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A chameleon of self-interest: Ahmad Chalabi

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I always thought it amusing that the US coalition administration could fret over de-Baathification yet appoint a major convicted criminal as president of the Iraqi Interim Governing Council (IIGC). Ahmad Chalabi co-founded Jordan's Petra Bank in 1977, was its chairman from 1982 to 1989, looting some $500 million in that period, and finally bringing about the bank’s bankruptcy and dissolution in 1990. Chalabi was convicted in absentia and remains one of Jordan's most-wanted fugitives for which an extradition request remains outstanding. Chalabi was also accused of false financial transactions using associate banks in Switzerland and Lebanon for murky deals with Iran and Iraq.

With the fox in charge of parts of the hen house, what is the fox to do when it sees that (1) Iraqis want nothing to do with you, (2) the US is dismantling the IIGC and thus any standing that you might have in Iraq, (3) Bremer is not listening to your advice on such things as rehiring Baathist military and police, and (4) that the US had awoken to being duped by your Iraqi National Congress (INC) with respect to INC claims of Iraqi WMD?

I offer this multiple choice answer: (a) continue business as usual to line your pockets at the expense of all around you, (b) try to put on a new-found indignant Iraqi nationalist cloak and then berate the US, (c) ramp up your illegal financial activities with Iraq to include diplomatic efforts to build yourself a base for the post-IIGC period, or (d) all of the above. I vote for (d) as anything less could get you on a pre-30 June US flight to Jordan.

Chalabi is another of those delightful figures worthy of Franklin Roosevelt's comment of General Anastasio Somoza that, "He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." At least he was so long as he did not run afoul of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al. So far the data is supporting (d):

On 20 May US forces and Iraqi police searched Chalabi's house without notice (after giving prior notice they would search some INC offices and so found nothing). Arrest warrants have been issued for 15 people on charges of kidnapping, fraud and "associated matters" and eight of those, all INC members or affiliates, have gone fugitive.

Chalabi was predictably furious, claiming that, "They invaded the home of a Governing Council member a few days after the president of the Governing Council was blown up by terrorist actions at an American checkpoint." One wonders how he kept a straight face when he added, "Let my people go. Let my people be free. It is time for the Iraqi people to run their affairs."

DIA had already terminated the INC's monthly stipend for intelligence information, and US forces had already picked up INC members such as Chalabi's designee to be the senior anti-corruption official in the new Iraqi Ministry of Finance, Sabah Nouri, on numerous corruption charges. It would not surprise me that Chalabi would surround himself with like-minded thieves but it has surprised me as to how inept they seem in trying to pin the blame on others.

By 21 May, it was out that INC members were providing data to Iran on U.S. troop positions in Iraq, that one of Chalabi's closest advisers, Aras Habib, was "a paid agent of the Iranian intelligence service," and that at least three investigations were underway on charges of corruption, kidnapping and robbery. (Iraqi police had received previous complaints "about INC members impersonating police officers, breaking into homes and carrying out robberies," had warned the INC in response, and had recently arrested INC officials on robbery charges.)

Watch for flights to Amman.

Chalabi's House Raided by U.S. Troops
By Scott Wilson and Ariana Cha
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 20, 2004; 1:50 PM

Chalabi Aides Suspected of Spying for Iran
Raid at Leader's Home Targeted His Associates
By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, May 22, 2004; Page A20

Gordon Housworth



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The media-driven perception void grows between Americans and Arabs

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With the appearance of The War's Dark Side: Filling in the Blanks I thought it useful to bring current the comments made to a private list regarding Perceptions: Where Al-Jazeera & Co. Are Coming From that appeared almost a year earlier.

When you are raised near Mexico, and travel the third world, you are mindful that the 'gruesome and sensational' to an American readership are the informative norms of many other countries. I keenly remember being in Mexico during the run-up to a presidential election and reading a common newspaper that had large ads from the PRI candidate on one page and on the opposing page multiple unretouched photos and story of two teens that had been cut in two by a train and their remains had yet to be removed from the scene. The point I am after is that the PRI saw fit to advertise its candidate in solemn tones in a paper that a US candidate would have avoided.

