Weekly Intelligence Notes #35-01
3 September 2001

WIN #35-01 dated  3 September 2001

We live in a world of accelerating changes - political, environmental, technical. How does this impact on national strategies and intelligence? Update yourself by attending the AFIO Symposium 2001 at CIA and the National Convention on 2 and 3 November 2001in McLean, Virginia. Agenda and Registration information on the Web www.afio.com, and coming shortly by 'snail mail' to all members. Take a guest or your spouse at member rates!

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US Drug-war threatens to destabilize Colombia--

            Colombia is slowly sliding into a drug-related revolutionary war expanding to most of the country, while much of the world looks the other way. Whole tracts of countryside are being threatened by the polluting effect of the glyphosate herbicide chemicals spread in concentrations 100 times greater than would be legal in the USA. The chemicals kill coca, but also other food crops, reportedly increasing the levels of deprivation, illness and poverty among an already desperately poor rural populace, while the coca production shifts to new areas. The crop-dusters are guided to their jungle targets by US reconnaissance, intelligence and surveillance assets. Flown by a mix of US contract flyers and local pilots, they are protected by US-supplied helicopter gunships.

            President George W. Bush inherited, and has indicated his support for, a massive overt anti-drug program of $1.3 billion, including $290 million for Intelligence operations, $860 million in military aid, and $132 million for humanitarian projects, while a further $180 million is earmarked for drug-related operations in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.

            The  US is currently faced with a need to replace its bases in Panama (which may explain the reports of a recent "secret" trip by SecState Powell to that country), and therefore has moved quickly to establish new facilities on both Aruba and Curacao in the Caribbean. In addition, both Venezuela and  El Salvador have been asked to allow the use of their air space for anti-drug operations, extending the current air surveillance and interdiction operations over Peru and Ecuador. Ecuador seems to have moved into the fore-front of integrated  US military planning and operations. New facilities have been established at the port city of Manta, Special Force units from the US Southern Command operate alongside some 5,000 Ecuadorian troops of the 19th Napo and 21st Condor Jungle Infantry Brigades on the borders of Colombia, while other specialist US forces operate radar stations tracking the drug-cartel's aircraft (ref. the recent incident of shooting down a missionary's plane) and manning secret listening posts on behalf of the NSA to monitor communications of the FARC, the drug cartels, etc.

            The US war on drugs, including its intelligence involvement, is increasingly controversial in its foreign as well as its domestic dimensions. At home, increasing media and political attention is being paid to the creation of the largest 'gulag' of any nation on the globe during the past ten years, without reducing the shifting consumption of drugs -- affecting only its methods of distribution. Intelligence supports the wars abroad, including the incipient mini-Vietnam-like morass of Colombia, and may well be increasingly at risk of being tainted by the inevitable and unavoidable connections with corrupt or criminal "allied" or informer elements or unfortunate human incidents. In its domestic dimension the war on drugs involves such allegations as increasing brutalization of police methods, and technical surveillance intrusions into personal privacy and liberty -- that concern us all. This is one tough problem. (Jonkers) (AFI Research afi@supanet.com //Richard Bennett) (WashPost 6Sep01 pA1 )


Terrorism Not So Common As Before. American newspaper readers and television viewers have been bedeviled in the last year or so with scary stories of international terrorism aimed at Americans. The tragic bombing of the USS Cole in Aden certainly contributed to the impression that the United States is the most popular target of terrorists and that extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism. While many crimes are committed against Americans abroad, politically inspired terrorism is not as common as most people may think

 While the State Department reported 423 international terrorist incidents in year 2000 (up 38 from 1999), the overall terrorist trend is down. According to the CIA, deaths from international terrorism fell to 2,527 in the decade of the 1990's, from 4,833 in the 80's. In 2000, terrorist activity was heavily concentrated in just two countries -- Columbia with 186 incidents and India with 63 -- with the cause being these countries own political conflicts. There were three attacks on American diplomatic buildings in 2000, compared with 42 in 1988. In the State Department's "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000," released earlier this year, 153 of the 423 international terrorist incidents were judged to be "significant." Only 17 of these involved American citizens or businesses. One major reason given for the downward trend is the current reluctance of countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya to provide safe havens, funding and training. Reasons advanced for the attention lavished on terrorism, despite the general trend downward, include the need for dramatic stories by 24-hour broadcast news operations, politicians seeking publicity for creating new anti-terrorism activities, and established government agencies looking to justify budget growth. (Harvey) ( NY Times 10 July '01, p. A23 /// L. C. Johnson)

