US keeps intelligence secret from British

20/11/2003 The Americans are preventing the British and other key allies in the war on terrorism from seeing intelligence that could save lives, a US conference on military intelligence has been told.

British and Australian officers working in allied command centres during the war in Iraq were not allowed access to the intelligence they needed to do their job, one Australian complained. RAF and RAAF officers were asked to leave the room during briefings, though some of the information they were prevented from seeing had been provided by the British or Australian intelligence services.

"They gave us stuff and we labelled it secret and then they weren't allowed to see it," said Col Allen Roby, director of the US air force intelligence directorate, one of a number of speakers and delegates who complained about the issue. The US military's failure to share intelligence fully with its major allies dominated the conference after it was raised by Wing Commander Alex Gibbs, a member of the air attache's office at the Australian embassy in Washington.

It was easy to spot the British and Australian officers working in the allied combined air operations centre in Saudi Arabia during the Iraq war because they had to have an American sitting alongside them accessing the computer, he said. The British and Australian officers had to ask an American to search the databases and tell them what they were allowed to know, one USAF delegate confirmed. "You could look over his shoulder but you couldn't touch the keyboard."

Maj-Gen Tommy Crawford, commander of the US air force intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance centre, confirmed to the conference that the problem still existed, adding that it also affected other close US allies such as Canada. Responding to a series of questions from American delegates clearly unable to comprehend the policy, Gen Crawford insisted that it was not a problem dictated by the Pentagon and that Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, wanted it changed.

"It is a damn silly policy and there are two ways round it," he said. "We can get this policy changed or we can make Britain, Australia and Canada the 51st, 52nd and 53rd states. The way to do business is to get this policy changed." America's failure to share intelligence with its partners has caused extensive problems on a series of recent operations from the conflict in Bosnia to the current occupation of Iraq.

Dutch infantry patrolling the Iraqi-Saudi border twice threatened to withdraw this year after the Americans refused to give them imagery from Predator unmanned aerial vehicles because it was deemed too secret to be passed to a Nato ally. Paradoxically, away from the battlefield, such information is routinely shared among America's allies at Nato headquarters. There is no need to protect the source since the capabilities and existence of UAV's such as the Predator have been widely publicised.

The problems in Iraq are even more difficult to comprehend given that the CIA and MI6 freely shared information from top-secret sources within the Iraqi military when there were clear problems of source protection. The intelligence that was not being shared appeared to be largely aerial imagery from satellites, manned aircraft or UAVs.

The Americans have a history of sharing intelligence only when they have something to gain, leading the parliamentary intelligence and security committee to express concern over the lack of British involvement in the latest US spy satellite programme.
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Interior Department to Open Almost 9 Million Acres in Alaska's North Slope to Drilling

Another Chance for Exxon to Foul the Environment?
Nov 20, 2003 WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration intends to open 8.8 million acres of Alaska's North Slope to oil and gas development, including areas considered environmentally sensitive.

The (rape the) Interior Department was to announce the oil and gas leasing plan Friday, the day the Senate was taking a critical vote on a massive energy bill endorsed by President Bush but denying him his top energy priority, opening an Alaskan wildlife refuge to drilling.

None of the 8.8 million acres are in the wildlife refuge, but they do include some sensitive areas in Alaska that are important for the protection of migratory birds, whales and wildlife.
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New Blog Showcase contestant Anarchy Zero is the latest addition to the League. Another Cat Blogger is always welcome and keeping with the Open for Change full acceptance policy of the League an Anarchist will fit right in:
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FirstEnergy's Computer Malfunction Greatest Cause of August Blackout

FirstEnergy has Thousands of Dollars for the Bush/Cheney Campaign but put the entire Northeastern US and Canada in danger for an outmoded computer warning system
November 19, 2003 at 17:19:38 PST WASHINGTON (AP) - Of all the failures that occurred at Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. just before the nation's worst blackout on Aug. 14, a malfunction in a warning system appears to have had the greatest impact.

FirstEnergy employees failed to take steps that could have isolated its own system's problems after three power lines short-circuited because the utility's data-monitoring and alarm system wasn't working, according to a U.S.-Canadian task force that spent three months investigating the causes of the blackout.

Without a functioning emergency management system or the knowledge that it had failed, the company's system operators "remained unaware that their electrical system condition was beginning to degrade," the report said.

"Unknowingly," the report continued, "they used the outdated system condition information they did have to discount information from others about growing system problems."