Now inject the mounting Abu Ghraib photos into an Arab, perhaps even wider Muslim, culture that often uses imagery (to us sensational imagery) over text to deliver its message, is already inflamed against the US to a degree that is not appreciated by US readers, interprets those images through a subtext alien to US readers, and you will see that the Abu Ghraib photos extend and reinforce a belief system that rose with the Crusaders and continued through Western colonial occupation, Suez, all the Arab-Israeli wars, the Intifada, and now Iraq:

Americans and Israelis are barbaric, and these images prove it. Arabs are heroic in their asymmetrical victories (peasant posed next to a downed helicopter) and in their sufferings (massive grisly casualty images, and the more women and children the better). The only US, Israeli, or Coalition forces events shown are their setbacks. It is clear the Arabs watch a completely different war than do US nationals. Each is reinforced by the 'truth' that they see and become increasingly less willing to negotiate or offer any benefit of the doubt.

The format may resemble CNN but the news template being used is the Palestinian struggle against Israelis, with the US getting top line billing as the villain. Perceptions notes that:

"Here in the United States, we tend to think of images only in terms of cameras and television: Photography is separate from narrative. In the Arab world, language is full of images, which cannot be separated from narrative. Arabic is a metaphorical language, rich in shades of meaning. The image-based style of the Arabic language acts as an excellent interface with pictures. Thus television is terribly important. Consider the effect achieved, for example, when Majid Abdul Hadi, an al-Jazeera reporter in Baghdad, shows a picture of a coalition bomb landing while referring to Baghdad as the pulsing heart of the Muslim caliphate, a pulsing heart engulfed in flame."

You have to watch it to get the visceral impact. The Palestinian template emphasizes the asymmetrical war, the struggle of poorly armed against first world armies in which those whom we call insurgents are called resistance fighters by the Arab press, and our forces whom need to describe as either a peacekeeping or coalition force are described by them as invaders and occupiers. Is there no wonder that the US funded attempt to show a balanced, somewhat VOA style of broadcasting with al Hurra is seen as more state sponsored-speak by Arab readers?

In response to the question as to what all other Arab stations uncritically absorb the product of al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, the reply was that the staff now at these stations were "by and large recruited from state-owned television networks throughout the Arab world [and[ are reacting to their own past [and now] pushing the envelope." Now it is "political nudity" rather than belly dancing titillation that dominates the attention of Arab eyeballs.

Perceptions closes with an admonition that the Arab press was disgraced once before by its fanciful reporting in the 1967 war with Israel and took "almost 25 years for the Arab media to regain some credibility" and that their current reporting could cost them dearly again. Possibly, but US interests will suffer for decades confronting a generation that will grow up with these Arab images that we have helped create.

The War's Dark Side: Filling in the Blanks chronicles the film documentaries of Egyptian-American Jehane Noujaim'a "Control Room" and Spaniard Esteban Uyarra's "War Feels Like War." The War's Dark Side drives home the lessons of Perceptions -- in images. "Control Room" examines al-Jazeera and Coalition Media Center, capturing the "immense hostility toward American actions in Iraq, anger that existed a year ago but is just now truly registering" in the US. The US PIO wisely notes that "no American connects" Palestine and Iraq while all Arabs see them as "the exact same thing."

The War's Dark Side nails it on the BBC as the "most valuable, accessible supplement to the hermetic American view." We listen to the beeb (audio) twice a day and it is often running while we work. It covers many more subjects that do US broadcasters save for PBS, its reports are pointed, and its journalists are anything but differential, to the point of often quite intrusive when they don't think that their interviewee is sufficiently forthcoming. No "Yes, Minister" obsequiousness for the beeb.