CHINA IN TRANSITION -- This past July 1st, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Part, China's President Jiang Zemin made a speech in which he stated that capitalist entrepreneurs should be admitted to the communist party (comparable to President Bush opening his arms to embrace communists into the Republican party and the US Government) . Not surprisingly, this ideological bombshell upset the orthodox communist ideologues within the party, who criticized the initiative. Since then the Communist Party apparatus has begun an ideological cleanup, and at least two major publications linked to these orthodox critics - the Zhenli De Zhuiqiu (Pursuit of Truth) and the Zhongliu - have been closed down. In addition, the China Bulletin - an electronic magazine - and the Tianya Zongheng Internet Forum (based on  Hainan), were closed last month. The latter had carried a series of articles on its site expressing concern about increasing income disparities in China. The articles also attacked the move to absorb private enterprise capitalists into the Communist Party as a "betrayal of the proletariat."

In addition, the Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, removed a collection of articles by the late staunch Marxist Chen Yun from its official Web site. Several of these articles expressed opposition to a free market and any weakening of the Communist Party's monopoly on power.

Jiang's announcement and the subsequent media outlet closures, are an interesting peep into the fog enveloping the ongoing process of transition of China's leadership and policies. (Jonkers) (South China Morning Daily, 3 September, 2001 //Fong Tak-Ho) (courtesy T.Hart)


SECRET SPACES -- A capability exists to conceal short messages invisibly within normal text documents for private business or personal communications. SecretSpace accomplishes this by inserting superfluous spaces between the words in your message -- no one can see the spaces or decipher what's in them without SecretSpace. The text contained within the inserted spaces is determined by the patterns of the spaces. Messages can be hidden even further by using SecretSpace with your favorite encryption program for combined protection. (Greg O'Hara)
( http://www.itprodownloads.com/showJewel?id=243561 )

RUSSIAN PROGRAMMER FALLS AFOUL OF US LAWS -- Russian software designer Dmitry Sklyarov pleaded not guilty on 30 August to five charges that he violated a controversial, and purely American, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by trafficking in and committing conspiracy to traffic in a copyright circumvention device. The device in question is the Advanced eBook Processor which cracks the access controls on Adobe's eBook Reader, made and marketed by Russian software company ElcomSoft, where Sklyarov works. As a result, Russia warned its computer experts of the dangers of visiting the United States, a warning other nations will probably also heed. (Levine Newsbits 08/31)

PENTAGON GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO GLOBAL INFORMATION GRID -- The Pentagon has approved the Global Information Grid architecture, a worldwide architecture for providing data to military forces around the world from regional commanders to soldiers on the front lines, the acting Defense Department deputy chief information officer said. That architecture will provide the first slice of an integrated DOD enterprise information technology architecture.(Levine 08/30)

USAF TO TEST BIOMETRIC SECURITY -- The Air Force will soon begin testing three types of biometric identification applications for greater security in daily operations. (Levine 08/30)


INSURANCE FRAUD -- One of our members submitted a summary of an insurance fraud investigation he conducted for a 'Case of the Month' competition sponsored by the John E. Reid & Associates investigative training organization of  Chicago . His case was selected as the Case of the Month for September. You can read it at www.reid.com . Click on the September Case of the Month icon. (Charles Prendergast)

GUARD THE SECRETS RATHER THAN VET THE EMPLOYEES. The usual approach to safeguarding classified information is to vet each of the 100's of thousands of government employees and contractors with background investigations. In this op-ed, author James Bamford argues that maybe the government should do what retailers do -- guard the merchandise instead. (Macartney)

  ISRAEL'S TARGETED ASSASSINATION POLICY, AGAIN. In this op-ed Vince Cannistraro, former chief of CIA counterterrorism, argues that assassination is counterproductive as well as immoral. (Macartney)

Big Machines, Cipher Machines of World War II, Aegean Park Press, 2001, by Stephen J. Kelley. (ISBN: 0-89412-290-8) 242 pages, $38.80 -- Why do some cryptographic systems fail and others succeed? Stephen Kelley's new book, Big Machines, explores this fundamental question by examining the history of three of the most renowned cipher systems of World War II - the German Enigma, the Japanese PURPLE, and the American SIGABA/ECM. Were the allies' successes against Enigma and PURPLE due to inherent weaknesses in the Axis' machines, to poor communications security procedures, to physical compromise, or to all three? Kelley investigates the histories of these three crypto systems - how they were designed, how they were used, and how they were attacked by hostile cryptanalysts, all critical aspects of the information war some six decades ago. (Jonkers) (Laura Kelley). http://www.aegeanparkpress.com



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