Weekly Intelligence Notes #23-01
11 June 2001

WIN #23-01 dated 11 June 2001

Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are produced by Roy Jonkers for the non-profit educational use by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. Associate editors Macartney and Harvey contribute articles to the WINs.
 NOTICE TO MEMBERS: AFIO will hold its annual Symposium and Convention on 2 and 3 November at a federal facility and a hotel located in the Washington DC area. Members are invited to recommend areas of high interest they would like to see covered.


SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIP CHANGES -- With the change in control of the Senate, Senator Bob Graham (D/FL) has become the new SSCI Chairman, replacing Republican Senator Richard Shelby. (Macartney)

NSA STATION BAD AIBLING, GERMANY, WILL CLOSE -- Another US station in NSA�s Cold War worldwide web of field intercept stations will close on 30 September 2001, reflecting changed geo-political realities and missions. Not surprisingly, in view of the hype in Europe on this topic, German media are treating this base closure as an "Echelon" story. (Macartney)

 DCI GEORGE TENET IN MIDDLE EAST -- First, in February, the Administration announced that the CIA would no longer have a diplomatic role in mediating peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Agency had been given that role at the Wye Island conference a couple of years ago. Subsequently, in March, it was reported that the CIA Chief of Station in Israel was hosting meetings between Israeli and Palestinian security officials at the US ambassador's residence. When questioned on that, Administration spokesmen said yes, but it was very "low key" - neither mediation nor facilitation. On 4 June we heard that the DCI, George Tenet, would travel to the Middle East to mediate between Israeli and Palestinian security leaders. More recent reports indicate that the DCI brought a proposal for security arrangements to stop the killing on both sides, but that neither side had as yet accepted the document. US Intelligence is, of course, deeply involved in the Middle East, declared or not, but the renewed (and unusual) overt semi-diplomatic role for the DCI is symptomatic of the volatility of the situation. (Macartney) (WashPost 4-11 June 01)

 RUSSIAN AIR DEFENSE MISSILE EXPLOSION -- .A fire at a military base just outside Moscow Friday caused an explosion and the accidental launch of two rockets from one of Russia's most modern anti-air defense units, Russian NTV television reported. The fire in Ramenskoye, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of Moscow, spread to three S-300 units, which exploded, launching two missiles into the air. The explosion shattered windows in a neighboring village, forcing its evacuation, the report said. (Agence France Presse, 8 June 2001) (Zgram 11 June 01)

 RUSSIAN SPACE IMAGERY CAPABILITY RESUMES -- Russia's brief gap in operating a photo-reconnaissance satellite came to an end on 29 May with the launch of Cosmos 2377 from Plesetsk.

 NATO EXERCISE IN GEORGIA -- Some 4,000 NATO troops and dozens of warships began an exercise in Georgia - the first in a former Soviet republic. Russian leaders are concerned about the US-led alliance's expansion into their sphere of influence. The US is taking advantage of Russian weakness to expand its influence and power in the Trans-Caucasus republics and Central Asia. Oil is an important consideration in this game. It is obviously an area of increased intelligence interest. (Jonkers) (Chr.Sc.Monitor, 12 June 01, p. 20)


 AFGHANISTAN -- GIVING THE DEVIL HIS DUE -- There has been a paucity of media reporting on a favorable development in international crime -- the abrupt cessation of Afghanistan poppy growing. Last July, the Taliban banned the growing of poppies as a sin against the teachings of Islam in a ruling by the supreme leader of the faithful, Mullah Muhammad Omar. In February, United Nations narcotics officials began to report that poppy cultivation was ceasing -- a significant event since Afghanistan has accounted for three-quarters of the world's opium (heroin) production. By May, American officials and outside press representatives had confirmed that the Taliban had, indeed, stopped poppy cultivation. The move has been especially painful for the country which is in the fourth year of a calamitous drought. The relatively drought-resistant poppy would have provided vital income to the million people facing a very serious shortage of food and water before summer's end. The US has recently announced a $43 million grant for drought relief in Afghanistan, but the speculation is that many of the poppy farmers will become poppy refugees.
     Although the Taliban did not seek international aid packages in advance of the poppy ban [usually the case for a country plowing under some drug crop], it has been looking to the developed world to compensate its efforts in some fashion. Despite stressing the poppy ban as rooted in religious principles, the Taliban has not outlawed opium possession or sale. Since opium stockpiles exist, some smart traders have squirreled away their opium and are profiting from the rising prices. Local betting is that the ban on poppy production will hold up. It is not known what the intelligence community is doing to divine the consequences of the Taliban action in relation to the international drug trade. Increased production in other regions is easy to predict, but there are almost certainly unanticipated consequences requiring early detection.(Harvey) ( NY Times 11 Feb, '01 // B. Crossette; NY Times 24 May, '01 // B. Bearak)