Perceptions: Where Al-Jazeera & Co. Are Coming From
By Mamoun Fandy
Washington Post
Sunday, March 30, 2003; Page B01

The War's Dark Side: Filling in the Blanks
By CARYN JAMES
May 21, 2004
New York Times

Gordon Housworth



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Palmerston, interests, and forms of governance

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"We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are perpetual and eternal and those interests it is our duty to follow." Lord Palmerston, British Foreign Secretary, 1848.

I am principally a Palmerston disciple. If you believe as I do in permanent interests, the form of governance of one’s allies or adversaries is secondary. The criterion is that they either promote your interests or at least do them no harm in both the near term and long term, i.e., you must consider secondary effects before treating with a foreign power.

While I was in the intel community I had observed that if the USSR became a robber baron capitalist government over night that we would still be adversaries, that we have competing spheres of influence independent of form of government. I faced a chiding chorus of "the Reds" and it did no good to remind my colleagues that both Tsarist Russia and the growing US raced one another to commercialize the northern Pacific coast long before Lenin. The USSR was deemed bad because it was Soviet.

Take France, Germany, Russia, Uzbekistan and Iraq: The first two are reasonable Western democracies that we were ready to treat as Old Europe and shove over the side so great was our disagreement. The third had resuscitated the Duma and had we not been so high handed with them over the last decade, we wouldn’t be having such a snit with them over Iraq. The fourth is a piece of work, a repressive dictatorship that is ruthless with its citizens and harsher still with its Muslims -- another blowback in the making but we treat with them in order to gain bases to deal with a more immediate problem. The fifth was treated as ally by both Jacques Chirac and the US. The US turned out the same tyrant and the same government.

It is the interests and not the governance that is at play. If you do not think this proper, then you may be closer to Benjamin Barber’s "Beyond Jihad Vs. McWorld" in The Nation, 21 January, 2002, when he observed:

"Except the truth today is not only that democracies do not make war on one another, but that democracies alone are secure from collective forms of violence and reactionary fundamentalism, whether religious or ethnic. Those Islamic nations (or nations with large Islamic populations) that have made progress toward democracy--Bangladesh, India or Turkey, for example--have been relatively free of systematic terrorism and reactionary fundamentalism as well as the export of terrorism. They may still persecute minorities, harbor racists and reflect democratic aspirations only partially, but they do not teach hate in their schools or pipe propaganda through an official press or fund terrorist training camps. Like India recently, they are the victims rather than the perpetrators of international terrorism. Making allies of the enemies of democracy because they share putative interests with us is, in other words, not realism but foolish self-deception. We have learned from the military campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda how, when push comes to shove (push has come to shove!), the Egyptians and the Saudis can be unreliable in sharing intelligence, interdicting the funding of terrorism or standing firm against the terrorists at their own door. Pakistan still allows thousands of fundamentalist madrassahs to operate as holy-war training schools. Yet how can these " allies" possibly be tough when, in defense of their despotic regimes, they think that coddling the terrorists outside their doors may be the price they have to pay for keeping at bay the terrorists already in their front parlors? The issue is not religion, not even fundamentalism; the issue is democracy... "

I do not draw Barber's conclusion and would say that it has as much to do with shared interests as forms of governance. I definitely disagree with another comment that Barber made in the article that, "Even conservative realists have acknowledged that Israel--whatever one thinks of Sharon's policies--is a formidable ally in part because it is the sole democracy in the Middle East."

Israel pursues an independent diplomatic policy at odds with US interests. Israel is a modest cooperative partner in the US war against terrorism. Just as the Russians, the Pakistanis, the Chinese and others did in the post 11 September period, Israel immediately offered the US data that painted their parochial adversaries as the architect or participant of the air liner assault so that we might attack them. Each country offers or withholds information so as to advance its national interests, and attempts to influence where it cannot command. Israel is no exception and I think that it applies Palmerston better than the US.