Not only did the software that controls audible and visual alarms stop working at 2:14 p.m. EDT, but about a half hour later, two servers supporting the emergency system failed, too. More than an hour would pass after that before anyone in FirstEnergy's control room would realize that the software - General Electric's GE Harris XA21 system - wasn't working.

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We Blew It Up - You Should Help Rebuild it Says Bush to Europe.

Despite the Fact that We Blew up Iraq without your Agreement.......
Nov 19, 2003 at 19:59:35 PST LONDON (AP) President Bush urged Europe on Wednesday to put aside bitter war disagreements with the United States and work to build democracy in Iraq or risk turning the nation over to terrorists. Anti-war demonstrators mobilized for a march of tens of thousands on Thursday.

Bush conceded in a speech that deep differences remain over Iraq, even among staunch war allies, the United States and Britain. But, he asserted, "we did not charge hundred of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins."

His speech followed an elegant welcoming ceremony with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, which included a 41-gun salute and a review of troops on foot and on horseback.

Meanwhile, anti-war protesters made preparations for huge demonstrations against Bush's 3 1/2-day state visit.

There were isolated, smaller demonstrations around the city on Wednesday. At one point, as the president's motorcade arrived at Banqueting House for his speech, noisy demonstrators could be seen and easily heard just two blocks away. The demonstrators, held back by police lines, could not be heard inside the hall where Bush spoke.
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Attacks will continue until day the Americans leave, says Devastating Report.

US Soldiers are dying because of the idealogical approach of the Adminitration.
19 November 2003 As George Bush arrived in London last night, an unprecedented and bleak assessment of the deteriorating military situation in Iraq was circulating among policymakers in Washington.

The report - contradicting many claims by the US administration - is based on briefings by Paul Bremer, the US de facto governor of Iraq; military commanders, unnamed intelligence officers and David Kay, the American who leads the hunt for Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction. It says attacks on Americans by Sunni Iraqis will continue "until the day the US leaves".

US army commanders are also learning how Saddam Hussein forced his officers to read Black Hawk Down
- the account of the shooting down of US helicopters in Mogadishu during America's disastrous intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s - to convince them the US would leave if it suffered major casualties. The Iraqi resistance movement is believed to have a war chest of up to $1bn - with a further $3bn hidden in Syria - and it is paying between $25 and $500 for each attack on US forces.

It also says 95 per cent of the threat is from former regime loyalists and that suicide bombings are being carried out largely by foreigners.

The report, compiled by the prestigious Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is all the more devastating because of the unusual level of access provided to its author, Dr Anthony Cordesman, a specialist on Iraq. He concludes that US soldiers are dying because of the ideological approach of the administration, and "four years into office, the Bush national security team is not a team".

Mr Cordesman accuses the administration of preparing the ground for "a defeat by underplaying the risks, issuing provocative and jingoistic speeches, and minimising real-world costs and risks." Senior US officials were also deeply scornful of claims by administration officials that Saddam and his former aide Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri are orchestrating guerrilla attacks.

Mr Bremer is quoted as saying that Saddam is felt "to be isolated and on the run. Douri [is] felt to be dying".

US military officials said the leadership of the resistance is coming from former generals and colonels from the old Iraqi army, now disbanded, who see no future for themselves. This means that US successes in picking up the remaining 15 senior Baath party officials and military leaders pictured on the 55 playing cards will have no effect on the strength of the resistance.

The report makes clear that there is no long-term future for the US military in Iraq: "Some Sunnis and others will always treat the US as "antibody" and cannot even get intelligence up to the point where [it] will stop all attacks."

Dr Kay says that "Iraq was actively violating accords during later 1999 to 2003". But despite a prolonged and vastly expensive search for chemical weapons there was "no evidence of weapons production" though Iraq could have produced sarin in two years and mustard gas in two months.

Interviews with former Iraqi commanders show that while none of them had chemical weapons under their control they believed that other units did have chemical weapons.

Mr Bremer said that there was no evidence of a direct role by al-Qa'ida, though he felt that the devastating suicide bombs were carried out by non-Iraqis. But he made clear that he had "no hard intelligence to confirm that they were foreigners".

Mr Bremer told the CSIS that "the most critical problem is intelligence" on local guerrillas and possible foreign supporters. He said: "We do not have a reliable picture of who is organising attacks, and the size and structure of various elements." He suspected that there was local co-ordination and possibly greater co-ordination on a regional level. There were estimated to be at least eight resistance cells in Baghdad, each with some 25 members.