 THE US WAR ON DRUGS IN LATIN AMERICA -- The war to eradicate narcotics cultivation in Colombia continues. It currently features increased ferocity by the brutal private paramilitary forces operating on behalf of the plantation owners (now reported to be employing chain-saw mutilations and killings of peasants), and our targets, the FALC, who have their own terror measures to keep the peasants in line.
     US special operations and air support capabilities in the area were enhanced on 29 May when the Dutch Parliament voted in favor of an agreement to provide operating use for US armed forces on two airfields in the Netherlands Antilles, off the coast of Venezuela. (Jonkers) (Jane�s 6 June01// http://www.janes.com via their This Week e-mail alert)

 US COMPUTER EXPORT RESTRICTIONS QUESTIONED -- The Center for Strategic and International Studies published a study concluding that US restrictions on exports of sophisticated computer hardware are an "irrelevant" relic of the Cold War that should be scrapped. It notes that the limits on technology exports based on computing power make little sense in light of the new political and technological realities, and may end up hurting an industry that is vital to US interests. "Export controls on information technology derive from an era when the strategy of the United States and is allies was to deny technology to the Soviet Union and keep the Western alliance strong ... This is no longer the case." (Z-gram 11 June) (Agence France Presse, 8 June 2001)

 CONGRESS LOOKING INTO CIA's IN-Q-TEL -- Three years after the CIA began pouring millions of dollars into an unclassified venture capital fund called In-Q-Tel, Congress has convened a panel of technical experts to determine whether the initiative is worth the money in the face of emerging Internet technologies. (Macartney)

 RUSSIA's MILITARY DECAY -- The Russian military fell to pauper level under former president Boris Yeltsin. In numbers it shrank from 2.7 million to 1.2 million troops, and its budget shrank even faster. A soldier's pay is about a dollar a month. Soldiers are sometimes forced to ask townspeople for toothbrushes and soap, or work in local shops in exchange for supplies. Officers moonlight driving taxis and loading trucks. Thousands of soldiers desert every year, and the suicide rate is four times as high as in US forces. Brutality in the ranks is legendary - soldiers undergo painful hazing, are frequently abused, and at least 500 soldiers a year are murdered by their peers. Equipment is decrepit, training inadequate, and the conscripts, increasingly, are society's rejects. In charge of the remnants of the USSR's weapons, they must have been most vulnerable to intelligence exploitation.
     President Putin is trying to reform the military, reducing it further in size, raising military pay, and setting a goal of a professional volunteer force. But in conjunction he may have to adjust Russia's expectations of a super-power role in the world and accept a lesser power position. The predecessor USSR could not compete with the US and its $300 Billion military super-budget, and present-day Russia is but pale shadow of its former incarnation. Putin's government will do well to keep together the Russian state as it exists today.
     Being less powerful means that Russia must have greater relative reliance on its intelligence services -- even though Russian state and military intelligence organizations were deeply damaged during the past decade and made extremely vulnerable to foreign (including US) intrusion. Nevertheless, the war of the spies and counter-spies with Russia will continue, as it will be with many others, and has been since history began. Russian spy - and FBI traitor - Hanssen is but one small expression of this reality. (Jonkers) Wpost May22, 2001, p. A1)

 RUSSIAN COMBAT DEATHS 1918 2001 PUBLISHED -- The Russian General Staff released the following information on Russian combat deaths from their Civil War up through today's Chechen War.

As published in "Argumenty i fakty," No. 22, the Soviet military lost 939,755 soldiers during their Civil War (1918-22), 626 in the struggle against the basmachi movement in Central Asia (1923-31), 187 in the 1929 Soviet-Chinese conflict, 353 in the Spanish Civil War, 9,920 in battles with the Japanese at the end of the 1930s, and 1,139 during the occupation of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus. During the Soviet- Finnish War the Soviet side lost 126,875. During World War II they suffered a staggering number of 8,668,400 dead. During the Korean War (1950-53), the Soviet forces lost 299 in combat against the Americans. During military assistance operations in Asia and Africa 145 Soviet soldiers died; in Hungary in 1956, 750; and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, 96 were killed. During the 1969 border dispute with China, 60 Soviet soldiers were killed. The Afghan war claimed 14,751 Soviet soldiers' lives. In the first Chechen war, 5,835 Russian soldiers died, and in the second 3,108 have died so far.

Particularly noteworthy are the 299 combat deaths listed in the Korean war -- the seldom mentioned war of the Soviet Air Force against our tactical air forces in North Korea, which was the only sustained direct Soviet-US combat during the so-called Cold War. The other interesting statistics are the enormous losses sustained by the Soviets during their war against Finland in 1939/40, when it appeared that the Soviet Army could not fight their way out of a paper bag -- almost like today. The recent losses in Chechnia are noteworthy mostly for their steady drain of casualties impacting on public perceptions -- which we can remember from the Vietnam War. (Jonkers) (Moscow - Argumenty I fakty No 22)


 US IT INDUSTRY CONDEMNS EU CONVENTION ON CYBERCRIME -- IT industry gurus have branded the Council Of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime 'foolish, unworkable and a legal con trick.' The controversial treaty provides a blanket legislation to deal with all forms of internet crime from hacking to online pornography. Caspar Bowden, director of internet think-tank FIPR, said: "The Convention is essentially a legal con trick, drafted in secret by a handful of nameless bureaucrats."
     It equates the internet - a network of private networks - with 'cyberspace,' a metaphor from science fiction. "By this sleight of hand, the internet is defined as a public space over which law enforcement should be granted unfettered powers of surveillance and extradition," he added. The requirement for preservation of data traffic for a 90-day period has infuriated the industry. But many claim it is the lesser of two evils. Preservation orders are not mandatory - unlike data retention - but imposed by law enforcement agencies involved in specific investigations. (Levine 11 June) http://uk.news.yahoo.com/010608/36/bufop.html