Israel ran Jonathan Pollard, a US Navy civilian analyst, as a spy to enormous and ongoing harm to the US. Israel not only used that information to US disservice but further went on to sell or broker that information to the Russians and the Chinese, perhaps others. The impact on the US is still being felt to this day and none of the attempts of his apologist spouse, Esther, will wipe that away. The effects of Pollard's espionage is so great that Director CIA threatened to resign if Clinton pardoned Pollard. (If a US national has strong loyalties, be it religious, tribal, cultural or geographic, that work to the detriment of US interests, then I am also at odds with them.)

Israel is not a devoted friend of the US and it has nothing to do with religion or its democratic governance. (We forget that France was the principal post-partition mentor of Israel before the US.) It is a nation state acting in its best interests, some of which correspond to our own. In the interest of balance, I leave you with the "Morality" segment from the Foreign Policy section of Open Politics, a joint venture of the BBC and the Open University:

Morality: Does national interest always come first in Foreign Affairs?
BBC News
The Open University

Gordon Housworth



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The Raj persists; only control has passed from British to Indian hands

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When one is aware or the morning "money flights" from Bombay to Delhi whereby businessmen deliver cash bribes to bureaucrats or that many if not most of the gangs of beggar children that populate Indian streets (often maimed or disfigured by their keepers to make them more piteous) are considered impossible to eradicate due in part to their being either owned, managed, or under the protection of various Indian police officials, one gets an indication of the deep corruption and lack of redress available to the poor in what passes for Indian civil government.

Having seen the untouchables and other lesser classes of whom Freidman speaks, it has astonished me that they largely continue to toil in place with little hope of betterment. It is the less attractive side of industrializing rural third world nations, be it India, China, Brazil, or Malaysia. As wealth begins to flow in, the disparity between the haves and have-nots becomes palpable and becomes a major social issue. (China struggles with it today between its wealthier industrializing coast and rural on-grid and off-grid poor of the interior.) Freidman is right to mention their distress and call for improvement as India is still a land of rigidly hierarchical privilege; only the top of the Raj has passed from British to Indian hands.

Making India Shine
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
New York Times
May 20, 2004

Gordon Housworth


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WiFi attack jams by nominally friendly means

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It only took five days for the trivial WiFi 2.4GHz DoS exploit to become an attack and jamming tool. Using off-the-shelf PDA hardware with no code to write, just knowing the correct command sequence, attackers can "jam all wireless devices within a one kilometre radius using any wireless-enabled computing device and can take down an entire network in seconds if the base station is within range."

The exploit "presents obvious applications for terrorism and espionage" as the attacker could turn the exploit on and off at will, in person or remotely, using any GPRS-enabled phone or PDA, temporarily jamming WiFi security cameras or WiFi comm networks. Uses in combination with Atocha-style bomb attacks it could disrupt discovery, forensic review of security cam tapes, and hamper post-event recovery efforts.

Since the attack is merely spoofing the network into thinking that the channel is perpetually busy, deferring data transmission, it allows immediate recovery when transmission is halted. As it is using a nominal low power transmit of the WiFi network, it does not involve RF jammers that would be far easier to locate, nor does it raise alarms with admins who would perceive it as network congestion.

Affecting all manufacturers products running with all operating systems, it is an understatement to say that in regards to all 802.11b and some 802.11g wireless protocol that:

"Any organisation that continues to use the standard wireless technology, 802.11b, to operate critical infrastructure could be considered negligent."

As I said in the earlier note, 'One wonders how many other holes remain in plain sight in systems and protocols assumed to be safe.'

Attack jams spy cameras
By Adam Turner
The Age
May 18, 2004

Gordon Housworth



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Why the French behave the way they do

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Reflecting on the French justification for nuclear and conventional force projection disproportionately large to France's perceived role within the NATO perimeter, I thought it useful to look at matters from a French perspective:

The French Force de Frappe was originally aimed at the Soviets and was only recently partially retargeted at rogue and/or Arab states. The French knew that they could not win a nuclear exchange with the Soviets, but their aim was not to win (which presumes that you've commenced the fight) but rather to deter a Soviet first use.

