Weekly Intelligence Notes #25-03
WIN 25-03, dtd 27 June 2003
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are produced and edited by Roy Jonkers for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers.
RADM (ret) Don Harvey contributes articles to selected WINs
CONTENTS of this WIN
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IRAQ INTELLIGENCE -- Army Lieutenant General John P. Abizaid has been nominated to succeed General Tommy Franks as Commander of USCENTCOM (US Central Command). General Abizaid is of Lebanese descent and speaks several languages, including Arabic. He was born and raised in California, is a West Point graduate and a veteran infantryman, who most recently served as General Franks' deputy. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee during confirmation hearings on 25 June that, for the invasion of Iraq, "Intelligence was the most accurate that I've ever seen on the Tactical level, probably the best I've ever seen on the Operational level, and perplexingly incomplete on the Strategic level with regard to Weapons of Mass Destruction." (Jonkers) (LATimes 26 June 03 //J. Hendren)
OPERATIONAL INTELLIGENCE IN IRAQ -- A report on the 30th Intelligence Squadron, operating from a hangar on Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, has provided insight into recent advances by US intelligence and communications support of combat operations. Intelligence analysts 6,300 miles from Iraq, studying target information, radar or imagery on their computer terminals, supported combat operations, including planning of operations, detecting possible targets, warning of on-going enemy changes on the ground, and assessing attack results. During the Iraqi War intelligence teams at Langley and at Beale Air Force Base supported six U-2 missions a day and three to four Predator flights at any given time. Typically, the Predators flew at between 10,000 and 15,000 feet and were launched and recovered from the Tallil Air Base in Iraq. Once airborne, the UAVs were controlled by pilots in Nevada, with the video recordings analyzed at Langley or Beale. Over 30,000 reports to commanders in the Persian Gulf region were sent back by the analysts. (Note: Since one of the faults of the intelligence system in the past has been to flood the operator with tons of reports, the 30,000 figure has to be examined with some distrust, at least until further explained.)
The U-2's took off from a base in the UAE equipped with interchangeable high-resolution imagery or radar sensor systems. The aircraft also carried other sensors to collect electronic signals. Flying at 60,000 feet, the data was transmitted to ground stations or satellites for further relay. An Arkansas Air National Guard U-2 analysis support team of about 70 people have been working in dimly-lit trailers inside a former B-52 hangar.
The intelligence personnel at Langley monitored (via Predator) the recently reported air strikes and Special Operations attack on some Iraqi trucks and villages (supposedly trying to hit Saddam and relatives, but reportedly killing or wounding sheep-smugglers, Syrian border guards and villagers, but we shall have to wait and see) near the Syrian border, and also watched the earlier raid that captured one of Saddam's top aides, Abid Hamid Mahmoud al-Tikriti. They were tasked to alert the commandos about any "squirters," enemy fighters fleeing the scene. As an example of tactical responsiveness of the system, four days before American forces consolidated control in Baghdad a U-2 detected 30 Iraqi artillery pieces and three tanks north of the city. The time that elapsed from detection to alerting the control center in Saudi Arabia to directing aircraft to strike and destruction was 10 minutes.
From an intelligence standpoint, the ability to turn remotely-obtained data into useful intelligence in an operationally-meaningful timeframe is a marvelous advance over historical performances. At least equally important from a national viewpoint, the ability to send only a handful of technical experts to Iraq -- instead of the large surveillance mission support group (1,500 people) at Langley -- is an example of what has become a successful pattern in American modern warfare, at least against technologically unsophisticated opponents such as those in the Arab world. (Harvey) (NYTimes 24June03, E. Schmitt)
IRAQ WMD INQUIRY -- Robin Cook and Clare Short, two members of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet who resigned over the war in Iraq, told a House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee on 17 June that the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary had selectively used misleading intelligence interpretations to justify the conflict. Ms. Short, the former Labor Secretary for International Development (1997 - May 2003) said that, contrary to the Prime Minister's assertions, she had been told by security officials before the war that Mr. Hussein's weapons did NOT pose an immediate threat, "I think that is where the falsity lies, the exaggeration of immediacy (of the threat)." Mr. Cook, a former Labor Foreign Secretary, who quit as leader of the Commons in March, said that his experience convinced him that "instead of using intelligence as evidence on which to base a decision about policy, we used intelligence as the basis on which to justify a policy on which we had already settled."
