)


LIVRE NOIR DU COMMUNISME -- "The Black Book of Communism" (Harvard University Press 1999), which caused a sensation in France, has yet to ignite anything resembling such interest among intellectuals in the United States. The 856-page book, written by six leading left-wing French intellectuals, chronicled the murderous practices of communist regimes around the world. Subtitled "Crimes, Terror, Repression," the book cites evidence that 85 million to 100 million people have been killed by communist regimes in the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin America and Africa.
No communist regime has been more murderous than the People's Republic of China. According to "The Black Book," Mao Tse-tung and his followers have slaughtered or starved to death an estimated 65 million Chinese since 1949. The estimated 1,000 killed in the Tiananmen Square massacre were insignificant compared to the estimated 20 to 43 million who died in the 1959-61 famine caused by Mao's "Great Leap Forward." The Russians come in a distant second with 20 million killed or forced into starvation in the Soviet Union. North Korea and Cambodia are estimated to be in a tie with two million citizens slaughtered apiece. Fidel Castro's Cuban communists are pikers in comparison, but are documented to have executed more than 1,000 "counter-revolutionaries" during their first year in power. One American research fellow noted the book shows that in the 20th century, more citizens were killed by their own governments, than by foreign enemies.
In France, the left-wingers' book touched off a storm of controversy, with the book's revelations fiercely debated there and throughout Europe. Amid the uproar, inevitably, the French newspaper Le Monde accused the authors of anti-Semitism for daring to compare the crimes of communism to the crimes of Nazism. The depth of controversy in France has been explained by historians as stemming from a history of having had an enormous communist party and a culture that always leaned to the left. As a Library of Congress historian said, " It's very difficult for someone who has had sympathy for communism...to read about the millions murdered and killed and not have some feeling they should reconsider their views."
The revelations of the enormous scale of the communist killings is less shocking to Americans, who have generally opposed communism. But while "the bulk of the population has been hostile to communism... that's not been true of what you might call our intellectual class. Their opinion has been much different," said one historian. Although relatively few American intellectuals have been openly pro-communist, many have been "anti-anti-communist" -- too often regarding 'anti-communism' as a greater threat than communism itself. Others have adopted the "revisionist" view of communism, considering it morally equal to Western democracy. "Those in the academic, intellectual world who had an "anti-anti-communist" position, their stance has not generally been one of defending communism, but of averting their eyes to the nature of communist regimes," the historian continued. He added that their reaction to the book was to avert their eyes from the evidence presented and hope it would go away.
Another researcher agreed, saying, "You can be sure of one thing, that most academics will spurn this book." Another said, "Everyone is aware of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, but the atrocities committed by the communists have been ignored or downplayed."
Intelligence analysts can resonate with the difficulties of the researchers and historians in convincing their audience to accept evidence that does not conform to preconceptions or which undercuts previous positions. (Wash Times 21 Sep '00, p. A2 by R. S. McCain) (Harvey)


The AFIO National Luncheon series continues on TUESDAY 7 November at the Fort Myers Officers Club. The Bar opens 10:30 am. Speakers will be Washington Times Columnist Bill Gertz (at 11 am) on The Threat from China, and after lunch at 1 pm, we will hear from Dr Frans Bax and Dr. Kenneth Stringer, respectively Dean and Director of CIA's Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis. It should again be a most interesting luncheon. Cost is $26.50 for members and guests. Send check to AFIO or register with credit card by phone or email.


FRIENDLY FIRE - The first German serviceman was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940), the highest ranking American killed was LtGen. Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies and fellow services. (<Ellis@EllisMarples.com>).

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