The French were stunned to emerge from the Second World War as a second tier nation. Only, in part, by leading the EC and assuming the status as spokesman for Continental Europe could France command a first tier status. The second part of their postwar nation self-image as a first tier state was their ability -- and willingness -- to project force outside the EC/NATO perimeter, hence the extensive force projection and garrison forces in Francophone Africa. And once one grasps this combination of forces, much of postwar French policy becomes clear.

The French were further stung by their not having a nuclear capability and having to be offered the bomb by Eisenhower against the North Vietnamese. France vowed never again to be in the position to have to ask, or worse, to ask and to be refused. Couple this with the French belief that the US would never defend Europe against a Soviet nuclear attack in the European theater, i.e., with no US targets involved, and one sees the French requirement for an independent nuclear deterrence.

All NATO countries, knew, but did not advertise the fact, that Soviet offensive doctrine included going nuclear at an early stage -- and it was obvious that that exchange was going to start in Southern Germany and would certainly accelerate should the Soviets see themselves shifting into a defensive posture. A French nuclear force could do two things; offer a credible deterrence to the Soviets and force an escalating exchange that would almost certainly invite a strike against the US -- and once the US was in, Washington would carry the ball.

Furthermore, the French saw themselves as the only Continental entity capable of designing, fabricating, and deploying a nuclear arm. The Russians had made it bluntly clear to the US and to NATO that any unilateral German key-control of physics packages would invite an immediate strike, no questions asked. US nukes could be tolerated on German soil so long as the US dual-key control was maintained. The French discounted the English for a number of reasons; one, they were English - reason enough in the eyes of the French; two, they weren't on the Continent, three, political indecision of a Labour Party which had it come to power might well have renounced nuclear weapons and unilaterally disarmed; and four, the English nuclear weapons were purchased from the US and could be withdrawn at any moment. (Remember the Skybolt missile which Kennedy withdrew and nearly breached the Anglo-American alliance.)

Bundle up the above and you get a clear French mandate to maintain both a conventional and nuclear indigenous manufacturing and deployment capacity. It is this capacity coupled with their political leadership of an increasingly united EC, now EU, that allowed the French to see themselves as the peer and partner to the German economic "Locomotive."

As to the last series of French atmospheric tests, I was surprised at the vitriol laid at the feet of the French while it seemed that no one made a peep at the Chinese. The flap over those tests stemmed from Mitterrand's unilateral 1992 decision to immediately suspend French nuclear testing, a move which pundits said was designed to position him as a world-leader. Unfortunately, French nuclear scientists had no notice or future deadline to prepare for a shift to computer simulation. Considering the complexity of the mathematical models they must develop (and they wanted to develop their own models rather than accept the proffered US or UK simulation models so that the French had the certainty of understanding that their models were consistent to their own engineering assumptions (and suffered no intentional or inadvertent holes or trapdoors)), the test series were necessary before France signed the test ban treaty banning all nuclear testing in 1996.

French nuclear scientists seemed to believe that the data collected from that test series would allow France to enter both the simulation process and the test ban treaty on equal terms to the US and UK. It is quite French that they would do this despite the potential diplomatic and economic consequences, although some have observed that Chirac could have been more diplomatic in avoiding the fiftieth anniversary of the nuclear detonations over Japan.

Gordon Housworth



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Unrecoverable architectural flaw in 2.4GHz WiFi networks

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In Delta between worst-case and realistic cyberattacks narrow I spoke of four conditions that conspire to put systems at risk. Australia has produced an interesting example of two: poor design (by the manufacturer) and design taking immediate advantage of newer technologies without thinking of security intrusion (by the clients).