That probably sums up the US case as well. Both the British government and the US Administration argued before the war that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and a program to develop nuclear weapons and that these posed such an immediate threat to its neighbors and the United States that war was necessary to disarm the country. U.S. officials have scaled back those claims in recent weeks and now increasingly argue that Hussein's regime instead planned to reconstitute its unconventional arms programs if and when U.N. sanctions were lifted.
The conquest of Iraq was based on US (and UK) strategic national interest calculations. The WMD rationale-for-war argument was window-dressing. The post-conflict WMD debate, although not unimportant in its implications, will probably make little real difference in the end, unless the occupation goes bad. As of today, Iraq's occupation is an accomplished fact. The strategy now calls for the next target, Iran, then who knows, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, all should get their turn. And yes, North Korea is also still in the mix, and the large group of China-haters is getting restless. As we have seen with the sudden rise in know-nothing anti-France animosity, the public is easily led in this "war" on terrorism. Finally, with or without WMD Intelligence scapegoats, Intelligence reorganization may be expected after the 2004 elections. (Jonkers) (C-span 18 June03) (http://ebird.dtic.mil/Jun2003/s20030618193523.html)
WAR ON TERRORISM INCARCERATION SURVEY -- A recent (selective) open-source-based public survey of some of those incarcerated and presumed guilty worldwide includes the following:
UK -- 402 arrests under the Terrorism Act 2000. Of these, 49 have been charged, mostly with immigration offenses, and are awaiting trial; five have been convicted - three for membership of banned organizations. Another 15 are detained as a "risk to national security" under Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. They can't be deported because of death penalty or torture in their home country, though two have since left the UK of their own volition. The rest are locked up for 22 hours a day in single cells, at Belmarsh top-security prison and HMP Woodhill, with restricted access to lawyers and families.
US CONTINENTAL -- 1,200 detained, at least 484 still held. Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn has 84 detainees; Passaic County Jail in New Jersey has 400. There are additional secret sites. US government refuses to release identities of detainees. Inspector General of US Department of Justice last week confirmed abuses reported by human rights groups: prolonged detention without charge, denial of access to legal counsel, and excessively harsh conditions of confinement including "lock down" for at least 23 hours per day; handcuffs, leg irons, and heavy chains; and a limit of one legal telephone call per week.
US -- GUANTANAMO, CUBA -- The 680 men held Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, are described by the Americans as among the "hardest of the hard core" of al-Qa'ida terrorist suspects from more than 40 countries, including teenagers and old men. Mainly Afghans and Pakistanis, about 150 Saudis and 83 Yemenis, but also nine Britons, some Australians, and six Algerians picked up in Bosnia. All are held without charge or trial; Washington insists Geneva Conventions don't apply; US courts refuse to exercise jurisdiction. Detainees live in wire cages and are subjected to CIA and MI5 interrogations. Senior defense officials have told US media off the record that as many as 10 per cent may be innocent. All are denied access to legal counsel. They are only allowed out for two 15-minute exercise breaks a week. At least 28 suicide attempts to date.
US -- IRAQ -- Some 3,100 POWs and interned civilians still held in 19 centers by coalition forces. 5,900 other POWs have now been released in accordance with Article 118 of the Third Geneva Convention. US forces are still rounding up Iraqis suspected of involvement with paramilitary squads and attacks on US forces.
US -- DIEGO GARCIA -- An unknown number of prisoners are held in US base on the Indian Ocean island leased from the UK. The US interrogators allegedly impersonate nationals of countries known to use torture, in an effort to disorientate captives.