 DEFENSE DEPARTMENT HUMINT DOCUMENTS ON WEBSITE -- Throughout the Cold War, the CIA has had principal responsibility for clandestine HUMINT, but the armed services maintained their own HUMINT activities. These were mostly (but not only) overt collectors -- defense attach�s and refugee and defector debriefing facilities. In the early 1990's, partly in response to conclusions in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill that CIA HUMINT support of the Desert /Shield Storm operations had been inadequate, military HUMINT was beefed up. The Defense HUMINT Service (DHS) was established at DIA. It consolidated management of DIA's Defense Attach� System (DAS) and brought it together with coordination and management of Service HUMINT operations. The National Security Archive website offers 21 documents about or by the DHS from the period 1965 to 1995. (Macartney)

 THE UNITED STATES AND ASIA --  Toward a New U.S. Strategy and Force Posture -- Report by the Rand Corporation, May 2001, <http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1315/>(PDF File) Asia is beset by a variety of problems that could well imperil the stability it has long enjoyed -- including territorial disputes, nuclear rivalry, rising nationalist sentiments, and increased military capabilities. This report summarizes the manner in which the United States can best meet these challenges and thereby ensure continued peace and stability in the region. (Assoc.Prof P. Yang, Natl Taiwan U)


 AFIO SCHOLARSHIPS. AFIO is now sponsoring or managing several very attractive scholarship opportunities for college students, both grads and undergrads. Because applications have been few (not very many young people think of AFIO as a scholarship source), they have just extended the deadline until July 1st. So, if you are a student or the parent of a student, you may want to check this out. 

 LETTER -- Earnest R ONEY writes:

I have just read Carroll's article, "Ankara's Strategic Alignment with Tel Aviv..." mentioned in WIN#22 and thought you, and perhaps others, might like a bit more. As Carroll points out the Turkish-Israeli alignment became public in 1993. However, contacts had started perhaps as much as twenty years earlier. Turkey, Israel and Iran had a secret relationship, which they called Trident, starting in the 1970s and perhaps earlier. This was primarily an information exchange and liaison among the security services on problems of mutual interest, mostly dealing with the Arab States for obvious reasons. There was also an exchange of intelligence officers. The Iranian officer in Israel at the time of the 1979 Islamic Revolution was , of course, recalled to Tehran and, I am told, escaped the firing squad because his wife had good connections in the religious establishment. There was a substantial Israeli presence in Tehran and this was a major point that the Islamic militants held against the Shah's regime which had recognized Israeli 'de facto,' if not 'de jure.' I suspect that intelligence exchange continued between Turkey and Israel continued after Iran's defection in 1979 and the 1993 exchange of official visits and the 1994 "Agreement on security" and the "Memorandum on Mutual Understanding and Cooperation" has moved this relationship to a higher and more public position.
  And this ties in, in a sense, with the Iraqi propaganda also mentioned in WIN #22 where Saddam's mouthpiece newspaper commenting on Iran's nuclear capabilities writes "It means that Iran, Turkey and the Zionist entity agree on one goal and one hostile policy toward the Arab entity." (Trident re-visited!).
  And to wander a bit further afield I note the same Iraqi newspaper claiming that three small islands commanding the Straits of Hormuz really belong to Iraq. In fact, of course these islands Abu Musa and the two Tunbs belonged to the Sheikdoms of Sharjah and Ras al-Kaymah respectively and were seized by the Shah's Iran after the British pulled out of the Gulf in 1971  (Earnest R ONEY)

LETTER -- Joe Goulden writes on James Bamford�s new book:

AFIO member Tom Powers has a splendid review of James Bamford's new NSA book, BODY OF SECRETS, in The New York Review of Books, 21 June 2001, pp. 51-54. Powers' concluding paragraph makes a valuable point in the best language I've seen.: "And that brings us back to the exasperated question of bystanders who feel they are watching toddlers squabble in the sandbox. Why can't these great powers get along? Why do they have to keep pushing and probing each other in these aggressive ways -- cracking codes, suborning spies, stealing documents, bugging embassies, sending ships and aircraft bristling with antennae into harm's way? The answer, richly documented in Bamford's book, is that in international competition for power, where differences sometimes lead to war, what intelligence organizations do -- all the huggermugger of the great game -- may look like strife, but it's the closest serious international rivals ever get to peace." [Joe Goulden]

(Ed. Comments Tom Powers review is first-rate indeed // RJ)

Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) contain commentaries on intelligence-related events and developments based on public open-source information The opinions expressed are those of the editor(s)or authors noted and do not represent any AFIO position, but reflect generally on the role and importance of intelligence to US national security and interests. WINs are protected by copyright laws.

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