Queensland University of Technology researchers discovered a trivial exploit that affects a WiFi network operating at 2.4GHz -- all 802.11b and, depending upon configuration, 802.11g networks. What is remarkable is that the flaw occurs at the physical and MAC address layers -- lower network layers than previously discovered security flaws in 802.11 protocols -- and so constitutes an architectural flaw that cannot be resolved by WEP encryption (weak enough as it is) or the Cisco LEAP protocols.

There is no defense for 802.11b save for attempting to affect the antenna pattern or shutting down the network. If the network remains up, you can only use an RF survey to assess how far away your network can be accessed:

"If they discover they can be attacked from out on the street or the carpark, for example, they need to think seriously about re-planning their network."

While affected vendors have been privately advised of the vulnerability so that they can determine effectiveness of the attack, it would not surprise me if hackers attempt some independent experimentation. While the flaw does not apparently permit data intercept, it does allow for a DoS attack.

I found it interesting that the flaw was discovered "while investigating wireless security mechanisms." One wonders how many other holes remain in plain sight in systems and protocols assumed to be safe.

QUT researchers find WiFi flaw
Kate Mackenzie
The Australian
MAY 13, 2004

Gordon Housworth



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Good news: chemical munition found in Iraq; Bad news: insurgents found it first.

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A 155 MM chemical munition, probably SARIN according to field tests, was detonated as a roadside bomb. It was poorly marked (every nation has specific markings for certain kinds of munitions) and it is too early to say if it was unmarked or that the markings had been obscured. It is also unknown if the insurgents knew that they had a chemical munition on their hands and if there are more -- but you can be certain that the insurgents are checking their supply chain to see where it was obtained and if they are more.

I do not agree with David Kay's comment that, "It doesn't strike me as a big deal" if there are more and that the insurgents can figure out how to produce the agent correctly. Remember that one of the timing issues for the March 2003 Iraqi invasion was the onset of a Middle Eastern summer and the high temperatures involved that make strenuous operations difficult. Add to that the requirement of a chemical weapons suit and mask which leave you poaching in a solvent of your own perspiration while you look through the relative tunnel vision landscape of a gas mask, and it is a big deal. You fatigue much faster, do not shoot or maneuver as well, and you are an edgier soldier.

This weapon was a binary device in which "two individually less-toxic reagents are mixed in the weapon at the time of use to form the agent." Binary devices last longer that conventional unitary chemical munitions as the two binary components are less reactive than the final product and so do not degrade the munition so severely in storage. (Most unitary munitions should be filled shortly before use if possible as they are less stable and may have a shorter shelf life.)

It was said that the binary components "did not properly mix upon detonation." That could be a matter of component degradation, booster/burst charge failure, or the fact that this artillery munition was designed to be detonated in flight as an airburst in one of three release modes:

  • Explosive-release devices predominate. While some agent is lost to decomposition, their simplicity makes them the weapons of choice. There are two types -- point-source explosives are single detonation devices, while line-source munitions release a series of time-delayed explosions that lay agent toward the end of the trajectory.
  • Bulk-release munitions spill agent into the airstream of the projectile.
  • Base-ejection devices, relatively uncommon owing to cost and complexity.

It would be a major event if insurgents could even harvest the binary component vessels from an artillery stockpile as they would be a highly saleable commodity to many buyers. Unitary or binary chemical nerve agent in an unknown quantity available to insurgents who can detonate them locally and sell them abroad is a big deal to me.

Saran - Filled Munitions in Iraq Worry U.S.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 17, 2004
Filed at 5:10 p.m. ET

Gordon Housworth



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Lack of realistic, specific risk assessment bars US firms from joining other nations' commercial efforts

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And the beheading of Nick Berg has not helped matters. Nor does State instructing US nationals not to enter the country as Commerce and Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority are urging them to come. US brands are conspicuously absent on a thriving Saddoun Street where "storefronts have the feel of a global bazaar. Glossy billboards show off electronics from South Korea. Vendors hawk cell phone service from Egypt. Corner groceries stock ice cream from the United Arab Emirates."