US -- AFGHANISTAN -- 3,000 Taliban and al-Qa'ida prisoners are held in Bagram airbase and Jowzjan prison. Bagram is a CIA interrogation center, practicing "stress and duress" or "torture-lite". Prisoners are blindfolded and thrown into walls, kept standing or kneeling for hours, in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, bound in painful positions, subjected to loud noises and deprived of sleep, with a 24-hour bombardment of lights. At least two detainees have died after being beaten. Bagram is off-limits to the Red Cross.
SPAIN -- 50 held. The aftermath of September 11 brought a further crackdown on Basque separatists. Spain's anti-terror laws permit the use of incommunicado detention, secret legal proceedings, and pre-trial detention for up to four years.
MOROCCO -- Has detained at least 35 terrorist suspects in the wake of the five simultaneous Casablanca suicide bombs. Another 100 have been "referred" there by the US. Notorious for torture.
EGYPT -- Between 100 and "several thousand" al-Qa'ida suspects have been transferred from Afghanistan to Egypt, where the secret police use a full repertoire of torture techniques. Hundreds of domestic suspects have been arrested and taken before military or state security courts since 11 September.
JORDAN -- Between 100 and "several thousand" al-Qa'ida suspects have been transferred from Afghanistan to Jordan, where security services use various levels of torture, including sleep deprivation, beatings on the soles of the feet, prolonged suspension with ropes and extended solitary confinement.
SAUDI ARABIA -- Unknown number of detainees. During interrogations, US officials observe through one-way mirrors.
INDONESIA -- 30 people held under terrorism decrees. Since the Bali bomb, links have been assumed between local Islamic movements and al-Qa'ida. Police conduct public interrogations of suspects and use detainees in public re-enactments of the crime. New laws are imminent to allow police to detain suspected terrorists for questioning for up to six months. The broad definition of terrorism could include political dissenters.
INDIA -- At least 300 detained under the new 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act. The law is used against Muslim separatists in Kashmir, but also against other Muslim activists.
CHINA -- At least 400 Chinese Muslims have been jailed since China declared its own "war on terror" to deepen its crackdown on ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang province. China claims 500 members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), financed by Osama Bin Laden, fought with the Taliban and in Chechnya. ETIM is now on the US State Department list of terrorist organizations.
UZBEKISTAN -- "Thousands" imprisoned since September 11. Uzbekistan has used the "war on terror" to justify its longstanding campaign to eliminate political opponents. Western governments, particularly the United States, have suppressed criticism of the Uzbek human rights record.
RUSSIA -- CHECHNYA -- Disappearances are claimed to be running at the rate of 60 a month. Chechen /Islamic terrorism is extremely brutal and so is the heavy-handed Russian counter-terrorism. Prisoners are reportedly often beaten and tortured.
REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA -- Georgian troops detained "several" suspected al-Qa'ida members last autumn and handed them over to the US after a raid on the Pankisi gorge. Russia and the US both state it is a haven for al-Qa'ida. A US/UK special operation in Georgia is said to involve some 60 US military personnel and British anti-terrorism experts.
SYRIA -- At least one "war on terror" suspect has been held by Syria. The alleged al-Qa'ida leader Mohammed Haydar Zammar was transferred there by US operatives. The German government has been strongly critical of his detention, since Zammar holds joint German and Syrian citizenship. The US regards Syria, which has part of its territory occupied by Israel, as a sponsor of terrorism and a user of torture.
ISRAEL -- 900 Palestinians held in administrative detention, without charge or trial. Most have no access to lawyers. Israeli authorities characterize all armed Palestinian activity as terrorism, and justify Israeli military actions as a part of the global "war on terror". Last year, the Knesset passed the Illegal Combatants Law, which enables the military to hold individuals indefinitely on the basis of assumption rather than proven guilt. Sophisticated torture and crude degradation techniques reportedly used. Selective assassination raids have recently substituted for capture in response to brutal Palestinian terrorist suicide attacks in an endless chain of reciprocal revenge killings.
US LOCATIONS UNKNOWN -- There are allegedly a number of secret US detention centers overseas where due process does not apply. (Jonkers) (UK World Politics) (NY TIMES 18 June 03 // W. Hoge)(http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=418978)
PASSPORTS WITH BIOMETRIC DATA COMPUTER CHIPS\-- European Union governments last week agreed to embed computer chips containing biometric data in passports. The plans to create passports carrying information on a person's fingerprint or retinal scans are presented as a way to reduce counterfeiting and fraud. Biometric chips would also be implanted in visas issued to foreign nationals traveling to Europe. (Levine 23 June 03) (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/31380.html)
CYBER ATTACK WARNING CENTER OPENED -- A national early-warning network and analysis center for cyber attacks is operating in 30 locations, a senior White House official said on Wednesday. Paul Kurtz, a special assistant to President Bush and senior director for critical infrastructure protection in the Homeland Security Council, said the Cyber Warning and Information Network (CWIN) has begun operating, and administration officials are working to add state and local officials to the network. (Levine 06/26) http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0603/062503td1.htm
IDENTITY THEFT LAW ENACTED -- A new California law will require companies for the first time to notify their customers if their computerized personal information, including credit card details, has been stolen. The law, the first of its kind in the United States, will go into effect on 2 July 2003, and is aimed at preventing identity theft, which experts say is on the rise. Under the law, companies, organizations or governmental agencies must notify California residents if their unencrypted personal data -- name and social security number, driver's license number or credit card number and password -- are "acquired" by an unauthorized person or believed to have been stolen. Similar Federal Government action would also seem to be desirable. (Jonkers) (Levine 06/25)
FBI -- INDUSTRY INFRAGARD NETWORK -- Power plants, bridges and buildings aren't the only things vital to national security -- computer networks also are crucial. And the FBI can't keep an eye on everything. So a unique partnership called the Infragard program has developed between the FBI and 8,300 companies to share information about both cyber and physical threats. ``It's going to be a whole new business growth area,'' said Paul Bracken, an information technology and security expert at the Yale School of Management. The program started in 1996, was growing slowly but steadily, until the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dramatically increased its priority and jump-started its growth and effectiveness. (Levine 23 June 03)
GAO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SECURITY REPORT -- U.S. federal agencies' information security efforts are weak, haphazard and worse than White House figures suggest, according to a GAO auditor's report released 24 June 03. The U.S. General Accounting Office, the auditing arm of Congress, said in a 36-page report that agencies have "not yet shown significant progress" in securing their computers from internal and external attacks and have been slow to comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002. (Levine 06/25)
INTELLIGENCE AND THE WAR IN BOSNIA 1992 -1995, by Dr. Cees Wiebes, LIT Verlag, Berlin-London, Series, Studies in Intelligence History, 2003, ISBN 3-8258-6347-6. On 11 July 1995 the Bosnian Serbs captured the enclave Srebrenica. Thousands were executed. Claims were made that Western Intelligence agencies had foreknowledge of the attack and atrocities. Was it an intelligence failure? This book tries to answer this question, presenting as much detail as possible of the intelligence efforts by the various Western (and indigenous) services in Bosnia. The author, a Professor at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), was granted access to the classified archives of the Dutch services and also to still-classified UN archives. Foreign intelligence services gave him confidential briefings. He also interviewed more than one hundred intelligence officials from various countries. This book, unread by the editor, is of potential interest as a non-parochial view of intelligence centered on a landmark atrocity. (Jonkers)