Very mixed signals, uniformly applied. Yet while security remains an issue in very publicized areas, many parts of Iraq go about their business as usual, where security is not the overriding issue. Instead, it is the uncertainty of any rough and tumble emerging market; political, legal, and commercial code that had atrophied under the Baath Party to the point that ownership accreted to the state and only firms or individuals from Arab nations could have "significant ownership rights." That mix conspires to keep US firms on the sidelines while Arab, Asian and European firms that have more tolerance for business uncertainty, given their long experience on the region's street, dominate Iraq's commercial entrepreneurship.

What I like to call the "lens of the news" has colluded with Defense's failure to property predict and stabilize the Iraqi "postwar" landscape to create a stand-off condition in which US firms have point teams on the periphery of Iraq in the relatively business friendly states along the Persian littoral while the banking and telecom awards have gone to others.

I think little will change for US firms until the June handover landscape -- and those who wield its levers of power -- are defined. By that time US firms will be much farther behind more nimble competitors. I would not be surprised to see the likes of the Chinese and Brazilians enter this emerging market before US firms. (China would be thrilled to gain a toehold in Iraq's oilfields not to mention the political and intel toeholds that follow.)

The French must be laughing themselves silly as the supposed 'private sea' of US investment dries up just like the Aral Sea.

U.S. Companies Put Little Capital Into Iraq
Many Firms Interested, but Are Held Back by Security Concerns, Lack of Political Stability
By Ariana Eunjung Cha and Jackie Spinner
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 15, 2004; Page A17

Gordon Housworth



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DO NOT READ: failure to understand the reach and the persistence of digital information

  #

For years we used to joke that more than one issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology "could be stamped Secret Codeword top and bottom [of each page]," given its content down to operating parameters unlikely to be know to the casual observer. We all felt that it had to be leaked due to its specificity and consistency to other materials. We also had identified certain individuals listed on the magazine's masthead whom we felt (as individuals with no inside or privileged information in this area) to be agency employees. We saw it as the give and take between the unclass and class community in which one or more agencies had an interest in making this information available and our contribution was to "neither confirm nor deny" if asked.

So it was with some humor that I read the benighted effort of some defense personnel to close the barn door after the horses had bolted by issuing a high priority broadcast to MLA POL ALL POLICY not to visit the Fox News site to view the "Tugabe report," intentionally misspelling Taguba's name: "spelling is approximate for reasons which will become obvious momentarily."

It is a clear lack of understanding of the reach and the persistence of digital information once it reaches the web, much akin to the lack of understanding of the "legs" that digital imagery of Abu Ghraib would have once those pictures reached the wild. It does not say much for their understanding of human nature either.

The core of the leaked email (itself a triple forward) is as follows:

SUMMARY
Fox News and other media outlets are distributing the Tugabe report (spelling is approximate for reasons which will become obvious momentarily). Someone has given the news media classified information and they are distributing it. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED. ALL ISD CUSTOMERS SHOULD:

1) NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY
2) NOT comment on this to anyone, friends, family etc.
3) NOT delete the file if you receive it via e-mail, but
4) CALL THE ISD HELPDESK AT 602-2627 IMMEDIATELY

This leakage will be investigated for criminal prosecution. If you don't have the document and have never had legitimate access, please do not complicate the investigative processes by seeking information. Again, THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED; DO NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY.

Amazing. This kind of behavior drives interest and eyeballs to the Fox site rather than deflects it.

Military Personnel: Don't Read This!
How a Pentagon email sought to contain the prison abuse scandal

By VIVIENNE WALT / BAGHDAD
Time
Saturday, May. 08, 2004

Pentagon Email Warning
Original document leaked to Time
Time

Gordon Housworth



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