They Came To Destroy America: The FBI Goes to War Against Nazi Spies & Saboteurs Before and During World War II, by Stan Cohen and Don DeNevi, with (AFIO member) Richard Gay, Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., Inc., (713 South 3rd. Street West -Missoula, Montana 59801 -Phone (406)549-8488 -Fax (406) 728-9280), 2003, ISBN 1-57510-101-7; 166 pp., extensive illustrations]. This pictorial history covers the German subversion networks in the Eastern U.S. during the years leading up to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, and of daring German U-boat intelligence operations and subsequent FBI round-ups and trials of German would-be spies as America moved into WWII and dealt with its aftermath. It is a full dossier of text, photographs, letters, manuscripts, newspaper accounts, court transcripts, interviews, and other evidentiary materials, pulled together by authors/historians Cohen and DeNevi, and joined by former CIA and NSA intelligence officer Richard Gay. They stitch together secret files and photographs to explain several German covert operations, such as Operation Pastorius -- were eight Nazi (special operations) saboteurs in 1942 turned up on Long Island, New York and St. Augustine, Florida beaches, having arrived by submarines at night, and Operation Magpie -- a daring 1944 nighttime incursion by a U-boat off the coast of Maine -- with German agents infiltrating local towns. Earlier portions of the book present the extensive numbers of German and German-American sympathizers in the U.S. during the 1930s and early 1940s -- the German-American Bund being the most famous. The authors conclude that "These stories should be a reminder to every reader that the same dangers that existed in 1941-45 are with us today and Americans should not let their guard down." Richard Gay serves as Assistant to the President of AFIO for Historic Projects, and is a member of the New England AFIO Chapter. (EAB)
OPM HIRING CYBER SPECIALISTS -- All executive branch agencies are free to hire their own information technology professionals to bolster the security of their information systems, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has announced. The agency notified agency heads of the new direct-hire authority, effective immediately, for professionals in the GS-2210 series at Grade 9 and above. The announcement is intended to speed hiring of cyber security specialists. (Levine 06/25) http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2003/0623/web-hire-06-24-03.asp
Larry S writes on 'Definition of WMD' -- The general public discourse lacks precision in the case of Weapons of Mass Destruction. To begin with, the word 'Destruction' doesn't seem accurate if the perceived objective and/or effects are to kill people rather than destroy property. I think we get ourselves into problems when we are imprecise in our use of words. It is clear that Nuclear weapons kill AND DESTROY. (I saw Nagasaki in 1946.) But Chemical and Biological "weapons", even if the dispersion problems were solved, would kill but NOT destroy. "Understanding begins by calling things by their right names." Therefore -- Is there a more-or-less generally-accepted (and more accurate) definition of these so-called weapons of mass destruction? (LS)
Bill G. writes on Bob Baer's Analysis of Saudi Arabia (last week's WIN Section IV) -- Baer makes a case that Saudi Arabia -- with skyrocketing birth rates, growing unemployment, a falling per capita income and a corrupt ruling family draining the public coffers -- is a powder keg waiting to explode. Baer's solution: "An invasion and a revolution might be the only things that can save the industrial West from a prolonged, wrenching depression." We must ask the question -- if the SA "royals" were deposed, who would replace them? Potential answers to that question are pretty sobering. (BG) (ED. NOTE: We must wait to read Baer's book to see how the proposition was phrased, and how BG's point was addressed)(RJ).
William W. writes on Policing Iraq -- The Wall Street Journal recently printed a number of articles concerning the need for effective US assistance to Iraqi police. (see June 18 editorial page and page A3 for June 20). We should pay attention to lessons learned.
In occupied Japan after WWII Gen. McArthur's intent was to install a Japanese-run government as soon as possible. MacArthur wisely foresaw that an indigenous internal security element was fundamental to economic, social and political development within defeated Japan. The rapidly re-trained Japanese police quickly and effectively put down insurgent efforts as well as efforts to disrupt public facilities and the incumbent Japanese government. The new Japanese police were instilled with the idea that they would be responsible for providing a safe environment so that the Japanese could recover and lead their own destiny without having an occupation force dictate their fate.
We learned those same lessons in reverse in Vietnam. Our office, the Office of Public Safety (OPS), worked in tandem with other US assistance officials to prepare trained indigenous police forces to operate in a post conflict environment. The police were being prepared to provide a secure internal environment after the war in order that the economic, social and political development of South Vietnam could flourish. But our lawmakers and the administration, through their inability or even intentional refusal to win the war, never provided us with a post-conflict environment in which to operate.
In Iraq we seem to have forgotten the lesson of Japan and reenacting a version of the situation in Vietnam. We seem to be fumbling about instead of rapidly developing and training an indigenous internal security force (using available cadres of civil police) to achieve the environment for post-conflict Iraqi social, economic and political development. We need a "safe-streets" strategy for Iraq. (WW)
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